Did YouTube Really Need a Govinda Channel?


Did YouTube Really Need a Govinda Channel?

Illustration: Aishwarya Nayak

Govinda is good at a lot of things: Pelvic thrusts, physical comedy, and apologising to people he has slapped. But moving on isn’t one of them. By now, the actor, whose charms are as outdated in the film industry as Imtiaz Ali’s definition of millennials, has tried staging unsuccessful comebacks in the public consciousness more times than he’s starred in films with the words No 1 in their titles. There has been a lacklustre stint in politics, a plunge into reality show judging, a stab at relevance as a Bollywood hero despite touching 50 (enabled by his own home production, because of course), and acting roles in some mostly forgettable films.

Living proof of the actor’s irrelevance in Bollywood today is the existence of Varun Dhawan — the younger, remixed version of Govinda. Dhawan has modelled his acting persona on the slapstick comedy mainstreamed by the ageing actor to such an extent that he’s now also starring in remakes of Govinda films. It’s debatable whether the world needed the original, but now we have a knock-off that nobody asked for. Not one to be deterred, Govinda has instead devised a new comeback strategy on a wholly different medium. After traversing the lows of the big screen and the small screen, the actor launched a Youtube channel last week, humbly titled “Govinda No 1” to mark his internet debut and presumably give cringe pop artists from Taher Shah to Dhinchak Pooja a fierce case of the jitters.

The actor’s YouTube channel boasts a measly 6.24k subscribers and has two songs that have been written and sung by him. In doing so, Govinda joins Salman Khan in identifying himself as an actor with life-threatening vocal chords. The actor uploaded his first song, titled “Chal Na Romance Kare” on Valentine’s Day, in which he seems to be convincing a potential love interest to leave everything to take up romancing him as a full-time job. If these are the options available to the youth, no wonder that unemployment is off the charts in this country. Auto-tuned to the point where music meets torture, the song is an exercise in self-regurgitation, given that it is nothing but a budget version of the 1998 banger “Chalo Ishq Ladaaye” from the actor’s own misadventure with Amitabh Bachchan, Bade Miya Chhote Miya.

Clearly, finding a romantic partner is a vacancy Govinda is finding hard to fill.

His second offering is a song called “Dream Come True” which is the opposite of what anyone would describe as a dream. Here, Govinda is doing more of the same: Convincing a potential love interest to take up romancing as her full-time job because she is the girl of his dreams. Clearly, finding a romantic partner is a vacancy Govinda is finding hard to fill. Even in this song, the actor shows consistency by displaying little to no concern for anyone’s eardrums. In case you were wondering, none of these songs come with accompanying videos. While promoting his channel on Instagram, the actor claimed that these two songs are his gift to “all lovers,” which could very well explain why more and more people are choosing to suddenly be single.

It’s not clear why Govinda has decided to become a cringe-pop Hallmark greeting card in 2020, but it does beg a lot of questions: Who are the 21k people who are listening to these songs and why haven’t they discovered Baba Sehgal yet? But more importantly, when will Govinda realise that giving up is an option? If there’s one way to spoil our rose-tinted childhood memories of the actor making goofy look cool in Bollywood, it is by being in denial about his own expiry date.