Thousands greet Govinda in Auckland

Radio Tarana celebrated the 68th India Independence Day by hosting ‘Festival of India’ at ASB Show Grounds in Auckland on the August 16.

It was a daylong event celebrating patriotism, top lined by Hindi Film actor Govinda.

The free-for-all event started at midday and went on until 8 pm, with the formal inauguration at 230 pm, attended by politicians from major political parties, Auckland Mayor Len Brown and community leaders.

Teeming fans

The venue was teeming with people as Govinda proved that he was an artiste of natural talent and behaviour. Soon after he was introduced by Radio Tarana Managing Director Robert Khan, he regaled thousands of his fans by dancing, singing and signing autographs, apart from posing for hundreds of cameras that flashed moment after moment. What easily stood out was his unpretentious nature and jig with the dance troops and stage orchestra.

Even the politicians could not escape the Govinda magic, with National MP’s Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi and Melissa Lee joining the Comedy King for a Bhangra.

Indian nationalism

The event saw many acts with the underlying theme of nationalism.

Dance performances, singers and skits paid tribute to the sacrifices made by freedom fighters who set India free on August 15, 1947. The stellar efforts of the Indian armed forces in safeguarding the country’s borders in modern times were also acknowledged in glowing terms.

This event again highlighted the abundant talent inherent among the members of the wider Indian community. With every passing year, the standard of performances shows consistent improvement, highlighting in particular the talents of children.

There were plenty of food stalls offering gastronomic delights.

Impressive career

Making his debut in Hindi cinema with ‘Ilzam’ (1986), Govinda became a star known not only for his acting prowess but also for his friendliness, humility and captivating smile. A string of masala films followed but ‘Hatya,’ released in 1987 turned him into a romantic dancing star.

The 1990s saw his career peak as his partnership with Director David Dhawan delivered a string of successes. From the blockbuster ‘Aankhen’ to the family comedy ‘Coolie No 1,’ there was no stopping this ‘Jodi (combination) No 1.’

The early part of the millennium was a mixed bag for Govinda. Cinema was changing but perhaps his films were not keeping up with the audience’s expectations.

Many of his films did not do well and Govinda contemplated a career switch. He entered politics and was elected to Lok Sabha (Lower House of Parliament) on a Congress Party ticket from North Mumbai.

Five years later, he returned to films with Will Smith starrer ‘Hitch,’ which feature Salman Khan. This comedy, directed by David Dhawan, was a box-office hit.

Govinda will turn 51 years of age on December 21 and the Golden Jubilee year holds promise for the native of Virar, a Mumbai suburb.

His recent film, ‘Holiday’ was highly successful and he hopes to return to New Zealand shortly to promote ‘Abhinay Chakra,’ stated to be his latest blockbuster.

Photo :

1. Govinda with (from left) Salmeen Khan, Aman Mahajan, Prakashni and Robert Khan

2. Govinda with Hemant and Rozeena Parikh (Pictures by Lion Beats Cinematography)

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