Remembering Playback Singer Mahendra Kapoor

27 September marks the death anniversary of singing legend Mahendra Kapoor, playback singer of these peerless songs. Mahender Kapoor is better recognized as the ‘First’ among the umpteen Mohd. Rafi clones. Raaga.Com pays him humble homage. 

Listen to Mahendra Kapoor Songs on

An ardent Rafi fan, his drawing room adorns a king-size Mohd. Rafi portrait. Since childhood he had a passion for Rafi songs and use to imitate the proficient singer with perfection so much so that when he participated in the All India Radio Murphy play back singers contest singing a Rafi number, he won the Best Playback Singer Award judged by eminent music wizards from Bollywood like Naushad and C. Ramchandra

Mahendra Kapoor was born in the holy city of Amritsar on 9th of January 1934. He belonged to a family of cloth dealers. At an early age he came to Bombay with his family. He was very much interested in music since his childhood and character actor of Prithvi Theatres. B. M. Vyas was his first guru in the field. He was admitted to St. Xavier school of Bombay for his education. During his school days, he gave audition of Young India Company and also for All India Radio but could not succeed. He did not give up and continued his practice under Ustaad Meherji, Ustaad Niyaz Ahmad Khan, Pt. Tulsidas Sharma and Manohar Potdar. However lady luck smiled and in 1957 at Metro Murphy singing contest he was selected as a winner. 

He is best remembered for his songs for B R Chopra's films like 'DHOOL KA PHOOL', 'GUMRAH', 'WAQT', 'HAMRAAZ', 'DHUND' among others. 

Mahendra Kapoor was also the voice of Manoj 'Bharat' Kumar in movies like 'UPKAR' and 'PURAB AUR PASCHIM', especially in numbers of "Mere Desh Ki Dharti" and "Hai Preet Jahan Ki Reet Sada". Manoj Kumar on Mahendra Kapoor’s death had lamented, “I have fond memories of legendary singer Mahendra Kapoor. He sang many songs for me including National Award winning number 'Mere desh ki dharti…' in my film 'UPKAR'.