This picture of Govinda sharing a light moment with a young Satish Shah and an almost unrecognisable Johnny Lever was taken circa 1985, when he was a promising newcomer (Ilzaam, his first big hit, hadn't released yet).
He was shooting at a suburban bungalow with Rohan Kapoor for the Esmayeel Shroff-directed Love 86. Farha was Rohan's heroine and Neelam was paired with Govinda. I had dropped in to meet playback singer Mahendra Kapoor's son (and the hero of Yash Chopra's Faasle), Rohan Kapoor. During a break when the reflectors were being rearranged, Govinda, nabbed me by my hand and said, "Yahan kya kar raha hai?" I told him, "Rohan and I are going to a Chinese restaurant in the lunch time." He ribbed me, "Kabhi mere liye bhi time nikaal."
Ironically, a year later, Govinda didn't have time for anyone! Ilzaam (1986) was a smash hit and the number of films he signed - including a dozen with Neelam - was longer than a laundry list. He had barely time to breathe.
Soon thereafter, fuelled by a string of hit chuckle fests, he became a funmeister, widely acknowledged for his quicksilver comic responses. Interestingly, Govinda was just as good with his witticisms off screen too! One day in the early '90s, a strange idea flashed through my brain while I was daydreaming in the bathroom (the best place for ideas). I visualised Govinda and 1960s glam gal Saira Banu going through a pile of random star photographs and making hilarious comments on each photograph.
I actually executed this daydream, albeit with a much-needed change - I replaced Saira Banu with contemporaneous star Pooja Bhatt and retained Govinda. The two motormouths, Pooja and Govinda, had a blast picking up random pictures from a pile and making humorous yet at the same time incisively analytical comments about several stars. Later, we did a combined photo shoot with my regular photographer, Rakesh Shrestha. Govinda characteristically kept Pooja waiting for two hours.
Though he became a major star, Govinda never lost that certain endearing innocence and forthrightness. When I penned a piece on Govinda and titled it 'The Karma Chameleon,' Govinda met me after the magazine hit the stands and quipped, "Mast piece tha. Lekin, excuse me, headline ka matlab kya hai?"
-- Sourced from Dinesh Raheja, Editor, Bollywood News Service