Sunday, 31 July 2016

Remembering Mohammad Rafi on his36th Death Anniversary

Wo Jab Yaad Aaye Bahut Yaad Aaye -The Singer who gave us more than 26,000 superhit songs.

Mohammed Rafi is considered to be one of the greatest playback singers in the history of Bollywood.  In the four decades that he was active, he sang for most of the top male actors.

He  was born on December 24th, 1924 in the small Punjabi village of Kotla Sultan Singh.  This is located not far from Amritsar.  Rafi's father was named Haji Ali Mohammad, and the young Rafi had five older brothers.  As a child, he had the nickname of "Pheeko".  Mohd. Rafi started to show an inclination towards music at a very early age when he used to imitate the songs of a wandering fakir that used to visit his village.
At the age of seven, Rafi learnt Hindustani Classical music under the renowned Ustaad Bade Gulam Ali Khan and Vahida Khan.
It was fate that initiated Mohammed Rafi's rise to stardom.  One time he and his brother Hamid went to attend a performance by the renown K.L. Saigal.  Unfortunately the power went off.  K.L. Saigal refused to sing without the benefit of the sound system.  The audience was getting agitated losing their patience; whereupon Hamid persuaded the organisers to allow Rafi to sing for them until the power was restored.  The organisers readily agreed, so he sang for them.In that programme  the great composer and music director Shyam Sunder was in the audience.  He was very impressed by the young Rafi.  Shyam Sundar invited Mohammed Rafi to sing for one of his films.  So it was in 1944 at the age of 20, that Rafi sang for his first film.  It was the songSoniye Hiriye, Teri Yaad Ne Bahut Sataya, for the Punjabi film "Gul Baloch".which was released on 28th February, 1944.  This brought Mohd. Rafi to the attention of other music directors.Many of his songs were sung by youths and school-going kids.
song from "Gul Baloch".

Rafi was invited by Nasir, a well-known actor of those times to Bombay.He took the decision of shifting to Bombay so in1944, he moved to Bombay to enhance his career.  There he sang for Shyam Sundar in his film "Gaon Ki Gori", and Naushad in his film "Pehele Aap".  He very quickly went on to sing for several other music directors, but his first real hit was with Noor Jahan singing Yahaan Badla Wafa Ka in the film "Jugnu" (1947).
Yahaan Badla Wafa Ka from Jugnu

When Rafi entered the Hindi Cinema that time K L Sehgal, who was his idol was in his peak every male singer used to sing in his style Rafi also did the same but at the later years he developed his own style.K L Sehgal used to praise Rafi.
Besides K. L. Saigal, Rafi was also influenced by G. M. Durrani. In the early phase of his career, he often followed Durrani's style of singing, but later evolved with his own, unique style. He sang with Durrani in some of the songs such as "Humko Hanste Dekh Zamana Jalta Hai" and "Khabar Kisi Ko Nahiin, Woh Kidhar Dekhte" (Beqasoor, 1950).

Khabar Kisi Ko Nahiin, Woh Kidhar Dekhte from Beqasoor(1950)

Humko Hanste Dekh Zamana Jalta Hai from Hum sab Chor Hain(1956)

Rafi was offered acting roles also,those days playback singing was not popular,only those actor ere casted who can sing also,in 1945 he acted in Laila Manu he appeared on the screen for the song "Tera Jalwa Jis Ne Dekha"  and he also acted in Jugnu(1947).
Tera Jalwa Jis Ne Dekha from Laila majnu (1945)

In 1948 When Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated, Rafi sang a song Suno Suno Ay Duniya Walon, Bapu ki Yeh Amar kahani written by Rajinder Krishan and music by Hunslal Bhagatram, which touched everyone and was a great hit.
Suno Suno Ay Duniya Walon, Bapu ki Yeh Amar kahani

Rafi was notable for his versatility, his songs ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawwalis to ghazals andbhajans. He was known for his ability to mould his voice to the persona of the actor lip-synching the song on screen in the movie.
Mere Sapnon Ki Rani, Roohi Roohi from Shahajahan(1946)

He sang a number of songs for Naushad as part of the chorus, including "Mere Sapnon Ki Rani, Roohi Roohi" with K. L. Saigal from the film Shahjahan (1946). Rafi sang "Tera Khilona Toota Balak" from Mehboob Khan's Anmol Ghadi (1946) and a duet with Noor Jehan in the 1947 film Jugnu, "Yahan Badla Wafa Ka". After partition, Rafi decided to stay back in India and had the rest of his family flown to Mumbai
Yahan Badla Wafa Ka from Jugnu (1947)

Rafi's association with Naushad helped the former establish himself as one of the most prominent playback singers in Hindi cinema.In 1949, Rafi was given solo songs by music directors such as Naushad (Chandni RaatDillagi and Dulari) Shyam Sunder (Bazaar) and Husnalal Bhagatram (Meena Bazaar).
Rafi with Naushad

A major milestone forRafi came in 1949 when Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki, became a great hit.  This solidified Mohd. Rafi's position as a top ranking male playback singer. 
Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki from Dulari(1949)

Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj

In 1952 Baiju Bawra released, it had the music of Naushad the songs like "O duniya ke rakhwale" and "Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj" sung by Rafi became immortal.

The Naushad / Rafi collaboration turned out to be a very successful one.  In all Mohd Rafi sang 149 songs for Naushad.In the 1960 film Mughal-E-Azam, Mohammed Rafi sang "Ae Mohabbat Zindabad", composed by Naushad, with a chorus of 100 singers.
 In the late 1950s and 1960s, he worked with other composers of the era such as O. P. Nayyar,Shankar JaikishanS.D. Burman and Roshan.
Rafi with S D Burman and Dev Anand

 Rafi worked with Burman in 37 movies, including Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Kala BazarNau Do Gyaran, Kala Pani Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963), Guide (1965), Aradhana (1969), and Abhimaan (1973).S.D.Burman used Rafi as a singing voice of Dev Anand and Guru Dutt.
Khoya khoya Chand

Rafi got his first Filmfare Award for the title song of Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), composed by Ravi. He received National Award for the song "Babul Ki Duaen Leti Ja" from the film Neel Kamal (1968), also composed by Ravi. Rafi wept during the recording of this song.
Babul Ki Duaen Leti Ja

Ravi and Rafi produced several other songs in the films China Town (1962), Kaajal (1965), and Do Badan (1966).
Baar Baar Dekho from China Town (1962)
Rafi with Jaikishan ,Hasarat jaipuri and Shashi Kapoor

Rafi's partnership with Shankar Jaikishan was among also famous and successful in the Hindi film industry. Rafi produced some of his songs for actors like Shammi Kapoorand Rajendra Kumar. Out of six Filmfare awards, Rafi won three for S-J songs – "Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko", "Baharon Phool Barsao", and "Dil Ke Jharokhe Mein". 
Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko from Sasural (1961)

Baharon Phool Barsao from Suraj (1966)

Dil Ke Jharokhe Mein from Brahamchari(1968)

The song "Yahoo! Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe" was sung by Rafi, only to be matched a fast-paced orchestra and a composition by Shankar Jaikishan.Rafi sang a total of 341 numbers (216 solo) for Shankar-Jaikishan.

Aye Gulbadan Aye Gulbadan from Professor

 Among the films of this combination are Basant BaharProfessorJungleeSurajBrahmachariAn Evening in ParisDil Tera DeewanaYakeenPrinceLove in TokyoBeti BeteDil Ek MandirDil Apna Aur Preet ParaiGaban and Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai.
Rafi with O P Nayyar

O P Nayyar was another Composer with whom Rafi was associated in 50s and 60s.  O. P. Nayyar was once quoted as saying "If there had been no Mohd. Rafi, there would have been no O. P. Nayyar" He and Rafi created many songs together including "Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan".
Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan

 He got Rafi to sing for singer-actor Kishore Kumar – "Man Mora Baawara" for the movie Raagini. Later, Rafi sang for Kishore Kumar in movies such as BaaghiShehzaada and Shararat.
Rafi giving playback to Kishore Kumar in Raagini

 O. P. Nayyar used Rafi and Asha Bhosle for most of his songs. The team created many songs in the early 1950s and 1960s for movies such as Naya Daur (1957), Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), and Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). Rafi sang a total of 197 numbers (56 solo) for Nayyar
Laxmikant-Pyarelal (L-P) patronised Rafi as one of their singers, right from their very first song by him from the film, Parasmani (1963). Rafi and L-P won the Filmfare Awards for the song "Chahoonga Main Tujhe Saanjh Savere" from Dosti (1964). Rafi rendered the maximum number of songs for the music director duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal: 369 numbers (186 solo) for L-P.
Rafi sang the maximum number of duets withAsha Bhonsle (female), Manna Dey (male) and Lata Mangeshkar (female).In the song "Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyaar Kya Karein" (Amar, Akbar, Anthony), Rafi sang one song with Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh,the most legendary singers in Bollywood. This was probably the only time that all of them rendered their voices for one song.
song from Amar Akbar Anthony

However, the 1970's marked a period of professional decline for him.  After the success of "Aradhana", Kishore Kumar arose in popularity and began to take many of the projects that previously would have gone to Rafi.
Rafi with Kishore Kumar

 During 1971–1973, Rafi's musical output decreased; however, he did sing several songs.[25] Some of Rafi's songs of the early 1970s were with music directors like Laxmikant-PyarelalMadan MohanR.D. Burman and S. D. Burman. These include "Tum Mujhe Yun Bhula Na Paoge" (a signature song of Rafi in 1971) from Pagla Kahin Ka; "Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil" from Heer Ranjha (1970); "Kaan Mein Jhumka" from Sawan Bhadon; "Jhilmil Sitaron ka" from Jeevan Mrityu (a duet with Lata Mangeshkar, 1970); "Gulabi Aankhen" from The Train (1970); "Yunhi Tum Mujhse Baat" from Sachaa Jhutha; "Yeh Jo Chilman Hain" and "Itna to Yaad Hain Mujhe" from Mehboob Ki Mehndi (1971); "Mera Mann Tera Pyasa" Gambler; "Chadti Jawani" from Caravan; "Chalo Dildar Chalo" from 1972 released Pakeezah; "Chura Liya Hai Tumne" fromYaadon Ki Baarat (a duet with Asha Bhosle, 1973); "Na Tu Zameen Ke Liye" from 1973 released Dilip Kumar movie Dastan; "Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho" from Hanste Zakhm (1973); "Teri Bindiya Re", fromAbhimaan (1973) and "Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai" from Loafer (1973). Kitna pyaar a Wada ,"Carvan"(1971)
song from Hawas(1974)

Rafi made a comeback as a leading singer in 1974. That year, he won the Film World magazine Best Singer Award for the song "Teree Galiyon Mein Na Rakhenge Qadam Aaj Ke Baad" (Hawas, 1974) composed by Usha Khanna. But just as it seemed that Mohd. Rafi was slipping from the scene, he made a remarkable comeback with the success of "Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahi", in which his hit Kya Hua Tera Waada, won him the National Award.
In the late 70s few of his songs were hit but the storm of Kishore Kumar was so strong ,no other singer could stand.Rafi's notable renderings in the late 1970s and early 1980s include Bairaag (1976), Laila Majnu (1976), Amar Akbar Anthony(1977)Apnapan (1978), Sargam(1979),Suhaag (1979),QurbaniDostana and Karz (1980), The Burning Train (1980), Naseeb (1981), Abdullah (1980), Shaan (1980), Aasha (1980), Aap To Aise Na The (1980), and Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (1982).
Rafi is primarily noted for his songs in Hindi, over which he had a strong command. He sang in other Indian languages including AssameseKonkani,BhojpuriOdiaPunjabiBengaliMarathiSindhiKannadaGujaratiTeluguMagahiMaithili and Urdu. Apart from Indian languages, he also sang songs in English, FarsiArabicCreole, and Dutch.
In an article in Times of India, Rafi is described as "a versatile singer, who could render classical, rock and roll, indeed any kind of song with ease, he was Hindi film's, favourite male voice through the 1950s and 1960s". Music director Rajesh Roshan, who composed some of the songs with Rafi, remembers him as "a warm-hearted simple person with no ego".
Classical and playback singer Manna Dey, who was also a contemporary of Rafi once said, "Rafi and I could sing everything, and he was such a gentleman. He was a better singer than me, and I will say this – that no one came even close to him! He deserved everything he got! We had a great understanding and it was never about one-upmanship"
Rafi with Manna De

Rafi married twice; his first marriage was to his cousin; Bashira and took place in his ancestral village.The marriage ended when his first wife refused to live in India following the killing of her parents during the riots of Partition of India and moved to Lahore, Pakistan.
Rafi had four sons and three daughters; his first son Saeed was from his first marriage.
Man re, tu kahe na Dheer Dhare from chitralekha(1964)

In June 2010, Rafi along with Lata Mangeshkar was voted the most popular playback singer in the Outlook Music Poll, conducted by Outlook magazine.The same poll voted "Man re, tu kahe na Dheer Dhare" (Chitralekha, 1964), sung by Rafi as the No. 1 song.Three songs were tied for the No. 2 place: Two were sung by Rafi. The songs were "Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hain" (Guide, 1965) and "Din Dhal Jaye, hai raat na jaye" (Guide, 1965). This poll was published in Outlook. The jury included people in the Indian music industry: 
song from Guide

song from Guide Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hain

On July 31st, 1980, this great singer went back home early after recording and dies due to a massive heart attack. His funeral procession was one befitting a king. Mohammed Rafi was a legend of legends and shall remain so till eternity.

Rare Pictures

All the great singers of that era
Rafi with his family members
-Rafi-and-Hameed,his brother

Rafi with Nehru  ji
Rafi,Mukesh and Talat Mahmood
Rafi in a mushaira 1960
Rafi with Asha
Rafi with Dilip-Kumar


Here is one such song from “O Tera Kyaa Kehna” (1959). Rafi and Manna Dey are the singers of this song. Shore Niyazi  is the lyricist. Kalyanji is the music director.

Haay boot polish haay haay re boot polish (O Tera Kya Kehna) (1959) 

The lyrics for this song are written by Hasrat Jaipuri.  And the music is by Shankar Jaikishan.  The singing voice is that of Rafi Sb.  Listen closely and you will realize that this is a short ghazal that has been tuned into this wonderful song. This song is from Dev Anand and Saadhana Unreleased film (Saajan Ki Galiyaan)

Hum Ne Jinke Khwaab Sajaaye (Saajan Ki Galiyaan) (UR) (1966) 

So here is a song from “Baat ek Raat ki”(1962), written by Majrooh Sultanpuri and composed by S. D. Burman. It is a happy-romantic duet sung by Mohammed Rafi and Aasha Bhosle. Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman are singing this duet in the rain.

Song from Baat Ek Raat Ki

Here is one  song from “Aadmi” (1968). Naushad, the music director got the song recorded (for the record company) in the voices of Rafi (for Dilip Kumar) and Talat Mehmood( for Manoj Kumar). But when the song was to be recorded for the sound track, Manoj Kumar insisted Naushad that Mahendra Kapoor should sing for him. Naushad was forced to bow down and he recorded the song for movie sound track in the voices of Rafi and Mahendra Kapoor.I am posting both the versions here.

Ek chaand aasmaan pe hai (Aadmi ) (1968) Rafi and Talat version

Ek chaand aasmaan pe hai (Aadmi ) (1968) Rafi and Talat version

Listen to this very interesting question-answer type song. From the composition and accompanying chorus, this appears to be a dance song, Only Audio is available.The music is composed by Hans Raj Behl. But very interestingly, the music for this one solitary song is given by Husnlal Bhagatram.
Dholak Ko Khoob Bajaao, Jaani Ko Khoob Nachaao (Raajput) (1951) Singer – Mohammed Rafi, Shamshad Begum, Lyrics – Moti BA, MD – Husnlal Bhagatram

 Jagjit Kaur who is singing with Rafi. This is from the film ‘ Mera Bhai Mera Dushman ‘ (1967).

Mera Bhai Mera Dushman