he was reigning (stories of him turning up horrendously late on film sets, or not at all, throwing his weight around, were rife) gave me an insight into his huge success. It was after a press conference, and he was walking out of a Delhi five-star hotel, wearing a black tux. Now this was a vision. Govinda as a Technicoloured tangerine would have been perfectly acceptable: this was clearly his version of an LBD, telling us, hey, I can wear a suit too. Someone asked him, Govindaji, yeh suit kahaan se aaya? He wheeled around, beamed, and said, "Designer hai!" There was something likeable about the way he said that. His suit may have been designer, but he was clearly one of us. There was full-throated laughter amongst everyone present, taking the cue from the man whose grin, fronted by the whitest of even teeth, was like a sunburst.
That feeling of brightness and lightness and effortlessness was Govinda's key to spreading his brand of cheer. His short, stocky self, decked in blinding costumes, moving and shaking to a rhythm that was completely his own, was a happiness virus. He was, and still is, one of the best dancers that Bollywood has produced. When he dances, each pore moves, from his toes, to fingertips and eyes. He brought that same sense of rhythm to his speaking parts, so that even when he was doing the same thing over and over again, you couldn't help cracking a smile.
But now Govinda has fallen upon bad days. In one of his last big outings, he was seen chasing skirts, which is just the kind of pathetic parts sliding stars often do in the hope of a resurrection.
Is this the end of the Govinda we know and love? I hope not. I hope he does come back. Because we need the laughter. Because we need to smile.