Mukeshji – Father of Nitin Mukesh
Born On: July 22, 1923
Born In: Ludhiana, India
Died On: August 27, 1976
He was born Mukesh Chand Mathur on 22 July 1923, into a small middle-class family living in Delhi. He was first heard noticed by an actor and distant relative, Motilal, when he sang a song at his sister’s wedding. Deeply impressed, Motilal brought him to his own house in Bombay and had him groomed by the noted singer Pandit Jaganath Prasad. During this time Mukesh tried his hand at acting, but his first acting film, Nirdosh (1941), was a flop. However, he got his big break as a singer with Pahali Nazar (1945) – picturised on Motilal, the song became a success.
Initially, his voice did seem to be imitating K.L. Saigal, but he acquired his own style in Andaz (1949). The film, a passionate love triangle, became a runaway hit and so did all of its songs, especially the Mukesh solos. As well as launching Mukesh’s career, it created an association with the renowned Raj Kapoor that would last throughout their lives. Starting with Aag (1948) all the way through to Dharam Karam (1975), Mukesh sang for Raj Kapoor and together they produced some of the greatest film songs in Bollywood history, most notably in Awaara (1951), Shree 420 (1955), _Anadi (1959)_, _Sangam (1964)_ and Mera Naam Joker (1970).
Life was not always that good, however. Encouraged by his success as a singer, he made a few more attempts to make it as an star, and acted in two films – Mashooka (1953) and Anuraag (1956). They sadly sank at the box-office. To make matters worse, when he returned to singing he found that offers had dried up, and his financial affairs became that, unable to afford their school fees, his two children were thrown out of school!
Fortunately, he came back with a bang in Yahudi (1958), and two other hits from 1958 – Madhumati (1958) and Parvarish (1958) – put him back on top as a singer to be reckoned with. Even Sachin Dev Burman, who had not used him for a decade, composed two classic songs for him from the films _Bambai ka Babu (1960)_ and Bandini (1963). He flourished throughout the 1960s and early 1970s with soulful hit songs, most notably from Anand (1971), a classic about a dying man; Rajnigandha (1974), a middle-class love story; and Kabhie Kabhie (1976), a cross-generation romance.
In 27 August 1976, while on a concert tour in the USA, Mukesh suffered a sudden, sharp and fatal heart attack in Detroit. Afterwards, several recorded songs of his came out in films released after his death, the last being for Satyam Shivam Sundaram: Love Sublime (1978), a Raj Kapoor film. He left behind a void that many male singers, including his own son Nitin Mukesh, have tried to fill, but no one has managed to fill the place of such a great singer.
Mukesh was, is and will be the only Bollywood singer to possess a golden voice…
1923: Mukesh was born in Ludhiana.
1941: Debuted in the Hindi film industry with the film ‘Nirdosh’
1945: First break as a playback singer for the film, ‘Pehli Nazar’
1946: Married Sarla Trivedi Raichand
1959: Received the first Filmfare award of his career for ‘Anari’.
1967: Received Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards for ‘Teesri Kasam’. 1968: Received the same award for ‘Milan’.
1970: Again repeated success with ‘Saraswatichandra’.
1970: Won Filmfare award for ‘Pehchan’.
1972: Won Filmfare award for ‘Beimaan’.
1974: Won the National Film Award for ‘Rajnigandha’.
1976: Repeated Filmfare success with ‘Kabhie Kabhie’.
1976: Died of cardiac arrest