Johnny (1980 film)

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Johnny dvd.jpg
LP Vinyl Records Cover
Directed by J. Mahendran
Produced by V. Gopinathan
Written by J. Mahendran
Starring Rajinikanth
Deepa Unnimary
Prabhakar Reddy
Music by Ilaiyaraaja
Cinematography Ashok Kumar
Edited by A. Paul Duraisingh
Distributed by K. R. G Productions
Release dates
  • 15 March 1980 (1980-03-15)
Country India
Language Tamil

Johnny (1980) is a Tamil film directed by Mahendran.[1] It had Rajinikanth and Sridevi in the main roles with Rajinikanth in a dual role.


Archana (Sridevi) plays the role of popular singer, and Johnny (Rajinikanth) is her ardent fan. Johnny is a con-man who does petty-thefts (only on the greedy ones) to close the loan taken by his father. Johnny never misses the concerts of Archana and this is noticed by Archana too. A tender love develops between the two, but Johnny is guarded in accepting the love of Archana due to his not-so-clean background. But one day Johnny accepts the love of Archana when she proposes to him. Meanwhile, the other character of Rajini, a barber lives a lonely life with his assortment of pet animals. He falls for Deepa another loner and they both plan to marry. The barber Rajini notices his lover's infidelity and kills her in rage. Knowing about his look alike Johnny and knowing that he is wanted by the police, he tries to pass on the murder charge to him. Both of them are chased by police, Johnny hides in a forest, barber Rajini tries to pass of as Johnny by taking refuge in Archanas house. Archana gets hurt by the curt behavior of barber Rajini (in the guise of Johnny) and she is confused on the same. Finally, the barber Rajini realises his folly and unites the lovers by getting caught in the police, taking responsibility of Johnny's crimes included.



Mahendran had a strong desire to make a film with Rajini at that time, hence he made this film simultaneously with Nenjathai Killathey. As the producer could not provide the equipment and facilities for the climax scene with a song, Mahendran was forced to use stock shots and manage to shoot with the limited facilities offered. However, by beautifully mixing the close up shots with stock shot, the scene came out well and was appreciated by everyone.[2] This was the first time for which popular artistes Jayaraj designed the costumes. He first drew the illustrations of scenes with costumes and then got them stitched, bringing in newness and style in Rajinikanth's look which attracted the masses.[2] The scene where Archana proposes Johnny was shot in Ooty in a bungalow atmidnight. When the scene was shot, the whole unit was silent, they saw only the characters of the film, not Rajini and Sridevi. After the scene was shot, Rajini appreciated Sridevi acting and mentioned to Mahendran that though he tried, she overshadowed in the scene.[2]


The title Johnny gave the impression of an action based commercial entertainer. Hence, it disappointed the audience in the first week. However, the emotionally moving story, intense acting by Rajini and Sridevi and memorable songs attracted the audience, so the film picked up in the second week and became a success.[2] Cinemalead wrote: "Johnny is a landmark film which illustrated the life of two lookalike characters and how their activities affect each other. [..] Portrayal of a double role in a movie never been handled so aritstically till then as done in this commercially successful film, which is remembered even today for its beautiful making. This was one of the finest films in Tamil cinema for its making and songs. Rajini and Sridevi excelled in their acting and this film became memorable in their careers. Both got under the skin of their characters and made the film a landmark.[2] Hindu wrote: " In a film where Rajinikanth played two contrasting roles, Sridevi effortlessly stole the show with her extraordinary performance as a singer hopelessly in love with a conman".[3]


The music was composed by Ilayaraja.[4] The song "Aasaiya Kaathula was reused two times in Telugu as "Aasalu Poose Aamani" in Chakravyuham (1993) and as "Raathri" in Gundello Godari (2013).[5][6] It was also reused as "Sannata" in Hindi film Shamitabh (2015).[7] The song was lifted by Anand-Milind as "Dil Mere Udaas" for Angrakshak (1995).[8] The song "Kaatril Endhan Geetham" was reused as "Naina Bole" in Aur Ek Prem Kahani (1996).[9]

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length (m:ss)
1 Asaiya Kathula S. P. Sailaja Gangai Amaran 4:39
2 En Vaanilae Jency Kannadasan 4:47
3 Kaatril Endhan S. Janaki Gangai Amaran 4:27
4 Oru Iniya Manadhu Sujatha 4:19
5 Senorita S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 4:21

Popular culture[edit]

Devayaraj, real life hair stylist is a fan of Rajini and he listed this film among his favourite films.[10] In 7G Rainbow Colony (2004), Kathir (Ravikrishna) and his friends are seen dancing for "Aasaiya Kaathula".[11] In Boss Engira Bhaskaran (2010), when Shakila enters tutorial centre, the song will be running in background.[12]


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