Udayavni Special

People don’t call me by my name, they call me Ram: ‘Ramayan’ star Arun Govil


PTI, Mar 29, 2020, 2:59 PM IST

Mumbai: When one tries to imagine Lord Ram, they invoke Arun Govil’s smiling face from Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan” and the actor says he is amazed that even after 33 years his image as the noble prince is so fresh in the minds of the viewers.

The epic show, which also featured Deepika Chikhalia as Goddess Sita, started its yet another telecast on Doordarshan on Saturday. Its rerun comes at a time when the whole country is under the 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Based on Valmiki’s Ramayan and Tulsidas’ Ramcharitmanas, the series had originally aired during the 1987-88 period.

Such was its success that both Govil and Chikhalia, along with Sunil Lahri, who essayed Lakshman, were catapulted to idolatry status.

Govil started his career in Bollywood in 1977 with Tarachand Barjatya’s Paheli, which he followed up with hits like Sawan Ko Aane Do and Saanch Ko Aanch Nahin.

“Ramayan” came to him after he worked with Sagar on another popular series Vikram and Betaal.

“I remember I had given an audition for Ram and I failed initially. I don’t know what happened. The photoshoot happened with the look and make-up but I wasn’t looking like Lord Ram,” he said.

“Then we thought of adding a smile and then everything got sorted,” Govil added.

The show’s massive success brought fame for the lead star but it also had a downside.

“After Ramayan’, my film career was almost over. I was doing films before. But the image was so strong that the films didn’t happen. I tried working in serials and tried to come out of the image but it didn’t work,” Govil said.

“I realized later that maybe God wanted me to be Ram’, how many have been given this rare chance? People don’t call me Arun Govil, they call me Ram’ and it is a big thing,” he added.

Govil believes the reason for the strong and lasting impression of Ramayan is the utmost honesty with which the serial was made.

“When some things become popular then people think of doing the same thing. But with the kind of honesty Ramayan’ and Mahabharata’ were made, the other mythological weren’t. It is about being true and honest to your content and having belief and conviction in playing a god,” he said.

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