Google recently paid a ‘Doodle’ tribute to legendary Bollywood singer Mukesh on his birth anniversary (born on July 22, 1923). Almost every song picturised on the late ‘Raj Kapoor’ was sung by the legendary singer.
Known as “voice of Raj Kapoor”, Mukesh Chand Mathur’s musical career spanned four decades.
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) July 21, 2016
Although another legendary singer Kishore Kumar has sung most of the songs for Amitabh Bachchan, the Google Doodle is actually inspired by a romantic scene from Yash Chopra’s iconic movie, “Kabhie Kabhie” (starring Amitabh Bachchan), and shows an illustrated, smiling Mukesh in the foreground holding a microphone.
The movie had a few songs (call them evergreen songs) that were sung by Mukesh and were picturised on Amitabh Bachchan.
Watch: Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein song from the movie Kabhie Kabhie
Watch: Main Pal Do Pal Ka Shayar Hoon from the movie Kabhie Kabhie
“Decades before single-name stars Madonna and Prince became superstars, there was the mononymous Mukesh, one of Bollywood’s most acclaimed playback singers,” wrote Google in an ode to the singer.”
Mukesh was a big fan of another famous singer K.L.Saigal (from the black-and-white era), and molded his voice according to his idol (which actually confused several fans).
It was iconic composer Naushad Ali who gradually helped Mukesh come out of Saigals’s singing style and helped him develop his own, independent style (which had a slight nasal tinge to it…Himesh Reshammiya is another popular Bollywood singer who has a nasal voice).
Rise to Stardom
Mukesh soon became a much sought after playback singer and in a few years time, he was considered among the best playback singers in Bollywood, alongside Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar.
Mukesh’s rise to fame coincided with the growth of Raj Kapoor in the industry. Soon, he became the singing voice of ‘The Showman’, Raj Kapoor, starting from “Andaz” (1949), and included several films like “Awara”, “Barsaat”, “Shree 420”, “Anari”, “Chhalia”, “Mera Naam Joker”.
Famous Songs of Mukesh
Some of the popular songs that Mukesh is remembered for even today:
“Chandan sa badan” (Saraswatichandra), “Chal ri sajni, ab kya roke” (Bambai Ka Babu), “Kabhi kabhi mere dil me khayal aata hai” and “Main pal do pal ka shayar hoon” (both – Kabhie Kabhie), “Kya khoob lagti ho, badi sunder dikhti ho” (Dharmatma), “Sab kuchh sikha humne, na sikhi hoshiyari” (Anari), “Sawan ka mahina, pavan kare sor” (Milan), “Hothon pe sachhai rehti hai” (Jis Des me Ganga behti hai).
Watch: Chandan Sa Badan (Mukesh Version) from the movie Saraswatichandra. Mukesh is remembered for singing songs like this one.
Because of his unique voice (which has a bit of sadness to it), Mukesh’s voice suited songs that had to depict sadness/grimness and even slow romantic tracks.
Watch: Mukesh singing the evergreen song ‘Kya Khoob Lagti Ho’ from the movie Dharmatma. Another of Mukesh’s very popular song that was not for Raj Kapoor.
Mukesh’s melodious song, “Kai baar yunhi dekha hai” (Rajnigandha) bagged him the National Award for Best Male Playback Singer in 1974.
Watch: Mukesh singing Kaii Baar Yun Bhi Dekha Hai from the movie Rajnigandha.
Singer Mukesh has also acted in several Hindi films (he did a singer-actor’s role in a film, “Nirdosh”, before becoming a playback singer).
Mukesh passed away following a massive heart attack while on a concert tour in Detroit, US, on August 27, 1976, aged just 53.