On the occasion of Govinda’s 52nd birthday, his Christopher Columbus, close friend, mentor and confidante Pahlaj Nihalani talks to Subhash K Jha on his favourite actor.
It’s more like Govinda discovering me (laughs). I’ll tell you how it happened. I started shooting for the film Ilzaam in 1985 with my dear friend Shatrughan Sinha and Mithun Chakraborty. It was an action film and these two were ideal for their parts. But then Mithunda changed his mind suddenly and said he wanted out.
I don’t think so. I think it was because of Shatruji’s late coming. For the morning shift he would reach at 2 pm. Mithunda couldn’t take it. He suddenly said, ‘Make a solo hero film with me. Make this film with another hero.’ So I was stranded with a one-hero situation.
And how! What an entry he made. Rakesh (Riku) Nath who was Madhuri Dixit’s secretary brought Govinda to me with one hour after Mithunda walked out. I looked at this boy who was short and had curly hair and I said no thanks.
I did. But his logic was simple. He felt he needed to have that financial security. Even if he failed as an actor he had the financial security offered by those films that he had signed. Somewhere that insecurity proved detrimental to his career. I felt he signed many wrong films.