In this series, we look at Hindi cinema’s blockbusters that are worth a revisit to know what makes our cinema, stars and music tick. Of course, each film has a contemporary relevance in some way. We now look at Johny Mera Naam, the film that set trends galore and influenced future Hindi films for decades.
JOHNY MERA NAAM (1970)
Produced by: GULSHAN RAI
Directed by: VIJAY ANAND
Starring: DEV ANAND, HEMA MALINI, I.S. JOHAR, PRAN & PREMNATH
Did You Know?
- That this Golden Jubilee thriller was the first Indian film to cross a commercial milestone—it did Rs. 50 lakh business per territory when tickets were priced at a maximum Rs 2.50?
- It made the word ‘Johny’ spelt with a single ‘n’ fashionable, and the film’s composers-cum-stage showmen Kalyanji-Anandji’s future protégé, comic Johny Lever, used this as his first name, with ‘Lever’ taken from Hindustan Lever, where he had been employed?
- That the film inspired Sriram Raghavan’s 2007 masterpiece Johnny Gaddaar, its protagonist’s nickname (now spelt with two ‘n’s) and is one of 2015’s first hit Badlapur director’s perennial favourite movies?
- That the film remains the career-biggest hit of brothers Dev Anand and writer-director-editor Vijay Anand, together and separately? It also is Vijay Anand’s last hit as filmmaker.
- That I.S. Johar as a comedian played a triple role in the film, making 1970 a milestone year in which two comics, Mehmood (in Humjoli) and him, played the first two triple roles in Hindi film history?
- That the film also marked the debut of top distributor Gulshan Rai as producer, whose banner Trimurti Films became an institution for decades (Deewaar, Trishul, Vidhaata, Tridev, Mohra, Gupt)?
- That small-time artiste Padma Khanna became a sensation with her striptease number, Husn ke laakhon rang? Since then, she was a compulsory addition to the cast of dozens of big films for a number of years, rivalling top dancers and vamps like Helen, Bindu and Jayshree T.?
- That Premnath, one-time hero, made a spectacular comeback as a villain and remained a topper for over a decade?
- That the all-hit music by Kalyanji-Anandji remains alive even after 45 years, and their background score is considered a benchmark?
- The song Pal bhar ke liye was used in The Simpsons episode Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore (2006).
– Rajiv Vijayakar, a Senior Journalist, Film & Music Critic and Historian for Hindi cinema and Film Music is also an Author and Twice Jury Member at 58th and 62nd National Film Awards.
Rajiv Vijayakar tweets @rajivvijayakar