Mohammed Rafi - The Legend: Whose immortal voice continues to haunt! by G. Venkatesh SignUp
Mohammed Rafi - The Legend:
Whose immortal voice continues to haunt!
G. Venkatesh Bookmark and Share

July 31st was Mohammed Rafi’s death anniversary. Thousands of his fans would have got glued to the FM radio on that day to devour the songs of the late Rafisaab as he was popularly called. For fans of Bollywood music, it has been a perennial dilemma to choose between the songs of Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Both were legends in their own might. Both were immensely popular and continue to be popular.

During the late 60’s when the era of Naushad was over, it appeared that Mohd Rafi’s career had also ground to a halt. The success  of “Aradhna” had catapulted Kishore Kumar to unmatched fame and glory. But Rafi proved to be resilient and bounced back and had a fairly good time until his sudden death in 1981.

Unlike Kishore Kumar, very little is known about Mohd Rafi’s personal life. We do know that his son made an attempt at playback singing but had to eventually give up. We also need to acknowledge the fact that Rafisaab was in the right place at the right time and had a mentor like Naushad who gave him ample opportunities to showcase his talent... However, to present a balanced view, I feel that towards the end, Rafi faltered a bit especially while singing for Dharmendra. May be he tried to yoodle like Kishore Kumar but the effort came unstuck.

A case in point are the songs from the 1968 movie – “Pyar Hi Pyar”, some of the movies of Dharmendra in the mid-70s (I hate that song – “Tera peecha na chodunga”). The fact is Rafi more than made up for this mistake by giving us a few classic songs in the late 70’s. In this article, I present a few of the songs of Rafi that I have loved immensely over the years. You may consider this as a tribute to the late singer, who according to me, never got his due in Bollywood. I am saying this because very little gets written about him at least on his death anniversary; there is hardly any media coverage and it appears that most of the playback singers of the current generation are busy in hosting reality shows on television and giving sound bytes to the media on spotting talent.

Aaj Purani Yadon Se koi mujhe awaz de” from the movie ‘Aadmi’ literally takes you on a tour of the Mysore Brindavan Gardens even as you visualise Dilip Kumar on a wheelchair. The voice of Mohd Rafi suited Shammi Kapoor and Dilip Kumar very well and to some extent Dev Anand and  Manoj Kumar. In the last few years before his death, Anil Dhawan and Rishi Kapoor were actors who lipsynched to some popular ditties like “Teri galiyon mein na ayenge”, ”Hai agar dushman”, “Poocho Na Yar kya hua”. The song “Ek tera saath humko do jahan se pyaara hai” from the 1969 movie “Wapas” is immensely popular even today. Though I liked the song – “Aaja tujhko pukare mera pyar” from the movie Neelkamal right from my school days, I feel the movie was insipid and bland. I think Rafi is the only singer other than Kishore who has done justice to the lyrics penned by Neeraj. Case in point – “Subah Na Ayi, Sham Na Ayi” from the 1966 movie Cha Cha Cha and the goldie from “Nayi Umar Ki Nayi Fasal” – “Swapna jhadde phool se, Meet chhubhe shool se....”. The title song of “Patthar Ke Sanam” remains another favourite.

Rafi has also sung some beautiful songs for well known composer Khayyam – “Kahin Ek Masoom” from Shankar Hussain, “Parbaton Ke Pedon Par” from ‘Shagun’ and of course “Sham-e-gham ki” from Footpath. In fact, if you watch the  song “Parbaton ke pedon par” on ‘You tube’ you will realise how well the lead pair (Waheeda Rehman and Kamaljeet {who later on went on to marry Waheeda in real life}) have acted for this song. There are some breath taking locales that you can watch in this song.

I am very biased to the songs sung by Rafi for Shammi Kapoor – “Yeh chand sa roshan chehra”, “Hai na bolo bolo, hai na bolo bolo”, “Aye Gulbadan’, “Rangat teri surat si’, “Aaj kaal tere mere pyar ke charche”,”Badan pe sitare lapete”.  Songs like “Uden Jab Jab”, “Do Sitaran ka Zameen”, “ Aaj ki raat mere dil ki” that he sang for Dilip Kumar continue to remain my favourites.

O, my god, how can I forget the gems that Rafi sang for Joy Mukherjee – “O mere shahe kuba”, “Bade miya deewane” and for Rajendra Kumar – “Yeh Mera Prem Patra padkar ke tum naraaz na hona”. I cannot write  bout the songs Rafi sang for comedian Johny Walker because that would need a book to write about. But the song from Saira Banu-Joy Mukherjee starrer (can’t recall the name) – “Hum bhi agar bachhe hote” remains a personal favourite. ”Yeh Dil tum bin kahin lagta nahin” from “Izzat” and “Ab kya missal doon main tumhare” from “Aarti” are also some excellent songs sung by Mohd Rafi.

Hey, but what is this ? What have I got into ? Is it really possible to pick a few favourite songs from the plethora of songs that Rafisaab has sung? Barring a few songs (especially – Dildari ka dong rachaye from Izzat, which was more like a nursery rhyme), the undisputable fact is that Rafi has sung several diamonds from which it is tough to pick and choose a few. Rafisaab is dead and gone but his voice is alive – it continues to haunt us.  Listening to these songs by Rafi –these are filled with so much pathos that it really touches a chord in your heart – to name a few – “Na tuh zameen ke liye, hai na asman ke liye”, “Nazar athi nahin manzil, tadapne se bhi kya haasil”.

Let me wind up this article by reminiscing about the three songs that you can listen forever .... “ O, my love...Nazar na lag jaye” from Night in London,  “Raat Ke Humsafar thak ke ghar ko chale” from “An Evening in Paris” and “Chalo dildhar chalo” from Pakeezah.

Have I made your day? 

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Comments on this Blog

Comment  Good analysis of Rafi's song....some lesser known music-directors like N.Dutta, Hansraj Behel, S. N. Tripathy also gave  some priceless songs  to Rafi which are unmatched till date.

arun bajaj
09/18/2010 01:27 AM

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