The saint in the modern times..Rafi

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Posted: 16 years ago
The Saint in the Modern Times..Rafi

This article is by Mr. Anmol Singh.

The world is a difficult place to live with hypocritical attitudes, materialistic people, hatred, etc. Saints belonging to any culture and belief are indeed above all this. Saints are individuals of a very extra ordinary destiny send by the Almighty to this world to convey the message of peace and love and to balance hatred and materialistic attitudes among the mankind. Saints do exist in all walks of life. It's not the just an individual who wears a specific dress code is a saint. Saints do exist among us as common men. The perception of saint changes from time to time based on our way of life. Rafi Saab is one such unique personality who can be considered the saint in modern times.

Most Music Composers in the 1950s & 60s like Usha Khanna, R D Burman & LP started their career with Rafi Saab. Possibly most filmmakers always insisted them to use Rafi Saab. It is applicable the other way round also when Music Composers where given liberty of choosing singers majority always opted for Rafi Saab. There are a couple of reasons to these criteria; firstly Rafi Saab is approachable to any music composer irrespective of their market value. Secondly by using Rafi Saab for their initial assignments guarantees negligible rate of failure. In our daily life we do set priorities and do all sorts of materialistic things to achieve our career goals. But saints do not believe in such theories, they do serve people unconditionally. Perhaps the same can be said about Rafi Saab as well. Usha Khanna used Rafi Saab in her first assignment for all the songs in "Dil Deke Dekho". The same holds true for R D Burman in "Chotte Nawab" and LP in "Parasmani". The most astonishing fact is they do not use any other male singer apart from Rafi Saab for all the songs. Perhaps one wrong move would result in end of the road. Later on many success full music composers may have diversified with time and developed their own set of singers, but again when it came to master performance there was none other then Rafi Saab to render. The best example could be R D Burman's unforgettable score in "Hum Kissi Kam Nahi". Similar criteria holds true for Dada Burman also for his compositions in "Guide", where he expresses totally fulfillment for his work through Rafi Saab's performance. There are many such examples.

Coming to actors again Rafi Saab plays a important role. Shammi Kapoor was a failure initially termed by the media "Shammi Apes Raj". When Shammi Kapoor comes in a different style in "Tum Sa Nahin Dekha", Rafi plays a vital role here and gives credit to others stating "Unke Vajye Se Mujhe Kaam Milaa". We as individuals blow up to any extent to highlight our own achievements. But Saints are very modest by nature and do not believe in praising them selves. With Rafi, Shammi Kapoor had a second chance to make a come back. There is another example from the film "Unche Log" where Feroz Khan gets a face lift through the song "Jaag Dile Diwaana". This holds true from many other actors as well. Without Rafi a second chance is difficult, because many singers are particular on picturization of their songs in the films. Therefore Rafi Saab is indeed the best bet for any new comer. Manoj Kumar has been a thorough Mahendra Kapoor and Mukesh supporter in many of the films produced by him. But when it came to his first film "Shaheed" as a Producer & Director, it is Rafi because again the probability of failure is negligible. This film helped Manoj Kumar in building his patriotic "Bharat" image on screen. There after he never used Rafi Saab for a decade or so, but came back to Rafi Saab to render songs for his film "Shirdi Wale Sai Baba" and "Kranti". The same theory is applicable for other actor turned producers like Rakesh Roshan in "Aap Ke Diwane" and Subash Ghai for "Kalicharan". Both producers as newcomers don't take risk by avoiding use of Rafi Saab as one of the main lead singers.

Human relationships are very complex to maintained and handle. Going ahead with the above theory many music composers or filmmakers got established using Rafi Saab initially but parted ways there after. Later on came to Rafi Saab when they experienced downfall to make another come back. As human beings we tend to take undue advantage of such situations or thinking of our own benefit first or helping by putting conditions; etc. But again saints are always above all such complexities. So is Rafi Saab as well. When R D Burman came back to Rafi in the late 70 Rafi Saab was very much same as he was during the success of "Teesri Manzil" in the late 60s. Early 70s being a tough phase of Rafi Saab; still could provide many hits without working under many big banners. This is another saintly quality of Rafi Saab. Saints do not complain or blame others for their setbacks. They mold & adjust themselves with the changing scenarios and make way for themselves accordingly. No wonder Rafi Saab made a grant come back in the mid 70s proving the music world that he is the voice of all times.

In this world we all have our own set of goals. In the journey of success we don't really bother whether our master (employer) or contemporaries need our support in tough times of changing scenarios of business. We change our employers & friend circles as for our own materialistic gains. When the same employers & friends ditch us we want the entire world to be at our sympathy. Yes we, as human beings are all very selfish. But saints are not affected by greed or glamour. So is Rafi Saab, whether a filmmaker is in a sound financial position or not he always provided 'A' grade performance without being concerned about the out come till his last breath. The same can be said for the dispute on royalty issue. Only saints feel the pain of others. No wonder Rafi Saab sided with the filmmakers. In return of gratitude all filmmakers and music composers in mid 60s sided with Rafi Saab and managed all the hit duets without any use of Lata Mangeshkar.
During the lean phase in the early 70s with exception of Chetan Anand and Nasir Hussian banner Rafi Saab sang for mostly small time filmmakers and music composers. Despite the media writing about his setback Rafi Saab did not try to maintain a false pride or try seeking a false publicity, which most actors do during their tough face. Again Saints have the ability to accept the reality of life, they live happy under all circumstances and think of the good of every one. So did Rafi Saab, he never made any statement against any of his contemporaries during his lean years.

India is the land from where many saints like Ram, Kabir, Gautam Buddha, Mahavir, Guru Nanak, etc originated. Later on their followers influenced many religions, which have spread across the globe. Of course it would be incorrect to place Rafi Saab among such great souls. Rafi Saab doesn't influence a religion but certainly brings together large number of fans that are humble and kind hearted by nature. In other words if one seeks to have a good company of individuals or friends the secret lies in becoming a Rafi Fan. Above all India is lucky to have a singer like Rafi Saab; on the contrary Rafi Saab could have never prospered in any other country. Therefore Rafi Saab and India are made for each other. This has been very well highlighted by Naushad Saab in one of the programs on the Doordarshan, "Hindustan Ki Atma Amar Hai, Hindustan Ka Sangeet Amar Hai". India's soul is immortal; India's music is immortal.

Saints are great students always ready to learn some thing new. Saints do not criticize or hurt any individual's self esteem however small one would be. So is Rafi Saab. If a music composer is a new comer, Rafi Saab was always a student for them. Classic examples are Shanker Jaikisan for the song from Barsaat, "Mai Zindage Mein Har Dam Rota Hi Raha Hun", were Rafi Saab tells to the duo, 'you are the composers I will sing the song the way you want'. This was SJ's first encounter with Rafi Saab, their partnership created history in the music world for next two decades. Another example is Usha Khanna for the recording of the song for the film "Dil Deke Dekho", were Usha was hesitant to suggest some thing to an established singer like Rafi Saab. But Rafi Saab read Usha mind and told her, 'Usha tumne humse gana nahi sikhna, humne tumse ganaa sikhna hai'. The same would hold true for new singers also. There are many such examples with many new music composers.

Despite being modest and kind saints face of lot of criticism. There is a saying the tree which bears most fruits receives maximum stones. It can be said for Rafi Saab also. During his entire career span Rafi Saab also indeed went through a lot of pain meeting every possible requirement to perfection. If one goes back to history majority saints whether Jesus Christ or Sant Kabir or a Saint from any religion went through a lot of pain & criticism. But despite all this Saints still think well of people who hate them. A classic example would be the rift with music composer O P Nayyar. Perhaps it would be considered being too harsh on part of O P Nayyar to part ways with Rafi Saab for reporting late once for a recording considering their long association. But finally it was Rafi Saab who initiated the patch up with O P Nayyar. Only saints have such a heart to digest hatred and step down for the good.

India is a land of various cultures and diversities. Rafi Saab is the voice of all cultures singing in all types of songs 12 different languages. Indeed saints serve people of all cultures irrespective of their caste or creed. So did Rafi Saab, by bringing all cultures together through a single voice and under one roof. Rafi Saab being a devoted Muslim, whether he sings a Bhajan or a devotional song or a Gurbani or a song for Durga Puja or English devotional or any other language it provides the same piece of mind and satisfaction.

Despite all the achievements the Indian media is always negative compared to other countries. One can understand what state of mind Rafi Saab must have gone through in the 70s with such a negative media. President APJ Abdul Kalam in one of his speeches has stated, "Why is the media here so negative? Why are we in India so embarrassed to recognize our own strengths, our achievements? We are such a great nation. We have so many amazing success stories but we refuse to acknowledge them. Why? We are the second largest producer of wheat in the world. We are the second largest producers in rice. We are the first in milk production. We are number one in Remote sensing satellites. Look at Dr. Sudarshan, he has transferred the tribal village into a self-sustaining, self-driving unit. There are millions of such achievements but our media is only obsessed with the bad news and failures and disasters." The entire speech can be read through the following link. Therefore one should not be surprised in a country like India if Rafi Saab's ability is under estimated. But such type of ignorance does not affect saints like Rafi Saab. The greatest award is that Rafi Saab is remembered and recognized by his fans till date across the globe and will continue to be so for many years to come.

We all have to leave this world one fine day, but Rafi Saab's untimely premature dismissal was indeed a very Sad Day and a great loss for the film industry; India as a country and the entire audience which appreciated quality work. Rafi Saabs death brings an end to many filmmakers like Man Mohan Desai, Chetan Anand, J Om Prakash, Nasir Hussian, etc who enjoyed success through his songs in the 60s and 70s. Music composers most affected were LP who never won a film fare award after 1980 because they had lost their 'Parasmani' called Mohd. Rafi forever who converted their each and every piece of composition into Gold. But despite the falling standards of melody LP maintained their position till the mid 90s. Perhaps R D Burman was not as lucky as LP. R D Burman did enjoy some success in the early 80s but could not repeat the magic of 70s with Kishore and Gulzar again. By mid & late 80s he reached the dead end. RDB indeed tried hard to make a come back. Possibly if Rafi Saab could have lived may be RDB could have made a come back explored his untapped potential. Without Rafi Saab many quality music composers, lyricist, filmmakers faded forever. Many small time composers like Sapan Jagmohan, Shamji Ghanshamji, Soni Omi, Ganesh, etc who enjoyed success in the 70s through Rafi Saab never revived again after his dismissal. Music indeed witnessed the worst phase during mid eighties. During Rafi Saab's death as stated by lyrist Majrooh Sultanpuri that it would be difficult to compose songs since Rafi Saab simplified singing to a great extend. In other words Rafi Saab could sing any type of song.

26 years have passed like a few seconds; the world around us has changed. But the divine aura, which Rafi Saab generates even today, is very much the same. New souls come to this world every day. They are influenced by his divine aura and become a Rafian. Yes indeed Rafi Saab is the Saint in Modern Times. ch=

Edited by Sur_Sangam - 16 years ago
Posted: 16 years ago

Remembering Rafi

Author: Dr.Mandar   

The year was 1980. Thirty-first July had just fluttered off the face of the calendar. The time was 3.15 a.m. Actor Shammi Kapoor and his wife were just returning from a religious discourse in Brindavan-temple, when an obviously distressed man stopped them in their tracks and said, "Shammi-saab, aap ki aawaz chali gayi!"

(Mr.Shammi Kapoor, you have lost your voice!) Bewildered Shammi realized the significance of that statement a moment later- when that person uttered the next sentence- "Rafi-saab is dead! You have lost your voice!"


Mohammed Rafi was not just Shammi Kapoor's voice; he was the voice of an entire magical era. A voice which not only sang many exquisite tunes but also launched and shaped the careers of many legendary screen personalities.

Born in a small town in Punjab called Sultan Singh Kotla, near Amritsar on December 24, 1924, Mohammed Rafi grew up admiring the thirties- superstar singer K.L.Saigal. A doting, music-loving elder brother Hamid was the real catalyst in young Rafi's grooming as a singer. Hamid placed Rafi under the tutelage of a noted classical singer Ustad Wahid Khan and also made him a radio-star at the age of thirteen. To the incredulous villagers, Hamidbhai would often boast that his brother would one day even outshine Saigal!

Then somehow managing to get a recommendation letter from composer Naushad's father, Hamid took Rafi to Mumbai to meet the famous composer. In Naushad's 1944- soundtrack Pahle Aap, Rafi sang his first film-song Hindostan Ke Hum Hain, Hindostan Hamara Hai. In Naushad's music, Rafi even got a chance to sing a few lines in Saigal's song Mere Sapnon Ki Rani Ruhi Ruhi Ruhi from Shahjahan (1946) and again it was Naushad's Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki in Dulari (1949) which really established Rafi's singing identity.

Over the next three-and-a half decades Mohammed Rafi went on to become perhaps the most influential male playback singer in Hindi film music. An exceptional range and malleability made Rafi's voice a dream voice. Soft and mellow in one instant to robust and forceful the next- Rafi could switch gears effortlessly. Add to that his ability to come up with just the right vocal expression and emotion for the screen- character he was singing for and Rafi became the byword in versatility. From Shankar-Jaikishan to Laxmikant-Pyarelal and from O.P.Nayyar to R.D.Burman, Rafi could do perfect justice to any composer's tune.

A supremely soulful Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki, a coolly carefree Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya, an intensely lovelorn Yaad Na Jaaye Beete Dinon Ki, a thought-provoking Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai, a hopelessly romantic Khoya Khoya Chaand, a classically erudite Madhuban Mein Radhika Naache Re, a wild-n-wacky Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe, a crazily comic Sar Jo Tera Chakraye and a movingly patriotic Kar Chale Hum Fida Jaano Tan Saathiyo- all these diverse songs serve as perfect examples of Rafi's mind-blowing ability to switch genres with aplomb.

 Rafi would pick up the subtle nuances of the screen character and present them through his songs with such unerring precision that you could close your eyes and still identify whether it was Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar or Johny Walker who was singing the song on the screen. When I was interviewing her, the one and only Lata Mangeshkar had gushed over this unparalleled range of Rafi's voice and had  aptly described it as 'the gift of God'! How else can you describe such out of this world talent?


Religious, humble and soft-spoken- in private life, Rafi was completely different from his all-conquering singing image. I still remember one of his interviews on BBC and he spoke in such low tones one had to really strain their ears to pick up his answers. In fact, so reticent was he answering questions about his achievements, one could easily doubt his showbiz credentials!

Advent of seventies saw him lose the top throne to Kishore Kumar- the very person for whom he had provided playback in earlier songs like Man Mora Bawra and Ajab Hai Dastan Teri Aye Zindagi. Perhaps overexposure in the sixties where one could just hear his voice everywhere- from heroes to character actors to comedians was the reason for this decline. Even in this down- phase, Rafi could come up with super-hit songs like Chaand Mera Dil, Darde Dil Darde Jigar and Parda hai Parda.

When the cruel clutches of fate snatched him on that fateful thirty-first July twenty-five years ago, Rafi had already left an indelible mark on Indian popular music and a rich legacy of many a memorable song.

The last song sung by Rafi was in the film 'Aas paas'. The poignant lyrics of that song perfectly echo the sentiments of millions of music-lovers all over the world - 

Tere milne ki aas hai dost

Shaam phir kyon udaas hai dost,

Maheki maheki fija  yeh kaheti hai

Tu kahin aaspaas hai dost,

Tu kahin aaspaas hai dost !!


Contrary to a popularly quoted figure of 27000 songs, Rafi sang around 5000 songs in his career.


    Naushad's compositions in 1952-film Baiju-Bawra really paved way for Rafi's ascent to the top spot. Tragedy-king Dilip Kumar, Yahoo- rebel Shammi Kapoor, Jubilee-king Rajendra Kumar and comedian Johnny Walker were the actors for whom Rafi sang his most memorable songs. But then every possible actor debuting in sixties- from Joy Mukherji to Jeetendra could lay claim to that distinction! Tu Kahin Aaspaas Hai Dost from Aas Paas was his last recorded song. Fittingly it was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal- composers who composed the maximum number of songs for Rafi.
  • Even after his death, Rafi- influence never faded away. Latter singers like Anwar, Mohammed Aziz, Suresh Wadkar and Sonu Nigam clearly modeled their voices on the maestro's voice.






Edited by Barnali - 16 years ago
Posted: 16 years ago

Rafi, the unforgettable

This article is featured on Rediff.

What does one write about the great Mohammed Rafi? I run the risk of penning meaningless platitudes in an attempt to do so. His mellifluous voice worked wonders for many songs and for more than 30 years. His playback singing enhanced the careers of many a star like Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, and Biswajeet, to name only a few.

Rafi's ability to generate the complete range of emotions and draw the listener into the song, mood, and character remains unsurpassed. All of this was accomplished without resorting to antics like yodelling.

Mukesh had the pathos. Talat Mehmood had the delicate tremor. Kishore Kumar had zany songs as well as gravitas. Rafi had all of the above plus an extra something, or, as the French would put it, je ne sais quois.

Just a cursory glance at Rafi's repertoire shows us his mind-boggling versatility. Who else could have sung songs of the patriotic (Kar chale hum fida, Haqeeqat), romantic (Aye husn zara jaag, Mere Mehboob), bidaai (Babul ki duwaein, Neel Kamal), melancholic (Yaad na jaaye, Dil Ek Mandir), philosophical (Yeh mahlon yeh takhton yeh tajon ki duniya, Pyaasa), devotional (Duniya na bhaye, Basant Bahar), classical (Nache mann mora, Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen), and qawwali (Na to carvaan ki talash, Barsaat Ki Raat) genres with so much fervour and effortless ease?

This effortlessness is perhaps his unique quality. Other than heavy classical songs, I have not heard a Rafi song where he struggles through an octave or to convey the nuance of the song exactly as intended by the lyricist. Indeed, there isn't a genre of Hindi film music that is not embellished by him.

The 1950s and early1960s were unquestionably the golden age of Hindi film music. The 1950s particularly so because of the simplicity, lightness, and melody of the compositions. Diverse composers like Shankar-Jaikishen, S D Burman, C Ramchandra, Anil Biswas, Sajjad Hussain, Madan Mohan, and Naushad infused a sense of variety into the music.

There were great lyrics for composers to work on. The stars of Hindi cinema stayed at their peak till about the mid- to late-1960s. Therefore, it isn't surprising that Rafi's golden age lasted till the replacement of melody by rhythm or the decline of fine composers and actors for whom Rafi sang, such as Rajendra Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, and Dev Anand.

The Kishore Kumar-Rajesh Khanna combination took the industry by storm with Aradhana. This pushed Rafi into the back row. But he delivered a few hits in the 1970s with songs for Laila-Majnu, Amar Akbar Anthony, Sargam, and Karz.

Some readers may be surprised to find Dev Anand mentioned above. The popular mythology of Hindi cinema puts forth the view that Kishore Kumar was the voice of Dev Anand. This is disputable. Rafi's songs for Dev Anand in movies like Nau Do Gyarah, CID, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai, Asli Naqli, Love Marriage, Gambler, Hum Dono, Kala Bazaar, Kala Paani, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne and Guide are of extremely high quality.

Guide, in fact, is a very interesting example from the point of view of comparing Kishore Kumar and Rafi's singing for Dev Anand. If Kishore had a Gata rahe mera dil, Rafi had three solos: Din dhal jaye, Tere mere sapne, and Kya se kya ho gaya. It is interesting to note that S D Burman chose Rafi for three pivotal songs in the movie, which have a heavy dose of pathos and drama.

I became a devoted Rafi fan quite by accident. I was in class VII. My father bought a new Philips cassette player. My brother was already a Rafi admirer. He bought an HMV cassette with Rafi's solos. At that time, I was fascinated by Kishore Kumar's yodelling and his songs for Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan. But my fascination for Kishore diminished quite rapidly as I listed to Rafi gems like Aise toh na dekho (Teen Deviyan, S D Burman), Aaye bahar (Rajhath, Shankar-Jaikishen), Hai duniya usiki (Kashmir Ki Kali, O P Nayyar).

Making a list of Rafi's songs is no easy task. There are literally hundreds of songs of his that I adore. But years of being a hardcore Rafi fan helped me to discover some real gems in his large body of work that are not often heard, yet showcase his remarkable talent and are of exquisite quality.

Here are a few:

Song Movie Composer
Tera husn rahe mera ishq rahe Do Dil Hemant Kumar
Kabhi na kabhi Sharabi Madan Mohan
Yeh hasrat thi Nausherwan-e-Adil C Ramchandra
Carvaan guzar gaya Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal Roshan
Mohabbat zinda rehti hai Genghis Khan Hansraj Behl
Us paar is deewar ke jo rehte hain Saiyyan Sajjad Hussain
Tujhe kya sunaoon main dilruba Aakhri Dao Madan Mohan
Meri kahani bhoolne wale Deedar Naushad
Kahan ja rahe the Love Marriage Shankar Jaikishen
Hum tum jisse kehta hai Kagaz Ke Phool S D Burman

For the purists, Mohammed Rafi may not have been the most technically gifted singer. Indeed, many talk about Talat Mehmood, Mukesh, and even Kishore Kumar as better singers than Rafi. Without denigrating these other greats, I would invite fellow fans of Hindi cine music to rediscover Rafi's versatility.

For fans of Kishore's energetic and bubbly songs, I present a fitting riposte by Rafi. Lal lal gaal from Mr X, and She ne khela he se aaj cricket match, the crazy cricket number from Love Marriage.

For admirers of Talat Mehmood's dulcet voice, I present Meri mehboob from Ghazal and the beautifully picturised Apni to har aah from Kala Bazaar.

Mohammed RafiListen to Rafi as he matches Mukesh's pathos in Gham-e-hasti from Vallah Kya Baat Hai and Jinhe naaz hai from Pyaasa.

During my early years, listening to Chhayageet, Aap Ki Farmaish and Bela Ke Phool every evening on Vividh Bharati was like a religious ritual. Listening to radio has perhaps nurtured several generations of Hindi film music buffs. The present generation, however, seems to prefer remixes.

On July 31, 1980, Rafi passed on, leaving behind thousands of songs and millions of mourning listeners. Perhaps the coming generations will appreciate and savour the richness of his music for years to come.

There will never be another Mohammed Rafi. His song in Dil Ek Mandir says it all: Jaane waale kabhi nahi aate. Jaane wale ki yaad aati hai. [Those who go away never return. But their memory stays with us forever.]

Edited by Qwest - 16 years ago
Posted: 16 years ago

Travels with Mohammad Rafi

An article on Rafisaab by Syed Badrul Ahsan as it appeared in NEW AGE, Dhaka (Bangladesh) - mohanflora.

If you have heard Mohammad Rafi, if you recall his songs, you do not need much more to convince yourself that his was an age of glory. He was the glory and the age was his. Think of the duet he sings with Lata Mangeshkar, Kabhi Raat Din Hum Door They / Din Raat Ka Ab Saath Hai, and you will have all those feelings of pristine passion rise up in your soul. People like you, like me, grew up listening to some of the best songs around us. Expand the idea a little, and what you have is the feeling, the knowledge that we have all been part of a world where cultural diversity has meant an enhancement of our sensibilities. Yes, we are speaking of the Indian subcontinent, of India as we knew it in the days before the division of the land. For all the political segmentation of the land, we have remained conscious of the common heritage we as a people, all the way from the mountain passes of the North-West Frontier through the plains of the Deccan to the beaches of Cox's Bazaar, have been heir to.

It is within such an ambience that we recall the times of Mohammad Rafi. Remember that he has been dead for a quarter of a century and yet you know that he lives in the deepest recesses of your mind. There was in him the pain that came of knowledge of tragedy. In songs like Tootey Hue Khwabon Ne / Hum Ko Ye Sikhaya Hai, you have emerging before you, in the manner of the pale moon on a cold winter night, all the heartache that you have gone through. You hum the song and then find yourself moving into a new phase of expressive sadness through the inimitable Yaad Na Jaye Beete Dino Ki. It is Rajendra Kumar and Meena Kumari you glimpse in the old mirror of memory. It could well be someone you miss, a lover who remains out of reach. When you hear Rafi sing, it is a broken soul going through its own distinctive purgation of feelings somewhere deep inside you. The emotions that come in Rafi's sad music often elevate themselves to a higher plane of feeling. His pain is transferred to Guru Dutt, who in turn injects the feeling into us. The song that we hear is Kahan Hain / Kahan Hain Muhafiz Khudi Ke / Jinhe Naz Hai Hind Par Wo Kahan Hai.

You move, soon, from the patriotic to the spiritual. How many songs have you heard, in all of the languages that you know, that possess the sublimity of Parwardigar-e-Alam Tera Hi Hai Sahara / Tere Siwa Jahan Mein Koi Nahin Hamara? That is where Rafi's essence lies embedded. There was versatility in the man, there were in him qualities that are truly rare in artistes in these times of the banal and the inconsequential. He could be flippant and yet he could be dead serious in his romantic expression of love. If the 1960s song, Kanto Mein Phansa Anchal / Zulfon Mein Phansa Yeh Dil / Hai Ho Gayee Mushkil, made us feel like men just stepping out of our teens and into initial love, the 1950s number, Mohabbat Choome Jinke Haath / Jawani Paon Parhe Din Rath / Suney Phir Haye Wo Kis Ki Baat took us through a process of graduation in studies of the heart. The poetry, rich and sensuous in its quality, was the work of men who observed the world in terms of verse. In the delivery of the poetry, it was the melody in Rafi that carried the day. The Bahadur Shah Zafar ghazal, Na Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon / Na Kisi Ke Dil Ka Qarar Hoon, only added a new dimension to Rafi's songs. He was the singer and yet he was more than that. He became the emperor, imprisoned and lonely in the strangeness of foreign territory. But Rafi as emperor could quickly evolve into Rafi the revolutionary, depicted in the image of Dilip Kumar proclaiming before the multitudes, Apni Azadi Pe Hum Sar Jhuka Sakte Nahin. Move on, move on, until you spot Rafi reaching out to the little child enmeshed in her birthday celebrations. In Ayee Hain Baharen Mitey Zulm O Sitam / Pyar Ka Zamana Aya Door Hue Gham / Ram Ki Lila Rang Layee / Shyam Ne Bansi Bajayee, there is a purity of spirit that comes through the trembling sentiments of an avuncular soul. You could go back home and sing the song to your children, to all the children you accost on the way home.

There are few in our generation who will easily forget the songs Rafi sang for the movie Aan. Yes, Dil Mein Chhupa Ke Pyar Ka Toofan will always be there, but try recalling that slower number, Takra Gaya Tumse Dil Hi To Hai / Roye Na Ye Kyun Ghayel Hi To Hai. You will then remember once again, after all these years of passing from youth into middle age, the pleasure that once came of your being in love with women who did not quite understand the ache in your wildly beating heart. And that, by the way, is the cruelty the world has generally dealt its lovers. Which is when we can only sing a song like Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya / Har Fikr Ko Dhuen Mein Urhata Chala Gaya. But not all love promises to be a fleeting, tragic beating of the drums at night. There are those that keep alive the spirit of youth, as if for ever. How else would you explain the permanent scars that have been left on your being by such Rafi numbers as Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Hi Rang Hain or Aaj Ki Raat Ye Kaisi Raat / Ke Humko Neend Nahi Aati? Or there is the song that Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore share, Diwana Hua Badal / Sawan Ki Ghata Chhai / Ye Dekh Ke Dil Jhuma / Li Pyar Ne Angrhai. Or there is that fabulous point in love when Dev Anand and Sadhana croon, as twilight descends around them and the town lights loom in the distance, Abhi Na Jao Chhorh Kar / Ke Dil Abhi Bhara Nahin.

There, ladies and gerntlemen, is Mohammad Rafi for you. He created and then inhabited, all by himself, a whole world. The ability in him to transform himself into a voice suiting the moment, the sheer zeal to make men on the screen come level with him through his music was a quality that remains unmatched to this day. He lived in an era when giants —- Mukesh, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Talat Mehmood, Manna De —- made their own, singular contributions to the world of song. And yet Rafi stayed ahead of them, for there was in him the extraordinary capability of singing songs that lifted the heart to deeper levels of tragedy, as in Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Halaat Pe Rona Aya, or to push it into deeper stages of pregnant passion, as in Ankhon Hi Ankhon Mein Ishara Ho Gaya / Baithe Baithe Jeene Ka Sahara Ho Gaya.

We could go on and on talking of Rafi and singing his songs. No one who understands the culture of this subcontinent can ignore the impact Rafi has had on our lives. He forced us to think of music as food we could not do without. He informed us, through the deep tenor of romance in his voice, that it was necessary to fall in love, to lose the women we thought we could take along with us on a journey to the ends of the universe. We lose, yes. All the love, all the poetry we compose dissipates into nothingness as night falls. Yet in the brightness of a gathering twilight we sing Chalo Dildar Chalo / Chand Ke Par Chalo.
No journey could be more resonant with meaning than a timeless travel through the starry spaces of creation. And, of course, through the valley of music.

(Mohammad Rafi died on 31 July 1980)

Edited by Qwest - 16 years ago
Posted: 16 years ago
Great singer, yes excellent singer, Perhaps one of the best

Saint, dont think so Embarrassed
Posted: 15 years ago

July 31 will never be the same again for Mohd Rafi's innumerable fans the world over. For on this day in 1980, Rafi Saab as he was fondly called, left us for ever, succumbing to a massive heart attach at age 56. And Tu Kahin Aas Paas Hai Dost, from Aas Paas became the last recorded song of the legend.

The fateful day, as Rafi left the recording studio for his home one last time, he gently turned to Laxmikant-Pyarelal and said Main chaloon? Few moments later Rafi repeated To main chalta hoon. This surprised the composers, as Rafi had never bid them farewell in this manner before.

The words proved to be prophetic. Mohd. Rafi left us forever the same evening at 7.30 p.m leaving behind a golden legacy of immortal songs, for every mood and for every occasion.

In a recent tribute to the legend, Lata Mangeshkar said, Singers like Rafi aren't born every day.

Nobody can sing like Rafi, said the never ageing Rekha after recording the immortal number, Din dhal jaye, raat na jaye from Guide, in her own voice for her upcoming film.

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Born in Sultan Singh Kotla, a small town near Amritsar on Dec 24, 1924, Rafi grew up admiring K.L.Saigal, whose singing style freely mingled with Rafi's earlier songs. Realizing Rafi's passion, his elder brother Hamid placed the young Rafi under the tutelage of classical singer Ustad Wahid Khan. Mohd. Rafi duly became a radio star at age 13 and his first recording, a duet with Zeenat Begum, was for the Punjabi film Gul Baloch.

Thereafter, Rafi came to Mumbai, armed with a letter from composer Naushad's father. In 1944, Naushad used Rafi's untested but promising volcas in the film Pehle Aap in which he crooned those memorable lines Hindustan Ke Hum Hai, Hindustan Hamare Hai

In a short time Mohd. Rafi was to become the voice of Hindustan. National recognition came from the hit number Yahan badla wafa ka, bewafai Ke Siwa Kya Hai, a composition by Feroz Nizami.

A young nation's passion and mood to surge ahead found expression in the immortal lyrics of great lyricists like Sahir Ludhianvi, Shakeel Badayuni, Hasrat Jaipuri, Shailendra, Kaifi Azmi, Majrooh, and many others. Music wizards of this golden era like Naushad, O.P.Nayyar, Shankar-Jaikishan, Madan Mohan, Khayyam, Laxmikant-Pyarelal wove magical tunes around mesmerising lyrics. And the vocals that made these immortal were those of the incomparable master of the trade, the inimitable Mohd. Rafi.

Mohd Rafi

Over the next three decades, Rafi's versatile voice resounded through the lips of heroes and other Hindi film characters, whom Rafi could easily impersonate. From Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Shashi and Rishi Kapoor, to Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Johnny Walker and Kishore Kumar - Mohd Rafi play backed for all of them.

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A tee totaler and family man to the core, Rafi is the shining example of a singer who lit the way and blazed the trail for numerous aspiring singers, from Mahendra Kapoor to Anwar, Shabir Kumar right down to Sonu Nigam. Music director Uday Majumedar, of Buniyaad fame, says, Rafi would never cancel a recording even when struck with a sore throat or illness since he rightly believed in not depriving the musicians of their day's earnings.

Posted: 15 years ago
Mohammed Rafi - Baharon Phool Barsao (Suraj)

Ye Jo Chilman Hai Dushman Hai

Kya Huwa Tera Wada

Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par

Bekhudi Mein Sanam - Mohammed Rafi & Lata

Rukh Se Zara Naqaab Utha Do

Pathar Ke Sanam Tujhe Humne

Yahan Main Ajnabi Hoon

Aye Husn Zara Jaag Tujhe Ishq

Teri Ankhon Ke Siwa Duniya Mein

Dil Ke Jharonke Mein Tujhko Bithakar


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