On Friday, Johnny Lever makes his OTT debut with the Disney+ Hotstar comedy series Pop Kaun. The veteran first started out doing stand up comedy. In his four-decade career, he has worked in the film and television industries as well. Last year, he appeared in the Gujarati comedy Jaysuk Zdpayo and Rohit Shetty’s family entertainer Cirkus which did not do well at the box office. The comedian discussed the comedy’s rejection by audiences. (Also read: Rajpal Yadav, Johnny Lever, Saurabh Shukla argue over who is the baap of comedy. Watch)
Based on William Shakespeare’s play The Comedy of Errors, Cirkus featured Ranveer Singh and Varun Sharma in dual roles. It also had a large ensemble cast including Pooja Hegde, Jacqueline Fernandez, Murali Sharma, Sanjay Mishra, Ashwini Kalsekar, Siddharth Jadhav, Vrajesh Hirjee, Tiku Talsania, Brijendra Kala and Sulabha Arya. Despite many comedy veterans and Rohit Shetty regulars, the film did not connect with viewers.
In an interview, the veteran comedian spoke about the film’s poor performance, “Every director thinks well about the film, nobody wants to do nuksaan (loss) because they invest heavily in the film — money wise and emotion wise, a lot of effort goes into making films. In Cirkus, humne jo kaam ki, humaare part ki taarif huiee (whatever work we did was appreciated).”
He added, “There could have been some mistakes in the film in totality that people didn’t like because of which the film didn’t work. What can one do about that? But one thing I know for sure that people look forward to comedy, people expect it from us all the time.”
Johnny has worked in over 300 Hindi films, though in the last few years he appears in only one or two a year. He won the Filmfare Award for Best Performance in a Comic Role twice for Deewana Mastana (1997) and Dulhe Raja (1998). The veteran was nominated 13 times in that category.
His children, daughter Jamie and son Jessy, have also followed their father into the entertainment industry. The father-daughter duo worked together in the comedy film Housefull 2 (2019) and are now starring in Pop Kaun alongside Kunal Kemmu, Nupur Sanon, Saurabh Shukla, Chunky Panday and Rajpal Yadav.