Johnny Walker, India’s favorite ‘drunk’ comedian and a teetotaller
ThePrint reflects on the 16th anniversary of his death.
Born Badruddin Jamaluddin Kasi, also known by the name of Johnny Walker by generations of Indian moviegoers, was the man who had the magic comic timing and had a story that was worthy of its own film.
One of his films, in which he was the lead man, has a name after him. Johnny Walker was never denied screen time. With songs and roles specially created for him, he was a big draw at the box-office.
How Johnny Walker became What he is?
Kazi was born to a Indore family of mill workers in 1924. His father was fired and the family moved to Mumbai. Kazi, who was hired as a BEST bus conductor took it upon themselves to entertain the passengers with his funny way of calling bus stops and his hilarious tricks.
Balraj Sahni, actor and comedian was once traveling in a BEST bus with Kazi. Unknowingly, Guru Dutt was introduced by an amused Sahni to the actor and director.
Dev Anand and Dutt were having an heated discussion about their film Baazi (1951) when this “drunkard” arrived on the set. He was a tripping hazard and exaggerated every word, creating confusion and laughter. Dutt was astonished when the drunkard stood up. This episode was his first with Baazi.
Dutt named him Johnny Walker because of his slurry performances, which reminded Dutt his favorite whiskey. Kazi, ironically, had never drank alcohol in his entire life.
Kazi met Noorjahan, the younger sister of actor Shakeela, on Dutt’s film sets. His love story, like his career was no less filmy. Noorjahan fled from her home because her parents opposed the marriage. Kazi was the venue for the solemnization of the nikah.
An incredible journey
Johnny Walker starred in more than 300 films from his debut in Baazi, to his final film, Chachi 420 (1997), including classics such as Aar-Paar (1954), Taxi Driver (1954) and Naya Daur (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool, Mr & Mrs 55 (1955), CID(1956), Pyaasa, Mughal-e -Azam (1960), and Anand (1971).
Music was the core that influenced the success of Walker. Here, it is important to mention his collaboration with Mohd Rafi, not only Dutt.
Rafi was the only singer to be able to modulate his voice so that it matched the actor’s. He also lent his vocals to Walker for many beloved songs. ‘Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan (CID) featured Walker portraying a pickpocket and telling a heartfelt tale about Mumbai’s underbelly. ‘Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya Ji’ (Mr & Mrs 55), portrayed Walker as a confused lover who is looking for his heart beneath the table. Then, of course, his iconic champiwala’ turn in Pyaasa featured Walker as a pickpocket sketching a poignant tale on the underbelly of Mumbai, while ‘Jaane Kahan Mera Jigar Gaya Ji’ (Mr. & Mrs. 55) depicted Walker as a hilariously confused lover looking for his heart beneath the table.
His unique facial features and his unique diction made him a favorite actor of the audience.
Kazi was the ultimate everyman on screen and off. Tasneem Khan , his daughter, recalled her father’s words: “I’ve reached summit. Mount Everest chadh chukka. Utarna bhi hai na. Ghar hai, car hai, bacche hai, telephone hai, aur kya chahiye? (I have reached Mount Everest. Now, I have to descend. I have a house, a vehicle, children, and a telephone. What more do I need? ()
Although his comedy was funny, it didn’t diminish the seriousness of what he was trying to convey. He used humor to discuss a variety of social issues. For example, his flirtatious impressions as ‘CID” in Baat Ek Raat Wi (1962) put into perspective the nature and content of the narratives women were exposed to at that time.
He was known for his “clean comedy” and, when Mehmood took over the comedy scene in Bollywood’s comedy district, he went on the record to state that “we were aware that someone who came to the cinema had brought his wife and children. He’s no longer a character. Instead, he is something that fits in between scenes. “Comedy had become a hostage to vulgarity, so I chose to leave.”
Most Famous Movies of Johnny Walker
Johny Walker was an Indian actor, best known for his comedy role in Bollywood. Even though he was a teetotaller He was a part of drunkard in a variety of films and was awarded for these roles. A bus conductor became an Actor with the assistance by Gurudutt as well as Balraj Sahni. Johny Walker became the very first actor employ an agent and use Sunday off. Here are his top 10 list of films–
Dharmendra Asha Parekh, Dharmendra and Sanjeev Kumar star in Shikar is a huge commercial smash and was one of the most memorable murder-mystery films ever made in India. It featured Johny Walker as the comic character Teju. It earned Johny Walker his Filmfare Award for Best Comedian in the year. A man identified as Naresh is killed and Ajay informs the police of the murder, but evidence from the scene has been changed at the crime scene. The hunt for the real murderer starts.
MERE MEHBOOB (1963)
The film enabled Johny Walker his Filmfare award for best supporting actor for his performance. The film was a story about Anwar Hussain who falls the love of a woman in a veil during his time in Aligarh Muslim University. He goes back to Lucknow and meets her however, her family want to get her married to a wealthy person. Johny Walker appeared as Bindadeen Rastogi, who was a close acquaintance of Anwar.
C.I.D is a thriller crime film written and directed by Raj Khosla starring Dev Anand. Johny Walker starred as a tiny pickpocket Master who gets discovered at a crime scene, and later discovers the killer (Mehmood). Mehmood isn’t the murderer therefore the hunt for the true killer starts, which leads to revelations being made public.
The film that was critically acclaimed by Guru Dutt was praised by critics and audiences alike on both the international and national levels. The film featured Johny Walker as the character as Abdul Sattar, a massage-wala who is a good friend and lover of Vijay (Guru Datt). The well-known song SAR JO TERA CHAKRAYE comes from this film, and was later lent to Johny Walker numerous songs about his character.
Produced and directed by Bimal Roy, Madhumati was an esoteric romantic film which explores Reincarnation. The film starred Dilip Kumar as well as Vyjayanthimala. Johny Walker starred as Charandas in the film in which romance between Anand Madhumati and Anand is revealed through incarnations and supernatural happenings.
Amardeep recounts his story about Aruna as well as Ashok. Aruna’s father has asked her to get married Pran an opportunistic and passionate man. Thus, Aruna leaves home, and then returns. She she tells Pran she is in love with Ashok who she meets on an unoccupied bus. Later Ashok denies recognizingAruna. Johny Walker acted as Ustad in this film.
KAAGAZ KE PHOOL (1959)
KaagazKePhool is an award-winning film starring Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman. Guru Dutt plays the role of Suresh who is a critically recognized director who is in love with Shanti who is a normal girl who is made a star thanks to Suresh. She later quits film because of the intervention of Suresh’s daughter. She is then re-introduced by the studios. Suresh refuses to work with the aid of Shanti because of his self-respect. He ends up dying at the final. Johny Walker played the role of Rocky in the film.
CHORI CHORI (1956)
Chori Chori Chori Chori starred Raj Kapoor and Nargis and is a story about both of them as Sagar as well as Kammo. Johny Walker appears in this film as Shayar. The film follows Kammo as she departs her father’s house on her desire not to marry under his terms and meets Sagar in the middle of the highway.
NAYA DAUR (1957)
Johny Walker in the role of journalist in this comedy brought in millions of laughter and applaud. Dilip Kumar in the role of Shankar decides to compete against a bus using his horsecart. This is the story of the film.
TAXI DRIVER (1954)
Another masterpiece from Dev Anand, this film tells the story of Mangal the taxi driver who finds love with Mala an actress in trouble. Johny Walker starred in this film as Mastana.