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Tuesday,21-September-2021

Bollywood

Johnny Lever is smiling because comedy is now serious business

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 In recent times, one of the renowned Marathi comedian-actor-mimicry artists Madhav Moghe passed away and Bollywood veteran Johnny Lever paid tribute to him. Looking back at this whole transformation of how the presence of comedians used to be quite elementary back in the day in cinema to now, as youngsters are making it a full-time profession and counted as ‘artists’ by society, Johnny tries to analyse the change.

In conversation with IANS, Johnny said, “I remember back in the day, when I was a youngster, doing a full-time job and in the free time looking for platforms to perform as a comedian, all the so-called elite clubs in Colaba wouldn’t entertain a comedian. This used to be so ‘unsophisticated’ for them. I wondered why? Was is it our jokes that weren’t relatable for them or were differences in sense of humour that created the barrier? I went to the Radio Club, Colaba and tried to observe people over there. Their coffee-table conversation, their sense of humour and realised it is a combination of both. Every joke has an audience, we have to serve it to the right place.”

He went on adding, “But it is also true that for the longest time, the business of comedy was never taken seriously. That is why perhaps we, the stand-up comedians, the mimicry artists were neither taken seriously nor given the respect and money we deserved. You see, we would travel with big celebrated artists and would get a small stage time, just for comic relief. Now, when I see all the youngsters, including my daughter Jamie (Lever) doing a whole show I realised the progressive change has come!”

While Johnny believes that his popularity in Bollywood films also helped him to flourish and gathered more crowds he recalls how earlier especially in cinema, there was a dearth of good comic writers.

“The whole process of structured writing was not existing for the longest time and for comedy scenes, it has to be 30 per cent writing and 70 per cent improvisation. I remember how in ‘Baazigar’ I was told to include my moments in the scene while acting. Those moments were quite improvised…” recalled the actor who is known for his performances in films like ‘Raja Hindustani’, ‘Dulhe Raja’, ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’, ‘Total Dhamaal’, ‘Coolie No.1’ among many others.

However, he believes that there is a clear distinction between comedy that is happening in the regional scene like in Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and in Hindi. He also pointed out how some content is quite westernised whereas some are pure entertainment.

“Since the new culture of ‘stand-up comedy’ is coming from western culture, the style and the humour is also urban at times. But it is good to see how some Indian comedians are creating content that is very local, fun and adding various elements including mimicry! Making the voice of another famous person, adding a dash of humour to that and the amount of practice it requires for right voice modulation – trust me it is a task. Mimicry is an art, those who are doing it are artists,” said Johnny.

He also shared how late Madhav Moghe, who appeared in Hindi films like ‘Damini’, ‘Ghatak’ and some of the popular Marathi films, used to do mimicry of Sanjeev Kumar from ‘Sholay’ – and it inspired Johnny. Moghe was also associated with Melody Makers Orchestra and travelled the world with various artists. Johnny paid tribute to the late actor as president of MAAM (Mimicry Artist Association Mumbai).

“I was a youngster who would go to watch his live performances whenever I got a chance and he was an inspiration to me. He would make many sounds including planes, trains, animals as well as of famous actors. It was a moment for me when I told myself, ‘Mujhe inke jaisa banna hai’. Back then, I had to prove to my father before quitting my job that I can run our kitchen by doing small roles in films and comedies. Today, my daughter Jamie who is also a budding comedian doesn’t have to prove that to me!” Johnny signed off.

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Bollywood

I-T sleuths ‘search’ Sonu Sood’s home for second day

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 For the second consecutive day, the Income Tax Department continued its ‘survey’ operations at the home of Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, official sources said here on Thursday.

A team of IT sleuths swooped on the 48-year-old Sood’s Juhu home to carry out search operations to detect certain alleged financial irregularities.

The IT department is examining bank statements, books of accounts, documents and details of financial or other business transactions during the ‘survey’, for suspected tax evasion, though no details are being shared officially.

In Wednesday’s operations, the IT had searched around half-a-dozen premises linked to the actor, including offices and other properties in Mumbai and certain locations in Lucknow.

Sood shot into limelight last year (2020) for arranging free flights or luxury buses for stranded migrants during the lockdown due to Covid-19 pandemic and sent them to different parts of India, besides organising liquid medical oxygen supplies to various hospitals during the second Covid wave this year (2021).

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IT department ‘surveys’ actor Sonu Sood’s Mumbai premises

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Actor Sonu Sood.

 The Income Tax Department is ‘surveying’ the Mumbai offices and home in the suburbs belonging to Bollywood actor Sonu Sood here on Wednesday, official sources said.

Teams of IT sleuths began the operations since morning, though the reason behind the action is not immediately known.

Sood had shot into prominence last year for arranging free flights to enable stranded migrants reach their homes in different parts of India during the nationwide lockdown.

He also had a scrap with the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for allegedly converting his six-story house in Juhu into an illegal boarding.

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Tahira Kashyap reveals how Ayushmann Khurrana won her heart

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Ayushmann-Khurrana

On Ayushmann Khurrana’s 37th birthday on Tuesday, his filmmaker-wife Tahira Kashyap revealed how the actor won her heart, when they both were just 19 years old.

Tahira on Tuesday shared a throwback picture on Instagram and penned a heart-warming note talking about how the actor wooed her.

“We were 19! I found you quite cool, with your frames, bike, matching sweaters and mufflers, but what got my heart was when you held the guitar and sang a song for me,” Tahira wrote.

She added: “You have always been passionate about art and what inspires me is after all these years your innocence and excitement towards work and life remains the same. You have been my biggest confidante and cheerleader.

“I might not be a big romantic as the goofiness (like you would say) gets the better of me, but I want to tell you that life is amazing with you and I continue learning a lot from you! Happy birthday umm P.S. – we were such lookers no.”

Ayushmann and Tahira were childhood sweethearts. The two got married in 2008. The couple welcomed their son Virajveer in 2012 and daughter Varushka in 2014.

Ayushmann’s upcoming roster includes ‘Anek’, ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ and ‘Doctor G’.

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