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How Joy Mukherjee brought joy through film songs — death anniversary special

On his sixth death anniversary today (9 March), we revisit five songs picturised on the tall, handsome mishti doi (sweet yogurt) of Hindi cinema.

Anita Paikat

Joy Mukherjee is one the few heroes who could perform in both comedies and serious drama with equal ease. His full name was Jai Om Yadav Mukherjee, hence the JOY, and was related to Hindi cinema's Ganguly brothers (Ashok, Kishore and Anoop Kumar are the brothers of Joy's mother Sati Rani). His own father, Sashadhar Mukherjee, was a famous producer and director, who started his career with Bombay Talkies and later co-founded the Filmistan Studio. Given such a background, Joy was perhaps destined to enter the industry too. His first film, Love In Shimla, came in 1960.

On his sixth death anniversary today (9 March), we revisit five songs picturised on the tall, handsome mishti doi (sweet yogurt) of Hindi cinema.

1) 'Bahut Shukriya Badi Meherbaani' — Ek Musafir Ek Hasina (1962)

Two years after he made his Hindi film debut, Joy Mukherjee played an army officer who loses his memory while away from home in Ek Hasina Ek Musafir (1962). This song has him thanking the heroine (Sadhana) and simultaneously praising her beauty.

The melody, lyrics, and the image of the tall, young man with a harmonium hanging from his neck will tickle you even today.

2) 'Laakhon Hain Nigahan Mein' — Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

Shot in the scenic beauty of the Nishat Gardens by the banks of Dal Lake in Srinagar, the song celebrates all that is beautiful — nature and women. However, our hero still hasn't found his true and unique love.

Joy Mukherjee carries a musical instrument in this song too, though he never uses it, except for hugging it like he would his dream girl!

Mohammad Rafi sang this song with as much teenage zest as he could muster, while OP Nayyar's quick and peppy music drew more from western music. The combination ensured the audiences remembered this song for a very, very long time.

Joy Mukherjee — The shirtless hero before Salman Khan

3) 'Aa Ja Re Aa Zara' — Love In Tokyo (1966)

The second in Joy Mukherjee's Love In Trilogy, Love In Tokyo was a superhit. The film's songs including 'Sayonara Sayonara', 'Le Gayi Dil Gudiya Japan Ki', and 'Mere Shahe-Khuban' were all popular, but the writer's favourite is 'Aa Ja Re Aa Zara Aa'. Not as much for the song itself, but the picturisation.

Here is a new couple, Joy Mukherjee and Asha Parekh, in a restaurant that serves more like a couples' making out spot. Parekh is busy acting alternately amazed and shy of her surrounding. To sum it, she is at her 'Indian' best. Mukherjee, on the other hand, believes in the phrase 'When in Rome do what the Romans do'. He is pursuing her for some cuddling, and a kiss, if he gets lucky.

4) 'Bade Miyan Deewane Aise Na Bano' — Shagird (1967)

Shagird was a comedy caper starring Joy Mukherjee, Saira Bano, and IS Johar. Sung by Mohammad Rafi and written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, the 'Bade Miyan Deewane Aise Na Bano' had a young and dashing Mukherjee training a middle-aged Johar in the art of seduction through grooming, and toning.

All this while Mukherjee is unaware that the 'Bade Miyan' is in love with his heroine.

Mukherjee and Johar set the audiences laughing with their antics in the song. Be it the old man's attempts at swimming or his efforts to learn dancing in the disco style. You don't need to understand the lyrics, the video is enough to set you rolling on the floor.

5) 'Woh Hain Zara Khafa Khafa' — Shagird (1967)

Another song from Shagird, 'Woh Hain Zara Khafa Khafa' is a melodious teasing between a couple. Sung by Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, this song is for those moments when you are home with a cup of coffee, watching the rain outside.