When Sanjeev Kumar took on nine roles to depict the navarasa in “Naya Din Nayi Raat,” it caused a sensation in India. While many actors have portrayed double or even triple roles, only a few have pushed the envelope further. One Indian actor achieved the unthinkable a few years ago by portraying not five, ten, or fifteen, but a staggering 45 roles in a single movie.
This remarkable actor is Johnson George, and his incredible feat is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records for his performance in the Malayalam film “Aaranu Njan.” In this film, George portrayed 45 distinct characters. The citation from Guinness World Records states: “The most characters played by one actor in a single film is 45, achieved by Johnson George (India) in the film Aaranu Njan, in Kerala, India, verified on 12 September 2018. Johnson George played such roles as Gandhi, Jesus, and Leonardo Da Vinci.”
Johnson George’s remarkable portrayal of 45 roles in “Aaranu Njan” is truly noteworthy. The film, directed by PR Unnikrishnan, was released in March 2018 and is a fantasy film starring Jayachandran Thagazhikaran and Muhammed Nilamboor in lead roles. Throughout the film’s 1 hour and 47-minute duration, Johnson George appeared in brief roles as various historical figures, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jesus Christ, APJ Abdul Kalam, and many others.
In the realm of multiple role portrayals, Sanjeev Kumar famously played nine different roles in “Naya Din Nai Raat,” a 1974 film. This film was a remake of the 1964 Tamil film “Navarathri,” where Sivaji Ganesan had portrayed the same nine roles. Additionally, in the 2000 film “Hadh Kar Di Aapne,” Govinda took on six roles, including the hero and five members of his family. In 2008, Kamal Haasan depicted ten characters in the Tamil hit “Dasavathaaram,” ranging from a 10th-century priest to US President George W. Bush and a Japanese martial artist.