Junglee director dies

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 22.05.05

Producer-director Subodh Mukherjee, who made the films Paying Guest, Muneemji and Junglee, died in a hospital in Bandra, Mumbai, today. He was 84.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

Mukherjee was suffering from blood cancer and was admitted to hospital a few months ago.

His last rites were performed at 3.30 pm. Among the film personalities who attended the funeral were Shakti Samanta, Debu Mukherjee, Joy Mukherjee, Chandrashekhar, Somu Mukherjee, Subir Mukherjee, Santosh Jain and Ram Dayal.

Earlier in the day, actors Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu came to Mukherjee’s Khar residence to pay their last respects.

Mukherjee, a name that commanded respect in Bollywood, was the younger brother of producer Shashadhar Mukherjee. His name is associated with the “golden era” of Bollywood, the fifties and sixties, the time of “wholesome musical entertainers”.

He will be remembered for capturing the rock ’’ roll era of the sixties on celluloid, giving it a distinctly Indian flavour and for launching two matinee idols ? Shammi Kapoor and Sadhna.

The director had to his credit several box office hits, including Love Marriage, April Fool, Shagird, Romeo and Sharmilee.

He spotted Sadhna and offered her a role in Love in Shimla where she acted opposite newcomer Joy Mukherjee. Both went on to become stars.

Mukherjee shot to fame with Junglee, starring Shammi Kapoor. The film became one of the landmarks of commercial cinema, with Kapoor getting branded forever with his trademark shout in the film ? “Yahoo”.

Junglee also introduced Saira Banu and established Eastmancolour, a technique in colour filming, as the background for musical entertainers.

“With him a chapter comes to close,” said film writer Vinod Mirani. “Subodh Mukherjee and filmmakers like him made Hindi cinema what it is today,” he added.

“I have heard that he was a strict disciplinarian and very professional in his attitude,” said Bollywood trade analyst Taran Adarsh.