The going was great for playback singer Mohammed Aziz towards the late 1980s as the great Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar were no more. And the only competition that Aziz, affectionately know as Munna, had was Shabbir Kumar. While Shabbir sang off-key, Mohd Aziz, who was born in 1954 had a vast range. He could sing at a staggering pitch. It was amusing to hear him hold his own in his duets with the indomitable Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Composing maestros Laxmikant-Pyarelal were very fond of Aziz's voice. "We sang the duets 'Patjhad sawan basant bahaar' and 'Naam sare bhool jaaane lage' for Laxmi-Pyare. These were melodious numbers at a time when melody was on the wane. I enjoyed singing with him," Lata said paying tributes to the singer who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 64.
Alka Yagnik who sang one of her best songs 'Tu na ja mere badshah'(Khuda Gawah) with Aziz remembers him fondly. "Like me, he was also from Kolkata, so I kind of knew him from my childhood days. Munna (Mohd Aziz) was always very cheerful, sweet-spoken and an endearing person. And he had a powerful voice. He was one of Laxmikant-Pyarelal's favourite singers. I sang many songs with him," Alka noted.
At a time when many prolific singers vanished, Aziz still used to do concerts and have quite a repertoire of popular songs to his credit.
Composer Anu Malik who used Aziz as Amitabh Bachchan's voice in Manmohan Desai's 'Mard' (1985) is shocked at the singer's demise. "I gave him his earliest break in 'Mard'. A very soft-spoken, tremendously hardworking singer and always ready to learn improvise and give his best. May his soul rest in everlasting peace and may God give his family immense strength to bear with this irreparable loss. A shining musical light of the 80s and early 90s has dimmed but shall never ever switch off. He will live in the hearts and minds of music lovers forever," he said.
Meanwhile, let's take a look at Aziz's most popular songs:
One 2 Ka 4 My name is Lakhan:
The song from the movie 'Ram Lakhan' was one of top hits of 1989. Although the lyrics "One two ka Four, Four Two ka One" barely had a meaning, the song attained wide popularity.
Tu na ja mere badshah
The 1992 epic drama 'Khuda Gawah' was a major commercial success of the year. The movie which saw the third collaboration of Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi had this crucial song where he leaves to find her father's killer. When she sings, 'Tu na ja mere badshah...' and Bachchan's character sings back 'Mein wapas aaunga..'
Main se meena se na saqi se
This peppy number from 1987 movie 'Khudgarz' gave attention to Govinda. Although the film had Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha as lead, this song was remembered for Govinda's amazing grooves. Recently, the song was also noted as dancing uncle Sanjeev Shrivastava tapping foot with this song had gone viral.
Duniya mein kitna gham hai
Just like the family drama, the 1983 Rajesh Khanna starrer 'Avtaar' had offered some meaningful songs and one among was the this track. The song sung in deep emotion reflected the high note of Aziz.
Ungli mein angoothi angoothi mein nagina
With this track from 'Ram-Avtar' (1988), Aziz proved that he could sing not just the emotional and peppy songs but also the romantic ones as well.