By Jyothi Venkatesh
Veteran actor and renowned Comedian Johnny Lever opined that lockdown enhanced the challenges of script writers as various social media platforms easily offered humorous programs to the audience, who became used to it. Johnny Lever was speaking during a Masterclass titled ‘Humour in Cinema’ during the 21st Pune International Film Festival, organized by Pune Film Foundation and Government of Maharashtra, at the PVR Icon on the Senapati Bapat Road on Tuesday. Pune Film Foundation President and PIFF Director Dr Jabbar Patel interacted with Lever, who rose from humble background.
“The sense of humour of the public has increased. People are able to view comedy content in short videos on social media and thus the challenge of script-writers for writing comedy is increasing,” Johnny Lever said.
“Comedy has to be ingrained and comedians are born with it. I indulged into mimicry of actors and mimicked most of the actors including Ashok Kumar, Jeevan and Jagdeep. But the transition to acting was indeed difficult and I struggled for 12 years just to get that right. Reacting to other actors’ roles is an important trait for comedians and that was what I learned through observation during the shoots,” said Johnny.
Considering Charlie Chaplin as his godfather and Late Comedian Johnny Walker as a man with profound world knowledge, Lever also said that comedy was a serious business but nowadays most of the times the directors and writers lack discipline and compromise on the content, which may result into failure of the film.
“Earlier, film making was a challenging job as the directors went out of their way to cast an actor for a particular role but that’s not the case nowadays as filmmakers look for easy ways for casting actors. One cannot just make people laugh at trivial things as it takes efforts and for that the entire credit goes to the actor,” Johnny Lever asserted.
Speaking on indecency in the films, Johnny Lever said that when there is a dearth of original content it paves the way for vulgarity.
Speaking on Late Comedian Mehmood, Johnny Lever said, “Initially when I worked with him, I was under a lot of pressure as Mehmood was a great star with a massive fan following. Nevertheless, he took me under his wings and taught me the art of humour.”