Singer-composer Bhupinder Singh passes away



Jul 19, 2022 05:00 am

Singer-composer Bhupinder Singh, whose moody and melancholic voice gave depth and soul to some of the finest ghazals and nazms in the Hindi films of 1970s and 1980s, passed away in a Mumbai hospital on Monday evening. He was 82.


"He was suffering from colon cancer and diagnosed with Covid just a week ago," his Bangladesh-born wife and fellow ghazal singer Mitali Mukherjee


The Amritsar-born singer's deep and distinctive renditions were the perfect-fit for Gulzar's sensitive poetry: 'Dil dhoondta hai phir wohi' (Mausam), 'Ek akela iss sheher mein' (Gharaonda), to name just two tracks. His best-known songs were composed by Madan Mohan, Jaidev, Khayyam and RD Burman


He was a singer with an original, smoky voice. He was the favorite singer of RD Burman and Gulzar," ghazal singer Anoop Jalota said in a message. Bhupinder also composed non-filmi ghazals, bhajans and geets. Medieval poet Kabir's 'Moko kahan dhoonde re bande' and 'Aahat si koi aaye' are two of his finest compositions.


Bhupinder was also a guitarist of repute and was part of RD Burman's ensemble. He played the instrument in 'Dum maro dum' (Hare Rama Hare Krishna)' and 'Chura liya hai' (Yaadon Ki Baraat.) Unlike others, Burman also gave him lighter tracks to sing, thereby expanding his range. For instance, in Satte Pe Satta, Bhupinder sang two uncharacteristic group fun songs: the title track and the feel-good ‘Zindagi mil ke bitaenge'. His bantering duet with Suresh Wadkar in Masoom, ‘Huzoor is tarah bhi', also highlighted a new side to his singing.


The composer-singer grew up in Delhi and was taken to Bombay by Madan Mohan. A music teacher's son, he had a baptism by fire singing alongside greats -- Mohd Rafi, Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood in the pining soldiers’ track, ‘Hoke majboor mujhe' in Chetan Anand's Haqeeqat in 1964. In an interview, Bhupinder once said, he went back to Delhi since Anand was keen to make him a hero, which didn't appeal to him. Interestingly, he acted and sang his first solo in Anand's Aakhri Khat, the Westernised-track, 'Rut jawan jawan.'


Soon critics started praising his control over difficult notes, noticeable in songs such as ‘Beeti na beetai raina' in Parichay (1972). Bhupinder brought a touch of class and classical to Hindi film singing and gradually became the perfect fit for background songs reflecting ache and angst. Many of his numbers did not climb the charts but they always felt like sincere companions for the lovelorn and the broken-hearted: ‘Karoge yaad to har baat yaad aayegi’ (Bazaar), ‘Kabhi kisi to muqammal jahan nahi milta' (Ahista Ahista), ‘Ahl-e-dil yun hi’ (Dard), ‘Zindagi phoolon ki nahi’ (Grihapravesh), ‘Jaane yeh mujhko kya ho raha hai’ (Ek Bar Phir). He also sang some outstanding duets such as ‘Chand banoo main aur raat bano tum’ (Mangalsutra), ‘Kisi nazar ko tera’ (Aitbaar) and ‘Aawaz di hai aaj ik nazar ne’ (Aitbaar). He later branched out as a ghazal singer with wife Mitali Mukherjee. The two made a popular husband-wife singing team like Jagjit-Chitra Singh, Rajendra and Nina Mehta, Rajkumar and Indrani Rizvi. It was a long and happy association till fate intervened.