With their film just around the corner, Govinda and his Rangeela Raja team – producer Pahlaj Nihalani and debutantes Mishika Chourasia and Anupama Agnihotri – speak to BOI on what makes this film unique
BOI : Pahlaj, you have made films where the main lead is playing a double role. How is Rangeela Raja different?
Pahlaj Nihalani (PN): Previously too I had produced a film with Govinda in a double role, Aankhen. Govinda has done many double-role films in the early stages of his career. In Hadh Kar Di Aapne, he played 14 characters, clearly justifying the title (Laughs). In this film, there are two completely different characters – bada bhai and chota bhai. The way Govinda has moulded himself to them, right from make-up and costumes to playing the characters, only he can do it.
During the shoot, he was deeply involved with the characters. It was challenging for him to shift from Raja to Yogi. Besides comedy, the film also has situational dialogue. It has more than 20 scenes where the conflict between the two brothers is shown, where there is also love between the two. Technically, the film has been presented so well that it seems like there are two different actors playing each of these two characters. Only a superstar can act in this film. Either Dilip Kumar could have done it or Govinda. With the film Partner, Govinda established that there is no one as good as he is.
BOI: Govindaji, how did you manage to play both characters convincingly with all the challenges?
Govinda: Playing two completely different characters in this film was quite challenging for me. If I compare this film to all the other films where I have played a double role, this was the toughest. When I read the script, I thought this would be quite easy to perform, but when I started acting I realized how different both the brothers were. One was extremely flamboyant and doesn't care about anything, and the younger one was just as modest and is unable to register the behavior of his elder brother.
Har parivaar mein Rangeela Raja hota hi hai aur zindagi uski hi wajah se rangeen hai (Laughs). Anyway, so here I was playing two opposite characters. Also, the younger brother is a sadhu before he returns to the family life. So I am actually playing three characters and playing a woman too (Laughs)! I am sure this film will achieve a new high in the family genre.
BOI: Anupama and Mishika, why did you chose this film for your debut?
Mishika Chourasia (MC): Well, it is all because of Pahlaj Nihalani.
Govinda: We all are here because of him. Half a dozen stars in this country are here because of Pahlaj.
Anupama Agnihotri (AA): We all are on the same page, actually.
MC: Pahlaj does not believe in paperwork. He stores all sorts of information in his mind and pulls it out when needed. I met him through an uncle. Then, one fine day, he called me up and when he realized I was in Mumbai, he asked me to come to his office for measurements. I was surprised. Five days after the measurements, we went to shoot. That's how he cast me. He has an eagle's eye to judge people. He doesn't need to audition people. He believes that auditions do not show your skills as much as one's performance during a shoot does. That is how I got to work with this veteran (Govinda), whose films I have watched while growing up. Working with Govinda was a big challenge as well as huge opportunity.
AA: I remember the first day when I sent my portfolio to Pahlaj sir. When he told me I was going to work with Govinda sir and Shakti (Kapoor), I blanked out in shock. I was going to work with people whose films I loved when I was young. Shola Aur Shabnam is one of my favourite films. It was a dream come true. When Govinda sir is on camera, he gets deeply involved with his character.
BOI: Govindaji, you and Shakti Kapoor are doing a film together after a long time. What was it like to go down memory lane?
Govinda: During Raja Babu, I thought he had to use his nasal voice. I suggested that to him and said that Shakti, you sound amazing in your nasal voice (Laughs). He said, 'Won't it look like a repetition?' I said it wouldn't. He is too good, very honest and hardworking. I love working with him.
AA: Whenever he uses his nasal voice, the film becomes a definite hit. He did the same in this film too.
BOI: What are your expectations from this film?
Govinda: This particular sentence, 'what can audience expect' and the way people make presumptions about a film, iski jo band bajata hai film industry mein, that man is sitting with us (Everyone laughs). When I first entered the industry, from his film, no one was sure about me and thought I was inadequate to become a hero. When I started working with him, it was his idea to introduce modern elements like break dancing and moonwalking. Again, if we talk about Shola Aur Shabnam, David was not able to make the film. Later, Pahlaj took charge of it, and when it released, it was a huge hit. Aankhen was again a surprise. When people assume things about a film, good or bad, Pahlaj always surprises them. There is a difference between presenting a film and cinema. Many people make films but there aren't many who make cinema. Pahlajji presents cinema.
PN: I would like to say that there is only one Govinda in the whole industry. When Mithun Chakraborty came into the industry, logon ko lagta tha ki ye garibon ka Amitabh Bachchan hain. When Govinda came, people said gareebon ka Mithun Chakraborty hain. People have their own opinions on this. But, today, I am saying that Dilip Kumar ke baad koi actor hai, toh woh hai Govinda. Uske beech mein mujhe koi nazar nahi aa raha. When he was new in the industry, he was like an innocent child. Even, today, his smile is innocent and it shows on screen. Therefore, I would say that there is only one Govinda and no one knows if and when someone as good as he is will replace him. Many have tried to copy him but they failed miserably.
BOI: Govindaji told us in a previous interview that to make a good film, one needs to have a great dynamic on the set. How was the atmosphere on the set of Rangeela Raja?
Govinda: I feel that everyone had decided to give a hit this time. Your thoughts have an effect on your personality as well as on your work. When people come to watch our film, they will see the hard work that has gone into making this film.