Remembering one of the most popular comedians of Indian film industry I.S. Johar on his 100th birth anniversary!

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I.S. Johar Biography

An Indian film actor, screenwriter, producer and director, Inder Sen Johar was recalled on his 100th birth anniversary. He was born in Talagang, Chakwal in the state of Punjab, Pakistan on 16th February 1920. He finished his master’s degree in Economics and Politics first and then completed LLB. He was recognised as one of the most educated actors of his own time.

While he was attending a wedding with his family in Patiala, Punjab, a turmoil escalated in Lahore and he could not go back to his native place. Thereafter, he began working in Jalandhar and his family was staying in Delhi.

In 1943, Johar exchanged his conjugal vows with Ramma Bains in Lahore, a former actress and the couple was blessed with a son named Anil Johar and a daughter named Ambika Johar. Ramma Bains later started a weight watchers club in India. Later the couple was separated. Their children also instigated their career in Hindi film industry. Anil Johar made his on-screen appearance in 5 Rifles and Nasbandi and Ambika Johar acted in the late 1970s movies like Nasbandi in 1978. He also went around with actress Minna Johar and actress Sonia Sahni.

Yash Johar, the father of Karan Johar is the younger brother of I.S. Johar. 

I.S. Johar received a BAFTA Best Actor Nomination for Harry Black. He was honoured with Filmfare Best Comedian Award in 1971 for the movie Johny Mera Naam. 

On 10th March 1984, he passed away in Bombay.

I.S. Johar Life

Johar shifted to Bombay to begin his life’s journey in the Indian film industry. He made his debut appearance in Roop K Shorey’s directorial ‘Ek Thi Ladki’ in 1949.

I.S. Johar gave almost 30 years of his life to Bollywood industry from the 1950s to the early 1980s and also worked in Punjabi cinema. He acted in cameo roles in several international movies like Harry Black (1958), North-West Frontier (1959), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Death of the Nile (1978) apart from Maya (1967), a US TV series. He is still remembered for his movie Johny Mera Naam (1970) and Shagird (1967). He performed in various Punjabi films including Chaddian Di Doli (1966), Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai (1969) with Prithviraj Kapoor and Yamla Jatt with Helen.    

Johar acted, directed and penned down the best division based movie Nastik in 1954, Johar Mehmood in Goa and Johar Mehmood in Hong Kong in which he worked jointly with Mehmood. The movies were influenced by the comedy movies of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby style Road to ……series.

Johar was a unique fun-loving and extraordinary human being, a lifelong liberal who got married five times which is a distinguished number by Indian standards. He kept on coming with B-grade movies due to the non-availability of funds. The movies which he directed and acted in were always led by the renowned lady Sonia Sahni, most notably in Johar Mahmood in Goa, 1964. 

He also acted in the movies with his own cognomen in the title such as Mera Naam Johar, Johar in Kashmir and Johar in Bombay which was evidence to his egotism and fame among the big audience for whom this name was a guarantee of loud laughs and comedy. It was a surety of disparaging jibes at Indian customs, mores, superstitions and institutions. The movies Nasbandi proved to be a prank on Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s unsuccessful policies of population control by coerced vasectomies during the period of Emergency. However, the film was banned after the release. I.S. Johar composed a play on Bhutto in which he penned down about Pakistan’s Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Gen Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq. Yash Johar instigated his film career as an assistant director with I.S. Johar in Bollywood industry. Then reigning Congress government had placidly outlawed the play and movie both. 

In 1963, he made an on-screen appearance as ‘Gopal’ in Mario Camerini directorial two Italian movies: ‘Kali Yug, la dea della vendetta’ (Kali Yug: Goddess of Vengeance) and ‘Il Mistero del tempio indiano’ (The secret of the Hindu temple). 

There is much more to write about I.S.Johar besides remembering him as an actor, writer, director and playwright. He was an explicit bigwig, multi-faceted personality and convention binding, anti-establishment hero. His overt political criticism character is clearly visible in his movies like Nasbandi. 

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