Born on December 21, 1963, Govinda's full name is Govinda Ahuja (also fondly called as 'Chichi') and both his parents Arun Kumar Ahuja and Nirmala Devi are actors. Govinda's father Arun was active in the Bollywood film industry in the 1940s and early 1950s appearing in over 20 films. Arun Kumar Ahuja was best known for acting in Mehboob Khan's 1940 film Aurat. Interestingly, Aurat was the predecessor of the Oscar-nominated 1957 remake Mother India. (All photos/mid-day archives and Instagram)
Though Govinda hailed from a film industry background, he confessed that his family wasn't very rich. "When I started working in this industry, we were very poor and it was tough for us to buy a ticket to watch a film. But God gave me opportunities to work in films and because of that I was able to do some good work. I am thankful to my audience who have supported me over the years," he said.
Govinda has been part of the film industry for over 30 years, but he doesn't have friends from the industry. "I don't have any friends in the industry and that is something I regret deeply. Going to late night parties and being a social animal was never my cup of tea. All I ever wanted to do was concentrate on my work and give my 100 per cent," he recently told mid-day.
Govinda claims that Salman Khan and his family are his close friends from the industry. He says, "I have good relations with Salman [Khan] and his family. He is a nice person and there is a mutual appreciation. We are similar and that's why I believe our equation clicks. We have always stood by each other. When I say friends, it does not mean that we sit down every evening and drink or meet every day."
Govinda fell in love with his friend Anand Singh's sister Sunita and duo got married in 1987. They kept their marriage a secret for four years. Govinda has two children, a son Yashvardhan and daughter Tina Ahuja. Tina made her Bollywood debut in 2015 with Second Hand Husband, but it failed to do well at the box-office.
You will be surprised to know that at one point Govinda had 14 film releases in a year. But, the actor also faced a downfall in his career. He has stated in numerous interview that no one in the film industry offered any help to him when he struggled.
Govinda also faced a financial crunch during his difficult phase. Recalling those times, Govinda had told mid-day, "Having financial problems and still managing to keep your name intact is difficult. But then again, when you realise in a country with a population of over 1.5 billion only a handful manage to become heroes, you are humbled. I come from a humble family and I have had my share of hard work and struggle."
Govinda further added, "I never imagined that I would become a star or maintain my stardom for over 15 years. My journey has had several ups and downs, but I kept moving forward. People still love me as their comic superstar and there are more than half a dozen actors who want to make that as their selling point."
Govinda made his Bollywood debut in 1986 with 'Ilzaam' and has worked in about 145 films thus far. Known for his comic skills, the actor says there was a time when he was not good at doing romantic scenes in films.
"I was not very good at romantic scenes. In my very first movie Ilzaam, there was a dance sequence where I was supposed to run and get close with my co-star Neelam but I could not do it. I started shivering and started feeling feverish. Our choreographer Saroj Khan noticed it and she asked me if I ever had a girlfriend. I said no. She smiled and said she would teach me how to romance on screen," recalled Govinda in an interview with mid-day.
Govinda has delivered several hits like Hero No 1, Dulhe Raja, Bade Miyan Chote Miyan, Raja Babu, Saajan Chale Sasural and Partner. The actor had confessed that never imagined that he will become such a big star.
"I never thought I would become so famous and people would shower their love and blessings. I hope this unconditional love continues. The actor is not a flop actor till the time he thinks he is finished. I have never been scared or felt I have failed. I don't turn back and whatever be the phase and time, I am still working and I will continue to do so," Govinda said.
Giving more insights about Bollywood's groupism, Govinda said, "There are massive camps in Bollywood. I never belonged to any camps but I think it was a wrong move. I should have had. It affects your career. It's one big family. In that one family, if you create harmony and build good relations, it works. If you are a part of it, if you are blessed, you will do very well."
Govinda truly has set inspiration to many. His determination, honesty towards his craft and hard work have paid off and how!
Here's wishing the dancing super-star Govinda a very happy birthday!
Govinda has been part of many blockbuster Bollywood films of the 1990s and has wowed audiences and critics with his serious and comedic performances. The actor, however, has his own share of ups and downs. Here's a look at the star's journey in pictures
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