Born: July 22, 1923, Delhi, British India
Died: August 27, 1976, Detroit, Michigan, United States
Mukesh Chand Mathur, better known as Mukesh, was one of the most popular Indian playback singers of Hindi cinema. Along with Mohammad Rafi, Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar, he was one of the most popular and legendary singers of his era. Mukesh is also popular as being the voice of legendary actor Raj Kapoor.
Mukesh was born in Delhi in a Hidu Kayastha family. His parents were Zorawar Chand Mathur, an engineer, and Chand Rani. He was the sixth child in a family of ten children. The music teacher who came home to teach Mukesh’s sister, Sundar Pyari, found a pupil in Mukesh who would listen from the adjoining room. Mukesh left school after class 10th and worked briefly for the Department of Public Works. He experimented with voice recordings during his employment in Delhi and gradually developed his singing abilities.
Mukesh’s voice was first noticed by Motilal, a distant relative, when he sang at his sister’s wedding. Motilal took him to Mumbai and arranged for singing lessons by Pandit Jagannath Prasad. The first song that he sang for a Hindi film was “Dil Jalta Hai To Jalne De”.
Mukesh created his own singing style with the help of music director Naushad Ali. Later, Mukesh became the ghost voice of Raj Kapoor. Mukesh sang many memorable songs and achieved great success as a playback.
Mukesh married Saral Trivedi alias Bachhiben, daughter of Raichand Trivedi. The couple had five children – Rita, the singer Nitin, Nalini, Mohnish and Namrata. The actor Neil Nitin Mukesh is a grandson of Mukesh (son of Nitin).
Mukesh died of a heart attack on 27 August 1976 in Detroit, Michigan, US, where he had gone to perform in a concert.