A little over a month ago, when I reviewed Humraaz, one thing (among the many) that I liked about the film was the music, one of the few soundtracks dominated by Mahendra Kapoor. Praise for Mahendra Kapoor drew mixed reactions: he’s underrated, he shouts, he’s good only for Punjabi songs, he’s versatile… therefore, this post, on Mr Kapoor’s birthday, to celebrate one of Hindi cinema’s uncelebrated singers. Born on January 9th, 1934, Mahendra Kapoor recorded (supposedly) more than 25,000 songs and is believed to be the first Indian singer to have recorded a song in English.
Anyway, without further ado, my top ten list of Mahendra Kapoor’s songs. All from 50’s and 60’s films that I’ve seen, and (to make it a little more interesting for myself) no two songs from the same film. These are in no particular order.
1. Tum agar saath dene ka vaada karo (Humraaz, 1967): One reason why I’d never attempted a Mahendra Kapoor ‘top ten’ was the soundtrack of this film: any Mahendra Kapoor list would invariably feature most of the songs from Humraaz. Neele gagan ke tale, Na moonh chhupaake jiyo, Kisi patthar ki moorat se, and Tum agar saath dene ka vaada karo. All are superb, but this one is a particular favourite of mine, because there’s a gentle charm about it that’s just so romantic.
2. Laakhon hain yahaan dilwaale (Kismat, 1968): Like Humraaz, so is Kismat: a Mahendra Kapoor showcase. This song, in particular, is a favourite of mine, because it’s a good example of why Mahendra Kapoor deserves to be better regarded. Laakhon hain yahaan dilwaale could have been a loud song, shouted out without restraint—but it isn’t; even though the picturisation has Biswajeet leaping about like a rooster, Mahendra Kapoor tones it down. He sings in a beautifully melodic way, gently and romantically though with a flamboyance that makes this obviously a club song, crooned for the dance floor.
3. Sikandar ne Porus se ki thhi ladaai (Anpadh, 1962): This wicked little ballad deriding education owes much of its sass to Raja Mehdi Ali Khan’s lyrics, but you have to hand it to Mahendra Kapoor: he sings it perfectly. Whenever I watch this song, I end up forgetting someone’s singing playback for Mohan Choti; Mr Kapoor’s voice has all the impudence that Mohan Choti brings to the role. Brilliantly cheeky.
4. Mere desh ki dharti sona ugle (Upkaar, 1967): If there’s one genre for which Mahendra Kapoor is particularly known, it’s the patriotic song (remember Hai preet jahaan ki reet sada? Remember Mera rang de basanti chola?) Of the patriotic songs that Mahendra Kapoor sang, this one’s my favourite, mainly because he sings it with such full-throated vigour, but without going offkey. And, somehow, I always think of this being Mahendra Kapoor’s song: there’s something very Punjabi, very deeply-rooted-in-the-country about Mere desh ki dharti. Mahendra Kapoor’s is the perfect voice for it.
5. Chhodkar tere pyaar ka daaman (Woh Kaun Thi?, 1964, with Lata Mangeshkar): Woh Kaun Thi? was Lata Mangeshkar’s soundtrack – and to some extent Asha Bhonsle’s. This (besides Tiki riki tiki riki tako ri) is the only song to feature a male voice. And how! Mahendra Kapoor is fabulously melodious, warm and romantic and just right for Manoj Kumar. One of the all-time classic love songs.
6. Muddat se tamannaaon ka sila (Kaajal, 1965): This is seduction at its ultimate: the gorgeous Dharmendra, and that too with Mahendra Kapoor’s voice, velvety and soft and so very enticing. Impossible to resist! What especially impresses me about Muddat se tamannaon ka sila is the fact that there’s actually very little music in the song; Mahendra Kapoor’s voice provides most of the melody.
7. Badal jaaye agar maali (Bahaarein phir bhi aayengi, 1966): This is almost turning into a ‘Mahendra Kapoor in Ten Moods’ post. Patriotic, romantic, irreverent, fun—and now inspirational. Here he sings one of Aziz Kashmiri’s compositions, set to O P Nayyar’s music: a heartening song of how important it is to keep going, no matter what.
8. Hum jab simatke aapki baahon (Waqt, 1965, with Asha Bhonsle): One of the best soundtracks from the 60’s, and one of the best songs from that soundtrack. Hum jab simatke aapki is dominated by Asha—both verses are sung by her, with Mahendra Kapoor only joining in later in the song—but if it hadn’t been for the softly gentle refrain he provides, this song would have not been as gloriously beautiful as it is.
9. Mera rang de basanti chola (Shaheed, 1965): Mera rang de basanti chola is sung repeatedly in Shaheed; the best known version is the one that’s sung (by Mahendra Kapoor, Mukesh and Rajinder Mehta’s voices) when Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev are walking to their deaths. This one, an earlier, softer, less bombastic version crooned softly by Mahendra Kapoor, has much more depth of feeling. There’s something about the combination of humming and singing, the fact that there’s no musical accompaniment, and the picturisation—on a lonely roof—that makes this, to me, more of a ‘a man and his country, alone at night’ song. More patriotically poignant than a lot of other patriotic songs.
10. Yeh hawa yeh fizaa (Gumraah, 1963): Yet another ‘Mahendra Kapoor sings for Sunil Dutt’ song—and this, in my opinion, is the best of the lot. A hauntingly beautiful song, throbbing with desire and sung perfectly: I don’t think I’ve ever come across another ‘echo’ song that manages it quite so well. If I’d arranged these songs in order, Yeh hawa yeh fizaa would probably have been top of the list. Gumraah, incidentally, has some other fantastic Mahendra Kapoor songs: another winner is Chalo ek baar phir se.
Finally, a bonus song: Chaand bhi koi deewaana hai. This is hard to find, and I haven’t been able to find a video for you to watch, but you can click the link and listen to the song. If I’d seen the film (which is Apna Ghar Apni Kahaani), this song would certainly have been in my top ten for Mahendra Kapoor. A gorgeously passionate duet sung with Asha Bhonsle, about all things romantic: the moon, the waves of a lake, and the two lovers to whom they are likened. Stunningly beautiful music by N Dutta, lovely picturisation (Mumtaz and Sudhir boating on a moonlit lake), and lovely singing.
So, for all the Mahendra Kapoor detractors: have I managed to convert you, even if only a little teeny-weeny bit? And for those who do have some Mahendra Kapoor favourites: which ones? Please share!
Thank you, that is a beautiful collection of songs, always worth a re-listen.
As an aside, I don’t remeber if you saw the photo i shared from my sister on fb a while back from my great- grandad’s collection? Of Bhagat Singh talking to a friend shortly before he was executed?
No, Bawa – I never saw the photo you mention. Would love to; it sounds very historic. Could you please show that to me?
just sent it to your e-mail.
Thank you! Will check.
Great list, Madhu. And as usual, it includes many that I woud have picked myself. And I agree that songs of movies like Humraaz and Gumrah can quickly add up if you don’t set a one-song-a-movie limit. :-)
I absolutely love the MK songs of both these movies.
Other songs I would suggest (from movies that you have not included here)
– Mera pyar wo hai ki mar kar bhi (Ye Raat Phir Na Aayegi)
– Andhere mein jo baithe hain (Sambandh)
– Kahan se layee ho o jaaneman ye (Dil Aur Mohabbat)
– Kamar patli (Kahin Din Kahin Raat). (ok, I like this mainly because I saw this movie as a young kid and it got imprinted in my mind. For years, I only knew the song without knowing anything else about it. Only thanks to the internet, I could find out more details later. The song is nice too though).
All the above are sung for OP Nayyar, who in an interview a few years ago, absolutely rubbished Mahendra Kapoor, saying he was not a patch on Rafi saab and that he was forced to work with MK only because Rafi saab was not available for a period to OP. I thought it ws hugely unfair on MK but that was OP for you. Great MD but very opinionated too, with a HUGE ego.
– Aye jaaneman tera gora badan (Anmol Moti) for Ravi
– Ramchandra keh gaye siya se (Gopi) for Kalyanji-Anandji
– Dil karta o yaara dildaar (Aadmi aur Insaan) for Ravi (I absolutely love this song.MK sings with others)
– Na ye zameen thi (Sagaai) for Ravi
– Aadha hai chandrama (Navrang) for C.Ramchandra
Most of these movies have multiple good songs of MK. I have just mentioned one from each movie. They may not make a top-10 but if there were a top-20, many of them would be candidates, I think. :-)
There was this song with Rafi saab AND MK. From Aadmi (1968). I thought MK did very well in this song.
Interestingly, Kamar patli nazar bijli was on the list till just before I published this post. I’d written out the rest of the post, just the description and the screenshot for that one song as left… and then I decided I liked Muddat se tamannaaon ka sila more. But I can well understand why that song would have been imprinted on your mind. It’s very catchy, and well sung. Mahendra Kapoor sang some very good songs for Biswajeet too, didn’t he?
Oh, and also in my long list was Yaara dildaara mera dil karta. And Aadha hai chandrama wouldn’t have been just in the top 20, but in the top 10, if only I’d seen Navrang. I think that’s a wonderful song!
Your selection is really good.
But I have a point to add. Aadmi song is sung by Rafi and Talat and Not MK.
Thank you. I hope Raja reads your comment sometime! Though I must admit, Talat does sound a lot like MK in this song…
Well, I’m coming here after a while and purely by chance have come to this thread. :-)
I understand there were 2 versions of this song – the audio version with Rafi/Talat and the movie version with Rafi/MK.
Here’s more on this on Atul’s blog.
Ah, so that’s the story! Thank you, Raja – I am glad to see you vindicated. :-)
By the way, was reminded of you the other day because I was working on a post which you had once said you would like to see. Here’s a clue: it is Sahir Ludhianvi’s birthday on the 8th of March. Watch this blog…
Can’t wait! :-)
sharing a sad story about this song. originally talat saheb sang for manoj. but he later made naushad saheb dubbed by Mahender kapoor. for this talat never forgave manoj and naushad ji. i think the song could have done wonders to talat saheb career. so all life talat mentioned that how he was replaced. therefore i don’t like the song at all.
Love this list! Mahendra Kapoor has so many nice songs and I’m so glad to see Sikander ne porus se included. It isn’t a song made in the ‘great’ mould but is so appealing, nonetheless. I love Mahendra Kapoor’s first filmi song – Chand chhupa aur taare doobe (Sohni Mahiwal). It’s quintessential Mahendra Kapoor in it’s passionate recital, with the voice starting out low and working it’s way to a crescendo, stretching and stretching… I also love his songs from Navrang, particularly Aadha hai chandrama.
There is no denying his talents and versatility. That said, however, I must admit that to me Mahendra Kapoor is always “not Rafi”. As a youngster, when I heard his songs, I’d sometimes be confused that it is Rafi singing, only to find my error when he sang the higher notes. I have grown to appreciate his voice now, but can never get rid of that feeling of disappointment that he is not Rafi! I remember hearing in an interview that he did consciously copy Rafi’s style before he finally developed one of his own – a tad too late for me!
Thank you for telling me about Chaand chhupa aur taare doobe – I don’t think I’ve heard it before, but am listening to it right now, and have to agree with you. It’s very Mahendra Kapoor: working its way up and down the scale, high notes and low notes and so fluid. And your description of ‘passionate recital’ is spot on!
I do wish he hadn’t tried to mimic Rafi’s style. That never works, because you end up being just another wannabe, without an individuality…
I love watching mythologies and I have quite a few.
This song from Sampooran Ramayan is lovely for two reasons;
-it flows very well and goes up and down in waves
-and Mahendra Kapoor does exceptionally well at high notes without getting flat
I do love the songs listed by you DO.
This other song which I really like is from Gunghat with Pradeep Kumar and Asha Parekh.
It’s breezy, frolicsome and I love both Asha and Pradeep who add a lot to the visuals :)
As far as the film goes it has Bina Rai too and is adapted from Rabindranath Tagore’s Nav Durghatna.
I like that song from Ghunghat too, very pleasant to listen to, and very pleasant to watch! I’ve seen Ghunghat, too – Bina Rai’s especially beautiful in it. Incidentally, it’s one of the only two Bina Rai films I’ve seen in which she’s a modern woman. Otherwise, I seem to have seen her only in historicals like Anarkali, Taj Mahal, Aurat and Changez Khan!
Very well sung song from Sampoorna Ramayana, by the way. Some of those high notes are really high, and Mahendra Kapoor manages not to mess them up.
Bina Rai… must check her out in this superb musical
Vallah Kya Baat Hai 1962, with who…. but Shammi Kapoor, so yu can imagine all the movie is gonna be… MUSICAL.
And Marine Drive from 1955 with ‘mona darlingggg’ Ajit Bhai. Gangsta galore ! And Johnny bhai is there too !
Both are non historical/non mytho movies.
Marine Drive was the other non-historical Bina Rai film that I’ve seen. And oh, I just realised how forgetful I’m being, because I have seen Vallah Kya Baat Hai too. Good fun, and such good music! I love the title song, and Ek toh soorat pyari in particular. Thank you for reminding me about that! :-)
I absolutely adore MK…he has such a unique voice, incapable of duplicating in my opinion. I am sorry that he wasnt utilise in the industry as much as KK and Rafi.
Strangely enough, he seems to have sung a lot of songs – 25,000 is a very respectable number – but very few people seem to be as enthusiastic about his songs as they are about Kishore or Rafi. Sad. I do agree that KK and MR have stupendous voices, but then there are plenty of other male singers too – Mahendra Kapoor, Hemant, Manna Dey, etc – who have also sung some fabulous songs.
I am one of those who don’t like Mahendra Kapoor’s voice. But I love so many of his songs. Strange, but true. Kahan se laayi ho, from Dil aur Mohabbat. That song from Kismet, The phone song from Waqt (it is the sexiest hindi song ever!).
I have been going batty trying to remember which was the phone song from Waqt (and all my research seems to be leading nowhere)! I seem to recall only bits of the picturisation – Sadhana on a circular bed, was it? Wearing something in dark pink? Lighting in different colours? But I can’t recall the song at all. :-(
Can it be kaun aaya ke nigaahon mein chamak jaag uthi, it has been long since I saw Waqt so I do not recall any circular beds….pink dresses :)
Thx DO for digging out my msg from Spammie box
No, I’m pretty sure it isn’t Kaun aaya ke nigaahon mein chamak because in that she’s going around the house, arranging flowers, playing the piano, etc, when Raj Kumar happens to come in and eavesdrops on her singing as she goes about the place.
I am not able to remember the opening lines either.. but I remember these : aanch dene laga kadmon ke tale barf ka farsh, aaj jana ke mohabbat me hai garmi kitni. Yes, Sadhna is lying on a circular bed and blushing into the phone
The other 2 Ashatai songs were
Hum Jab Simat Ke Aapki
Din Hai Bahar Ke
rings a bell DO ?
No, neither of those. Hum jab simatke aapki is the song I’ve listed above; it’s picturised on Sadhana and Sunil Dutt in a garden. And Din hain bahaar ke is picturised on Sharmila Tagore and Shashi Kapoor, plus a large band of extras on a raft midstream in a river.
By the way, there is another Asha song in Waqt. For me, THE Asha song: Aage bhi jaane na tu. What a song!
Got it!!!! And I was right about the pink dress and the circular bed. ;-) Gardens here too, though…
Maine ek khwaab sa dekha hai
oh yes this one.. so sexy and lovely.
Many happy returns of the day Mahender Paajee,
you are very much in our hearts and will reamin so.
I think I have mentioned quite a few beautiful tracks by him earlier in the BLOGS here, so time being I thank yu a lot DO for bringing his Top 10 out for us. Super Collection.
I have a few rare songs which I have to dig out and share with yu, yu know songs which are not so often heard or played.
Cheers to Paajee once again !
p.s. Right now I am enjoiing another g8 singer Hemantda, ‘ja tujhe bhool gaye’, chip of da ol block.
Here u can listen these/this rare un’s
Thank you for that link to the Hemant song, Ash! The singers, the films, the actors and actresses of those years…. they were a class apart!
I just posted a reply here but it has not shown up, maybe bcos it had a external link ? pls do check your end if it has gone into Spam or ???
Done. :-) Yes, it had gone into spam.
The title song from ‘Jai Santoshi Ma’ (1975)!
That was him? I do know Mahendra Kapoor was pretty well known for religious songs (he also sang the title song for the Doordarshan Mahabharat), but I always seemed to recall the Jai Santoshi Maa song as being sung by a woman.
Oh it’s probably not the the title song.
The song is called “Yahan Wahan Jahan Tahan” and it’s pretty fun. It’s not on youtube but you can hear the song on several sites using google.
Oh, okay… I’ve just listened to it. Yes, I remember this one.
I think Mahendra’s patriotic songs are the best. Mere desk ki dharti and mera rang the basanti chola are so heart rending and so beautiful, and bring the movies they feature in to another level. brilliant stuff.
Yes, he has a certain something when it comes to patriotic songs, hai na? I think even Hai preet jahaan ki reet sada is also a very good song, even though I don’t much care for Purab aur Pachhim.
Nice list, though I admit I didn’t know most of these before – it could be because my knowledge of film songs falls off a little in the 1960s. I do know the songs from Kaajal – and the first Mahendra Kapoor song from that movie that comes to my mind is “Aap Ke Paas Jo Aayega.” (Padmini was gorgeous in that scene too!)
Regarding the comments above, I would second the suggestion of the song from Navrang (yet another C. Ramchandra soundtrack in which just about all the music is great).
Aap ke paas jo aayega was on my long list for this post too. Yes, that’s a lovely song too. And Navrang is a film on my to-watch list: I’ve never got around to seeing it, even though the songs are super.
Thanks for helping me decide to push Humraaz up my viewing list! And to add Woh Kaun Thi to my wishlist for the next time I’m buying. And thanks for the excellent blog posts which let me read SOMETHING of yours while waiting for my back-ordered Englishman’s Cameo to become available :)
Stuart, thank you so much. You are so good for my ego!! You’ve just given me enough encouragement to stop faffing around and get back to working on my next novel. :-)
I look forward to it! I pre-ordered “Cameo” but not early enough. The supplier ran out and no word yet on a re-stock date. Maybe I’ll be able to read the “sequel” straight after it. :)
Just order from an Indian store – use bookfinder.com to find those who sell online. It’s the best way to get your copy of The Englishman’s Cameo!
Thanks, but I’m skintright now. I ordered from bookdepository.co.uk because they offer free shipping worldwide – shipping from India up here to Aotearoa is now more expensive than it used to be. If iI don’t get it soom, I will seek a refund and may try India again.
I do hope you don’t have to wait that long for it! The sequel won’t be launched till perhaps October this year.
I know of two other friends – one in Australia and the other in Spain – both of whom have also ordered the book from Book Depository, and have been told that it’ll take a while. Fingers crossed!
I was sad when you killed the dancing girl so soon… I was kind of hoping it would be played by Rekha in a movie version.
But a Rekha character can still play Mehtab, no? I hope some film producer out there is listening…
‘Sikander ne porus’ was the only thing I liked about dreadful ‘Anpadh’! Mahendra Kapoor did a great job with that one. And I really liked ‘Badal jaaye agar maali’ when I saw ‘Bahaarein phir bhi aayengi’ – I didn’t realise that was Mahendra’s voice.
Whenever I think of MK though, the first thing that comes to mind is ‘Crook. Crook. Crook crook crook. International Crooooook!’, thanks to Memsaab’s fantastic review: http://memsaabstory.wordpress.com/2009/02/15/international-crook-1974/
So thanks for this post – now I have a chance to discover some of his… worthier efforts! Off to listen to them all…
DG, I am SO glad to have found somebody who didn’t think Anpadh was all it was cracked up to be! When I saw Ankhen about 25 years back, I decided I wanted to see all the Dharmendra-Mala Sinha starrers I could lay my hands on. This one I only managed to see a couple of months back, and oh, what a disappointment. I knew I should have appreciated the social message – education and all that – behind it, but I got thoroughly irritated with the sheer stupidity of most of the characters in the film.
Eeeh… I remember that Croook croook croook (am listening to it right now over at Greta’s blog)! Such a ghastly song. No thanks; I’d much rather remember Mahendra Kapoor as the man behind Yeh hawa yeh fiza!
Yes, the main characters in ‘Anpadh’ were just SO annoying. Like you said, great message and all, but terrible script. I have had very bad luck with Mala Sinha, I always seem to come across her most melodramatic, OTT roles… I was really enjoying ‘Bahaarein phir bhi aayengi’, for example, until her character disintegrated for no good reason.
Yes, I had great hopes from Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi in the beginning, and then the way the Mala Sinha character collapsed – why, I still don’t know – it was very irritating. Mala Sinha does seem to have acted in a lot of these weepy melodramatic roles. But Anpadh, to my mind, takes some beating.
Wanna see Mala ben in a happy happy role, then watch her with Kishoreda in Jaal Saz 1969, hilarious or Dil Tera Deewana with Shammi Kapoor, to name a few as they come to my mind cheers… and oh another g8 movie 11000 Ladkiyaan with Bharat Bhushan bhai……
I can vouch for Gyaarah Hazaar Ladkiyaan and Dil Tera Deewaana, both of which are definitely more light-hearted than stuff like Anpadh, Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi, Mere Huzoor or Jahanara. Night in London too, as far as I remember, though Biswajeet does tend to turn me off a bit.
Many thanks to you both for the suggestions!
I’ve never much of his fan because I always felt he copied Mohd Rafi a bit. But now your post has really piqued my interest. In fact, there are some songs I see here that I thought had been sung by Rafi. Great post btw :)
I almost forgot in all this excitement.
That was great sleuthing on your part DO to find that English song sung by Mahendar..
Not bad I must say, and his pronunciation isn’t bad either.
Why did he sing this song, I wonder?
Thank you, pacifist, though I must give due credit to serendipity; I was just trawling youtube for Mahendra Kapoor’s songs, and happened to come across that. I thought it was pretty well sung too, his pronunciation wasn’t bad. I wonder what he sang that song for – not a film, as far as I know. By the way, on this topic, I just remembered another ‘English’ song from an old Hindi film: Beautiful baby of Broadway, sung by Iqbal in Ek Phool Chaar Kaante:
I’m still not a fan, :-) but thought I’d share a couple of songs that I do like.
First, a rousing bhajan:
Mat ang chola saaje – Aalingan
Second, a comic battle-of-the-sexes duet with Geeta Dutt:
Rukh pe powder lab pe surkhi – Hum Kahan Jaa Rahe Hai
The female voice sounds very shrill and very un-Geeta-like! You’re sure it isn’t some other singer masquerading as “Geeta Dutt”?
I like Rukh pe powder labh pe surkhi – very peppy and energetic – but yes: the female voice doesn’t sound at all like Geeta Dutt. On http://www.geetadutt.com, they do confirm that it’s her. This was in 1966, so it’s one of the last films for which she recorded… perhaps that’s why her voice isn’t sounding as wonderful as usual?
By the way, the bit (around 3:30) where he mimics Elvis is very well done! Also the Abhi na jaao chhodke. This song should have gone into my list of parodies! ;-)
Nice list with some of my favorite MK songs. I’m surprised you didn’t list Chalo ek baar phir se from Gumrah. That song is my absolute favorite one from MK. He was unbeatable in it. Stirs your soul, that song!
Aap ke paas jo ayega – when I first heard it in Kaajal, it haunted me for days to the point that I found myself listening to it on headphones at work! I couldn’t get the song out of my head.
Hum jab simat ke is one song I find myself humming frequently. I found the Asha Bhosle part of the song more beautiful than the MK part. :-)
Maybe because you’ve listed the Mere desh ki dharti song from Upkar, I’m tempted to request to do a 10 top of Manna Dey (if you like him as much as I do). His song Kasme waade from Upkar is so deeply moving!
Chalo ek baar phir se isn’t listed simply because I prefer Yeh hawa yeh fiza, and – as I mentioned – I’d decided to restrict myself to only one song per film. But yes, as I do also mention, that’s another winner. :-)
The Manna Dey top ten was done nearly two years back. Tell me what you think!:
(and yes, we do agree on at least one song there)!
I like your the selection of songs but for me I always was and still am a Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar fan. Could never relate to Mahendra Kapoor’s voice.
I must admit that I’m not much of a Mahendra Kapoor fan, either. But I do think that almost everybody has some good and some bad – so while there are Mohammad Rafi songs that I don’t like, there are also some (the ones I’ve listed above, in particular) Mahendra Kapoor songs that I do like. I think his voice in these songs is wonderful.
I am wondering about that 25,000 songs number. That is a lot of songs. And it is a number that comes up suspiciously everytime, ever since Guiness first listed it as the minimum number of songs Lata had sung. I seem to remember Lata herself saying she had no idea where the number had come from. Then Rafi, Asha, Kishore..all said at one time or the other to have sung “more than 25,000” songs.
If you give a generous 8 songs per film, and one singer to have a part in All of them, it makes for a whopping 3125 films! Would Mahendra Kapur have really sung for that many films? Then again, you wouldn’t neccesarily be in all the songs, and that you have to share out with more dominant singers like Rafi, Mukesh or Kishore….
I think being fair, only Lata, Asha, Rafi and perhaps Kishore? (he started out late in the playback singing game) could have these kind of astronomical numbers ot their credit; from the number of years they sung, and the fact that they were singing for a lot of other Indian languages, etc.
What do you think?
Yes, I was a bit surprised by that number; it seemed a little too inflated for belief. Even considering the fact that he also sang for a large number of films in Punjabi, Marathi and Gujarati (besides other regional languages, from what I’ve read)… still high. And imdb lists him as playback singer for 294 titles, not even a tenth of your calculation!
I guess we have to take these numbers with an extra large pinch of salt then!
I have put in a disclaimer now! ;-)
I am sure a real count would bring up different numbers for all the singers, not just Mahendra Kapur (it was just that repetitive 25,000 that me think): on the other hand, maybe we should no longer criticise music directors for repeating or lifting: I mean to come up with tunes supposedly numbering in 10000s if not lakhs over 60 odd years….
Well said. I’d think in that respect a music director’s task would be tougher than that of a singer. As a singer, talent and hard work – and loads of riyaaz – would probably be paramount; as an MD the question of creativity comes in. And really, how much can you create? Sometime or the other you’d probably come up against ‘music director’s block’ (??!). Perhaps that’s why among the most prolific MDs seem to be the ones who work in teams – Shankar Jaikishan, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, and the really good MDs have relatively lean portfolios… in my opinion.
Am devastated. “Chalo ik baar phir se”, for its amazing, haunting lyrics, probably overshadows the singer. But to ignore this! ==> Totters away, faith in humanity shaken.
One can’t please everybody. As long as I please myself – my purpose behind my blog is fulfilled. Sorry your faith in humanity depends on something so minor as a song that was simply mentioned in a post, not listed. :-(
Tcha, no offence meant.
(Can one write or comment on Bollywood without hyperbole ?)
And how can one comment on Bollywood without people taking offence where no offence was meant? Isn’t melodrama the essence of Hindi cinema? ;-)
Two more, somewhat off the beaten path compositions, very nicely rendered by Mahendra Kapoor.
Duniya bananewale ne jab chand banaya – Tasveer
Khubsurat hai teri tarah shiqayat teri – Aasman Mahal
Shalini, thank you for those. I’d not heard either of them before, but they’re very nice – both well controlled, and as you say, nicely rendered. Not at all the ‘shouting’ some accuse Mahendra Kapoor of!
Lovely list dusted off, i’ve long loved Mahendra Kapoor i love that deep voice he sings in and its no surprise a good number on your favourites are from B.R Chopra films, i read somewhere that he’s B.R. Chopra’s favourite singer, and i think he must have sang in almost every one of their films. One of my Mahendra Kapoor favourites i discovered while watching Insaf ka tarazu recently is Hazaar khwaab a lovely duet with Asha and Deepak and Zeenat make such a lovely pair in the picturisation plus the melody and the lyrics are just too beautiful
I’m surprised I’ve never come across Hazaar khwaab before, considering that I was pretty clued into contemporary film music during the 80’s! It’s a lovely song, well sung, beautifully picturised, and yes – the lyrics are lovely. Thank you for introducing me to this!
You’re welcome dusted off ;)There’s a song by mahendra Kapoor that’s picturised on a newly married couple on a revolving bed, any idea what the song is
A newly married couple on a revolving bed? No, that doesn’t ring a bell… any idea which decade? 60’s? Later?
Hello dusted off you know i have no idea what it is but it looks like 60’s or 70’s, i saw ita while ago ona youtube best of Mahendra kapoor video list ahh well looks like i’ll keep my eyes out again
Let me know if you find it again!
Koi mil gaya koi mil gaya its this beautiful song from Chingari, the bed rotation happens for a bit towards the beginning of Leena and Sanjay’s Suhaag raat, i find it ohh so romantic
Just in case folks missed this superb classical duet, pls allow me DO to re run this, just in case some1 missed it. This has been mentioned else where here but all the same……
Mahendra Kapoor , Suman Hemadi Kalyanpur, MD is Snehal Bhatkar ,Lyrics by Kidar Sharma and the phillum Fariyad 1964
papeeha dekho dekh raha hai papeeha
is posted by me in YT under
Do listen to it, its just fab… and very hard to get on the Internet :).
if any1 share this movie, it wud be most welcome.
Yes, a fun song, that one. :-)
must check this super track out, Paajee is there, comes a little later on in the song but the whole flow of the song and lyrics are just superb, and this movie I am trying to hunt since ages…….
mere dil zindagi safar hai meri jaan kal pe kyon nazar hai -Asha Bhonsle , Usha Khanna,Mahendra Kapoor MD O P Nayyar lyrics Aziz Kashmiri fm Killers
The movie was also called Hum Sab Qatil Hai, check out all tracks in YT, O P Saheb at his best…….
and guess who Directed it…… ready for it…. MARUTI, tell ya we do not half of what he contributed. If yu or yr readers can share this movie, pls do that, will highly appreciate that…….
pardon me if this is covered but it has yr fav Sanjeev bhai with Paajee playback-
Kangan – Jhuke Jo Tere Naina – Mahendra Kapoor – Usha Khanna
Thank you, Ash! Have just finished watching Mere dil zindagi safar hai (I never even heard of this film – Maruti was certainly a chhupa Rustam!). Will look out for the film.
And I like Jhuke jo tere naina! :-) Have heard this song often enough to recall it, but hadn’t remembered that this was Mahendra Kapoor too. Nice song, and nice picturisation. Yes, my favourite Sanjeev Kumar is looking wonderful! Thanks.
Mahendra Kapoorji has sung memorable songs ,I would like to add a song that he sung for Dad”Oh Yaaron ki tamanna hai teri zulfon mein phas jaayen,hoga kitna khubsoorat yeh nazaaran duniya dekhegi hum bhi dekhengey’I think this is the only song he sung for Dad.
Someone had pointed out that song to me a while back! Yes, nice song (very O P Nayyar), and rather unusual – because somehow I think Mahendra Kapoor’s voice doesn’t quite fit your father’s (Mohammad Rafi is absolutely perfect for him).
Er.rrrr… Do, now did I have a Post, son after yu posted this Blog where I had chosen quite a few songs of MK ?????, sorry I am not able to see it anymore, is it poss that it has been removed ????
Am sure yu will recall that post !! I was gonna check for a song if I had added that but now I am not able to cross check :), pls see what yu find out. Thx.
Meanwhile that gem of a bonus song from Apna Ghar Apni Kahani, indeed a super track and imposs to get the phillum, which incidentally had Mumtaz in it. There is another audio file sung my MK and Kamal Baor here-
jiger mein dard kaisa
It is also excellent.
And while yu are at it, here is another duet by same as above from Baankelal 1962, I have the VCD of this, nice entertainer, as the name suggests !
and another rare, whose VCD I also so gladly got-
Rafta rafta woh hamare…’ from ‘Hum Kahan Ja Rahe Hain’-MK AND Asha
and rare and hard to get movie Irada, song called ‘maan bhi jaaye, a duet again with Kamal Barot
pyaar ki baatein nighaoon pee jagayaa na karo
from Adventures Of Robinhood by MD G .S Kohli
O maalik mere by MK and Lata from Maalik, on Rajesh Khanna n Sharmila !!
and from same movie a bhajan-
Kanhaiya Kanhaiya Tujhe Aana Padega
third bhajan from same movie called Radhe Krishna Bol Mukh Se
and from Victoria no 203- duet with Rafi Saheb
do bichhare beena sharare
Yu see in 60’s MK had quite few solos and duets which are unfort not heard so often esp in religious/mythological movies, eg from Bhakto Mein Shakti called Ranga Ranga Vithal as I see the oldies again I come across quite a few of his wonderful numbers.
And if I may add, since I am not able to see if I had these in my ‘missing’ reply, these 3 songs-
Jab Yaad Ke Badli Chhati Hai from Painter Babu
Tumhara Chahnewala from Kahin Din Kahin Raat
Jag Gaya Jag Gaya from Kala Pathaar
So really me thinks we have a long way to get and hear his contributions…. and I hope this msg is not lost in space DO……..
cheerio n enjoii
Ash, I checked, but there aren’t any comments that have gone into spam or which are awaiting moderation – looked like cyberspace chewed up your comment. :-( I also had a look at my Humraaz post, since we discussed Mahendra Kapoor quite a bit there, and you suggested a lot of his songs in comments on that post.
Some very nice songs among the ones you’ve listed here… personally, I’m not a fan of bhajans, but I love that song from Apna Ghar Apni Kahani: that film seems to have superb music. I’ve been trying to get hold of the film, but I don’t think it’s commercially available – I haven’t seen it anywhere.
Yer a GEM DO,
how right and sharp memory, but ofcors it was the Humraaz Blog, hamka maafi dayi deeyo, now I can relax, thx.
Haan pls when yer doing yer rounds pls also look for Miss Goodnight 1960 and Ten O’clock 1958, both of Jugal Kishore, in Delhi there are places where one might just pick these up.
Thx a lot.
JK another g8 artist but forgotten, well.. almost, hope some day we run a Blog on him. As a youngster I recall seeing his every movie, many in Punjabi also…..
I will look out for both the films you’ve suggested! Thanks. :-)
Folks if yu love MK, then check his bhajans out, see an example-
there are many more, and without doubt sung with dil khol ke…:)
Pardon me DO, if this is duplicated, this one a truly romantic number just heard while doing a rerun on Sagai 1966, it has a pleasant flow,, do check it out here-
KHAFA NA HONA agar mein poochu” BY MAHINDER KAPOOR,M.D:RAVI-“SAGAAI-1966”
Ah, very nice! I have seen this film, but had completely forgotten about this song. Like it very much, thank you! :-)
We can never get enough of Paajee, can we DO ?
While watching Ek Nazar, we have yet another not very much hear heard b4-
Ae Gham-e-Yaar Bataa, Kaise Jiya Karte Hain
luckily on YT
MK sings (probably the only instance) for Amitabh Bachchan ? Lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri and music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
Let me know how yu find this song ! Thx
That is unusual! Nice song – I don’t recall having heard it before. But somehow MK singing for Amitabh seems a bit odd.
Very good quality, by the way. :-)
And while I am at it, here is one which I heard many moons ago, its a superbly sung and written-
gam diya he pyar ne to meharbani pyar ki – from
and found here
Ah, yes. I have heard that one, but had forgotten it. There’s something very MK about it – the type of song that was very typical of him. Good one!
First time on your blog. Found it when I was looking for a certain MK song. I am so glad to have found a place for like-minded people who cherish old songs and movies.
The MK song that I was looking for is this one, from Pati, Patni aur Woh. The premise of this song permitted him to “belt it out” and be a little besura even. All in good fun. I hope that I am able to embed it correctly:
Welcome to my blog, Mozheart – thank you for stopping by, and thank you for commenting!
Yes, Thande-thande paani se certainly did allow MK to belt it out – and a little besura too, as you point out. (Well, he does admit that “Gaana aaye ya na aaye, gaana chaahiye”)! Lots of good fun, there.
Here are some of my favourites
Ravi and MK ( what a golden combination)
a lovely duet, how subdued MK is-Bharosa
Sahir’s magic-philosophy on mist!! What a haunting tune
Lovely duet with Asha (just 3+ minutes)
Again Ravi,Sahir,MK (Sahir’s lyrics are outstanding)
Madan Mohan yet gain, weaves his magic
Op Nayyar-CID 909
A duet with Lata from Badalte Rishtey(sorry 80’s)
nd my alltime favourite of MK -N Dattas magic
Aaj ki raat nahin shikwe shikayat ke liye, aah how romantic!
Adding one more -(roti kapda aur makaan)
Aur nahin bas aur nahin
When I was reviewing the songs,one thing that set me off was one other lovely romantic number from Kaajal, but I couldnt place, finally found it!! :-)
MK is so silent in this song.
“Aap ka husn woh shabnam hai jo sholon mein paley”
I see mentioned above as I scroll up:-)
Yup, loads of MK songs had already been mentioned in the comments to this post… I think Ash in particular was very prolific in his lists of MK songs! But thank you, all the same. It’s always good to hear (and see) again a good song!
By the way, since you also commented on the Sahir Ludhianvi post, I’d like to draw your attention to a link there: MK also sings part of Zindagi ittefaq hai – and sings it superbly. :-)
A great collection & narration, wonderful.
Your good self has glorified Mahendra Kapoor, the great Hindi Films
Francis Dessel Daniel.
To me his voice is simply superb. I think he has more bass voice than Mohammed Rafi.Being from Kerala , i had no idea about him, though i was aware about Rafi,Kishore,Manna and others. But the Mahabharat title song introduced him to me and from then onwards i am in search of his songs. But 1 thing about which i am really saddend is that he has got very little chance when compared to his illustrous contemporaries., i mean atleast his songs are not so popular like Rafi’s and Kishore’s. Any reasons?
you forgot the duet song tumhara chahane wala khuda ki duniya mey ,mere siva bhi koi aur ho khuda na kare from the movie kahi din kahi raat. it is his masfer peice song as he always said in interviews
Visit http://hinditracks.blogspot.com for more Mahendra Kapoor songs.
Madhulika: Mahendra Kapoor entered the industry with a bang, the winner of the Murphy Radio contest of 1958. Maestro Naushad Ali, who was one of the judges, at the behest of none other than Rafi-saab (or so the grapevine told me years ago), promptly snapped him up for the climactic song of his then forthcoming film ‘Sohni Mahiwal’ (1958) based on the Punjabi folk tale. Bharat Bhushan and Nimmi floundering in the Chenab…
(1) The ballad spells the lovers’ doom at the end of the film. It was written by Shakeel Badayuni who was always Naushad-saab’s penman and Mahendra Kapoor swept us away with his rendering of it.
“Chand chhupa aur tare doobe, raat ghazab ki ayi…” is the mukhda of this ballad and in the seven-and-a-half odd minutes that it lasts, I could detect only one minor overemphasis in MK’s rendering of it. It is a treat for the mind and the senses. Mahendraji’s singing is full throated and at times the power in his vocals makes the listener squirm. For more on this and for a listen, please visit my post “Songs The River Sang” on my site http://www.groove78.blogspot.com
(2) He began to draw attention especially in the Punjabi camp. BR Chopra became an admirer and asked the never-never N. Dutta who was still around and composing music for BR’s upcoming Dhool Ka Phool, to give the newcomer a chance. MK sang two duets with Asha Bhonsle in the film. While “Dhadakne lage dil ke taaronki duniya….” became more popular, it is “Jhukti ghata gaati hawa…” that mesmerizes the listen even today. Breathtaking is the adjective that one uses to describe MK’s humming as he brings in the second antara. I recommend listening to the 78r.p.m. version because in the film version the words to the lyric were slightly amended, thanks to the strict censor code. Rajendra Kumar wooing Nanda out on the lake….
(3) MK also sang for N Dutta in BR’s brilliant but completely ignored ‘Dharmputra’ (1961). Among other compositions sung for that film by MK there was the unforgettable “Aaj ki raat muradonki baraat ayi hai…” penned by the great Sahir Ludhianvi. Here is a most effective background song picturised on the very noble Rehman and Mala Sinha on their wedding night. The mood is delicate and MK gave a good account of himself as a singer of ghazals as he imparted to Sahir’s lyric all the sensuality that it demanded. Great, indeed.
(4) I guess MK’s association with Manoj Kumar started with Vijay Bhatt’s ‘Hariyali Aur Rasta’ in which he was invited to sing the fisherman’s song “Kho gaya hai mera pyar…”, by composers Shankar & Jaikishan. The ambiance was the river and the hero (Manoj) was out in the gathering dusk searching for his lost love Mala Sinha, who has supposedly drowned in the waters but has (surprise, surprise!) been already
rescued by the same boatman. A fine, concentrated rendering one listens to again and again.
(5) To include here any song from ‘Navrang’ (1959) would be a cliche if a necessary one. They just cannot be ignored. C Ramchandra made MK sing in this film in a manner unlike any other and be it the fantasising “Shyamal, shyamal baran….” of the lonely lovelorn poet, or the other the sensual, still seeking “Adha hai chandrama raat aadhi…”, these are songs which will belong in the repertoire of any collector. Baburao Patel’s scathing one-liner condemning this film was the raving of a lunatic with no mind for poetry. CRamchandra & Mahendra Kapoor would team up again, with mixed results, barring the tandem from “Zindagi Aur Maut”. A track that comes to mind is…….
(6) …..Mahendraji’s duet with Asha Bhonsle for the film ‘Anchal’ (1960), in which the two of them crooned “Gaa rahi hai zindagi har taraf baharmein…” for Sudesh Kumar and Nanda. A fine love song with the shehnai keeping a respectful distance from the singers, and yet holding its own in the second half.
(7) I believe that he sang his first full fledged raaga-based song for the mythological film ‘Sati Naari’ (1965) for master composer Pandit Shivram, whose career was by then fading. Neeraj’s lyric is erotic without being vulgar. This is an amazing rendering and picturised upon a raaj-nartaki as she does her stint in the darbar. I have never seen the film (indeed, why would I?) but the song, “Tum nacho ras barse…..” has stayed with me and I enjoy, even today and with a certain relish, the various moods in it..
(8) With “Gumrah”, Mahendra Kapoor finally acquired the recognition long denied him, when he won the coveted Best Singer award for his rendering of Sahir’s great “Chalo ek baar, phirse ajnabi ban jayen hum donon…” But my personal favourite from the film is “Aap aye to khayal-e-dil-e-nashad aaya…”, a great anticlimax to the earlier angry ghazal, an humbling experience for Sunil Dutt’s character who could feel the curtains drawing upon him.
(9) If Manoj Kumar’s ‘Upkar’ was a runaway success it was not only because it was relieved of the Entertainment Tax by the government, but also because of the gorgeous music done by Kalyanji-Anandji. While all the major singers (Lata, Manna Dey and Mukesh) sang in it, it was the reverberating “Mere desh ki dharti sona ugle….” that stole the show and Mahendra Kapoor used his Punjabi chords to the maximum in this folk song. Great listening, anytime.
(10) By 1964 veteran composer Hansraj Behl was flagging with the changing times. But in a little viewed film called “Ek Din Ka Badshah” he made his presence felt one more time when he composed a real old fashioned ghazal-based tune which is still a favourite amongst private collectors. Mahendra Kapoor was made to sing this very moody “Aaj apne bhi nazar aate hain begaane se…”. ditty. Perhaps Rafi-saab would have done more justice to this (it was his kind of thing), but Mahendra-ji ‘s rendering is no less effective.
Wah. Some lovely songs you’ve listed there – some of which were new to me. Thanks!
Beautiful list Madhulika ji.I really like the unique voice of Mahendra Kapoor.You should have also added ‘Aaj ki raat’ from Dharmaputra.Love that song.
Yes, that song had been on my shortlist as well. I finally decided I didn’t like it as much as some other songs, so I left it out. But it’s a nice song nevertheless.
To describe my fondness for My Mahender Paji. i wish to say if i would have been a chorus singers of the old times. i would have happily sing after him.
Ten and half years too late, but nevertheless…. Better late than never…. Here’s the link to the video of “Chaand bhee koee deewaanaa hai” from the 1968 movie “Apna Ghar Apni Kahani” aka “Pyaas”…. A beautiful Asha Bhosle – Mahendra Kapoor duet filmed on Mumtaz and Sudhir…. Music by Datta Naik and lyrics by Qamar Jalalabadi…. Happy viewings….
I appreciate the work. Site is prepared so nicely and review & knowledge sharing is so good and useful. Keep it up.God bless.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so much.
Madhu, This was a lovely post and you’ve listed some of Mahendra Kapoor’s best songs. However I think he was not the first Indian playback singer to record an English song. Much before him Mohd. Rafi recorded a song in English in the mid 60’s . It was “The she I love is a beautiful, beautiful dream come true”, written by Harindranath Chattopadhya . It’s available on You Tube. I agree with your other songs , and since this is your list , I shouldn’t intrude with my favourite , but as one viewer commented I prefer “Aap aaye to dil-e-nashaad aaya” which has beautiful orchestration. Now about the “Aadmi” song “Kaisi heseen ye bahaaron ki raat hai”, Manoj Kumar was adamant about getting Mahendra Kapoor to sing for him, and I believe after hearing both versions, that he was correct. Talat Mehmood who sang wonderfully in the early 50’s was past his prime when “Aadmi” was made, and when I heard his version also , presented by an independent narrator, I found it awful. Talat’s voice was flat and weak and nowhere near Rafi’s powerful rendition. Even S. D. Burman refused to take him later saying “Unki awaaz me thehraav nahi rahi”, meaning it had started trembling. The “Waqt” song that you mention “Maine ek khwaab sa dekha hai” was beautifully picturized in various gardens and hill stations, but when it begins Sadhana is wearing a white nightdress , not a pink one , though she’s lying on a pink bed and is clutching a pink satin pillow ! Pink was Sadhana’s favourite colour , but here she’s not wearing pink ! But your choice of songs was spot on , especially “Badal jaaye agar maali” which is heavy with nostalgia for me. Best wishes…..
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you for that long and interesting comment! Glad you enjoyed this list.
If I may add, one of my top favourite films still Ek Phool Char Kante
1960′ had a English song ‘Beautiful Baby of Broadway’ sung by Iqbal Singh.
It is on YouTube here
All songs were superb:)
Oh, yes, that was a good song!