Govinda: The return of 'Hero No 1'

Updated: Dec 20, 2014, 14:38 PM IST

Govinda was one of India's favourite 90s hero. No matter how much the snobs ignored him, secretly everyone loved him as he wore his purple and orange pants and made faces that would make soulless zombies guffaw till their sides split. He is the Jim Carrey of India - loved by many. His comic timing is something that younger heroes are trying to emulate and they still have a long way to go.

An actor who shot to fame with 'Love 86', 28 years later is still overshadowing his co-actors in the mere 10 minutes or so that he has appeared in his movies in 2014. His comic timing is impeccable as always. The way he dances will put the trained dancers of today to shame. Riteish Deshmukh, Varun Dhawan and possibly Ranveer Singh are probably one of the few actors of today who can match up to his style and energy.

Govinda has finally taken to doing what he should have done a decade ago – do character roles. They suit him to the T, and his talent will not go unnoticed. Even today in 'Happy Ending' when he was mocking the 50 something heroes taking to cosmetic surgeries to get the abs and the body of 20-year-olds, it felt as if he never stopped being the superstar that he was. His body of work is surmised in a dialogue from the movie - “You can't pack life lessons in a three hour long movie”. His films were never preachy. They were simply made with bawdy jokes and eccentric plot lines.

Teaming up with David Dhawan, Govinda exemplified mindless stories, with loud backgrounds and slapstick comedy. There was a sense of nonchalance in the way he did his scenes – he would make the most insane dialogues sound sane. In the comic scenes he spoke as if he was extemporising. He could pull of anything that he was told to do. He could be the coolie, the Lenon glasses and dhoti wearing village bumpkin, atrociously loud aunty, a rich Punjabi accented uncle – he didn't mind playing the fool as long it kept his audience entertained.

Added to his dosage of humour were talented actors like Kader Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Anupam Kher, Aruna Irani, Satish Kaushik and Johnny Lever – each of his films were a laugh riot. No matter how much they were looked down upon by the so-called elite – each one of his movies were entertaining, not just because they had a superstar in them. Even his heroines – Raveena Tandon, Karisma Kapoor – were challenged to make sure the humour bar was set high.

Once the romance of Shah Rukh and the machismo of Hrithik took over, Govinda's brand of humour faded away. His age was not as much of a problem as was the fact that Karishma and Raveena gyrating with Govinda stopped getting the audience to the theatres. People were more interested in classy situational comedies that they were now exposed to due to the advent of filmmakers like Priyadarshan and Farhan Akhtar and an expanding Hollywood audience in India. The bodily humour that Govinda stood for was a little outdated – more so because none of the directors was coming up with interesting plots and roles for him.

With 'Kill Dil' and 'Happy Ending', Govinda has made his long awaited comeback. Even though the films have not done as well at the box office as one may have hoped, the actor has received appreciation from all quarters. He is as entertaining today as he was 15 years ago.

As a character actor, Govinda will have a different benchmark to reach. Something that is probably too easy for someone with his talent. It might be the best thing for those like me who have loved him for being as crazy and eccentric as he was in the 90s. I have been waiting for him to make his presence felt again, like many others. Hope 2014 was the beginning of his second journey in Bollywood!