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Mukesh: the third angle of the triangle
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
Among the triumvirate in the male singing category, that ruled the Indian film music scenario for more than four decades, Mukesh indeed formed the third triangle along with Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi, as he was steadfast in his approach to being the playback voice for Raj Kapoor and not to give playback for others on the same frequency that he did for Raj Kapoor. Owing to precisely this reason, Raj Kapoor when Mukesh had passed away said that he has lost his voice. Indeed never ever was found a voice that could be so like a carbon copy of the voice of an actor while delivering the dialogue or while crooning, as it was Mukesh's voice for Raj Kapoor. It indeed is a matter of anguish that Mukesh is not being remembered at all at least during the week when he passed away.
Mukesh literally came into an element after he started giving playback singing to Raj Kapoor, the journey started with AAH, and it continued right up to DHARAM KARAM when one fine day Mukesh passed away into the blue sky. For the triumvirate Mukesh meant Raj Kapoor, Mohammed Rafi could mean either Dilip Kumar or Dev Anand and Kishore Kumar meant Dev Anand principally. In between Mukesh had given playback for Dilip Kumar only once that too in MADHUMATI when Raj Kapoor was not making any film. Such was the friendship between these two that Mukesh never cared to expand his horizon of singing beyond Raj Kapoor.
Mukesh's within the limitation of the boundaries of octave of a meter was able to sing one of the most beautiful songs, be it the soft romantic songs or the sad songs. In fact the reputation that Mukesh carried for himself was that of a sad song specialist. In BAMBAI KA BABU Mukesh did get a chance to give playback for a Dev Anand film, but it was a song from the background. Owing to the nasal twang in the voice his voice could not suit all the actors; therefore his voice was also picked up for awarding background playback singing.
With Raj Kapoor switching the roles and doing less number of films Mukesh emerged as the playback voice of Manoj Kumar and gave quite a large number of memorable hits, from nearly all the films that Manoj Kumar made during his career. Such was the identification of the voice of Mukesh with Manoj Kumar that in all the films that Manoj Kumar made, there never was any other voice but that of Mukesh in combination with Mahendra Kapoor. Mukesh had started the trend of doing shows outside the country along with Lata Mangeshkar, and in the times when communication still meant traveling by obscure means of transport consuming unimaginable time, it was Mukesh who extended the outreach of Indian films to a very large extent.
The image of a romantic that Amitabh Bachchan could acquire for himself through KABHIE KABHIE got a contribution from the voice of Mukesh as well, and also in ADALAT where his songs for the rural Amitabh added an authenticity to the image of his character as a rural folk. This also happened with Rajesh Khanna in ANAND as well and the songs of melancholy and hope are one of the all time great hits associated with Rajesh Khanna.
Mukesh indeed was the voice of the masses, be it in TEESRI KASAM or through any of the films of Mukesh, and precisely for this reason though he sang very less number of songs, the number of hits that he could give makes it feel that he also sang nearly the same number of songs as Kishore or Rafi.