Eleven years after his death, a prominent road square named after the legendary National Award winning playback singer Mahendra Kapoor here, was unveiled by actor Jeetendra along with other celebrities, according to an announcement on Thursday.
The ‘Padmashri Mahendra Kapoor Chowk’ located at the junction of the busy St. Martin’s Road and Turner Road in Bandra West, was inaugurated on Wednesday evening.
As the late singer was synonymous with many patriotic numbers, the dignitaries celebrated the inaugural by singing his immortal songs, “Mere Desh ki Dharti” from the film “Upkar” (1967).
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The late singer’s widow, Praveen, besides Suresh Wadkar, Johny Lever, Udit Narayan, Madhushree, Anil Deshmukh and others clapped and cheered as Jeetendra unveiled the plaque bearing the new name for the square.
Kapoor, who made his indelible mark in singing during the golden age of Bollywood music, died at the age of 74 in 2008, in Mumbai.
Born in Amritsar, he was inspired and mentored by the late playback singer Mohammed Rafi and even moulded his style of singing after Rafi.
After learning classical music from several legends, Kapoor got his first break in V. Shantaram’s film “Navrang” (1958) for the duet, “Aadha Hai Chandrama, Raat Aadhi” under the baton of music director C. Ramchandra.
That song became a superhit and opened doors of many more such offers for Kapoor, but soon he became known as the name of the actor Manoj Kumar and sung many a patriotic numbers for him.
Over the years, Kapoor carved his niche in the age dominated by stalwarts like Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Manna Dey, and was an all-time favourite with director B. R. Chopra and music director Ravishankar Sharma, known only as Ravi.
Some of his unforgettable songs are: “Tere Pyarka Aasra Chahta Hoon” (Dhool Ka Phool – 1959), “Aap Aaye, To Khayale, Dile Nashaad Aya” and “Chalo Ek Baar Phirse” (Gumraah – 1963), “He, Neele Gagan Ke Tale” and “Tum Agar Saath Deneka Vaada Karo” (both, Hamraaz – 1967) “Jhuke Jo Tere Naina” (Kangan – 1971), “Mere Deshki Dharti” (Upkar – 1967), “Laakhon Hai Yahan Dilwale” (Kismat – 1968), “Yaaronki Tamanna Hai” (Kahin Din Kahin Raat – 1968), “Bharat Ka Rehnewala Hoon” (Purab Aur Paschim – 1970), “Ab Ke Baras Tujhe Dharti Ki Rani” (Kranti – 1981), “Beete Hue Lamhonki Kasak Saath To Hogi” (Nikaah – 1982), among others.
He sang the title songs for acclaimed tele-serials, “Mahabharat” (1988) and “Vishnupuran” (2002), and recorded songs in multiple languages including Marathi, Punjabi, Bhojpuri and Gujarati, and was among the first Indian playback singers to record a song in English.
Kapoor, along with Pakistani singer Musarat produced a Indipop album, “M-3” for the internationally renowned Boney M group.
Today, his son Ruhan and grandson Sidhant are carrying forward the Kapoor legacy and have become notable singers in their own right.