Lord Ram is our pride and culture: ‘Ramayan’ actor Arun Govil

The actor, who became a household name after essaying the role of Lord Ram in Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan”, has been invited for the grand event along with his co-star Dipika Chikhlia, who portrayed Goddess Sita in the 1987 TV serial.

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“Lord Ram is our pride, culture, country’s identity, and self-respect. The courage of Lord Ram, the seriousness, the thought process, the respect given to elders, and all these elements that are in our culture… Everything is Ram,” Govil told PTI in an interview.

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The 66-year-old actor said he was not the first choice to play Lord Ram in the classic show.

“I had told Ramanand Sagar ji in the beginning itself that I only wanted to play the character of Lord Ram… When I was rejected, the role was offered to somebody else. But, I was brought back for the role,” he recalled.

While “Ramayan” brought Govil love and adulation, roles also dried up for him as it was difficult for filmmakers to imagine him in any different avatar.

The actor, however, said no other character would have earned him this level of respect. His latest film “695”, based on the Ram temple movement, released in theatres on Friday.

“There were many pluses and minuses of this (‘Ramayan’) in professional life. At that time, I was doing good work in films, but after this, I was not able to work in films. At that point of time, I felt that it had become a minus for me.

“Even if I had done 500 films, the love and respect, which I get today, would be missing. Today, the respect that I get for immortalising the role of Lord Ram on screen is unparalleled. People still say ‘Humare Ram toh aap hee hain’ (You are our Lord Ram)” Govil added.

Prem Sagar, who provided special effects for his father Ramanand Sagar’s “Ramayan”, termed the consecration ceremony “historic”.

While he has not been invited for the event, Prem Sagar said he will visit the temple later.

“If I don’t go there, will there be any drop of Ram bhakti in me?” he added.

The making of “Ramayan” was accomplished by “divine intervention”, recounted Prem Sagar.

“Had there been no divine intervention, ‘Ramayan’ would not have been made. On January 16, 1987, ‘Ramayan’ was greenlit, and on January 25, 1987, it was scheduled to be aired. Studios had to be arranged, the actors were selected, but nothing was ready. However, ‘Ramayan’ aired every week without any problem,” he said.

Ramanand Sagar was a film director known for movies such as “Ankhen”, “Baghavat” and “Prem Bandhan”.

Prem Sagar said his father decided to foray into the small screen after he was introduced to colour TV while shooting for the 1976 film “Charas”, starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini, in Switzerland.

“One evening, after the shooting got over, we were having tea in the French Alps. That’s when a Frenchman came in with a big box. As soon as he pushed a button, a film started playing. We were left speechless. Subsequently, we came to know that it was a colour TV. Papaji saw that and resolved to make ‘Ramayan’ for the small screen,” he said.

Source website: www.hindustantimes.com

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