Remembering musical superstar Rajesh Khanna through his rarer voices

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Rajesh Khanna in Ek andhera lakh sitare in Aakhir Kyon? Photo: Trailer Video Grab

Rajesh Khanna was undoubtedly among the most musical stars of Hindi cinema. Known for his association with Kishore Kumar (a phenomenal list that began with Mere sapnon ki rani in the 1969 Aradhana and ended with the melodious Isske pehle ke tu yaad aaye from the 1987 Nazrana), he had Mohammed Rafi singing a sizable chunk of his lovely melodies, and Mukesh voicing for him in select but memorable numbers. Rafi and Mukesh were associated with the actor right from his first release, Raaz, in 1967.

Among the remaining big five singers of his time, Mahendra Kapoor, beginning with Aa jaao aa bhi jaao from Bandhan, to main singer in Malik and also later in films like Avtaar and Amrit, and Manna Dey, beginning with Baharon Ke Sapne and later Bawarchi, Anand and even in part in Anurodh, sang playback for the actor.

On his 10th death anniversary that falls July 18, let us look at his rarer singers—in alphabetical order.

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Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar, Kishore’s son, like with many top stars, opened his tally with the Phenomenon (as Rajesh was billed) in 1981 with the hit, Sod maza haath (Fiffty Fiffty) and a small portion in Balle balle reshmi dupattewale (Dhanwaan). But there were more to come, including as the only male singer in the unreleased Rajesh Khanna production, Jai Shiv Shankar.

Anand Bakshi

The lyricist himself sang the Asha Bhosle duet, Sun banto baat meri in the 1976 film Maha Chor, which remains Anand Bakshi’s only song as singer for a top hero.

Anwar

The only Mohammed Rafi clone to sing in the giant’s lifetime was Anwar, the actor’s  voice in Mehmood’s Janta Havaldar. Two solos, Hum se kaa bhool hui and Teri ankhon ki chahat mein, were big hits.

Bappi Lahiri

Bappi Lahiri actually sang for the Superstar (as Rajesh was also known) in a duet with Asha again, Honey honey kuch maango in the 1989 Insaf Main Karoonga.

Bhupinder Singh

The title song of Raja Rani (1973), Jab andhera hota hai (yet again with Asha) was Bhupendra’s first for Rajesh Khanna. He later went on to sing for him also in Dharam Kanta.

Kumar Sanu

The Kishore Kumar clone who hit it very big, was Rajesh Khanna’s voice in the small film Wafaa (2008) in the song Tere baghair yeh dil.

Manhar

Manhar, the Mukesh sound-alike, was the actor’s soulful voice in the haunting Anuradha duet Jeevan saathi saath mein rehna in Amrit.

Mohammed Aziz

The foremost Rafi clone, Mohammed Aziz, got off on a terrific start with the classic Ek andhera lakh sitare in Aakhir Kyon? before singing some other songs for the actor, including the stunning multi-singer qawwali, Sharafat Ali ko sharafat ne maara (Amrit).

R.D. Burman

Rajesh Khanna’s friend and composer R.D. Burman vocalized the word Sweetheart and the vocal gimmicks that followed it in the hit Asha duet, Duniya mein logon ko in Apna Desh.

S.P. Balasubramaniam

The South singer was Rajesh Khanna’s voice in the 1984 flop, Naya Kadam.

Shabbir Kumar

Another Rafi clone, Shabbir Kumar, sang Tere mere pyar ka dushman in the 1986 Mohabbat Ki Kasam, in which Rajesh Khanna had put in a cameo.

Suresh Wadkar

Suresh Wadkar first sang for Rajesh Khanna in the Asha duet Sawan nahin bhadon nahin from Kudrat. In this song, Suresh was also Vinod Khanna’s voice. Later, Suresh also vocalized Mubarak ho in Angaaray (1986), a multi-singer song, for Rajesh.

Kishore Kumar Top Five for Rajesh Khanna:

Roop tera mastana  / Aradhana

O meri pyari beheniya / Saccha Jhutha

Zindagi ek safar hai suhana / Andaz

Sachhai chhup nahin sakti / Dushmun

Yeh kya hua / Amar Prem

Mohammed Rafi Top Five:

Baagon mein bahaar hai / Aradhana

Yeh reshmi zulfen / Do Raaste

Gulabi aankhen / The Train

Yoon hi tum mujhse / Saccha Jhutha

Itna to yaad hai mujhe / Mehboob Ki Mehndi

Mukesh Top Five:

Bina badraa ke badariya / Bandhan

Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye / Anand

Jis gali mein / Kati Patang

Zubaan pe dard bhari dastaan / Maryada

Phool aahista phenko / Prem Kahani

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