#RemoveFarhadfromHeraPheri: Johnny Lever is a well-known name in the Indian film industry, particularly in Bollywood. He is a legendary comedian who has made the audience laugh for over three decades. With his impeccable comic timing and unique expressions, Johnny Lever has become a household name in India.
Born in Andhra Pradesh in 1957, Johnny Lever started his career in the 1980s as a mimicry artist. He performed at various shows and events, and soon gained popularity for his talent. He made his debut in Bollywood with the film ‘Tum Par Hum Qurban’ in 1985, but it was his performance in ‘Baazigar’ (1993) that made him a star. His portrayal of Babulal, a hilarious sidekick to Shah Rukh Khan’s character, won him critical acclaim and made him a sought-after comedian in Bollywood.
Has Bollywood Sacrificed Comedy for Convenience?
Johnny Lever, the renowned actor, comedian and mimicry artist, is a household name in India. He has graced the silver screen with his impeccable comic timing and has left a mark on the audience with his unforgettable performances in movies such as Baazigar, Main Khiladi Tu Anari, Phir Hera Pheri, and Khatta Meetha. Despite his remarkable contributions to Bollywood’s comedy genre, Lever is somewhat disgruntled with the current state of comedy films.
As someone who has dedicated his life to the art of comedy, Johnny Lever believes that the current trend in Bollywood is to churn out films that lack substance and depth. Lever feels that the focus has shifted from creating good content to producing films that are only meant to be consumed and forgotten, much like fast food.
Sharing his reasons with The Indian Express, he said, “Earlier the story used to be paramount in the writing. I miss that time a lot. Earlier there would be situational comedy, when people used to say, ‘देख अभी मज़ा आएगा’ on seeing the comic character, and in reality, on many occasions, people used to giggle.
Taking a dig at the current comedy films, he said, “Today’s films have become like fast food. Earlier films were like a complete plate of food, which had everything: drama, comedy, like pulses, rice, vegetables, sweets etc. People were eager to see him. Today the situation is that you take whatever you like in takeout. I will take chicken, I will take rice, it is done”.
Patience is a virtue: Why it’s important not to push people’s limits
Johnny Lever’s observation cannot be faulted. The advent of OTT platforms and the pandemic-induced shift towards online content consumption have significantly altered the Indian audience’s preferences. Viewers today demand high-quality, engaging content, even in the genre of comedy, and are not willing to compromise on the quality of the content that they consume.
Despite the changing taste of the Indian audience towards strong content, some filmmakers seem to be turning a blind eye to this fact. They continue to make movies, regardless of the public’s disinterest, leading to a decline in the popularity of Bollywood. Take, for instance, the case of Sajid and Farhad Samji, who have been accused of exploiting the audience both on and off-screen. It’s puzzling how these filmmakers continue to receive support from Bollywood producers, despite their track record of producing subpar content. It’s high time that the film industry recognizes the need to evolve with the changing times and cater to the audience’s demands for quality content, even in the comedy genre.
Somewhere Johnny Lever’s target was also towards people like Farhad Samji. Not just this, “#RemoveFarhadfromHeraPheri” was trending on social media.
The recent clips of “Kisi Ka Bhai Kisi Ka Jaan” indicate that Farhad’s upcoming film might not meet the audience’s expectations. What’s worse is that an inexperienced individual has been assigned to lead the “Hera Pheri” series. If #RemoveFarhadfromHeraPheri trend persists, the current state of comedy being akin to “fast food” may lead to a future where people will dread the mere mention of Bollywood. It is essential for filmmakers to realise that the audience’s taste has evolved, and they demand quality content, even in the realm of comedy. Ignoring #RemoveFarhadfromHeraPheri demand will ultimately lead to the downfall of the industry.
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