I. S. Johar
Born(1920-02-16)16 February 1920
Died10 March 1984(1984-03-10) (aged 64)
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
OccupationActor, director, producer, writer
Years active1931–1984
Spouse(s)Ramma Bains (divorced), Sonia Sahni and three others

Inderjeet Singh Johar[1](16 February 1920 – 10 March 1984),[2] better known as I. S. Johar, was an Indian actor, writer, producer and director, who excelled in comedic roles.

Early life

Johar was born on 16 February 1920, in Talagang (now within modern-day Pakistan), British India. He did an MA degree in Economics and Politics before completing his LLB.[1] In August 1947, during the Partition crisis, Johar was visiting Patiala, Punjab with his family for a wedding, when serious rioting broke out in Lahore resulting in the Shah Alami Bazaar, once the largely Hindu quarter of the Walled City, being entirely burnt down.[3]

Johar never returned to Lahore. For a period he worked in Jalandhar while his family remained in Delhi,[4] before he eventually moved to Bombay, where he made his acting debut in the 1949 Hindi comedy action film Ek Thi Ladki.[5]


Johar acted in numerous Hindi films from the 1950s through to the early 1980s and appeared in international films such as Harry Black (1958), North West Frontier (1959), Lawrence of Arabia (1962)[6] and Death on the Nile (1978), besides acting in Maya (1967), a US TV series. He also appeared in Punjabi films, including Chaddian Di Doli (1966), Nanak Nam Jahaz Hai (1969) with Prithviraj Kapoor, and Yamla Jatt with Helen.[7]

I. S. Johar also wrote and directed films, including the partition-based Hindi movie Nastik (1954), Johar Mehmood in Goa and Johar Mehmood in Hong Kong, in which he co-starred with comedian Mehmood. These were inspired by comedy films of the Bob Hope-Bing Crosby style Road to... series.[8] Johar was a unique and idiosyncratic individual, a lifelong liberal who poked fun at institutionalised self-satisfied smugness – an attitude which did not endear him to the essentially hierarchical and conservative Indian establishment, and led to difficulties finding finance for his unconventional screenplays. In many of his films, both those he directed and those he acted in, Sonia Sahni was the leading lady, most notably in Johar Mehmood in Goa, 1964.

He also starred in films with his own surname in the title such as Mera Naam Johar,[9] Johar in Kashmir and Johar in Bombay, which is a testament both to his immense egotism, as well as his popularity with the common masses – for whom a movie with the Johar name was a guarantee of easy laughs, as well as subtle ironic or frankly sarcastic jibes at Indian customs, mores, superstitions and institutions. His film Nasbandi (Vasectomy) was a spoof on Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's failed policy of population control by coerced vasectomies during the period of Emergency and was "banned" when it was first released. In the plays written by him too, Johar attacks those in power. In a play on Bhutto, he writes about Pakistan's Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as well as Gen Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq.[10] Yash Chopra started his film career as an assistant director with I. S. Johar.[11]

In 1963 he starred as "Gopal" in two Italian films directed by Mario Camerini: Kali Yug, la dea della vendetta (Kali Yug, Goddess of vengeance) and Il Mistero del tempio indiano (The secret of the Hindu temple).

He died in Bombay, on 10 March 1984.[1]

Personal life

Johar married Ramma Bains in 1943 in Lahore. The couple became parents to two children, a son named Anil and a daughter named Ambika.[4] Both his children worked in a handful of films in the late 1970s, including Nasbandi (1978) and 5 Rifles featuring both of them. Ramma Bains herself acted in small roles in a couple of films, most notably as Balraj Sahni's cunning sister in Garam Hawa.

Johar and Ramma were divorced; theirs was one of the earliest legal divorces in the country.[12] After this divorce, Johar married and divorced no less than four more women (five marriages in all, and as many divorces). One of his later wives was the actress Sonia Sahni, who had made her film debut in Johar's production Johar-Mehmood in Goa (1965). None of Johar's later marriages was blessed with children.

I.S Johar is related to Yash Johar.

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Film Result
1959 British Academy Film Awards Best British Actor Harry Black Nominated
1971 Filmfare Awards Best Performance in a Comic Role Johny Mera Naam Won
1974 Aaj Ki Taaza Khabar Nominated



Badhti Ka Naam Daadhi (1974)


Year Film Producer Notes
1952 Shrimati Ji
1954 Nastik Shashadhar Mukherjee
1955 Shri Nagad Narayan
1956 Hum Sab Chor Hain
1957 Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan
1957 Miss India
1960 Bewaqoof Self
1965 Johar-Mehmood in Goa Self
1966 Johar in Kashmir
1971 Jai Bangladesh
1974 5 Rifles Self
1978 Nasbandi Self


  1. ^ a b c Sanjit Narwekar (1994). Directory of Indian film-makers and films. Flicks Books. ISBN 9780948911408. Archived from the original on 9 October 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2011.
  2. ^ I. S. Johar at IMDb
  3. ^ de Jonge, Rene (1989). Urban planning in Lahore: a confrontation with real development. Peter Groote. ISBN 9789036701839. Archived from the original on 4 August 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b Survival fittest Archived 22 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine Times of India, 2 June 2002.
  5. ^ "A serious satirist". Indian Express. 25 July 1997. Archived from the original on 25 August 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  6. ^ Filmography Archived 13 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine New York Times.
  7. ^ "In search of a bigger role". The Tribune. 19 May 2007. Archived from the original on 1 November 2008. Retrieved 7 November 2008.
  8. ^ IS Johar Biography Archived 12 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine Rotten Tomatoes.
  9. ^ I. S. Johar at IMDb
  10. ^ Kahlon, Sukhpreet. "'The comical, the witty and the satirical: Remembering the many facets of IS Johar'". Cinestaan.com. Archived from the original on 22 February 2020. Retrieved 16 February 2020.
  11. ^ "Face of romance in Bollywood: Iconic filmmaker Yash Chopra's five-decade long illustrious career". India Today. 21 October 2012. Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 29 October 2012.
  12. ^ Ramma Bans Archived 23 August 2009 at the Wayback Machine THIS ABOVE ALL, Khushwant Singh, The Tribune, 6 March 2004.