January 21 saw the grand launch of Joy Mukerji Productions, in collaboration with Royal Cinemas, a leading film company from South India, which now forays into Hindi cinema.
The event, held at the iconic Mumbai landmark for decades, Filmalaya Studios belonging to the Mukerji clan, sees popular ‘60s actor Joy Mukerji’s son, Sujoy Mukerji, taking the legacy forward of their family’s banner by making his directorial debut with Kalpvriksh.
Royal Cinema makes a twin debut in Hindi as they also announced their other project, Ganga, written and directed by Dilip Shukla. Dilip Shukla has been a well-known writer (Ghayal, Damini, Andaz Apna Apna, Dabangg et al), known for iconic lines like “Dhai kilo ka haath”, “ Taarikh pe taarikh” and “Thappad se darr nahin lagta, saheb, pyar se lagta hai” from these movies, and he now turns director.
Sujoy will also incorporate classic glimpses of the golden era in his debut feature film. He said, “My late father, Joy Mukerji, was the joy of Indian cinema. To see him act in films was like going to an acting school—he was like a gurukul. He has left a beautiful legacy behind that I would like to reintroduce.”
Kalpvriksh is the result of Sujoy’s long journey of exploring various departments in the industry. The plot of the film revolves around the sufferings of parents vis-a- vis their over-ambitious and selfish children. The basic idea of the story was given by Anandji-bhai of Kalyanji Anandji fame, while the story, screenplay and dialogues are by Sunil Kapoor, Sudhir Kapoor and Sujoy himself. Ved Sharma will score music.
“I am making this film with the basic theme of not selling or destroying the properties and assets received in legacy from our elders,” says Sujoy, whose short film which is streaming on Disney+Hotstar, Ab Mujhe Udnaa Hai, has won 39 awards all over the globe, including the Dadasaheb Phalke International Film Festival award in India for Best Short Film.
Ganga revolves around an orphan from Lathipur, a small village in Uttar Pradesh, who has to fight against evil and powerful enemies of society for the sake of the poor and oppressed. “I am honored to be associated with Joy Mukerji Productions and Royal Cinemas,” said Dilip Shukla. “Filmalaya are among the oldest flag-bearers of our film industry. My association with Royal Pictures also for Ganga will only expand my audience base in different regions.”
C.H. Muhammed of Royal Cinemas, a writer, lyricist, and producer with two blockbuster Malayalam films, Mammootty’s Masterpiece and the Mamta Mohandas starrer To Noora with Love to his credit, added, “Our association is a collaboration of established banners of the Indian film industry. Together, we aim to venture into unexplored realms of filmmaking by experimenting with new themes and subjects.”
The Mukerji clan was represented by Sujoy’s mother Neelam, his wife, brother Monjoy (a film producer), sister Simran, uncles Deb Mukerji (Ayan Mukerji’s father) and Shubir Mukerji and cousin and actress Sharbani Mukerji. Ashnoor Kaur, a TV actress and Anandji were also in attendance.
As a harkback, videos of some of Joy Mukerji’s iconic songs from films like Shagird, Love In Tokyo, Ji Chahta Hai, Ishara, Humsaya, Ek Musafir Ek Hasina and Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon were played and the motion posters of Kalpvriksh and Ganga were also unveiled.