Today is his 93rd birthday. He was one of the acclaimed singers of Bollywood’s golden era. He is ‘the man with the golden voice’. He is Mukesh Chand Mathur better known as Mukesh. The Google doodle honors him by celebrating the birth anniversary of the singer today. It shows Mukesh smiling and holding a microphone on the right with a beautiful illustration from the song ‘Kabhie Kabhie Mere Dil Mein’ in the background.
Mukesh was born on 22nd July, 1923 in Delhi. After the tenth grade he left school and worked for the section of Public Works. In Delhi, during his employment, he experimented with voice recordings and slowly developed his singing abilities.
Mukesh’s voice was noticed by a distant relative, Motilal, who also was an actor, when he sang at Motilal’s sister’s wedding. Motilal arranged classical singing lessons for him by Pandit Jagannath Prasad in Mumbai. During this phase, he sung ‘Dil~Hi~Bujha~Hua~Ho~To’ for ‘Nirdosh’ as an actor-singer. ‘Dil~Jalta~Hai~To~Jalne~De’ was the first song that he sang for a Hindi film.
With the help of music director Naushad Ali, Mukesh created his own singing style. Naushad Ali, who helped him to come out of his idol K.L. Saigal’s style and create his own style, also gave him the songs for Dilip Kumar’s voice in ‘Andaz’. After many hits Dilip Kumar chooses Rafi and making Mukesh his ghost voice Raj Kapoor delivered many hits.
Mukesh had sung total around 1300 songs. Though the number is less than those of his contemporary singers, but Mukesh put emphasis on quality rather than quantity. In the 1970s the moderately fewer songs sung by him can be attributed to both the Kishore Kumar wave and his failing health due to his worsening heart problem.
Mukesh died on August 27, 1976 in Detroit, Michigan of heart attack. He went there to perform in a concert. In the 1978 film Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Mukesh sang his last film song ‘Chanchal~sheetal~nirmal~komal’ for Shashi Kapoor, Raj Kapoor’s younger brother.
Mukesh won the National Film Award In 1974 for Best Male Playback singer for his song “Kai Baar Yuhi Dekha Hai” from Rajnigandha. He won Filmfare Awards in 1959 for ‘Sab~Kuch~Sikha~Humne’(Anari), in 1970 for ‘Sabse~Bada~Nandan(Pehchan), in 1972 for ‘Jai~Bolo~Beimaan~Ki’(Be-Imaan), in 1976 for ‘Kabhi~Kabhie~Mere~Dil~Me’(Kabhie Kabhie) with lots of nominations.
The music genius Salil Choudhury honored Mukesh, “Each word from his lips was a pearl. No one could sing the way Mukesh did, with the right articulation, inflexion and modulation. His vocal timbre was out of this world.”
Raj Kapoor said “I have lost my voice” on his death news. It was the eminence of Mukesh who shall truly remain a legend. He had the voice that could paint a thousand shades of sadness. With the perfect tone and diction, the way he sang he was considered as second to none. The soreness that he had in his voice could not be emulated by anyone else.
Though there may be difference of opinion but I think he was the best singer of his era. Yes I am a Gen-Y girl, but still his songs attract me. He is the true legend of all-time.