Johnny Walker : All Time Comedy King of Indian Cinema

Johnny Walker (11 Nov 1926 – 29 July 2003) is the screen name of an Indian movie comedian, who acted in over 300 movies. He was born as Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi in Indore, India, the son of a mill worker. The family shifted to Mumbai (Bombay) when the textile mill his father worked in closed.[Looking after his 15-member family was tough for the father; five of the family members died young. Badruddin tried his hand at different occupations, including the job of a conductor in Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (B.E.S.T) buses. (He was posted mainly at Dadar bus depot, but worked on several routes.)

While issuing tickets as a B.E.S.T. bus conductor, Badruddin used to entertain passengers aboard with some antics. These antics caught the attention of actor and script-writer Balraj Sahni in 1950 while he was once traveling in a B.E.S.T. bus on which Badruddin, then 27, was working as a conductor. Sahni was penning at that time the script for the movie, Baazi (1951), and introduced Badruddin to Guru Dutt as a candidate for the role of a comedian. Badruddin's screen test consisted of acting as a drunk, and he did it so well that Guru Dutt gave him the screen name, "Johnny Walker", after the famous Scotch whisky brand. (Walker was always a teetotaler.) Later Johnny was cast as the hero in a movie, Johnny Walker (1957), which was named after himself.

He had a close friendship with Guru Dutt, who would often change scripts of his movies to accommodate a role for Johnny. The untimely death of Guru Dutt in 1964 deeply impacted him.

During the 1970s through the '90s, he had a few small roles in movies. His role in Anand showed that he could excel in a serious role even if it was for only a few minutes. His last performance was in actor/director Kamal Hasan's Chachi 420 in 1998; he had performed at the request of poet/director/writer Gulzar who had scripted that movie.

He also starred in the Punjabi film Teri meri ek jindari.


Johnny Walker married Noor (short for Noorjehan), a sister of Shakila (actress).[4] He met Noor in 1955 on the sets of Guru Dutt's film Mr. and Mrs. 55. Johnny and Noor had three daughters: Kausar, Tasneem, and Firdaus; and three sons: Nazim, Kazim, and Nasir. Nasir is a well-known movie and TV actor.

Johnny Walker was a humble man, who kept a low profile even at the peak of his career.


Johnny's most memorable roles were in the movies, "C.I.D","Pyaasa" and Chaudhwin ka Chand, wherein he sang the songs,Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan --a paean to the city of Bombay—and Sar Jo Tera Chakraye and a very famous shadi song "Mera Yaar Bana Hai Dulha", respectively. The song "Sar Jo Tera Chakraye" was developed during a visit by Guru Dutt and Johnny to Kolkata (Calcutta) before the filming of Pyaasa. While once having breakfast at a roadside joint, they happened to watch a local masseur apply his talents to a gentleman's head, and Guru Dutt asked Johnny to keep that scene in mind.

In view of the comedian's high popularity, in the 1950s producers would insist that a movie song be centered around Johnny. Johnny's popularity began to wane in the 1960s with the rise of actor/comedian Mehmood. "Filmmakers were no longer interested in my kind of clean comedies, and I thought it's time for me to bid goodbye," he once later said.


* "Johnny Walker’s impeccable style lent a new meaning and respectability to the genre of comedy in Indian cinema," said Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then Prime Minister of India, on Johnny's death.

* "Every time there was a function on Independence Day or Republic Day, I was asked to get all these people to perform. [Indian Prime Minister] Pandit Jawarlal Nehru would request especially for Johnny Walker and Mukri. I could get them as they were my friends. Today that he is no more. I miss him," remarked Indian actor Dilip Kumar on Johnny's demise.