Published On: Fri, Jul 22nd, 2016

Tribute to Mukesh, the inimitable king of passion and melody, on his birth anniversary today.

with R D Burman and Rajesh Khanna

with R D Burman and Rajesh Khanna

Legendary playback singer, Mukesh, whose 93rd birth anniversary falls today, enthralled listeners with his soulful renditions.

Mukesh left a great impact on the Hindi film music world that he’s still remembered to date.

Mukesh always strove for quality in his work rather than quantity. In a span of over four decades he sang about 1500 songs. He was aware of his limitations. Once he told Madan Mohan to give him only those songs that wouldmark his tendency to go off-key. The smooth eloquence that Mukesh poured into plaintive songs lent everlasting appeal to them. Some of his evergreen numbers include Zinda hoon is tarha ke gham-e-zindagi nahin, Mujh ko is raat ki tanhai mein aawaz na do, Main to ek khwab hoon, Teri duniyaan mein dil lagta nahin, Kismat bigdi duniyan badli, Bhooli hui yaadon mujhe itna na sataao, Tum bin jeevan kaisa jeevan, Deewanon se yeh mat poochho and Jane kahan gaye woh din.

Mukesh’s emotional voice articulated the sentiments of every hero Mukesh lent his voice to. His songs touched the soul and moved the mind. His voice was a divine gift he utilised to soothe the people.

Tribute to Mukesh, the inimitable king of passion and melody, on his birth anniversary today.

Mukesh With Lata Mangeshkar At A Song Recording

His voice continues to haunt. Mukesh had the voice that could paint a thousand shades of melancholy. The way he sang, with the perfect tone and diction, he was considered as second to none. The pain that he had in his voice could not be imitated by anyone else. One could feel the tenderness and joy with doses of hidden anguish in his voice that was presented in a raw manner. He went on to command a huge fan following and was counted as a legend among legends. The music maestro Salil Choudhury praised Mukesh with following quote:

“Each word from his lips was a pearl. No one could sing the way Mukesh did, with the right diction, inflexion and intonation. His vocal timbre was out of this world.”

There was and will be none who could produce the same kind of magic he did.

Mukesh was undoubtedly the master of melancholy. Mukesh’s inimitable voice carried the pathos of unrequited love, of shattered dreams, of loved ones lost, deep into the listener’s heart.

Tribute to Mukesh, the inimitable king of passion and melody, on his birth anniversary today.

Mukesh With Jaikishan & Dattaram

Mukesh was born into a family of ten in Delhi on July 22, 1923. After completing his matriculation, Mukesh worked for a while as a surveyor and came over to Mumbai to seek a singing career. In his childhood Mukesh developed interest in singing mainly because of his sister Sundar Pyari. Mukesh did not struggle much to get an opportunity in the filmdom as Motilal, a renowned actor of those times identified his soulful voice at a wedding ceremony and gave him a chance, His charming face made him an actor too and his first song was rendered for himself in the film “Nirdosh”. Thereafter he acted in several films. But by 1956 he decided not to act anymore and concentrated on his singing career. In his last movie as an actor, “Anurag”, Mukesh composed the music and rendered some soulful songs like “Pal bhar ki pehchan” and “Kise yaad rakhoon” among others.

Though Mukesh’s singing career got a kick start in 1945 with the film “Moorti” starring Motilal, his real stardom came with the film “Pehli Nazar”, where his song “Dil Jalta Hai O Jalne Do” brought him to the centre stage of Hindi film music. Though the glimpses of K. L. Saigal were evident in this song, it was intentional, as Mukesh had dreamt of rendering a song in his idol’s voice and style. But Mukesh was not allowed to continue in that tone. Music directors like Naushad and Anil Biswas saw to it that Mukesh sang in his own voice.

His individualism was brought to the fore by these two veterans, when Mukesh rendered songs like “Gaye Ja Geet Milan Ke” in the film “Mela”, “Suhana Safar” from “Madhumati” and several others.

Mukesh’s romantic songs in the film “Andaz” for Dilip Kumar was a turning point for the singer and for the actor too, as the songs became trendsetter for future films of the thespian.

“Andaz” also gave a break to Lata Mangeshkar who is thankful to Mukesh for having introduced her to Naushad through that movie.

Raj Kapoor, Sharda and Mukesh

Raj Kapoor, Sharda and Mukesh

Mukesh’s career got a big boost when he came into contact with Raj Kapoor, the star of those years. It was as if Mukesh was made for Raj kapoor and the later truly considered Mukesh as his soul. Mukesh started singing for the RK banner with the film “Neel Kamal” and from then on started a journey which was memorable not only for the two but for the whole generation of music lovers. “Barsat”, “Awara”, “Aan”, “Aah”, “Sri 420”, “Anari”, “Mera Naam Joker”, “Chalia”, “Parvarish”, “Teesri Kasam”. The pair’s saga ended with “Dharam Karam” wherein Mukesh sang his last song, which was eventually rendered for Raj Kapoor.

Mukesh shared a bond with Lata Mangeshkar and the two have rendered innumerable duets over four decades. Lata always called Mukesh bhayya (brother) and their live concerts abroad are still a treat to listen to. It was Lata mangeshkar who brought Nitin Mukesh to the film field after Mukesh’s death and nurtured him into a good singer. Though Mukesh is considered a singer made for Raj Kapoor, he was the voice of heroes like Manoj Kumar, in films like “Upkar”, “Purab Aur Paschim”, “Roti Kapada aur Makan” and “Shor”. The song “Chal Re Sajni Ab Kya Soche” he rendered for Dev anand in “Bombai ka Babu” is heart-throbbing. S. D. Burman offered this song to Mukesh upon the unavailability of Kishore Kumar and the song went on to become a masterpiece.

with Raj Kapoor

with Raj Kapoor

Mukesh was known for his gentle behaviour and humility. His favourite music director duo Kalyanji-Anandji who worked with the great singer in more than 60 films remember him for his simplicity and commitment. He was sincere enough to admit on many occasions that Mohammed Rafi was more versatile singer than himself and was never averse to offer a chance to young and upcoming artists. Though O. P. Nayyar never opted for Mukesh, hecalled to sing “Chal Akhela” in “Sambandh” and that remains one of Mukesh’s best songs.

Mukesh, who died of a cardiac arrest on August 27, 1976 during a concert in US, was a singer made for sorrowful and passionate songs. His voice, though nasal at times, had a punch and vigour which could disturb as well soothe hearts.

Though not versatile, he touched the heart of the listener with his soulful rendering. His song from the film “Bandini” “O Jaanewaale Ho Sake to Laut ke Aana” is worth remembering as his fans would expect his voice to return.

(Courtesy: ‘Passion was his soul’, a printed article by Shri.N.Divakar

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

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