John Prakash Rao Janumala, populerly known as Johnny Lever is an Indian film actor and one of the most noted comedians in Hindi cinema. Lever is one of the first stand-up comedians in India. 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 work in Deewana Mastana (1997) and Dulhe Raja (1998). He began his career in 1984, and has acted in more than three hundred Bollywood films.
Johnny Lever in 2013
|Birth name||John Prakash Rao Janumala|
|Born||Kanigiri, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, India|
|Parent(s)||Prakash Rao Janumala (father) |
Karunamma Janumala (mother)
Lever was born in a Telugu Christian family, to Prakash Rao Janumala, an operator in Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) plant and Karunamma Janumala in Kanigiri Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, India. He was brought up in Mumbai's King's Circle area (Dharavi). His mother tongue is Telugu. He is also fluent in Hindi, Marathi, English and Tulu. He is the eldest in the family consisting of three sisters and two brothers (including his younger brother Jimmy Moses).
Lever studied in Andhra education society English high school till the seventh grade but couldn't study further because of financial problems in his family. He decided to leave school and started working 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 years in Yakutpura, an old city of Hyderabad, where he learnt the unique style of comedy acting.
During a Hindustan Lever Limited company function, he mimicked a few senior officers, and from that day on, the workers said he was not John Rao but was Johnny Lever. When he later joined the film industry, he decided to keep the name.
He started to perform stand-up comedy in musical shows (orchestras), Tabassum Hit Parade and after earning fame, joined the group of Kalyanji-Anandji, a music direction duo. Even before joining Hindustan Lever, he was giving stage performances. Because of his growing absenteeism 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.
He recorded a comedy cassette called Hasi Ke Hangame which gave him recognition at homes via the audio mode. During this period, he also did a few commercials for Kachua chhap incense, directed by Shekhar Kapur. In 1986, he performed in a charity show called "Hope 86", in front of members of the Hindi film industry as a filler. His talent was recognized, which resulted in producer Gul Anand offering him the film Jalwa, alongside Naseeruddin Shah.
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 and the late Sunil Dutt. Since then, he has acted in more than 350 films including films such as Tezaab, Kasam, Khatarnak and Kishen Kanhaiya . After Dard Ka Rishta, he was seen in Jalwa, Hero Hiralal with Naseeruddin Shah.
His first major success came with Baazigar, and after that he was seen in movies as a supporting actor/comedian. Despite being busy with his 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.
He also acted in a Tulu movie, Rang. He also speaks Tulu fluently, influenced by his neighbours in Mumbai. His first Tamil feature film was Anbirkku Alavillai 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.
Lever's first appeared in an episode of sitcom Zabaan Sambhalke as Johnny Utolandand in 1993. Lever also appeared on Zee TV in his own show, Johny Aala Re. In 2007, he appeared as a judge on the stand-up reality show Comedy Circus. In 2017 Lever joined the cast of Partners as Commissioner Googol Chatterjee.
He is the president of MAAM (Mimicry Artist Association Mumbai), and has done thousands of live shows all over the world.
Lever is a 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 throat tumor. 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.
|1982||Dard Ka Rishta||Joseph|
|1987||Jalwa||Muthu (The Masseur)|
|1988||Ghar Main Ram Gali Main Shyam||Srivastav's Servant|
|Hero Hiralal||Police constable|
|Kala Bazar||Kutti Chai Walla|
|ChaalBaaz||Johny Baba Tantrik||Special appearance|
|Main Azaad Hoon||Protester||Uncredited|
|Khatarnak||Police inspector||Marathi Film|
|Bandh Darwaza||Special appearance|
|1991||Ajooba Kudrat Ka|
|Vishnu-Devaa||Havaldar No. 1|
|1992||Jungle Ka Beta|
|Geet Milan Ke Gaate Rehenge|
|1993||Insaniyat Ke Devta||Muthuswamy|
|Teri Payal Meree Geet|
|Aasoo Bane Angaarey|
|Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja||Sub Inspector Rang Birangi|
|Baazigar||Babulal||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Aulad Ke Dushman||Johny|
|Zamane Se Kya Darna|
|Saajan Ka Ghar|
|Ekka Raja Rani||Guruji (Dance master)|
|Main Khiladi Tu Anari||Dhansukh|
|Yaar Gaddar||Police Inspector|
|1995||Inteqam Ke Sholey|
|Karan Arjun||Linghaiyya||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Rock Dancer||Police Inspector|
|Ram Shastra||Reporter Raja|
|Raja Hindustani||Balvant Singh||Won- Screen Award for Best Comedian
Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award
|Dushman Duniya Ka||Headmaster|
|1997||Jodidar||Agarbatti / Pens / Bangles / Sarees salesman|
|Judaai||Hiralal||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Do Ankhen Barah Hath||Rickshaw Walla|
|Yes Boss||Madhav Advani, aka MAD|
|Judge Mujrim||Havaldar Amar Lokhande, Akbar Charsi, Anthony Bhai & Mother|
|Mr. and Mrs. Khiladi||Bandaged patient on street|
|Deewana Mastana||Ghafoor||Won- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|1998||Barsaat Ki Raat|
|Yeh Aashiqui Meri|
|Miss 420||Tony Fernandes|
|Ustadon Ke Ustad|
|Aakrosh: Cyclone of Anger||Gopi|
|Keemat: They Are Back||Sub-Inspector Ultappan/Kirappan|
|Aunty No. 1|
|Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai||Mahesh|
|Dulhe Raja||Bankhey (Hotel Manager)||Won- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Iski Topi Uske Sar||Gabbar Singh/Mogamba/John Lobo|
|Tirchhi Topiwale||Kadak K. Pillay|
|Kuch Kuch Hota Hai||Col. Almeida, Camp Manager||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Wajood||Inspector Rahim Khan|
|1999||Heeralal Pannalal||Heeralal (Double role)|
|Ganga Ki Kasam|
|Dulhan Banoo Main Teri||Jack|
|Hum Aapke Dil Mein Rehte Hain||Sunny Goyal|
|Anari No. 1||Daler Mehndi||Nominated - Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Silsila Hai Pyar Ka||Johny|
|Hello Brother||Havaldar Hatella|
|Hum Tum Pe Marte Hain||Sattu|
|Khoobsurat||Natwar||Special appearance in a song|
|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||Nanhey|
|Kunwara||Gopal||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Mela||Inspector Pakkad Singh|
|Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai||Inspector Parab||Special appearance|
|Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge||Tour Manager Chirkund|
|Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani||Pappu Junior||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Badal||Gulel Singh Rangoli|
|Dil Hi Dil Mein||College Professor Jack||Hindi dubbed version|
|Hum To Mohabbat Karega||Kutti|
|Joru Ka Ghulam||Kanhaiya|
|Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai||Chatterjee|
|Fiza||Laughing Club Comic|
|Shikari||Jafrani Sindhi Businessman|
|2001||Farz||Informer named 'Taxi'|
|Chori Chori Chupke Chupke||Pappu Bhai|
|Censor||Vikramjeet's First Assistant|
|Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega||Aslam Bhai||Won- Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role|
|Nayak||TV Cameraman Topi|
|Ajnabee||Banu Pradhan (B.P.)||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham||Haldiram||extended special appearance|
|Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa||Appu Khote|
|2002||Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare||Subramaniam|
|Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa|
|Yeh Mohabbat Hai||Jaggi|
|Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge||Pakhandee Baba|
|Angaar - The Fire|
|Badmash No. 1|
|Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai||Paresh Chaval (Painter)|
|Awara Paagal Deewana||Chhota Chhatri|
|Humraaz||Mr. Darshan||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award (extended guest appearance)|
|Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani||Parwana|
|Yeh Kaisi Mohabbat||Paajal|
|Annarth||Ben Bose, Music Director|
|Kehta Hai Dil Baar Baar||Natwar|
|Karz - The Burden of Truth||Juggi|
|Chalo Ishq Ladaaye|
|2003||Kucch To Hai||Popatlal|
|Kaash Aap Hamare Hote||Native Indian Black Face|
|Indian Babu||Mr. Patel/Principal "Patel Bond 008"||Special appearance|
|Kaise Kahoon Ke Pyaar Hai||Sandwich|
|Andaaz||G. I. Joe|
|Chalte Chalte||Nandu (The Roadside Drunkard)|
|Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon||Johnny|
|Koi Mil Gaya||Chelaram Sukhwani||Nominated- Filmfare Best Comedian Award|
|2004||God Only Knows!||Road Babe|
|Hatya: The Murder||Paid Mourner|
|Aabra Ka Daabra||Maneklal|
|2005||Meri Biwi Ka Jawab Nahin||Chitra Gupta|
|Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav||Yadav|
|Navra Maza Navsacha||Marathi Film|
|Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen||Pashabhai|
|Deewane Huye Paagal||Murgan|
|2006||Aisa Kyon Hota Hai?|
|Saawan... The Love Season||Akhil Rao|
|36 China Town||KK|
|Phir Hera Pheri||Munna|
|2007||Fool n Final||Puttu Pilot|
|2008||Thela No. 501|
|Race||Max (The marriage bureau chief)||Special appearance|
|Khallbali: Fun Unlimited|
|Nidar - The Fearless|
|Aap Jaisa Koi Nahin|
|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|
|Bhavnaon Ko Samjho||Vivaah Marriage Bureau|
|Prem Kaa Game||Ramnik Chedda|
|Golmaal 3||Pappi Bhai|
|2011||Love Mein Ghum||Sukhia||Pakistani film|
|Yamla Pagla Deewana||Jeweller|
|Anbirkku Alavillai||Johnny Bhai||Tamil film|
|Bin Bulaye Baraati||Sajjan Singh|
|Tell Me O Khuda||Pandurang P.|
|Chaar Din Ki Chandni||Paan Singh|
|Housefull 2||Vishwas Patil|
|Deewana Main Deewana||Husband|
|Khiladi 786||Inspector Bhalerao Kambli|
|2013||Yamla Pagla Deewana 2||Bunty|
|Singh Saab the Great||Gulwinder|
|My Father Godfather||Director (Special Appearance)||Television & YouTube short film|
|Rang||Guest Role||Tulu film|
|2016||Santa Banta Pvt Ltd||Chooza|
|Pappa Tamne Nahi Samjaay||Gujarati Film|
|Judwaa 2||Pappu Passport|
|Golmaal Again||Pappi Bhai|
|Housefull 4||Winston Churchgate|
|1995||Ravan Raaj||"Tu Cheez Badi Hai Sakht Sakht"|
|1993||Zabaan Sambhalke||Johnny Utolandand||Episode 29|
|2006||Johny Aala Re||Host/presenter|
|2007||Comedy Circus||Himself (Judge)|
|2017–2018||Partners Trouble Ho Gayi Double||Gogol Chatterjee/Khabri Murgai||Double role|
|Year||Nominee / work||Award||Result|
|1997||Raja Hindustani||Star Screen Award for Best Comedian||Won|
|1998||Deewana Mastana||Filmfare Best Comedian Award||Won|
|2002||Love Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega||Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Comic Role||Won|
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