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Author Topic: B. S. Chandrashekhar and Mukesh  (Read 2700 times)

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CLR James

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B. S. Chandrashekhar and Mukesh
« on: March 13, 2010, 02:44:54 AM »


April 13, 2001

   'I felt some strange telepathic link with Mukesh'
By : B.S.Chandrasekhar

I am an out-and-out fan of Mukesh," says former spin bowler B S Chandrasekhar, sitting hunched up on a sofa in his house in Bangalore. The man who once bewildered batsmen with his famous googlies now spends his days pursuing what has grown from a pastime to a passionate obsession.

He is trying to assemble a complete collection of the more than a thousand songs sung by his favourite singer and close friend, the legendary Hindi movie singer Mukesh. For Chandra, whose legs were badly damaged in a motor accident seven years ago, his quest gives him an interesting way to spend his sometimes monotonous days.

Oddly enough, the Kannada-speaking Chandra cannot understand most of the lyrics in Mukesh's songs. He also has scant knowledge of music, either classical or light. Yet, he is tremendously attracted by both the songs and the singer. Almost two decades after Mukesh's death, Chandra wakes up diligently at 0230 hours every morning to watch the old Hindi movies broadcast by Zee cinema, just in case they contain Mukesh's songs.

Chandra already has collected over 800 of Mukesh's songs and several video clips of those songs being enacted on screen. Eventually, his might turn out to be the best archival collection of Mukesh ever assembled.

Chandra has had a special fondness for Mukesh's songs since his childhood. He used to tune into them on Radio Ceylon every night, and often dreamt of actually hearing him sing live some day. His opportunity came only after he joined the Indian eleven in the early sixties, and started going to Bombay often for matches.

On one such trip, he confided his longstanding ambition to a jockey friend M J Raju, who happened to know Mukesh personally. He took a nervous and tongue-tied Chandra to a recording studio to listen to his idol live for the first time. Mukesh was recording songs for a film called Jyot Jale.

Chandra, who was a couple of decades younger than the man whose friendship he sought, visited the great singer a few times at the studios, at home and even in hospital after he had had an accident. Eventually, Mukesh began to reciprocate, recognising a true fan in the gangling, gauche bowler. Mukesh himself was no cricket enthusiast, although many of his contemporaries like Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar were regulars at the VIP pavilion.

"I was not just another star crazy fan," says Chandra. "I genuinely felt some strange telepathic link with Mukesh, even before I met him." Whenever Chandra came to Bombay to play a match, the first thing he did was contact Mukesh and arrange to spend all his free time with him.

"We only talked about his music, very little else," says Chandra. "I never tried to find out what his philosophy of life was, or whether he had any domestic troubles or professional problems. We did not gossip about people in films or people in cricket. I lacked the knowledge to discuss the technicalities of his music with him, so we would just talk about the mood of a particular song, or what emotions we experienced on hearing it."

Chandra spent many quiet evenings dining with Mukesh's family, of whom only Mukesh's son ever showed any interest in cricket. Sometimes, they would hit some popular night spot and dine out together, just the two of them. Then, Mukesh would insist on driving Chandra back to the hotel. Occasionally, a cricketer friend would accompany Chandra to meet Mukesh, but Chandra tried to keep his treasured encounters with his friend as uncrowded as possible.


(L to R) Mohammed Rafi, Lata
Mangeshkar, Mukesh "He was a very unassuming, quiet, soft-spoken man," recalls Chandra. "A thorough gentleman. He treated all people in the same manner. Most importantly, he was a very genuine, sincere person, who always spoke straight from his heart. It was this last quality that makes his music so special."

Soon, the bowler began looking forward to his usually annual trips to Bombay, just because he could meet his friend Mukesh. He attended a total of three recording sessions during those years, and many private performances, the last of which came about because of his own friendship with Mukesh. In 1975, Mukesh hosted a dinner for the Indian eleven at his home, and regaled the gathering with two songs, for which he accompanied himself on a harmonium.

They met for the last time in 1976, almost a decade after their first meeting, in Bombay, when Chandra was playing against England. In all the years between, Mukesh had visited Bangalore just once, for a few hours, for a public performance. Chandra remembers what eventually became their last supper together, at a popular Chinese restaurant. Several months later, Mukesh died of a heart attack while he was in Detroit, USA. A grief-stricken Chandra called in every favour he could think of to wangle a seat on the crowded Bombay flights to attend his funeral. He still keeps in touch with Mukesh's family.

Ever since, he has been collecting Mukesh's music with almost fanatic zeal. "I wish we had had the kind of technology then that we have now," he says ruefully. "I would have video-taped some of my most enjoyable conversations with Mukesh, and some of the impromptu music sessions we would have, and derived tremendous solace from them now, when he is no more."

Instead, he spends many hours of his day listening to his collection of Mukesh songs, taken from a variety of sources, ranging from static-ridden Radio Ceylon recordings to CDs. "I cannot pick any particular songs as my favourites, as I really love at least 500 songs equally," he says. "It's like asking me to name my 10 best performances. I would never be able to do so, as I feel at least 50 are special for various reasons."

His latest passion is to collect the small snatches of music that Mukesh has sung for various films, sometimes unaccompanied, that do not feature in any albums. "In the movie Priya, for example, he sings an entire song accompanying himself just with his harmonium, which I have never encountered in any album. Likewise, in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, he sings single stanzas three or four times."

Chandra has bought himself two VCRs just for this purpose and has reorganised his whole sleep pattern just to manage the late night recording sessions. "I am living for the day when I will be able to complete my collection," he says cheerfully, sipping coffee, with the strains of yet another Mukesh oldie playing softly in the background.

Note : Article by  M. D. Riti on Rediff.com
« Last Edit: March 22, 2010, 02:34:59 PM by CLR James »


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Re: V. S. Chandrashekhar and Mukesh
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2010, 02:43:07 AM »

CLR:Change the Subject to 'B.S' from 'V.S.'.  Does not sound right. :)

CLR James

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Re: B. S. Chandrashekhar and Mukesh
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 02:35:15 PM »

Done! Thanks Rams
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