Joy Mukerji’s ‘Love in Bombay’ is ready for release 41 years after it was made. His wife Neelam shares memories of the shelved film and its digital restoration

A few days after Joy Mukerji passed away on March 9, 2012, his son Manjoy visited the Fazal Bhoy cold storage in Worli to see the negatives of Joy Mukerji’s unreleased film, Love in Bombay, made in 1972. “One of the staff at the cold storage came up to my son and told him that my husband Joy used to visit the cold storage each year, take the negatives, clean them manually and put it back. We never knew about this. At that moment, my son decided he would do all it takes to see if the negatives could be salvaged,” recounts Joy Mukerji’s wife Neelam.

For Neelam, her sons Manjoy and Sujoy and daughter Simran, it’s a dream come true to see Love in Bombay finally getting ready for a commercial release. “I saw the restored film and surprisingly did not feel it’s dated. I am sure it would have been a box office hit had it released in the 70s,” says Neelam.

Love in Bombay was intended to complete the romance trilogy of Love in Shimla (1958) and Love in Tokyo (1966). The film stars Joy Mukerji, Waheeda Rehman, Kishore Kumar, Sonia Sahni, Ashok Kumar and Rehman, has music by Shankar-Jaikishan and songs sung by Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle and Kishore Kumar. Very few of the members of the cast and crew are alive today. “Barring Waheeda Rehman, Sonia Sahni, cinematographer Pratap Sinha and an assistant director, there is no one we can reach out to,” says Neelam.

Joy Mukerji encountered a web of financial and legal tussles in the 70s and despite his film being certified by Censor Board, couldn’t ensure the film’s release. “There were factors beyond his control. He went pillar to post trying to get it released. Showbiz has always been unpredictable,” says Neelam, not wanting to dwell on the details.

She shared Joy’s disappointment. “The children were too young to know what was happening. My daughter was four and my sons were two and one year old. Joy never discussed this film for a number of years. He let bygones be bygones,” she says.

But three years before he passed away, she remembers Joy discussing this film and wondering if there was hope. His sons suggested restoration of the print and satellite release, but there was no concrete plan. “Though Joy is not alive to see the film, I am happy we were able to fulfil his dream. This effort is a tribute to everyone who worked on the film, particularly Joy, since I feel Love in Bombay turned out to be his waterloo,” she says.

Digitally restored

l Love in Bombay will be released under PVR Director’s Rare in select cities across the country on August 2. This will be the fourth digitally restored film to be released by the production house after Kundan Shah’s Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, Mira Nair’s Salaam Bombay and Sai Paranjpe’s Chashme Buddoor.

l The romance-adventure narrates the story of Badal (Joy Mukerji), who meets a hot-headed urban girl, Preeti (Waheeda Rehman), on a ship. The ship is caught in a storm and Badal saves the lives of Preeti and a few others and find their way to an island.