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Last Updated 19.07.2024 | 11:06 PM IST
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Meet Arun Govil, the only actor to play Ram, Lakshman, Dashrath, Buddha and Vitthal

en Bollywood News Meet Arun Govil, the only actor to play Ram, Lakshman, Dashrath, Buddha and Vitthal

Veteran actor Arun Govil has achieved a rare feat through his role in Nitesh Tiwari's Ramayana.

Veteran actor Arun Govil is widely known in India as the man who played Lord Ram in Ramanand Sagar’s classic Doordarshan television series Ramayan. In fact, his name has become so synonymous with Ram that people touch his feet whenever he appears in public, even after more than 30 years of the show’s first telecast. He later reprised the role of Ram in the TV show Luv Kush by the same makers.

Meet Arun Govil, the only actor to play Ram, Lakshman, Dashrath, Buddha and Vitthal

Govil’s fans were in for a pleasant surprise last week when it came to the forefront that he is now playing the role of Dashrath in Nitesh Tiwari’s upcoming ambitious film Ramayana. The news was spread after his leaked pictures from the sets of the film went viral on social media. For the unversed, Dashrath was the father of Ram, as per the mythology epic Ramayana.

But interestingly, Arun Govil has also played Lakshman, the younger brother of Ram, in a film called Lav Kush (Lav and Kush were the sons of Ram and Sita), which released in 1997. It saw the star actor Jeetendra play the role of Ram. The film was directed by V Madhusudhan Rao while it was produced by Padmalaya Studios.

In an old interview with this writer, Govil had said that he had plainly refused playing Lakshman since his image in the minds of the audience was strong as Lord Ram. He said, “When they offered me Lav Kush, I had advised them (producers) to not have me in the role of Lakshman, irrespective of whether they cast me as Ram. I said it’s okay if you cast Jeetu ji as Ram. He had been their regular actor. But I didn’t want them to cast me as Lakshman because my image was that of Ram and they [both images] would clash.”

But eventually, Govil gave in. “But they said, ‘No we only want you to play this role.’ As I had done films with them before, I couldn’t say no to them. So, I did it as a character,” he said. The film, ultimately, didn’t work at the box office and it still remains one of Jeetendra’s lesser-known films despite playing a major role like Lord Ram.

However, Govil playing Lakshman gave rise to an interesting trivia of an actor playing both the inseparable brothers Ram and Lakshman. On top of that, he is now also playing their father Dashrath.

Interestingly, not many people know that he also played Lord Gautam Buddha in a TV show called Buddha by Padmalaya films. But this is not all as far as Govil’s unique feats in devotional projects is concerned. The veteran artiste is now all set to play the role of a different form of Lord Vitthal in the Hindi movie Sant Tukaram. The news was broken exclusively last year by Bollywood Hungama.

At that time, Govil had told us, “It’s basically a special appearance. The director was very keen that I play this role. A lot of people offer me roles in devotional films but I never agree to do them. But I did this because of Sant Tukaram. He is revered all over Maharashtra. He was devoted to Bhakti and was also a social reformer. Plus, I got to play Lord Vitthal.” Offering more clarity on the role, he added, “But I wasn’t required to appear like God. Visually, I don’t appear like God in this role. I play a normal human being who appears in Sant Tukaram’s life.”

Sant Tukaram is directed by Aditya Om and it stars Marathi film superstar Subodh Bhave in the titular role along with Shiva Suryavanshi.

The re-run of Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan during the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020 played its part in increasing the popularity of Arun Govil in today’s era. We need to wait and watch how many more devotional roles he lands up. For now, the count is five and that’s enough to consider him a versatile devotional specialist actor.

Also Read: Arun Govil reacts to Ranbir Kapoor playing Lord Ram in Nitesh Tiwari’s Ramayana: “Unke andar morals, sanskar, sanskriti hai”


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