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Birthday special: 6 of Johnny Lever's funniest sequences


For anyone familiar with the 1990s, Johnny Lever is the master of comedy. From playing iconic characters with distinct quirks to witty one-liners, the actor redefined the stature of comic stars for generations to come. On his 60th birthday (14 August 1957), we take a look at six hilarious scenes that stand out for Johnny Lever's impeccable comic timing.

Shriram Iyengar

Born John Rao on 14 August 1957, Johnny Lever is one of the first stand-up comedians in India, and arguably one of the best comedians in the country. His rapid verbosity, wit, ability to imitate characters and people made him one of the most popular actors of his generation. After struggling through a difficult childhood filled with poverty, he tapped into his comic spirit and soon became a star of the stage.

After opening a couple of shows for film events, he was given his break in Hindi cinema by actor-director Sunil Dutt in Dard Ka Rishta (1982). After playing side roles for years, films like Khiladi (1992), Baazigar (1993), Dulhe Raja (1998) saw him emerge as the biggest comic talent of his generation. Lever won an astounding 14 nominations at the Filmfare for his comic performances, winning twice (Deewana Mastana in 1997 and Dulhe Raja).

As the actor turns 60, we take a look at six scenes that define his versatility, comic timing, and wit.

1) Khiladi (1992)

One of the earliest films of Johnny Lever, he delivered brilliantly as the 'nariyal paani wala' in this Abbas-Mustan thriller. For years, the accent and style remained a regular feature on his stand-up shows. This film proved his ability to hold a scene all by himself.

2) Baazigar (1993)

While Shah Rukh Khan's turn as the anti-hero in Baazigar stole the show, it was Johnny Lever's amnesiac Babulal that brought the biggest laughs in this 1993 superhit. The ability of the actor to keep up with the wittiest lines, without missing a beat, set him apart from his peers.

3) Deewana Mastana (1997)

After having spent close to 15 years in the industry, he won his first Filmfare award for Best Comic Performance in Deewana Mastana (1997). As Gafur Bhai, he was actually the sober partner in this hilarious comic caper by David Dhawan.

4) Awara Pagal Deewana (2002)

From one hilarious caper to another, this Vikram Bhatt ensemble comedy saw the actor form a hit partnership with Paresh Rawal. This particular scene stands out for the way both actors play on each other's wit and timing to perfection.

5) Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (2001)

For someone who survived utter poverty to emerge as one of the most loved actors of his time, Johnny Lever understood the attraction and the power of cinema. In Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega, he played the gangster who is fooled by people who promise to turn him into a star. With minimal dialogues and maximum expression, he literally steals this scene.

6) Golmaal 3

In recent years, the actor has teamed up with Rohit Shetty in the hit franchise, Golmaal, to add a new dimension to the already madcap film. The third film in the franchise saw him play a forgetful don who alternates between a mean gangster and a kind, silly buffoon.