Johnny Lever Biography

Birth Name: John Prakash Rao Janumala

Born : 14 August 1957, in Kanigiri, Andhra Pradesh

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Hindi cinema’s funny man Johnny Lever has become a name synonymous with comedy. Born as John Prakasa Rao Janumala on 14 August, 1957 in Andhra Pradesh, he has acted in over 350 films. With his roots in a lower class background, young Lever started his primary schooling but could only pursue his education till the seventh grade. After that, he took to selling pens on streets in order to financially support his family. This is when he also tried to entertain people by mimicking several Bollywood stars. Lever was greatly influenced by the work of Bollywood comedians like Mehmood, Kishore Kumar and Johnny Walker. He developed a passion for standup comedy and mimicry at an early age. To perfect his art, he sought the guidance of Pratap Jani, and learnt mimicry from artist Ram Kumar.

As an employee in Hindustan Lever factory in Mumbai, he was active in company functions and would love to perform onstage. It was due to his popularity due to his talent that he was given the nickname ‘Johnny Lever’. Encouraged by this, he became a part of musical orchestras like ‘Tabassum Hit Parade’. Later, he also became a part of legendary music direction duo, Kalyanji and Anandji’s group and performed at numerous stage shows in India as well as abroad, and gained immense popularity.

In the 1980s, the comedian released his own album called Hansee Ke Hungame. This was well received in the domestic market as well as internationally. This success boosted his popularity even further.

But he finally found his true calling in the Hindi film industry. Tum Par Hum Qurban (1985) was among his first movies, followed by many superhits like Tezaab (1988) Kishen Kanhaiya (1990), Khiladi (1992), and so on.

Post 1995, when he had established himself as a renowned comedian, Johnny Lever bagged supporting roles in top films like Raja Hindustani (1996), Himalay Putra (1997), Ishq (1997), Miss 420 (1998), Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai (1998), and Baadshah (1999).

Lever continued to make his mark in the film industry, and remains one of the most sought after comedians. He worked in many of the hit films of the 2000s, providing much needed comic relief in contrast to the predominant melodrama that defined Hindi cinema. He played roles in Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai (2000), Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani (2000), Chori Chori Chupke Chupke (2001), Nayak (2001), Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (2001), and Jaani Dushman (2002), all of which did extremely well at the box office.

In recent times, Johnny Lever appeared in the top grosser Dilwale (2015), which was his only on screen performance, in 2015.

During the earlier part of his career, Johnny Lever was the recipient of a number of awards for Best Comedian. These included the Star Screen Award for Raja Hindustani (1996), Filmfare Awards for Deewana Mastana (1997) and Dulhe Raja (1998), and the Zee Cine Award for Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (2001).

Johnny Lever also took to television with his self-made stand up comedy show Johny Aala Re.

He is married to Sujatha Janumala, with whom he has two children, a daughter named Jamie Janumala and a son named Jesse Janumala. Jamie Janumala has also followed in the footsteps of her father and is a stand up comedian, and her professional name is Jamie Lever.

Lever has entertained people for over 20 years now through numerous movies as well as live stage shows, but the audiences can never get enough of his performances. 

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Spouse
Sujatha Lever