The name Mukesh strikes a vibration in the hearts of millions of music lovers in India. So alluring is the charm of this voice that many pedestrians would stop to listen to a Mukesh's song coming from the radio of a way-side street shop. The ninth death anniversary of Mukesh falls on 27th August 1985 and it is apt to know about Mukesh, the man and his songs on this occasion.
Mukesh belonged to Delhi. His father late Lala Zorawar Chand Mathur, who originally hailed from Hissar, had settled in Delhi around 1915 and served as an engineer in C.P.W.D. Mukesh's mother's name was Chand Rani Mathur and the family lived in Chakki Wala Makan, Masjid Khajoor, Chailpuri in Old Delhi. Mukesh was born in this house on 22nd July 1923. Later, the family shifted to Government Quarters near Gole Market and after a few changes finally settled down in Prahlad Lane, 24, Daryaganj from 1940 onwards till 1957. Mukesh was the sixth child in the family which comprised 10 children-6 sisters and 4 brothers. Mukesh had his education in Municipal Boys Higher Secondary School, Mandir Marg, New Delhi. Some of his school-mates who are still in Delhi recall how Mukesh used to enthrall the audience with his songs on the last Saturday of every month which was observed by the school as the 'Open Talent Day'. While Mukesh sang some of Kundan Lal Saigal's and K.C. Dey's songs, it was Roshan Lal (who later became music director Roshan) who played the harmonium at the gathering. Mukesh's elder sister Mrs. Sunder Piari recalls that while her father had engaged a music tutor for her, soon it was found that it was Mukesh who picked the tunes first merely by secretly listening to them from the adjoining room. By all accounts, Mukesh was a simple and shy boy.
During the marriage of Mukesh's elder sister Sunder Piari in 1940, her husband's uncle, film actor Moti Lal and his friend film actor and director Tara Harish heard Mukesh. They were so much enamoured by his voice that they invited him to Bombay. After passing his Matric in 1940, Mukesh had started his service with C.P.W.D. as assistant surveyor. However, the lure of Bombay film life could not hold him for long. Only after 7 months’ service he left for Bombay in Oct. 1940 at the young age of 17. Initially Mukesh's father was much against his joining the films but Mukesh's mother and maternal grandfather Gopi Nath Mathur finally persuaded him to allow Mukesh to go. Mukesh made his debut in the film 'Nirdosh’ in 1941 playing the hero against Nalini Jaywant. It was in this film that he sang his first film song (a ghazel) 'Dil bujha to fasle bahar kya', under the music direction of Ashok Ghosh. Later he started working for the motion picture makers 'Ranjit Movietone' at a salary of Rs. 250/- month. The second film in which Mukesh acted was 'Dukh Sukh' (1942) in which he rendered Khemchand Prakash's duet composition 'Ab der na kar sajan' with the heroine kathak dancer Sitara Devi. He also acted in 'Adaab Arz' (1942) opposite Nalini Jaywant. His first song as a playback singer was a duet with Kusum 'Zara bol ri han' (Uss Paar, 1944). It was, however, in the film 'Moorti' (1945) which had a musical score by Bulo C. Rani that Mukesh emerged as a playback singer and lent his voice for the first time to his close friend and the hero of the film Moti Lal. In this film, he sang a duet with Khurshid and Hamida Bano ‘Badariya baras gayee us paar' and two solos 'Maana ke tum haseen ho’ and 'Haseenon se haseenon ko'. On 22nd July, 1946 on his 23rd birthday, Mukesh quietly married a Gujrati girl Saral Trivedi whose nickname was 'Bachi Ben'.
Mukesh was an ardent fan of K.L. Saigal and was often seen in the studios during Saigal's recordings of the film 'Shahjehan'. He also wished to become a second Saigal. It was left to the music director Anil Biswas to compose for him a perfect number that made Mukesh immortal in the annals of music history. When the film 'Pehli Nazar' with Moti Lai as the hero was released in 1945, every nook and corner of India echoed with 'Dil jalta hai to jalne de’sung in a perfect Saigal style in raag Darbari. "Who is this new Saigal"? was the question everyone was asking. Thousands of people betted in streets, offices and restaurants all over India as to who sang the song-Saigal or Mukesh. Film actor Manmohan Krishan recalled that when Saigal first heard the song he remarked "I don't remember when I sang this song". Indeed, a great tribute to Mukesh and the composer Anil Biswas. Later, Anil Biswas used Mukesh's voice in 'Jiwan sapna toot gaya (Anokha Pyar, 1948) and 'Zamane ka dastoor hai yeh purana’ (Lajwaab, 1950, produced by Anil Biswas). Other Films in which Mukesh sang for Anil Biswas are Veena (1948), Aarzoo (1950), Bekasoor (1950), Aaram (1951), Badi Bahu (1951), Maan (1954), Jalti Nishani (1957) and Char Dil Char Rahen (1959)in which Mukesh sang 'Tu bhi kisi pe marke dekh.' The trio-Anil Biswas, Mukesh and Moti Lal got together again in 'Chhoti Chhoti Baten' (1965) which was produced by Moti Lal. This film is historic because it was the last film of Anil Biswas as a music director, and also the last film of Moti lal who died before he could complete it. Mukesh rendered in this film a touching song 'Alvida'.
Yet another boost came for Mukesh when music director Naushad used his voice in 'Mela' (1948) making him sing 'Gaaye ja geet milan ke, tu apni lagan ke, piya ghar jaana hai'. In 'Mela' Mukesh also sang three unforgettable duets with Shamshad Begum 'Mera dil todne waale mere dil ki dua lena', 'Main bhawra tu hai phool, yeh din mat bhool' and 'Dharti ko aakash pukare, aaja aaja prem duare'. In the same year 1948 Mukesh sang 'Kabhi dil dil se takrata to hoga' and 'Manzil ki dhun mein jhoomte gaate chale chalo' both composed by Nausad for the film 'Anokhi Ada'. In 1949 Nauhsad composed for Mukesh four unforgettable songs for 'Andaaz' filmed on Dilip Kumar, 'Jhoom Jhoom ke nacho aaj'; Tu kahe agar'; 'Toote na dil toote na' and 'Ham aaj kahin dil kho baithe'. The film Andaaz had two lead male characters, Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor and the heroine was Nargis. Although Mukesh is known as the voice of Raj Kapoor, this film was an exception. In this film, all songs picturised on Dilip Kumar were sung by Mukesh whereas the duet song ‘Yun to aapas mein bigadte hain’ which was picturised on Raj Kapoor and Nargis was sung by Rafi and Lata. It may be the only duet song in the history of films which was picturised on Raj Kapoor and Nargis but in which Raj Kapoor’s voice was lent by Rafi. This was followed by Mukesh's duet with Surinder Kaur 'Tera kisi se pyar tha, tu woh zamana bhool ja (Dada, 1949) also composed by Shaukat Dehlvi. Mukesh's first duet with Lata 'Ab darne ki koi baat nahin angrezi chhora chala gaya (Majboor, 1948) composed by Gulam Mohammad became a rage. The other hit songs that followed were the two duets 'Yeh duniya hai, yahan dil ka lagana kisko aata hai (Shair, 1949) composed by Gulam Mohammad and 'Maine dekhi jag ki reet, meet sab jhuthe pad gaye (Sunehre Din, 1949) composed by Gian Dutt.
Mukesh sang for the first time in Raj Kapoor's film 'Aag' (1948) 'Zinda hoon is tarah ki gameh zindgi nahin' under the music direction of Ram Ganguly. From that day onwards, Mukesh became the life-long voice of Raj Kapoor and the association lasted for the next 28 years till Mukesh's death in 1976. Although Mukesh sang for almost all heroes but his association with Raj Kapoor is legendary. According to Anil Biswas, Mukesh's matching of voice with Raj Kapoor is unparalleled in film history. Mukesh also had a special equation with the music directors Shanker Jaikishan who had been patronised by Raj Kapoor for his future productions. This trio combination produced some of the most unforgettable numbers in the film history under Raj Kapoor's banner of R.K. Films. First came 'Barsaat' in 1949 in which Mukesh rendered two duets with Lata 'Chhod gaye balam' (picturised on Raj Kapoor) and 'Patli qamar' hai' (picturised on Prem Nath)followed by Aawara (1951) which yielded 'Aawara hoon' and 'Hum tum se muhobbat kar ke sanam' and the duet 'Dum bhar jo udhar mooh phere'. No song till date has ever matched the international popularity of 'Aawara hoon' which could then be also heard in the streets of Moscow. Next came 'Aah' (1953) in which Mukesh himself sang on screen his own number 'Chhoti si yeh zindgani re'. His two duets of this film 'Aaja re ab mera dil pukara' and 'Jaane na nazar, pehchane zigar' were popular hits. The trio team continued in 'Shri 420'(1955) wherein Mukesh sang 'Mera joota hai japani' which topped the 'Annual Binaca Geet Mala 1955'. The chorus 'Ra mayya vasta vayya' was another hit number. The trio continued in ‘Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai’ (1960)whose most popular numbers were two solos 'Mera naam Raju' and 'Hothon pe sachai rehti hai' and a duet with Lata 'Aa ab laut chalen'. This was followed by 'Sangam' (1964)which yielded three solos 'Dost dost na raha', 'O mehbooba' and 'Mere man ki ganga'. It also saw two popular duets 'O mere sanam’ and 'Har dil jo pyar karega'. Next came 'Mera Naam Joker (1970) in which Mukesh sang two memorable numbers 'Jaane kahan gaye woh din' and 'Jeena yahan marna yahan'. The trio's last film was ‘Kal Aaj Aur Kal’ (1971) in which Mukesh sang in the chorus song 'Tik Tik Tik, chalti jaye ghadi'. (In his two subsequent productions 'Dharam Karam' (1975) and 'Satyam Shivam Sundram’ (1978) Raj Kapoor had switched over to R.D. Burman and Laxmikant Pyarelal respectively.) Interestingly Mukesh's last recorded song 'Chanchal sheetal nirmal komal' was for the R.K. Films Production 'Satyam Shivam Sundram'. (1978) Mukesh sang for almost all the music directors. The list of his hit songs for various music directors is endless and can be illustrated only by a mere sampling.
Mukesh's childhood friend and school classmate in Delhi music director Roshan used Mukesh's voice for the first time in ‘Baawre Nain’ (1950) in the solo 'Teri duniya men dil lagla nahin' and two duets 'Khayylon mein kisi ke is tareh aaya nahin karte (with Geeta Roy) and 'Mujhe sach sach bata do' (with Raj Kumari). When Mukesh produced his first film ‘Malhar' under the banner' Darling Films' in 1951, he chose Roshan as his music director. Although Mukesh himself did not act in the film he sang a solo 'Dil tujhe diya tha rakhne ko, toone dil ko jala ke rakh diya' and two duets with Lata Mangeshkar 'Bade armanon se rakha hai balam teri kasam' and 'Kahan ho tum zara aawaz do, faryad karte hain'. Roshan's other memorable compositions for Mukesh are 'Satayega kise tu aasman jab hum nahin honge' (Shisham, 1952) and the duet 'Jhilmil taare karen ishare (Mashooqa, 1953 in which Mukesh played the hero opposite Suraiya), 'Tere pyar ko is tareh se bhulana, na dil chahta hai, na hum chahtcn hain (Maine Jeena Seekh Liya, 1959),'Bahut diya dene waale ne tujhko aanchal hee na samaye to kya keeje (Soorat Aur Seerat, 1962). In 'Dil Hi To Hai' (1963) Roshan composed four popular solos; 'Tum agar mujhko na chaaho to koyi baat nahin'; 'Dil jo bhi kahega manenge, duniya mein hamara dil hi to hai'; 'Bhoole se muhobbat kar baitha'; Gusse men jo nikhra hai, uss husn ka kya kehna' and the duet with Lata 'Churale na tumko yeh mausam suhana'. Later Roshan also composed 'Dekhti hee raho aaj darpan na tum' (Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal, 1965),'Aaya hai mujhe phir yaad wo zaalim, guzra zamana bachpan ka' and 'Baharon ne mera chaman loot kar' (Both from 'Devar', 1966). Roshan's last film was 'Anokhi Raat' (1968) but before he died he had composed for Mukesh 'Oh re tal mile nadi ke jal mein' and 'Dulhan se tumhara milan hoga'.
Shanker Jaikishan continued to compose for Mukesh some of their choicest numbers. In all, they used Mukesh's voice in 45 films. Their contribution of Mukesh's evergreen hit songs still remains the largest although Kalyanji Anandji outstrip them in number of films with 57 films (in which Mukesh sang) and Laxmikant Pyarelal equal them with 45 films. Their earliest popular composition (outside the R. K. films) was 'Main raahi bhatakne waala hoon' and the duet with Lata 'Ai dil na mujhse chhupa, sach bata, kaya huya (both from 'Badal', 1951) followed by the duet 'Yeh vaada karo chand ke saamne' (Rajhat,1956). Next came 'Ai pyase dil bezuban' (Begunah, 1957) which was picturised on the music director Jaikishan himself, followed by'Yeh mera diwanapan hai' (Yahudi, 1958). In 'Anari' (1959) Mukesh's song 'Sab kuchh seekha hamne na seekhi hoshiari' figured 3rd in the 'Annual Binaca Geetmala 1959 and also earned Mukesh his first Filmfare Award. Other popular songs of Anari were 'Kisi ki muskarahaton pe ho nisar' and the duet 'Dil ki nazar se'. Shanker Jaikishan then composed 'Jaoon kahan bata ai dil' (Chhoti Behan, 1959) and the duet 'Duniya waalon se door'(Ujala, 1959) followed by two hit songs from Kanhaiya (1959) 'Rook ja o jaane wali rook ja' (which ranked 10th in the Annual Binaca Geetmala, 1959) and ‘Mujhe tum se kuchh bhi na chahiye'. Shanker Jaikishan's other three hits in year 1959 came from the film 'Main Nashe Main Hoon' in which Mukesh sang 'Mujhko yaaro maaf karna, main nashe mein hoon', 'Hum hain to chand aur taare' and 'Kisi nargisi nazar ko dil denghe hum'. In their next film 'Ek Phool Char Kante (1960) Mukesh sang the classical based 'Matwali naar thumak thumak chali jaye', followed by 'Yeh shaihar bada albela' (Singapore, 1960). Mukesh's popular songs of 1961 composed by Shanker Jaikishan were the three duets 'Tum roothi raho, main manata rahoon (Aas ka Panchhi), 'Nain tumhare mazedaar, o janabe aali (Junglee) and 'Apni ulfat pe zamaane ka na pehra hota to kitna achha hota (Sasural). Shanker Jaikishan's most popular songs in 1962 came from two films 'Aashiq' and 'Haryali Aur Rasta'. ‘Ashiq’ had ‘Tum jo hamare meet na hote'; 'Main aashiq hoon' and the duets 'O shama mujhe phoonk de' and 'Mehtab tera chehra'. In ‘Haryali Aur Rasta’, Mukesh sang 'Teri yaad dil se bhulane chala hoon' and two duets 'Ibtdaye ishq mein ham saari raat jaage' and 'Lakh hon taare aasman mein'. 'Teesre Kasam' (1966) contributed 3 popular numbers 'Sajan re jhooth mat bolo'; 'Sajanwa bairi ho gaye hamaar' and 'Duniya banaane wale kya tere man mein samayi.'Shankar Jaikishan's popular songs of 1967 were 'Josh-e jawani hai re hai’ and duet 'Duniya ki sair kar lo (Around The World), 'Diwana mujkho log kahen (Diwana), 'Chaha tha banoon pyar kee rahon ka devta (Gunahon Ka Devta) and 'Raat aur din diya jale (Raat Aur Din). Other famous compositions of Shanker Jaikishan were 'Gangaram ki samajh mein na’ (Pehchan, 1970) and 'Jai bolo beiman ki (Beiman, 1972) both of which got Mukesh his second and third Filmfare Award. Shanker Jaikishan's last two popular compositions for Mukesh were the duets 'Sun baal brahmchari, main hoon kanya kunwari' and 'Chal sanyasi mandir mein (both from ‘Sanyasi, 1975’).
Raj Kapoor, however, had chosen Salil Choudhary in preference toShanker Jaikishan for his film 'Jaagte Raho' (1956). Salil's composition 'Zindgi khwab hai' picturised on Moti Lal figured 15th in 'Annual Binaca Geet Mala 1956'. Later Salil composed for the film 'Madhumati (1958)' Soohana safar aur yeh mausam haseen (which ranked 5th in the Annual Binaca, 1958) and the duet 'Dil tarap tarap kar keh raha hai pyar kar'. Salil's other popular compositions for Mukesh are 'Mere khwabon mein khyalon mein, chhupe ek din geet mere' (Duet from Honeymoon, 1960), 'Maine tere liye hi saat rang ke sapne chune' and 'Kahin door jab din dhal jaye (Both from 'Anand,' 1970) and 'Kayi bar yoon bhi dekha hai (Rajni Gandha, 1974) which earned Mukesh a National Award in 1975.
Although S. D. Burman first used Mukesh's voice in 'Bahe na kabhi nain se neer, uthi ho chahe dil mein peed' (Vidya, 1948), his first popular composition was 'Kismat mein bichhudna tha, huyi kyoon unse mulakaat re' (Duet with Geeta Roy from film 'Shabnam' 1949). Burman's other popular compositions are 'Chal ree sajni ab kya soche' (Bombai Ka Babu, 1960), 'Aai dile aawara chal (Dr. Vidya, 1962), 'O jaane wale ho sakke to laut ke aana (Bandini, 1963) and duet 'Yeh kisne geet chheda' (Meri Surat Teri Ankhen, 1963). Music director Madan Mohan's first composition for Mukesh was the hit song 'Preet laga ke maine yeh phal paaya (Ankhen, 1950). Next followed 'Hum chal rahe thhe, tum chal rahe thhe' and the duet 'Hum chal rahe hain (Both from 'Duniya Na Maane, 1959). His other memorable compositions are 'Bhooli huyi yaado mujhe itna na sataawo' and the duet 'Ik manzil rahi do, phir pyar na kaise ho' (both from 'Sanjog, 1961).
Amongst Chitragupta's hit compositions mention must be made of two duets, ‘Ek raat mein do do chand khile, ek ghoongat mein ek badli mein’ (Barkha, 1959) and 'Tumse kuchh kehna hai, gar tum kuchh kehne do’ (Guest House, 1959). Then followed 'Muft huye badnaam, kisi se haaye dil ko laga ke’ (Baraat, 1960), and the duet Teri shokh nazar ka ishara'and the chorus'Dilli hai dil Hindustan ka'(both from 'Patang, 1960), ‘Ban ke chakori gori jhoom jhoom nacho ree’ (Hum Matwale Naujawan, 1961) and two duets 'Dekho mausam kya bahar hai (Opera House, 1961), and 'Mehlon ne chheen liya, bachpan ka pyar mera (Zabak, 1961).
Khyyam composed memorable numbers for Mukesh in 'Phir Subeh Hogi (1958) including 'Chino arab hamara', 'Aasman pe hai khuda, aur zamin pe hum’ and three duets 'Woh subeh kabhi to aayegi'; 'Phir na keeje meri gustakh nigahi ka gila' and 'Jis pyar mein yeh haal ho us pyar se tauba', the last being a duet with Rafi. His other famous compositions are 'Itna husn pe hazoor na garoor keejiye (Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain, 1965) and 'Yeh dilnashin nazare, karte hain kya ishare’ (Pyase Dil, 1974). His last film for Mukesh was (Kabhi Kabhi, 1976) in which his composition 'Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khyaal aata hai' won Mukesh his fourth Filmfare Award. His other popular composition from this film was 'Main pal do pal ka shair hoon'.
S.N. Tripathi gave Mukesh three unforgettable compositions, 'Aa laut ke aaja mere meet' (Rani Roopmati, 1959), Nain ka chain chura kar le gayi' (Chandramukhi, 1960) and 'Jhoomti chali hawa, yaad aa gaya koyi' (Sangeet Samrat Tansen, 1962). Usha Khanna's memorable compositions for Mukesh are 'Chhodo kal ki baten, kal ki baat purani’ (Hum Hindustani, 1960) , 'Ga diwane jhoom ke, raat ki zulphein choom ke' (Flat No. 9, 1961), 'Gori tere chalne pe, mera dil kurban (Faisla, 1965), 'Chand ko kya maaloom chahta hai oose koyi chakor' (Lal Bangla, 1966), 'Chand roya saath mere, raat royi baar baar' (Ek Raat, 1967) and 'Barkha raani, zara jum ke barso’ (Sabak, 1973).
Memorable compositions of Dattaram for Mukesh are 'Aansoo bhari hain yeh jeevan ki raahen’ (Parvarish, 1958), 'Dile oose maan liya, jiska andaz naya' (Santaan, 1959), 'Dil dhoondta hai sahaare sahaare (Kaala Aadmi, 1960), 'Haale dil hamara jaane na bewafa yeh zamana zamana' (Shriman Satyawadi, 1960) and 'Ai meri jaane wafa, maine dekha hai yeh kya (Neeli Ankhen, 1962).
Amongst Ravi's famous compositions mention may be made of the Mukesh-Geeta duet 'Tumse hi meri zindgi meri bahar tum' (Apna Ghar, 1960), 'Tu hai harjai to apna bhi yahi daur sahi' (Tu Nahin Aur Sahi, 1960) and two duets 'Yeh mausam, rangeen sama, thhair zara o jaane jaan' (Modern Girl,1961) and 'Bikhra ke zulphein chaman mein na jaana' (Nazrana, 1961). This was followed by "Wafa jin se ki bewafa ho gaye' and 'Sada khush rahe tu jafa karne waale (Both from Pyar Ka Sagar, 1961). However, Ravi's most popular composition till date is 'Main khushnaseeb hoon, mujhko kisi ka pyar mila (Tower House, 1962). Sonik Omi's three most popular contributions to Mukesh are 'Dil ne phir yaad kiya, bark si lehrayi hai' (Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, 1966), 'Jinhein hum bhoolna chahein wo aksar yaad aate hain'(Aabroo, 1968) and the duet 'Sansar hai ik nadiya, dukh sukh kinaare hain' (Raftaar, 1975).
Jaidev's most popular compositon for Mukesh is 'Jab gamme ishq satata hai to hans leta hoon' (Kinare Kinare, 1963). Naushad's next hit numbers came only 20 years after 'Andaaz' when he composed 'Husn-e-janan idhar aa' and the duet 'Mera pyar bhi tu hai' both from the film 'Saathi'in 1968. Babul's two most popular compositions for Mukesh are 'Main diwana mastana hai mushqil bhed mere pa jaana (Chalis Din, 1959) and 'Gardish mein hon taare. na ghabrana pyare (Reshmi Romal, 1961). Hansraj Behl's unforgettable composition is 'Nain dwar se man mein wo aake, tan mein aag lagayen’ (Sawan, 1959). Husanlal Bhagatram's first composition for Mukesh was the duet 'Jo dil hi todna tha kyoon diya phir aasra tumne' (Sartaj, 1950) followed by 'Kismat bigdi duniya badli phir kaun kisi ka hota hai' (Afsana, 1951) and 'Ai bahaare zindgi tum mil gayi sub kuchh mila (Sher Afghan, 1966). Sardar Malik's most unforgettable composition for Mukesh is 'Saranga teri yaad mein' (Saranga, 1960). His two other popular compositions are 'Han diwana hun mein (Saranga, 1960), 'Chanda ke desh mein rehti ek rani '(Mera Ghar Mere Bachche, 1960). S. Mohinder's popular composition is 'Kisi ka dil chura lena badi pyari shararat hai (Khoobsurat Dhokha, 1959)
Although O. P. Nayyar first used Mukesh's voice for the duet 'Jhuka jhuka ke nigahen milayi jaati hain' (Miss Coca Cola, 1955), his most famous composition which ran in Binaca Geet Mala for 18 months is 'Chal Akela’ (Sambandh, 1969). Kanu Gosh composed only one song for Mukesh which became a hit 'Do roz mein woh pyar ka aalam ujad gaya' (Pyar Ki Rahen, 1959). Daan Singh gave Mukesh two unforgettable compositions, both for the film 'My Love' (1970)-‘Zikr hota hai jab kyamat ka, tere jalwon ki baat hoti hai, and 'Woh tere pyar ka gam, ek bahana tha sanam.' Pardesi's contribution to Mukesh is a duet 'Chanda re mori patiyan leja, saajan ko pahoncha de re (Banjarin, 1960). Iqbal Qureshi's famous compositions for Mukesh are 'Dar pe aaye hain kasam se' (Love in Simla, 1960), 'Mujhe raat din yeh khyal hai' (Omar Qaid, 1961) and the duet 'Ek baat poochhta hoon' (Banarsi Thug, 1962). Vipin Dutt's contribution was 'Main hoon apni lagan ka mara, jidhar chal pada, chal pada' (Diamond King, 1961).
R. D. Burman's four most popular compositions are 'Jis gali mein tera ghar na ho balma' (Kati Patang, 1970), the duet 'Kahin karti hogi wo mera intezar' (Phir Kab Milogi, 1974), 'Ik din bik jayega maati ke mol' (Dharam Karam, 1975) and 'Suhani chandni raten, hamein sonai nahin deti (Mukti, 1977). Vishnu Khanna composed 'Badi khoobsurat zindgi, tu ise sanwar de pyar se' (Pasand Apni Apni, 1972) whereas Shyamji Ghanshyamji gave 'Main dhoondta hoon jinko raton ke khyyalon mein' (Thokar, 1974). Sapan Jagmohan composed 'Main to har mod par tujh ko dhoondta raha' (Chetna, 1970) whereas Ravinder Jain contributed the Rafi-Mukesh duet 'Do jasoos karein mehsoos' (Do Jasoos, 1975). Satish Bhatia who scored music for 'Boond Jo Ban Gayi Moti' (1967) gave two memorable compositons 'Yeh kaun chitrakaar hai' and 'Han, maine bhi pyar kiya, pyar se kab inkar kiya'. C. Ramchandra's only famous composition for Mukesh is 'Jap jap jap re (Sharda 1957). Mention must also be made of the duets 'Tum mujhe bhool bhi jaao to yeh hak hai tumko (Didi, 1959) composed by Sudha Malhotra and 'Saath ho tum aur raat jawan' (Kaanch Ki Gudiya, 1961) composed by Suhrid Kar.
Kalyanji Anandji used Mukesh's voice in 57 films which is highest by any Music Director. Their first composition for Mukesh was a duet 'Dil lootne wale jadugar, ab maine tujhe pehchana hai' (Madari, 1959). In their next film 'Chhalia (1960), they composed three memorable solos 'Dum dum diga diga'(which figured 13th in the Annual Binaca Geetmala), 'Chhalia mera naam' and 'Mere toote huye dil se koyi to aaj yeh poochhe'. Then came their unforgettable composition 'Mujhko is raat ki tanhayi mein aawaz na do' (Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere, 1960) followed by 'Pyase panchhi neel gagan mein geet milan ke gayen' (Pyase Panchhi, 1961). In 1963 they gave two hit compositions, 'Thoomak thoomak mat chalo' (Kahin Pyar Na Ho Jaye) and 'Chand aahen bharega' (Phool Bane Angare). In 1964, they gave 4 popular numbers, 'Humne tujhko pyar kiya hai jitna'; 'Jo pyar toone mujko diya tha, wo pyar tera main lauta raha hoon' (both from Dulha Dulhan), 'Chal mere dil lehra ke chal' (Ishara), and Hum chhod chale hain mehfil ko, yaad aaye kabhi to mat rona (Ji Chahta Hai). Kalyanji Anandji's popular compositions of 1968 are 'Dheere re chalo mori baanki hiraniya' and the duet 'Na koyi raha hai na koyi rahega' (both from 'Johar Mehmood in Goa), followed by masterpieces like 'Main to ik khwab hoon' and 'Chand si mehbooba ho meri kab' (both from Himalaya Ki God Mein). In the same year, they also composed 'Jis dil mein basa tha pyar tera, uss dil ko kabhi ka tod diya' (Saheli) and 'Tumhen zindgi ke ujaale mubarak' and 'Gori nain tumhare kya kehne' (both from 'Purnima). Next followed 'Chandan sa badan, chanchal chitwan' and the duet 'phool tumhein bheja hai khat mein' (both from 'Saraswati Chandra', 1968), 'Tash ke bawan patte' (Tamanna, 1969), 'Chandi ki deewar na todi'(Vishwas,1969), Meri tamanaon ki takdeer tum sanwaar do' (Holi Aai Re, 1970), 'Kisi rah men kisi mod par' (Mere Humsafar, 1970), 'Koyi jab tumhara hridey tod de', (Purab Aur Pashchim,1970) Jo tumko ho pasand vahi baat kahenge' (Safar, 1970), 'Mujhe nahin poochhni tumse beeti baten' (Anjaan Raahen, 1974), the duet 'Kya khoob lagti ho, badi sundar dikhti ho (Dharmatma, 1975) and 'Humka aisa vaisa na samajho hum bade kaam ki cheez. (Adalat, 1976).
Laxmikant Pyarelal used Mukesh's voice for 45 films and their share of Mukesh's hit songs comes next to Shankar Jaikishan and Kalyanji Anandji. Starting with the duet 'Chori chori jo tumse mili to log kya kahenge' (Parasmani, 1963), they composed the hit number 'Jyot se jyot milate chalo' (Sant Gyaneshwar, 1964) followed by the duet 'Hum to tere aashiq hain sadiyon purane' (Farz, 1967). However, it was in 'Milan' (1967) that they gave at least five hit songs including two solos 'Ram kare aisa ho jaye' and 'Mubarak ho sabko sama yeh suhana' and three duets 'Bol gori bol tera kaun piya'; 'Sawan ka maheena pawan kare shor' and 'Hum tum yug yug se'. Next followed 'Tauba yeh matwali chal' (Patthar Ke Sanam, 1967), two duets "Who kaun hai' (Anjaana, 1969), ‘Je hum turn chori se' (Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (1969) and the solo 'Duniya se jaane wale, jaane chale jaate hain kahan (Pushpanjali,1970). Their later popular compositions are the three duets 'Dheere dheere bol koyi sun na le' (Gora Aur Kala,1972) 'Ik pyar ka nagma hai' (Shor, 1972), 'Main na bhooloon ga' (Roti Kapada Aur Makaan, 1974), and the solo 'Ek hasrat thee ki aanchal ka mujhe pyar mile' (Zindagi Aur Toofan. 1975). In 'Dus Numbari' (1976), they composed 'Yeh duniya ek numbari 'and the duet 'Mujhe dard rehta hai' followed by the Mukesh-Rafi duet ‘Saat ajoobe iss Duniya mein, aathvin apni jodi’ (Dharamveer, 1977). Their last composition, which is also the last song of Mukesh is, 'Chanchal, sheetal, nirmal, komal (Satyam Shivam Sundaram, 1978).
Mukesh sang a few duets and choruses with Rafi. Memorable amongst these are 'Jis pyar mein yeh haal ho (Phir Subeh Hogi, 1958), Ra mayya vasta vayya (Shri 420, 1955), Zindgi hai kya (Satyakam, 1969) and 'Saat ajube is duniya mein (Dharamvir, 1977), the last two being Laxmikant Pyarelal's compositions. It is an acknowledged fact that Mukesh was no patch on Rafi in versatility and range. Yet in the films in which they both sang solos, Mukesh always seemed to forge ahead of Rafi. In 'Bombai ka Babu', Rafi's superb 'Saathi na koyi manzil' could not become as famous as Mukesh's 'Chal ri sajni ab kya soche'. Again, in 'Madhumati' Rafi's masterpiece ‘Toote huye khawbon ne' lost out in popular appeal to Mukesh's 'Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen'. The same happened in 'Yahudi' where Mukesh sang 'Yeh mera diwanapan hai' against Rafi's ‘Yeh duniya, hai hamari yeh duniya'. In Sangam, again Mukesh's 'Dost dost na raha' scored over Rafi's 'Yeh mera prem patr pad ke'.
Mukesh was a very pleasant person and had a humorous nature. Humility, sweetness and benevolence coupled with a charming personality instantly drew him close to the hearts of people. A man always full of life and vitality, Mukesh had a special liking for outdoor life and would grab any opportunity for a lively picnic. On the other hand, he was fond of serious studies and would spend his leisure time in studying biographical sketches. An extremely religious person, he was a great devotee of 'Hanuman' and would often wait in a queue to offer parshad in the Mandir. No wonder, he sang the collosal collection of Ramayana in eight LPs despite the fact that his writing script was Urdu.
A gentleman to the core, he was liked by one and all, and had no enemies. He kept himself aloof from the petty politics or jealousies prevalent in the film industry. For these qualities, he was highly respected in the film industry and was affectionately called 'Guni Jan'. Very often, he acted as a mediator to settle disputes or clear mutual misunderstandings amongst people in the film industry. Nothing can testify this fact more than the statement of music director Anil Biswas, that "During my career of 50 years as Music Director, I have come across thousands of people. I must say that Mukesh was a real gem, an elevated soul, sincere to the core, warm and friendly, and totally unaffected by the glamour and hullabaloo of film life.
Mukesh never forget his debt and gratitude to his friends and well-wishers. Moti Lal was the man who was responsible for getting Mukesh a break in films and Anil Biswas was the Music Director who provided him the much-needed break in 'Pehli Nazar' The trio got together when Moti Lal made his own film 'Chhoti Chhoti Baten' (1965). However, before Moti Lal could complete the film, he died. Mukesh took upon himself the whole responsibility of completing the film. Anil Biswas still remembers how Mukesh ran from pillar to post spending time and money to see that the film is completed and released.
Another incident is equally revealing. When Kalyanji Anandji were to record Mukesh-Suman Kalyanpuri duet 'Aap se hum ko bichhde huye' for the film 'Vishwas (1969), Mukesh was abroad. So, the composer asked an unknown singer Manhar Udhas (Brother of ghazel singer Pankaj Udhas) to sing it on the clear understanding that his portion of the duet would be dubbed in Mukesh's voice on Mukesh's return. Mukesh returned and was asked to come for the dubbing. He came and heard the way Manhar had sung and said, "The boy has sung it well. Don't ask me to dub it and break his heart". What a magnificant heart Mukesh had!
Besides a singer, Mukesh was also a composer. In his own production 'Anurag'(l950), Mukesh not only played the hero but became its music director also, and sang his compositions 'Pal bhar hi ki pehchan mein pardesi balam se' and 'Kise yaad rakhoon kise bhool jaoon'. He also composed tunes for many of his non-film songs including 'Jiyenge magar muskra na sakenge'.
During his last visit to USA along with Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh was to appear for a musical programme in the city of Detroit on 27th August. 1976. However, only half an hour before the scheduled start of the programme, he collapsed in his bathroom and died at about 6 P.M. In India, however, the date at that instant was 28th August morning, which is now sometimes taken as his date of death in India, although the correct date is 27th August. The last song of Mukesh was 'Chanchal sheetal nirmal komal' which he sang for Raj Kapoor's film 'Satyam Shivam Sundram' (1978) and whose recording was completed only hours before his departure for USA. On his death, cried Raj Kapoor "I have lost my voice". Anil Biswas said 'Mukesh is history now which will not be repeated'. Music Director Shanker said “Mukesh was the people's voice". Shanker was quite right. The fact that Mukesh who sang no more than 1025 songs could nearly match the versatile Rafi (who has sung about 5 times more songs than Mukesh) in popularity, amply testifies Shanker's claim that Mukesh's was a people's voice.
It is a tribute to Mukesh that after his death, the crossing of Napean Sea Road and Warden Road situated close to his house, has been renamed as Mukesh Chowk. A sculpture depicting a singer, a flutist and a dholak player as also a brass bust of Mukesh was erected at this Chowk on 29th June,1983. A hidden tape recorder at the Chowk plays Tulsi Ramayana’s paath in Mukesh’s voice every morning, while evenings, it plays Mukesh’s songs. Indeed, Mukesh’s was a people’s voice that will keep ringing in the ears of millions for the centuries to come.
‘Ik din bik jayega, maati ke mol;
Jag mein reh jayenge pyare tere bol’