Among the quintet of iconic playback singers - Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar and Mukesh, the latter occupies a special place. His voice was a craggy path to pain and salvation. Raj Kapoor swore by it. But other superstars were just as fond of the singer who sang pain into glory. On his birth anniversary, Subhash K Jha lists his favourite tracks sung by the legendary Mukesh.
TUM BIN JEEVAN KAISE BEETA (Anita): This is my favourite Mukesh melody. So steeped in a aching sense of longing I am reminded of what Tina Turner once trilled, “All you get from love is a love song.” Raj Mehndi Ali Khan’s words are like woundstabs. Laxmikant-Pyarelal adorns the number with painlashed notes. Goosebumps!
SAJANWA BAIRI HA GAYE HAMAAR (Teesri Kasam): For Raj Kapoor, Mukesh went that extra mile down that road of meditative melancholy. Bullock cart or no. Teesri Kasam boasts of two other great Mukesh melodies 'Sajan re jhooth matt bolo' and 'Duniya banaanewale' .But 'Sajanwa bairi' is my favourite. It rips a hole in the soul each time. Every time. Timeless!
KOI JAB TUMHARA HRIDAY TOD DE (Purab Aur Paschim): Kalyanji-Anandji reserved their best songs for Mukesh -- 'Chand si mehbooba' (Himalay Ki Gode Mein), 'Deewanon se yeh matt pucho' (Upkar), 'Hum chhod chale hainmehfil ko' (Jee Chahta Hai), 'Chandi ki deewar na todi' (Vishwas), 'Waqt karta jo wafaa' (Dil Ne Pukara), 'Humne apna sab kuch khoya pyar tera paane ko' (Saraswatichandra), 'Khush raho har khushi hai tumhare liye' (Suhag Raat). But my favourite Mukesh number composed by Kalyanji-Anandji is this extraordinarly worded lyric by Indeevar. Manoj Kumar’s preferred ghostvoice was Mahendra Kapoor. But when it came to something extra-special, it was always Mukesh.
JIS GALI MEIN TERA GHAR NA HO BALMA (Kati Patang): The biggest puzzle of Rajesh Khanna’s career -- when Kishore Kumar was the superstar’s chosen voice then why did he opt for Mukesh for this one song in Kati Patang? Even with Kishore crooning 'Pyar deewaana hota hai', 'Yeh sham mastani' and 'Yeh jo mohabbat hai', Mukesh’s sole solo stands out. When asked why, RD Burman had a classic reply -- “Because this one , belonged to Mukesh, no matter from which angle you looked at it.”
MUBARAK HO SABKO SAMAA YEH SUHANA (Milan): I tossed between 'Zindagi khwab hai' from Jagte Raho and this number from the Laxmikant-Pyarelal chartbuster Milan. I finally opted for the latter for two reasons. One, because Mukesh’s voice texture in this haunting song is astounding. The lyrics are about feeling happy. But all we hear is the deepest sorrow embedded in every word. And then 'Main to deewana deewana deewana…' Love drives you nuts. Hadn’t Mukesh warned us before in 'Yeh mera deewanapan hai' in Yehudi?
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