|Died||27 September 2008 (aged 74)|
|Relatives||Sidhant Kapoor (Grandson)|
Mahendra Kapoor (9 January 1934 – 27 September 2008) was an Indian playback singer. In a long career spanning decades, his repertoire included popular songs such as Chalo ekbaar phir se Ajnabi ban jayen hum dono (Gumrah) and Neele Gagan ke tale (Hamraaz). His name however became most closely associated with patriotic songs including Mere Desh Ki Dharti in Manoj Kumar's film Upkaar. He always considered Mohammad Rafi as his guru and cited many times that he was the best singer to be ever born. In 1972, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India. He lent his voice to actor Manoj Kumar in most of his films and had a lengthy association with director-producer Baldev Raj Chopra.
Mahendra Kapoor was born in Amritsar, but soon moved to Bombay. At an early age, he was inspired by legendary singer Mohammed Rafi and considered him his mentor. 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 moulded largely on Rafi 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 songs were the ones he performed in B.R. Chopra's films (Dhool Ka Phool, Gumrah, Waqt, Hamraaz, Dhund, Nikaah and Awam (film) and TV series Mahabharat; and for Manoj Kumar (Upkaar, Purab Aur Paschim).
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. Most of the hit songs sung by Mahendra Kapoor which are famous, are from B. R. Chopra movies or Manoj Kumar's movies. His song from Bandhan, Shakti, Doli, Ek Nazar, Admi Aur Insaan, Sangam and Tawaif are also quite popular.
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, Bhojpuri and Marathi movies. 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 and one son. 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 together with his father.
On September 27, 2008, Kapoor died following a cardiac failure at his home in Mumbai, aged 74. He was survived by his wife, children, children-in-law and grandchildren.
Mahendra Kapoor is one of the golden era singers. He remained as one of the most popular singers in Bollywood who has given his voice to almost all of the popular heroes and leading well known actors. For Punjabi movies, he has given his voice to Varendra, Mehar Mittal, Prem Nath and many more.