MUKESH - The Legend in the world of music
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.
Mukesh Chandra Mathur was born on 22nd july, 1923, in Delhi. He was inclined towards acting and music from a very young age and was an ardent admirer of Kundan Lal Saigal. Mukesh studied till the 10th grade, and took up job as an assistant surveyor in the department of public works, dreaming all the while of a career in music in Bombay. Fortunately for Mukesh, his relative, the character actor Motilal spotted his talent and took him to Bombay and engaged a music teacher for him to hone his talent as a singer. His debut as a singer came in the film 'Nirdosh'. The song was "Dil hi buja hua ho to...". Then in 1944 there followed a duet with singer Kusum for the film 'Us Paar'. The song was "Jara boli ri ho...". In 1945 he sang with Khursheed "Badariya baras gayi us paar..." for the film 'Murti'. By this time he had carved a niche for himself in the Hindi film industry. Then fate smiled upon him. The year was 1945 and Anil Biswas asked him to record the song "Dil jalta hai to jalne de..." for the film 'Pehli Nazar'. That was to be Mukesh's first 'hit' song and it caused people to sit up and take notice of this wealth of talent. It is interesting to note that at this stage of his career, Mukesh 'copied' the singing style of his inspiration K.L.Saigal. So much so that the legendary singer upon hearing Dil jalta hai is supposed to have exclaimed "But I don't remember singing this song!" In the year 1949, Mukesh reached a significant milestone of his life, one that was to establish his status as a legend in the world of music. Two young musicians, Shanker and Jaikishen were composing songs for RK Films and asked Mukesh to give voice to their tunes. What followed was sheer magic. The films 'Aawara' and 'Shree 420' were runaway hits and the songs in these films were significant contributors to their success.
Mukesh's soulful and mellifluous voice transcended barriers of language and geography and found admirers in countries as far as Russia, where in the streets of Moscow you could hear people singing "Aawara hoon..." and "Mera joota hai japani...". The immensely gifted team of Shanker Jaikishen, Mukesh and Raj Kapoor were to create one gem after another in films like Aah, Aawara, Barsaat, Shree 420, Anadi, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Sangam, Mera Naam Joker and many more. Among other music directors for whom Mukesh sang a good number of his songs were Laxmikant Payrelal, Kalyanji Anandji, Salil Chowdhury and Usha Khanna. O.P Nayyar amongst all music directors supposedly had the lowest personal opinion of Mukesh. On one occasion he experimented with Mukesh when he asked him to sing for the film 'Sambandh'. As was the custom in those days the songs of the film started playing on the radio much before the film was released. As the song "Chal akela Chal akela.." was aired, post cards with requests started pouring in at the local radio stations and the song went on to become a great hit. Much to OP Nayyar's surprise this went on to become the only popular and hit song from 'Sambandh' even though the film had other notable numbers featuring in it. Another music director who worked well with Mukesh was Khaiyyam. The lyrics of Sahir Ludhianvi, Khaiyyam's music and Mukesh's voice created some veritable master pieces in the film 'Kabhie Kabhie'. In 1974 Mukesh received a National award for the song "Kahi baar yoon bhi dekha hai..." sung in the film 'Rajnigandha' and the music director was Salil Chowdhury. Two years later on the 27th of August 1976, fifty three year old Mukesh died of a heart attack in Detroit while on a tour of America. However, his songs and the unmatched quality of his voice continue to find a place in every music lover's heart even today.