Govinda ruled the box office in the ’90s and early 2000s. He created his own niche in the industry with his effortless excellence in comedy. He is often regarded as the pioneer behind the ‘comic hero’ trend. The star made his debut as a lead actor with the 1986 film Ilzaam alongside Neelam Kothari.
The two then went to star in over 14 films together. The sizzling chemistry on screen was loved by the audience. Rumours were also rife that the two were head over heels for each other. The star too had professed his undying endearment for the actress to be pure love.
While they had a whirlwind romance, Govinda was already committed to his ladylove, Sunita. Their fling soon became history. The Hero No.1 actor tied the knot with Sunita in an intimate temple wedding ceremony. However, for some time his marital status was kept under wraps as he had felt that it might adversely affect his career. He did not even disclose it, Neelam Kothari.
The Coolie No.1 actor once even spoke about why he did not reveal Sunita to Neelam. In an interview with Stardust Magazine, the star had said, “Neither did Neelam know about it. She got to know only after a year. I probably did not tell her because I did not want to break this successful screen pair. And to be honest, to a certain extent, I did exploit my personal relationship with Neelam for professional ends. I played dirty with her. I should have told her that I was married.”
Govinda was so smitten by Neelam that he spoke about her to his now-wife Sunita. He also asked his wife to change herself and become like Neelam. “I would tell Sunita to change herself and become like Neelam. I would tell her to learn from her. I was merciless. Sunita would get irritated. She would tell me, ‘You fell in love with me because of what I am, don’t ever try to change me’. But I was so confused. I didn’t know what to own.”
Neelam Kothari also moved on and got married to the UK-based Indian businessman, Rishi Sethia in 2000. However, they soon parted ways calling it ‘irreconcilable differences’. She then married Samir Soni in 2009. It is said the TV Czarina Ekta Kapoor played cupid between the two.