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09 March 2012

Remembering Joy Mukherjee

24.02.1939 - 09.03.2012
After my post on Holi songs, what I'd had in mind was a post on lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi, whose birth anniversary was 8th March, followed by a post on music director Ravi, whose compositions I've enjoyed both in Hindi and in Malayalam. But I had scarcely wrapped my head around the news of Ravi's death on the 7th of this month when the grim reaper struck again. Joy Mukherjee passed away today morning.

These have been a bad few months. In less than a year, we have lost heroes and heroines from the golden age, singers and music directors. For many, like me, these were people we had grown up with, even if they belonged to our parents' generation. It seems like an era is slipping through our fingers, and there is nothing we can do to stop it.

Out of all the Shammi wannabes, Joy Mukherjee was my favourite. What is more, he soon stepped out of the shadows and carved out his own identity as a leading man. He was, in my opinion, the only hero who could have attempted to fill Shammi Kapoor's shoes. Unlike many other heroes who became successful because of the wonderful musical score, the vales of Kashmir or the hills of Shimla, and Mohammed Rafi's superb playback, Joy Mukherjee became the nation's heartthrob with the his impish smile and a pretty enviable physique. He definitely looked like a man, albeit with a boyish charm that was his trademark. 

I'd first seen him in Love in Simla (his debut film) and it was very difficult not to respond to his infectious grin on screen. Then came a slew of other movies Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, Ziddi, Shagird... His movies were entertaining, they almost always had lovely songs and pretty heroines, and he was competent enough to waltz his way through his roles, singing, romancing, fighting. If one looks at cinema as pure entertainment, he surely entertained us.

 And so, a remembrance of sorts; ten of my favourite Joy Mukherjee songs in no particular order. My only criteria was that I would not list more than one song from a film. This was done for my own sake - or the entire score of Ek Musafir Ek Hasina  would be listed right here!

1. Aap yunhi agar humse milte rahe (Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, 1962) Mohammed Rafi- Asha Bhosle / OP Nayyar-Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

My favourite number from a film that had so many, many wonderful songs - Aapka muskurana mujhe dekhkar, Bahut shukriya, badi meherbani, Phir tere sheher mein, this song makes me break out into goosebumps. It is possibly the most romantic non-romantic song in Hindi films. This is a soft question-and-answer session, almost wistful in its longing - beware, you may fall in love. Not that they are, at the moment. He has lost his memory; she is trying to reach her family after a terrorist attack separates her from her newly-wed husband. OP Nayyar's music is lilting, as it makes use of a plethora of instruments to meld into a quietly melodious whole.  

2. Dil thaam chale hum (Love in Simla, 1960) Mohammed Rafi / Iqbal Quereshi-Rajinder Krishen
It was the quintessential debut - the handsome son of producer Shashadhar Mukherjee, and the beautiful niece of character actor Hari Shivdasani (his daughter, Babita, would soon be a reasonably successful heroine in her own right) came together in a tale of ugly-duckling-turned-beautiful-swan. It gave the young hero a chance to strum a guitar (or at least carry it around) and sing some lovely songs in the then-untouched beauty of the hill resort. Music director Iqbal Quereshi composed a very OP Nayyar-ish song for the situation, while Rafi's voice holds an innocence that is very appealing.  

3. Raat nikhri hui zulf bikhri hui (Hum Hindustani, 1960) Mukesh / Usha Khanna-K Manohar
For a change, it is Mukesh singing for our hero.  A very sensuous and romantic song, with Joy Mukherjee, and Helen in a completely different avatar. Though I had seen Hum Hindustani on Door Darshan, I had no recollection of this song at all. It was brought back to mind by harvey, when he listed it on his blog. This was a film where Joy Mukherjee played second fiddle; Sunil Dutt and Asha Parekh were the main leads.  

4. Humdum mere khel na jaano (Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon, 1963) Mohammed Rafi-Asha Bhosle / OP Nayyar-Majrooh Sultanpuri
If I were pushed to make a preference, this lovely Rafi-Asha duet would top my list of Joy Mukherjee songs, alongside Aap yunhi agar humse milte rahe. I like how Nayyarsaab used the sarangi in between, and then ended the song with the mouth organ. Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon had some wonderful, wonderful songs - my second choice was Laakhon hain nigaah mein, and I must confess that I prefer that to Bandha parwar, thaam lo jigar (which is a beautiful song in itself, no doubt about that).

5. Teri soorat se nahin milti (Ziddi, 1964) Mohammed Rafi / SD Burman-Hasrat Jaipuri
Another of the taming-of-the-shrew tropes that mingles with some melodrama about an heiress, sacrifice, pretending to be drunk so that the hero will hate her forever and ever - in other words, a usual masala film. Joy Mukherjee wants to be a writer; his father wants him to stop loafing around and get a 'real job' - in his firm. In the meantime, he spots a girl in a photograph and falls in love with her. In a bid to be rid of his father so he can write in peace, and so he can woo his girl, he sets off to find employment and the girl (not necessarily in that order) - photograph in hand.

6. Aaja re aa zara (Love in Tokyo, 1966) Mohammed Rafi / Shankar-Jaikishen-Hasrat Jaipuri 
I love Mohammed Rafi's voice modulation in this. He is almost whispering the notes, giving a haunting quality to the song, especially where his voice vibrates over the notes. Goosebumps. How can a woman not melt?? His voice oozes romance and sensuality. (Sigh!)Joy Mukherjee does a wonderful job onscreen too. There is another song in this film that will always be on my list of romantic numbers - O mere shah-e-khubaan.

7. Dil ki awaaz bhi sun (Humsaya, 1968) Mohammed Rafi / OP Nayyar-Shehzaan Rizvi
If the previous song was full of romance, this one, directed by Joy himself, is hesitant. He does not know what his reception will be. The vulnerability that fills Mohammed Rafi's voice is fully expressed by Joy Mukherjee as he pleads for his love - Meri nazron ki taraf dekh zamaane pe na jaa (Look into my eyes, don't believe what the world says). How many lovers have made that plea for unconditional trust?

8. Mere dil hai pyar ka aashiyaan (Umeed, 1962) Ravi /Ravi-Shakeel Badayuni 
Ravi Shankar Sharma came to Bombay to try his luck as a singer, only to be disappointed again and again. After having started off as a singer in the chorus of Vande Mataram for Anand Math, thanks to Hemant Kumar, he did sing a few other songs even as he assisted Hemantda, before turning music director in his own right. This is one of the songs he sang under his own baton, a very soft, melodious number which makes me wish he had sung more songs. Lovely.

9. Yeh jhuki jhuki jhuki nigaah teri (Aao Pyar Karen, 1964) Mohammed Rafi / Usha Khanna-Rajinder Krishen
Apart from the fact that this is a beautiful peppy, foot-tapping number, watch it for its fantastic picturisation. Mac Mohan (yes, our very own samba) matching steps with Joy Mukherjee, moving into a striptease which morphs him into a beautiful girl (in the Seth's eyes), and a very young Sanjeev Kumar in the background.
There is also a nice Lata-Rafi duet Tum akele baagh mein jaaya na karo picturised on a very, very beautiful Saira Banu (oh, she's gorgeous in this) and the absolutely lovely Lata solo Ek sunehri shaam thi. The film is typical Filmalaya fare - poor boy meets rich girl, parents want him to make enough money to keep their girl in the style in which she is accustomed; poor boy tries different schemes to get rich quick. Frothy, funny, entertaining. What more do you want? (Vadas, please!)

10. Dil beqaraar sa hai (Ishaara, 1964) Mohammed Rafi / Kalyanji-Anandji-Majrooh Sultanpuri
It's an unusual combination - Joy Mukherjee and Vyjayanthimala; strangely enough, they make a very good pair. The location is Humayun's Tomb in Delhi. The song has all of Mohammed Rafi's adaas though it is one of his quieter romantic numbers. I love the way his voice rolls over the syllables, almost as if he is drunk - on love, not liquor. Sublime.

For the countless hours of joy, fascination, entertainment, for a more innocent age where you sold us dreams of love triumphing over all, serenaded us with wonderful songs, romanced pretty heroines, nonchalantly fought suitably wicked villains - for all that and more, thank you. May your soul rest in peace.


  1. Joy Mukherjee! A nice guy! Looked good despite his buck teeth, acted well, provided nice entertainment.  Thank you Joy for providing us so many moments of entertainment!

    Now coming to you, young lady! Very, very, very unfair to list all songs of Ek Musafir Ek Hasina!!! Hum ab kahan kaun sa songs dundhne jaiye! UNfair, unfair, unfair!!!!!!!! ;-)

    All the same my fav:
    mujhe dekh kar aap ka muskurana

    o mere shah-e-khuba from Love in Tokyo

    hum baaz nahin aayenge! ;-)

  2. Now to your list. Wonderful list!
    I also like all the songs of ek musafir ek hasina. it must have been a hard task to decide for one. Particularly love how Asha interjects in aap yunhi agar with her mujhe dar hai mujh me. Wonder why they didn't pair after this again.

    dil tham chale is a breezy number, it disappoints me a bit because the shairi before raises an expectation of a soulful number.
    See how he tries to channel Dev in this and mujhe dekh kar.

    Thanks for remembering me for aaj subah nahin hone wali. He looks good enough to bite! Do you remember in which post I mentioned it? Mera masoor ki dal brain can't recollect.

    humdum mere khel na jaano is such an Asha dominated song. Wonderful how she sails through the song.

    IN teri surat se nahin milti I like the mukhda but the antaras leave me cold.

    aajaa re aa zara aa - sensual, sexy, erotic! Rafi could weave magic with his voice!

    dil ki awaaz bhi sun, as you say shows the vulnerability and hurt in the character, Both Joy and Rafi contribute to it to make it a fabulous song.

    Completely new for me was mera dil hai pya ka aashiyan. Thanks for that. Somebody mentioned it a dustedoff's blog, but I didn't have the time to listen to it there. Thanks for this!

    Fun to see MacMohan do the striping and girlish act. It diverts the attention though from this frothy number

    I agree with you Joy-Vyju is sure an unusual combo. Is there any hero of the 50s and 60s with whom she didn't pair up with in films? Bharat Bhushan and Biswajeet are the only names that come to my mind.

    Lovely tribute to Joy, bringing us joy in form of his songs!

  3. Now to some songs, which you haven't listed, which are somehow hummable!
    nateeja ye pyar ka from puraskar

    kahan se lai ho jaan-e-man from dil aur mohabbat

    zulf bikhrati chali aayi ho from ek kali muskayi

    kis ne mujhe sada di from saaz aur awaaz

    masha-a-allah tum jawan ho from yeh zindagi kitni haseen hai


    hum chhod chale hai mehfil ko from jee chahta hai
    still can't believe that this song was filmed on Joy!

  4. Yes. Very very difficult to choose a representative song from Ek Musafir Ek Haseena. Did you cast lots for one ? :-D

    I like this song from Aao pyar karen. It is funny, sweet and both Saira and Joy are good at comedy.


  5. A very little talked of film called Bahu Beti with Mala Sinha had quite a 'hatke' story.
    This philosophical song sung beautifully by Rafi has really good lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi - *and* - it shows that when required Joy Mukherji could show tender emotion and a depth of expression.
    LOL hope I haven't praised too high so as to raise expectations.


     Joy  in Aag or Daag. A nice lilting tune by N Dutta , and then there is Komal ;-)

  6. I was never a great fan of Joy Mukherjee to be very honest, but I do feel bad that he passed away since he belongs to that golden era from which we lost so many others last and this year.  God rest his soul.. 

  7. No, no, no, you can list all the songs from Ek Musafir Ek Haseena; if I did that, then the whole list would be songs from one film!

  8. Thank you harvey. :) I agree with most of your points regarding the songs, especially the one about Teri soorat se nahin milti. And yes, it is strange he never acted again with Sadhana, though both their films were super hits. Strange, considering he acted with Saira Banu in five films, out of which only Shagird was a success.

    Vyjayanthimala did act with Bharat Bhushan - though she was not paired opposite him. Ladki had her opposite Kishore Kumar.

  9. Sharmila looks lovely in that clip from Dil aur Mohabbat. The songs, as you say, are hummable.

  10. pacifist, LOL. No, I didn't actually. Aap yunhi agar humse milte rahe is my favourite song from that film. But I like all the others too, and if you had forced me to choose a second song, I would have had to cast lots. :)

    Aao Pyar Karen had some lovely songs, didn't it? It's a shame the movie didn't do quite as well.

  11. I have Bahu Beti and I never got around to watching it because I was never a big fan of Mala Sinha. If you're recommending it, I should watch it. She looks very pretty in the clip, and the song is beautiful. I haven't heard it before either, so a double 'thank you'.

    I haven't even heard of this film! (Aag aur Daag) Peppy tune alright!

  12. Neha, the problem is he came along when we already had Shammi setting a benchmark. Everyone who came along afterward had an uphill task in front of them. Even for me, he comes way below Shammi, Dev, Raj, Amitabh.... but he did have a slew of entertaining films, films in which we would have usually expected to see Shammi. He was a dashed sight better than Bharat Bhushan and Biswajeet (for me).

  13. Wow, two posts in quick succession! I agree with you about an era ending. Joy Mukherjee was never a favourite with me, but I remember my aunt going ga-ga over him. He had some lovely songs, though, and he is definitely better than Biswajeet.

  14. Those were the days, when our heroes and heroines had the good fortune of lip-synching to some of the most melodious numbers, besides it was not just the music composition the lyrics too were soul-stirring. Between you, Madhu and your readers, I think all of you managed to list out all the memorable songs

  15. Anu, considering only four songs from our lists overlap, it's creepy that we mentioned some of the same things in our post - that particular line we quoted from Dil ki aawaaz bhi sun, the fact that Ravi sang in the background chorus for Vande Mataram... and, incidentally, some of the songs you've put into your list were on my shortlist (Yeh jhuki-jhuki nigaah, Teri soorat se nahin milti).

    A great tribute - and a very special thank you for Mera dil hai pyaar ka aashiyaan. I'd never even heard of that (or even heard Ravi sing), so that was a real treat. I wish he'd sung more. 

  16.  For me, too! I would have far preferred Joy in films like Mere Sanam or Kismet, for instance.

  17. Well,Joy M was one of my favorites.The things that I loved about him were his carefree joyous attitude,his handsome looks,superb physique and his damn good height.Infact his height and physique separated him from rest of the actors of his time,including Shammi.If i remember correctly,he was the first six footer hero of bollywood with an impressive fan following.Also,in my opinion he had the best comic timing among the heroes of the 60's[remember Shagird],something which i think he inherited from his uncle Kishore Kumar.

    Just like all the heroes of his time,he too had lovely songs picturised on him.The ones that you wrote about are lovely.In fact the whole soundtracks of some Joy films like EMEH,PWDLH,LOVE IN TOKYO,LOVE IN SHIMLA,SHAGIRD are outstanding.Dil bekarar sa hai that you mentioned in your list is one of my favs.In fact,there is one interesting thing about this film Ishaara,in which Joy and Vyjayanti mala starred.In the film,there is one sequence where Joy and VM dance to the theme of Come September and together do the twist dance damn well.The sequence is really entertaining with even Pran trying to dance twist and rock-n-roll!

    Another song that i really love is Dil ki mehfil saji hai from Saaz aur awaaz.In the song,Joy does some real cool moves.Watch it on youtube.

    Some people are of the opinion that Joy M copied Shammi,but that does not bother me just the same way it does not bother me that Raj copied Chaplin,Shammi copied Presley,Dev copied Peck.In fact, Dev and Raj happen to be my fav heroes along with Uttam kumar.Also,i don't think Joy always copied Shammi.He only did that in films Like PWDLH which had a storyline too similar to Shammi Starrers TND AND D3.Also there is more to the Joy-Shammi connect that most don't know about,but i will leave it for some other day.  

    Note-by that copying statement,I did not mean that Joy was in the league of Shammi-Dev-Raj.But the fact remains that joy does feature among my favs,if not necessarily the favorite.

    Good Tribute.May his soul rest in peace. 

  18. Oh, oodles better than Biswajeet! *Shudder*. At least for me.

  19. Shilpi, that truly was the golden age of music. My problem is not that there is no melody today; it is that there are no instruments, only the ubiquitous synthesiser. There is a difference between hearing the clear notes of a santoor or sitar, and the slightly tinny sound of digitised music. And truly, I think the era where songs take the narrative forward are long gone (there are exceptions, but they are few and far between).

  20. I think we need to embrace our similarities, Madhu. After all, great minds think alike and all that. :) It is strange that we picked on the same line to quote from Dil ki awaaz bhi sun.

    Ravi did sing very well, didn't he?

  21. Raunak, you are right about Joy Mukherjee's carefree attitude. He was a reluctant hero; in fact, his father didn't want him to be one. So I guess he wasn't too bothered about being anything other than himself.

    And I didn't care too much about his copying Shammi either - to a large extent, the imitation was purely due to market considerations. I'm pretty sure that producers wanted him to copy Shammi because they wanted to cash in on the Shammi Kapoor mystique. He was entertaining, and when I watched his movies, I knew what I was in for - three hours of wholesome fun, with lovely songs, heroines and locales.  He is eminently watchable, which is more than I can say for a lot of 'heroes', even those who were more successful than Joy.

  22. Sharmi Adhikary12 March 2012 at 09:49

    Lovely compilation. Yes, he was charming, had an awesome physique and thoroughly entertained!!! And had some great songs to himself!!

  23. ps: What is the other Joy-Shammi connection? Pray tell? I'm very curious now.

  24. lovely compilation, he made an impression on me forever ever since i saw him in Shagird, he had some lovely numbers i that and I'm so with you on your description of Aaja re zara from Love in Tokyo. He's one person i need to see more of

  25. Thank you, bollywooddeewana. Actually, Love in Simla, Love in Tokyo and Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon are far better than Shagird. He had some lovely, lovely songs to his credit.

  26. Wonderful!  I spent yesterday afternoon listening to all the songs here and on DO's blog, and then I couldn't resist the temptation - I found Ek Musafir Ek Hasina on Youtube, and played it!  Joy Mukerji's movies always had the best songs, and besides, they took me right back to my teenage years. 
    I had never heard of the movie Umeed, nor had I heard the song by Ravi before, but I am surprised to see that this soft song didn't become popular in those days - correction, I don't even remember hearing the name of this movie in those days!  Needless to say, the songs of Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon and Ek Musafir ... were always my favorites, along with the ones from Love in Tokya and Saaz aur Awaaz.  Here's another favorite of mine from Ishaara:


    It is such a lively number and so hummable, just like Yeh jhuki jhuki nigaahein teri ..., plus it has Vyjayantimala doing a snake dance and Joy playing the been!

  27. Thank you, Lalitha. Ek Musafir Ek Hasina is quite a favourite of mine too. It had such beautiful songs. I agree about Umeed being almost unknown. I came across it, I think, a couple of years ago - the song, I mean. Not the film. He really sang well, didn't he? Thanks for the link to the song from  Ishaara.

    In other news, how're things?

  28.  Things are about the same, progress is painfully slow, but I am able to manage to take care of Dad and get some time for myself, at least, enough time to listen to a few songs during the day!  I count that as progress!

  29. Baby steps, Lalitha. I'm glad to hear that. Take care of yourself too. You'll be doing no one any favours if you fall ill too. *hugs*

  30. Vyjaynthimala starred opposited Bharat Bhushan in "Naya Kanoon" which also had Ashok Kumar playing her brother.  Here's the YT link to a lovely Rafi song from the film:

  31. Shalini, I knew she had acted with Bharat Bhushan! But I couldn't, for the life of me, remember which film it was; then I saw they were credited for Ladki where they are not paired together. So I assumed I must have been mistaken. Thank you so much for the link. Lovely song, too.

  32. Sorry,
    got awfully busy for a little time. So, could not reply to your query quickly.
    Well the Joy-Shammi connect is quite deep and it would take me an entire post
    to elaborate on that. Would write about that as soon as possible on my badly
    maintained blog and then notify you immediately. Sorry for this, but can’t help
    it as I want to do an elaborate study, filled with trivia, on their connect,
    something which can’t be done in a comment.

  33. I
    don’t think it were the producers who asked Joy to follow Shammi. Anyways, as I
    said before I personally do not think that Joy followed Shammi that much. And
    which producers are we referring to. After all, the producers who made Shammi
    ‘Shammi’ were Sashadhar Mukherjee and Subodh Mukherjee, who were Joy’s  father and uncle respectively.

  34. I'll look forward to reading it on your blog then. :) (Thank you for coming back to tell me so.)

  35. I think in his early films, they did set him up to follow in Shammi's footsteps. Or maybe, that is the general perception because his movies were also like the 'Shammi' movies - the stories were more or less the same, they had melodious songs, heroines and locales were interchangeable. :)

  36. Well,that was precisely the point that i was trying to make.One finds Joy similar to Shammi sometimes because the people behind the films of Joy and Shammi were the same.Film producer Sashadhar Mukherjee,Directors Subodh Mukherjee,Nasir Hussain and Pramod Chakravorty and scriptwriter Sachin Bhowmick were the main people who were behind the films of both Shammi and Joy.When the makers are same,then the films are bound to have similar stories,screenplays and direction.

  37. A charming actor with some of the loveliest songs ever. I have actually watched "Ek Musafir Ek Hasina" sometime but now I must see it again. But in "Love in Tokyo", it's really quite tough to decide on any one song. I like "Sayonara" really well too.

  38.  I think, of all the songs in Love in Tokyo, it is Sayonara which I least like. Lata shrieked, Asha simpered, and I wanted to kill someone. :~)

  39.  The picturisation is not really appealing, with Asha Parekh's "assets" prominently displayed in a kimono but I liked the tune. Lilting and gay.

  40. Oh, I can listen to it, once in a while. Just that there are plenty of other songs I'd much rather listen to; that's all. :)

  41. What? No songs are even a mention of Shaagired,his best movie with one of the musical musical scores of all time. His movies were fun but frankly I don't think he ever came close to Shammi or even Shashi' romantic cemeday persona. He was in the league with Biswajeet. I really like him but, you know facts are facts!

  42. No. Because I didn't think Shagird was Joy Mukherjee's 'best movie' or event that its musical score was 'best'. And nowhere did I say he came close to Shammi, who is one of my favourites. I said, he was the one who could have filled Shammi's shoes. 'Could have'. Didn't say 'he filled'.


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