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Voice of a million souls

Tuesday, July 31st, 2001

By Afsana Ahmed

Every evening normally when all other kids reluctantly sat by the study table, a seven-year-old kid chose to be different. Enchanted by the soothing music of the Ektara which wafted in the air, and ignoring the regular reprimands of his parents, the young boy religiously followed a fakir to the latter’s abode – a huge tree. Observation by the fakir led to a friendship which gradually stimulated the dormant interest of the boy. (more…)

Rafi Sahab, the greatest singer ever!

Sunday, July 15th, 2001

This article is written by Raghav

Mohd Rafi was a great singer, unparalleled, and there can never be another Rafi. I have been a great fan of Rafi and I have always loved to enjoy his songs, analyze them and appreciate them all the more.

Rafi had 4 unique qualities:

  • Quality of voice
  • Voice differentiation
  • Ability of expression
  • Mastery of late entry

which are unique to Rafi and Rafi alone.

Tonal quality of voice and timber was so smooth, free flowing, and of perfectly circular, uniform cross section without any burrs, rough edges or splashes, or out of shape even for a brief moment & the quality of Rafi’s voice can only be felt, cant ever be described in words, I will however try to visualize the perfection of his voice in physical, tangible terms, imagine a tubular pipe of a uniform cross section and tremendous resilience, perfect shape and it’s flexibility enables it to be stretched (high octaves) without thinning the wall thickness, it can be compressed without affecting the shape (low octave), and can be bent and manipulated at any angle in any dimension without disturbing the shape or cross section (alaaps, murkis, and taans) imagine such a material! I doubt whether material science has progressed enough to produce such material! But Rafi had a voice that symbolized the material!

To see the voice quality in action!

listen to:

O duniya ke rakhwale: from Baiju bawra.

Rafi starts normally with “mehal udaas aur galiyan sooni” and jumps up “dil kya ujada duniya ujadi”. Advances rapidly to “hum jeevan kaise gujarein” peaks at “mandir girta phir ban jaata” and slides down smoothly to “dil ko kaun samhaley”.

The vocal pyrotechnics are superbly smooth and effortless, even Nadia Comenci couldn’t be better!

Jaane Bahar Husn tera: from Pyar kiya to darna kya.

Rafi starts the antara at base level , “hai ye teri mast adayein ye baaq pan” repeats the sentence at double the height, climbs up to “kiranon ko bhi na chhoone doonga tera badan” and descends smoothly and rapidly with “tujhse nazar milaye yeh kiski majaal hai”. Beautiful gliding which no para-glider champion can ever replicate!

Rafi perhaps was the only singer with this rare capability of smooth ascent and descent with such a short runway, his voice was the equivalent technology of V-TOL (vertical take-off & landing) and S-ToL of modern day high-tech Harrier jets!

Rafi was at his peak in the period 1955 to 1965. This decade also was the golden period of Hindi film music. Rafi showcased his unique ability of voice differentiation; he used to modify and distinguish his voice to suit different heroes without compromising his voice quality. Hearing a song in Binaca Geet mala, much before the release of the film, we could recognize who the song is pasteurized on!

One could clearly identify the hero, Dilip Kumar, Devanand, Shammi Kapoor, Rajendra Kumar, or Dharmendra. Lata too used to sing differently for Nutan and Meena Kumari, Asha used to distinguish between Asha Parekh and Helen, but Rafi’s versatility and broad range was far superior in all respects.

Rafi even had a different style for MD,s. Rafi’s voice had subtle difference for Naushad, O.P.Nayyar, S.J, and Madan Mohan, SD Burman.

Rafi had this talent to capture the mood of the song, express the very essence of lyrics as well as the overall theme and reflected the situation as pasteurized on screen!

To understand this unique talent recall in your mind:

Too kahan, yeh bataa, is nasheeli raat mein from Tere ghar ke saamne.
Sheer desperation of a physically tired lover seeking to locate his beloved, depicted so beautifully!

Mein nigahein tere chehre se hataoon kaise from Aap ki parchaaiyan.
Sheer helplessness of a love struck hero!

Nache man mora from meri soorat teri aankhen
Sheer ecstasy of an artist on seeing the converging clouds, dying to dance euphorically!

Baazi kisi ne pyaar ki jeeti ya haar di from Nazraana.
A philosophical shrug of shoulders, a humble, graceful acceptance of the ironies of fate!

Bahut sahi gamen duniya magar udaas na ho from Aaj aur Kal
A gentle, consoling, optimistic solace with assured promise of a better tomorrow!

Is rang badaltee duniya mein from Raajkumar
A persuasive advise of a deeply concerned well wisher!

Tere mere sapne from Guide
A reassuring promise of assurance to a grief sticken friend!

There are many more such examples.

Another great quality of Rafi was his superb late entry which was as enthralling as GR Vishwanath’s late cuts in his prime!

Rafi used to enter the song halfway through, very coolly, very surreptitiously and suddenly capture the center-stage, which used to get the other singer/s clean bowled! Examples:

Awaaz deke humein tum bulao from Professor.
Rafi enters in later half, Lata is left behind trying hard to catch up!

Par thehar woh jo wahan in mujhe gale se lagao from Nayi umar ki nayi fasal
A stern interjection, a strong rejoinder that has Asha reeling!

Bahut sahi from Aaj aur kal
A melodious, cool, interjection so reassuring, so comforting that leaves nagging Asha stuck!

There are many more such songs where Rafi making a late entry, captures the centrestage so effortlessly! There a few, not so well known songs in which Rafi has excelled superbly, to name a few:

  • Raaz-e dil unse chhupaya na gaya: Apna bana ke dekho
  • Zara sun haseena ye nazneen: Kaun apna Kaun paraya
  • Ankhiyan sang ankhiya lage aaj: Bada Bhai
  • Zara saamne to aa voh chhalie: Janam janam ke phere
  • Yehi hai tamanna: Aapki parchhaiyan
  • Apni to har aaah: Kala Bazar

These are some of rare songs.

Rafi sahab was great and is great, he will live in our hearts forever and ever.

– Raghav

Rafi Saab versus Lataji

Sunday, July 15th, 2001

Author : Binay Bhushan
Credits : This article was further filtered with the help of Mr. Rajinder Bhatia.

Mr. Binay BhushanSometime back I went through some mails that were about the topic that who was the sufferer- Rafi Saab or Lataji due to their rift in 60s . That propelled me to write this article. Here I am going to discuss some of the songs of that dark period of our film music world. (more…)



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