Singer Mahendra Kapoor is sometimes called the 'voice of Sunil Dutt.'
He has sung such memorable songs as Na Mooh Chhupa Ke Jiyo, Kisi Patthar Ki Murat Se and Neele Gagan Ke Tale (from Hamraaz); Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se and Aap Aaye To Khayalein Dil-e-Nashad Aaya (from Gumrah), Din Hai Bahar Ke and Hum Jab Simat Ke (from Waqt).
When he heard about the actor-politician's demise, he was totally stunned. "I am so sorry I cannot see him. I am in Haridwar."
He spoke to Lata Khubchandani about his friend, Balraj:
I have known him since our college days. He was in Jaihind; I was at St Xavier's College.
He used to take part in plays those days. We became friends when he came witha play to our college. I was in (director) Vijay Anand's group then.
I knew him as Balraj.
When he formed his Ajanta Arts troupe, I was one of its members. He used to work with Radio Ceylon as an announcer.
He was always very happy, full of good spirits and always forward-looking.
His spirit was so strong that it carried him and all of us along with him. I don't know anyone else who had his kind of spirit.
He was one of the finest gentlemen of our film industry, one of the finest artistes and a fine human being.
Some of the best songs of my career have been sung as playback for Sunil Dutt.
All the songs of Gumrah -- Chalo Ek Baar Phir Se, Aap Aaye To Khayalein Dil-e-Nashaad Aaya, In Hawaon Mein, In Fizaon Mein Tujhko Mera Pyar Pukare. The songs of Hamraaz: Kisi Pathar Ki Murat Se, Nele Gagan Ke Tale.
I also sang in Man Ka Meet, where he introduced his younger brother, Som Dutt.
I remember the time he took many singers to Delhi for Mirza Ghalib's centenary and told us to sing Ghalib's ghazals.
When the people saw us, they started shouting, 'No, no, no, no! We want songs from Hamraaz etc.
Then, Duttsaab climbed onto the stage and said, 'Excuse me. All these singers have come here especially to commemorate the memory of Mirza Ghalib. You can't insult the memory of Mirza Ghalibji. Please listen to the singers.'
He had such command over the masses that everyone fell silent.
We went together to the border to entertain soldiers. His interaction with them brought tears to their eyes.
Once, we went to Delhi to meet wounded soldiers. He warned us not to show pity. He said we must encourage them.
He told me, 'Mahendra, if I ask you to sing, you must sing.'
We went to the hospital, and made them (soldiers) all laugh.
No one said, 'Oh God! What happened to you?'
I met him last at the recent Dandi March, where he made me sing, Na Mooh Chhupa Ke Jiyo(Hamraaz). I sang it for him.
We had great affection for each other.
He was a gem.
I took his advice on many things. He was always there to listen.
I feel I have lost a brother and a good friend.
Sunil Dutt on rediff.com
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