However, in spite of both Priyadarshan and Johnny Lever being a part of the industry for more than 25 years, they never crossed path. Even though Priyadarshan's films usually boast of at least half a dozen comic characters, there was never a place for Johnny Lever. There were regulars like Paresh Rawal, Asrani, Rajpal Yadav, Manoj Joshi and Shakti Kapoor in most of his outings but Johnny Lever was always conspicuous by his absence.
This is why it makes for an event of sorts when Priyadarshan and Johnny Lever join hands for De Dana Dan, the first film ever that sees the two together. Though the film has more than two dozen characters, hence being the makers biggest ever comedy, there is promise of a well etched out role for Johnny Lever who would finally be making a debut in a Priyadarshan setup.
"Johnny has a very funny role in De Dana Dan. He plays a professional killer who has never been caught", informs Priyadarshan when asked about the comedian's part in the film, "He dumps people with chloroform. The situation in the film is such that he has been assigned the responsibility of killing somebody but he gets a wrong identity. He starts hunting down someone whom he is not really supposed to kill. All his attempts prove to be futile and how he keeps failing all the time, brings in a lot of humour in the film."
One can't help but ask the filmmaker though as to what took him so long to rope in Johnny Lever? After all there would have been countless other opportunities where he could have fit in?
"Johnny is a superb actor and both of us coming together should have been something special", says Priyadarshan, "I wanted to give him a role which should disappoint neither him nor me. It should have been worthy enough. Finally, in De Dana Dan, I got a very interesting role for him. When you watch the film, you would see for yourself that how he actually enhances the original Hera Pheri team of Akshay Kumar, Suniel Shetty and Paresh."
Well, one really hopes so. After all the man can be trusted to stand tall in a massive crowd that comprises of Archana Puran Singh, Asrani, Chunky Pandey, Manoj Joshi, Rajpal Yadav, Tinu Anand, Sharat Saxena and Himani Shivpuri other than the principal star cast.
They both are masters of the comedy genre. Priyadarshan has made over 60 movies (across various languages and genres) and is still counting. However, in Bollywood, he is known mostly for his comic outings. On the other hand, Johnny Lever is Bollywood's longest surviving comedian, especially in the times when leading men have started enacting comical and villainous characters. A veteran of over 200 movies, he has literally seen it and done all.