Johnny (1980 film)

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Johnny (1980).jpg
DVD cover
Directed byJ. Mahendran
Produced byV. Gopinathan
Written byJ. Mahendran
Music byIlaiyaraaja
CinematographyAshok Kumar[1]
Edited byA. Paul Duraisingham[2]
K. R. G Productions
Release date
  • 15 August 1980 (1980-08-15)
Running time
139 minutes[2]

Johnny is a 1980 Indian Tamil-language crime thriller film,[3] 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.



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.[2]

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.[2] Because Rajinikanth played two roles, he was billed twice in the opening credits, as "Rajinikanth and Rajinikanth".[4] To play Vidyasagar, Rajinikanth sported a centre-parted hairstyle and wore box-framed glasses.[5]


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".[6] 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".[7]


The soundtrack was composed by Ilaiyaraaja.[8] The song "Aasaiya Kathula" is set in the Carnatic raga known as Sindhu Bhairavi,[9] and "Kaatril Endhan Geetham" is set in Keeravani.[10] It was reused twice in Telugu as "Naa Sari Sogasari" in Chakravyuham (1993) and as "Raathri" in Gundello Godari (2013).[11][12] It was also reused as "Sannata" in the Hindi film Shamitabh (2015).[13] The song was lifted by Anand–Milind as "Dil Mere Udaas" for Angrakshak (1995).[14] "Kaatril Endhan Geetham" was reused as "Naina Bole" in Aur Ek Prem Kahani (1996),[15] and the instrumental theme was sampled by Yuvan Shankar Raja for the theme of 7G Rainbow Colony (2004).[16]

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length
1 "En Vaanilae" Jency Kannadasan 4:47
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
6 "Chase Music" Ilaiyaraaja

Release and reception[edit]

Johnny was released on 15 August 1980.[17][18] 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.[3] Ananda Vikatan gave the film a C+ rating.[19] 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,[20] running for over 100 days in theatres.[21]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g ராம்ஜி, வி. (26 July 2018). "ஜானி – அப்பவே அப்படி கதை!". Kamadenu. Archived from the original on 25 March 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Dhananjayan 2011, p. 40.
  3. ^ a b Piousji (7 September 1980). "Khaas Baat". Sunday. p. 57.
  4. ^ Shivakumar, Vivek (11 December 2018). "A Superstar Career Through Titles". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  5. ^ Shivakumar, Vivek (12 December 2019). "The many looks of Rajinikanth that impressed". Film Companion. Archived from the original on 7 February 2020. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  6. ^ Muralidharan, Kavitha (10 August 2013). "Second coming?". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 14 August 2013. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  7. ^ Prabhu, Mani (25 July 2019). "Director Mahendran 80th birth anniversary: The filmmaker who unearthed the actor in Rajinikanth". Cinema Express. Archived from the original on 21 March 2020. Retrieved 21 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Johnny (1980)". Archived from the original on 30 October 2013. Retrieved 1 October 2013.
  9. ^ Sundararaman 2007, p. 125.
  10. ^ Sundararaman 2007, p. 138.
  11. ^ "Ilayaraja's recycled hits". The Tamil Film Music Portal. 4 June 2001. Archived from the original on 21 February 2012. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Illayaraja remixes 'Aasaya Kaathula' in Maranthen Mannithen". IndiaGlitz. 30 October 2012. Archived from the original on 18 August 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  13. ^ Ghosh, Sankhayan (30 January 2015). "Shamitabh music review: Ilaiyaraaja's music makes it special". The Indian Express. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  14. ^ Karthik (16 January 2015). "Shamitabh (Music review), Hindi – Ilayaraja". Milliblog. Archived from the original on 2 October 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  15. ^ Murali, Aarthi (14 May 2019). "The God Who Created New Tunes: Celebrating 43 Years of Ilaiyaraaja". Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  16. ^ Srinivasan, Karthik. "Yuvan Shankar Raja [Tamil]". Itwofs. Archived from the original on 18 October 2019. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
  17. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 344.
  18. ^ "சூப்பர் ஸ்டார் ரஜினிகாந்த் வாழ்க்கை வரலாறு 27" [Superstar Rajinikanth's life history] (PDF). Uthayan (in Tamil). Canada. 30 January 2015. p. 48. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 June 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  19. ^ "ஜானி #VikatanReview". Ananda Vikatan. 14 September 1980. Retrieved 7 March 2020 – via Appappo.
  20. ^ Mahendran 2013, p. 233.
  21. ^ Dhananjayan 2011, p. 42.


  • Dhananjayan, G. (2011). The Best of Tamil Cinema, 1931 to 2010: 1977–2010. Galatta Media. ISBN 978-81-921043-0-0.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Mahendran, J. (2013) [2004]. Cinemavum Naanum [Cinema and Me] (in Tamil). Karpagam Publications.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Sundararaman (2007) [2005]. Raga Chintamani: A Guide to Carnatic Ragas Through Tamil Film Music (2nd ed.). Chennai: Pichhamal Chintamani. OCLC 295034757.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)

External links[edit]