One of the original chocolate boys of Hindi cinema, Joy Mukherjee emerged as one of the most successful stars of the 60’s. Despite not being able to sustain his success through the 70’s he is still widely remembered for his dashing looks and acting prowess.
Joy Mukherjee was born on 24 February, 1939 in the illustrious Mukherjee – Samarth family. His father was the producer Sashadhar Mukherjee, the founder of Filmistan and the man behind films like Jagriti (1954), Paying Guest (1957), Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957) and Dil Deke Dekho (1959). His uncle was the director Subodh Mukherjee and he was also related to the superstar Ashok Kumar. Growing up in an environment like this, the natural assumption was that Joy would follow in the footsteps of his father and uncle. His cousin Ram Mukherjee had already turned director. When his cousin wanted to cast him in the film Hum Hindustani (1961) as the second lead after Sunil Dutt, he agreed only because of the prospect of having more pocket money!
Despite his reluctance regarding an acting career, he tasted success as early as his second film. Produced under the Filmalaya banner, Love in Simla (1960) was also the debut of Sadhana. The audiences lapped up the chemistry between the young pair and the film proved to be a major commercial success.
The success of the film finally convinced Joy to devote himself completely to cinema. His career hit a purple patch around this time, with one hit following the other. Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963), Aao Pyar Karen (1964), Ziddi (1964), Love In Tokyo (1966) and Yeh Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai (1966) were all declared box office hits. He had been a fan of Vyjayanthimala and he soon got the chance to play the lead opposite her in Ishaara (1964). This success gave him the confidence to produce and direct his own film, the spy thriller Humsaya (1968). Unfortunately the film was plagued with production problems and was a commercial failure.
The failure of Humsaya began the downward slide of his career. His next venture, Love in Bombay seemed to be afflicted with the same curse as Humsaya. The production of the film pushed Joy to incur heavy debts. On top of it all, the film could not find a release at the time. He started acting in B films like Puraskar (1970) and Kahin Aar Kahin Paar (1971). To relieve some of the financial pressure he directed the Rajesh Khanna – Zeenat Aman starrer Chhailla Babu (1977). The film’s success helped him pay off his debts. He played a villain in his last two films Phoolan Devi (1985) and Insaaf Main Karoongaa (1985).
Joy Mukherjee passed away on 9 March 2012 in Mumbai. Unfortunately he could not live to see the release of his passion project Love in Bombay on 2 August 2013. He will always be remembered by cinema lovers for his immensely entertaining films.