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An Ocean of Difference

Wednesday, May 17th, 2000

An article by Mr. Ajay Bannai

So much has been said so far, perhaps one more opinion would only add to the pile. I have not made a study as such and more qualified people have already done so – I do not think I can add any further.

My feeling – the shift of popularity from Rafi to KK is more an issue of shifting trends and musical values. Rafi saab was popular when music was the centerpiece of the theme and films were successful on the basis of music. KK got to be more popular when the musical tastes have changed. The music became more of a “teen kanastar” type when KK became more popular. I feel KK was always under Rafi’s shadow for the duration when music was an integral part of the movie and not contrived into the themes. I personally believe that Rafi saab never regained his stature once he lost it to KK for no other reason than that the masses who started listening to music had lower standards of music. A “khaike paan banaras waala..” was a bigger hit say than “dard-e-dil..”. Speaks volumes. If that is popularity, then I personally would not seek it.

If someone were to compare and do a statistical analysis on the basis of total songs sung to total songs appreciated, between the two Rafi saab would outscore. Similarly, compare the lyrical beauty of songs rendered, Rafi would score. I have not heard too many songs of KK but the range of emotions in the songs would put Rafi saab as the number one. Perhaps the only emotion where KK beats Rafi saab is the comedy track. I think Kishore is unpromising on pure romantic numbers, only good ones being “yeh raate yeh mausam” and “dekha ek khwaab to yeh” perhaps. Sad songs, “dukhi man mere” is probably the only one. Classical music based tunes, KK is not much heard.

I personally believe that music is for enjoyment and even if a “Kumar Saanu ” song sounds good, I listen to it. So I do not really think a great amount of value is added by doing a comparison. Lataji for all her documented short-comings sang “aye mere watan ke logo”, “allah tero naam.. eeshwar tero naam” and countless Ghazals for Madan Mohan. I love her songs and can reel a list and I suppose so many others can, too.

I guess this is an era where mediocrity shrouded with blaring noises passes for music. To add value add some bare mid-riffs to appeal to one’s baser instincts and you have a video hit. The music critics who thrive in this era, no wonder find KK more appealing than Rafi saab. Today a remix artist like AR Rehman gets to compose for the biggest events. Far more competent composers, like Naushad saab, Khaiyyam saab etc are not even mentioned – except by oldies – like us. Perhaps we all resent this over-selling because we share a value system not based on quantity but quality.

I would say both artists (Rafi and KK) are great legendary & celebrated singers and have contributed their mite towards bettering the music world for us. If forced to choose, I would choose Rafi saab – no doubt.

Lastly, Rafi is the greater one, because he sang playback for KK but KK could not do the same. Fuzzy logic??? Yes. Incidentally the song in Sharaarat was recorded by Rafi saab since KK refused to sing it after getting into some payment hassles with Rahul Rawail. I think that song is better sung by Rafi saab that it would have been by KK. Many years later, for “love story”, KK refused to sing in the movie, I think Rahul Rawail was associated with it somehow, saying “Rafi saab se gaana gawayiyeh..”. Rafi saab had already passed away then. KK relented later since it was also the debut film of his son.

I believe Anil Biswas gave an interview saying that Rafi is a non-singer long back. I do not know what prompted him to say that. KK wrote personally saying that “Rafi saab is a great singer and no one could dominate the industry as he did for couple of decades” if he was a non-singer.

– Ajay

Greatness of this peerless singer

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2000

By Mr. Binay Bhushan

Binay BhushanI would like to draw your attention towards this interesting fact about Rafi Saab’ssongs. Despite being a male playback singer, most often music directors called him to render those songs which were to come from the background in the film, butpasteurized on female characters. (more…)



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