Johnny Walker started his film career in 1948, but Guru Dutt's films showed him the peak of his career. Baazi, CID, Mr. & Mrs. '55 are some of his best movies with his best friend, who was actually crazy for Johnny Walker’s versatility. He was the first comedian whose part was in tremendous demand in the film by not only audience but also producers. People used to come to watch many movies after seeing his name. Off course, he had at least one song in every movie and he used to perform them so vividly. May it be his raised eyebrows in ‘Sirrjo tera chakaraye…’ or his expressions in ‘Yeh hai Bombay meri Jaan’! He always got paid and respected just like the lead actor. His attempts to portray heroic personae in the eponymous Johnny Walker and Mr. Quartoon were not successful but as he was typecasted as a comedian, films such as Mere Mehboob, Pyaasa, Madhumati, Chori Chori made him a star. It did not matter to audience how much time he is going to be on the screen or what would be his role, all they knew was ‘Laakh dukhon ki ek dawa hai,
Kyu na aazmaye?’
His films never faced a cut at sensor, which were always family comedies. It was after 1970 he started feeling like the ‘clean comedy’ has almost on the verge of finishing. Eventually, he opted to part ways from Hindi films. Guru Dutt sudden demise also shattered him.
“Jabse yeh industry ‘Bollywood’ bann gayi hai, mere mijaaz ko yeh comedy samjh nahi aayi chij aur mein kaam nahi karna chahta tha aise. Bahut ijja tkamaa li, bahut naam kamaa liya… ab double meaning aur vulgarity wali filme karke mein kyu apna naam kharab karu?”
His final film came after an absence of 14 years when he took a role in Chachi 420 (1997) on the request Kamal Haasan and the script writer Gulzar. He definitely enjoyed his life after films as he always says,
Being a ‘teetotaller’ he never touched alcohol in his life although, touched millions of hearts with his pure acting of drunkard. He has always been a classic inspiration for the next generation of actors.
He was a simple man, had simple dreams of security and stability for his family, just like all of us!
It was a normal day in 2003, when he breathed his last, and suddenly he was gone, leaving behind three sons, three daughters, his millions of mourning fans and the ultimate Tel maalish Champi!
Written by Medini Kajarekar
Walking through the pages to find home in words.