Mahendra Kapoor was a playback singer in 1960’s, and he became popular for singing songs for music composers like O P Nayyar and Ravi. He was inspired by singers like
Mohammed Rafi and even Mohammed Rafi congratulated him many times for the quality of his voice; Rafi found Mahendra’s voice a bit classical. Overall, the singer has sung 2,500 songs in various Indian languages. He was noticed for singing in every movie of B.R.Chopra and their association continued till the release of NIkkah.
The singer shot to fame and popularity with songs such as 'Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se Ajnabi Ban Jayen Hum Dono' (Gumrah), and 'Neele Gagan Ke Tale' (Hamraaz). He made his debut in playback singing in V. Shantaram's Navrang in 1958, singing Aadha Hai Chandrama Raat Aadhi, under the musical direction of C. Ramchandra. He was noticed through this song, and he was the voice of many of the movies of
Rajendra Kumar and
Manoj Kumar. Manoj Kumar replaced Talat Mehmood and had given consideration for Mahendra Kapoor in his films like ‘Purab Aur Paschim’, ‘Upkar’, ‘
Kranti’, ‘Roti Kapada Aur Makaan’ and ‘Shor’.
Mahendra also sang a duet with Mohammed Rafi for
Dilip Kumar’s ‘Aadmi’(1967). The song was ‘Kaisi Haseen Aaj Baharon Ki Rat’ picturised on Dilip Kumar and Manoj Kumar. He received National Award for best male playback singer for Manoj Kumar’s film ‘Upkar’. The song ‘"Mere Desh Ki Dharti’ was composed by Kalyanji Anandji and had Mahendra singing for it.
Mahendra also sang a famous duet with
Lata Mangeshkar for ‘Jiske Sapne Hame Roj Aate Rahe’ which was composed by Kalyanji Anandji. Some of his notable songs are ‘Neele Gagan Ke Tale" (Hamraaz), "Chalo Ek Baar" (Gumrah) and "Kisi Pathar Ki Moorat Se"(Hamraaz). He also sang for
Ravindra Jain, R.D. Burman, etc. The singer also sang for Marathi movies and was considered the ghost voice for Dada Kondke.
Mahendra was born on 9 January 1934 in Punjab. He came to Bombay after he had won the Metro Murphy All-India singing competition. Here he got a break to sing in movies. Although he was inspired by Mohammed Rafi, he created a style of his own in playback singing. This talented singer had a classical training from various classical singers such as Ustad Abdul Rehman Khan and Pt.Tulsidaas Sharma to name a few. Mahendra was the recipient of Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1972. The singer was married and had a son
Rohan Kapoor, who is a singer and actor. The singer passed away on 27 September 2008 in Mumbai.