indian cinema heritage foundation

Johny Bakshi

  • Died: 5 September, 2020 (Mumbai)
  • Children: Brando Bakshi, Kennedy Bakshi, Bradman Bakshi, Priya Bakshi

Producer and actor Johny Bakshi is known for films such as Raavan (1984), Kajraare (2010) and Vishwasghaat (1976). Among the films he produced are Kajraare, Gudgudee (1997), Bhairavi (1996), Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin (1996), Sardari Begum (1996), Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee (1993), Meraa Dost Meraa Dushman (1984), Raavan (1984), Vishwasghaat (1977), and Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain (1974). He is also credited with directing Khudai (1994), Daku Aur Police (1992), and Raavan (1984). He also appeared onscreen in a few films such as Riyasat (2014) in which he played Mallaya Seth, the 2010 film Pankh, Papa Kahte Hain (1996), Haar Jeet (1990), Kashish (1980), Tum Haseen Main Jawan (1970), Pinjre Ke Panchhi (1966) in which he played a street juggler, and Haqeeqat (1964). 

In his career spanning more than four decades, Bakshi mostly worked as a producer, backing films such as Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain (1974), Raavan, (1984), and Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Aayee (1993). His directorials Daku Aur Police and Khudai starred Rajesh Khanna in the lead. He worked with several noted filmmakers and actors in his career, such as Smita Patil, Pooja Bhatt, Mahesh Bhatt, Sanjeev Kumar, and Shabana Azmi. He was also a member of the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA), and represented the film industry’s old guard.

He was the associate producer of the thriller film Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin directed by Sudhir Mishra. It starred Tara Deshpande and Nirmal Pandey, with the entire plot taking place over a single night. The film features in Avijit Ghosh's book, 40 Retakes: Bollywood Classics You May Have Missed, wherein the author describes, “Violent and sensuous, opaque and funny, the movie creates the Bollywood mafia stylebook.”

Bakshi’s musical Sardari Begum (1996), directed by Shyam Benegal, starred Kiron Kher, Amrish Puri, Rajit Kapur and Rajeshwari Sachdev. This film revolved around a complicated portrait of family relationships, generational and sexual politics, and social mores in a changing India. Kiron Kher won the 1997 National Film Award - Special Jury Award for her performance in the film, while Rajeshwari Sachdev was awarded the 1997 National Film Award for Best Supporting Actress. 

His production Manzilein Aur Bhi Hain, was a crime thriller directed by debutant director Mahesh Bhatt, starring Kabir Bedi, Prema Narayan and Gulshan Arora in lead roles. It depicted the story of two fugitives and their relationship with a prostitute. The film was initially refused censor certification and was banned by the Censor Board of India for allegedly "mocking the sacred institution of marriage". Held up for several months, after an extended delay, it finally released in 1974. 

Bakshi’s Vishwasghaat, starring Sanjeev Kumar, Kabir Bedi, and Shabana Azmi, revolved around the lead character Mahesh, who returns home after a long time abroad. He makes the shocking discovery that his father earns his fortune dealing in illegal goods. Rejecting his family’s ill-gotten wealth, Mahesh marries Seema and embarks on a life of principles. However, when his father's attempt at making amends results in tragedy, Mahesh takes up arms to protect his family.

Johny Bakshi passed away on 5 September, 2020. He was 83.