A Journey from Bus Conductor to Legendary Comedian

JOHNNY WALKER BIRTH ANNIVERSARY: Hindi cinema’s earliest and best-known stand-up comedian, Johnny Walker sure knew how to make his audience laugh. Born on November 11, the actor had humble beginnings before he went on to become the King of Comedy. Johnny was known for his pencil-thin moustache, inimitable squeaky voice, and classic drunken antics.

He won the audience’s hearts as the drunken sidekick of the hero in movies like Mr. & Mrs. ‘55 (1955), C.I.D (1956), and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), among others. On the actor’s 96th birth anniversary, take a look at the interesting facts about the comedian:

Not His Birth Name

There is quite an unusual story behind Johnny Walker’s name. He was born Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi, to a family of fifteen members. He later christened himself after the famous Scotch whisky brand, Johnnie Walker. It was a perfect name because of his often drunk sidekick roles and the drunken antics he made everyone laugh with.

Not A Trained Actor

For someone who left everyone in stitches with just a few words, it might have been hard to believe that Johnny Walker was not a trained actor. When the mill where his father worked closed down, his entire family shifted to Bombay (present-day Mumbai).

There he found himself a job as a bus conductor in the B.E.S.T (Bombay Electric Supply and Transport) bus service. He had a knack for entertaining the passengers during the travel and during one such incident, he was spotted by actor and writer Balraj Sahni. Impressed by Johnny, Balraj immediately wrote a role for him in the film he was working on Gamble (1951).

Best In Comedy, Better In Serious Roles

While Johnny was exceptional in his comedy roles, he proved he could do even better when cast into more sombre roles. In Anand (1971), Johnny was seen in the role of Issabhai Suratwala. Although an unusual role for him, Johnny showed his remarkable talent as an actor.

The Final Role

When actor Mehmood took over the title of King of Comedy in the 60s, Johnny began to fade out from the silver screen. However, he gave a fitting final demonstration of his acting skills in the movie Chachi 420 (1997). He played the role of a make-up artist in Kamal Haasan’s movie. Once again, Johnny was seen with a bottle of alcohol!

Long Relationship With Guru Dutt

Johnny gave a stellar performance in Gamble (1951), and Guru Dutt asked him to work together in films. In fact, some of Johnny’s memorable roles were in Dutt’s movies, the likes of Master the pickpocket in C.I.D. (1956) and the masseur Abdul Sattar in Thirst (1957). Outside of the film industry, Dutt and Walker were also great friends and Johnny was grief-stricken at the news of Dutt’s suicide.

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