The Immortal Mukesh-Raj Kapoor Dost-Voice Partnership, Nitin Mukesh Speaks
“People would compare my singing with him when the fact is, I never tried to copy him. How could I be like him?” says Nitin Mukesh regarding comparisons with his father, the legendary singer Mukesh
The only superstar-singer partnership to rival Mukesh’s ghost voicing with Raj Kapoor was that of Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar. However RK and KK were not friends in real life.
Raj Kapoor and Mukesh were very close friends. So close that when Mukesh suddenly passed away in Detroit during a concert with Lataji, and when the news reached Raj Kapoor he burst into tears and said, “I’ve lost my voice.”
Recalls Nitin Mukesh, “Raj Uncle was very close to us.In fact when I was off to a boarding school in London it was Raj Uncle and Krishna Aunty who came to the airport to see me off. He had the right to drop in at any time in our home with Krishna Aunty, and we would all be excited to see them.
"Back then we lived in a one-room flat on Napean Sea Road. Raj Uncle would drop in at 3 am and the entire neighbourhood would know “THE” Raj Kapoor had come to meet his dear friend Mukesh Chand…that’s what Raj Uncle called my father. Raj Uncle would be very distressed to see his dear friend living in such humble conditions. But my father was like that only. Saadgi (simplicity) was his nature.He did not believe in any kind of ostentation and always taught us to value human relationships over money.”
Raj Kapoor’s association with Mukesh dated back to the 1950s. Interestingly in Mehboob Khan’s Andaz released in 1949, Mukesh sang for Dilip Kumar while Raj Kapoor’s ghost voice was Mohammed Rafi.
Recalls Nitin Mukesh, “Most of Raj Uncle’s songs were sung by my father. But beyond their inseparable association on screen, they were friends for life.And that friendship was handed down to me and Chintu (Rishi Kapoor).
"In Raj Uncle’s Mera Naam Joker when Chintu was 14, I sang that snatch of a song ‘With A Cheer, Not A Tear’ for him. However my father also sang a song “Teetar ke do aage teetar” for Chintu in ‘Mera Naam Joker’. So Chintu insisted he sing my father’s song first. But I confirmed with Raj Uncle and he told me my song was recorded and filmed first.”
About being compared unfavourably with his father, Nitin Mukesh sighs, “All my life I suffered for these unfair comparisons with my father. People would compare my singing with him when the fact is, I never tried to copy him. How could I be like him? There was only one Mukesh, like there was only one Kishore Kumar. Even Amit Kumar (Kishore’s son) suffered from these unnecessary comparisons with his father.”