He can make you laugh.

He can make you dance.

He can make you sing.

He can make you cry.

He is a master entertainer.

Govinda was just another guy from the remote suburb of Virar, Bombay, till he began nursing dreams of making it big in films.

Filmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani was convinced enough to give him a break in Love 86 and Ilzaam. Both films did well.

Before he knew it, Govinda, with his energetic dancing skills and spontaneous performance, was luring the masses and gaining a foothold in the industry.

Eager to cash in on his success, Govinda signed more projects than he could handle. He also earned the tag of being unprofessional and a latecomer. A series of duds followed at the BO.

Along with brother Kirti Kumar, he launched his home production Hatya (Neelam), a remake of the Tamil hit Poovizhi Vaasalilei. Govinda earned critical acclaim, but the film flopped.

So did their next home production Radha Ka Sangam (Juhi Chawla).

Even during his lean phase, Govinda displayed his histrionics in melodramas opposite stalwarts no less than Rajesh Khanna (Swarg), Dilip Kumar (Izzatdaar), Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikant (Hum).

Again, Pahlaj Nihalani came to his rescue when he offered Govinda the superhit Shola Aur Shabnam (Divya Bharti) and Aankhen (Chunky Pandey).

Thus began his successful association with director David Dhawan and a string of rib-ticklers. Filling in the void left by Neelam stepped in the blue-eyed Karisma Kapoor. The trio gave hit after hit with Raja Babu, Coolie No 1, Saajan Chale Sasural, Hero No 1 and Haseena Maan Jayegi.

Govinda also faced flak for his pelvic thrusts, titillating and obscene dance movements in Raja Babu (Sarkailiyo khatiya) and Dulaara (Meri pant bhi sexy). His loud, garish dressing sense made him the butt of ridicule.

But Govinda was all that mattered to his fans.

If Akshay Kumar stuck to the title Khiladi, Govinda was possessive about being No 1. Witness Coolie No 1, Hero No 1, Anari No 1, Auntie No 1, Beti No 1 and Jodi No 1.

Post Raja Hindustani, Karisma catapulted into the big league and decided she would do fewer films with her lucky costar Govinda to avoid overexposure.

Enter Raveena Tandon. The Mast mast actress hit it off with the equally mast Govinda. They struck gold with Bade Miyan Chhote Miyan, Dulhe Raja and Rajaji.

Strangely enough, awards and recognition have always evaded this brilliant actor. He has, to date, only won the Best Comedian and Special Award trophy from Filmfare.

For an actor who doesn't have the perfectionism of Aamir Khan, the physique of Salman Khan or topnotch banners like Shah Rukh Khan, Govinda has carved a niche for himself as a complete actor by his sincerity and simplicity. Perhaps that's what endears him to the common man.

Recently, a BBC opinion poll voted Govinda among the top ten actors of the world.

Perhaps aware of the need to expand his horizons, Govinda formed his own distribution company, Govinda Yashvardhan No 1 Distributors as well as Govinda Entertainment No 1, which proposed to make television commercials.

He released a music album written by his sister Kamini and recently made an appearance in pop star Adnan Sami's music video Lift karade.

He also hosts the weekend show Jeeto Chappad Phaad Ke (Sony TV), which enjoys a fair measure of success.

Darling of the masses and admired by the classes, Govinda's ultimate dream is to win an Oscar.

This is a look at Entertainer No 1

Text: Sukanya Verma