One always thinks of Moushumi Chatterjee as a happy-go-luck chatterbox who featured in a series of hits in the 1970s and 80s with the top stars of the time. Never known to bow and scrape for any role or to play up to any hero, she has ticked off mega-artistes like Gulzar and Rajesh Khanna at the risk of losing out on plum roles.
Not so long ago she accused Aparna Sen of being jealous of her looks while directing her the Bengali film The Chinese Wife.
Irrepressible and ebullient , Moushumi is now struggling to contain her grief as her elder daughter Payal lies comatose , a condition brought on by chronic diabetes.
Moushumi quite her blooming as a leading lady to look after her two daughters Payal and Megha after she married legendary music composer-singer Hemant Mukherjee’s son Jayanta.
In 2016, yesteryears’ popular actress, last seen in Shoojt Sircar’s Piku, found her world falling apart. Her elder daughter Payal who suffered from chronic diabetes went into a coma. Prior to this Payal was doing well for herself.
In an interview some months prior to the setback, Moushumi was full of beans as she said to me, “By God’s grace both my daughters Payal and Megha are doing well in their respective careers. Neither is keen on acting.”
Some months later Payal’s health deteriorated. Married to one Dicky Mehta Payal is apparently being given home care by her in-laws, a fact that has not gone down well with Payal’s parents Moushumi and Jayanta Mukherjee(singer-composer Hemannta Mukherjee’s son). They’ve moved court to get medical custody of their daughter.
While Moushumi remains understandably inaccessible a friend spoke on her behalf. “We are not in touch with her on a regular basis. Indu(that’s Moushumi’s real name) has been pretty much in her own world.She hasn’t been in touch with any of her friends.We did get to know of her daughter’s health . Payal’s condition has shattered Moushumi and her husband Jayanta. To make matters worse the couple’s relationship with Payal’s in-laws is far from amicable. This is a very tough time for Moushumi.”
Always known to be giggling and smiling Moushumi’s unvarnished frankspeak and hearty laughter are still remembered fondly by her friends in the film industry.For years now Moushumi has been missing from the industry’s radar. She was last seen in Shoojit Sircar’ Piku.
Ashoke Pandit, chief advisor of the Federation Of Western India Cine Employees(FWICE) feel the issue is far too complicated. “I don’t think there is a financial issue. The ailing girl’s husband is looking after her. Moushumiji has accused her daughter’s husband of not allowing her to meet her daughter,an allegation stoutly denied by the husband. Even I’ve got to know from my own sources that there is no truth to the allegation.We would love to help. But we don’t know the real issue.”