To bring Johnny Walker Week to a close, a post from his daughter Tasneem Khan, about a friendship whose depth few people were aware of. Over to Tasneem:
My major complaint against Hindi cinema has been that we’ve never given comedy the sort of status it’s received in the West. True, there has been the occasional classic comedy – Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, Dekh Kabira Roya, Dholak and Padosan, for example – but as a genre it seems to have been largely neglected. Which, in turn, has meant that comic actors have also often not been given due respect for their talents. Making people laugh is I think more difficult than making them cry: and Johnny Walker is one of the very few who’ve excelled at the art. Here, therefore, are some of his roles that I find the most memorable. All, of course, from films that I’ve seen.
Unlike Madhumati and Aar Paar, where he was just a supporting actor (though, in my opinion, his contribution to both films far surpassed the actual screen time of the characters he played), in Chhoomantar Johhny Walker is not just the funny man, but also the hero. He gets to sing and dance (the latter even in drag!). He gets to woo a pretty heroine, be brother to another lovely lady, and he gets to kick some serious ass.
Following Nabil Khan’s heartwarming post on his grandfather, legendary actor Johnny Walker, another post… this one is on Johnny Walker, the actor. Not just the loving family man, but the very accomplished thespian who still commands (as you can see by the popularity of these posts!) a fine fan following.
Over to Nabil, now:
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.