Few stars could bring such manic energy and uninhibited enthusiasm to the silver screen as Joy Mukherjee, who passed away after a prolonged illness at Mumbai’s Leelavati hospital on Friday. He was 73.
Acting wasn’t exactly the 1960s star’s strength; he relished doing what he was comfortable with. Which included singing and crawling on all fours at the same time and dancing with his back sweeping the floor. Such acts earned him many a critic’s wrath but they also endeared him to a legion of fans
Who can forget Joy tossing his hair, twisting his body and rattling his bones in the number, Duniya pagal hai yah phir main deewana (film: Shagird)? And who can forget him carrying the substantial Asha Parekh in his arms and dropping her to the ground while crooning, Le gayi dil gudiya Japan ki (film: Love in Tokyo)?
His most popular films were packed with foot-tapping numbers. Every song in Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, Love in Tokyo and Shagird was a rage. And they continue to be so, if YouTube hits are any indicators. These films were also his most impressive box-office winners.
Aap Yun Hi Agar Humse Milte Rahe – 1962 film Ek Musafir Ek Hasina. Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle. Lyrics by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. Music by O P Nayyar. Stars: Joy Mukerjee, Sadhana Shivdasani. Dialogues by Miss Q Hyder. Producer: Sashadhar Mukherjee (Joy’s father). Screeplay
Film – Shagird 1967,
MD – Laxmikant Pyarelal,
Lyricist – Majrooh Sultanpuri,
Singers – Mohd.Rafi & Manna Dey
Rafi sahib passed away 30 years ago (30 July 1980), but his legend lives on as his voice still continues to entertain and amaze millions around the world. No one replace humble, modest and pious Rafi sahib who changed Indian film playback and music industry forever. He is a book on how to sing. His playback voice changed the fate of many Indian film actors and made them superstars of their time. I feel honoured to have met him, be his family’s neighbour in London-UK. RIP Mohammed Rafi.
Joy was the son of the illustrious Sashadhar Mukherjee, who co-founded the Filmalaya Studio. Several of his box-office hits came from his own production stable. He was introduced along with heroine Sadhana, as “sensational new stars”, in Love in Simla (1960), a young-at-heart romance that hit the bull’s eye. In his first scene, he jumped up and down in a train compartment while singing the popular Iqbal Quraishi composition, Dil tham chale, hum aaj kidhar, koi dekhe, koi dekhe. For most of his career, he was to repeat the same thing in different situations and different places.
Unlike most Bengali males, Joy was tall, strapping and a looker. Often dressed in bold colours with his long hair gelled and carefully brushed back, he looked a stylish city boy who takes attractive girls out for a date and a dinner. He also looked like a hero who could actually play a guitar though he preferred to carry it on his shoulder; just watch Lakhon hain nigah mein (film: Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon).
But for all his style and antics, the star failed to carve out a distinct screen persona for himself. Many saw him as a lesser version of the more popular Shammi Kapoor, who had a similar style.
Joy, who is also related to Kajol and Rani Mukerji, was most comfortable in breezy romantic comedies though he worked in family dramas (Bahu Beti) and spy thrillers (Humsaya, Inspector) too. His career reached its high point when Shagird (1967), with Saira Bano in the female lead, roared at the cash counters. Songs such as Dil vil pyaar vyar (Binaca Geet Mala’s No 1 song of the year) and Woh hain zara khafa khafa sold records by thousands.
But stardom is fickle. The actor’s career suffered a major setback after the lavishly mounted spy drama, Humsaya (1968), which he both produced and directed, collapsed at the box-office. Joy had played the double role of a Chinese spy and an Indian officer in the film. As another crop of actors — Dharmendra, Jeetendra and Rajesh Khanna — gradually made their presence felt, his career went into a tailspin and lurched from one B-grade flop to another.
Nearly a decade later, Joy bounced back directing Chhaila Babu (1977), a slick crime thriller starring Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman. The movie fared reasonably well but, ironically, it did not help his career. Not even acting as a villain in the B grade dacoit drama, Phoolan Devi (1985), where Rita Bhaduri played the bandit queen, did his reputation or star status any good.
Joy and his wife Neelam have three children: two sons and a daughter. One of his sons, Boy Mukherjee, also had made his Bollywood debut but failed to make headway. After Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor, he is the third Hindi film star to have passed away in recent months. But as long as television channels and radio stations play flashback songs, a Joy Mukherjee number will always be an ode to joy.
Six popular numbers Joy sang on screen
1. Humsaya (1968): Dil ki awaaz bhi sun mere fasane pe na ja
2. Shagird (1967): Bade miyan deewane aise na bano
3. Love in Tokyo (1966): O mere shahe khuba, o meri jaane janana
4. Aao Pyaar Karein (1964): Tum akele to kabhi baagh mein jaya na karo
5. Jee Chahta Hai (1964): Hum chhod chale hain mehfil ko
6. Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962): Aap yoon hi agar humse milte rahein dekhiye ek din pyaar ho jayega