Number One Star for Number One Festival

New Zealanders would have the rare opportunity of seeing and perhaps meeting one of the most popular and prominent film stars from Bollywood next month.

Govinda, known to his millions of fans as ‘Number One’ will be in Auckland on August 16, 2014 as a guest of Radio Tarana, the Number One Indian Radio Station.

There would certainly be shouts of ‘Chi Chi’ (his pet name) and ‘Govinda, Hero No 1’ from more than 15,000 fans expected to visit ASB Show Grounds on August 16 to partake in the ‘Festival of India’ organised by Radio Tarana.

The star of films received the Numero Uno title because he acted in several films titled Number One and the star of radio stations received the status because it remains the leader in serving the community and returning greater value to its advertisers and sponsors.

Versatile Star

Govinda is a charmer, entertainer, humorist, mimicry artiste, all rolled into one, and most important of all, he is a man of the people. There is no air that hangs over or about him. Some celebrities get humbler as they become more popular and reach dizzy heights of fame. Govinda is one such.

It is almost 25 years since I met Govinda in the Kingdom of Bahrain, which was our home for a length of time. He had only one film (Ilzaam) to his credit and there were talks about his work in ‘Aankhen,’ which was later to make him the winner of the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. His good looks and manners were enough to make his maiden show in Bahrain (with Rajesh Khanna) a sell-out.

There is a certain pleasure in meeting a star in the making; for during their formative years, they have fewer trappings of the industry and fewer opinions about people, and most of all, about themselves. They are humble, always listening to what is said about them and always eager to grow.

The venue was the home of a dear friend, who was hosting Govinda and a few others in his enormous mansion.

Warm Greetings

“Great to see you Sir,” Govinda said even before I could be formally introduced. “I understand that you work for the largest circulated newspaper in the Arab Gulf. Mashallah! I hope you would write something nice about me,” he said.

That was Govinda. He never needed a PR person to teach him how to deal with journalists –anyone for that matter. He was and is, people’s man.

His ability to do standup comedy, come up with appropriate remarks at the appropriate time, and being pleasant to all were factors that made his show in Bahrain a great success. He appeared, without any prior notice, in the typical Gulf Arab dress, complete with Dish-dash-ah, Ogal, Tagiyah and Shumagg and entertained his audience that comprised more than 5000 people of South Asian origin. There were encores; he promised to return the following year, but never did. He became the busiest man in the Indian film industry.

Honours & Awards

His parents named him Govind Arun and he took his family name of Ahuja. However, he became popular as Govinda.

With more than 140 films to his credit, he has performed almost every type of role- as the main hero, comedian, character actor and villain, to mention a few.

A recipient of several honours including 12 Filmfare Awards nominations (of which he won a Special Award and the Best Comedian Award) and four Zee Cine Awards. BBC Online users voted the ‘Tenth Greatest Star of Stage/Screen of the last 1000 Years.’

Versatile actor

His earlier films in the 1980s were in a variety of genres such as family drama, action and romantic. In 1990s, he gained recognition as a comic actor after playing a mischievous young NCC cadet in the romantic movie ‘Shola Aur Shabnam’ (1992) opposite the late Divya Bharti. He played leading roles in several commercially successful comedy films in the 1990s such as ‘Aankhen(1993), ‘Raja Babu’ (1994), ‘Coolie No. 1’ (1995), ‘Hero No. 1’ (1997) and ‘Haseena Maan Jaayegi’ (1999).

Govinda is nicknamed as ‘No. 1’ because of the series of films he has done ending with “No 1” tag such as ‘Coolie No 1,’ ‘Hero No 1,’ ‘Aunty No 1,’ ‘Anari No1,’ ‘Beti No 1’ and ‘Jodi No1.’ popularly known as No. 1 (film series). Govinda is the only actor after Akshay Kumar (who did eight ‘Khiladi’ films) in Bollywood who has done series of films with a specific title.

His recent commercial successes include ‘Bhagam Bhag (2006), ‘Partner’ (2007), ‘Life Partner’ (2009) and ‘Raavan (2010).

Last year, he released his music album ‘Gori Tere Naina,’ and promoted it during his appearance on the popular Colors TV show ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil.’

Elected Parliamentarian

Govinda was a member of the Indian National Congress Party and was elected to Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) in the general election held in 2004.

He opted out of politics in 2009 to concentrate on films.

Chi Chi is sure to delight his fans in New Zealand.

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