The death of singer Bhupinder Singh in Mumbai on July 18 has come as a huge loss for Hindi film music and ghazals. He was admired for his distinctly bass voice and sense of expression.
In films, Amritsar-born Bhupinder also played guitar on iconic tracks like ‘Dum Maro Dum’ (Hare Rama Hare Krishna’), ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’ (Amar Prem), ‘Chura Liya’ (Yaadon Ki Baaraat) and ‘Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho’ (Hanste Zakhm). In the 1980s, he formed a successful ghazal team with wife Mitali. Here are 10 select songs which are unforgettably Bhupinder.
1 Hoke Majboor – Haqeeqat (1964)
Bhupinder got his break with this song composed by Madan Mohan in Chetan Anand’s war film Haqeeqat. He sang with Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Manna Dey. Kaifi Azmi wrote the lines, “Hoke majboor mujhe usne bhulaya hoga, zahar chhupke se davaa jaanke khaaya hoga”.
2 Rut Jawaan Jawaan Raat Meherbaan – Aakhri Khat (1966)
This was Bhupinder’s first solo song where he also played guitar and appeared on screen. Music was by Khayyam and lyrics were by Kaifi Azmi. It was also Rajesh Khanna’s debut film. Incidentally, Bhupinder passed away on the same day as Rajesh Khanna’s 10th death anniversary.
3 Beeti Na Beetayi – Parichay (1972)
Sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder, this song was filmed on Jaya Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar. Music was by R.D. Burman and lyrics were by Gulzar. It’s said Burman wanted Kishore Kumar to sing the song, but the star singer felt Bhupinder’s voice and style suited the tune better.
4 Moko Kahaan Dhoonde – Non-film (1974)
This Kabir bhajan has been sung by many but Bhupinder’s version is one of the most popular. The words are, “Moko kahaan dhoonde re bande, main toh tere paas mein”. It goes on to say, “Na tirath mein, na murat mein, na ekaant nivas mein, na mandir mein, na masjid mein, na kaabe kailash mein”.
5 Dil Dhoondta Hai – Mausam (1975)
The song was in two versions – fast and slow – with Bhupinder sounding excellent on both. The faster version, filmed on Sanjeev Kumar and Sharmila Tagore, also featured Lata. Madan Mohan composed the music and Gulzar wrote the words. The opening lines were inspired by a Ghalib poem.
6 Naam Gum Jaayega – Kinara (1977)
Like in the Parichay song ‘Beeti Na Beetayi’, Bhupinder appeared in the second half of this song, after Lata had sung a wonderful part. R.D. Burman composed the tune, with Gulzar writing, “Naam gum jaayega, chehra yeh badal jaayega, meri awaaz hi pehchan hai, gar yaad rahe”.
7 Ek Akela Is Shaher Mein – Gharonda (1978)
Bhupinder sang the faster version ‘Do Deewane Shaher Mein’ with Runa Laila. The slower solo version ‘Ek Akela Is Shaher Mein’ was moving, specially when he sang, “Din khaali khaali bartan hai, aur raat hai jaise andha kuan”. Music was by Jaidev and lyrics were by Gulzar.
8 Zindagi Mein Jab – Dooriyan (1979)
This song was also composed by Jaidev, and sung by Anuradha Paudwal and Bhupinder. Sharmila Tagore and Uttam Kumar appeared on screen. Sudarshan Faakir wrote, “Zindagi mein jab tumhare gham nahin the, itne tanha the ke ham bhi ham nahin the”. Bhupinder and Anuradha also sang ‘Zindagi Mere Ghar Aana’ in the film.
9 Kabhi Kisi Ko Muqammal – Ahista Ahista (1981)
Though Bhupinder focused on ghazals in the 1980s, he had some big film hits too. ‘Karoge Yaad Toh’ (Bazaar, 1982) and ‘Huzoor Is Kadar Bhi’ (Masoom, 1983) were mentioned in the Naseeruddin Shah special column last week. There was also the brilliant ‘Kisi Nazar Ko Tera’ with Asha Bhosle in Aitbaar (1985). Poetically, ‘Kabhi Kisi Ko Muqammal’ written by Nida Fazli in Ahista Ahista has remained special. Music was by Khayyam, and Kunal Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapure appeared on screen.
10 Tumhare Liye Dil – Non-film, with Mitali (1996)
This duet with Mitali was written by Qatil Rajasthani. Here Bhupinder sang, “Tumhare bina dil pareshan hoga, chale aaoge toh ehsaan hoga”. To that, Mitali replied, “Maana ke yeh dil pareshaan hoga, abhi ghar se aana, na aasaan hoga”. The song is one of the many examples of the fabulous musical understanding that Bhupinder and Mitali had.
Besides these songs and other ghazal albums, one record worth checking out is Gulzar’s Sunset Point, featuring Bhupinder and K.S. Chithra. Released, it once again proved what a fantastic combination Gulzar and Bhupinder were.