Apart from showcasing his phenomenal talent to the world, June’s viral Internet star and college professor Sanjeev Srivastava raised an important question: which song best showcases actor Govinda’s dancing talent?
Reports suggest that there is no clear winner. Srivastava has reminded everyone of the track Aap Ki Aa Jaane Se from Khudgarz (1987), in which Govinda takes charge of the snow-capped Alps through his talent. In the previous year, Govinda had danced his way onto the screen with Esmayeel Shroff’s Love 86 and Ilzaam.
There is a remarkable variety too from the No.1 film series, whether it is the vigorous Husn Hai Suhana (Coolie No.1, 1995) or the breezy Ande Ka Fanda (Jodi No.1, 2001). Hero No. 1 (1997) on its own has two strong candidates – Main Toh Raste Se Jaa Raha Tha and Saaton Janam – that establish Govinda’s ability to own any environment he is in, especially the street. After all, “I am a Street Dancer,” Govinda had declared in his debut year in Ilzaam (1986).
Where would this leave other hugely popular, trademark Govinda songs such as Kisi Disco Mein Jaaye (Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan, 1998) and Neeche Phoolon Ki Dukaan (Joru Ka Ghulam, 2000)? Not to forget the impossibly addictive Soni Di Nakhre from Partner (2007)?
The best option is to embrace the sheer diversity of numbers that Govinda has blessed us with. Take Pak Chik Pak from Raja Babu (1994), in which Govinda pays tribute to dance god Michael Jackson while also making the song his own.
Raja Babu was a remake of Tamil filmmaker K Bhagyaraj’s Raasukutti and the fifth collaboration between Govinda and David Dhawan. Govinda plays the spoilt son of a rich landlord (Kader Khan) who, egged on by his overly doting mother (Aruna Irani), is in no hurry to make anything of himself. Raja’s main hobby is to assume a different avatar every day – a doctor, policeman, a lawyer – and get himself photographed in a studio. When in a naval officer’s costume, he chances upon the portrait of Madhu (Karishma Kapoor). He tells his sidekick Nandu (Shakti Kapoor) that he will marry Madhu. The realisation, understandably, prompts a song, but when did Raja shed the naval threads and acquire a Michael Jackson’s costume?
It all becomes clear once Pak Chik Pak begins. Like Raja, if Govinda had to adorn an avatar, wouldn’t Jackson make a good choice?
Govinda and his ensemble of dancers break into a blend of seamlessly interwoven dancing styles against the Bangalore Palace and Karnataka State Central Library. The pelvic thrust-dominated and overtly sexual choreography (which includes outrageous frames of Govinda in between a woman’s legs) is a distraction from the resemblance between the Anand-Milind composition and AR Rahman’s Chikku Bukku Raile from Gentleman (1993). The dance style too is borrowed, but Govinda offer his own take on the subject. His body responds to every beat, whatever be the pace; his attitude is emphatic; the swag unmistakable.