24th April 2020

Arun Govil on Ramayan: “I’ve Received No Recognition Or Award From Any Government,” 

“I’ve Received No  Recognition Or Award From Any  Government,”Arun Govil Whom The Nation Has Re- Discovered As Lord Rama In Ramanand Sagar’s Ramayan, Speaks To Subhash  K Jha .

Arunji  how do you look at being regaining fame as Rama?

I   never  expected it. Nobody did.Lekin halaat kuch aise  ban gaye…The entire family in every Indian  household  was at home  and  they all watched the Ramayan  together  for the  first time. In fact I saw it  for the first time because  of  the lockdown.

You mean  you had never seen it before?

Not in its entirety. Bits and pieces…yes. But not in this way, sitting at home watching all the episodes  from  first  to last.

And  what  did  you think  of it?

Achi cheez toh achi hi lagegi na. I cannot describe my feelings .Sitting and watching my  serial  that has brought so much happiness to people across world for 30  years….  What more  can an actor want? I am not  a critic. I didn’t watch Ramayan to find faults. I loved every shot  every moment. One  cannot find fault with something that has brought so much  joy to millions  of people.This time  young people saw  the whole  serial and  even youngsters enjoyed it just as much as the  older generations.

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A part of such a  successful run of  the Ramayan this time has to do with  the collective audience  that  it received?

Collective audience  is  fine. But the appreciation  we got  even after 33  years  when it was first telecast…. I think it has more  to do  with  the  relevance  of  Ramayan. Its teachings are  more  relevant  today than   ever before.

 I remember when Ramayan  was first  telecast  people on the roads touched your feet as though you were  the real Rama?

And  I am getting the same  kind of response  this time also. The  appreciation  is  overwhelming, I am getting the same appreciation,as though they had seen  Bhagwan Rama in me  all over again. It is truly gratifying. I am  grateful for the love that  I’ve received from my people.

It is amazing that  humanity has reached the moon and it still believes  in the  gods as strongly as ever.

Yeh  sanskriti  ki  baat hai(this  is about our culture). It has  nothing to do with reaching the moon. That’s to do with  science. Why mix out culture with scientific progress? The  love and respect that we feel for  our parents hasn’t changed just because we’ve touched the moon. Our problem  is  we’ve  begun to mix vigyan and sanskriti.

Would  you  say the image of Lord Rama   came in the way  of your acting career?

It always happens. In Indian there is always typecasting.  If an actor plays a policeman in one film he continues  to play  it  in 50 films.  It’s inevitable. Nowadays  this image-casting is changing  in our cinema .But  I played Lord Rama. I’ve absolutely  no regrets  about losing  out on other roles  because  of my image. 33 years  after  it was  first telecast  people are giving me  their love and  respect.  You are interviewing me about a  role I played so  many years ago. What  else could I ask for? Zindagi mein aadmi kya  khota  hai  and kya pata hai ussey  gaur se dekhni chahiye. If I lost a few roles  look at what  I gained.Mujhe lagta hai maine khoya bahot kam aur paya  bahot  zyada hai.

Going back, after  you  bagged the  role of Rama did  your  lifestyle change drastically?

Not really. Even before  I played Rama  I was  never an extroverted partygoer. I grew up  in an environment  where  the Ramayan  was  read regularly . My Mummy and Daddy read the Ramayan and we  did puja every morning and evening.  So no, I didn’t have to stretch myself to play Rama. The maryada(reverence) came naturally to me.I am not  an  excessively religious  person. But I  do believe  in  God and  in Rama.

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Your co-star Dipika  feels the Ramayan cast  should  be given royalty  for this telecast?

Jee bilkul  milni  chahiye.Why  not?

Would you  like to return to acting?

Phir woh image wali baat aa jayegi. If I get  any roles that inspire me  I’d  love to. Otherwise  I have got enough.

Has the Government  honoured  you for your iconic role as Rama?

I am glad  you asked me this. The  answer is  , an emphatic no. Not a single central  or  state government that has  come into power since  the telecast of Ramayan  in  1987 has  given me a single award or  bestowed me  with any recognition. I was born in  Uttar Pradesh but the  state government in UP   never honoured me. I’ve lived in Maharashtra  for 50  years. No government in  Maharashtra has ever recognized  my role  as Rama.

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