Mukesh: The man with Golden Voice


Kriti Billore
The man known for incomparable and inimitable voice was born on 22 July 1923 in Delhi. His original name was Zoraver Chand Mathur. His name is usually mentioned with the great and legendry singers like Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar.
He left school after 10th class and got a job with Delhi department of Public Works. He tried and experimented with voice recordings and made his voice more polished and honed his abilities.
Motilal, the most popular actor at that time recognized the hidden talent of Muskesh, as he performed at his sister's marriage, who also happened to his distant relative. He found Mukesh's talent very natural and prompting. Mukesh was taken to Bombay, where he recieved his musical tranings to refine and improve his singing abilities. Meanwhile, he managed to get a role in a Hindi film 'Nirdosh'(1941) but the film didn't do well on the box office. Then his first work as a playback singer was in the film 'Pehli Nazar' (1945). The song was coincidentally picturized on Motilal.

It was in the year 1948 that Mukesh sang for Raj Kapoor for the movie Aag. The voice of Mukesh perfectly matched the helplessness that was portrayed onscreen by Raj Kapoor in the song Zinda Hoon Is Tarah. After that there was no looking back and this wonderful partnership went on till the year 1975.
In the mid 1940's his personal life was interesting.  Mukesh developed an romantic relationship with a Gujarati Brahman girl named Saral Trivedi Raichand.  This was an illicit affair,  for the girl's family was very much against the match.  She belonged to a wealthy Gujarati family, while he was "unsettled".  He did not own his own home and was engaged in the "dishonorable" film industry, and didn't even had a regular and particular source of income.  However,  in 1946 they eloped.  Naturally that became the talk of the town, and there were spectating predictions that this marriage would not last longer.  But all the predictions went in vain because the marriage lasted till his death.  

The  decade of the 1950s was full of pleasure for Mukesh.  The decade began with the birth of his son Nitin on June 27th, 1950 followed by his daughter Rita who was born 2 years earlier.  Their second daughter Nalini was born June 25th 1953.  The decade ended on a high note when in 1960 he won his first Filmfare award for his work in the film "Anari" (1959)
Mukesh's voice had more than thousand impressions of melancholy. He had always been successful in leaving an impact and proving his uniqueness between the audiences.  The way he sang with perfect notes and tone, it was very natural. The pain that was in his voice, while singing is impossible for anyone else to imitate. However, this was not his original singing style, he used to imitate Saigal like others of his generation. He discovered his original style when he worked in Naushad's film 'Mela' (1948).  With music director Naushad, Mukesh belted out some unforgettable hits like Tu Kahe Agar, Jhoom Jhoom ke Naacho Aaj, Hum Aaj Kahin Dil Kho Baithe, Toote Na Dil Toote Na. These four solos made him a well-known playback singer overnight. With Raj Kapoor, Mukesh immortalized heartbreaks, disparity and hopelessness and made out some classics and endless list of hits.
The 1960's was also an interesting decade for Mukesh.  In November 4th 1961, his second son Mohnish was born.  In 1962 he went on a concert tour of the UK.  In 1966 his third daughter Namrata was born.  In 1967 again he went on a concert tour of Surinam.

The ones that deserve a mention are Awaara (1951), Shri 420 (1955), Parvarish (1958), Anari (1959), Sangam (1964), Mera Naam Joker (1970) and Kabhi Kabhi (1976). His last recording with Raj Kapoor was the song "Ek Din Bik Jaayega" from the movie Dharam Karam. The music was composed by R.D. Burman.
Mukesh acted in numerous films especially in his early years, Some of his films were, 'Aadab Arz' (1943), 'Aah' (1953), 'Mashuqa' (1953), 'Anurag' (1956).
Awards
In 1970 he won his third Filmfare award for "Be-Iman".  In 1974, he received the National Award for the Kai Baar Yun Bhi Dekha Hai from "Rajnigandha" (1974).  He went on numerous foreign tours to places like London (1972), Africa (1972), Canada (1976), USA (1976).

Death
The last song that he had recorded was Chanchal Sheetal Nirmal Komal from "Satyam Shivam Sundaram" in June 1976.  After recording this song soon he left for a musical tour to the US.
The concert tour with Lata Mangeshkar that happened in USA in the year of 1976 was his last.  This was just shortly after he celebrated his 30th wedding anniversary.  Although no one knew it at the time, Mukesh's 8th performance of the tour in Philadelphia would be his last performance.  After they arrived to discuss for what would be his 9th program, he died of a sudden heart attack on 27th August, 1976. He was 53 years old.  His untimely death shocked the entire nation and the film industry. His body was taken back to India and he was cremated at the Banganga Crematorium in South Bombay on August 30, 1976.
As the great singer Mukesh was Raj Kapoor's voice in most of his films. When Mukesh died, Kapoor commented, "Main ne apni aawaaz ko kho diya" (I have lost my voice).

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