Johny Mera Naam (1970)

One day in August, I checked my blog roll and discovered that not one, but two, of my favourite bloggers had posted reviews of films based (even if only in spirit) on The Arabian Nights. Anu had reviewed Ali Baba aur 40 Chor, and Ira (aka Bollyviewer) had reviewed The Thief of Baghdad. Coincidence? Planned? If the latter, then why hadn’t I, the third of the three soul sisters, been included in the plan?
It turned out to have been sheer coincidence, but Anu, Ira and I decided it would be a good idea to actually do a themed set of posts. And what better theme than the one Ira suggested: long-lost siblings, such a favourite trope in Hindi cinema.

So here goes. Head over to Anu’s blog to read her review of the delightful Yaadon ki Baaraat (singularly appropriate, considering the link between Anu and me) and to Ira’s blog to read her take on another extremely popular (and superb!) lost-and-found-siblings film, Seeta aur Geeta. And here, of course, is mine: a review of a film which just manages to make the cut for my blog when it comes to time period. A classic story of long-separated brothers who grow up, unknown to each other, on opposite sides of the law.

Dev Anand and Pran in Johny Mera Naam

Johny Mera Naam [which I personally think should have been spelled Johnny Mera Naam] begins at a school boxing match, where brothers Mohan and Sohan are battling it out for the championship. While their mother (Sulochana Latkar) winces at every blow, their father (?) and his friend/colleague Mr Mehta (Iftekhar) cheer the boys on. The fight ends in a tie: the two brothers are both champs, as in previous years.

Mohan and Sohan, joint boxing champs
But disaster waits round the corner. That evening, Sohan and Mohan are sent by their mother to fetch Father home from Mehta’s, where he’s gone for a chat. The boys’ father, as he’s leaving, confides in Mehta about a threat to his life, received from a gang, one of whose members he has just arrested. Mehta tries to caution his friend…

Mehta talks to his friend
… but, moments later, just as Sohan and Mohan reach their father, a killer comes out of the dark and stabs him in the back. Mohan, the elder of the two boys, grabs the dagger, pulls it out of Father’s back, and sets off in pursuit of the killer. Some twisting and winding through the alleys, and Mohan ends up holding out the dagger, its tip pointing outward, when the killer obligingly runs headlong onto it and unwittingly commits harakiri.

On the heels of the now-dead killer comes a car containing his cronies, and Mohan, to avoid being caught by them, gets into the boot of their car. [Yes, well. Very smart. But since he’s a kid, I suppose it’s forgivable]. At any rate, what happens is that when the car boot is opened, Mohan finds himself facing the big goon (Premnath).

Mohan is found by the big boss...
Freeze frame. And another freeze frame, now with Mohan grown up (into Pran). He now calls himself Moti and is the right-hand man of Premnath, whom we soon discover is called Rai Sahib Bhupinder Singh.

... and ends up as Moti, his right hand man
At the same time, Sohan has grown up (into Dev Anand), now – like his long-dead father – a police officer. Sohan reports to Mr Mehta, now the commissioner. They are on the track of a gang of international smugglers, of whom they’ve just received news: a certain Heera Lal ‘Heera’ (Jeevan) is coming from Hong Kong to Bombay, bringing with him 80 lakhs worth of diamonds. Heera checks into a hotel (and, while he’s out of his room, his room is searched – unsuccessfully – by the cops).

Heera arrives in Bombay with loot
Heera is obviously aware that the cops may be keeping an eye on him. He plays tennis at the nearby courts, leaves his racquet behind in an open rack there [of course one can guess why. Risky thing to do, no? What if some clueless passerby collects it?] and goes back to his room. The cops are no fools, though, and soon turn up to arrest him (Mr Mehta has suggested a perfectly valid reason to nab Heera: he’s a drunk, and is easily caught drinking without a valid permit). Along with the inspector is a constable, the loony Pehle Ram (IS Johar, in an award-winning triple role).

Heera is arrested
So Heera is arrested and put into the lockup. There he soon makes the acquaintance of his neighbour in the next cell: Sohan aka Johny. ‘Johny’ gives Heera a complex rigmarole about how he landed up in the lockup, and how – for the past four days – he’s been trying to quietly saw his way through the bars. Heera is impressed. So impressed, in fact, that he entrusts an important task to Johny: when Johny breaks out, will he go to the tennis club, collect a tennis racquet – red handle, a telephone number printed on it – and phone that number? He’ll be given instructions on where to deliver the racquet. In return, he’ll get Rs 5,000.

Heera finds a neighbour he can trust
All of which Johny carries out faithfully, ending up having to deliver the tennis racquet to the lovely Rekha (Hema Malini) in a hotel room. He flirts shamelessly with her, watches as she unscrews the handle of the racquet and counts the diamonds as they spill out of it [beats me how people in Hindi films tend to carry loose diamonds around like so many pebbles], and manages to convince her he’s honest. For a thief.

Johny meets Rekha
He convinces her to the extent that Rekha invites him to take on another job – this time, for Rs 10,000, and involving meeting her in Nalanda. [Rather out of the way, isn’t it, for a gang in Bombay? But this turns out to be a pretext for a good song, even though Jagdish Raj and his cops look ludicrous trying to half-pretend they’re not trailing Rekha].

A rendezvous at Nalanda
The upshot of this is that Rekha informs Johny that he is now to accompany her to Kathmandu. In the interim – before they board the flight – Johny is whisked away by a local police officer (Jagdish Raj, quintessential cop), who takes him to Mr Mehta, currently in town. [Everybody seems to have moved base from Bombay to Nalanda/Patna].
Mehta, pleased that Johny is succeeding in infiltrating the gang, gives him some gadgetry to help: a camera hidden in a cigarette lighter, and a bugging device which can be heard through a large radio. Pretty unwieldy, but Johny is happy.

Johny gets given some gadgets
A lot of things now happen in quick succession. Johny discovers that Constable Pehle Ram is one of triplets [and no, while they don’t live together, they aren’t long-lost: in case you thought this was a bonanza in the lost-siblings plot line]. One of Pehle Ram’s twin brothers is a purser (Rekha and Johny encounter him on the flight to Kathmandu); the other is a bartender in the hotel where they check in.

And shortly after they check in, Johny finds himself taken prisoner and being tortured – by Moti [who, unknown to Johny, is of course actually his elder brother Mohan. This ‘Moti’ appellation seems to be a good way to fit in with the gemstone-smuggling nature of the gang: remember Heera, too? There’s probably a Jawahar and a Panna lurking somewhere among the rank and file]. Moti, unlike Rekha, is not convinced that Johny is who he claims to be – a petty thief. Johny, under duress, owns up: he is actually Jugal Kishore, the son of a palmist/astrologer in Bombay.

Moti gives Johny the treatment
Moti falls for it, and phones a henchman in Bombay who goes to check up the address Johny supplies. Here, Constable Pehle Ram and his inspector put up a fine show for his benefit, and the message is passed back to Moti in Kathmandu: Johny is above board. Which makes it all well for him, since he can now go about more or less unsuspected. Not completely, because Moti is still not absolutely certain of Johny’s dedication to his nefarious work.

Moti wonders if he can really trust Johny
Meanwhile, the diamonds that Rekha has smuggled into Nepal are sold off to a buyer, and one of the gangsters, Babu (Randhawa, Dara Singh’s brother) is given the briefcase full of money – 80 lakhs – to take to the big boss, Bhupinder Singh. Johny has, during all the coming and going, managed to sneak a bug into the briefcase. Now, with his radio on, he is able to listen in as Babu goes off with the money.

What he discovers is that Babu, transformed by his love for a dancing girl named Tara (Padma Khanna), has decided to chuck up this buraai ka dhanda and escape to Singapore along with Tara [taking the bulk of that moolah with him – his conscience doesn’t extend that far]. Babu and Tara stop very briefly en route to hand over some of the money to Tara’s mother, so that she can bring up Tara’s little siblings in some form of comfort. Then they’re off.

Babu and Tara take off with the money
Johny, who’s been trying his best to truly convince Moti of his loyalty to the gang, passes on the news of Babu’s disloyalty – and, as a result, Babu and Tara are tracked down and taken captive.

… and we get to see what Bhupinder Singh is capable of. Bhupinder Singh has Babu thrashed in front of Tara, who – because of her love for Babu – pleads, promises to return the money, promises even to do whatever Bhupinder Singh wants [yes, actually carte blanche, and he accepts] – anything, as long as Bhupinder Singh will spare Babu. So the lecherous boss agrees, and Tara dances for him (Husn ke laakhon rang, not a bad song, but I can just imagine a sultry Helen doing a more seductive job of this than Padma Khanna does, even though Ms Khanna does manage to infuse it with the desperation of a woman fighting for her lover’s life).

Tara dances to save Babu's life
All to no effect. Bhupinder has his wicked way with Tara, while Babu is taken away by his minions and shot dead [though Bhupinder Singh tells a startled Tara that the shot they’ve heard is of his men “killing birds”].

Basically, all of this is a means of showing us:
(a) just how ruthless Bhupinder Singh can be;
(b) why it’s a bad idea to try and double-cross Bhupinder Singh; and
(c) why Johny, even though Rekha believes him and Moti too is coming round to his side, had better be very, very careful.

Moti, as I said, is coming round to Johny’s side; but a couple of other tests lie in wait before Johny can be fully trusted. This, he being Johny, breezes through. In the process, he also one evening eavesdrops on Rekha’s conversation with her mother (Mridula Rani), who’s come visiting. From the conversation, Johny realises that Rekha is the daughter of Rai Sahib Bhupinder Singh [yikes! The fact that Johny isn’t fazed by the thought of having a father-in-law like that speaks volumes for his love for Rekha].

Rekha talks to her mother...
Rekha, catching Johny in the act of listening in on the conversation, confesses: she is not really a smuggler. Johny then contributes his two paise: he happens to know that 5 years back, Rai Sahib Bhupinder Singh, who worked for a bank, had been arrested for embezzlement – and vanished before he could be tried and sentenced.
Exactly. Very mystifying, says Rekha, who has, in all these years, never been able to figure out why her father would do something like this: first, the embezzlement; and then, the running away. So, in an attempt to get at the truth and confront her father, she has infiltrated this gang and is trying to make her way to her father.

... and tells Johny the truth
How will Rekha manage that, and what possible explanation [worthy of the father of a heroine] can Bhupinder Singh have to account for the way he makes his living? And how will Sohan/Johny and Mohan/Moti finally come together, considering they weren’t equipped with identical tattoos or taaveezes and weren’t even taught a signature song before they parted ways?

Directed by Vijay Anand (who also wrote the screenplay for the film), Johny Mera Naam is the last of the Dev Anand starrers that I think of as being ‘old school’: not old school as in the sense of CID (which is far more noir), but old school as in the Jewel Thief style: glamorous, colourful, glitzy. And yes, thoroughly entertaining. Total, as they say, paisa vasool.

What I liked about this film:

The pace of it, and the story. Unlike Jewel Thief, Johny Mera Naam isn’t a mystery: we do know what is happening [in fact, much more than the protagonist himself, since we know that Moti is really Mohan]. Much of the film consists of Johny’s efforts to infiltrate Bhupinder Singh’s gang, by convincing them (especially Heera, Rekha, and Moti) – often through rather convoluted methods – that he is as crooked as any of them. This is coupled with Moti’s attempts to discover the truth about Johny – and what ensues is a somewhat cat-and-mouse game which acquires an almost Where Eagles Dare-like audacity about it in the climactic scene, where Johny and Heera both set out to prove that the other one is the traitor.

Initially, the story can seem very complicated and with unnecessary twists and turns; it is complex, but nearly all of it – except possibly with the exception of the Nalanda song – does make sense. It all adds up: Johny trying to prove his mettle [and his dishonesty]; Moti/Rekha trying to test him.

Interestingly, while it does use a trope so well-loved in Hindi cinema, Johny Mera Naam does not follow too many of the other tropes associated with it. For example, there aren’t any very visible (or audible) means by which the separated siblings can identify each other. Secondly – and this I found more bold than in a lot of other films – Johny Mera Naam does not take the moral high ground and try to excuse the behaviour of some of its characters. Moti/Mohan does not become part of Bhupinder Singh’s gang in order to avenge his father’s death; he hasn’t been lurking there waiting for an opportunity to kill. He actually is Bhupinder Singh’s right hand man, and he is guilty of various criminal activities. It’s the same with Rekha: she is, despite having a reason to get involved in the gang’s activities, a smuggler, all said and done.

Then, there’s Premnath. I must admit that in a cast that includes stalwarts like Iftekhar and Jeevan, I would not have expected that Premnath [who, while very handsome in his younger days, never struck me as anything out of the ordinary when it came to acting] would steal the show. He does, though: his character is one of the most deliciously vile and immoral (yet suave, when he needs to be) I’ve seen in Hindi cinema from this period.

Premnath as Rai Sahib Bhupinder Singh/Ranjit in Johny Mera Naam
And: the songs (scored by Kalyanji-Anandji), which, while not superb, are still hummable: O mere raja; Pal-bhar ke liye koi humein pyaar kar le; and Govind bolo hari gopal bolo, one of the few bhajans that I like.

What I didn’t like:

Not much I can think of. Yes, Johny Mera Naam isn’t one of those absolutely flawless films that I love from beginning to end. It has its shortcomings: Rai Sahib Bhupinder Singh’s muscled henchmen [in leotards that highlight their paunches] make me wince; Hema Malini’s wigs are frightful [though her saris are lovely], and it is hard to believe that both Dev Anand and Pran are supposed to be in their late 20s. There are also some unnecessary comic digressions involving the triplet brothers that could have been shortened.

Despite that, Johny Mera Naam is very entertaining – and it’s a classic example of Hindi cinema’s love for the lost-and-found trope.

71 thoughts on “Johny Mera Naam (1970)

  1. ‘Johny Mera Naam’ is a classic and a delight to see. ‘Pal Bhar Ke Liye’ is one of my fave songs and probably best describes my love life, lol.

    I have a question that I think you can help me with. I remember seeing a song from an Indian movie a long time ago, but can’t remember what it was. I just remember that it was black-and-white and I think it involved the woman fantasizing about her man, but the man was invisible. This was indicated by him bringing a rose in the song, but since he’s invisible, it just looked like the rose was moving by itself. I also vaguely remember something about a swing in the scene too and it moving by itself when the man sat on it. Have you any idea what song this is or what movie it is?


  2. I saw it in my childhood when it had released and yes I did enjoy it. OK you know me, my love for trivia and all that, so here is something that I read in an interview of Vijay Anand’s, he did not like the way Hema Malini walked, that is her gait. Way back in the past directors laid a great deal of emphasis on this, actors and actresses were often asked to practice for hours. He demonstrated to her how he would like her to walk. I found this bit of info quite interesting, considering that Hema Malini had already become a top star by the time she signed this film.


    • That’s interesting! I personally didn’t find anything wrong with Hema Malini’s gait (though of course that might have been because Vijay Anand had already ‘corrected’ her; but then, looking at the other films of around the same time that she worked in – like Abhinetri – I don’t recall anything being wrong there too. But it’s certanly an interesting bit of trivia.


      • Another bit, you know that song o mere raja a part of it was short on the cable way. The cable cars were small, they were meant for one person. Vijay Anand however wanted Hema Malini to sit on Devanand’s lap. While they were shooting the power failed, Hema Malini recalled in a radio interview, this was before TV came into our lives, she was being interviewed by Ameen Sayani. If I remember correctly it was a prank played by someone, she had to sit on Devanand’s lap for quite a long time, she laughed that poor Devanand had to bear her weight till they were rescued.


  3. :) It is amazing, isn’t it, that your intro and mine should be more or less similar? Down to linking to our song? All that remains is for Bollyviewer to do that as well, and we will have established our masala sisterhood without any question of doubt.

    Loved Johnny Mera Naam – Vijay Anand had a way with making these movies that had the viewer rivetted to his seat, even if you could make and educated guess about what’s going to happen next. With all its flaws, I think this is another film that has weathered well.

    My one nagging thought about Heera asking Johny to rescue the racquet is how the heck do these criminals trust someone so easily? And why would Rekha remove the diamonds in front of a stranger? After all, he could rob her of them and disappear. (Yes, and I’m looking for logic!)

    As always, I laughed out loud at your asides especially about there being a Jawahar and a Panna amongst the henchmen. :)


    • Yes, Anu! When I read your blog post, the thought came to my mind too: “We’ve managed to establish our soul-sisterness even further by writing similar reviews for our films!” That link to Sadu’s poem, the comments about the bad wigs, even the comment about how our heroes are supposed to look in their 20s…

      But. I agree with you that Johny Mera Naam has weathered well. I think it was perhaps also (like many of Navketan’s films, even though this one wasn’t Navketan) a somewhat avant garde film, ahead of its time in some ways – that the heroine (even though she has qualms about stealing the idols’ jewels) doesn’t really find a way to get to her ‘father’ other than by smuggling. Or that Moti (unlike Dharmendra’s character in Yaadon ki Baaraat) doesn’t join the gang for vengeace, but just as another career. Of course, he doesn’t realise that ‘Bhupinder Singh’ is responsible for his father’s death, but the fact that his father was a cop and all doesn’t seem to deter him from going right off the straight and narrow.


      • The intro particularly was uncanny even though I know we tend to think of the same things. And as you pointed out, it is funny that we pointed out bad wigs and the supposed age of the characters as opposed to the real age of the actors.

        By the way, in YkB, Dharam doesn’t join the gang out of vengeance. He has no clue who Ajit is. He is already a thief and he is asked to join so he can pull of a big job for them.


        • “By the way, in YkB, Dharam doesn’t join the gang out of vengeance.

          Oh, okay. had forgotten that and even missed it while reading your review. Was too busy racing ahead, wanting to read more!


  4. I too join the chorus of appreciation for JMN, certainly agree that it was probbaly Vijay Anand’s last great blockbuster. He never seemed to rise to the same heights again, even though he did several in the 70’s BlackMail, Chuppa Rustom, Bullet, Ram Balraam, Double Cross, Rajput etc.
    Probably Dev’s last big & great hit as well, although he did show some more talent with HRHK & Des Pardes.
    But certainly the peak of the Anand-Brothers combo.
    BTW — Padma Khanna did emigrate to the United States and now runs a dance academy in NJ

    Absolutely in the class of Where Eagles Dare & Jewel Thief :)


    • I didn’t know about Padma Khanna having started a dance school in the US! Wow. Imagine. Husn ke laakhon rang remains, for me, her most memorable dance (not counting Aaj hum apni duaaon ka asar dekhenge, considering she isn’t openly credited for that). I just wish her costume towards the end had been a little less obvious in its body-stocking nature: you can see rather thick seams all over the place. ;-)

      I must admit I’d completely forgotten that Vijay Anand was behind Blackmail too. Another total paisa vasool film. Love it! And, would you believe it, I haven’t seen a single one of the others you mention. This needs quick correction. Which one would you suggest I start with?


      • It is hard to suggest which one, all would likely leave you with a sense of how much he has fallen from the days of Kaala Bazaar, TGKS, Jewel-Thief, Teesri Manzil, Guide, & JMN.
        If I had to choose , my order would be —
        1) Rajput (has Vinod Khanna who I know is your favorite)
        2) Bullet (at least is based on a James Hadley Chase book, and is reasonably taut)
        3) Tie between Chuppa Rustam & Ram Balraam (CR has an OK song Dheere Se Jaana Khatiyan Mein)
        4) Double Cross (cannot make head or tail of this one)


  5. Complete Paisa Vasool Movie and agree one of last of DevD’s successful movies. Perhaps one of the best Kalyanji’s scores – good variety of songs
    I saw this in 1988 few hours after getting admission in Engineering. Memorable movie for me in that way too.


    • I agree, this is one of Kalyanji-Anandji’s best scores (they’re not among my favourite music directors, but none of the songs in this film are bad). And, as you rightly point out, a good variety of songs, all the way from bhajan to seductive.

      That’s an interestingly personal connection you have to the film! :-)


  6. Well well well I thought of asking you why you had not reviewed JMN but I took it– mistakenly (as it turns out)— that it did not qualify as it released in the seventies.
    This is masala movie making at its best. I generally don’t care for Dev Anand’s rangeen movies but this is an exception alonwith to a lesser extent Jewel thief.
    Dev really owed his younger brother some.
    Vijay Anand maintains the right touch throughout. Padma Khanna really pushed the envelope so much so that she reprised the role in the tamil version “Raja ” as well.
    Even IS Johar was tolerably good.
    I was wondering why you didn’t mention anything about the windows… i thought you would finally settle a bet I had with friends of mine in our hostel… after watching a rerun of JMN ….and come with a figure was it 27 or 32 . And were a few windows repeated or was every opening unique? :-) Of couse you did mention about noticing it in the comments section.
    Even the long drawn climax confrontation/ fight had enough twists to keep you hooked.
    All in all this movie is proof enough what I often say to my friends a masala movie to be made well is a far tougher call than making the so called “classics”.


    • “a masala movie to be made well is a far tougher call than making the so called “classics”.

      Well said. It’s rather like saying that it’s more difficult to write good humour than it is to write literary fiction. I’ve tried to do both, and literary fiction is a sitter in comparison to humour! A good masala movie – as opposed to bilge like Kahin Din Kahin Raat – can be very difficult to pull off. I think the 70s was a good decade for masala films. The 60s, too, what with stuff like Waqt etc, but I think the genre really came into its own in the 70s. So much brilliant masala there.

      I have never actually sat down and counted how many windows etc there are in Pal bhar ke liye, but I think each is unique – she shuts each door/window/whatever after he tries to enter or peep in through it, so he is forced to find one which isn’t already shut.


      • May be I will watch the song carefully next time around and count the orifices!.
        And now for something completely different … or may be not so different…( you know what i mean hear hear nudge nudge )
        why don’t you do a review of ” Half ticket”!


          • Did this idea take off? Was I in the loop ? One thing led to another and I ended up rereading this review and looked up the conversation about the windows and what do I find… this ! Am I curious


              • Happy birthday to you! Belated by a day. By a strange coincidence I ended up wishing my niece and a long lost cousin over phone yesterday .They share the same birthday as you!
                I am also going to keep a promise I made some time back .I have now discarded some books and rearranged my almirah. So which book should I start on… should I ease into Muzaffar Jung short stories or dive staright into the novels? An honest answer please . The easy one would be to buy all !
                There is a book fair going on in my city and I should be able to lay hands on a paperback or two. I think Hachette is the publisher, right?

                Liked by 1 person

                • Thank you!

                  And, to answer your questions re: the Muzaffar Jang books. Yes, Hachette is the publisher. Personally, I like the two later novels – Crimson City (which, by the way, is now part of the curriculum for English Honours at Delhi University) and Engraved in Stone. The novels allow better character development and so on, so I think they make for better reading. But as one editor told me back then, my short stories are ‘more accomplished’. I’d suggest you get the short stories and read those – then you can see if you like them enough to get the others. :-)


                  • Would do! I will get back to you after I read them! I do read all your posts even if if I may not have commented on them recently!
                    Congrats on making it to the curriculum! ( or is it a double edged sword… People might be put off dubbing you as drab and dry… I for one know better :-)


                  • Will do ! Congrats on getting into the curriculum. In our days it was all the heavy weights who were included in the curriculum . nice to see contemporary writers being included.
                    Rest assured that I do read all your posts but haven’t got around to commenting on them.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Thank you!

                      Besides contemporary writers, I like that they’re also teaching stuff other than literary works – genre fiction, in our time, was looked down upon as being somehow substandard, definitely not the sort of thing you’d need to study.


  7. Would echo the praise for the film. It is an all-out entertainer, but I guess almost every film of Vijay Anand’s, up until the early 70’s was characterised by very impressive writing (I have seen almost all his pre-1973 films). Aside from good production values, generally good performances, a noir-ish kind of visual aesthetic in the early films etc, it was the intelligence consistently revealing itself through the script which stood out, and gave Vijay Anand’s films a distinctive style and character of their own. It’s what identified most of them as well above average Hindi films. His masala ventures, such as ‘Johnny Mera Naam’ were also imbued with this quality. The characters often had a certain haazir-jawaab quality; there was often a lot being spoken throughout the film with quick and intelligent rejoinders frequently flying out of people’s mouths. I think this excellent script writing quality had earlier reached it’s apogee in ‘Guide’, but was also present to a substantial degree in other Anand endeavours such as ‘Tere Ghar ke Samne’, and ‘Jewel Thief’ which I think goes beyond masala (though it is also an all out entertainer). In ‘Guide’, it wasn’t just witty conversations entertaining us, but the writing also lent itself to some poignant moments and powerful exchanges. I know the film isn’t a favourite of yours, but how can I talk about Vijay Anand without mentioning ‘Guide’ once. In Johny Mera Naam, K.A. Narayan can take credit for some of the writing.
    Don’t think that much of Padma Khanna as a dancer, but she was a pretty capable actress, when she given the opportunity to show her acting abilities (She was quite good in Saudager (1973). She did a decent job here as well, but Anand seems to have thrown her in largely as an ‘item’ number. Agree regarding the triplets comic sideplot; wish it had been shorter but a totally paisa vasool film otherwise.


    • “The characters often had a certain haazir-jawaab quality

      Very true! It’s particularly obvious in the climactic scene in Johny Mera Naam. That’s what reminded me of Where Eagles Dare. I always think of Vijay Anand as one of Hindi cinema’s best directors when it came to thrillers: it shows even in a film as early as Nau Do Gyarah was – I find it hard to believe that he wasn’t even 25 when he directed it. Brilliant!

      Saudagar is another film that’s been on my list of to-watch films for a long time. Thanks for nudging me! Must try and watch it sometime soon. Have heard so much praise for it.


  8. Nice movie, but not really up to my taste. But it is definitely better than other masala movies of the 70s. My kind of Vijay Anand movies would be more like his movies in 50s and 60s. But if I have to choose between this and Ram Balram, I would choose this.
    And just five years later in Warrant, Pran would play Dev’s father and Sulochana, who was five years younger than him would play his mother.


  9. There’s probably a Jawahar and a Panna lurking somewhere among the rank and file” :-D :-D

    Judging by the comments here, I am probably the one person in this world who hasn’t seen this film. I don’t know how I came to miss it in the DD days, but once past that, I decided to leave 70s Dev strictly alone. Time to remedy that omission. And I’ll pay extra attention to the number of windows in Pal bhar ke liye. I do remember thinking they were excessive – how does she have any privacy in that house?


    • Oh, you should see this one! It’s lots of fun, and Dev Anand, while a far cry from his debonair CID or Nau Do Gyarah days, still hadn’t deteriorated to the Warrant days.

      “I do remember thinking they were excessive – how does she have any privacy in that house?

      Beats me why anybody would build a house like that! But then, my sister’s neighbourhood has a house with glass walls – in the bedroom and bathroom. My sister and brother-in-law see them from the street when out on their walks.


      • I just counted – 17 doors and windows. They are in all shapes and sizes, with at least 14 big enough for Dev Anand to walk in! As if that wasn’t enough useful utilisation of my time, I’ve just spent half an hour watching Warrant! The comments above made me so curious, I thought Dev Anand looks pretty old here, especially in front of Hema, so how awful must he look in that film…I now know! :-(
        So Dustedoff, although this is my first ever comment here, you can imagine what a faithful follower of your blog I am! And as I said on Bollyviewer’s blog, I would love to see another joint venture of the three of you.


        • Wow. That is quite a list. But doesn’t she shut 4 ventilators in the bathroom, and that small oval sliding window (which looks rather like an ornamental mirror, minus the mirror – if you know what I mean)? If I remember, at least those 5 aren’t large enough for him to enter through, either. And some are apertures which she can’t even close! (There’s that thing which swings either way, like a turnstile)

          And, thank you for commenting, Ruchi! (Were you the one who’d suggested – and collaborated – on that makeovers post on Bollyviewer’s blog? I’d enjoyed that so much). Yes, it would be fun for the three of us to repeat this sometime. I enjoyed it, certainly. :-)


          • Wow, you too! You have a keen eye for detail! Ok, I should not have said ‘big enough for Dev Anand to walk in’ but ‘big enough for Dev Anand to enter’. The 4 ventilators were big enough for Dev Anand’s head (also shoulders) to get in and considering that his head was his biggest body part (I’ve read his autobiography – don’t ask me why! I guess I have a fascination for the macabre) I extrapolated that he would be able to break-in through those ventilators. So, the oval window, that you very aptly describe and those circular apertures in the wall, which incidentally she could close – I did have a moment of suspense there, will she, wont she be able to close it and hmm, one other…can’t remember (grrrrr), are the only ones where he couldnt get in. Oh, and not to let important details go by, she could close the turnstile – bolt it on one side!

            And yes, I did the write the makeover post with Bollyviewer on her blog. That was fun to do, glad you enjoyed it! :-)


            • Hehe! Yes, it looks like we do both have an eye for detail. I did wonder if he would be able to squeeze through the ventilators, but didn’t actually go back to check how wide they were. If his shoulders could squeeze through, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could get through. :-)


  10. Johny Mera Naam such an wonderful Movie and thanks for sharing this..!! Am a great fan of Classic bollywood movie, like all the way they was, No nudity at all, And all are Family movie, but now a days i’m missing that..!! Appreciate your post..Great thanks to you.


  11. What a wonderful triple bonus, by the masala sisters! I loved your review, loved the comments, hated the wigs, love the songs, especially O mere raja … and of course, Pal bhar ke liye …, with all the windows and doors. But Dev Anand and Pran claiming to be in their twenties? By then, both were showing their age. As far as I was concerned, I S Johar was the best part of this movie and made watching it worthwhile.
    Only a person like you would have noted the presence of so many ‘gems’ – heera, moti, etc and I was laughing at the possibility of a jawahar and panna lurking around. And I never understood why Hema and Dev had to meet in Nalanda, of all places. Did they not have any good spots in Bombay or wherever these characters were supposed to be? Okay, I should know better than to ask these questions!


    • Thank you so much, Lalita! I’m glad you enjoyed this review. Despite all its flaws and warts, I still like Johny Mera Naam a lot – such a lot of fun. I do agree that IS Johar was superb in this – that Filmfare Award was richly deserved. His character as Pehle Ram, especially, was fabulous – he had the best lines. :-)

      I suppose they figured that if the action has to move to Nepal anyway (though I don’t see why that was necessary, either… did they just want to shoot abroad, no matter where it was?) – then may as well film en route at some interesting spot. I do admit that the Nalanda ruins do make for a very picturesque backdrop.


  12. A lovely review….A good entertaining movie. I watched this movie many times without getting bored, thanks to Vijay Anand’s direction, the plot and the music. I always saw JMN as a trendsetter for crime movies in the 1970s. It is not very easy to compose memorable songs in a crime movie, but KA did a good job in this movie with all the songs being a hit. I liked the song Babul Pyaare, which is set to good dance movements. A musical highlight in this movie is actually the title music. It is a catchy tune which can also be enjoyed on its own like any other song. The title sequence is interesting (with blood all over) and the music and title sequence complement each other very well. Enjoy the blood and music here!


    • Very true, the title music is catchy, as of course are the titles (to be honest, I hadn’t paidmuch attention to the music the first time round, though the titles had certainly made an impression on me).

      As for another observation you made; yes, I agree that Johny Mera Naam was a precursor to the crime thrillers of the 70s. I, however, also tend to think of Jewel Thief as a precursor to Johny Mera Naam – similar kind of fast-paced script, similar glamour etc. Of course, the long-lost siblings/relatives/sweethearts crime dramas like Yaadon ki Baarat or Hun Kisi se Kam Nahin are definitely closer to Johny Mera Naam than to Jewel Thief


  13. i cannot watch this movie cause of sets. the sets of the most of 70s movies i don’t like it all. till mid 60s they are tolerable enough. like junglee was coming no problem to the eyes. may be lighting changed technicolor so all changed.


    • Ah, well. To each their own. It was somewhat garish, but nowhere as close to eye-poppingly bad as some other films I’ve seen. And it was entertaining enough, to some extent.


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