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 date
15 August 1980
Running time
140 minutes
Country India
Language Tamil

Johnny is a 1980 Indian Tamil-language musical drama film, written and directed by J. Mahendran.[1] The film stars Rajinikanth and Sridevi in the lead roles with the former in dual role. The soundtrack and background score, composed by Ilaiyaraaja were highly regarded as one of the greatest compositions of all-time. The film was a critical and commercial success on release and is cited as one of the best Tamil films.


Archana (Sridevi) is a popular singer, and Johnny (Rajinikanth) is her ardent fan. Johnny is a con-man who does petty-thefts (only on the greedy OLones) to close the loan taken by his father. Johnny 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 the love of Archana when she proposes to him. Meanwhile, Vidyasagar (Rajinikanth), a barber and look-alike of Johnny, lives a lonely life with his assortment of pet animals. He falls for Bhama (Deepa) another loner and they both plan to marry. Vidyasagar 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 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 she is confused on the change in Johnny's behaviour. Finally, Vidyasagar realizes his folly, understands not all women are same as well as their love and unites the lovers by getting caught in the police, taking responsibility for 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 Rajinikanth 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 composed for this film by Ilaiyaraaja is considered to be the milestone in Indian cinema history.[4] The songs of this film were widely appreciated and well received by the audience. Noted filmmaker Mani Ratnam rated this album as one his favourite soundtrack albums composed by the Maestro. SP Sailaja was 16 years old when she sang "Aasaiya Kaathula". The song "Aasaiya Kaathula" was reused two times in Telugu as "Naa Sari Sogasari" 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 En Vaanilae Jency Kannadasan 4:47
2 Asaiya Kathula S. P. Sailaja Gangai Amaran 4:39
3 Kaatril Endhan S. Janaki 4:27
4 Oru Iniya Manadhu Sujatha 4:19
5 Senorita S. P. Balasubrahmanyam 4:21


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