"My only request is that this write up appears in a dignified manner. I don't carry malice against anyone and there is no bitterness in me either. I believe in taking positives from people and ignoring negatives. I would appreciate if you do the same."
These are the parting words of Neelam Mukerji, wife of Late Joy Mukerji whose 'waterloo' (in Neelam's own words) Love In Bombay has just released close to 40 years after being censored.
The 65 year old graduate from England who married Joy, the yesteryear actor, close to half a century ago, she instantly impresses with an impeccable command over the language and the control she has over her emotions despite some unsavoury comments coming her way.
It was not planned at all. My son accidentally found the film's print which had been carefully maintained by Joy for 40 years. He decided to correct it and though we didn't do it for a theatrical release, one thing led to another and we went ahead with an audio launch. I am glad that the film is being showcased in Director's Rare. After all the film was Joy's waterloo; he lost everything on it.
I am someone who is very practical. The idea of releasing the film is not to earn money; it is to showcase my husband's work. I am well aware that it is being screened in very limited shows and that too for just 8-10 days unless it picks up.
I am in total disbelief that Waheedaji would apparently say that. I refuse to believe that someone of her stature would say anything like that. No mature person would ever say that she picked up the film just for money. Also, about her not being paid then well, everyone in the industry knows that no negatives are released from the labs till all full payment is made.
It is my personal belief that an artist should be happy just about the fact that his work is releasing. It shouldn't matter if it comes after 40 years or 40 days of creation.
Back then in the 60s Joy was getting as much as Rs.10 lakhs per film. He was working with all top actresses. He gave around 10 silver and golden jubilees. Who says he was not popular? Even as a person, he was selfless and the humblest person around. Even when he was down and going through a low phase, he didn't take money from his father. Many advised him that he could declare himself insolvent but he said 'over my dead body'.
What do we really have to cash in here? We should take it as a humble gift to people like Joy, Ashok Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Shankar-Jaikishen, Rehman, Tuntun, Rajendra Nath and others who are no more there. May they rest in peace. Agar unki film hum laa rahe hain toh kya bura kar rahe hain? Perhaps we are only paving the way for others to follow whose films are languishing in the cans for 20-30-40 years. As for some stray remark coming from anyone, I just let it go. My mantra is to take positive energy from people. If no one is walking with me then I just remember Rabindranath Tagore's golden words - 'Aikla Chalo Re'. Otherwise Punjabi mein toh kehte hi hain ki 'Haathi ka jhund chalta rehta hai, baaki sab.....'. Well, iske aage kya kahoon!