Govinda (born Govinda Arun Ahuja, 21 December 1963) is an Indian actor and a former politician. Govinda has received five Filmfare Award nominations and four Zee Cine Award, winning two Filmfare Awards including a Special Jury Award.
Making his debut in Ilzaam in 1986, he has appeared in over 120 Hindi films of the Bollywood industry. 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.
His earlier films in the 1980s were in a variety of genres such as family drama, action and romantic. In the 1990s he gained recognition as a comedy actor playing a mischievous young NCC cadet in the romantic movie Shola Aur Shabnam (1992) opposite the late Divya Bharti. Govinda played leading roles in several commercially successful comedy films in the 1990s such as Aankhen(1993), Raja Babu(1994), Coolie No. 1 (1995), Hero No. 1 (1997) and Haseena Maan Jaayegi (1999). For Coolie No. 1(1995), he earned a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Actor. For Haseena Maan Jayegi he earned the Filmfare Best Comedian Award. He has successfully played dual roles in movies like Jaan Se Pyaara (1992), Aankhen (1993), Hathkadi (1995) and Bade Miyan Chote Miyan (1998).
After a period of box office flops in the 2000s, his recent commercial successes have been Bhagam Bhag (2006), Partner (2007), Life Partner (2009) and Raavan (2010) and thus far he has established himself as one of the leading actors of Hindi cinema.
In 2013, he released his music album Gori Tere Naina. He appeared on the popular Colors T.V. show Comedy Nights with Kapil for his album's promotion on 15 December 2013.
In addition to film acting, he is 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. Govindaconstituency was succeeded by Sanjay Nirupam (also from Congress).
Early lifeGovinda’s father, Arun Ahuja, was born in pre-partition Gujranwala, Punjab, British India (in present-day Pakistan) on 26 January 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, later moved to Virar — a northern 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 careerGovinda studied at Annasaheb Vartak College in Vasai, Maharashtra.Govinda graduated in commerce.His father suggested films as he himself was associated with films. Around this time, Govinda saw the film Disco Dancer and dance became his obsession. Govinda 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.Govinda 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 song "street dancer" having a break dance established him as a dancing star.Govinda 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.Govinda 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 directorial, 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. Govinda also worked with Rajnikant and Sridevi in the hit film that year titled, Ghair Khanooni.
Personal lifeGovinda's father Arun Ahuja was an actor in the 1940s and his mother Nirmala Ahuja was also an actress as well as a singer.Govinda brother, Kirti Kumar is an actor, producer and director. Govinda 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's wife's 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 four years. The couple have two children, Narmada and Yashvardhan.
Govinda narrowly escaped death on 5 January 1994 while traveling to a studio for the shooting of Khuddar (1994). The actor's car collided with 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 has worked with Music Director Anand Milind, Anand Raj Anand and Playback Singer Udit Narayan in many films. Other singers associated with Govinda include Kumar Sanu, Vinod Rathod and Abhijeet Bhattacharya. Govinda received classical music training as a child. Shehzad Shaikh
- 1997 - Filmfare Special Award for Saajan Chale Sasural
- 2000 - Filmfare Best Comedian Award, Haseena Maan Jaayegi
- 1995 - Star Screen Award Special Jury Award for Coolie No. 1
- 1998 - Lux Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Dulhe Raja
- 1998 - Special Videocon Screen award from Jury for overall performance
- 1999 - Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Bade Miyan Chote Miyan
- 2000 - Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role for Haseena Maan Jaayegi
- 2002 - IIFA Best Comedian Award for Jodi No.1
- 2007 - "Excellent Comic Actor" Award at the Star Gold Comedy Honors
- 2007 - Most Stylish Comeback Award at the MTV Lycra Style Awards
- 2008 - Apsara Film & Television Producers Guild Awards, "NDTV Imagine Best Jodi of the Year 2007" along with Salman Khan.
- 2008 - Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Male for Partner
- 2008 - IIFA Best Comedian Award for Partner