Today is the 93 th birthday of the celebrated playback singer Mukesh. Also known by as the “voice of Raj kapoor” and the “Man with the Golden Voice” , Mukesh is a legend and has been a favorite of many. Google is celebrating his birthday with a special doodle! It shows Mukesh singing in front of a famous shot of his song Kabhie Kabhie,from the same movie.
Here are some lesser known facts about his life, and of course some of his Golden Melodies!!
Mukesh’s voice was noticed by Motilal (a popular actor in Hindi films, also a distant relative of Mukesh) when he sang at his sister’s wedding. Motilal took him to Bombay, let him stay with him and even arranged for singing lessons by Pt Jagganath Prasad for him. During this period, Mukesh managed to bag a role in a Hindi film, Nirdosh (Innocent) (1941). His first song was “Dil Hi Bujha Hua Ho To ” as an actor singer for Nirdosh
Sudhir Kakar, the well-known psychoanalyst, has an interesting explanation for Mukesh’s popularity. In conservative India, failed romances outnumber successful ones. And Mukesh gives voice to the unarticulated despair of a nation unable to love openly.
Mukesh married saral Trivedi alias Bachhiben, daughter of Raichand Trivedi. Saral’s father was a Gujarati Brahmin millionaire. With no proper house, an erratic income and what was then considered in India a supposedly “immoral” profession (singer in movies), the consent of Saral’s father for this marriage could not be obtained and Mukesh and Saral were forced to elope. They got married in a temple in Kandivali on 22 July 1946, Mukesh’s 23rd birthday, with the help of the actor Motilal and from the residence of R. D. Mathur. Everyone made dire predictions of unhappy days and divorce, but both weathered the lean days and celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary on 22 July 1976, four days before his departure for the USA, where he passed away.
The actor Neil Nitin Mukesh is a grandson of Mukesh (son of his son Nitin).
He was such a big fan of K. L. Saigal that in his early years, he used to imitate him .It is said that when K. L. Saigal first heard the song “Dil Jalta Hai…”, he remarked, “That’s strange, I don’t recall singing that song” .With the help of Naushad Ali, Mukesh created his own singing style. Ali also helped him coming out of Saigal style .
A small girl was insisting upon hearing the famous playback singer Mukesh of the Indian Screen- not through discs or tapes, but in person! The girl was an invalid and because of her illness she became more depressed an consequently more demanding.
“I like his voice very much, Mama!” She used to say: “If he comes and sings to me personally I will be cured.”
“Don’t be silly!” The mother used to say: “have you become mad? He is a very big man….”
“Do you know how much he charges for a song?” Some one said: “He is very busy- always.”
“But….. I want him to sing to me!” The girl used to say between sobs.
And as the days passed by her condition became more and more serious.
At last a physician approached the great Artist and told him about the sick girl’s stubbornness’.
“Perhaps she would be cure, Mukeshji!”
“Achha!” (ok) said the artist :”I will come today. A little late, but not too late!”
And Mukesh did come and sing to the delight of the small patient and everybody else present in the hospital. Next day he said to someone “I was more happy than the little girl!”
One of the classic true stories of musicdom concerns a top-notch classical vocalist, playback singer Mukesh and veteran music director Kalyanji. The singer was leaving the composer’s music room after a sitting when the classical luminary entered for a social call. After Mukesh departed, this worthy told Kalyanjibhai, “Look at the irony! What does that man know about classical raag and sur? And he drives a Mercedes and I have to travel by bus!”
Kalyanjibhai beckoned the man to sit next to him and asked him to sing Chandan sa badan chanchal chitwan along with the harmonium. The classical singer sang the line, with excessive murki as per his training.
Kalyanjibhai again explained to him the exact notes. Try as he might, the classical maestro could not get the requisite straight and heart-touching rendition needed for this Saraswatichandra classic. Gently, the composer drove home his point by telling him, Ab aap ko pataa chalaa ke woh Mercedes main kyoon ghoomte hain? (Do you now realise why he drives a Mercedes?)
Mukesh was probably the least classically-accomplished among our master-singers, but he has an amazing 90 per cent success record among his songs. According to industry insiders, even K.L. Saigal, Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar were far from highly-trained.