Image Source: Me Next Magazine-Rajasthan Patrika (02-April-2021)
Johnny Lever ( John Prakash Rao Janumala) is an Indian actor and comedian who is best known for his works in Hindi cinema. Lever is one of the first stand-up comedians in India. Lever has received thirteen Filmfare Awards nominations in Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role and has won the award twice, for his work in Deewana Mastana (1997) and Dulhe Raja (1998). He began his career in 1984 and has acted in more than three hundred Bollywood films.
Lever was born in a Telugu Christian family, to Prakash Rao Janumala, an operator in Hindustan Lever Ltd|HLL plant and his wife Karunamma Janumala in Kanigiri Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, India. He was brought up in Mumbai’s King’s Circle area (Dharavi). His mother tongue is Telugu. He is also fluent in Hindi, Marathi, English and Tulu. He is the eldest in the family consisting of three sisters and two brothers. Lever studied in Andhra education society English high school till the seventh grade but couldn’t study further because of financial problems in his family. He decided to leave school and started working odd jobs, such as selling pens on the streets of Mumbai by mimicking some famous Bollywood stars of that time and dancing to the songs of Bollywood stars. He also spent his early years in Yakutpura, an old city of Hyderabad, where he learnt the unique style of comedy acting. During a Hindustan Lever Limited company function, he mimicked a few senior officers, and from that day on, the workers said he is Johnny Lever. When he later joined the film industry, he decided to use Johnny Lever as his screen name
He started to perform stand-up comedy in musical shows (orchestras), Tabassum Hit Parade and after earning fame, joined the group of Kalyanji-Anandji, a music direction duo. Even before joining Hindustan Lever, he was giving stage performances. Because of his growing absenteeism and since he was earning well from stage shows, he quit HLL in the year 1981. He did a lot of shows and world tours with them, one of his first big tours being with Amitabh Bachchan in 1982. At one of his shows, actor Sunil Dutt noticed his talent and potential and offered him his first movie Dard Ka Rishta.
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