Actress Ava Mukherjee died in Mumbai on January 15. She was 88. Mukherjee was a familiar face on television through commercials for the Himalaya Drug Company, and had also appeared in the movies Devdas (2002) and Detective Naani (2009). Her screen image was that of a loving and lovable grandmother, the kind who sets everything right.
She ventured into acting in 1966 with the Bengali film Ram Dhakka, directed by Taru Mukherjee. Mukherjee also worked as a copywriter in Kolkata and as a translator.
Her movie career properly took shape around 2000 with a small role in Sunhil Sippy’s Snip! and Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Devdas. Mukherjee was in her seventies when she worked in these films. She also had parts in JD Chakravarthi’s Darna Zaroori Hain and Chapur Haghighat’s The Firm Land.
Mukherjee landed her first lead role only in her last film, directed by her daughter Romilla Mukherjee. In Detective Naani (2009), Mukherjee plays Usha Dutt, a Miss Marple-like character whose amateur detecting skills help her bust a trafficking ring.
Mukherjee is best-known for her television commercials, especially for the Himalaya Drug Company. “I am happy when children recognise me and call me`Dadima’,” she had told The Hindu in an interview in 2002.