Johnnie Walker in Bollywood

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  Updated 7/11/11  ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

I always notice Johnnie Walker whiskey bottles in Bollywood films. Perhaps I have a very specific obsessive compulsive disorder that deals exclusively with finding Johnny Walker bottles in the films.  I have photos of Johnnie Walker bottles sprinkled throughout this blog, but I thought I’d follow the lead of Shweta at Apni East India Company, who keeps a chronicle of Bollywood chandeliers and create a separate page for all the Johnny Walker.  Now we just need the sprawling central staircases of the Indian film industry captured, along with birthday cakes and parties, and of course my most favorite, Bollywood balloons.

This page will now include some of Johnny Walker bottles I’ve found over the years from various Hindi (and maybe some Tamil and Telugu) filums.  I have found that when a Johnny Walker bottle appears in these films, trouble is never far behind. In fact, if a black label bottle is shown, instead of the less expensive red label, it not only symbolizes fancier richer people, but people with even more evil intent than consumers of the plain old red label.   To illustrate this point, one of the darkest characters I’ve seen is  Apoorva Agnihotri‘s character, Rajiv, from Pardes (1997) and just LOOK (DEKH!) at how many Johnnie Walker black label bottles lurk in his presence!  

There are FIVE, and that’s not including implied bottles that may be behind him.   Blogger and commenter Samir, the oenophile, has expressed that he’s working on a theory for who gets the girl in these movies based on which label they are pictured with and I have suggested that he work on such an algorithm.  I am seeking a grant from the Johnnie Walker company to fund such an effort, or maybe they will just send me a few  cases of the whiskey. It’s also important to note the trashy goris in the background poster,  are also a classic sign of trouble and representative of loose morals of the west.

I’ll keep updating this page and please send me your images of Johnnie Walker bottles in Bollywood (or Kollywood or Tollywood, etc.)  films when you find them  and I’ll add them here.

25. Thanedaar (1990)

Thanks to @sid_karane for sending me this screen capture of  Sanjay Dutt looking on as Madhuri Dixit drinks a large goblet of Johnnie Walker black label.

 Is that a cigarette in her Madhuri’s hand?  Well I suppose it’s better than this.

24. Dhoondth Reh Jaaoge (2009)

 Kunal Khemu and Paresh Rawal work up a scheme over a bottle of JW.

23.  An Evening in Paris (1967)

Sharmila Tagore’s Suzy charms the men, including a red-headed Pran, with red labeled Johnnie Walker bottles in the background.

Sharmila’s other character, Deepa, is urged by Pran to gulp down some whiskey while both a red and black label of Johnnie Walker look on enthusiastically from the shelf.

A whole group of dancers perform for a Johnnie Walker red label bottle here:

22. Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010)

In his underworld movie, Emraan Hashmi plays Shoaib Khan a character based on Dawood Ibrahim.   Ajay Devgan plays Sultan Mirza, based on Haji Mastan.  Needless to say, Johnnie Walker bottles are fruitful since underworld types enjoy Johnnie Walker.  Hashmi’s Shoaib Khan is making evil plans here, breaking codes of morality, and is interrupted by his mentor,  Devgan’s Sultan Mizra.

Despite being a criminal, Mirza is shown to be a godfather like figure to the people and a man of principles. He is against smuggling contraband as it is against his Muslim faith. (source)

Now THIS is what I call a dramatic exit: spinning the Johnnie Walker red label and storming out of the room, straight to Delhi!

Hashmi’s Shoaib Khan’s descent into more and more serious crime coincides with him being sighted with the fancier Johnnie Walker black label, after all he’s portraying  Dawood Ibrahim, currently second on Interpols most wanted list.

Adjust karo!

21. Awaargi (1990)

This film has lots of Johnnie Walker whiskey, so much that I had to dedicate an entrie post to it HERE.  One of the more rare images was this one, where the Johnnie Walker bottle sits off to the side, listening to Anil Kapoor’s  Azaad threaten to give a tight slap to Meenakshi Seshadri’s Meena.

20. Do Anjaane (1976)

A rare siting of a woman (Rekha) with Johnnie Walker black label.  I recall a lot of scenes with Prem Chopra’s character luring Amitabh’s character using Johnnie Walker whiskey, and even a train scene involving the whiskey and if I find that clip I’ll add it.

19. Maine Pyar Kiya (1989)

A very bad man with his very good whiskey. This photo reeks of entitlement.

18. Ram Lakhan (1989)

Vivia (Sonika Gill) is a vixen working with gangsters, but she’s smitten with Anil Kapoor’s fun-loving Lakhan, who walks the tight rope between goodaism and righteous law-abiding police work.

How can you tell Vivia runs with gangsters?  Well there’s Johnnie Walker on the premises. Opps, sorry her arm is blocking the whiskey!

For much of the film I thought Vivia was Madhuri DIxit in a wig and blue contacts.  Did anyone else think that?

17. Omkara (2006)

Saif Ali Khan and Deepak Dobriyal share some Johnnie Walker black label on a bridge.

Thanks to “encore” who added in the comments section,

“catch a glimpse of Johnnie Walker Black Label in Omkara.  It makes its appearance in that memorable bridge scene with Langda Tyagi (Saif) and Tiwari (Deepak Dobriyal).  Look for it starting 3:15″:


16.  Vishwanath (1978)

Two bottles of Johnnie Walker, one red, one black, are witnesses to a murder (by Ranjeet!) in the first moments of this Subhash Ghai film.Afterwards, the Johnnie Walker does its usual thing and keeps company with gangsters/dacoits/goondas/scoundrels.

15. White Rainbow (2005)

Hatrick!

1.) Indian woman drinking  2.) widow drinking  3.) She’s (Sonali Kulkarni) drinking Johnnie Walker, black label!

14. Parbat Pe Apna Dera   (My Home is In the Hills) (1944)

Dhanyivad to Shweta at Apni East India Company  (whose cataloguing of chandeliers in Bollywood inspired me to do the same for Johnnie Walker) for sending me these images from the film.  Until proven otherwise, these are the oldest recorded evidence of Johnnie Walker being consumed in and Indian film. Kanta Kumari pouring Johnnie Walker:

 

13. Bachna Ae Haseeno (2008)

Kunal Kapoor and Ranbir Kapoor working things out over a bottle of Johnnie Walker black label.

12. Dayavan (1988)

Dacoitery and Johnnie Walker black label go hand in hand, hai na?

11. Deewana (1992)

Amrish Puri with black label.

10. Dev.D (2009)

Abhay Deol‘s character drinks vodka (or is it gin?) in the film, but even he couldn’t escape a photo op. with a grand bottle of Johnnie Walker red label.

9. Hera Pheri (1976)

Amitabh Bachchan uses Johnnie Walker red label to help sooth the pain of a broken bromance with Vinod Khanna.   He first spies what he needs here:

The Johnnie Walker bottle actually co-stars in this sad number:

8. Mehbooba (2008)  features 1 gori extra, 1 large cell phone, 1 Sanjay Dutt, 1 bottle Johnnie Walker, black label.

7.  Namak Haraam (1973)

Rajesh Khanna gets his socialism on with  Amitabh Bachchan over a bottle of JohnnieWalker black label.

6. Parinda (1989)

Nana Patekar‘s character about to experience death by Johnnie Walker, black label.

5. Raja Hindustani (1996)

Not even Karisma Kapoor or some item girls can ease the emotional atyachar of Aamir Khan’s character, but a bottle of Johnnie Walker black label helps.

He starts out with a bottle of J&B, but about three minutes in he has the good sense to switch over to Johnnie Walker.

rajajohnniewalker.jpg

4. Sawan Bhadon (1970)

 Jayshree T shaking it for a bottle of Johnnie Walker, red label.

3. Superstar ( 2008)

Kunal Khemu‘ s character takes  away his torment with a swig of Johnnie Walker, red label.

Additionally, he seems to gargle with it: 

2. Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)

What better way to show the how the low morals of American life affect NRIs than to show Mr. Jaiswal (Kishore Sahu) slamming down some Johnnie Walker while threatening to slap Mrs. Jaiwal (Achala Sachdev).

1. Jewel Thief (1967)

Dev Anand plays two characters in this film, the jewel thief, Amar, and his innocent look alike, Vinay.  How can Vinay pass himself off as a thief?  Why by drinking Johnnie Walker of course, like a true thief.

And I know this isn’t Bollywood,  it’s the handsome Jon Hamm with some Johnnie Walker in Mad Men (season 3 episode 5 to be exact) because sometimes I have to make an exception and go beyond the Indian film industry.

Please check back for updates as this is a work in progress.

31 thoughts on “Johnnie Walker in Bollywood

  1. Pingback: Johnnie Walker bottles in Bollywood « Bollywood Food Club

  2. Oooh! Ooooh! I’d like to submit this scene from Konchem Ishtam Konchem Kashtam where Prakash Raj and Sidd split a bottle of Johnny Walker (although you never quite see the label.) I’m keeping track of my screencaps of Prakash Raj drinking, I’ll see if there are anymore Johnny Walkers.

    • dustdevil.liz-ji,
      With that “Ohhhhh! Ohhh!” I visualize you in my personal (and fantasy) Indian filum Industry classroom, sitting at a desk, dying to add to the class discussion.Oh wonderful! I must remember all the Southie Johnnie Walker contributions as well so I appreciate this reminder.
      All the best!

  3. Oh boooo!!! I just clicked on this title thinking this was about the wonderful, the irreplaceable, the fabulously witty Johnny Walker, the actor. I have a new found love for him, ok, I pretty much adore him :)

    Heh… I guess the booze will have to do too. I’ll keep in mind to screencap for you whenever I see one.

    • Dolce aur Namak-ji,
      Behnnji, no worries there’s room in the world for both the Johnny Walker and Johnnie Walker. :) Thanks for helping keeping a look out for your less favored JW.

  4. You can catch a glimpse of Johnnie Walker Black Label in Omkara. It makes its appearance in that memorable bridge scene with Langda Tyagi (Saif) and Tiwari (Deepak Dobriyal). Look for it starting 3:15:

    • encoreji!
      Lovely! Shabash! I’ll have to cut and paste that on into the data base. I also LOVE Deepak Dobriyal, so him pictured with the Johnnie Walker is estra special. I appreciate your addition to the collection. All the best! :)

  5. Okay, I am glad you specified you go beyond Bollywood, because I did nor suspect Mad Men were, but one never knows, right?

    I am so delighted to have found your blog – I grew up watching Bollywood movies! I remember my Mom crying when she and my Dad came back from the movies – there was a story (love story!) about a girl who had a very big nose and she did plastic surgery and the guy she did it for did not like her with her small nose and she threw herself out of the window…It looks completely ridiculous when I just read my comment, but this is exactly what I remember.
    Do you happen to know this movie? By any chance, maybe? :-)

  6. Thank you for mentioning my research efforts, unfortunately I have to report an impasse. My brain has JW block, maybe I need a “tight slap” to unlock it. However, I must be careful not to administer too many TS’s least —
    “My Heart and Mind do not remain in synchronization”.
    Perhaps the “low morals of the American life have already affected this NRI” ?
    **ROFL***ROFL***ROFL***ROFL*** at your post.
    Look at what I found on http://uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Cocktail
    “Admired President Richard Nixon would mix whiskey with whiskey, creating a sophisticated, whiskey-like cocktail, which he dubbed the double.”
    This would surely go down well in Bollywood.

    • Samir-ji,
      Yes, your research is imperative to understanding the differences in the labels and their impact on lives. That’s a wonderful find about Nixon’s cocktail preference. When I hear Nixon’s name, I remember the summer I was a kid an my mom watched “Watergate” on television all the time. What a drag! I have a new found respect for tricky Dick learning of the double. Thanks for your comment. :)

  7. Pingback: Can I pour you a drink? Johnnie Walker page updated « Bollywood Food Club

  8. I found a really good one, the song “Nazar Lage Na Sathiyo” from the film “Des Pardes” (Home Abroad).

    It contains :-
    1) Both JW-R (0:52) & JW-B (1:00)
    2) Three 70’s best villains, Ajit, Prem Chopra & Amjad Khan
    3) Several “Gori Mem” & the phrase “Gori Mem” is used in the song.

    Although the film is yet another Dev Anand 70’s Over-The-Top Masala Entertainer, it does have some redeeming points :-
    a) It actually shows a varied picture of Indian immigrants in the West (UK), and addresses illegal immigration, bad living conditions & exploitation.
    b) A line in this song expresses tolerance & understanding for both India & the West. Now this is something worth toasting with both JW-B & JW-R.

    • Samirji!
      I’ve seen (and LOVED) Pardes, but I have yet to see Des Pardes, but it sounds excellent to me, so I toast your suggestion and addition to the JW collection with a black label toast! And since when did a 70′s Over-The-Top Masala Entertaine NEED any redeeming points? ;) I will put this up into the post section soon. Shukriya!

  9. It’s been a long time since I looked at this post and I should have looked more closely last time, so I’m not quite sure which are the new updates. But I have to say, this is very good!

    But, regarding your comment on Parbat Pe Apna Dera that “Until proven otherwise, these are the oldest recorded evidence of Johnnie Walker being consumed in an Indian film”…

    What about this?

    • Richardji!
      I’ve never see this K.L. Saigal version of Devdas, but at first glance I thought it was the Bimal Roy, Dilip Kumar version. Have you seen the full K.L. Saigal version? So your contribution of the 1936 version is the new benchmark for oldest sighting of Johnnie Walker whiskey in Indian cinema! SHABASH! It looks like black label to me. ;) I appreciate your contribution Richardji and I’ll add it to the post soon. If you’ve seen the 1955 and 1936 versions of Devdas, which do you prefer? All the best!

      • Sitaji, I confess, I’ve never had a full viewing of either version. There was one time when I saw 1955 Devdas on the library shelf next to Madhumati, and I decided to get Madhumati instead. :) Actually, I have wanted to watch the 1935 version first (or 1936 version, depending on which listing you look at), as I completely believed that guy you flew on the plane with, Philip Lutgendorf, when he wrote that it was the best. And viewing the songs from both versions, I’ve felt that it just looked more, well, classic.

        I do like the old Saigal films, from what I’ve seen. I recently watched all of Street Singer (1938) and My Sister (1944). It’s a bit challenging without subtitles (never mind the “print quality”), but oh, what nice voices!

        I thought of Devdas 1935 right after I read your “oldest recorded evidence” comment, and when I went to look for it on YouTube, this was the first clip from the film that I found! I’m glad you agree that it really does look like a Johnnie Walker bottle, even if the picture isn’t all that clear. I have seen other liquor-bottle scenes from mid-’40s films and earlier, but the bottles just weren’t so identifiable as Johnnie Walker bottles. (Just recently, when I watched Lal Haveli (1944), I saw a scene with a lot of liquor bottles, but no Johnnie Walker… I think it was one of the scenes with Noor Jehan and/or Surendra…unless it was one of the Baby Meena scenes…)

      • Richardji, Good to know professor Phillip said in the 1936 version was best, that clip to the song alone is very nice, and one can feel the majboori-ness of Devdas, maybe it’s because K.L. Saigal sang himself vs. using a playback singer? Well we’ll report to each other I’m sure when we get around to seeing it. I do love the Bimal Roy version a lot, but I like them all (SRK’s and Dev.D) on their own merit. The bottle is VERY recognizable due to the shape and label. Later I’ll link this little entertain history of Johnnie Walker whiskey in to the post, which explains shape and label reasoning.

        I still have to add your version of Devdas up into the post, it’s on my to do list. :)
        Thanks for reading Richard. Now I’m working on a post for Shameful Pleasures week/month, you should do one too. http://rotikapadarum.blogspot.com/2011/07/shameful-classicspleasures-week-part-2.html

        P.S. I admire your watching Street Singer (1938) and My Sister (1944) without subtitles, it wounds like was its own reward for the challenge of trying to follow plot sans subtitles.

  10. Love the Johnny Walker observations. So simple and obvious when you explain the connection, but just goes to show that Indian films offer us multiple readings and your post reminds me how much I miss when I watch them. I must say that some of the JW sightings are really impressive – the bottles aren’t always in the foreground, are they! I imagine you must have some sort of JW radar which beeps when a bottle is sighted on screen! Seriously though, Johnny Walker could do worse than sponsor a book based on your research!

    • irnaqureshiji, Adab!
      Multiple readings indeed! Isn’t the internet so fun for getting all the different takes on the films? I first started blogging to have an outlet to discuss the films and am so happy to be able to have the resource to talk about even the most inane things, like my Johnnie Walker whiskey in Indian cinema obsession. I do catch the more remote bottles, due to my little problem with trying to find them. If I ever get a book deal about this, not that I’m trying, I merely want a case or two of the stuff ;) , I’ll send you a signed copy. I will also demand that the publisher includes a coupon for a free bottle of JW with purchase of the book. Thanks for stopping by to comment from all the way across the pond. :)

  11. in Tezaab, when Anil Kapoor moves into the big Dallas like house theres a bottle of Johnny walker red in there, he remarks to the butler who left this here, butler says oooh must have been the last guest, he promptly removes it. Anil spies him downing the remainder of the the JW on the stairs.

    • Prima Londongirlinthe D Mojet-ji,
      Oh yes! Tezaab, I have that DVD floating around here, so I’ll have to find that scene and add it to the Johnnie Walker files. Thanks for that! :) Excellent work!

    • bollywooddeewana-ji!
      I thank you for your kind consideration. Lovely! It’s a beautiful site to see an Indian woman drinking whiskey, let alone chugging fine Johnnie Walker directly from a bottle, na? I can tell it’s black label! Thanks for those. Now I must see the whole film. I will add these to my ever growing collection.
      All the best!
      Sita-ji

    • Lenocinorji,
      Thanks for the comment, and I toast you with the finest double black label Johnnie Walker! Thanks for the additions, I need to update my Johnnie Walker siting database soon. :)

  12. Pingback: Carnival of Blogs on Golden Era of Hindi Film Music – July 2013 | The world is too small? or Is it?

  13. Pingback: Bollywood Loves Johnnie Walker | Whisk(e)y Lovers of India

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