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When Johny Lever, born John Rao, revealed how he got his screen name

Johny Lever turned 64 on Saturday. Did you know how he got his screen name? He was born John Rao.
Johny Lever turned 64 on August 14.
Published on Aug 14, 2021 06:03 PM IST

Comedian Johny Lever celebrated his 64th birthday on Saturday. For decades now, he has entertained audiences and continues to do so. Did you know how he came to be called Johny Lever? Here is the story of his surname. 

Johny was born John Rao and at the age of 18, he started working in Hindustan Lever. A lover of mimicry, he did his programmes there and was named, Johny Lever. It later became his screen name too.

In an interview a few years ago, Johny Lever also spoke about his break in films, which took place in 1980. He also revealed that he wanted to run away while shooting Yeh Rishta Na Toote as he was scared.

Speaking with Jesus Media, Johny had said, “Right from my childhood, I had the habit of mimicking and imitating people. People enjoyed it a lot. I did dance and other performances. Doing all these I turned 17 and started doing stand-up and mimicry shows on stage. I would mimic film actors. When I turned 18 I started working with my father. He used to work at Hindustan Lever. I worked at Hindustan Lever for six years. I did my programmes there too and from there, I got the name Lever and from John Rao, I became Johny Lever.”

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He also added, "I got my break in films in 1980. I was sitting at Kalyanji Bhai's residence. A producer had come from Chennai and said he needed a simple comedian for two-three days work. So Kalyanjibhai said, 'He is sitting here, take him'...I was going to face the camera for the first time and I was very scared. I was so frightened that I couldn't sleep the entire night and had a fever. The next day I went for shooting but was thinking of taking the train to run away. But somehow I stayed back and worked. The name of the film was Yeh Rishta Na Toote."

Johny Lever has worked in many films and has also won many awards for his work. He has starred in films like Tezaab, ChaalBaaz, Khiladi, Baazigar, Raja Hindustani, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai, Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham, Dilwale among many others.

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He was last seen in the recently released Hungama 2, directed by Priyadarshan. The film features Shilpa Shetty, Meezaan, Paresh Rawal and Pranitha Subhash in the lead roles. It also stars Ashutosh Rana, Rajpal Yadav and Tiku Talsania in pivotal roles.

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