The rumour mill in Bollywood has gone into overdrive, with Govinda’s absence from the Raavan music launch on April 24th leading some to suggest that Govinda is unhappy with how his role in Mani Ratnam’s upcoming film turned out.
It seems that on viewing the rushes of Raavan, the funnyman was disappointed to discover that his role — fairly small to begin with — was much smaller than he had imagined. According to the gossip, Govinda stayed away from the star-studded music launch (that the rest of the cast attended) in Mumbai in protest.
Govinda himself denies the rumours, saying: “I couldn’t attend the event on Saturday at such short notice. I was informed about it only two days in advance. I had to be in Vrindavan for a puja on Saturday. It was a day meant for prayers for the welfare of one’s children. How could I skip that?”
He adds: “I realise my absence was noticeable because the entire cast was there. I’m sure Mani Ratnam, who’s a Brahmin like me, realised the importance of that day in the Hindu calendar. In fact, he chose April 24 to release the music of Raavan for the same reason I was in Vrindavan.”
In the film, Govinda plays a forest ranger who helps Vikram’s character through dense forest to track Abhishek Bachchan’s character. Contrary to widespread belief, Govinda is not playing a character based on Hanuman. “Mani Ratnam has not made a mythological film. And I’m certainly not playing Hanuman!” he says.
The comic acknowledges his role in Raavan is now a guest appearance, but says that regardless of the size of the role, working with Mani Ratnam has been a valuable experience for him.
“I did the role because my wife Sunita told me to. I’m glad I listened to her. Although mine is just a guest appearance, I’ve learnt so much working with Mani Ratnam. It was like going to an acting school, something I had never done in my career. I was simply a student on location. I surrendered completely to Mani Sir’s vision. I really don’t care how big or small my role is. To me, Raavan is a new beginning.”