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Remembering Mukesh

Duets(+) of Mukesh: With Male Singers

A tribute to Mukesh on his 99th Birth Anniversary (b. July 22, 1923 – d.  August 27, 1976)

Films in India, by and large, revolve around different themes of love between a boy and a girl. As such, songs come in very handy as a very strong and direct, easy-to-comprehend, medium to express the different shades of feelings of love. Traditionally, the solo songs occupied the space of prime importance. During vintage era this was more a necessity because the singers were generally actors themselves. Moreover, the recording technology also was in the development stage, which made recording a duet song with two vastly different musical qualities of pitch and timbre of a male and female voice was quite difficult in comparison to the recording of a solo song.

With the playback singers taking over the onus of singing, and advances in the filmmaking and song-recording technologies, the duets started gaining more importance in the film production considerations. Music directors also started taking this genre seriously and started creating duets that stood, almost, at par with solo songs.

Essentially, the duets are categorised as male-female duets, male-male duets, and female-female duets. As can be expected, the bulk of the duets in the films remain male-female duets. Male-male and female-female duets normally remained as duet songs that friends would sing together. However, the traditions of patriotic songs, devotional songs, or dance songs in the greater arena of music also inspired similar male-male and /or female-female songs. The subjects used to vary from manifestation of friendly affection – either positive or negative (jealousy), celebrating the festivities together, sharing of mutual concerns or one teasing/advising/counselling the other. As such, once the choice of subjects and practices of narrating the story evolved over 40s, male-male duets genre also started getting prominence. In the 60s and onwards, with more films being produced with more than one hero, the male-male genre further got more weightage. However, essentially, the core subjects have not changed as materially as that of solos.

In so far as Hindi film songs are concerned, duets of Mukesh constitute roughly 20 % share of his total film songs. Mukesh Geet Kosh also includes duet songs that have some element of chorus in the song, while taking care that these are separately identified. The male-male duets of Mukesh, including those with chorus element, constitute again around 15% of the duets of Mukesh. The male-male duets of Mukesh offer fairly wide-spread range, in terms of subjects of the songs, co-singers, year of the song, and of course, the popularity, to lead me to zero in on this subject for the post to commemorate the 99th birth anniversary of Mukesh.

Under the broader category of duets, Mukesh Geet Kosh also has separately identified songs that have some actor /actress chipping with Mukesh a line here or there in the song. I have not included such songs here. Mukesh has more than one duet with Mohammad Rafi or Kishore Kumar. I have chosen the one which I like more than other Rafi or Kishore duets. In some cases, I have included a few triads or quartets (with all male or male-female combination), where the context of the narration, or paucity of a right duet, or the need for variety of different subjects or styles or music directors so necessitated. In one particular instance of duet with Talat Mahmood, I have included, rather had to include, an NFS as well.

So here are Duets(+) of Mukesh with Male Singers, generally, in the chronological order of year of the release of the film.

With Shailesh (Mukharjee)

Rab Mere Araj Sun Meri Sharan Ab Teri – Aag (1948) – Lyrics: Saraswati Kumar Dipak – Music: Ram Ganguli

Ram Ganguli has certainly come up with a very different style of composition for a song that is essentially a devotional song.

If we would have strictly followed the chronological sequence of the release of the films, one of the two Mukesh – Mohammad Rafi duets from Chilman (1949) or Thes (1949) would have appeared here. But from the seven Mukesh-Mohammad Rafi duets, the song that liked most happens to be a duet from the film of the year 1958, So that will have to wait for a while.

With G M Durrani

Aise Mein Koi Chham Se Jo Aa Jaye To Kya Ho – Hanste Aansoo (1950) – Lyrics: Shewan Rizvi – Music: Ghulam Mohammad

Here is an exchange of arguments for pros and cons between two friends of locating the bed if a house is built on a given location – one wants to set up his bed at that very doorstep so that when some (a much awaited) beauty comes up suddenly he would not miss it. His friend warns of another extreme possibility of a high-heeled slipper to be awaiting a welcome instead.

Ghulam Mohammad has come up with so lovely enough orchestration for this composition to induce revisits to the song. If we would have seen the film, we may also have come to know what will have happened after the song is over.

I have picked up a triad next because that provides us with a new combination of singers.

With Khan Mastana

KyuN Shikwa Karein KyuN Aah Bharein – Pagle (1950) – with Talat Mahmood – Lyrics: Anjum Rehmani – Music: V G (Snehal) Bhatkar

The friends have gathered to vent their frustration of non-result bearing efforts of their pursuit to get someone to love them.

Pagle had one more triad, with G M Durrani as the third player –

Ye Aaj Kal Ke Laila Aur Majnu Pagle (1950) – with G M Durrani – Lyrics: Anjum Rehmani – Music: V G (Snehal) Bhatkar

Another song of the youthful frustration when all efforts to woo the ‘fair sex’ fail, which leads to this deep sigh, in the form of

Ye aaj kal ke Laila or Majnu
.. … …
ik haath se dil ko thamate haiN
ik hath se tata kahate haiN

It would be interesting note that Mukesh Geet Kosh has clearly identified the singers for these songs, but HFGK mentions Jagirdar, Agha and Sheri as the singers, who in fact are the actors singing the songs on screen.

With S D Batish

Jaao Sidharo Hey Radha Ke Shyam – Aarzoo (1950) – with Shamshad Begum, chorus – Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri / Jan Nissar Akhtar – Music: Anil Biswas

Mukesh and S D Batish do not actually get connected through a triad here. What is treated as triad in the credits on the record N 38386, is in fact a three-piece stage show story wherein the first (penned by Majrooh Sutmapuri) and third part (penned by Jan Nissar Akhtar) are S D Batish-Shamshad Begum duets with chorus and the second part (also penned by Jan Nissar Akhtar) is a Mukesh-Shamshad Begum duet with chorus.

With Kishore Kumar

The Kishore Kumar – Mukesh combination has an interesting aspect too. Except for one triad in 1953, they did not have a proper duet during the pre-Aradhana, what is generally called as, Kishore Kumar 1.0 career phase. Then they had a triad-chorus in Satyakam (1969) the transition year. They had first proper duet in 1971, in what can be considered as Kishore Kumar 2.0. Since then, Kishore Kumar has had one more duet with Mukesh, in 1976. The duo further had one triad each with Sushma Shreshtha (Dharam Karam, 1975) and Dilraj Raj Kaur (Chor Mandali, 1983) as well as a quartet with Mohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar (Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977)

Lo Mil Gayi Degree Pyar Ki – Maalkin (1953) – with Ram Kamlani – Lyrics: Rajendra Krishna – Music: Roshan

This must rank as the only song where Roshan has used Mukesh in a comedy situation.

However, the real irony of the song being treated as a Mukesh triad comes up only when we listen the full song and find that Mukesh just gets two words – first time just ‘KahaaN Bhai?’ after the first line, Din mein sau sau chakkar kate, in the first interlude stanza and then just ‘Kis ki?’ after the first line, Baithe baithe kismet khul gayi’ of the third interlude stanza!

Haal Chaal Thhik Thhaak Hai – Mere Apne (1971) – with chorus – Lyrics: Gulzar – Music: Salil Chowdhury

I have a very sweet connection with this song.

In our BITS Pilani days, we would have one, just-released, film screened every weekend. Mere Apne was one such film. Since the story is about the restlessness of students (particularly because of paucity of jobs even after proper college education), the film had been obviously very well received in the campus. When you pass near any of hostel block, particularly after dinner time, you will invariably get to listen the whistling used in the song. Also, the cleverly split first line had tremendous popularly as an informal greetings exchange among friends – Question: ‘Haal chaal? Answer: ‘Thik Thaak Hai.’ – obviously, in the lyrical mimic of the song!

With Mohammad Rafi

Mukesh and Mohammad Rafi share the maximum number of songs together – 7 duets, 6 duets+chorus, 5 triads – one with Shamshad Begum (Hanste Aansoo, 1950), two with Lata Mangeshkar (Shree 420, 1955 and Ahuti, 1978), two with Suman Kalyanpur (Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, 1966 and Vishwas, 1969), and one with Hemlata (Jaaneman, 1976), and one quartet with Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar (Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977). More important. perhaps, is that the association spans almost the entire career of both of them, with first duet in 1949 (Chilman and Thes) and the last one in 1978 (Ahuti).

I have selected one duet, which I have always relished to listen to.  Just the memory of the song has helped to me ease out any tension coiled in, any time, in my mind.

Phirate The Jo Bade Hi Sikandar Bane Hue ….. Jo Bor Kare Yaar Ko Us Yaar Se Tauba… Jis Pyar Mein Ye Haal Ho Us Pyaar Se Tauba – Phir Subah Hogi (1958) – Lyrics: Sahir Ludhiyanvi – Music: Khayyam

Mohammad Rafi so lively pulls up his friend’s legs that even the Raj Kapoor’s lady love Mala Sinha cannot hide her smile. Moreover, if you close your eyes, the way Rafi goes with his part you can imagine how Rehman, otherwise an actor who plays serious roles, must be freely acting it out on screen, while lip-synching Mohammad Rafi. Every line Sahir has penned for Rafi’s part is just enough for any friend on the other side to break up the relationship!

With Mahendra Kapoor

For the records, Mukesh and Mahendra Kapoor have three duets, however the third one, from Saathi (1968) – Jo chalaa gayaa use bhul jaa, Naushad has used Mahendra Kapoor  for just a higher-scale line being heard as echo Bhul Jaa… Bhul Jaa, as haunting memory from the past that has to be forgotten.

Of the other two, both composed by N Dutta, one is for Dilli Ka Dada (1962) and the other for Holiday in Bombay (1963). I have selected the latter one.

Ye Hasin Bambai Hamein Jam Gayi …. Holiday Holiday Holiday in Bombay – Holiday in Bombay (1963) – Lyrics: Anjaan – Music: N Dutta.

The reasons I have selected this song will sound quite trivial – one: Mukesh gets to playback for the hero (Shashi Kapoor), two: one gets a virtual tour of Mumbai in the video clip, the third: you get to see a glimpse of now totally forgotten, Lambretta scooter (@4.12) and fourth of course, it has a connection with a 2018 SoY post – Bharat Darshan Songs (2) – Metros.

It would not be out of place to record here that Mukesh and Mahendra Kapoor share a triad with Rajendra Mehta, a famous ghazal singer of 60s/70s.

Mera Rang De Basanti Chola – Shaheed, 1965 Lyrics and Music:  Prem Dhawan

This would rank as one of the best patriotic songs Hindi films have recorded.

With Manna Dey

The proper duet of Mukesh and Manna Dey, very surprisingly, has come up only in 1976 for the film Das Numbri. Even Mukesh, Mohammad Rafi and Manna Dey triad also came up in only 1973, for Teen Chor. As such, I thought it would be patently safe to fall back upon a quartet and a quintet from the earlier years.

Sathi Re…. Kadam Kadam Se Dil Mila Rahein Hai Ham – Char Dil Char Rahein (1959) – with Mahendra Kapoor, Meena Kapoor, chorus – Lyrics: Sahir Ludhiyanvi – Music: Anil Biswas

The song is an inspirational song, wherein multiple singers join to playback for corresponding actor on the screen. It being an Anil Biswas composition, the composition and orchestration are ideal, so are the lyrics of Sahir. It is not surprising that the overall outcome is a song that you would like listen, again and again, for its sheer melody.

I am not able to resist the temptation of including a quintet chorus song, so well-known to me, and almost of all of us for that matter, that came up in different light when I listened to it from the point of view of the present article.

Hum Bhi Hai Tum Bhi Ho Dono Hai Amane Samane – Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1961) – with Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Geeta Dutt and chorus – Lyrics: Shailendra – Music: Shankar Jaikishan

I always admired this song for several stunning features – Shankar Jaikishan and the team for conceiving and executing the rich orchestrion (of particular notice is the violin ensemble piece @ 5.35 -5.52 that so vividly creates the feeling of speed), meticulous details of choreography of Hira Lal, and so creative camera work of Tara Dutt that captures every expression of every actor so lively and the overall direction of Radhu Karamakar – RK’s otherwise default director of photography. Essentially, the song was a chorus song representing dacoits on one side and the reformer (Raju) on the other side.

However, I could now easily see a parallel under-current of a duet too running in the song, beginning with two lines that follow the opening skirmish between Raka and Raju, when Kammo and her friend Bijli charmingly declare Hum bhi haiN (@2.30), to which Raju responds, unwittingly, Dekh lo kya asar kar diya pyar ne. The visuals @0.45 to 0.51, where Kammo longingly eyes Raju, which Raka too does not miss to notice or that fleeting exchange of mutual appreciations @ 1.52 to 2.00 between Kammo and Raju corroborate the implicit germination of soft feelings for each other. The song virtually turns into a duet after the second interlude when Kammo directly intervenes the song with itana sa ye dil tu de de agar sara jag tera ho jaye. (@5.03)

As the songs moves on, the mood of festivity of all so beautifully morphs into acquiescence of love of the two.

We come back to our main track again.

With Talat Mahmood

As we have seen @ #3 here before, Mukesh and Talat Mahmood did get just one triad as early as in 1950. These two may be the only male singers of that period who did not even have one Hindi film duet in their entire career.

Fortunately, three Mukesh – Talat Mahmood NFS duets, composed by Murli Manohar Swaroop, fill up this void. We had had heard one duet, Kisi ko deke dil koi nawa_sanj-e-fughan kyun ho, in the earlier post, Mukesh’s Non-film Hindi Geets and Ghazals.

I have picked up the other one here –

Woh Jo Ruthe To Manana Chahiye …. Zindagi Se Rooth Jaana Chahiye – NFS – lyrics: Jigar Murarabadi + Mirza Ghalib – Music: Murli Manohar Swaroop

To the opening line from Jigar Murarabadi ghazal sung by Mukesh, Talat Mahmood joins by a Mirza Ghalib ghazal line Chahiye achchhoN ko jitana chahiye, ye agar chaahein phir to kya chahiye…  and so forth.

However, we can take consolation that they did have one more song in the Hindi films – an all-male quintet in 1966.

Mujhko Muhabbat Ho Gayi Hai, Bas Muhabbat Ho Gayi Hai …. Anhoni Baat Thi Ho Gayi Hai – Biwi Aur Makaan (1966) – with Joginder, Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar – Lyrics: Gulzar – Music: Hemant Kumar

Normally Mukesh and Talat Mahmood are put at the slow paced, serious film-song-moods spectrum. Another singer, Hemant Kumar also is considered to be the singer of that part of the spectrum. However, Hemant Kumar, the music director, seems to have helped Talat Mahmood switch the role and join him (in the role of the playback singer) in the fast-paced jest-cum-scolding session with that love-infested friend among the ‘five pandav’ friends who have vowed to remain unmarried till everyone gets a job. Talat Mahmood plays back to Keshto Mukhrjee who impersonates a girl along with Biswjeet who lip syncs Hemant Kumar!

I conclude here my part of the choices of Duets(+) of Mukesh with Male singers so as to start pondering over what subject we should take up for the celebration of Mukesh’s 100th birth anniversary post next year…….

Acknowledgement and disclaimer:

  1. Mukesh Geet Kosh, 2020 edition – Harish Raghuvanshi: For the basic data and the information of the songs selected in the present article.
  2. The song links have been embedded from the YouTube only for the listening pleasure of the music lovers. This blog claims no copyright over these songs which vests with the respective owners.

Reproduction of the article originally published on Songs of Yore on 22 July 2022