Saturday, September 27, 2014

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 Raaga.com

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'.

Meri Aawaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai, Gar Yaad Rahe: Lata Mangeshkar

Naam Gum Jayega, Chehra Ye Badal Jayega

My name will be lost (disappear), my face will change

Meri Aawaaz Hi Pehchaan Hai, Gar Yaad Rahe

My voice is my identity, only if You can remember

This beautiful song penned by Gulzar in the movie KINARA and sung poignantly by the ‘Queen of Melody’ Lata Mangeshkar beautifully captures the essence of the mystical voice of Lata Mangeshkar who has been ruling millions of hearts around the globe for over six decades. 

Listen to Lata Mangeshkar Songs on Raaga.com

September 28 marks the birthday of the greatest playback singer of the Millennium; Raaga.Com wishes her birthday greetings and prays she continues to regale the listeners for generations to come.

Fondly called Didi, Lata Mangeshkar will be celebrating her 85th birthday at a glittering ceremony in Mumbai. Eminent cricketer Sachin Tendulkar will be felicitating the legendary singer at a function organised by Hridayesh Arts at the Shanmukhananda Auditorium at Mumbai. Lata Mangeshkar will sing a 'Meera Bhajans' to please her innumerable fans on the ocassion. 

Lata's younger sister, Asha Bhosle and brother Hridaynath will also be present as the guest of honour at the event and several Bollywood stars will also grace the celebration. 

Speaking about her birthday she says, “I feel extremely great. It’s always a charm to age gracefully.” However she adds, “I don’t like to cut cakes. When I was young, my mother would prepare sweets and put tilak on my forehead,” she fondly remembered.

Listen to Lata Mangeshkar Songs on Raaga.com

Recalling her mentor music composer Master Ghulam Haider, Lata Mangeshkar says, “He was the first music director who had confidence in me and fought with producers to give me a chance.” She informs, “When the producers of MAJBOOR, discarded me, Ghulam sahab, asked me to accompany him to the Bombay Talkies studio in Malad where MAJBOOR was being shot. He was the music composer. He didn't say anything to me. He just made me rehearse a song. Later when we recorded, he was so happy with my voice that he said, ‘People will forget everyone, including Noorjehan, (the queen among singers in the 40’s) when they hear you.’ True indeed! Today people may have forgotten Noorjehan, but Lata Mangeshkar has become an icon for generations. 

Lata Mangeshkar has been honored with innumerable awards but the one that truly deserves a special mention is that she is the only second singer in the non-classical category (after M.S Subbulakshmi) in India to have received the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna. She has received three national awards and four Filmfare awards after which she stopped accepting awards in order to promote new talent. She continues to sing every now and then for Hindi movies and perform live.

Truly a living legend, Lata Mangeshkar has a talent that is second to none.