Need an instant serotonin boost? Add these Johnny Lever films to your watchlist
Come for Babulal, stay for Chhota Chhatri
If watching a movie is like biting into an oatmeal raisin cookie, Johnny Lever entering the scene is realising that the raisins are actually chocolate chips. ‘90s Bollywood was incomplete without Johnny Lever films making us laugh until our stomachs hurt, and more than three decades later, he still hasn’t lost his mojo as we see in his latest outing, Pop Kaun?
Whether it’s Aslam bhai from Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega or Chota Chhatri from Awara Paagal Deewana — some characters’ impact transcends their screen time. The plot of the movie may be well forgotten but clips of Lever’s roles continue to be shared across social media. Never failing to make an impression with his comic timing and facial expressions, you already know you’re going to be actually LOL-ing when he takes over the scene.
For all the days when life feels nothing less than a drama-packed thriller film, you need a Babulal to remind you to dial down the seriousness and embrace levity. Because as we say at Tweak—nothing is sacred, except laughter.
Here are 8 Johnny Lever films that are pure serotonin
Driven by revenge, Ajay (played by Shah Rukh Khan) woos the eldest daughter of Madan Chopra (Dalip Tahil), a successful businessman. In a shocking turn of events, he takes her life and makes it look like a tragic suicide. But that’s not all; his calculated plan continues when he changes his identity to seduce and get engaged to Chopra’s younger daughter.
In the midst of this crime thriller, we’re introduced to Babulal (played by Johnny Lever), the head of the domestic staff in Chopra’s house, who suffers from a bad case of short-term memory loss. Lever brings much-needed comic relief to the serious storyline with his antics–whether that’s making tea without the chai patti or forgetting the plot-altering information he had to convey. Out of context spoiler: Anarkali ka phone tha, ice cream khana zaroori hai.
Baazigar went on to become Khan’s breakthrough role as an anti-hero. It was also Kajol’s first commercial success, Shilpa Shetty’s debut and brought major recognition to Johnny Lever.
Awara Paagal Deewana
Awara Paagal Deewana is the story of a henpecked husband and his father-in-law who become curious about their new neighbour Gulab Khatri (played by Akshay Kumar). When they discover that he is actually a wanted criminal with a bounty on his head, the duo gets involved in a dangerous mafia feud. It is then that they are confronted by Chota Chhatri (played by Johnny Lever) who may not be the most dangerous don in the world but sure can kill you with comic timing. His extremely volatile personality pairs well with Manilal’s (played by Paresh Rawal) easy-going nature, resulting in some hilarious banter.
Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega
A young man named Prakash (played by Saif Ali Khan) plans to swindle money from his father-in-law. To achieve this goal, Rahul (played by Fardeen Khan) and Harry (played by Aftab Shivdasani) team up with Prakash to help kidnap his wife Sapna (played by Sonali Bendre) and ask for ransom. To their surprise, she’s kidnapped by real goons. Now it’s up to the trio to bring her back from the clutches of the underworld. Johnny Lever convincingly plays the role of small-time gangster Aslam Bhai whose dream is to become a movie star. I don’t know about you but I would have a watch party for Hum Dilwalo Ko Bahut Kuch Hota Hai Sanam featuring *in the voice of Raj Kapoor* Aslam Bhai and Aishwarya Rai.
Anari No. 1
Anari No. 1 follows the misadventures of Raja (played by Govinda) and his girlfriend Sapna (played by Raveena Tandon) as they come up with a plan to abduct Rahul, a wealthy man who is Raja’s doppelganger. However, their plan takes an unexpected turn when Raja finds himself ensnared in his own trap. Plot aside, my sole reason to rewatch the film would be to dance along with Johnny Lever as Daler Mehndi when he takes up the responsibility to rescue Govinda with ‘paanch petis’ as ransom. IYKYK.
Phir Hera Pheri
Raju (played by Akshay Kumar), Shyam (played by Suniel Shetty), and Baburao (played by Paresh Rawal) have their lives take an unexpected turn when they are deceived by a con artist. Now they must seek an alternative method of repaying the money borrowed from a notorious gangster. Raju overhears their neighbour, Munna Bhai (played by Johnny Lever), plotting to steal drugs from another gangster and wrongly assumes they are talking about stealing money. Raju then hatches a plan for the three of them to steal from Munna Bhai and a whirlwind of comic events follows. Once again, Paresh Rawal and Johnny Lever’s exchanges will leave you in splits.
Raj (played by Shah Rukh Khan) is a small-time private detective who is desperate for a big break. Mistaken as a CBI agent, he gets embroiled in a deadly mission to save the Chief Minister from an assassination attempt. Playing the character of his chief assistant Ramlal, Johnny Lever’s scenes heighten the comic plot of the film, whether that’s with the faux eye doctor sequence or the in-flight chaos. Also, who can ever forget those iconic casino glasses? Take my money.
The central plot of Judaai follows the lives of Raj (played by Anil Kapoor) and Kaajal (played by Sridevi), a middle-class married couple. The story takes a turn when Jhanhvi (played by Urmila Matondkar), the rich daughter of his boss develops a fondness for Raj. Kaajal agrees to the marriage, provided she is compensated with a sum of two crores. Let’s be real, the film may have highlighted the love triangle between Anil Kapoor, Sridevi, and Urmila Matondkar but it was Harilal (played by Johnny Lever) and Vaani’s (played by Upasana Singh) love story that stole the show. Johnny Lever once again played the character of a wannabe movie star, but this time he takes the drama a notch higher by going as far as enacting a fake funeral to showcase his talent.
The recently premiered Pop Kaun? sees Johnny Lever making his web series debut as MP Brij Kishore Trivedi. The plot revolves around Sahil (played by Kunal Khemu), the politician’s son who enjoys frequent name-dropping. But when he finds out that he is actually adopted, a roller coaster of events follows his attempts to find his biological father. Bringing all the ‘pops of comedy’ together including Saurabh Shukla, Rajpal Yadav and the late Satish Kaushik—an endless laughter riot is guaranteed.