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Thursday, July 30, 2015

On Johnny Walker’s 12th death anniversary, daughter Tasneem Khan pays a tribute

My dad, Johnny Walker: Johnny Walker, the legendary comedian, who reigned in the 1950s, has almost 350 films to his credit. The mere mention of his name may bring to mind the legendary song Champi tel maalish (Pyaasa, 1957) to millions of his fans. But I remember him as a loving father. My childhood memories are of a home bustling with relatives. Dad would always say, “Khaana kha kar jaana!” Lunch at home was like a buffet......all were welcome. But his favourite food remained jowar/bajri roti with sabzi.

Johnny Walker's Daughter Tasneem Khan

For Eid however he would send all, around 30-40 of us to watch his films. His other passion was gardening, fruit trees grown by him still flourish at our home in Versova. Dad loved hosting Eid dinners, mushairas and qawwali programmes. His fellow comedians Dilip Dutt, Shahid Bijnori, Mukri, Agha, Jagdeep, Maruti and Mehmood saab would also be present. It would be a laugh riot with them.

People would often ask how he felt about other comedians replacing him. “Main Everest chadh kar, jhanda gaadh kar aa gaya, wahan zindagi bhar thodi baithna hai,ab koi aur wohi karega,” he’d answer. Out of six siblings, five of us live in the USA. The last trip that dad made was in 2001. After this trip his health deteriorated leading to renal failure. He wished to pass away at his home in India, surrounded by loved ones and not hooked up on machines. I miss dad but not in a sad way. He leaves me smiling when I watch his films or listen to his songs.

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