‘Mahendra Kapoor disappeared from Bollywood music scene too early’

September 28th, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Sep 28 (IANS) A voice that rendered many immortal songs will be heard no more, as Bollywood bade farewell Sunday to singer Mahendra Kapoor, who passed away at the age of 74, following cardiac arrest in Mumbai. The voice, a friend of Kapoor said had recently faded into the background as the industry allowed him to disappear from the scene.

Kapoor’s only son, Rohan Kapoor, lit the funeral pyre at the Santacruz crematorium, about five kilometers away from his Bandra residence.

As the funeral pyre lit up in flames, the scene at the cremation site became surcharged with emotion, more so because a fan stared singing the late singer’s popular numbers with tears rolling down his cheeks, making the memories of the departed soul more poignant.

Though Bollywood’s big names were conspicuous by their absence, it was a well-attended funeral ceremony.

Kapoor’s son Rohan, who had started his career as an actor in the 80s and acted in movies like “Faasle” (1985), “Love 86″ (1986) and “Imaandar” (1987), personally received the mourners.

Though Mahendra Kapoor had not been singing in movies lately, he had been a popular figure in Bollywood mainly due to his unassuming nature.

“He had always kept in touch with the latest happenings in the film industry and appreciated improvement of the music quality of Bollywood movies of late,” said Rohan.

The yesteryears actor Manoj Kumar echoed what Raj Kapoor had said when singer Mukesh passed away as he told IANS “I have lost my voice.”

Kapoor had sung the most popular number in Kumar’s “Upkar”(1967), “mere desh ki dharti.”

“Though I had not been in touch with him on a regular basis in recent times, we were good friends. I am still finding it hard to believe that he is no more,” Kumar said.

Kapoor, who got the singing break in Bollywood with director Raja Nawathe’s “Sohni Mahiwal” in 1958, came into prominence only after he rendered the “Aadha hai chandrama raat aadhi” number in V. Shantaram’s 1959 movie “Navrang” under the baton of composer C. Ramchandra.

With B.R. Chopra’s “Dhool Ka Phool,” directed by Yash Chopra, he consolidated his career in Bollywood. Later, he became a permanent fixture of B.R. Films and sang some memorable songs for the banner, including “Gumrah,” “Humraaz” and “Waqt.”

It was music director Ravi who utilised his high-pitched voice more suitably.

“It is my personal feeling that the industry allowed Kapoor to disappear from its music scene rather too quickly. It is also a fact that music directors hired his services sparingly, assigning him too few songs to sing in movies though he deserved more,” said a producer friend of the late singer.

Did the new generation which took over Bollywood forget Kapoor too quickly?

“How could we have forgotten him? After all, we grew up listening to his songs and learning from the way he sang.” Said singer Udit Narayan.

Since 1980, Kapoor started singing for regional movies, mainly in Punjabi, Bhojpuri and Marathi. He was a permanent singer for successful Marathi filmmaker, Dada Kondke.

Besides, playback singing, Kapoor had gone on tours to various countries to give musical concert along with his troupe, which also included his son.

Though Kapoor had sung a number of non-film bhajans, it is because of his rendition of the most chanted one, “Om Jai Jagdish…” that helped it travel beyond north India and attain a country-wide popularity.

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