Mukesh (singer)

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Mukesh Chand Mathur

(1923-07-22)22 July 1923
Delhi, India
Died27 August 1976(1976-08-27) (aged 53)
Other namesVoice of the Millennium, Tragedy King
OccupationPlayback singer
Years active1940–1976
Saral Trivedi Raichand
(m. 1946)
Children5, including Nitin Mukesh
RelativesNeil Nitin Mukesh (grandson)

Mukesh Chand Mathur (22 July 1923 – 27 August 1976), better known mononymously as Mukesh, was an Indian playback singer. Mukesh is considered to be one of the most popular and acclaimed playback singers of the Hindi film industry.[1][2][3] Amongst the numerous nominations and awards he won, his song "Kai Baar Yuhi Dekha Hai" from the film Rajnigandha (1973) won him the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer.

Mukesh was also popular as being the voice of actors Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Feroz Khan, Sunil Dutt and Dilip Kumar.[4]

Early life[edit]

Mukesh was born in Delhi in a Mathur Kayastha family on 22 July 1923.[5][6][7] His parents were Zorawar Chand Mathur, an engineer, and Chandrani Mathur. He was the sixth in a family of ten children. The music teacher who came home to teach Mukesh's sister, Sundar Pyari, found a pupil in Mukesh, who would listen from the adjoining room. Mukesh left school after the 10th grade and worked briefly for the Department of Public Works. He experimented with voice recordings during his employment in Delhi and gradually developed his singing abilities and also his musical instrumental skills.[8]

Singing career[edit]

Mukesh's voice was first noticed by Motilal, a distant relative, when he sang at his sister's wedding. Motilal took him to Bombay (now Mumbai) and arranged for singing lessons by Pandit Jagannath Prasad. During this period Mukesh was offered a role as an actor-singer in a Hindi film, Nirdosh (1941). His first song was "Dil Hi Bujha Hua Ho To" as an actor-singer for Nirdosh written by Neelkanth Tiwari. His first hit song as a playback singer was "Dil Jalta Hai To Jalne De" for actor Motilal in 1945 with the film Pehli Nazar with music composed by Anil Biswas and lyrics written by Aah Sitapuri.

Mukesh was such a fan of singer K. L. Saigal that in his early years of playback singing he used to imitate his idol.[9][10] In fact, it is said that when K. L. Saigal first heard the song "Dil Jalta Hai...", he remarked, "That's strange, I don't recall singing that song".[9]

Mukesh created his own singing style with the help of music director Naushad Ali, who helped Mukesh to come out of his Saigal style and create his own style. Naushad gave him songs for the film Andaz. Initially Mukesh was the ghost voice of Dilip Kumar in this movie and Mohammed Rafi sang for Raj Kapoor. He delivered many Hits for Naushad in films like: Anokhi Ada (1948), Mela (1948), Andaz (1949). Other composers who used Mukesh voice for great Dilip Kumar in hit songs like "Jeevan Sapna toot gaya" were Anil Biswas in Anokha Pyar, Ye Mera Diwanapan hai, Shankar–Jaikishan in Yahudi and Suhana Safar and Dil Tadap Tadap ke, Salil Choudhary in Madhumati. However, later Dilip Kumar choose Rafi as his ghost voice and Mukesh became the ghost voice of Raj Kapoor. Mukesh recorded highest number of songs for Shankar–Jaikishan, that is 133 songs followed by Kalyanji Anandji ie 99 songs. Out of 4 Filmfare Awards, Mukesh won 3 awards for Shankar–Jaikishan songs.

In 1974, Mukesh received National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song "Kai Baar Yuhi Dekha Hai" from Rajnigandha (1974), and Filmfare Awards for the songs "Sab Kuch Seekha Humne" in the movie Anari (1959), "Sabse Bada Naadan Wahi Hai" in Pehchaan (1970), "Jai Bolo Beimaan Ki" in Beimaan (1972) (all the three songs composed by Shankar–Jaikishan) and "Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein", the title song of film Kabhie Kabhie (1976) (composed by Khayyam). A total of around 1,300 songs were sung by him. This number is less than those sung by some of his contemporaries, but the fact is that Mukesh emphasised on quality rather than quantity. The comparatively fewer songs sung by him in the 1970s can be attributed to his failing health due to his worsening heart problem.[citation needed]

Mukesh sang many songs for Kalyanji Anandji music director duo. Mukesh sang more songs with the K-A duo after Shankar–Jaikishan. From "Naina hai jadoo bhare..." Bedard Zamana Kya Jane (1958) composed by Kalyanji alone as Kalyanji Virji Shah, and "Main hoon mast madari..." Madari (1959) as the first Kalyanji-Anandji-Mukesh combo, to "Chahe aaj mujhe napasand karo" Darinda 1977, the K-A, Mukesh combination gave numerous popular songs like "Chhalia mera naam...", "Mere toote hue dil se...", "Dum dum diga diga" Chalia (1959), "Mujhko iss raat ki tanhai mein..." Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere (1960), "Hum chhod chale hain mehfil ko..." (Ji Chahta Hai), "Humne tumko pyar kiya hai jitna..." (Dulha Dulhan), "Chal mere dil lehraake chal..." Ishara and "Dheere se chalo..." Johar Mehmood in Goa, "Main to ek khwab hoon..." and "Chand si mehbooba ho..." Himalay Ki Godmein(1965), "Waqt kartaa jo wafaa..." Dil Ne Pukara, "Deewanon se yeh mat poocho..." Upkar, "Khush raho har khushi hai..." Suhaag Raat and "Humsafar ab yeh safar kat jaayega..." Juari, "Chandi ki deewaar..." and "Le chal le chal mere jeevan saathi..." Vishwas (1969), "Koi jab tumhara hriday tod de..." Purab Aur Paschim, "Darpan ko dekha..." Upaasna, "Jo tumko ho pasand..." Safar and "Mujhe nahin poochni tumse beeti baatein..." Anjaan Raahein (1970).

Out of the numerous songs he gave his voice to, "Kahin door jab din dhal Jaaye" from Anand(1971),[11] "Ek Pyaar ka Nagma hai" from Shor (1972), "Maine Tere Liye Hi Saat Rang Ke" from Anand (1972), "Sab Kuch Seekha Humne" from Anari (1959), "Jeena yahan marna yahan" and "Kehta hai Joker" from Mera Naam Joker (1971) are the most popular among his fans and followers.[12]

In his career, Mukesh sung 110 songs for Raj Kapoor, 47 songs for Manoj Kumar and 20 songs for Dilip Kumar.[citation needed]

As an actor and producer[edit]

Mukesh started his career as an actor singer in the film Nirdosh in 1941, with Nalini Jaywant as his heroine. His second film was Adab Arz in 1943. He played a guest role in Raj Kapoor's film Aah in 1953. He acted as a hero in the film Mashooka in 1953, opposite Suraiya and in the film Anurag (1956) (he was also the co-producer and composer in the film), opposite Usha Kiran and Mridula Rani. Mukesh also produced a film Malhar (1951) with hero Arjun & heroine Shammi with Darling Films.[13][14][15]


Mukesh was a favourite of renowned Indian spin-bowler Bhagwath Chandrasekhar. When the sound of a Mukesh song drifted to the pitch, Chandrasekhar's acknowledgement of the tribute would bring a roar from the crowd. Sunil Gavaskar wrote that sometimes he hummed a Mukesh tune on the field to inspire Chandra. Chandra's passion affected team-mates Kirmani, Gundappa Viswanath, and even some journalists.[16]

Google commemorated Mukesh on his 93rd birthday anniversary in 2016.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Mukesh married Saral Trivedi, daughter of Raichand Trivedi, a millionaire.[8][17][18] With no proper house, an erratic income and what was then considered in India a supposedly "immoral" profession (singer in movies), the consent of Saral's father for this marriage could not be obtained and Mukesh and Saral were forced to elope. They got married in a temple in Kandivali on 22 July 1946, Mukesh's 23rd birthday, with the help of the actor Motilal and from the residence of R. D. Mathur. Everyone made dire predictions of unhappy days and divorce, but both weathered the lean days and celebrated their thirtieth wedding anniversary on 22 July 1976, four days before his departure for the USA. The couple had five children – Rita, the singer Nitin, Nalini (d. 1978), Mohnish and Namrata (Amrita). The actor Neil Nitin Mukesh is a grandson of Mukesh (son of Nitin).[8]


Mukesh died of a heart attack on 27 August 1976 in Detroit, Michigan, USA, where he had gone to perform in a concert. That morning, he got up early and went to take a shower. He came out short of breath and complaining of chest pains. He was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead. The rest of the concert was completed by Lata Mangeshkar and his son Nitin Mukesh. His body was flown to India by Mangeshkar, where a grand funeral ceremony was held in the presence of several actors, with personalities of the Indian film industry and fans paying tribute. When news of his death reached his acquaintance and actor Raj Kapoor, he burst into tears, and remarked, "I have lost my voice,"[citation needed] which is a testimony to the association of Mukesh's voice (in playback) to the immensely popular songs of Raj Kapoor's films.

After Mukesh's death, his newer, hitherto unreleased, songs were released in 1977 in films such as Dharam Veer, Amar Akbar Anthony, Khel khiladi ka, Darinda and Chandi sona. The year 1978 also featured a considerable number of Mukesh's songs in films such as Aahuti, Paramatma, Tumhari kasam and Satyam Shivam Sundaram, where Mukesh sang his last film song Chanchal sheetal nirmal komal for Raj Kapoor's younger brother, Shashi Kapoor. From 1980 onward, Mukesh's voice was heard in many later released films such as Shaitan mujarim, Premika, Patthar se Takkar (1980), Sanjh ki Bela, Maila Anchal (1981), Aarohi (1982), Chor Mandali (1983), Nirlaj (1985), Love and God (1986), Shubh Chintak (1989), and his last known release of Chand Grahan (1997).[19]


Mukesh on a 2016 postcard from the series Legendary Singers of India

National Film Awards[edit]

Filmfare Awards[edit]


Year Song Film Music director(s) Lyricist
1959 "Sab Kuch Seekha Humne" Anari Shankar Jaikishan Shailendra
1970 "Sabse Bada Naadan" Pehchan Shankar Jaikishan Varma Malik
1972 "Jai Bolo Beimaan Ki" Be-Imaan Shankar Jaikishan Varma Malik
1976 "Kabhi Kabhie Mere Dil Mein" Kabhi Kabhie Khayyam Sahir Ludhianvi


Year Song Film Music director(s) Lyricist
1962 "Hothon Pe Sacchai Rehti Hai" Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai Shankar Jaikishan Shailendra
1965 "Dost Dost Na Raha" Sangam Shankar Jaikishan Shailendra
1968 "Sawan Ka Mahina" Milan Laxmikant Pyarelal Anand Bakshi
1971 "Bas Yehi Apradh" Pehchan Shankar Jaikishan Neeraj
1972 "Jane Kahan Gaye Woh Din" Mera Naam Joker Shankar Jaikishan Hasrat Jaipuri
1972 "Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaye" Anand Salil Chowdhury Yogesh
1973 "Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hain" Shor Laxmikant Pyarelal Santosh Anand
1975 "Main Na Bhoolonga" Roti Kapada Aur Makaan Laxmikant–Pyarelal Santosh Anand
1977 "Ek Din Bik Jayega" Dharam Karam Rahul Dev Burman Majrooh Sultanpuri
1977 "Main Pal Do Pal Ka Sahayar Hoon" Kabhi Kabhie Khayyam Sahir Ludhianvi
1978 "Suhani Chandni Raatein" Mukti Rahul Dev Burman Anand Bakshi
1978 "Chanchal Shital Nirmal Komal" Satyam Shivam Sundaram Laxmikant–Pyarelal Anand Bakshi

Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards[edit]



As an actor:

Movie Year
Nirdosh 1941
Aadab Arz 1943
Aah 1953
Anurag 1956

As a singer:

Movie Year
Nirdosh 1941
Pehli Nazar 1945
Mela 1948
Aag 1948
Suhaag Raat 1948
Vidya 1948
Anokhi Ada 1948
Andaz 1949
Barsaat 1949
Awaara 1951
Shisham 1952
Aah 1953
Shree 420 1955
Anuraag 1956
Parvarish 1958
Phir Subah Hogi 1958
Yahudi 1958
Anari 1959
Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai 1961
Chhalia 1960
Bombai Ka Babu 1960
Hum Hindustani 1960
Banjarin 1960
Mera Ghar Mere Bachche 1960
Phool Bane Angaare 1963
Aashiq 1962
Rajnigandha 1974
Ek Dil Sau Afsane 1963
Dil Hi To Hai 1963
Akeli Mat Jaiyo 1963
Parasmani 1963
Ji Chahta Hai 1964
Sangam 1964
Ishaara 1964
Chhoti Chhoti Baten 1965
Himalay Ki God Mein 1965
Lal Bangla 1966
Teesri Kasam 1966
Boond Jo Ban Gayee Moti 1967
Gunahon Ka Devta 1967
Raat Aur Din 1967
Saraswatichandra 1968
Sambandh 1969
Vishwas 1969
Holi Ayee Re 1970
Mera Naam Joker 1970
Kati Patang 1971
Anand 1971
Ek Bar Mooskura Do 1972
Shor 1972
Roti Kapda Aur Makaan 1974
Dharam Karam 1975
Sanyasi 1975
Do Jasoos 1975
Dharmatma 1975
Dus Numbari 1976
Chhoti Si Baat 1976
Kabhie Kabhie 1976
Darinda 1977
Dharam Veer 1977
Amar Akbar Anthony 1977
Satyam Shivam Sundaram 1978
Mere Humsafar 1970
Diwana 1967
Anokhi Raat 1968
Around The World 1967
Bandini 1963
Devar 1966
Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere 1960
Duniya Na Mane 1959
Ek Raat 1942
Farz 1967
Milan 1967
Rani Rupmati 1957
Saathi 1968
Sabak 1950
Saranga 1961
Sasural 1961
Upkar 1967
Vishwas 1969
Yahudi 1958
Be-Imaan 1972
Pehchan 1970
Annadata 1972


  1. ^ Gopal, Sangita; Sujata Moorti (2008). Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Song and Dance. University of Minnesota Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-8166-4579-4.
  2. ^ Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema by Ashish Rajadhyaksha and Paul Willemen. Oxford University Press, 1994. ISBN 0-85170-455-7, page 169.
  3. ^ "Mukesh's 93rd Birthday". Retrieved 27 January 2018.
  4. ^ Rohit Vats (27 August 2014). "Mukesh: Remembering the singer with the midas touch". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
  5. ^ Abdul Jamil Khan (2006). Urdu/Hindi: An Artificial Divide: African Heritage, Mesopotamian Roots, Indian Culture & Britiah Colonialism. Algora Publishing. pp. 316–. ISBN 978-0-87586-438-9.
  6. ^ "Exclusive : Neil Nitin Mukesh & Nitin Mukesh In Conversation With Karan Thapar". YouTube. 23 October 2016. Archived from the original on 12 December 2021.
  7. ^ Karki, Tripti (22 July 2017). "Mukesh birthday special: 5 soulful songs of the Man with the Golden Voice". India TV News. Retrieved 11 December 2023.
  8. ^ a b c Chobey, Ankita (22 July 2016). "8 Life Facts about Bollywood's Golden Voice Mukesh on his Bi". Mumbai Mirror. Retrieved 10 March 2019.
  9. ^ a b Vats, Rohit (27 August 2014). "Mukesh: Remembering the singer with the midas touch". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  10. ^ "Famous Indians – Mukesh". Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  11. ^ Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye – Mukesh – Anand 1970 HD on YouTube
  12. ^ Ganguly, Souvik (22 July 2016). "Mukesh Ki Kahaani-Story of the most unsung singing legend of Hindi Cinema". Movie Madaari. Archived from the original on 2 October 2016.
  13. ^ Mukesh. IMDb
  14. ^ Movies Of Mukesh.
  15. ^ Blast from the past: Malhar (1951). The Hindu (29 March 2012). Retrieved on 6 November 2018.
  16. ^ Menon, Suresh (6 November 2017). "Coffee with Chandra". The Cricket Monthly. ESPN Cricinfo. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  17. ^ "Nitin Mukesh looks back at his late father Mukesh's illustrious journey!". Filmfare. 20 June 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  18. ^ "Remembering Mukesh: The man with the golden voice". Mid Day. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  19. ^ "Remembering Mukesh". DAWN.COM. 27 August 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2019.
  20. ^ 30th Annual BFJA Awards.
  21. ^ 31st Annual BFJA Awards.
  22. ^ 33rd Annual BFJA Awards.

External links[edit]