Sometimes a singer becomes so identified with a particular actor that the songs that he sings for other heroes fade into the background. Thus it is with Mukesh. People tend to remember the songs that he sang for Raj Kapoor but not so much the songs that were picturised on other heroes. Needless to say that the Raj-Mukesh combination is sheer class and magic but still I think it is kind of sad since Mukesh saab has sung for a range of other heroes from Ashok Kumar to Dilip Kumar to Rajesh Khanna to Feroz Khan to Vinod Khanna, and these songs are worth treasuring also.
Today (22nd July) being Mukesh saab’s birth anniversary, here are 11 of my favourite solo songs picturised on not-so-well-known-heroes. Before anybody takes offense let me make it clear that when I say these heroes are not well-known I am not passing any remark on their acting talent. Success depends on many other things besides talent, there is no accounting for public taste, and public memory is notoriously fickle.
And now after all this, the songs (in alphabetical order according to the first name of the actors):
ARJUN: In 1951 came Malhar, the only film produced by Mukesh under his banner (the quaintly named) Darling Films. My own favourite is the Lata-Mukesh duet Kahan Ho Tum…. but here is Mukesh going solo for the film’s hero Arjun who had earlier appeared in movies like Didi and Babul.
ASHOK SHARMA: Today if Kedar Sharma is remembered (if at all) than he is remembered as the man who once famously slapped Raj Kapoor who was his clapper boy but then later impressed by Raj’s dedication offered him his first film as a hero: Neel Kamal. In 1961, Sharma launched his own son Ashok as hero in Hamari Yaad Aayegi. “Kabhi Tanhayion mein hamari yaad aayegi” sung by Mubarak Begum has survived the passage of time but the other songs have been forgotten though the movie has such lovely duets as “Sochta hoon….” And “Farishton ki Nagri…”. However, Mukesh also sang a solo picturised on the hero who never quite made it big and after a couple of films left the industry and proceeded towards Germany for a course in either Fine Arts or Architecture.
CHETAN ANAND: One of the founders of the Nav Ketan banner and the eldest of the three Anand brothers (the other two being Dev and Goldie), Chetan Anand is more known as a director who gave us such acclaimed movies as Neecha Nagar, Haqeeqat, and Heer-Ranjha. However, Chetan also appeared as an actor in a few movies. Here is one such: Kinare-Kinare, in which he appeared alongside younger brother Dev.
JUGAL KISHORE: Director and actor of Hindi and Punjabi movies like Faisala (1965) and Dada (1979). The latter was a silver jubilee film. The following song is however from his 1966 movie Lal Bangla which he both starred in and directed.
MANISH: Little information is available about the actor who played the eponymous role in the 1968 flick: Sarswatichandra.
MOTILAL: Once a colossus of Indian Cinema, Motilal was the cousin of Mukesh who brought him into the film world and also gave him his first great hit: The immortal Dil Jalta Hai to Jalne De. Both the director and music-director of the movie Pehli Nazar (Mazhar Khan and Anil Biswas, respectively) were against taking Mukesh for this song but Motilal who was playing the hero threatened to walk out of the movie if they did not let his young cousin sing the song. The rest, as they say, is history….
PREM ADIB: One of the leading stars of the forties, Prem Adib (full name: Prem Narayan Adib – with Adib which means Pandit/Vidwan being a title conferred on one of his forefathers by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah), made his debut as a hero in Nirala Hindustan. In as many as eight movies, he played the role of Lord Ram, one of which Bharat Milap was awarded a gold medal. The following is a song from his movie Anokhi Ada in which he starred along with Surendra and Naseem Bano.
PREM NATH: Not a forgotten actor by any chance but the lecherous villain of Johnny Mera Naam is a far cry from the drool-worthy hero of Barsaat and Badal and who in his 1951 film Aaram had two singers singing for him: Mukesh and Talat (yes I know ‘Shukriya ai Pyar Tera’ was actually picturised on Talat but he was giving voice to Prem’s feelings) while the other hero Dev had to go songless. And here’s Mukesh’s song from the movie:
SAILESH KUMAR: The actor whose real name was Shambhunath Purohit and who passed away recently (April 21st 2017) was a well-known face for movie goers in the sixties. The actor who played our desi Bond in a movie called Golden Eyes Secret Agent 007 had to leave the tinsel-town because of health-related issues. The following song is from his 1963 movie Begaana. The movie also had another marvellous song ‘Phir Wo Bhuli Si’ (but this time sung by Rafi) picturised on him.
SUDESH KUMAR: He seems to have donned many hats- assistant director, producer, and actor in hit movies like Who Kaun Thi? and Khandaan. However, it is this song from his 1961 movie Saranga which remains memorable till date.
SUDHIR: Most movie goers would know Sudhir (whose real name, I was surprised to learn, was Bhagwandas Mulchand Luthria) as the villain’s sidekick but Sudhir also has two most beautiful songs picturised on him. Main Ye Soch Kar Uske Dar Se Utha Tha from Haqeeqat and this heart-wrenching number from Umar Qaid.
Do you like these songs? What are your favourite songs of Mukesh? What about these heroes? Would you like to talk about them? Do share your views.