He has enhanced the impact in a lot of films with his intense performances, mostly negative ones. But Govind Namdev has now started to surprise audiences. He played the role of freedom fighter Lokmanya Tilak in the recently released Chaphekar Brothers. And in the upcoming film Solar Eclipse: Depth Of Darkness, he essays 2 roles, one of that of Morarji Desai. In this exclusive chat, Govind Namdev speaks about these 2 films, looks back some of his recent memorable films and also sets the record straight on the Shah Rukh Khan starrer Raees.
Tell us about your experience of playing 2 real life characters – Bal Gangadhar Tilak (above) in the recently released Chaphekar Brothers and Morarji Desai in Solar Eclipse: Depth Of Darkness?
In Solar Eclipse: Depth Of Darkness, actually I am playing 2 characters – one of Morarji Desai and one of Dr Parchure, who was one of the accused of the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. When you are playing real life characters, you need to do an in-depth research besides the basic research that we anyways do for all types of roles. People know Tilak and Morarji Desai very well. So we have to be absolutely sure that we don’t portray them in an objectionable manner. Hence I had to study a lot. Thankfully, there was a lot of information available about Lokmanya Tilak. I tried to understand how he used to walk, get up, talk etc. Also, the expressions are very important and to get it right was quite a challenge. It’s time consuming but it gives me lot happiness. Moreover, playing such powerful characters is also a learning experience. It adds to your personality. Your thought process changes. We mostly think of ourselves but when we read about these famous personalities, you realize that one should also contribute to society. Chaphekar Brothers and many people of those times used to happily accept death sentence. Khushi khushi sooli pe chadh jaate the. Their love and passion for their motherland used to make me cry. That was the time when even talking against the British Empire used to have disastrous consequences. Yet, these people were never afraid for their lives, served the country and when the time, they embraced death as well.
Solar Eclipse: Depth Of Darkness deals with the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. At a time when some people hail his killer Nathuram Godse as a hero, do you think the film might face problems?
Solar Eclipse: Depth Of Darkness is not a story about Godse or even Gandhiji for that matter. The film is about a situation and it’s the situation that’s the hero here. What was the politics at that time, what were the decisions, how did people react to those decisions etc is what’s the crux of the film. Neither Gandhi nor Godse are shown as heroes in the film. Hence, we are sure that the film will not cause any problems.
Chaphekar Brothers faced some issues at the Censors. Do you think Solar Eclipse: Depth Of Darkness might also get butchered similarly?
Again, I don’t really think the film will face any problems with the Censor Board.
When do we see it releasing in India?
The film will release in the West on January 19, 2017 and only then it will see a release in India.
You have done plenty of memorable roles, but most of them were that of the villain. However, you played the role of a conscientious man in Madhur Bhandarkar’s Heroine? How do you look back at that particular role?
Madhur Bhandarkar is a friend. He saw me in that role and asked me if I’d like to play it. Then we had the usual discussions – how to correctly portray the character, how to bring out his moralistic point of view to the fore – and once that was done, I signed on the dotted line. Contrary to beliefs, I don’t think I got stuck in negative roles. I have played a variety of roles. And that’s also one of the reasons why I signed Heroine as it was something different from what I have played in the past. It was a nice experience.
Another memorable role of yours in the recent past has been in OMG: Oh My God. Your portrayal of Siddeshwar Maharaj was unanimously loved. There were talks of a sequel to OMG: Oh My God. Any update on that?
They just have an idea of the film. It’s been scripted. But chances of it being made are 100%!
You said in an interview that your family members were quite upset since you used to do a lot of villainous roles. Now that they see you doing biopics, has their stand changed?
Yes, it has and they look at it positively. They have also understood that what I am doing is a part of my job. After all, I am just acting. It’s not like I am like the characters I portray on screen. My family members used to argue that I am being looked as a villain – that’s the image that’s being generated. I countered, saying that at the same time, I am also looked as someone who’s doing a good job as an actor!
In the beginning of the interview, you said that essaying characters like Tilak brought a positive change in you. Were you similarly impacted while essaying negative characters?
Impact hota tha par ulta hota tha! Yeh bahut important sawaal tumne pucha hai. By doing the villainous roles, I realized that I was changing. I used to leave all the negativity behind on the film set. And I used to feel very pure when I used to reach home. I used to love my wife more, I used to shower more love on my children! At the same time, I used to wonder what makes a person turn evil? Why did people murder, rape, harm others? You must have also noticed that those who play villains regularly, they were all good-natured in real life. Take Pran for instance. You’ll never hear anything negative about him or his way of working. Same goes for Amrish Puri, Mohan Joshi and Prem Chopra. Ussi kataar mein main bhi khada ho gaya hoon!
There are reports that you are playing Mahira Khan’s father in Raees…
I am not a part of Raees. Maybe, they thought of me for that role. But I am not doing that film. I understand that a lot of articles on Raees mention my name, including on Wikipedia and IMDb. Since, I am not net savvy and not on Twitter, I haven’t been able to clarify about it.
Which other films are you doing?
I am shooting for a film by Lekh Tandon. Manish Tiwari recently started a film and I am a part of it. I have also the upcoming film of Ajay Chandhok.
Your earlier film with Ajay Chandhok, Khallballi: Fun Unlimited didn’t get a release in theatres…
Yes, it didn’t release. It’s a very important and significant flick. Similarly, there’s another film of mine that didn’t release, Dussehra, starring Neil Nitin Mukesh in leading role. It has shaped up very well.
Does it hurt when a film of yours doesn’t get a release as it fails to find a distributor or due to any such reason?
Yes, especially when I have done a good job in a film or when the film is making an important comment. There are some films made just for ‘shauk’ and when such films get stuck, I don’t really feel that bad though!