Beginning Johnny Walker Week

One day in 1950, Hindi film actor (and occasional script writer) Balraj Sahni was travelling in a BEST bus in Bombay when he noticed a bus conductor who didn’t just issue tickets or make sure people got on and off the bus safe and sound: he also entertained passengers. Balraj Sahni was in the middle of writing the script for the Dev Anand starrer Baazi, and thought the bus conductor would make a fine character in the film. So at his behest, Guru Dutt, the director, invited the conductor – a man named Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi – for a screen test. The test required Kazi to act a drunk, and he (although a teetotaler) was such a success that Guru Dutt gave him the name by which he was to become famous: Johnny Walker, after the well-loved Scotch.

To celebrate my favourite comedian’s birth anniversary (on November 11th), I decided it was high time Dusted Off hosted a Johnny Walker Week. After all, over the past two years, this blog has been celebrating this superb actor: with a list of his best songs, with occasional reviews of films in which he acted, and with an announcement of Tom Daniel’s Johnny Walker Songs Compilation DVD. Why not reviews of some of his best films, and a list of some of his most memorable roles? How about one week, all for Johnny Walker?

And – by way of karmic approval, I guess – one day someone named Nabil Khan left a comment on my blog about Johnny Walker. Nabil, it turned out, is the grandson of the great man himself. And, even better, Nabil’s promised to do a few posts for Johnny Walker Week. He’s in the process of setting up a Johnny Walker website, but while that happens, you can also follow Nabil (and, by extension, Johnny Walker!) on Twitter, here.

Without more ado, the first of Nabil’s posts on his grandfather. Some of this has been written by Nabil’s mother Tasneem Khan, Johnny Walker’s daughter, and it allows us an affectionate glimpse into the personal life of a man who sounds as wonderful (though perhaps in a different way) as he was onscreen.

Here goes:


My Abba, My Hero

My Abba, my hero – Abba is an icon of inspiration to me because though he came from a modest home, his hard work, perseverance and honesty led him to resounding success . His greatest strength was his selflessness, love and respect for humanity.

Whenever he had free time, he would love to spend it with the family. At home he was a quiet person, which is the opposite of his onscreen persona. Most people wouldn’t imagine it to be that way, but he lit up the screen with his lively personality and his comedic demeanor yet at home, he was always calm and quiet. The “comedian” came out of him whenever he would play with his grandchildren and he was very fond of them.

He was the type of person that always sought out the best for everyone around him, rather than just himself. He found immense happiness in doing charity and social work, a side of him which is unknown to many.

He was always punctual and he lead a disciplined lifestyle – eat, sleep, work and exercise, on time. He appreciated those who respected his time and he was always to be on time when he was invited for any events, dinners or movie shoots.

He was an avid outdoor enthusiast and enjoyed many sports and outdoor activities. He was very fond of fishing, hunting, skating and traveling, just to name a few. He would always enjoy going to the lake with the entire family – children and grandchildren included and teach them how to fish but he always loved the thrill of catching a big fish.

After retiring gracefully from the film industry he lead a happy life at home with the people whom he loved the most – his family. Abba is no more but he is still alive through his movies, his songs and his social work. Just his name “Johnny Walker” brings a smile or twinkle in your eyes as a “smile” is his everlasting gift to the world.
It is a blessing to have such wonderful parents. My mom, Mrs. NoorJahan Kazi, has to be mentioned as well because both my dad and my mom are both responsible for bestowing me with a memorable home, the fondest and the happiest years of my life.

Abba – Love you always, you are with us forever.

© Nabil Khan

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45 thoughts on “Beginning Johnny Walker Week

    • Thank heavens Balraj Sahni believed in travelling by bus! That is truly destiny… I can’t imagine Hindi cinema without the redeeming humour Johnny Walker brought to it – definitely consistently the best comic actor the industry has seen. I’ve been especially watching a lot of his films over the past few days, and his range is amazing. The Teju of Shikar, for instance, is very different from the Rustom of Aar Paar – one rural, speaking a central Indian dialect, the other urban Parsi, suave and crooked, but equally funny.

      He was brilliant.

  1. Let me be the first ? to say a million thanks DO for bringing back once again Johnnybhai to these Blogs, this guy lighted our hearts with his mere presence, he did not have to utter a word. I must say I have most of his phillums in my collection, some still being hunted, a g8 personality and a g8 human being and a family man, chip of da ol block and we just dont make ’em anymore.

    I will be back again, just arr back from a long overseas trip, cheers :)

    • Welcome back, ash! So good to see you on my blog again. :-)

      And yes, there’ll be much to cheer about for fans of Johnny Walker over the next one week. Let the love flow!

  2. I can’t believe my eyes!!! You know Nabil Khan!?!?! Awesome. I’m waiting for the reviews. They will surely be superlative. What a wonderful way to pay a tribute to this talented actor.
    BTW, please do something on Mehmood, too. He was fabulous, too, me thinks :)

    • Mehmood? Hmmm… that is a thought. Later, perhaps; but I have to admit: it’s bound to be a bit skewed, because I don’t like any comedian – not even Mehmood – half as much as I like Johnny Walker! He’s tops. :-)

  3. I’m looking forward to this pleasure, dustedd off!

    And having Nabil Khan to write about his grandfather, as wwell as his mother is like ‘sone pe suhaga’ :-)

    The simple background of most film people of yesteryears showed in the films which had soul. Johny Walker was a bus conductor, Dilip Kumar worked in a canteen, to name a couple of humble beginnings…and Balraj Sahni travelling by bus!!!

    Compared to today when almost all are from a rich filmi background or some glamour world of models and beauty pageants, who have no idea of the common people and their lives.

    • I suppose a humble background also gave people more of a character… helped them appreciate the worth of hard-earned money, and ultimately of work itself. If you’ve had it easy all your life, and were almost born into your profession – well, that ‘everything on a silver platter’ is more than likely to spoil you.

      I wish I could’ve been in one of those buses where Kazi Sahib was the conductor. That would have been very entertaining, I think!

  4. So looking forward to this week, and THANK YOU nabil for that wonderfully heartwarming contribution. Your grandfather was a a true legend, the likes of which I doubt we will see again.

  5. Thank you all for the very great comments. There are a few more posts being worked on at the moment and hopefully this week might become a bit longer because my mom wants to write up another post aside from the one I am currently writing.

    Thank you again for all the great comments and support. We always remember him and we think about him all the time. There are some more pictures that we have that we will be sharing with you as well!

    • “my mom wants to write up another post aside from the one I am currently writing.”

      That is the best piece of news I’ve heard in a while! Lovely – do tell your mom how grateful we all are to her. And she can take her time; I can always run a separate post whenever she’s ready. Oh, and by the way: no restrictions as far as word count is concerned!

  6. This is fantastic! You, know, bloggers like you are doing more to dig out some of the perosnal biographies of our great actors before they are lost forever than anyone in the official strea. Really looking forward to these posts.

    • Thank you, bawa! I do think it’s important to document the lives of all these wonderful people who made our movies what they were – lives that were beyond the mere gossip one comes across, even in film magazines. And getting reminiscences from those who were related to the greats: ah, that is really sone pe suhaaga, as pacifist says!

  7. As I have already mentioned before, having done a similar post on my father (Tarun Bose) I love reading these posts. I know Mr.Johny Walker acted in countless number of films but my favourites are Bimal Roy’s ‘Madhumati’ and Hrishikesh MUkherji’s ‘Anand’.

    My favourite scene from Mahumati is the scene between him and Dilip Kumar and Anand it is that unforgettable scene where he breaks down on learning about Rajesh Khanna’s illness.

    • You’ve listed two of my favourite Johnny Walker roles, Shilpi! His role in Anand always amazes me: the screen time is actually not that much, but he makes such a vivid impression that whenever I think of Anand I inevitably think of Johnny Walker.

  8. Johnny Walker – a name to reckon with, truly. His infectious smile and unique acting style are what make him so memorable to me. I love him in every movie with him in it. Besides Madhumati and Anand, I enjoyed his role(s) in Naya Daur, Gopi, Mazdoor, Amardeep, Pyaasa, Kaagaz ke phool (with one of my favorite songs Hum tum jise keheta hai shaadi) … the list is endless.

    Thanks for this posting on JW and look forward to reading more from his family members!

    • Yes, I agree he was superb in Naya Daur, Pyaasa and Kaagaz ke phool – haven’t yet seen the others you’ve mentioned, but then, come to think of it, I don’t recall any films in which Johnny Walker hasn’t acted well. Yes, it’s possible that his character isn’t well-written or the dialogues aren’t that great, or even that the screen time is limited – but that he acted badly? Impossible!

  9. If yu really wanna enjoii Johnny Bhai to the fullest then do try to catch him up in one of these movies, where he is the main lead actor, every movie a blast-

    Mr Qartoon MLA 1958 along with
    MEHMOOD, SHYAMA. KUK KUM, RAJ MEHRA

    Johnny Walker along with
    Shyama
    Raj Mehra
    Amar
    Sulochana
    Tony Walker

    Chhoo Mantar (1956) along with
    Karan Dewan, Shyama, Anita Guha, Gajanan Jagirdar, S.N. Banerjee

    Khota Paisa 1958 along with
    Shyama, Veena, Jeevan, Amir Banu, Dhumal, Rajan Haksar

    Would love to see these 3- imposs to get so far……
    Shrimati 420 (1956)
    with Meena Shorey and Omji the g8 Prakash

    and also
    Somewhere in Delhi 1956 with
    Pradeepp Kumar, Vijaynthimala, Mumbarak, Minoo Mumtaz, Shammi etc

    and
    Bombay Racecourse 1965
    with Ajit, Nalini Jaywant, K N Singh, Minoo Mumtaz

    I cud go on and on……

    Yeah for folks who have not seen him, do try and see his
    Pati Patni from 1966, with Omji and bhai jaan Mehmood
    and
    Ek Phool Char Kaante 1960

    hilarious stuff, veterans galore.

    Some interesting trivia about this g8 artist-
    he Directed one movie
    Pahunchey Huwe Log (1986,
    so far not seen in any store ?

    and guess where he met his better half Noor Begum ????
    on the sets of Mr. and Mrs 55 !

    Am sure Nabil Bhai or Noor Begum could re confirm this for us ?

    Cheers

    • The only one of the films that had Johnny Walker in a lead role that I’ve seen is Chhoomantar. Delightful! (and I’ll be posting a review of that within this week!) Of course I’ve heard of Johnny Walker and Mr Qartoon MA, but haven’t got around to seeing either of them yet. The other day, I watched Anjaan – the one that’s erroneously known as Some Where in Delhi – the film is so-so, but Johnny Walker has a substantial role in it and some really peppy dialogues!

      Yes, I’ve heard that bit about him meeting NoorJehan on the sets of Mr & Mrs 55 too, but have wondered about that, since I’ve never been able to spot her in the film. Incidentally, the last screen cap in this post is of the two of them from Aar Paar. Chronologically, wouldn’t that be earlier than Mr & Mrs 55? Perhaps Mrs Tasneem Khan or Nabil can enlighten us!

  10. Wow! My all-time favourite comedian.
    I just love, love, love him.
    He has given me so much movie-watching pleasure, I am indebted to him forever.

    Loved him in so many movies, I don’t want to mention names.
    It is no coincidence that one of my all-time favourite songs is “sar jo tera chakraaye”.
    In fact, Rafi for Johnny Walker was a combo made in heaven. I remember you did a post on that a while ago, Madhu.

    Even in a movie, Sanjog (1971), though he has a somewhat negative role, he is lovely to watch in the song “ek do teen chaar”. That was vintage JW of 1950s.

    Thanks a lot for this post.

    Would love to hear more about him from his grandson or daughter. Waiting eagerly.

    • You know, Raja, I was thinking the other day that ever since I began blogging, I’ve seen comments – on my blog and on other movie blogs – about nearly every actor/actress/singer/director/music director/etc there has been in Hindi cinema. Just about everybody is not universally admired: people with even the biggest fan followings invariably have a sufficient number of critics who think they’re hammy/awkward/incapable of acting/lecherous/unworthy of respect for whatever reason!! There’s only one person I can think of, offhand, whom I’ve not heard anybody speak ill of.

      Guess who? :-)

      • Thx a lot DO for clearing the Anjaan and Somewhere in Delhi mix up, u know I had a feeling the star cast of this was something I had seen/heard/had but could not put 2 and 2 together that it was indeed the same, partly because I have not watched Anjaan recently.

        I am also trying to get Mai Baap, which I feel showed Johnny Bhais talent, as also imdb reader agrees with my views

        qte
        24 January 2006 | by AJU GEORGE (Rourkela, India) – See all my reviews

        Mai Baap is a hilarious comedy, one of the best of Bollywood. It’s probably the only film where Johnny Walker acts as the villain. Balraj Sahni is a blind man who wins a lottery. Johnny Walker makes himself the agent of Balraj Sahni and starts milking Balraj’s wealth. This is the crux of the film and results in many comic scenes. Unknown to Johnny Walker, one day Balraj regains his eyesight. Now he sees & realizers how Johnny had been cheating him of his wealth. In the end Johnny himself loses his eyesight and becomes a beggar.

        Johnny Walker is superb as a slimy character. A must see comedy, I will rate it 8.5 out of 10.

        unqte

        If any of yr readers has any idea if this is available, pls drop a line, I will highly appreciate this.

        Cheers

        • I think Anjaan has got billed on imdb and elsewhere as Some Where in Delhi because that’s how it starts – the first scene is set somewhere in Delhi, and those words appear across the screen.

          I saw Mai Baap a few years ago – I think it was being shown on Zee Classic or something. Good film, enjoyable, and with a superb score. And, of course, as you mention, Johnny Walker as the villain! Now that was highly unusual. But he’s not the typically villainous villain, not the murdering-raping-evil sort. He’s perhaps just a more ‘far gone’ version of the sort of character he played in Aar Paar: crooked, and with very little conscience. I’ve been trying to get hold of the film, too, for a rewatch.

  11. Thank you very much for celebrating Abba’s Birthday by honoring his work and life.
    Thank you for all the heartwarming responses by his fans too.
    I would have to agree with one of the comments that “Choo Mantar, Johnny Walker, Pati Patni” are a must see movies!!

    • Thank you so much, Mrs Khan! I’m looking forward very eagerly to your post on your Abba.

      And thank you very much also for recommending Pati Patni and Johnny Walker – even though I’ve heard of both of them, I haven’t got around to seeing them yet. Will certainly look out for them, now!

  12. Johny Uncle The Great.
    Johny uncle as I called him, he was a very close friend of my dad ( S.M.Abbas), and they did many movies togather, for me he was my uncle, whom i adored.
    He was a very very family man, and enjoyed the most when with them, He and my darling Aunty always considered me as their daughter, and I was amongst the lucky few whom he recognized even in his last days, I have only one thing to say ” My darling Uncle, i MISS YOU immensely “, wish i could get you and abbu back.
    Love and pray for you untill my last breathe.

  13. What a lovely way to be discovered, i always daydream someone would pluck me from obscurity too ;) lovely story and that image of him in the first screen cap on your post pretty much sums him up (its from Naya Daur right?)

    P.s I love the header you’ve created

    • Thank you so much for noticing the header – I spent a good few hours getting the right screen grabs and fitting them all in and toying around with the design. :-)

      Yes, that first screen cap is from Naya Daur: it’s from the song Main Bambai ka Babu naam mera anjaan. Johnny Walker at his trippy best!

  14. Folks
    For those who may not have easy access to see Toofani Johnny as a lead player in his phillums, I will post a ripped version in XVID format ( from a VCD of good quality), his superb movie-

    KHOTA PAISA 1958

    He is accompanied by other bunch of g8 veterans in this movie-

    Cast of the Veterans-

    Nisar Ahmad Ansari
    Shyama
    Veena
    Jeevan
    Dhumal
    Rajan Haksar
    Amirbanoo
    S.N. Banerjee
    Cuckoo
    Jeewankala
    Munshi Munkaka
    Keshav Rana
    Suresh Kumar

    and brief appearance of Praveen Chowdhary in the opening super qwaali on Johnny Bhai sung by Rafi Saheb and Ashatai and Company.

    Watch Jeevan play dad of Johnny Bhai, and Dhumal Bhau plays his (JEEVANS) Munshi, and he in turn is married to Indra Bansal, what performer/s !

    Directed by
    Mohd. Sadiq

    MD- MADAN MOHAN
    Lyrics by Rajendra Krishan

    I will share the link in a day or 2 as in the midst of ripping nd then uploading, so watch this space for fun movie.

    Cheers

  15. I can hardly wait for that, ash! Thank you so very much. :-) The only portion of Khota Paisa that I’m familiar with is that lovely song, Thandi-thandi hawa poochhe unka pata… and that is tantalising enough to make me want to see the entire film!

    • Yu got me stumped DO :)

      I had to rush and check if we had another disaster in the making :) ie if the song yu mentioned Thandi Thandi hawa is there in Khota Paisa or has been cut !

      It was not there and then it clicked that this song is from another of his g8 movie appropriately called in and as Johnny Walker !!

      Pls reconfirm DO if I am right, thx.

      I have this movie, one of few saved as original VHS, must rip and share someday.

      Did I mention that another shock came in a few days ago, yet again while watching first the VCD, and then the DVD and saw Johnny Bhais track missing in both, what a shame.

      This superb track-

      ek musafir ko duniya mein kya chahiye

      is chopped, chopped, chopped, what to say except Grrrrrrr……..

      Luckily this song from a tvrip is there, pls see it under-

      ttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W6ZW2vcdF7Y

      I do not have any words for these cuts, it is time they started to mention on their covers that such and such song or scene is missing, we are being taken for a ride literally.

      My pleasure DO to share Khota Paisa with all yu folks, shud be Online by tonite or latest tmrw morning.

      Cheers :)

      • ash, my apologies – I’m really sorry, I was the one who got confused. Of course you’re right, Thandi-thandi hawa poochhe unka pata is from Johnny Walker, not from Khota Paisa.

        And I agree with you completely! It’s unforgivable, the way these video companies cut out songs from films. I’d bought a VCD of Gumnaam a few years back, and was looking forward to enjoying the songs – only to discover that the only songs that had been retained fully were the ones featuring Helen. For all the other songs, only one verse (or worse, just the chorus) had been retained. Grrrrr, indeed! We are really being taken for a ride.

        And thank you once again in advance for Khota Paisa. :-)

  16. Alas folks, Khota Paisa is ready under these links-

    PART 2
    KHOTA PAISA 1958 AVSEQ02.7z (285.33 MB)
    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=7U2OYV0A

    PART 1
    AVSEQ01 KHOTA PAISA 1958.7z (299.3 MB)
    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=Z7WYGASE

    I wud recommend for easy and uninterrupted d/l, install the Mega Manager from their Website.

    If need be you can sign up for free there.

    The poster is here –

    http://ashibahl.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/khota-pasia-1958-vcdrip-xvid/

    Hope yu enjoii as much as I did. Any query pls send a word.

    Cheers

  17. Sry folks if u see this while u r d/l…
    qte

    File description: CLASSIC MD HEMANTDA

    unqte

    just ignore it, I wil try to re edit the title but the movie is in this/these links.
    tatat

    • Abid, We do have several copies. There may be more news on it soon since we’re working on getting it out to the public. I’ll keep you guys posted here.

  18. can anyone tell me the story of how jhonny saab fell in love with noorji and how he managed to marry her.

    kind regards

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