Mukesh : the rhythm of million hearts, the sound of melancholy and the voice of Raj Kapoor. As we celebrate his 93rd anniversary, let’s dive in deep in his greatness. Mukesh was born on 22nd July 1923 as Zoraver Chand Mathur. He has been considered in line with legends Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi. He worked in Delhi Department of Public Works, leaving his studies after 10th. He has many times experimented with his voice, and is known to sing in different styles.
The singer was brought in the industry by Motilal, a renowned actor and his distant relative, when he saw him perform in his sister’s marriage function. He recognised Mukesh’s hidden talent and brought him to Bombay. Mukesh then took trainings to refine his voice. While he was grooming the singer in him, he also did an acting stint in 1941 with a movie named ‘Nirdosh’ which unfortunately failed to grab attention. His first playback singing offer came with the movie ‘Pehli Nazar’ which was picturised on Motilal.
Shades of melancholy were found in his voice. Whichever song he touched became epic and brought tears in the eyes of the listeners. The pain, resentment and emotion he brought in his voice were second to none. One could feel the anguish and hurt he used in his songs. His songs opened up deep sorrows of people. The more they heard, the stronger the addiction of his voice became. He slowly acquired huge fame and recognition in the masses. His raw voice had an unbeatable impact and he was crowned the legend of legends. Salil Choudhary, a music maestro himself, praised him for his unique singing ability and believed that his vocal timbre was extraterrestrial.
His own style started shining in the music of movies ‘Andaaz’(1949) and ‘Mela’(1948). Under the direction of Naushad, Mukesh delivered some unforgettable hits like Toote Na dil Toote Na, Hum aaj Kahin Dil Kho Baithe, Jhoom Jhoom Ke Nacho Aaj and Tuu Agar Kahe. These four singles made him a sensation overnight. In 1948 Mukesh sang a song in movie ‘Aag’, featuring Raj Kapoor. His voice exactly resonated the helplessness depicted by Raj Kapoor in the song Zinda Hoon Is Tarah. After that all the songs of Raj Kapoor were sang by Mukesh until 1975.
With the association of Raj Kapoor, Mukesh belted out some awesome hits which immortalized heartbreaks and despair. The deserving mentions are Awara in 1951, Shree 420 in 1955, Parvarish in 1958, Anari in 1959, Sangam in 1964, Mera Naam Joker in 1970 and Kabhi Kabhi in 1976. ‘Ek din mit jaega’ was his last recording for Raj Kapoor.
His last days were in Detroit U.S., on a music tour, when his death came due to heart attack. This came as a big shock and a hard hit for his fans, followers and the whole music industry. With Raj Kapoor quoting ”I have lost my voice”, the whole nation cried for this melancholy king. Such was his fame, such was his admiration. No magic can wield the power of his voice.