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Charlie Chaplin, Kishore-da, Mehmood are Universities of comedy, from whom I have imbibed and graduated: Johnny Lever

Monday, November 27, 2017
By Chaitanya Padukone

Known for its innovative comedy shows, Sony SAB channel is all set to initiate a never seen before ‘crime-comedy’ concept! This new show ‘Partners – Trouble Ho Gayi Double’ premiering on Tuesday, November 28, Monday to Friday at 9:30 pm only on Sony SAB brings double the fun and double the comedy with its fresh treatment of a buddy cop comedy series. With Bollywood and live stand-up comedy-mimic superstar Johnny Lever staging his comeback, on the telly-screen in this show,  an epic entertainment extravaganza is in store for home-viewers. The Afternoon D&C had an exclusive conver-session with the candid Johnny-bhai as he reveals why he accepted this telly assignment.

Over a decade ago, you appeared in your television comedy show ‘Johny Aala Re’. Why did you keep away from TV all these years ?
Honestly, the response to my previous show ‘Aala Re’ was not as overwhelming as expected. We felt it could have been much better and needed to be perfect. Thereafter, I became extremely busy performing at ‘live shows’ where I dabbled successfully in ‘emotional-satirical-comedy’ and then acted as comedian in dozens of Bollywood movies in striking funster roles.

What did you find so exciting that now you agreed to be part of  ‘Partners – Trouble Ho Gayi Double’?
This time it’s perfect. Being produced by the hugely talented Paritosh Painter, the ‘crime comedy’ concept is innovative with tremendous scope for me as an actor-comedian. There is an amazing ‘double role’ for me. The main continuity character is where I play the Investigating Commissioner of Police called Gogol Chatterjee, with a Bengali accent. The exuberant Gogol-Da is also a big football fanatic which is very evident in the metaphors he uses in his lingo. My other second character is highly challenging and amazing.

Why is it so?
That’s because it has a wide spectrum with diverse ‘get-ups’. My second role is that of a ‘Khabri’’, the discreet informer for the local police station. In reality, he is the twin brother of commissioner Chatterjee and helps the duo solve cases by providing vital inside-information and tips. Appearing in various disguises and characters, now that’s not just a double-role but a multiple role. All the characters are well-etched and bring out individual peculiarities and eccentricities of each role. From an ‘Arab’ to a ‘naariyal-paani-wala to a ‘ beggar’ to a traffic havaldar’ and many more, I am enjoying playing each role.

What exactly is the story-line of this Partners Trouble-Double show?
It revolves around the story of Inspector Manav Anang Desai, aka M.A.D and Inspector Aditya Dev who became cop partners at work to solve crimes together. Inspector Manav played by Kiku Sharda (known for his comic antics in Kapil Sharma’s show) is a lazy and clumsy man but he thinks of himself as a very skilled and sharp police officer. On the other hand, Inspector Aditya, enacted by Vipul Roy is an intelligent, strong and devoted policeman. The duo is forced into forming a partnership as a part of the Special Investigation Team headed by the Commissioner, that’s me. Aditya and Manav are complete opposites in their approach and behaviour, in fact their dislike for each other is also very evident. There are also romantic undercurrents in the show.

Johnny-bhai, you are a self-taught supremo mimic, amazing actor and  superstar stand-up comedian! Who have been your inspirations since childhood?
Right from childhood, my fetish-passion had been to minutely watch movies of legends like Charlie Chaplin, Kishore-da Kumar, Mehmood-bhaijaan and Johnny Walker, and imbibe whatever I could. They are Universities of benchmark comedy, from where I have studied and graduated.

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