During the 1967 Moscow Film festival, the legendary showman Raj Kapoor, initially had a tough time convincing swarms of Russian fans that he had not sung all those chartbuster songs of Awara and Shree 420.
Raj Kapoor with Mukesh (left)
In fact, Mukesh had to actually sing live to convince the Russians that he was indeed the playback voice of Raj Kapoor. When this senior correspondent (Chaitanya Padukone) met the illustrious Raj Kapoor on his 60th birthday celebrations at RK Studios in Chembur, the unassuming showman said “Besides my screen-persona, it’s mainly because of Mukesh’s magical voice that I am an icon in Russia, as they frequently hum my songs, presuming that I have sung them all.”
Nearly four decades after his passing away, the voice of legendary singer Mukesh Chand Mathur (his birth anniversary was observed yesterday) continues to haunt a legion of Indian retro music-lovers. The singer’s son Nitin Mukesh and actor-grandson Neil have preserved an assortment of his memorabilia, including his passport.
Music-savvy Neil has composed a special song as tribute to his grand-dad. Veteran composer, Anandji (of the legendary duo Kalyanji-Anandji) recalls, “Perfectionist Mukesh was a dedicated, indefatigable singer (we fondly tagged him ‘diesel engine’), who would be willing to give 40 continuous retakes like he did for one of our evergreen songs (‘Koi Jab Tumhara Hriday Todh De’).
As he was medically advised not to eat ripe mangoes, which he loved, he would visit us and request my wife to hide a few for him. Though he is popular as Raj Kapoor’s on-screen voice, versatile Mukesh would slightly modify his mesmeric nasal tone and scale while recording playback for Manoj Kumar (Purab Aur Pachhim), Feroz Khan (Safar) and other composers’ songs, like for Rajesh Khanna (Anand) and for Amitabh Bachchan (Kabhie Kabhie). Historically, all singers with a nasal twang have proved successful,” insists Anandji bhai.
Of Emmy nominees and Rushdie’s latest
Pulitzer Prize winning author, Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee has just been nominated for an Emmy Award for his PBS documentary, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies. The six-hour programme based on Mukherjee’s acclaimed book of the same name, was produced by Ken Burns and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and writer Barak Goodman.
Ken Burns, Katie Couric, Dr Siddhartha Mukherjee and Barak Goodman attend Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies New York Screening at Jazz at Lincoln Center on March 24, 2015 in New York City. PIC COURTESY/AFP
It is among five nominees for the award for documentary or non-fiction series. The cancer physician and researcher is the author of The Laws of Medicine and The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (Penguin Random House) that won him the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in the general non-fiction category.
And as we write this, we hear that Salman Rushdie’s (left) much awaited, Two Year Eight Months & Twenty-Eight Nights, also from the Penguin Random House stable, will release in September.
Bus stop at CSMVS
We love that both our city museums are doing their a fine job by introducing new, novel ways to increase footfalls across age groups and interests. Recently, during a chat with Director-General of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya, this diarist had enquired on the progress of two projects that would certainly add to the visitors.
The Museum Bus will drive in to the museum late this month or in early August. It will be a museum on wheels and enable people in far-flung suburbs or the rest of the state to experience the treasures from CSMVS. Also, the Children’s Museum is almost ready, awaiting a few permissions. Watch this space for updates.
Look who's dancing!
ThIs diarist recently received an email that told us that choreographer Nakul Dev Mahajan, who opened the first Bollywood dance company and school in the United States, NDM Bollywood Dance Productions and Studios Inc, will be judging the finale of ‘Dance India Dance North America’.
Michelle Obama (centre) tries out traditional Bollywood- style dance moves, led by choreographer, Nakul Dev Mahajan
This will be shot in Mumbai today. It took us a little while to register what Dance India Dance North America was. However, what caught our attention was the last line of the email and the attached photograph. The email read, “Nakul Dev Mahajan is known as ‘Hollywood’s Favorite Bollywood Choreographer.”
Mahajan is best credited for his work on ‘So You Think You Dance,’ AR Rahman’s Jai Ho World Tour, choreographing Miss America (Nina Davuluri’s) talent segment and bringing Bollywood to the White House with Michelle Obama.