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Mahendra Kapoor: The voice of patriotism

entertainment Updated: Jan 08, 2010 19:42 IST

Mahendra KapoorIt is the 76th birth anniversary of noted playback singer Mahendra Kapoor.

Born in 1934 in Amritsar, Kapoor's voice delighted music lovers across generations. The phenomenal singer was another name for patriotic songs. He got into singing through an all-India singing competition. And, later on music director C Ramchandra gave him his first break with Aadha Hai Chandrama Raat Aadhi for V Shantaram's Navrang in 1958, which opened an entire new world for him.

Then, came songs like Chalo Ek Bar Chalo (Gumraah), Neele Gagan Ke Tale (Humraaz) and many others, which made him a household name. None of that was enough for the talented singer, who went on to sing more than 25,000 songs in various languages.

He won a National Award in 1968 for the patriotic song Mere Desh Ki Dharti in the film Upkaar. A favourite of the BR Banner, Kapoor feels the film industry gave him what he asked for wholeheartedly, at that.

His voice has always been associated with Manoj Kumar. His many songs filmed on Manoj Kumar, most of them patriotic are a lot popular. He was a religious soul and had sung many Bhajans too.

Lately, he was planning to start a music school for which he was going to approach the chief minister for land. Mesmerizing the nation with his melodious voice for more than five decades, he died of a heart attack at the age of 74 on September 27, 2008 in Mumbai.

Kapoor was not well for quite sometime and he spent more time in hospital than in home in his last times. He is survived by wife, three daughters and son Rohan Kapoor, who acted in few films and later did stage shows along with his father & is a well-trained singer.

Mahendra Kapoor was awarded the Padmashri and the Lata Mangeshkar Award. He also bagged the Punjab state award thrice and the Gujarat state award for six years in a row.

Just before his death, the Maharashtra government had announced the Lata Mangeshkar award for his lifetime contribution in the field of playback music.

With inputs from News Tomorrow