Johnny (1980 film)
|Directed by||J. Mahendran|
|Produced by||V. Gopinathan|
|Written by||J. Mahendran|
|Edited by||A. Paul Duraisingham|
K. R. G Productions
Johnny is a 1980 Indian Tamil-language crime thriller film, written and directed by J. Mahendran. The film stars Rajinikanth, Sridevi and Deepa. Featuring Rajinikanth in a dual role, it revolves around a con artist who is implicated for a crime committed by a lookalike barber. Johnny was released on 15 August 1980, and became a commercial success.
Archana is a popular singer, and Johnny is her ardent fan. Johnny is a con artist who does petty thefts on greedy people to close the loan taken by his father. He never misses Archana's concerts, and she notices this. A tender love develops between the two, but Johnny is guarded in accepting Archana's love due to his not-so-clean background. But one day Johnny accepts Archana's love when she proposes to him. Meanwhile, Vidyasagar, a parsimonious barber and lookalike of Johnny, lives a lonely life with his assortment of pet animals. He falls for Bhama, another loner, and they both plan to marry. Vidyasagar notices his lover's infidelity and kills her in rage.
Knowing about his lookalike Johnny and knowing that he is wanted by the police, he tries to pass on the murder charge to him and gives up on women as well looking at them in low light. Both of them are chased by police, Johnny hides in a forest, and Vidyasagar tries to pass off as Johnny by taking refuge in Archana's house. Archana gets hurt by the curt behaviour of Vidyasagar (who is in the guise of Johnny) and is confused on the change in Johnny's behaviour. Finally, Vidyasagar realises his folly, understands that not all women are the same, as well as their love, and unites the lovers by getting caught by the police, taking responsibility for Johnny's crimes.
- Rajinikanth as Johnny and Vidyasagar
- Sridevi as Archana
- Deepa as Bhama
- Balaji as a police officer
- Suruli Rajan as Johnny's friend
- Samikannu as Naidu
- Prabhakar Reddy as Johnny's father
- Gopalakrishnan as a police officer
- Subhashini as a tribal woman
- Kanchana as Johnny's mother
Mahendran had a strong desire to make a film with Rajinikanth at that time, hence he made this film simultaneously with Nenjathai Killathe. 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, but managed to mix the close-up shots with stock shot, and the scene came properly. This was the first time for which popular artist 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.
The scene where Archana proposes to Johnny was shot in Ooty in a bungalow at midnight. When the scene was shot, the whole unit was silent, they saw only the characters of the film, not Rajinikanth and Sridevi. After the scene was shot, Rajinikanth appreciated Sridevi's acting and mentioned to Mahendran that though he tried, she overshadowed him in the scene. Because Rajinikanth played two roles, he was billed twice in the opening credits, as "Rajinikanth and Rajinikanth". To play Vidyasagar, Rajinikanth sported a centre-parted hairstyle and wore box-framed glasses.
Kavitha Muralidharan of The Hindu wrote that most of Mahendran's films, including Johnny, "offer a prismatic view of relationships". She contrasted Johnny with Mahendran's earlier film Uthiripookkal (1979), saying that while that film's protagonist was "rigid in his relationship with people", the title character of Johnny is "as vulnerable as a woman could be". Mani Prabhu of Cinema Express described Johnny as an antithesis to the "lead man of those times - the macho guy, surrounded by drooling girls, bashing up villains and spouting pretentious advice" by being "vulnerable, loving and grounded".
The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja. The song "Aasaiya Kathula" is set in the Carnatic raga known as Sindhu Bhairavi, and "Kaatril Endhan Geetham" is set in Keeravani. It was reused twice in Telugu as "Naa Sari Sogasari" in Chakravyuham (1993) and as "Raathri" in Gundello Godari (2013). It was also reused as "Sannata" in the Hindi film Shamitabh (2015). The song was lifted by Anand–Milind as "Dil Mere Udaas" for Angrakshak (1995). "Kaatril Endhan Geetham" was reused as "Naina Bole" in Aur Ek Prem Kahani (1996), and the instrumental theme was sampled by Yuvan Shankar Raja for the theme of 7G Rainbow Colony (2004).
|2||"Aasaiya Kathula"||S. P. Sailaja||Gangai Amaran||4:39|
|3||"Kaatril Endhan Geetham"||S. Janaki||4:27|
|4||"Oru Iniya Manadhu"||Sujatha Mohan||4:19|
|5||"Senorita"||S. P. Balasubrahmanyam||4:21|
Release and reception
Johnny was released on 15 August 1980. Piousji of the magazine Sunday wrote, "Sridevi not only looked smart, but came out with a convincing performance and [Rajinikanth] too was quite impressive" in Johnny. Ananda Vikatan gave the film a C+ rating. The title Johnny gave the impression of an action entertainer, hence it disappointed audiences in the first two weeks. However, the emotionally moving story, intense acting by Rajinikanth and Sridevi and memorable songs attracted the audience, so the film picked up in the third week and became a success, running for over 100 days in theatres.
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