When dustedoff had done a post on Mukesh on his Birth Anniversary, this is what I had said :
“I don’t know how exactly to put my feelings for Mukesh in words….it’s kind of confusing. Not that I dislike him…he has a wonderful voice and he has sung some of my favourite songs. But I’ve never been a great fan of his either.
1. Majority, at least the most popular songs of his, are usually so sad and full of despair that I try avoiding them.
2. My dad is a big big fan of Mukesh….and he has some of the saddest songs ever in his collection
3. A cousin of mine had once told me that when someone gets hooked on to old songs, it usually begins with Kishore, then gets into Rafi mode and eventually ends up liking Mukesh better. And when I initially started listening to Hindi songs, it was Kishore Kumar’s. Now I’m in Rafi phase but I never want to get over Rafi. Since half of his prediction came true, I guess I am scared of getting into the final phase.
Frankly speaking, I never gave it much thought, but looking back, I have been subconsciously avoiding Mukesh’s songs. Though I would like to believe that it’s because most of his songs are sad, I’m yet to figure out the real reason behind it. I agree that just because I like Rafi so much doesn’t mean I shouldn’t like any other singers. And that’s never been the case, in fact. I am extremely fond of Talat, Hemat, Manna Dey etc. Anyways, more thoughts on that later. When I discovered it was Mukesh’s Birth Anniversary today, and started thinking of his songs, I realized that I love quite a lot of them. I really wanted to do a post but was very very busy. I was kind of feeling guilty about it and was hoping somebody else would so that I could at least list down my favourite songs here in the comment section. But now I have changed my mind…like you quoted And for all those years I failed to recognise your genius : I am also going to dedicate a post to Mukesh Chand Mathur.”
It’s over a month since I said that and I have been listening to a lot of Mukesh’s songs since then. And before long I found out that there are hundreds of his songs that I really really adore. Like dustedoff rightly said, Mukesh is one of those voices that grows on you – it has definitely grown on me. I have learnt to appreciate his singing better now.
I can completely relate to what Harvey had said : ”I started off as a Kishore fan, went through Rafi phase, came back to KK and then again to Rafi and now I luv both! Have turned bigamist and am regularly unfaithful to them with Talat, Hemant, Manna and Mukesh and not necessarily in this order!” And this is a blisfful state!“
I just realized I am a polygamist and it’s indeed a blissful state!
After having consciously explored his songs regularly for over a month, it’s very tough to list just 10 songs of his. So, as usual I have put some filter criteria to make my job easier. As Mukesh was the voice of Raj Kapoor and Manoj Kumar, I am intentionally ruling out their songs. Or else I will end up listing only 10 RK songs or 10 MK songs.
With my newly found fondness for him, there’ll be many more posts dedicated to Mukesh in the months to come. Will cover some of his rare gems in my later posts. For this one, my focus is on songs he sang for the actors who were generally associated with other singers.
So, on his Death Anniversary (27th Aug), in fond memories of Mukesh, here are my ten favourite songs of his -
1. Kahin door jab din dhal jaye (Anand, 1971) : This is one of my all time favourite songs from my all time favourite movie. Out of the few songs that Mukesh has sung for Rajesh Khanna – Jis gali mein tera ghar na ho (Kati Patang), Maine tere liye hai saat rang ke (Anand), Haan toh main kya keh raha tha (Raja Rani), Kahin door jab din dhal jaye etc, this one tops my list. When he sings tabhi machal ke pyaar se chalke, chhue koi mujhe par nazar na aaye – I can actually feel the song caressing me. The deep longing in mere khayalon ke aangan mein koi sapno ke deep jalaye and the sense of loss in kho gaye kaise mere sapne sunhere…yeh mere sapne yehi toh hai apne…is simply mindblowing. Touching lyrics (Yogesh), beautiful picturisation, soothing music (Salil) and sensitive and poignant rendition makes this song a masterpiece. Only Mukesh could build this atmosphere of a deep longing. I never tire of listening to this song.
2. Phool tumhe bheja hai khat mein (Saraswati Chandra, 1968) : It was the songs that tempted me into watching this movie. Had it not been for Nutan and the songs, I would never have seen it. Now that I’ve seen the movie, I would rather forget about it…it was a torture. But I still love the songs – this, Chandan sa badan and Main toh bhool chali. Another iconic chitthi song picturised on Nutan and Manish…it’s very sweet and overflowing with love. Penned by Indeevar, composed by Kalyanji Anandji and rendered by Mukesh and Lata, it’s beautiful in every sense, one of my favourite romantic duets. Sweet lyrics, music with just the right ambience and listening to it one can feel the nervousness, anticipation and love in it. This shows the level of involvement that everybody has put in creating this gem.
3. Yaaron surat hamari pe mat jao (Ujala, 1959) : A delightful Mukesh-Rafi duet brimming with bromance – both in singing and in picturisation. It’s the carefree attitude with which these two dashing dudes – Raj Kumar and Shammi Kapoor run around and jump and dance and sing to this song that it scores over Duniyawalon se door for me from the same movie. Shailendra’s lyrics and Shankar-Jaikishan’s tunes are simple and sweet. It’s an absolute delight listening to and watching this song!
4. Kisi nargise nazar ko (Main Nashe Mein Hoon, 1958) : The fun quotient in this song is simply superb. Maruti dancing to Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyrics and Shankar-Jaikishan’s music, this lovely song somehow reminds me of Lakhon hai nighahon mein. I first heard this song on Vividh Bharati. And was pleasantly surprised to hear Mukesh singing a fun song!
5. Chal ri sajni ab kya soche (Bombai Ka Babu, 1960) : Picturised on Dev Anand, Suchitra Sen, Nasir Hussain and Achala Sachdev, it’s one of the most emotional songs ever. Mukesh has never been more suited to a song…there’s so much emotion in his voice - it looks like the song was tailor made for him. Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics, SD Burman’s composition, Mukesh’s rendition and the vidai scene…everything is just perfect!
6. O jaane wale ho sake toh laut ke aana (Bandini, 1963) : Very rarely did SD Burman use Mukesh. But when he did, the affect was truly magical and soul-stirring. Chal ri sajni and O Jaane wale are two such live examples. I love Mukesh’s voice here. Shailendra’s lyrics is touching and SD Burman’s music is classic. This song has something extremely melancholy and a sense of deep longing about it - something which only Mukesh could create. It takes me into a trance. Picturisation is equally beautiful.
7. Aaya hai mujhe phir yaad woh zaalim (Devar, 1966) : Another gem of a song picturised on my favourite jodi – dashing Dharmendra and enticing Sharmila. His rawness and her sophistication – simply an amazing combination. And Mukesh’s pathos leaden voice adds to the magic. When I first saw this film, it was Kaajal wale nain that stole my heart away but the next time I saw it, it was this song that captivated me. Fabulous composition from Roshan. Anand Bakshi’s childhood beckoning lyrics , Mukesh’s rendition, Dharmendra and Sharmila’s story in the movie everything put-in together, really takes me back to those carefree childhood days.
8. Sambhal ke karna jo bhi karna (Ek Phool Char Kaante, 1960) : Each song in this movie is a masterpiece. And I had a real tough time choosing one. But the Shammi-Rafi-sque feel of this song just wins over the rest for me. A beautiful flirtatious melody picturised on Sunil Dutt and Waheeda Rehman. You can feel both Mukesh and Sunil enjoying the song to the fullest singing and portraying it.
9. Tu kahe agar (Andaaz, 1949) : Suhana safar aur yeh mausam haseen, Dil tadap tadap ke and Yeh mera deewanapan hai are more popular Mukesh songs picturised on Dilip Kumar. And I do love all these songs. I haven’t seen Yahudi yet, and the Madhumati songs are too popular. So my vote goes for Tu kahe agar. Mukesh’s voice brimming with love and Dilip Kumar’s expression singing it onscreen as Nargis leans over his piano, it’s just amazing! Also, it’s one of those few compositions of Naushad that has Mukesh as the playback singer. Majrooh’s lyrics is very sweet and romantic.
10. Dil jalta hai toh jalne de (Pehli Nazar, 1945) : This is a historic song…historic as in, it brought Mukesh to limelight. It was his first hit song. It’s a known fact that it was Motilal who first noticed Mukesh and brought him to Bombay. He got his break as a playback singer in 1945 with the film Pehli Nazar. Dil jalta hai toh jalne de was composed by Anil Biswas and lyrics penned by Aah Sitapuri. It was incidentally picturised on Motilal himself. He was such a big fan of K. L. Saigal that in his early years of playback singing he used to imitate his idol. He does sound so much like Saigal here. In fact, it is said that when K. L. Saigal first heard this song, he said “That’s strange, I don’t recall singing that song”.
It’s ten songs already. And I had so many other songs in my mind
Dekho mausam kya bahar hai, khayalon mein kisike,Tumse hi meri zindagi, waqt karta jo wafa aap hamare hotey, Mein to har mod par thujko doontha chala, Gardish mein ho taare, Yeh sehar bada albela, Mile na phool, Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein, Jinhe hum bhoolna chahe, Kahin karti hogi woh mera intezaar, Tere hothon ke do phool pyaare pyaare, Oh re taal mile, Yeh kaun chitrakar hai, Hum toh tere aashiq hai, Aye dil na mujhse chhupa, Mujhe raat din yeh khayal hai, Jaaoon kahan bata aye dil, Tum ruthi raho main manata rahun etc….
For someone whom I have subconsciously ignored all these years, I spents hours devoted to him on the eve of my birthday. And now that I have finally done a post on him, I am feeling really very happy!
May your soul rest in peace Mukesh Chand Mathur! Though quite late in life, I have finally realized how much I love your voice.