Punnu wrote on 11 Aug 2008
Johnny Walker (real name Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi), the son of a textile mill worker was born on May15, 1923 in Srinagar, Kashmir, India. He had a big 15 member family which was difficult to manage for his father,five of which died young.The family shifted to Bombay when the textile mill where his father used to work closed down. Badruddin tried his hands in many occupations which also included the job of a conductor in Bombay Electric Supply and Transport (B.E.S.T) buses.Though he was posted on several routes, he was mostly seen working on Dadar bus depot.
Badruddin had the habit of entertaining passengers with some antics while issuing the tickets as B.E.S.T conductor. One day, Balraj Sahni, who was travelling in a B.E.S.T bus saw the antics of Badruddin who was the conductor of the bus, Balraj Sahni who was busy penning the script for Baazi(1951) for Guru Dutt. Balraj Sahni got impressed by Badruddin and introduced him to Guru Dutt as a candidate for role of a comedian. Badruddin gave a screen test in which he had to act as a drunkard and he did it so well,that Guru Dutt gave him new screen name 'Johnny Walker' after the famous Scotch whisky brand.In this way, Johnny Walker got his first break with Guru Dutt in Baazi (1951).
His performance in Baazi (1951) got lots of praise hence Guru Dutt and Johnny Walker duo worked together in many further films. Some of those memorable films were C.I.D(1956) in which Johnny Walker played the Master, pickpocket and Pyaasa(1957) in which he played the masseur Abdul Sattar. Walker used to get one of best lines and hummable tunes in the Dutt's films. Dutt and Walker often used to go for expeditions,who had become very good friends.
Johnny Walker kept getting popular day by day,and one day he got his own film,Johnny Walker(1957). Johnny Walker was approached by many more directors and he did some outstanding work in some of those films.Few of them were B.R.Chopra's Naya Daur(1957), Bimal Roy's Madhumati(1958) and K.Asif's Mughal-E-Azam(1960). He was the leading man in many films like Chho Mantar(1956), Mr Qartoon M.A.(1958), Khota Paisa(1958). The latter two films broke all box-office records. He also did Mr John(1959), Zara Bachke(1959) and Rikshavala(1960) as a lead role. In the 60s, he began to fade out a bit due to the arrival of Mehmood onto the screen who took over the centre stage in the role of a comedian.Though,Walker kept working on further out of some of noteworthy performances were Shikar(1968) and Anand(1971) where for a change he was seen in a serious role which he performed with ease. His last performance came as a make-up artist in Kamal Hassan's Chachi 420(1998), in which he was seen with a bottle of alcohol. Nothing else could had been a better end to his career.
Johnny Walker also had the privelege of winning filmfare awards.In 1959,he won filmfare award for best suppporting actor in Madhumati(1958) while in 1969,he won the best comedian filmfare award for the film Shikar(1968).
Johnny Walker met his wife Noor on the sets of Mr & Mrs. 55(1955) In real life,Walker was a devout Muslim and a strict teetotaller and used to not even touch a single drop of alcohal. Such was the friendship of Guru dutt with Johnny Walker that Guru dutt would try to keep changing scripts to make a role possible for Walker. He was a devout Muslim and used to keep a low profile even at his peak stage of career. He died on 29th July,2003 in Mumbai,India.
His son Nasir Kazi is a TV anchor and film actor ( he played one of the sons to Amitabh and Hema in Baghban).