Mukesh, playback singer, 1923 1976

Mukesh was a Bollywood playback singer who was born on 22nd July 1923. He was a top playback singer on the 1950’s to 1970’s, along with Kishore Kumar and Mohamed Rafi. He was born in Punjab, India as Mukesh Chand Mathur to a middle class family. His father was Lala Zorawar Chand Mathur, an engineer, and his mother was Chandi Rani. Mukesh got his love for singing from the teacher who came home to teach his sister Sundar Pyari.

After finishing standard 10, Mukesh worked at the Delhi Department of Public Works where he experimented with voice recordings. In 1946, he married Sarla Trivedi, The daughter of a Gujarati Brahmin millionaire. The two had to elope since Mukesh had no stable income and led an “immoral” professional life. They had five children and were together for more than 30 years, although many people had predicted they would soon divorce and lead unhappy lives.

Mukesh’s singing prowess was recognized by Motilal, (a distant relative and popular actor) who then took him to Bombay and organized singing lessons for him. His break came in 1945 when he sang in the movie Pehli Nazar (First Look). Mukesh idolized K.L. Saigal and used to imitate him during his early playback careers.

He was awarded the national Film Award in 1974 for best male playback singer and also won Filmfare Awards in 1959, 1970, 1972 and 1976 for different films.

Mukesh succumbed to a heart attack in Michigan, USA on 27th August 1976, where he had gone for a concert.