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.
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).
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).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 Raat, Dillagi and Dulari) Shyam Sunder (Bazaar) and Husnalal Bhagatram (Meena Bazaar).
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.
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 Jaikishan, S.D. Burman and Roshan.
Rafi worked with Burman in 37 movies, including Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Kala Bazar, Nau 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.
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.
Ravi and Rafi produced several other songs in the films China Town (1962), Kaajal (1965), and Do Badan (1966).
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".
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.
Among the films of this combination are Basant Bahar, Professor, Junglee, Suraj, Brahmachari, An Evening in Paris, Dil Tera Deewana, Yakeen, Prince, Love in Tokyo, Beti Bete, Dil Ek Mandir, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, Gaban and Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai.
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".
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 Baaghi, Shehzaada and Shararat.
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