A tribute on his death anniversary August 27
Mukesh started his journey with ‘dil’. As a young lad, while singing at his sister’s wedding in Delhi, he was noticed by his relative Motilal, who had become a well known personality in the film world by then. Motilal brought him to Bombay where he got a break in Nirdosh (1941), with Dil hi bujha hua ho to fasle bahar kya. The next song which caused a sensation and made Mukesh, the Mukesh was Dil jalta hai to jalne de. Further, you let your mind wander the Mukesh landscape and what do you get? Kabhi dil dil se takrata to hoga, Toote na dil toote na, Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe, Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi, Mere toote hue dil se koi to aaj ye poochhe… You go on and on and you get dil songs of incredible beauty. No one did it better that Mukesh, and it is no wonder he won the hearts of millions with his sweet and melodious voice.
There was a time in my school and college days when no other singer mattered to me. And I know there were millions of Mukesh-obsessed fans like me. Later I read learned articles about his limited range or, at times, his going off-tune, but I did not care. Though now I like several other singers tremendously, the Mukesh charm has not waned.
Mukesh was known to be a kind and large hearted person. Is God especially fond of people with a large heart? Mukesh died of heart attack at Detroit, where he had gone for a music concert, on August 27, 1976 at a young age of 53. I present my tribute to him on his death anniversary with some of his iconic dil solos.
1. Dil hi bujha hua ho to fasle bahar kya from Nirdosh (1941), music Ashok Ghosh
Mukesh was 18 when he sang this song! But his style has an amazing maturity. This song has all the Mukesh magic. I am surprised it remained relatively unknown.
2. Dil jalta hai to jalne de from Pahli Nazar (1945), lyrics Dr Safdar ‘Aah’, music Anil Biswas
This is the song which created Mukesh phenomenon, and naturally several legends have grown around it. KL Saigal remarked on listening this song, ‘I do not remember when I sang this song?’ Impressed with Mukesh, KL Saigal blessed him by gifting his harmonium. Regarded as Saigal’s inheritor, he soon developed his own style, encouraged by the doyen Anil Biswas. This song is erroneously regarded as Mukesh’s first song in Hindi films. Knowledgeable readers may clarify what is the source of this confusion and what did Mukesh do between 1941 and 1945. Here is the song which every Mukesh lover knows by heart, and which is usually the first song in any Mukesh compilation. Ironically, as per the practice those days the gramophone did not credit this song to Mukesh, but to the character lipsynching the song.
3. Kabhi dil dil se takrata to hoga by Anokhi Ada (1948), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
By now Mukesh was in his full flow. That year, the colossus Naushad used him as the lead singer for Dilip Kumar in Mela, which incidentally had a dil song Mera dil todnewale mere dil ki dua dena. But that was a duet. This reminds me Mukesh also had equally great dil duets, which call for a separate post. In Anokhi Ada Mukesh shares singing honours with the Naushad favourite and renowned actor-singer Surendra. But he is obviously not deterred, because all the Mukesh songs in this film are eternal gems. This is picturised on Prem Adib. Only Mukesh solo is commonly known. But this song alos has a Shamshad version, and a short Mukesh-Shamshad duet. Naushad must have realized he had created an eternal gem, and harnesses it to the fullest extent.
4. Toote na dil toote na from Andaaz (1949), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad
When you think of Andaaz, you think of many things – Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Nargis, the piano, Kuckoo. But above all you think of four songs of Mukesh, each iconic, each remaining with you forever (plus another which was not used in the film, but no less endearing). I have used Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe earlier. Toote na dil toote na is also a class by itself. It starts off with some light banter between the three main actors, Raj and Nargis encouraging Dilip Kumar to sing. Now that he is aware of the situation, songs seem to be swelling under him, songs of overt happiness, but concealing pain and sadness underneath. And what a piano picturaisation – Dilip Kumar at the keyboard, and Raj and Nargis, betrothed to each other, resting their elbows at the grand piano – there would never be a grander triangle.
5. Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi from Bawre Nain (1950), lyrics Kidar Sharma, music Roshan
If Side A was headed by Dil jalta hai to jalne de, Side B would start with Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi – this is the kind of status this song acquired, composed by Roshan, who just a year earlier had failed miserably in his debut film Neki Aur Badi, also directed by Kidar Sharma. Yet for all you know, this song would have never happened nor for that matter Roshan would have happened to the film music if you believe the story told to me by my friend SoI (Storehouse of Information). As the story goes, after the failure of Neki Aur Badi, Roshan was seriously contemplating committing suicide. Learning of this, Kidar Sharma in his famed no-nonsense style accosted him, Tu marnaa chaahta hai teri marzi, lekin tu zinda raha to Baawre Nain main tujhe hi doonga. Rest as they say is history. By now the followers of this blog are aware, Roshan is one of my greatest favourites – I have done exclusive posts on his songs for Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. Even more productive was his association with Mukesh, for whom he has given many everlasting songs.
6. Ae jaan-e-jigar dil mein samane a ja from Aaraam (1951), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Anil Biswas
Anil Biswas was recognized as the mentor of two great singers – Mukesh and Talat Mahmood. In this film he showcased both his protégés. Shukriya ae pyar tera shukriya is a Talat quintessential picturised on himself; Ae jane jigar is a quintessential Mukesh song picturised on Premnath at the piano. After Andaaz, everyone must have been wishing for a piano song, especially by Mukesh.
7. Dil tujhe diya tha rakhne ko from Malhar (1951), lyrics Kaif Irfani, music Roshan
I am speechless. Picturised on an unknown actor Arjun (not the music director C Arjun), this film was produced by Mukesh and Roshan must have been his natural choice after Bawre Nain. Mukesh was known to be ever ready to help his friends. A great Roshan – Mukesh gem.
8. Ek jhoothi si tasalli wo mujhe de ke chale mera dil le ke chale from Sheesham (1952), lyrics Zia Sarhadi, music Roshan
When I think of Mukesh’s quintessential songs, Ek jhoothi si tasalli wo mujhe de ke chale is among top of my recall. Roshan magic again.
9. Raat andheri door savera barbaad dil hai mera ho from Aah (1953), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar Jaikishan
This song tends to go out of our consciousness in the face of other outstanding songs of Aah such as Aa ja re ab mera dil pukara, Raja ki ayegi baraat or Ye shaam ki tanhaiyaan. Raat andheri requires more careful listening, but it grows on you once you get to the antaraa.
10. O dil na lagana jeene na dega ye zamana from Mashooqa (1953), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Roshan
Mukesh produced and also acted in this film opposite Suraiya. These forays were quite disastrous forcing him to come back to his core strength, singing. But the song has a standard Mukesh appeal.
11. Humein ae dil kahin le chal bada tera karam hoga from Chandni Chowk (1954), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Roshan
There must have been some special bond between Mukesh and Roshan. Even if these songs were not so well known, today when we hear them, thanks to the internet, these sound extremely moving.
12. Koi dil mein hai aur koi hai nazar mein from Anurag (1956), lyrics Kaif Irfani, music Mukesh
This was an out and out Mukesh film. Produced by him, he acted opposite Usha Kiran, and composed its music. This song had everything a Mukesh lover expects from his songs. A sure entry to my list of his best ten.
13. Ae pyase dil bezubaan from Begunaah (1957), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan
I was always aware of this song, but never knew it had so much history behind it. As I have been able to gather from the comments on the YouTube and other sources, Begunaah was based on an English movie ‘Knock on the Wood’, without giving due credit to the original. In a suit filed by the producers of the English movie, the court banned the movie, and in quite an extreme measure, ordered destruction of all its prints. Fortunately the court did not order destruction of its gramophone records. This song was created by SJ for Mukesh to prop up his career, and in another interesting trivia, this was picturised on Jaikishan which served the dual purpose of satisfying his acting ambitions (!) and help the producer who was quite broke to pay for any other actor.
14. Ye mera deewanapan hai from Yahudi (1958), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan
Shankar Jaikishan’s early work had Raat andheri door savera barbaad hai dil mera, but Ye mera deewanapan hai, is perhaps the first dil song by Mukesh for SJ, which is not only exquisite, but also extremely popular. You may ask where is ‘dil’ in this song? You can’t get to Ye mera deewanapn hai, unless you start with Dil se tujhko bedili hai mujhko hai dil ka garoor. There are many famous songs which are preceded by a recital at high pitch, which gradually slide down to the mukhdaa of the main song at a lower pitch. Who says Mukesh had problem at high pitch? He glides absolutely smoothly from a very high pitch to his natural low pitch. Today the recital part has become an integral part of this song
15. Jaun kahan bata ae dil from Chhoti Bahan (1959), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar Jaikishan
Any dil song of Mukesh would be above a certain threshold. Here is a very well popular and pleasant song.
16. Tere pyar ko is tarah se bhulana na dil chahta hai na hum chahte hain from Maine Jeena Seekh Liya (1959), lyrics Rahil Gorakhpuri, music Roshan
There was a time when this song got stuck in my mind playing again and again. Another Mukesh quintessential, and Roshan again. In fact, for this anniversary tribute I seriously toyed with the idea of doing Mukesh songs composed by Roshan. Roshan would be far outnumbered by Shankar Jaikishan and Kalyanji Anandji in Mukesh songs. Yet in my list of the best of Mukesh, many Roshan compositions figure at the very top.
17. Mere toote hue dil se koi to aaj ye poochhe from Chhalia (1960), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Kalyanji Anandji
Kalyanji Anandji would come just after SJ as far as the most popular Mukesh songs are concerned. They developed a natural bond with Mukesh with simple hummable tunes, but retaining his pathos and sweetness. This is a representative of KA-Mukesh magic.
18. Ae dile awara chal from Dr Vidya (1962), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music SD Burman
SD Burman was one of the most versatile composers of the Golden Era. He was not only fabulous with Rafi and Kishore Kumar, he gave equally great songs with Hemant Kumar and Mukesh even if these may be in small numbers.
19. Dil jo bhi kahega manenge duniya mein hamara dil hi to hai from Dil Hi To Hai (1963), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music Roshan
Dil song need not be always sad. If Mukesh chooses to sing a peppy song, he does it as well as anyone. Roshan had something special with Mukesh. This is their seventh song in this post, more than any other composer. No wonder my first thought was to do a Roshan-Mukesh special for this occasion.
20. Jis dil mein basa tha pyar tera from Saheli (1965), lyrics Indivar, music Kalyanji Anandji
KA-Indivar/Qamar Jalabadi became a team like SJ-Shailendra/Hasrat Jaipuri as far as Mukesh songs are concerned. This song also had a twin version in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. Twin songs have been debated recently on Anu Warrier’s site, and earlier on my site. I can safely say Mukesh version is far superior to Lata Mangeshkar’s.