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spoiledbrat IF-Sizzlerz

Joined: 18 July 2005
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Posted: 18 July 2006 at 10:17pm | IP Logged

Johny Lever: "Yes, I am making a Comeback"

[Interview by Faridoon Shahryar]
Saturday, July 08, 2006
There was a time when his mere presence in a film helped its box office result. His comic timing with Govinda still stands unmatched. After a brief lull, he is back in his own element with hits like '36 China Town' and 'Phir Hera Pheri'. Paresh Rawal, the master comic actor vouches for his "Observation Powers" in studying the comic elements in day to day life. Meet, the one and only, Johny Lever. The man with the midas touch. And undoubtedly, one of the finest comedians of all times! He is also in news these days for his show 'Johny Aala Re' on Zee TV that has been aggressively promoted by the channel and which started off with a TRP rating of 3, which is considered good for a fresh show. IndiaGlitz caught up with him in an upbeat mood... ... and he also promised to do a video interview for our BroadBand section soon. Over to the man who blazed away to humorous glory with hits like 'Baazigar', 'Khiladi', 'Daraar', 'Raja Hindusthani' and many more.

How is the response to 'Johny Aala Re' your first foray in the world of television?
It has been getting mixed reports. It has just started, I am sure it will pick up gradually. We have to do something special and we shall make sure that something special comes out of it. I am getting the positive feedback from the people. I am trying to change my items in every episode. In all the television experience has been very good. It's a lot of hard work and it is difficult. I am learning new things. In films, I worked like kings while working in TV is like being a laborer. But it's good to be a laborer for a change.

You shined in 'Phir Hera Pheri' in spite of the huge crowd of fine actors with a comic tinge
It was a great experience. We worked very hard on the circus sequence and it's good to see people clapping the maximum on that scene. It is as if it is real circus happening before one's eyes.

The Big Chimpanzee had a lot of fun at your expense
(Laughs) It is difficult to evoke laughter when animals are involved as one never knows how it will be taken. Some people start finding faults when it comes to animals these days. We were lucky than no animal conservation people bothered us. Hope they had a good time too watching the film.

It was good to see your performance in 'Phir Hera Pheri' and in '36 China Town' you convincingly outsmarted comedy king Paresh Rawal. Would you term it as a comeback considering you were not much around for a couple of years?
You can call it a comeback. It's like what they say on TV: 'Milte Hain Chote Se Break Ke Baad'. That's exactly what I did. I took a break as I was doing too many similar kind of things and I wanted to avoid that. I also decided not to do films merely because a friend is making it. I became repetitive and I was not liking it. I wanted to bring freshness back in my comedy and I am glad that I am succeeding. My comedy depends on observation. During the last two years I had been watching lots of films, plays and lots of TV, be it the Saas Bahu serials, cartoon network, Astitva, BBC. Or in other words, anything and everything. And I was just observing the changing trends and as to how I can bring some element of novelty in my work. I also got to spend time with my family and I think I needed that badly considering there was a point of time when I was mostly away in shoots.

What is your view point about shows like 'The Great Indian Laughter Challenge' and other shows based on comedy that have become so frequent on TV and now you have joined as well
It is very good that comedy is becoming popular. I am very happy that this thing is happening. It is good that new people are coming. But a lot of work is still remaining before they find acceptance. 'Rang Laati Hai Henna Paththar Pe Ghis Jaane Ke Baad'. They would have to go through the grind. I started off in 1980 by doing stage shows, by doing mimicry of other famous artistes. Then 'Jalwa' happened. Recognition came with 'Khiladi' but I became big with 'Baazigar'. And then I never looked back. Still, it took me several years before I could establish myself.

Who are your favourites when it comes to comic actors in Bollywood ?
From the older generation, I liked Kishore Da, Johny Walker, Mahmood and Jagdeep. In today's generation I would say Paresh Rawal is No. 1. I enjoy working with him. Rajpal Yadav is very good as well.

Any plans of working with your favourite Govinda, with whom you teamed up in so many hits?
Not at the moment. But you never know anything about the future.

What are your forthcoming films?
We will be starting another sequel of 'Hera Pheri' and then there's 'Babu Watchman'. Talks are going on for a few others, but I don't want to take up too much of work. I have become a bit choosy. I want to do good work. And I won't compromise on that any more

Edited by kripaloveangad - 18 July 2006 at 10:17pm

-Priii- IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 April 2005
Posts: 28487

Posted: 19 July 2006 at 5:54am | IP Logged
Johnny Lever

Birth name: Johnny Rao
Nickname: Lallu
Date of Birth:
City: Andhra Pradesh
Country: India
Children: son Jesse
Marital status: married
Spouse: Sujatha
Religion: christian
Education: Andhra Educational Society
Favorite food:
Favorite color:
His hero:
His heroine:
Other facts:
Occupation: bollywood actor
Debut Film: Kunwara
Languages: hindi, english


Saawan: The Love Season
Deewane Huye Pagal
Phir Hera Pheri
Ek Haseena Ek Deewana
Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karen
Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav
Hatya: The Murder
Meri Biwi Ka Jawaab Nahin
God Only Knows!
Koi... Mil Gaya
Main Prem Ki Diwani Hoon
Chalte Chalte
Indian Babu
Kash... Aap Hamare Hote
Kucch To Hai
Chalo Ishq Ladaaye
Kehtaa Hai Dil Baar Baar
Jaani Dushman: Ek Anokhi Kahani
Ankhiyon Se Goli Maare
Awara Paagal Deewana
Yeh Kaisi Mohabbat
Pyaar Diwana Hota Hai
Tumko Na Bhool Paayenge
Yeh Mohabbat Hai
Yeh Dil Aashiqanaa
Aamdani Atthanni Kharcha Rupaiya
Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham...
Nayak: The Real Hero
Love Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega
Chori Chori Chupke Chupke
Raju Chacha
Beti No. 1
Hamara Dil Aapke Paas Hai
Tera Jadoo Chal Gayaa
Joru Ka Ghulam
Hum To Mohabbat Karega
Dil Hi Dil Mein
Hadh Kar Di Aapne
Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani
Dulhan Hum Le Jayenge
Kaho Naa... Pyaar Hai

-Priii- IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 April 2005
Posts: 28487

Posted: 19 July 2006 at 7:30am | IP Logged
Johnny Lever on a Small Screen!!!

Johnny Lever is undisputedly the "king of comedy" in Bollywood today having regaled cinegoers with his unique brand of humour in hundreds of films over the last more than two decades.

Now, in the silver jubilee year of his stint in Bollywood, the "superstar of comedy" Johnny Lever is all set to send TV viewers into splits with his new comedy serial 'Johnny Ala Re', his first ever show on the small screen.

Premiering on Zee TV on June 5 at 2200 hrs, 'Johnny Ala Re' will have Johnny Lever indulge in mimicry, spoofs and meet celebrities in his own style.

To be aired every week from Mondays to Wednesdays at 2200 hrs, the series is being produced by Akashdeep and Sheeba's cinetek telefilms private limited.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital on May 30, 06 to announce the launch of the serial, senior vice president, programming, Zee TV, Ashvini Yardi said the introduction of the comedy series was to consolidate Zee's position as the number two channel in India by strengthening the prime time slot on weekdays which already has 'Saat Phere' at 2100 hrs.

''Till now we have been concentrating on game shows. It is after a long time, nearly four to five years, that we have come up with a comedy show,'' she said.

On the choice of Johnny Lever, she said, ''Johnny Lever is a comedian par excellence. The best part of doing a show with Johnny is that he makes you laugh by just being around. We have also lined up several lively celebrities that go with the flavour of the show.

Johnny will meet them in his own comical manner, ensuring that the audience are in slits, rolling in the aisles.'' On his part, Johnny Lever promised that he would leave no stone unturned in infusing laughter in the lives of TV viewers.

''This is my first series on television. I have wanted to do a TV show for a long time. There have been offers too to do comedy shows on television. For example, ten years ago, Sony approached me to do their show 'Movers and Shakers'. But at that time I was too busy with films to be able to devote time for a TV show that I felt required putting a lot of hard work, more than films. Then few years ago also I received few offers which I turned down for similar reasons,'' Johnny said.
-Priii- IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 April 2005
Posts: 28487

Posted: 19 July 2006 at 7:55am | IP Logged
Johnny Leverage for Zee

Stand-up comedies
have been a trump card for STAR One, be it 'The Great Indian Comedy Show' or 'The Great Indian Laughter Challenge'. Now Zee plans to follow suit and try its luck in that genre.

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!

*Shruti* Global Moderator

Joined: 26 April 2006
Posts: 118096

Posted: 20 July 2006 at 12:57am | IP Logged
Where has Swetta disappeared?
Wonder why you haven't been seeing more of social animal Swetta Keswani partying hard lately? That's because she has been working hard — networking and scouting for good work. "I am on the lookout for some interesting roles, hoping something good comes my way." Meanwhile, Keswani is excited about her film, The Memsaheb, being screened at the Stony Brooke Film Festival. "It's a great moment for everyone involved in the film. I wish I could go attend it, but I also have my play opening on July 26."
Titled Fragile, the play deals with last year's deluge on 26/7.
-Priii- IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 April 2005
Posts: 28487

Posted: 22 July 2006 at 3:09am | IP Logged

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Gup shup: By Sneha Hazarika

After following Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi and Kahanii Ghar Ghar Kii successfully with shows like Kasamh Se and Saat Phere, Zee is now concentrating on getting their supposed laugh riot Johny Aala Re follow the footsteps of Star's super successful show The Great Indian Laughter Challenge.

Johny Aala Re was launched with a lot of fanfare and was expected to break all earlier records, but unfortunately, failed to tickle the funny bones of audiences. While on the other hand, The Great Indian Laughter Challenge continues to entertain viewers, even in its second run. So, the makers of Johny Aala Re have decided to get 'inspired' and increase the frequency of its segment called Main Bhi Johny to twice a week from the current once a week format.

The segment in question has the similarity with TGILC in the sense that it calls upon the common man to send in their entries by post and if selected they get the chance to perform on the show. Seeing the success of TGILC, JAR is confident of increasing its TRPs as well.  

"We are increasing the frequency because of popular demand," Johny Lever gets defensive when compared with the rival show. "They (viewers) want to see this popular segment more often and we have been receiving a load of e-mails.  It proves there are a lot of talented people in the country. It's a unique platform to showcase one's talent."

He further says that there is no similarity between his show and TGILC. "There are a lot of differences between the two. The Great Indian Laughter Challenge is based completely on competition, while ours is just a segment where in we call other people to come and participate," retorts the comic anchor. Whatever may the truth be, one thing is for sure that with Main Bhi Johny, Johhny himself will have tough competition within his own show!

-Priii- IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 April 2005
Posts: 28487

Posted: 22 July 2006 at 9:35am | IP Logged

Johnny Lever
Comedy is serious business
Mansee Dabral,, 21st July 2006
He is either making you laugh, or will find something amusing in what you have to say. We don't think that grin ever leaves funny man Johnny Lever even in his sleep, and when we quizzed him on the same, he does the inevitable: Laugh some more! The man who will put you in a good mood, no matter what, here's some of his enthusiasm rubbing off, when we caught up with him on his whirlwind schedule. Excerpts:

Comedy has taken a whole new dimension than what it was when you started off. What has the transition been like as an actor?

Like they say, it is easy to make people cry, but equally difficult to make them laugh, that is something that I think hasn't changed at all! (Laughs) But seriously, you are right. Comedy is definitely not what it use to be once upon a time. People want entertainment and comedy today plays an important part of that entertainment. Comedy is serious business.

It is said that Abbas- Mustan consider you their lucky mascot?

(Smiles) Is it? Well, what can I say, they have given me some of the most memorable films of my career, and if anything, it is they who are my lucky mascots rather than it being the other way round. (Smiles)

So what is your role like in 36 China Town?

I love this role of mine! It has given me an opportunity to express comedy, which forms a very important part of the main subject of the film, which you will realize when you see the movie.

Now we are going to ask you the most important question of the interview, and you HAVE to tell us: who is the killer in the movie?!

(Laughs Uncontrollably!) I wish I could, but I just can't.

Ok an easy one this time, what's your take the latest kid on the block, Upen Patel?

Oh! He's no kid at all! (Smiles). He is a very hard working and talented boy, and has given it his best shot for 36 China Town. Wait and watch out for his performance.

And give us one good reason to go watch 36 China Town, besides the fact that you are in it?

That's the only way you are getting to know who that killer of yours is! (Smiles)

-Priii- IF-Stunnerz

Joined: 17 April 2005
Posts: 28487

Posted: 23 July 2006 at 2:44am | IP Logged
Johnny makes a easter special

Easter was a bright day for some 1200 inmates of Thane prison, a little away from Mumbai. An NGO called Freedom Foundatin had organized a show with comedian Johnny Lever. The man is absolutely brilliant. From fantastic take-offs on actors to jokes to gently telling the prisoners why it was important to lead better lives, everything that he said was being lapped up by the men. Now if there were more celebs like him to spread the good word around.

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