Bollywood stars Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, director Mani Ratnam and other actors -- Ravi Kissen, Vikram, Nikhil Dwivedi etc—have decided to keep veteran actor Govinda out of publicity campaign of ‘Raavan' to avoid trouble from Tamils in South India. Govinda had attended the IIFA awards event in Colombo defying appeal from Tamil outfits.
The South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce has issued a warning that it would boycott the films of all actors and technicians who attended the IIFA awards event recently held in Colombo. It was made clear that films of the attendees would not to be allowed to be releasde anywhere in the south.
Raavan director Mani Ratnam, composer A R Rahman, actors Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Vikram stayed away from the award function, not wanting to affect the release of the film.
But Govinda, who plays an important role in this Ratnam film, landed up in Sri Lanka. And now the Tamil protestors are up in arms about letting the film release in their domain.
Salman Khan has played Govinda's saviour many times and has bailed him out whenever needed. So when Salman called him to add to the star presence at the international award show, he flew to Colombo without a moment's hesitation.
According to the report, Not only did Govinda go when he wasn't supposed to, but chose not to remain low-key. He performed to an impromptu dance performance with Salman and Anil Kapoor at the grand finale.
Now it is learnt that the entire cast and crew of Raavan are upset with Govinda for abandoning their cause and flying off to Sri Lanka.
The report says, the team's ire is the reason why Govinda who plays a character inspired by 'Hanuman' was missing from the promotional event of the film, when all other actors were present.
Initially, Raavan was to have an international premiere at the awards event but when the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce threatened actors and filmmakers with a boycott, Mani and his team backed out from the event.
Naturally, everyone is irritated with Govinda as the Tamil film federation now wants to ban Raavan because of Govinda's Colombo trip.
The trip has angered Tamil activists back home. The only way to pacify them is to keep Govinda out of any future publicity connected to Raavan. This is the team's way of expressing their displeasure towards the comic actor for jeopardising the prospects of the film.
The report says Govinda went to Colombo to also snub Mani Ratnam in an indirect way.
Govinda has a cameo in Raavan and he doesn't seem very pleased with the way his role shaped up. The film had become too long and all the characters' dialogues and scenes had to be edited. But Govinda feels that his role has been edited the most and going to Colombo was his way of expressing displeasure ” that he just doesn't care."
However, Govinda says, "Initially, I had refused to go to Colombo for the show but when Salman himself called me and asked me to go I went. Mera farz banta hai. Almost the entire industry was there and it was a professional choice to be there for all of us. I left politics a long time back and no longer am a part of film industry politics. I went as a friend. It was not my intention to hurt anybody's feelings. Nobody from the Raavan team asked me not to go or fired me for going."
When asked why he was missing from the promotional events he said, "I have not been invited for any event. Two days before the music release, an assistant called me up when I was in Kolkata and asked me to come. I was already in Kolkata for a puja at Tarapeeth so how could I have gone? No big person called to invite me. However, Mani sir has called me for the trial tonight and I shall go for that."
A spokesperson for Raavan says, "We had asked Govinda to come to each and every event but he said he was busy. The event held on Sunday was on Beera (Abhishek Bachchan) and his gang, including his brothers (Ravi Kissen and Ajay Gehi). Govinda is not connected with Beera's gang. He and the rest of the characters including Ram (Vikram) and Lakshman (Nikhil Dwivedi) will be promoted at other events."
As Mani Ratnam, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai and Vikram, who form the main players in the film, had not attended the function in Colombo, they were asked to shun Govinda's presence during publicity campaign.
It was decided that Govinda's minimum visibility would dampen the anger of Tamils, and ‘Raavan' could get a smooth release in the Tamil Nadu and other areas.
It was due to this factor that Govinda was not invited for the music release of the film, though it had been organized on a grand scale and even AR Rahman performed live on the occasion.
All other stars of the film were also present but Govinda was conspicuous by his absence.