Born into a musically talented and inclined family, Bhupinder did not want to have anything to do with music! His father, Nathaa Singh was a music professor, trained vocalist and his elder brothers were musicians who played some instruments. Eager to get away from vocal music, mainly because of a strict father, Bhupendra started playing the Hawaiian guitar and the violin.
Music, however, was meant to be his life – so not surprisingly he started performing in All India Radio and also had a short stint in Doordarshan. It was during the AIR stint, in 1962, that Madan Mohan heard Bhupinder play the guitar and invited him to Bombay. In 1964, he recorded his first song – Hoke majboor chale for the film Haqeeqat, singing alongside Mohd Rafi, Manna Dey and Talat Mahmood. A couple more songs followed such as Rut jawan jawan from Aakhri Khat(1966). However, during this phase, Bhupinder was more in demand for his acoustic skills.
In fact, he was the main guitarist in most of R D Burman’s great hits – be it Dum maro dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna, 1973) or Churaliya hai tumne (Yaadon ki Baraat, 1973). It was a Burman composed song that also brought Bhupinder, the singer, into the limelight – Beete na bitai raina (Parichay, 1972). Following this, Bhupinder sang many more memorable songs in the 1970s – Zindagi mere gharaana (Dooriyan, 1978); Dil dhoondh ta hai phir wohi (Mausam, 1975), and Naam gum jaayega (Kinara, 1975).
In the 80s, Bhupinder branched into ghazal singing post his marriage to the Bangladeshi singer Mitali Mukherjee. This phase was marked by live concerts and many ghazal albums – both solo and in collaboration with his wife. As a duo, Bhupinder-Mitali were quite a sensation and are still going strong.
Despite having stepped away from playback singing, Bhupinder has an impressive body of work, having sung in more than 50 films in his career. He has left his footprints in the world of Hindi music both as a singer and also as a guitarist.