Will the real Raja Babu please stand up?


As Govinda completes 25 years in Bollywood, we trace his chequered life and how he returned to films after a sabatical to pursue politics. Here's a tribute to the undisputed actor 'number one' of Bollywood

“He charmed me by throwing out the regular Stardust questionnaire. He said it was very mundane and he would like to talk to me directly. He was very disarming,” remembers Shobhaa De of the time when she interviewed Govinda many years ago. And it was this unpretentious attitude that made Govinda the most endearing Bollywood personality. But his transition into politics was probably the worst career change he ever considered. While this meant an exit from acting, it also led to a lot of disturbing media reports that even questioned his sanity. When this reporter met him a couple of years back at this Juhu apartment, he wasn’t his usual self. He admitted that he was scared of journalists and that many from the profession were just set out to prove that he had lost his mind. In his own words, he said, “Sab mere peeche pade the!”


Govinda also narrated the story of his comeback into films after a disastrous political stint. “I called my dear friend and director David (Dhawan) home and sat him down for a chat. I told him how politics had ruined my life and image among my fans. He is a very emotional guy and when he heard my story, he broke into tears.” Dhawan has teamed up with the 48-year old actor in many successful blockbusters and in the mid-nineties. They were a ‘jodi’ every film distributor wanted to partner with. Dhawan called up actor Salman Khan and asked him to help Govinda make his comeback in films and this conversation led to the film ‘Partner’ where Govinda was back to doing what he does best.


Govinda with his family at an award function
Today after losing 28 kgs today, he is fit and ready to take on the newcomers who’re probably half his age and have more credibility. But his downfall had corroded his mind at a time. Distinct signs of this were evident when this reporter met him just at the point in his life when he was preparing for his return to acting. He appeared weary, politically correct and grumpy. Any reference to his personal life and he would snap like it were taboo. He explained that he was trying very hard to get back in shape. One of the things he did for getting there was to have just one meal at the end of each day. While you don’t need an expert to point out the adverse affects of such a diet, he was firm about his diet plan. He added that he has even learnt a lot about Ayurveda and was preparing his own medicines at home. Even his meals were Ayurvedic and he would dish it out himself, since he only trusted his own judgment. And then he complains that the media is out to malign him!

Govinda with his friends from the film industry
But given his celebrity status coupled with his candid outlook to life, it’s only natural that his misdemeanors would make for juicy tabloid literature. So let’s ignore his past and celebrate the Raja Babu who we have grown to love over the years. Here are five songs that let us revisit the actor’s prime and allow us to reminisce the fun and flirty characters he played on the big screen:

Arey Ek Hai Anaar Yahan- Dulaara



Ek Chumma Tu Mujhko- Chhote Sarkar



Jaane Jaana- Achanak



Dil Leke Gaya Chor - Achanak



Ek Soni Kudi- Achanak



Want more of Govinda? Check out our mini version of his superhit comedy, ‘Hadh Kardi Aapne’




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