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Joined: 18 July 2005
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Johnny Leverage for Zee
MUMBAI, May 25</>
While there were quite a few imitative versions of the famous comedian entertaining the viewers in 'The Great Indian Comedy Challenge', Zee has decided to use the original, Johnny Lever himself, in a quest for more viewers. The new show, which will go on air in June 2006, is called 'Johnny Aala Re'.
The show will feature Lever in different avatars in every episode, but putting up a whole act in each one.
No doubt, Zee is keeping its hopes from the show high, considering the fact that artistes such as Lever come for a high price, but the question is whether Zee's effort comes too late?
Close watchers of the industry say that Lever certainly has the capacity to hold viewers for 30 minutes, at least for the initial few episodes.
They are all unanimous about the fact that Lever still has a huge fan following and his 30 minutes of laughs will not go unnoticed or unappreciated.
Quite a few people in the industry are gung-ho about the success of the show. As Praveen Tripathi, CEO, Media Direction, puts it, "If it's Johnny Lever, it's bound to work."
But Tripathi also puts in a word of caution. "The show has to be supported with good scripts to sustain itself in the long run," he says.
He adds, "Although there are quite a few comedy shows running on television, there is still a dearth of good comedy."
Amin Lakani, director, CTG, Group M, concurs with Tripathi. He says, "The real task for Zee would be to continuously reinvent and redesign the content so as to surpass the benchmark set by STAR One's 'Laughter Challenge'. Mere imitation of actors might not work for a long time, which is why avoiding monotony is of key importance."
Speaking in terms of the reach and audience the show will acquire, Premjeet Sodhi, senior V-P, Lintas Media Group, asserts, "Zee has a wide reach and, so, getting the initial viewers will not be difficult. Moreover, a leading comedian like Lever will draw audiences. So, even if Zee is a late entrant, it will find an audience."
Apart from its on-air promos, Zee has not promoted 'Johny Aala Re…' very aggressively. The reason, as the media planners speculate, is the unique format of the show, which does not need outright promotion; mere word-of-mouth will suffice.
On whether it will usher in the numbers for Zee in terms of channel share, Tripathi explains, "This one show cannot do wonders for Zee. It will get an initial sampling, but may not elevate Zee's share. It can definitely hold audiences around that time band and create awareness about shows before and after 'Johnny Aala Re...'"
Well, surely that means that till Lever runs out of jokes, Zee can leverage on his popularity
Joined: 17 April 2005
Johny Lever's take on 'Mughal-E-Azam' Mumbai:
Johny Lever, the host of Zee TV's latest comedy show "Johny Aala Re", does a take off on veteran Dilip Kumar in Monday's episode rather interestingly titled "Mobile Phones In The Era Of The Great Moghul".
Conceived by producer Akashdeep, the spoofs and gags are set around the Dilip Kumar-Madhubala classic "Mughal-E-Azam".
Johny will be seen as prince Salim and Deepshikha will play his ladylove Anarkali. The producers erected a lavish set to shoot the episode, which also includes a list of parody songs.
According to a recent survey, "Johny Aala Re" has had a record breaking opening with 3.3 TRP rating on the 10 p.m. slot.
Going by Johny's past record, his talent assures a hilarity riot to its viewers.
Joined: 14 October 2005
Do you know John Rao from Kamkam village in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh? Probably not.
But the name of Johny Lever, comedian extraordinaire, will surely ring a bell, if not wring a few smiles out of the most morose person.
Johny Lever is Bollywood's most sought-after comedian, with sold-out comedy shows across India and roles in several plum projects. He has become an essential part of every film today.
So it all started in the bylanes of his village, and then in school where he would imitate his school teachers. Of course, like all kids, Johnny loved movies while growing up, though he was not allowed to see that many.
He started doing stand up comedy at the age of 10 years. Though Johny dropped out of school after Class VII, he got a job at Hindustan Lever, Mumbai, for 5-6 years and regaled his colleagues with stand-up comedy.
When the time came to perform on stage, he decided to retain the Lever bit and it caught on.
He got his first break in the movie Dard Ka Rishta, after the late Sunil Dutt saw him perform at a charity show organised by Kalyanji-Anandji.Though Johny has his own style, he draws inspiration from the late Johnny Walker,
Johnny says he holds the role he played in Baazigar closest to his heart, because he feels that the audience saw him as an actor of substance.
He adds that he likes to work with directors who give him something new, something fresh and challenging and does not hesitate in turning down those who want him in their movies just because his name sells.
With his short stature, dark skin and a passion for mimicking people, this southern star does not quite fit the larger-than-life illusions Bollywood spins.
But Johnny Lever can not only carry an entire movie on his shoulders, but also attract sold-out crowds to his one-man stage shows.
At a show in Atlanta, Johny brought the house down with his impersonations of Michael Jackson and his spoof of Indians in the United States: 'You have a $3 billion budget for flyovers here? Our bribe budget exceeds that!'
He has an incredibly mobile face, a lithe body that he can still contort into incredible shapes, and is often touted as the Jim Carrey of India.
Johny Lever is the undisputed comedy king of Bollywood films and wants his son Jesse to continue his legacy.
You will soon see him in movies like Ek Haseena, Ek Deewana,Phir Hera Pheri and Saawan:The Love Season.
And of course, on your Television screen! Johny Aala Re airs only on Zee TV Monday to Wednesday at 10 pm.
Joined: 26 April 2006
"If not an actor I would have worked with Hindustan Liver Limited..."
Hiphop> Which artist you love to mimic the most?
Johny Lever> Sanjeev Kumar.
Naughty> What is the future of stand up comedians in India?
Johny Lever> The future is really bright for such artists. If the audience accepts them with open hearts, they will go places.
Fool> Your new show on Zee is not that funny. Do you plan to change or improve it?
Johny Lever> Is not that funny because of technical problems. But now we are improving it day by day. New things take time to settle. We are working hard on it. We want to reach out to people of all ages which take time.
Hiphop> What kind of roles are you getting in the future?
Johny Lever> I am getting the same kind of roles which I have already done. Therefore I have become choosy and very selective about my roles. I want to do something different which I have not done so far.
Sammy_Dude> Do you identify with any of your onscreen characters? Which one and why?
Johny Lever> I identify with my character Babulal of Baazigar because we both are partially forgetful.
Johny Lever> Hi sir, I am a big fan of yours and talking with you for first time.
Johny Lever> Johny Lever from now onwards the next time it will be second time. I will wait for it. Thank you.
Fool> Even after attaining so much fame, how do you keep yourself grounded?
Johny Lever> Which ever flight take off has to land back and there are so many people on the flight. But I am a just human and made to walk not to fly. So I am grounded (laughs).
Sammy_Dude> How did you feel when you were facing the camera for the first time?
Johny Lever> I got fever when I had to face the camera for the first time. I couldn't sleep the night before because of the fear. But I did a good job in my first shot (that was by mistake).
Suku> Johny do you have kids and would you like them to do become actors.
Johny Lever> Yes I have a son and a daughter. I would like my son to become a comedian but only after his graduation. My daughter wants to become a singer.
Ravi_Dam> Which media do you like the most - films or TV?
Johny Lever> Both because they are different from each other. Moreover I am getting to learn a lot in TV.
Ravi_Dam> Tell us about the off-screen Johny Lever. If not an actor then he would have been ?
Johny Lever> Off screen I am funny as well as serious. I am a little shy also. If not an actor I would have worked with Hindustan Liver Limited, where I was working before I joined acting. But I always wanted to become an actor since childhood.
Johny Lever> Film stars have less time to make holidays. Yet have you got chance of visiting our place in Delhi?
Johny Lever> Yes I have been to Delhi. Moreover it's the capital of our country, so who will not like to visit the place.
Ravi_Dam> Which is your favorite pick-up line?
Johny Lever> My favorite pick up line is Tussi Great ho! Tussi Toop Ho!
Pra123> Please act in other serials, your acting is awesome!!
Johny Lever> Thank you and if I get a chance I will for sure act in other serials. Why don't you produce a serial?
Jeet_Saru> What sort of portrayals do you personally prefer to do?
Johny Lever> Something similar to Mehmood portrayal in the movie Kunwara Baap.
Jeet_Saru> How did you started your journey and which was your first movie?
Johny Lever> I started with performing on stage. Then I joined music director Kalyanji anandji musical troupe (I was doing stand up comedy there). Through them I got my first break in the movie Yeh Rishta Na Toote.
Suku> Would you ever act in an Ekta Kapoor soap opera, if given a chance?
Johny Lever> I will act but I will have to cry in her serial which I don't know how to do? Ask Ekta to teach me how to cry (laughs).
Jeet_Saru> One thing you never leave your home without?
Johny Lever> It is my mobile phone.
Fundoo> How do you feel after achieving so much success?
Johny Lever> I feel really nice and also scared at times of losing my fans love.
Devil_Dare> If deserted on an island whom would like to take along with yourself?
Johny Lever> I will take my wife along for my safety!
Fundoo> Can you narrate the most comic incident from your life?
Johny Lever> The most comic incident was when Mr Sunil Dutt was introducing me to perform in a shot and the camera man told me to move away. Dutt Saab corrected the camera man and told him that he is going to perform and not him. This incident happened in the year 1981.
Sign off Message> Thank you for all the questions. Be happy, be good and may god bless all. Take care. Johny Lever.
Joined: 17 April 2005
Joined: 17 April 2005
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