‘Dil Dhoondta Hai’: Bhupinder’s wistful voice captured tender emotions

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By: Navneet Mundhra
Updated: 21 July, 2022 1:44 pm IST

NEW DELHI: On Monday, the noted singer Bhupinder Singh, died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 82. In the 60s and 70s when Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi and Manna Dey were the high priests of playback singing in Bollywood, Bhupinder also created a niche for himself by rendering his unique voice to a host of memorable songs.

His most celebrated song is ‘Dil Dhoondta Hai’ from Sanjeev Kumar’s ‘Mausam’ whose music was composed by the legendary Madan Mohan. ‘Naam Gum Jayega’ (‘Kinara’), Do Diwane Shahar Mein (‘Gharaonda’), ‘Duniya Chhute Yaar Na Chhute’ (‘Dharam Kanta’), ‘Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Aasman’ (‘Sitara’) and ‘Beeti Na Bitai Raina’ (‘Parichay’) are some of his other famous renditions.

Due to the ‘esoteric’ quality of voice, Bhupinder was approached for specific types of songs by the music-directors which perhaps only he could have pulled off. Unlike other singers of his time, he didn’t sing heaps of ditties indiscriminately. In fact, the gifted artist was supremely selective about the songs he lent his voice to.

His voice, which had a certain wistful vibe to it, deftly encapsulated the personal, intimate moments and tender emotions.

During his heyday, he worked with almost all renowned composers from R.D. Burman, Madan Mohan to Bappi Lahiri. He also sang in tandem with Lata Mangeshkar, Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle.

He was born in Amritsar in 1940. His father – Prof. Natha Singh – was a vocalist and teacher who ran a music academy. Bhupinder began his career working in the All India Radio, Delhi, as a singer and musician. After being spotted by the composer Madan Mohan during one of the All India Radio parties, the music director invited him to Mumbai.

Mohan gave him his first break in the 1964 Chetan Anand directorial ‘Haqeeqat’, where he sang ‘Hoke Majboor Mujhe Usne Bulaya Hoga’ along with veterans such as Mohammed Rafi, Talat Mahmood and Manna Dey. He bagged his first solo song after two years with ‘Rut Jawan Jawan Raat Meherbaan’ in the film ‘Aakhri Khat’.

Besides being a playback singer, Bhupinder was also a masterful guitarist and worked on many renowned tracks, including ‘Dum Maaro Dum’, ‘Chura Liya Hai’, ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’ and ‘Mehbooba O Mehbooba’, among others.

After he got married to singer Mitali, he stepped away from playback singing from the mid 1980s. Though he continued to collaborate with his spouse and produced several private albums. In his later years, he also turned to ghazals and regularly performed at stage shows alongside his wife.

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