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Article: Legendary Singer Mukesh

By Dr. NSD Raju

August 27, 2006 marks the 30th death anniversary of the sonorous singer Mukesh. His resonant melodious voice haunts music lovers all over the world. He had a masculine but vulnerable voice that could take you to fathomless depths of emotion as in songs like Jane kaham gaye woh din (Mera naam Joker) or koi jab tumhara hruday tod de (Purab aur pachim).

He could also sing fast numbers like (Dum dum diga diga or Hum toh tere aashiq hai sadiyon purane), but Mukesh was truly magnificent in his philosophical songs (Chal akela, Duniya bananewale) and his extraordinary repertoire of melancholic songs speak of the innate ability of the singer in imparting pathos. Born in Delhi in 1923 as Mukesh Chand Mathur, he was part of a large family of 11 siblings. Young Mukesh was an ardent fan of Saigal. Mukesh's distant relative Motilal was instrumental in molding Mukesh's singing career. He was so impressed by Mukesh's impromptu singing and magnanimously arranged for his voice training in Mumbai. It was in 1945 that mukesh got a break in playback singing. Music mastero Anil Biswas offered him the chance to playback for the Motilal starrer Pehli Nazar (1945). Mukesh imbued the song Dil jalta hai toh jalne de, with such force and finesse that he had a resounding hit on his hands and he never had to look back although people mistook the singer as Saigal Mukesh immensely benefited by the association with music director Naushad in film Mela (Andaaz (1949) score, with beautiful solos like Tu kahe agar, and Jhoom jhooom ke.

With the success of the Raj Kapoor-Mukesh combination in Awara (1951) and with resounding popularityof the song Awara hoon, Mukesh came to be known as Raj Kapoor's ghost voice and this combination contined to flourish till the singer's untimely demise in 1976 at Detroit in USA during a concert tour with Lata Mangeshkar. When the news of Mukesh's death reached Raj Kapoor, he remarked that he had lost his soul The death of Mukesh left a void in Indian film music that was hard to fill.

Immortal compositions sung by the singer like Dil jalta hai, Yeh mera diwapan hai, Saranga teri yaad mein, Zamane ka dastoor, Aa ab laut chale, Dost dost na raha, Zindagi khwab hai, Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen, Sawan ka mahina, Kahin door jab din dhal jaye, Khabhie khabhie mere dil mein, Ek pyaar ka naghma, Ek din bhik jayega etc remind us of the melody and in-depth feeling of Mukesh's rendition.

In 1974, Mukesh received a National Award for the song Kain baar yoon bhi dekhaa hai from Rajnigandha (1974), and Filmfare Awards for the songs Sab Kuch Seekha in the movie Anari (1959), Ganga Ram Ki Samajh in Pehchaan (1970), Jai Bolo in Be Imaan (1972) and Kabhie Kabhie in the film of the same name (1976). A thorough gentleman, he treated all people in the same manner. Most importantly, he was a very genuine, sincere person, who always spoke straight from his heart. It was this last quality that makes his music so special. Mukesh has large fan following and remains indelibly etched in the minds of music lovers till date In Mukesh there was a rare combination of gentleness, thoughtfulness and unpretentious simplicity that made Mukesh as memorable a human being as he was a great singer. (A Mukesh memorial musical nite is being organized on 28th August at 6.30 pm at Kerala Fine Arts Hall, Ernakulam. The function is jointly sponsored by Mukesh Foundation of India and Sagam Kala Group).




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