B’day Jukebox: Mahendra Kapoor, The Vibrant Voice Of India 

A musical tribute to the iconic singer on his birth anniversary.

2 min read
A musical tribute to Mahendra Kapoor’s legacy on his birth anniversary.

Legendary playback singer Mahendra Kapoor is remembered mostly for his patriotic and devotional numbers. But through his career spanning five decades, Kapoor also sung several unforgettable romantic melodies, featuring most heartthrobs of an era gone by. From Rajesh Khanna, Shahi Kapoor and Sunil Dutt to Manoj Kumar, Dharmendra and Raaj Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor gave them all musical superhits that defined their careers to a large extent.

On the occasion of his birth anniversary (9 January), we’ve put together some of his most memorable and timeless classics, that’ll have you humming along in no time.

While his filmography embraces dozens of directors, he enjoyed his most fruitful collaboration with filmmaker B.R. Chopra, a partnership that extends across productions like 1959’s Dhool Ka Phool, 1963’s Gumrah, 1965’s Waqt, and 1973’s Dhund.


At an early age, Kapoor was inspired by singer Mohammed Rafi, but 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.

Mahendra Kapoor’s vocals came to define Manoj Kumar’s on screen persona and the love for Bharat Mata.

Few know that he was the first Indian playback singer to record music in English and was asked by the international group Boney M, to sing their songs in Hindi, which resulted in the pop album M-3.

His association with BR Chopra also gave birth to the most epic TV tune that haunts us to this day. Remember the Mahabharath katha? Watch the man sing this iconic tune here.

Jeevan chalne ka naam, chalte raho subah shaamKi rasta kat jayega mitra, ki baadal chhat jayega mitra

Those are the words we remember this great singer by and with Republic Day just around the corner, we’ll certainly hear his voice echoing all around us, yet again.

(This story is from The Quint’s archives and was first published on 9 January 2016. It is being republished on the occasion of Mahendra Kapoor’s birth anniversary.)

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