Johnny Lever

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Johnny Lever
JohnnyLever.jpg
Johnny Lever in 2011
Birth name John Prakash Rao Janumala
Born (1957-08-14) 14 August 1957 (age 57)
Kanigiri, Prakasam district, Andhra Pradesh[1]
Spouse Sujata Janumala
Children Jamie Janumala
Jesse Janumala
Relative(s) Jimmy Moses (brother)
Signature Johny Lever signature.jpg

John Prakasa Rao Janumala (Hindi: जॉन प्रकाश राओ जनुमाला; 14 August 1957, in Kanigiri, Prakasam district),[2] better known as Johnny Lever, is an Indian film actor and one of the most noted comedians in Hindi cinema.[3] Lever has received thirteen Filmfare Awards nominations in Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role, and has won the award twice, for his works in Deewana Mastana (1997), and Dulhe Raja (1998). He began his career in 1984, and has acted in more than three hundred Bollywood films.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

Johny Lever performing during his younger days

Lever was born in a Telugu Christian family,[6] to Prakash Rao Janumala, a operator in Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) plant[7] and Karunamma Janumala in Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, India. He was brought up in Mumbai's King's Circle area (Dharavi). His mother tongue is Telugu.[8] He is the eldest in the family consisting of 3 sisters and 2 brothers (including him and his younger brother Jimmy Moses).

Education and early jobs[edit]

Johnny studied in Andhra education society english high school[9] 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 Mumbai by imitating Bollywood stars and dancing to the songs of Bollywood stars. He also spent his early ages in Yakutpura an old city of Hyderabad from where he learnt the unique style of comedy acting.[10] He worked six years as a labourer in HLL.

Coining of his stage name - Johnny Lever[edit]

During a Hindustan Lever Ltd company function, he mimicked a few senior officers, and from that day on, the workers said he was not John Rao (his real name), he was Johnny Lever. When he later joined the industry, he decided to keep the name.[11]

Entertainment career[edit]

He started to perform in musical shows (orchestras) Tabassum Hit Parade and after earning fame, joined the group of Kalyanji-Anandji, a legendary music direction duo. Even before joining Hindustan Lever, he was giving stage performances. As because of his growing absenteeisms and since he was earning well from stage shows, he quit HLL in the year 1981. He did a lot of shows and world tours with them, one of his first big tours being with Amitabh Bachchan in 1982. 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.[citation needed] 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 recognised, which resulted in producer Gul Anand offering him a film called Jalwa with Naseeruddin Shah.[12][13]

Film career[edit]

1980s[edit]

Lever got his first break in Tum Par Hum Qurban in which the famous TV and Stage compère and yesteryears actress Baby Tabassum launched her son Hoshang Govil as the leading man, and then with the film Dard Ka Rishta, thanks to Tabassum ji and the late Sunil Dutt. Since then, he has acted in more than 350 films including films like Tezaab, Kasam, Khatarnak and Kishen Kanhaiya . After Dard Ka Rishta, he was seen in Jalwa with Naseerudin Shah.

1990s[edit]

His first major success came with Baazigar, and after that he was seen in almost every movie as a supporting actor/comedian. Despite being busy with his many movie roles, he continued to do live shows. One of his most memorable live performances was an impersonation of Michael Jackson at the 1999 Filmfare Awards. His most acclaimed performance was the character of "Babulal" in the film, Baazigar, directed by Abbas-Mustan. He is also remembered for some of his other famous characters, like "Chotta Chattri", "Aslam Bhai", etc. His performance in the film, Judaai and his famous dialogues in the movie, Abba Dabba Jabba are also unforgettable.[14]

2010s[edit]

He also acted in a Tulu movie Rang. He also speaks Tulu fluently influenced by his neighbours in Mumbai.[15] His first Tamil feature film was Anbirkku Alavillai[16] produced by SIMPL (Shepherd India Media Pvt. Ltd.), released in 2011. He also had a special appearance in one Telugu feature film, Criminal directed by Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt.[17]

Television career[edit]

Lever also appeared on Zee TV, in his own show, Johny Aala Re.[18] In 2007, he appeared as a judge on the stand-up reality show Comedy Circus.

He is also the president of CINTAA (Cine And T.V. Artist Association) which has its own television show called Superstars ka Jalwa on Star Plus. He is also the president of MAAM (Mimicry Artist Association Mumbai), and has done thousands of live shows all over the world. His younger brother, Jimmy Moses, is also a comedian and mimicry artist.[19]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Sujatha and has two children, a daughter Jamie who is a stand-up comedian too and a son Jesse.[20] His brother Jimmy Moses is also a famous stand-up comic who has worked on The Great Indian Laughter Challenge and Comedy Circus.

Johnny Lever is practicing Christian. When asked about his transition, Lever replied:

It was God’s will. I had always been a religious person, but one incident changed my life. My son was diagnosed with cancer. I was helpless and turned to God for help. I stopped working in films and spent all my time praying for him. Ten days later, when he was taken for a test, the doctors were surprised because the cancer had vanished. It was the beginning of a new life for me.[21]

Controversies[edit]

In 1998, Lever was convicted and sentenced to seven days imprisonment for disrespecting the Indian National Anthem, constitution and the flag at a private function hosted by Anees Ibrahim Kaskar, brother of global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim.[22] However, he was relieved of all charges subsequently.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1981 Yeh Rishta Na Tootay
1982 Ek daav Bhutacha Fake Mantrik Marathi Film
1985 Tum Par Hum Quarban
1986 Love 86 Uttam 14 February 1986
Main Balwaan 28 November 1986
1987 Jalwa Muthu (The Masseur)
1988 Ghar Mein Ram Gali Mein Shyam Srivastav's Servant 15 January 1988
Kasam 15 April 1988
Hatya Black Smith 3 June 1988
Aakhri Adalat Havaldar 10 June 1988
Hero Hiralal 21 October 1988
Tezaab Kainchi choot 10 November 1988
1989 Suryaa 10 February 1989
Ilaaka (12 May 1989)
Mujrim Shankar's PA 28 June 1989
Jaadugar Nilkant 25 August 1989
Kala Bazar Kutti Chai Walla 6 October 1989
Chaalbaaz Special appearance as Johny Baba Tantrik 8 December 1989
Main Azaad Hoon Protester (Uncredited) 15 December 1989
1990 Kafan
Khatarnak (Marathi) POlice inspector Marathi Film
Bandh Darwaza cameo role in Party
Kishen Kanhaiya Lobo 9 March 1990
Bandh Darwaza 1 June 1990
1991 Raeeszada
Ajooba Kudrat Ka
Vishnu Deva Havaldar No. 1 15 February 1991
Narsimha Tempo Dada 5 July 1991
1992 Jungle Ka Beta
Geet Milan Ke Gaate Rehenge
Khiladi Anna Pillai (5 January 1992)
Humla Shiva's Friend 29 May 1992
Chamatkar Cricket Commentator 8 July 1992
1993 Insaniyat Ke Devta Muthuswamy
Teri Payal Meree Geet
Yugandhar
Aansoo Bane Angaarey
Anari Bablu 26 March 1993
Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja Sub Inspector Rang Birangi 16 April 1993
Anmol Himself (Special appearance) (27 August 1993)
Santan Kalia (12 November 1993)
Baazigar Babulal (12 November 1993)
Aulad Ke Dushman Johny (3 December 1993)
Bhagyawan (10 December 1993)
1994 Masti
Mahakaal
Zamane Se Kya Darna (14 January 1994)
Kanoon (1 April 1994)
Anjaam Champa Chameli (22 April 1994)
Saajan Ka Ghar (29 April 1994)
Ekka Raja Rani Guruji (Dancemaster) (24 June 1994)
Juaari Salim Tension (8 July 1994)
Prem Yog (23 August 1994)
Main Khiladi Tu Anadi Dhansukh (23 September 1994)
Criminal (14 October 1994)
Yaar Ghaddar Police Inspector (4 November 1994)
Mr Azad (23 December 1994)
1995 Inteqam Ke Sholey
Dilbar
Karan Arjun Linghaiyya (13 January 1995)
Criminal (4 August 1995)
Rock Dancer Police Inspector (3 November 1995)
Ram Shastra Reporter Raja (9 November 1995)
Haqeeqat Tony (29 December 1995)
1996 Jaan Damru (17 May 1996)
Himmatwar (14 June 1996)
Hahakar Chamcha (5 July 1996)
Daraar Hari (5 July 1996)
Indian PaneerSelvam (aka Subhar Lal in Hindi version (July 1996) (Dubbed as Hindustani in Hindi)
Bhishma Natwar (26 July 1996)
Sapoot (8 November 1996)
Raja Hindustani Balvant Singh (15 November 1996)
Dushman Duniya Ka (22 November 1996)
1997 Jodidar
Daayen
Ghunghat Pandit Vishwanat
Judaai Hiralal (1 February 1997)
Auzaar Peter (28 February 1997)
Kaalia (28 March 1997)
Himalyaputra Joe (4 April 1997)
Agni Morcha (4 April 1997)
Koyla Shanker's Friend (18 April 1997)
Do Aankhen Barah Haath Rickshaw Walla (11 July 1997)
Yes Boss Madhav Advani, aka MAD (18 July 1997)
Judge Mujrim (12 September 1997)
Krishna Arjun (1 October 1997)
Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi Bandaged patient on street (10 October 1997)
Deewana Mastana Ghafoor (23 October 1997)
Ishq Ranjit's brother-in-law (28 November 1997)
1998 Barsaat Ki Raat
Yeh Aashiqui Meri (16 January 1998)
Miss 420 Tony Fernandes (23 January 1998)
Ustadon Ke Ustad (20 March 1998)
Aakrosh: Cyclone Of Anger Gopi (3 April 1998)
Keemat: They Are Back Sub-Inspector Ultappan/Kirappan (10 April 1998)
Aunty No. 1 (1 May 1998)
Jiyaala (1 May 1998)
Mard (15 May 1998)
Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai Mahesh (22 May 1998)
Achanak Johny (12 June 1998)
Dulhe Raja Bankhey (Hotel Manager) (10 July 1998)
Kareeb Bighe Laal (17 July 1998)
Iski Topi Uske Sar Gabbar Singh/Mogamba/John Lobo (17 July 1998)
Barood Presenter (7 August 1998)
Tirchhi Topiwale Kadak K. Pillay (11 September 1998)
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai Col. Almeida, Camp Manager (16 October 1998)
Soldier Mohan/Sohan (20 November 1998)
Wajood Inspector Rahim Khan (11 December 1998)
1999 Heeralal Pannalal Heeralal (Double role)
Ganga Ki Kasam
Dulhan Banoo Mein Teri
Benaam Munna Mobile
Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain Sunny Goyal (22 January 1999)
Daag-The Fire Sundar (12 February 1999)
Laawaris Gaflet (5 March 1999)
International Khiladi Focus 26 March 1999
Anari No. 1 Daler Mehndi (9 April 1999)
Silsila Hai Pyar Ka Johny (16 April 1999)
Sirf Tum Niranjan (11 June 1999)
Baadshah Ramlal (27 August 1999)
Hello Brother Havaldar Hatella (10 September 1999)
Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain Sattu (24 September 1999)
Khoobsurat Special appearance (song) (26 November 1999)
Jaanwar Bajrangi (23 December 1999)
2000 Krodh Prem
Jwalamukhi
Annarth Ben Bose
Hadh Kar Di Aapne Father/Son Lawyer Team
Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa Maggi
Meri Jung Ka Elaan
Beti No.1 Mulayamchand 'Mullu'
Kaali Topi Laal Rumaal
Kunwara Gopal
Mela Inspector Pakkad Singh (7 January 2000)
Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai Inspector Parab (14 January 2000)
Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge Tour Manager Chirkund (15 January 2000)
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani Pappu Junior (21 January 2000)
Badal Gulel Singh Rangoli (11 February 2000)
Dil Hi Dil Mein (21 April 2000)
Hum To Mohabbat Karega Kutti (26 May 2000)
Joru Ka Ghulam Kanhaiya (16 June 2000)
Deewane Okay (11 August 2000)
Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai Chatterjee (24 August 2000)
Fiza Laughing Club Comic (8 September 2000)
Shikari Jafrani Sindhi Businessman (6 October 2000)
Aaghaaz Rajni Deva (6 October 2000)
Raju Chacha Jaddu (20 December 2000)
2001 Farz (12 January 2001)
Aashiq (26 January 2001)
Chori Chori Chupke Chupke Pappu Bhai (9 March 2001)
Censor Vikramjeet's First Assistant (6 April 2001)
Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega Aslam Bhai (29 June 2001)
Lajja (31 August 2001)
Nayak TV Cameraman Topi (7 September 2001)
Ajnabee Banu Pradhan (B.P.) (22 September 2001)
Dial 100 (5 October 2001)
Asoka Magadha Soldier (26 October 2001)
Arjun Devaa (23 November 2001)
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham Haldiram (14 December 2001)
Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa Appu Khote (21 December 2001)
2002 Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare Subramaniam
Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa (18 January 2002)
Yeh Mohabbat Hai Jaggi (8 February 2002)
Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge Pakhandee Baba (22 February 2002)
Angaar - The Fire (5 April 2002)
Badmash No.1 (26 April 2002)
Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai Paresh Chaval (Painter) (26 April 2002)
Awara Paagal Deewana Chhota Chhatri (21 June 2002)
Humraaz Mr. Darshan (5 July 2002)
Jaani Dushman Parwana 16 August 2002)
Yeh Kaisi Mohabbat Paajal (13 September 2002)
Annarth Ben Bose, Music Director (1 November 2002)
Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar Natwar 15 November 2002
Karz - The Burden of Truth Juggi (6 December 2002)
Chalo Ishq Ladaaye (27 December 2002)
2003 Kucch To Hai Popatlal (24 January 2003)
Khushi (7 February 2003)
Kaash Aap Hamare Hote Native Indian Black Face (14 February 2003)
Indian Babu (7 March 2003)
Kaise Kahoon Ke Pyaar Hai (9 May 2003)
Andaaz G. I. Joe (23 May 2003)
Chalte Chalte Nandu (The Roadside Drunk) (13 June 2003)
Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon Johnny (27 June 2003)
Aisaa Kyon (8 August 2003)
Koi Mil Gaya Chelaram Sukhwani (8 August 2003)
Market (12 September 2003)
Janasheen Johnny Chen (28 November 2003)
2004 God Only Knows! Road Babe (16 January 2004)
Hatya: The Murder (15 October 2004)
Aabra Ka Daabra Maneklal (24 December 2004)
2005 Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin Chitra Gupta
Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav Yadav (28 January 2005)
Navra Maza Navsacha Marathi Film Marathi Movie (2005)
Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen Pashabhai (29 April 2005)
Deewane Huye Paagal Murgan (25 November 2005)
2006 Aisa Kyon Hota Hai? (17 February 2006)
Banana Brothers (17 March 2006)
Saawan... The Love Season Akhil Rao (6 April 2006)
36 China Town KK (5 May 2006)
Phir Hera Pheri Munna (9 June 2006)
Chashmebahadur
Sandwich
2007 Fool n Final Puttu Pilot
2008 Thela No. 501
Race
Khallbali: Fun Unlimited
Nidar - The Fearless
Aap Jaisa Koi Nahin
Mr Tikdambaaz
Paying Guests Ballu Ji
2009 Dhoondte Reh Jaaoge Parvej Asharraf ' Champa'/Daku Rabbar Singh
All the Best: Fun Begins Tobu
Aao Wish Karein Hitchchock
De Dana Dan Kala Krishna Murari
2010 Dulha Mil Gaya Krish (8 January 2010)
Bhavnaon Ko Samjho Vivaah Marriage Bureau (15 January 2010)
Prem Kaa Game Ramnik Chedda (26 February 2010)
Khatta Meetha Anshuman (23 July 2010)
Golmaal 3 Pappi Bhai (5 November 2010)
2011 Love Mein Ghum (Pakistani movie) (31 August 2011)
Yamla Pagla Deewana Jeweller 14 January 2011
Anbirkku Alavillai Johnny Bhai (scheduled for release in 2011)
Masti Express (18 February 2011)
Bin Bulaye Baraati Sajjan Singh (June 2011
Tell Me O Khuda Pandurang P. (27 October 2011)
2012 Players MC (6 January 2012)
Chaar Din Ki Chandni Paan Singh (9 March 2012)
Housefull 2 Vishwas Patil (5 April 2012)
Deewana Main Deewana (28 September 2012)
Khiladi 786 Inspector Bhalerao Kambli (7 December 2012)
Savior (December 2012)
2013 Yamla Pagla Deewana 2 Bunty
Boss Zorawar Singh
Singh Saab the Great Gulwinder
2014 Santa Banta TBA
Entertainment Habibulla (August 8, 2014)
My Father Godfather Releasing on YouTube
Rang Guest Role Upcoming Tulu film

Playback singer[edit]

Year Title Song Notes
1989 Chaalbaaz "Bhoot Raja" 8 December 1989
1995 Ravan Raaj "Tu Cheez Badi Hai Sakht Sakht" 23 June 1995
1998 Achanak 12 June 1998
2001 Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa "Aamdani Atthanni" 21 December 2001

Awards[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1997 Raja Hindustani Star Screen Award for Best Comedian Won
1998 Deewana Mastana Filmfare Best Comedian Award Won
1999 Dulhe Raja Won
2002 Love Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role Won

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Comedy is serious business: Johnny Lever". www.thehindu.com. Retrieved 23 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "14th August 1957: Popular Bollywood Actor and Comedian Johnny Lever is Born". Retrieved 2014-01-05. 
  3. ^ Shyam Benegal; William Van Der Heide (12 June 2006). Bollywood Babylon: Interviews With Shyam Benegal. Berg. pp. 196–. ISBN 978-1-84520-405-1. Retrieved 31 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Comedy is serious business: Johnny Lever - The Hindu
  5. ^ Johnny Lever feels his talent is under-utilised - Hindustan Times
  6. ^ VHP threatens agitation against actors Nagma, Johnny Lever
  7. ^ "Johny Lever: In the film industry, there is dosti but no dost". www.indiatimes.com. Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  8. ^ "Find Bollywood Actor Johnny Lever Filmography, Movies, Pictures and Videos". Jointscene.com. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  9. ^ ""Try Jesus" - Johnny Lever (Film Actor)". http://www.hisprayerhouse.org. His Prayer House. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Interview: “I have learnt a lot from the UK” – Johnny Lever | Bollywood News UK
  11. ^ "This johnny's levered to fame". www.financialexpress.com. Indian Express Newspaper (Bombay) Ltd. Retrieved 25 October 2014. 
  12. ^ Johnny Lever on Phalke Awards
  13. ^ Johny Lever: The missing comic in Hindi films | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis
  14. ^ "Johnny Lever Filmography". Dishant.com. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  15. ^ "Mangalore: Popular comedian Johnny Lever shoots for Tulu movie". http://www.daijiworld.com. Daijiworld Media Pvt Ltd Mangalore. Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ BNB NEWS -MAHESH BHATT & JOHNY LEVER JOINT SOUND SEMINAR. - Mahesh Bhatt Videos : Firstpost Topic - Page 4
  18. ^ "Johny Aala Re, Bollywood comedian Johnny Lever, Zee TV show on Sify Max". Sify.com. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  19. ^ "Johnny Lever,Bollywood Johnny Lever,Johnny Lever Movies". Surfindia.com. 7 January 1950. Retrieved 2011-06-15. 
  20. ^ "Johnny Lever's kid is college fest fave". Hindustantimes.com. 14 August 2010. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 
  21. ^ John, Ali (April 17, 2012). "Johnny Lever turns preacher". Hindustan Times. Retrieved June 24, 2014. 
  22. ^ "Tribune article". Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 2011-06-14. 

External links[edit]