Johnny Lever is an Indian film actor and one of the most noted comedians in Hindi cinema
Johnny Lever is an Indian film actor and one of the most noted comedians in Hindi cinema. Lever is one of the first stand up comedians in India. Johnny Lever, born in Andhra Pradesh and was brought up in Mumbai's King's Circle area (Dharavi). His mother tongue is Telugu. Johnny studied in Andhra Telugu School till the seventh grade but couldn't study further because of financial problems in his family, after which he decided to leave school and started working different kinds of odd jobs, such as selling pens on the streets of Bombay by imitating Bollywood stars and dancing to the songs of Bollywood stars. He also spent his early ages in Yakutpura a old city of Hyderabad from where he learnt the unique style of comedy acting. He developed a passion for mimicry and stand-up comedy, inspired by watching comedians like Johnny Walker, Kishore Kumar and Mehmood in films and mimicry artists like Dinesh Hingoo and Nerella Venumadhav on stage, and thus decided to be a mimicry artist. To seek guidance and help regarding mimicry, he met his mentor Pratap Jani and mimicry artist Ram Kumar, who helped him and taught him the basics of mimicry. Lever was also employed in Hindustan Lever's factory in Mumbai with his father. While working, he entertained his co-workers in the factory by imitating Elvis Presley. At one of the functions at his factory he was asked to perform and show his talent. His popularity among coworkers and officers of the factory by his performance earned him the nickname "Johnny Lever". He started to perform in musical shows (orchestras) and after earning fame, joined the group of Kalyanji-Anandji, a legendary music direction duo. He did a lot of shows and world tours with them, one of his first big tours being with Amitabh Bachchan in 1982. Since he became an instant hit at orchestras and was unable to find time, another comedian who substituted him by the name of Johnny Fever evolved. However, Fever's fame was short-lived as Raju Srivastav came to Mumbai during the same time and started filling gaps of Johnny Lever at orchestras. During this period he learned a lot from his mentor Kalyanji, who was described by Lever as a great philosopher and a very humorous person. At one of his shows, actor Sunil Dutt noticed his talent and potential and offered him his first movie Dard Ka Rishta. In the 1980s, he released his mimicry/comedy album, Hansee Ke Hungame, which became a hit in India and the world over, increasing his fame to another level. During this time period, he also did few commercials for Kachua chhap incense, directed by Shekhar Kapoor. In 1986, he performed in a charity show called "Hope 86", in front of the whole Hindi film industry as a filler and was loved by audience. His talent was recognized, which resulted in producer Gul Anand offering him a film called Jalwa with Naseeruddin Shah. He is considered an influential Indian comedian who has been cited as inspiration by many other comics. He has received 13 Filmfare Awards nominations in Best Comedian Category, and has won the award twice. Johnny Rao dropped out of school when he was in Std. VII. He is married to Sujatha and their two children are Jamie and Jesse. His younger brother Jimmy is also a stand-up comedian and mimicry artist. He used to work for Hindustan Lever Limited. That's where the Lever in his name comes from.One of India's top comic actors, he started doing stand-up comedy when he was 10. He started off as a comedian in real life while still at school. His beginnings as a comedian in his village were mainly comprised of imitations of his teachers, his father and his grandfather. He got his first break in Indian cinema in the film Dard Ka Rishta.Johnny Lever has worked in more than 160 films.He also started his own show called Johnny Aala Re on Zee TV. Johnny Lever first film is Yeh Rishta Na Tootay released in 1981. Some of the famous films in which Johnny Lever acted are Jalwa (1987), Tezaab (1988), Suryaa (1989), Ilaka (1989), Jaadugar (1989), Khiladi (1992), Chamatkar (1992), Anari (199), Baazigar (1993), Anjaam (1994), Saajan Ka Ghar (1994), Main Khiladi Tu Anari (1994), Karan Arjun (1995), Jaan (1996), Indian (1996), Raja Hindustani (1996), Judaai (1997), Koyla (1997), Deewana Mastana (1997), Aunty No.1 (1998), Dulhe Raja (1998), Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998), Baadshah (1999), Jaanwar (1999), Kaho Na Pyaar Hai (2000), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa (2002), Phir Hera Pheri (2006), Golmaal 3 (2010), Yamla Pagla Deewana (2011), Housefull 2 (2012).
He received many film awards, some of them are Filmfare best Comedian Award for the films Deewana Mastana - 1998, Dulhe Raja - 1999, Star Screen Award Best Comedian for the film Raja Hindustani - 1997, Zee Cine Awards for Best actor in a comic role for the movie Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega - 2002.
Johny Lever is a very successful comedian and he was never discouraged. He got his first break in Indian cinema was in the film Dard Ka Rishta, thanks to the late Sunil Dutt, who saw him perform at a charity show organised by Kalyanji-Anandji. Since then, Johny has worked in more than 300 films. Even though he mimics many people, he has created a style of his own which makes him unique. As a person, he is very close to his family that comprises his wife Sujatha and two children Jamie and Jesse. His younger brother Jimmy Moses, is too, a stand up comedian and mimcry artist. He also starred on Zee TV on his own show called Johny Aala Re.
Johny Lever was initially employed in Hindustan Lever's factory in Mumbai with his father. While working, he entertained his co-workers in the factory by imitating one of the popular actor Elvis Presley. At one of the functions at his factory he was asked to perform and show his talent. His popularity among coworkers and officers of the factory by his performance earned him the nickname "Johnny Lever" He started to perform in musical shows . During this period he learned a lot from his mentor Kalyanji, who was described by Lever as a great philosopher and a very humorous person. At one of his shows, actor Sunil Dutt noticed his talent and potential and offered him his first movie Dard Ka Rishta.
In the 1980s, he released his mimicry/comedy album, Hansee Ke Hungame, which became a hit in India and the world over, increasing his fame to another level. During this time period, he also did few commercials for Kachua chhap incense, directed by Shekhar Kapoor. In 1986, he performed in a charity show called "Hope 86", in front of the whole Hindi film industry as a filler and was loved by audience. His talent was recognized, which resulted in producer Gul Anand offering him a film called Jalwa with Naseeruddin Shah. He is considered an influential Indian comedian who has been cited as inspiration by many other comics.
Now he is one of the most popular comedians in India. He did his schooling from the Andhra Telegu School and he pursued his education till the seventh grade. He left school after that due to financial problems in the family. He then started doing odd jobs like selling pens on the busy streets of Mumbai by mimicking several Bollywood stars and also dancing to several Bollywood songs. Jimmy Moses, his brother is also a renowned comedian who has worked on the sets of ‘Comedy Circus’ as well as ‘The Great Indian Laughter Challenge’. During his early days in the city of Yakutpura in Hyderabad, he started learning comedy acting. He was greatly inspired by comedians like Mehmood, Kishor Kumar and Johnny Walker and he developed a passion for stand up comedy and mimicry. He was also greatly influenced by mimicry artists such as Nerella Venumadhav and Dinesh Hingoo. He then sought the guidance of Pratap Jani, his mentor and Ram Kumar, the mimicry artist to learn the art of mimicry.
Johnny Lever had been an employee in a factory in Mumbai belonging to Hindustan Lever. During his working hours, he often entertained his colleagues by imitating the American singer and actor, Elvis Presley. He once even performed on stage at some function in his factory. Johnny’s popularity amongst his colleagues and officers got him the nickname of ‘Johnny Lever’.
He started performing in musical orchestras like Tabassum Hit Parade and soon after getting fame, he enrolled himself in the group of the legendary music direction duo, Kalyanji and Anandji. With them, Johnny Lever did numerous stage shows and world tours through which he got a lot of appreciation and exposure. The tour with Amitabh Bachchan in the year 1982, was his biggest tour initially.
The actor, Sunil Dutt once witnessed Johnny’s performance in one of his shows and he was quite impressed by Johnny’s talent and potential. He thus offered him a role in the film ‘Dard Ka Rishta’ which was Johnny’s very first film in his career.
During the 1980s, Johnny Lever released his comedy/mimicry album called ‘Hansee Ke Hungame’ which was a hit both at the domestic market as well at the overseas market. The success of this album increased his popularity to a higher level. He had even appeared on television commercials like the one directed by Shekhar Kapoor for ‘Kachua chhap’ incense.
In the year 1986, Johnny Level performed in a charity programme called ‘Hope 86’. He performed in front of the whole Hindi filming community as fillerand his performance at the show was greatly appreciated by the audience. Seeing his talent the renowned producer Gul Anand offered Johnny a role in his film ‘Jalwa’ with the famous Naseeruddin Shah.
Johnny Lever got his very first break in ‘Tum Par Hum Qurban’ followed by ‘Dard Ka Rishta’. He has acted in above 350 movies which included movies like ‘Kishen Kanhaiya’, ‘Khatarnak’, ‘Kasam’ and ‘Tezaab’. His first major breakthrough came with the Abbas Mustan film ‘Baazigar’.His role of that of ‘Babulal’ in this film was greatly appreciated by many. Following ‘Baazigar’, Johnny appeared in almost every other movie in a supporting role. Apart from movies, he even tried his hand in numerous live shows. One of his most famous live performances was at the 1999 Filmfare awards where he impersonated the sensational pop singer and dancer, Michael Jackson.
His very first Tamil movie was a film produced by SIMPL (short form for Shepherd India Media Private Limited), by the name of ‘Anbirkku Alavillai’. He also did a cameo in the Mahesh Bhatt directed Telegu flick titled ‘Criminal’ (1995).
Some of his filmography includes ‘Tum Par Hum Qurban’, ‘Love 86’, ‘Main Balwan’, ‘Jalwa’, ‘Ghar Mein Ram Gali Mein Shyam’, ‘Hatya’, ‘Kasam’, ‘Aakhri Adalat’, ‘Hero Hiralal’ ‘Tezaab’, ‘Suryaa’, ‘Mujrim’, ‘Jaadugar’, ‘Kala Bazaar’, ‘Chaalbaaz’, ‘Savior’, ‘Khiladi 786’, ‘Housefull 2’, ‘Sandwich’, ‘Players’, ‘Tell Me O Khuda’, ‘Golmaal 3’, ‘Khatta Meetha’ and numerous other films.
Publish Date June 8 2016