Govinda was a member of the Indian National Congress Party. He was elected as the seventh Member of Parliament for the Mumbai North Constituency of Maharashtra, India in the 14th Lok Sabha elections in 2004, after defeating Ram Naik of the Bharatiya Janata Party. In the 2009 General Elections, he opted out of politics to concentrate more on films. However he continues to have political favor from Congress Party. His constituency was succeeded by Sanjay Nirupam (also from Congress). In June 1999, Govinda was voted as the tenth greatest star of stage or screen of the last thousand years by BBC News Online users.
Govinda’s father, Arun Kumar Ahuja, was born in pre-partition Gujranwala, Punjab (now in Pakistan) on January 26, 1917. He studied in an engineering college at Lahore. Veteran producer Mehboob Khan brought him to Mumbai in 1937 and cast him in Ek Hi Raasta as the leading man. Arun was notable for acting in Mehboob Khan's Aurat (1940). Govinda's mother, Nazeem who was Muslim had converted to Hinduism and adopted the name Nirmala Devi. Arun and Nirmala first met during the making of the film Savera, in which they were cast opposite each other. They married in 1941.The only film Ahuja ever produced was a flop. Unable to bear the loss, his health failed. The family, living in a bungalow on Mumbai's upmarket Carter Road, was forced to move to Virar — a far flung semi-rural Mumbai suburb, where Govinda was born. The youngest of six children, his pet name 'Chi Chi' means little finger in Punjabi, the language they speak at home. Since his father was unable to work, Nirmala Devi brought up the children through hard times in Mumbai.
Early Acting career
He studied at Annasahb Vartak College in Vasai, Maharashtra. He graduated in commerce, but failed to find a job. He was not considered for a steward's position at the Taj Mahal hotel, because his English wasn't good enough. His father suggested films. Around this time, Govinda saw the film Saturday Night Fever and dance became his obsession. He practiced for hours and circulated a promo of himself on a VHS cassette. Soon a fertilizer commercial came his way, followed by an Allwyn ad, finally his very first leading role in Tan Badan, which was to be directed by his uncle Anand. He started shooting for his next film Love 86 in June 1985. By mid-July, he had signed 40 others.
His first released film was Ilzaam (1986), a box office success and the fifth biggest hit of 1986. The film established him as a dancing star. He acted in a string of movies after that with mixed success. Most of the films he appeared in during the 1980s were in the action, romance or family drama genres. He was often paired opposite actress Neelam and together they appeared in several hit films such as, Love 86 (1986), Khudgarz (1987) and his brother Kirti Kumar's directed, Hatya (1988). He had success with family drama films such as Dariya Dil (1988), Jeete Hain Shaan Se (1988) and Hum (1991) as well as action films such as Marte Dam Tak (1987) and Jung Baaz (1989). He worked with David Dhawan for the first time in the 1989 action film Taaqatwar. He also worked with Rajini Kanth and Sridevi in a hit film that year titled, Ghair Khanooni.
Govinda appeared in several successful films in the 1990s. In 1992, he was seen in the critically acclaimed film, Zulm Ki Hukumat, an Indian remake of The Godfather where his performance was appreciated. He then formed a successful collaboration with David Dhawan and went onto act in 17 movies directed by him most of which were comedy films. The most successful films made by their collaboration include, Shola Aur Shabnam (1992), Aankhen (1993), Raja Babu (1994), Coolie No. 1 (1995), Saajan Chale Sasural (1996), Hero No. 1 (1997), Deewana Mastana (1997), Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998), Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999), Anari No. 1 (1999) and Jodi No. 1 (2001). Dhawan and other directors frequently cast him opposite actresses such as Divya Bharati, Karishma Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, and Raveena Tandon during the 1990s.
His box office graph suffered a setback in the early 2000s following a series of commercially unsuccessful films. He played the role of a villain for the first time in his career in Shikari (2000). Although the movie was not a commercial success, Govinda's convincing portrayal of a sociopath murderer was critically acclaimed. He turned down roles in Taal, Gadar: Ek Prem Katha and Devdas which went on to become successful films. His acting career was further affected when he contested and won the seat for Member of Parliament from Mumbai North in the 2004 parliamentary elections. He did not have any new film releases in 2004 and 2005 although some of his delayed films such as Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen (2005) and his own home production Ssukh (2005) were released but resulted in box office disasters. Govinda made a comeback to films in late 2006 with the comedy film, Bhagam Bhag, alongside Akshay Kumar which became a hit. His first release of 2007 was the huge multi-starrer Salaam-e-Ishq: A Tribute To Love. Although a box office disappointment, Govinda was praised for his performance.
His second release of 2007 was the David Dhawan directed comedy, Partner, which co-starred Salman Khan. The film grossed Rs. 300 Million in India on its opening week, the second highest domestic opening week gross for an Indian film until then. In 2008, he appeared in the film, Money Hai Toh Honey Hai. The same year, Salman Khan invited David Dhawan and Govinda on his show Dus Ka Dum to celebrate the success of their film Partner. In 2009, he had a successful release titled Life Partner. Govinda got back to the successful trio of David Dhawan, Vashu Bhagnani and himself with the film, Do Knot Disturb, which flopped at the box office.
In 2010, Govinda was seen in Mani Ratnam's bilingual project, Raavan, along with Vikram, Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai. Govinda played a forest officer who takes Vikram's character through the forests in search of a wanted criminal. While it was earlier speculated that his character was a contemporary version of Hanuman, Govinda refuted the claim. Despite having a small role in the film, Govinda was appreciated for his performance.
In 2004, Govinda joined the Congress party, and was elected to the Lok Sabha, the lower House of Parliament from Mumbai with a thumping majority of beating the five time sitting MP by over 50000 votes. In a run up to the polls, Govinda had announced that his agenda will be prawaas (transportation), swasthya (health) and gyaan (education).
During the first ten months of his tenure as a Member of Parliament (MP), Govinda did not spend any money from his MP Local Area Development Fund of Rs. 20 million. He started utilizing his fund only when newspaper reports brought this to notice. According to the Thane district collectorate sources, Govinda committed Rs 7 to construct anganwadi, samaj mandirs and resolve drinking water problem of Vasai and Virar residents. However, work on these projects did not begin (as of August 2005), because administrative approval was being awaited. Govinda also took credit for 80% of the quadrupling of Borivli-Virar section on Western Railway (India).
As an MP, Govinda has been criticized for being inaccessible to the people of his constituency, especially during the terrible rains (beginning 26 July 2005) that left around 450 dead in Mumbai. After the rains, while speaking to a TV channel, Govinda claimed that he had got Rs 150 million sanctioned for his flood-hit constituency after speaking to Sonia Gandhi. However, his own party colleagues contested the claim. Mohan Adhikari, the president of Palghar Congress Unit went on record saying that "not a single paisa" had been received.
During his tenure as an MP, Govinda embarrassed his party, Congress, by coming out in open to support actor Shakti Kapoor, who had been caught in an sting operation, asking for sexual favours from a television reporter posing as a Bollywood aspirant. He also opposed the ban on dance bars, which embarrassed the Congress-NCP led Democratic Front Government, which had proposed the ban.
During his tenure as the Member of Parliament, he was criticized for never playing any active role. He was mostly absent while the house was in session. He also did not participate in any debates or raise any queries regarding his constituency. On 20 January 2008, he decided to quit politics to concentrate on his acting career in Bollywood.
Govinda's father Arun Ahuja was an actor in the 1940s and his mother Nirmala Ahuja was also an actress as well as a singer. His brother, Kirti Kumar is an actor, producer and director. His sister, Kaamini Khanna is a writer, music director, singer, anchor and founder of 'Beauty with Astrology'. Govinda has six nephews and two nieces in the entertainment industry: actors Vinay Anand, Krushna Abhishek, Aryan, Arjun Singh, Ragini Khanna, Amit Khanna, Aarti Singh and director Janmendra Kumar Ahuja. Govinda's brother-in-law, Devendra Sharma has also acted in a few Hindi films.
Govinda's maternal uncle Anand Singh, who was assistant to director Hrishikesh Mukherjee, launched him in his film, Tan Badan. Anand Singh's wife's younger sister Sunita fell in love with Govinda during the 'Mahurat' of Tan Badan. They got married on 11 March 1987. Their marriage was a closely guarded secret for the initial four years.
The couple now have two children, Narmada and Yashvardhan. Govinda narrowly escaped from death on 5 January 1994, while traveling to a studio for the shooting of Khuddar (1994), the actor's car hit another car, resulting in him sustaining injuries to his head. Though bleeding profusely, Govinda did not cancel the shooting. After visiting a doctor, he shot for the film till midnight.
Govinda's year of birth has been cited as both 1960 and 1963. According to Govinda's parliament member profile on Loksabha.nic.in, the Official Government website of Lok Sabha, his date of birth is listed as 21 December 1963. The profile is compiled from government records. Personal Information of parliament members are obligatorily scrutinized and affirmed at the time of submitting nominations for candidacy.
The year of birth has also been stated as 1958 in numerous web portals. This probably originated from an unverified entry on his IMDb page. Various web portals like Rediff that referred IMDb as a source featured articles on the actor celebrating his 48th birthday on the eve of Bhagam Bhag's release on December 21, 2006
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