Mukesh | The Legendary Icon of Indian Cinema

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His Life: The Man With Golden Voice

  • Year1923 – Born in Delhi.
  • Year 1941- Debuted as an actor-singer with
  • Year 1945 – Breakthrough as the playback singer with the movie Pehli Nazar.
  • Year 1946 – Married Sarla Trivedi Raichand.
  • Year 1974- Won National Film Award for the song Kai Baar Yuhi Dekha Hai.
  • Year 1976- Left the mortal world.

“Haye iss paar to aansuon ki dagar, Jaane us paar kya ho kise hai khabarChhoti Bahen (1959).”

Mukesh was a famous Indian playback singer who was active during the golden era of Bollywood. He, along with Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi was the profound pillars of that period of Indian film playback industry. His voice was identified with the major actors like Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Feroz Khan, Sunil Dutt and Dilip Kumar.

Personal Life

Born as Mukesh Chand Mathur to the Zorawar Chand Mathur, an engineer and Chandrani Mathur in Delhi on July 22, 1923. He was sixth among the ten siblings. He had a sister named Sundar Pyari, who used to get the music lesson from a teacher at their house. As a kid, he secretly listens to the lessons from the adjacent room and his interest in music begin to grow. He was fond of K.L. Saigal and used to mimic his songs. He left school after 10th grade and started working at the Delhi Department of Public Works. During this time he started recording voice as a hobby and sharpened his skills.

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Mukesh wanted to marry Sarla Trivedi Raichand, daughter of a millionaire, but her father refused because singing wasn’t considered a noble profession those days. Both of them ran away and got married in a temple in Kandivali, Mumbai on July 22, 1946. The couple had five children, namely Rita, Nitin, Nalini, Mohnish and Namrata.

Cinematic Journey

Motilal, Filmfare Award winning actor and a distant relative of Mukesh was the first to notice his singing prowess. He took Mukesh with him to Mumbai and arranged lessons by Pandit Jagannath Prasad to hone his singing skills. Mukesh got a break as an actor in the 1941 movie Nirdosh. He also sang a song Dil Hi Bujha Hua Ho To for that movie. His first work as a playback singer came in the 1945 movie Pehli Nazar starring Motilal.

When K.L. Saigal heard his song Dil Jalta Hai from the movie Pehli Nazar, he was surprised and said That’s strange, I don’t recall singing that song. He couldn’t tell the difference between his own voice and that of Mukesh’s. Mukesh found his unique signature under the mentorship of music director Naushad Ali.

Mukesh went on to sing for many hit movies like Madari (1959), Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960) and Purab Aur Paschim (1970) among many other. He recorded approximately 1300 songs in his career and gave voice to many superstars of that era. He also acted in a couple of movies throughout his career. Listed below is the filmography of Mukesh-

Year Film Role
1941 Nirdosh Singer/Actor
1945 Pehil Nazar Singer
1948 Mela Singer
1948 Aag Singer
1948 Suhaag Raat Singer
1948 Vidya Singer
1948 Anokhi Ada Singer
1949 Andaz Singer
1951 Awaara Singer
1953 Aah Singer/Actor
1953 Barsaat Singer
1955 Shree 420 Singer
1958 Parvarish Singer
1958 Phir Subaha Hogi Singer
1959 Anari Singer
1960 Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai Singer
1960 Chhalia Singer
1960 Bombai Ka Babu Singer
1960 Hum Hindustani Singer
1960 Banjarin Singer
1960 Mera Ghar Mere Bachhe Singer
1960 Honey Moon Singer
1962 Phool Bane Angare Singer
1962 Aashiq Singer
1963 Ek Dil Sau Afsane Singer
1963 Dil Hi To Hai Singer
1963 Akeli Mat Jaiyo Singer
1963 Parasmani Singer
1964 Ji Chahta Hai Singer
1964 Sangam Singer
1964 Ishaara Singer
1965 Chhoti Chhoti Baten Singer
1965 Himalay Ki God Mein Singer
1966 Lal Bungla Singer
1966 Teesri Kasam Singer
1967 Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti Singer
1967 Gunaho Ka Devta Singer
1967 Raat Aur Din Singer
1968 Saraswatichandra Singer
1969 Sambandh Singer
1969 Vishwas Singer
1970 Kati Patang Singer
1970 Holi Ayee Re Singer
1970 Mera Naam Joker Singer
1971 Anand Singer
1972 Ek Bar Muskura Do Singer
1972 Shor Singer
1974 Roti Kapda Aur Makaan Singer
1974 Rajnigandha Singer
1975 Dharam Karam Singer
1975 Dus Numbari Singer
1975 Sanyasi Singer
1975 Do Jasoos Singer
1975 Chhoti Si Baat Singer
1975 Dharmatma Singer
1976 Kabhi Kabhie Singer
1977 Darinda Singer
1977 Dharam Veer Singer
1978 Satyam Shivam Sundaram Singer

Awards and Recognitions

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In his career spanning over three decades, he received many accolades for his work and contribution to the cinema. The awards earned by him are listed below-

Year Award Film
1959 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award Anari
1967 BFJA Award for Best Male Playback Singer Teesri Kasam
1968 BFJA Award for Best Male Playback Singer Milan
1970 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award Pehchan
1970 BFJA Award for Best Male Playback Singer Saraswatichandra
1972 Filmfare Best Male Playback Award Be-Imaan
1974 National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer Rajnigandha
1976 Best Male Playback Singer Kabhi Kabhie

Later Life

He went to USA in 1976 with Lata Mangeshkar for a concert shortly after his 30th marriage anniversary. He delivered his last performance in Philadelphia.

They reached Detroit, Michigan for the 9th performance, but before that he suffered a massive heart attack on August 27, 1976. He was taken to the hospital, but couldn’t survive the heart attack and left the corporeal world on the same day.

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