Mukesh – Part 4
Perhaps the only calculating thing Mukesh ever did was to engineer an elopement to marry his beloved Saral. That was the name of the Gujarati girl Mukesh fell in love with and wished to marry. Families on both sides disapproved. Friend and mentor, Motilal was called in to perform the Kanyadaan.
Mukesh was in private a fun loving, outdoor person. Fond of his drink but not addicted to it he would often say ‘Sharaab’? Din mein kabhi chhuo mat, raat ko kabhi chhodo mat!. (Never drink before dusk, never miss a drink after dusk). Harish Bhimani writes that drink made Mukesh ever so endearing. After a peg or two he would ask for a harmonium and regale his friends with his favorite songs. Soon, vintage Mukesh would come alive, free of the claustrophobic confines of a singing booth, without the electronic aid of microphones, amplifiers, mixers and giant speakers.
It was probably this easy going, open nature that drew composers to him. Infact there wasn’t a single prominent composer who didn’t need Mukesh’s voice at one time or the other. O.P. Nayyar who never saw the need to use Mukesh, summoned him reluctantly for Sambandh. The song ‘Chal akela’ became a milestone both in the composer’s as well as the singer’s career. For Kalyanji – Anandji, Mukesh sang in a record breaking 57 films. Laxmikant Pyarelal, used Mukesh in 45 films including their first film Parasmani. The last song Mukesh sang was ‘Chanchal, sheetal, nirmal komal’ for Laxrnikant Pyarelal in 1976.
Raj Kapoor’s creative dream team , that produced the memorable music associated with his films consisted of Mukesh , Shankar-Jaikishan, Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri – a team that produced ‘Chod gaye balam’, ‘Awaara hoon’ , ‘Raat andheri door savera’ and ‘Mera joota hai japani’.
On hearing the news of Mukesh’s death on August 27, 1976 Raj Kapoor broke down and said ‘I’ve lost my voice’. Mukesh left behind a treasure house of innumerable songs including the eight volume evergreen rendition of the Tulsi Ramayan. Anyone who passes by Mukesh’s residence in Mumbai cannot miss Mukesh Chowk where Mukesh’s Ramayan is played every morning.
As clones of his contemporaries have flourished, surprisingly Mukesh clones have never been successful. Even the singer’s son, Nitin, whose voice closely resembles Mukesh, found the going tough. According to Nitin, his father’s, was a hard act to follow. ‘Papa would wake up at 5.am., however late he might have slept and do riyaz for a couple of hours. Then he’d go for his daily walk, to Hanging Gardens in Mumbai. He knew everyone who came there and I think he must have befriended every flower’ – Subhash K . Jha (Legends – Mukesh)