Mahendra Kapoor (January 9, 1934, Amritsar – September 27, 2008, Mumbai, ) was a playback singer.In a career spanning five decades, his repertoire extended to 2500 songs in various regional languages, including popular songs such as ‘Chalo ek baar phir se Ajnabi ban jayen hum dono’ Gumrah, ‘Neele gagan ke taale’ Hamraaz. His name however became most closely associated with patriotic songs including ‘Mere Desh Ki Dharti’, in Manoj Kumar’s film Upkaar. In 1972, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
Mahendra Kapoor was born in Amritsar, but soon moved to Mumbai. At an early age he was inspired by singer Mohammed Rafi but soon he started learning classical music under classical singers like Pt.Hussanlal, Pt. Jagannath Bua, Ustad Niaz Ahmed Khan, Ustad Abdul Rehman Khan and Pt.Tulsidaas Sharma. Kapoor created a style of his own and won the Metro Murphy All-India singing competition, which led to his debut as a playback singer in V. Shantaram’s Navrang in 1958, singing Aadha Hai Chandrama Raat Aadhi, under the musical direction of C. Ramchandra.
Some of Kapoor’s most notable ones were the ones he performed in B.R. Chopra’s films (Dhool Ka Phool, Gumrah, Waqt, Hamraaz, Dhund etc.) and for Manoj Kumar (Upkaar, Purab Aur Paschim etc.
Kapoor had a very large vocal range, and he is sometimes known as The Vibrant Voice of India.He was the first Indian playback singer to record music in English. He was asked by the group Boney M to sing their songs in Hindi with Musarat from Pakistan, which resulted in the Pop Album M-3. Some of the songs on the album are “Chori Chori Chalo!!”(Original, Hoorray! Hoorray! by Boney M), “O’ Meri Champe Ki Daali” etc.
Mahendra Kapoor also sang a duet with Mohammed Rafi. The song was “Kaisi Haseen Aaj Baharon Ki Raat” from the 1967 film “Aadmi”, which was originally recorded as a duet with Rafi and Talat Mehmood. Manoj Kumar, one of the lead stars refused to use Talat’s voice for him and the song was re-recorded with Kapoor replacing Talat.
Kapoor sung in a large number of Indian languages, and is the playback singer who has performed in the largest number of in Gujarati, Punjabi and Marathi movies. He also performed the title song for the TV series Mahabharat. In Marathi he was very popular for being the voice of Dada Kondke in all his movies. In spite of being associated with Dada Kondke’s colloquial style his singing for Marathi movies was not limited to Dada Kondke’s movies only.
Kapoor was married and had three daughters. His son Rohan Kapoor is an actor and singer, who acted in a few films in the 1980s such as Yash Chopra’s Faasle (1985) and Love 86 (1986), and Prakash Mehra’s Imandaar, and later did stage shows togther with his father.On September 27, 2008, Kapoor died following a cardiac failure.
“Tere Pyaar Ka Aasra” – Dhool Ka Phool (1959)”Chalo Ek Baar” – Gumrah (1963)Badal Jaye Agar Mali” – Baharen Phir Bhi Aayengi (1966) “Mera Pyar Woh Hai” – Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1965)”Na Muh Chupa Ke Jiyo” – Hamraaz (1967) “Tum Agar Saat Dene Ka Wada Karo” – Hamraaz (1967) “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” – Hamraaz (1967) “Kisi Pathar Ki Moorat Se” – Hamraaz (1967) “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” – Upkar (1967)”Lakhon Hain Yahan Dilwale” – Kismat (1968) “Iktara Bole” – Yaadgar (1970)”Bharat Ka Rahnewala Hoon” – Purab Aur Paschim (1970) “Aur Nahin Bas Aur Nahin” – Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974) “Fakira Chal Chala Chal” – Fakira (1975)”Ab Ke Baras” – Kranti (1981) “KAB TALK SHAMA JALI” –PAINTER BABU(1983) Marathi Ti Yete Aneeka Jate..Yetana kadhi kalya aneete,He Chincheche zad dise maj chinar vrukshapari
Ratris khel chale ya gudh chandanyacha, sampel na kadhihi ha khel savalyancha,Abol Zalis ka saajani..
Saang kadhi kalanar tula..Sur tech chhedita..Madhu ithe ana chandra tithe..Swapnaat pahile je te roop hech hote..Nako menaka nako urvashi.. Awards National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer 1968 Won – “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” – Upkar
Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer 1964 Won – “Chalo Ek Bar” – Gumrah 1968 Won – “Neele Gagan Ke Tale” – Hamraaz 1968 Nominated – “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” – Upkar 1975 Won – “Aur Nahi Bus Aur Nahi” – Roti Kapda Aur Makaan 1977 Nominated – “Sunke Teri Pukar” – Fakira