Bollywood actor Johnny Lever has worked in over 400 films. But still, there are times when he feels under-utilised as filmmakers bank on his ability to dish out funny one-liners and impromptu humour in pre-set scenes.
“Most filmmakers, who offer me roles say ‘Johnny bhai, come on the sets and do what you feel like.’ That isn’t the way I like to work,” he says, adding, “I have done it in the past, but, of late, I don’t like it. If I get a well-defined role and properly etched scenes, then I feel motivated to perform better. I prefer improvising, rather than creating comedy out of thin air.”
Lever will soon be seen on the big screen in Sajid Khan’s Housefull 2, which he believes is one of his top five performances of all time. The other four films on the list are Baazigar (1993), Aamdani Atthani Kharcha Rupaiyaa (2001), Golmaal Returns (2008) and All The Best (2009). “My talent was well used in those films,” he says.
In Housefull 2, Lever plays actor Mithun Chakraborthy’s childhood friend, who moves to London with him. One of the promos of the multi-starrer even has him speaking in ungrammatical English. “I play a Maharastrian who sticks to the traditional dress code and culture. Sajid is not your usual Bollywood director. He is aware of what works and what I’m capable of, which is why the comic scenes have turned out so well. He hasn’t wasted me as an actor either.”