Though the Naushad – Mukesh Jodi did produced hits yet it could not match the ‘magic’ of the inimitable team of R. K. camp that had Raj – Mukesh – Shankar Jaikishen – Hasrat jaipuri and Shailendra. The five some along with Lata Mangeshkar gave a new dimensions to popular music in Hindi cinema producing milestone creations beginning with BARSAAT (49) till MERA NAAM JOKER (72).
During a period of almost two and a half decade this team raised melodies to dizzy heights, which were seldom touched, thereby engraving the period from 50 to 60’s as the ‘Golden Phase’ of Hindi film music.
However readers would be rather surprised to know that initially Mukesh wanted to become hero rather than a singer but Raj Kapoor convinced him to sing. Mukesh agreed and the songs of BARSAAT were hits. However despite success as a singer Mukesh had the bug of acting and hence in AAH, Raj Kapoor gave Mukesh a brief appearance as the coachman who sings Chhoti si ye zidagaani… But the movie failed. Further when Mukesh’s two more movies MASHUQA and ANURAG failed, he realized he was not fit to be an actor.
The Raj Kapoor – Mukesh jodi became so famous that it is termed as the alliance made in heaven. From AAG –‘ Zinda hoon is tarah…’ to ‘Ek din bik jayega mati ke mol…’ in DHARAM KARAM, Mukesh remained the ‘voice of Raj Kapoor’. On Mukesh’s death, Raj Kapoor had lamented “Today, my body remains, my soul is no more.” A perfect tribute because when one think of Raj Kapoor, we think of Awara hun, Mera joota hai japani, Ruk ja o janewali ruk ja, Chhalia mera naam, Mera naam Raju gharana a-naam, and countless other Mukesh songs lip-synched by Raj Kapur on the screen.
Mukesh won the prestigious Filmfare Award four times for ‘Suhana safar…’ (Madhumati), ‘Nain hamare…’ (Annadata), ‘Kahin door jab din dhal…(Anand) and ‘kai baar yunhi dekha hain…’ (Rajnigandha) for which he also won his first National Award.
Mukesh died on 27th August, 1976. Film lyrist and an intimate pal of Mukesh , Hasrat Jaipuri, in his condolence wrote :
Jo nahi milti kisi bhi saaz mein, Aaise khoobi thi teri awaaz mein
1. Awara Hoon