Joy Mukherjee: A Fabulous Actor, a Bold Director and a Perfect Gentleman


Baby-faced yet handsomely manly, lanky yet lustrous and romantic yet rustically-realistic in serious roles, Joy of the Bollywood’s famous Mukherjee family is never to be seen again in the silver screen. Joy Mukherjee, however, survives in our memories.


Jolly-jovial Joy’s filmy journey came to an abrupt end on a sultry-Summer morn on 9th March 2012 at Leelavati Hospital in Mumbai. The entire film-fraternity mourned the death of Joy life not because he was a great actor, producer and director but because of the reason that he was a gentleman to the core.

Beginning his filmy journey in 1960 with Love in Simla, Joy’s last appearance as an actor was in Aye Dil-e-Nadan: a television serial produced in 2009. He debuted in film direction with Humsaya produced in 1968. The film had Mala Sinha and Sharmila Tagore as actresses and Joy playing a double role.

Legendary actor Dilip Kumar, his wife Saira Banu and music composer-singer Bappi Lahiri had visited him in the Leelavati Hospital just a day before he bid adieu to the film-world. Saira Banu was boyish Joy’s lead-lady in Shagird, Door ki awaaz, Aao Pyar Karein and Saaz Aur Awaz. Incidentally, Saira-Joy pair had done magic-spell in Shagird: a film that was massively successful. A “Shagird” or friend’s death is tragic, indeed!!!!!!

Let us flash our memory back on Joy’s extraordinary journey: a journey that is marked with love, romance ……and of course, with romantically musical songs that are still hummed by millions of lips across the world—be it Australia, India, Canada or America. Vive le Joy: the maverick film-maker!!!!!!!

 “The sad thing is, Joy went too early,” that is how his most favourite leading lady Asha Parekh condoled the actor’s sad demise. Asha, the superb actress, really has reason to feel very sorry for the loss of Joy as when she met him “for the last time” in October 2011 in Kashmir where they had gone to attend a function, he (Joy) asked Asha to come to his home. Insisting that she should come along with him, Joy wouldn't even come out of his car and screamed at her to come in (the car). But Asha could not go due to her busy schedule. Asha now rues: “I wish I had taken up the invitation."

Joy, undoubtedly, was a shooting star of Bollywood in the true sense in the meaning!!!! A star who was shot in the filmy-firmament of Bollywood suddenly……..just accidentally with nobody, not even his father, expecting that this lanky-lad will pair very successfully with such heart throbs of those golden days like Asha Parekh, Saira Banu, Mala Sinha, Sadhna and Vayjantimala.

But Joy was destined to capture his own position in the filmy galaxy of Bollywood where success comes too late. He, however, succeeded in the first go…………with Love in Simla having Sadhna as his heroine. About casting Joy (then a dark horse in the silver screen) as hero in this film, his famous father Sashadhar Mukherjee, film producer and owner of Filmalaya Studios of Mumbai, was not very sure. But Agha jani Kashmeri, writer of the script of 'Love in Simla', insisted Sasadhar Babu who reluctantly agreed to take the risk. Kashmiri was right!!!!!      

A fine gentlemen, Joy never tried to throw his weight among his co-stars and others in film sets despite the fact he was the son of the owner of Filmalaya Studio or the nephew of Ashok Kumar and Kishore Kumar.

Reminiscing her acting-days with Joy, Sharmila Tagore very aptly described him as “one of the sweetest persons” she ever met during her film career. “He always had a smile on his face, just like a child,” Sharmila said while remembering Joy.

Blending his films with action, thrill, love, romance and musical extravaganza, Joy added a new dimension to Bollywood’s silver screen. Whether it was Love in Simla, Love in Tokyo or Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, this tall Bengali-babu re-defined “Pyar” (love) in a different genre with his leading ladies, like Sharmila Tagore, Asha Parikh, Sadhna, Mala Sinha and Vaijantimala, practically offered well-packaged entertainment deals for cine-goers in the early 1960’s.

He brought about altogether a new movement in the celluloid. In the classic film Ziddi, he appeared as an avtar of different kind making a marked departure from the traditional roles that he played in earlier movies.   

The year 1977 marked the water shed in Joy’s filmy career as he completely eclipsed from the cine-sky after that. Ek Kali Muskai (1968), Humsaya (1968), Shagird (1967), Love in Tokyo (1966), Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (1966), Saaz Aur Awaaz (1966), Bahu Beti (1965), Aao Pyaar Karen (1964) and Door Ki Awaaz (1964) are some of his memorable films that still enamour the audience. People still remember him with full of nostalgia for his role as Mohan in Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963).

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