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The passionate praise

This is a review written by Gan Sharma, of a song that is well-known but probably not listened to with the passion it deserves!

Mohd Rafi with R.D.Burman

Mohd Rafi with R.D.Burman

It is well known that Rafi saab’s ability to sing a woman’s praise is unparalleled. There are hundreds of such songs that Rafi saab has sung, and many have been reviewed in this excellent website.

However, there is one song that I have not paid close attention to, and which falls in this category. You know how it is. Although it is a sin to fast-forward any Rafi song, you tend to gravitate towards your favourites, and skip songs in your iPod or CD to get to the next one. I have been guilty of this too!

Last week, as I was driving back from a friend’s place 240 kms away, I was listening to Rafi saab in my car, and was thinking of something else when this song (that I’d have ordinarily fast-forwarded!) was playing, and suddenly I thought, “My God, what a beautiful song, what beautiful words, and how magically has Rafi saab has sung it”.

I later looked up the song and found that it was from a movie released in 1980, the year the Master died, so it must have been one of his last few (tens? hundreds?) of songs; yet, the magic in his voice hadn’t faltered, his gentle enfolding of the beloved in passionate praise was as warm as ever. “Maine poocha chaand se…”, from Abdullah, picturized on Zeenat Aman and Sanjay Khan, is one of his enduring classics.

To those of us who are caught in a time-warp of the 50’s and 60’s, to diehard retro music fans like us, bred in the warmth of Sahir Ludhianvi and Shakeel Badayuni, and drowned in the music of Naushad and Madan Mohan, an Anand Bakshi / RD Burman number might seem, well, less than stellar. Not so, Rafi bhakton. This song has the magic of the best of them.

Watch the song Maine Poocha Chand Se from Abdullah. Coutesy imtiyaz123456 @ Youtube

Unbridled praise is difficult. When done improperly, it sounds cheesy, insincere and smacks of flattery. However, if the poetry is top-grade, and if Rafi saab sings it, such lavish praise seems just right, perfectly appropriate, and full of the warmth of passionate love. Let’s start with the words:

Maine poocha chand se ke dekha hai kahin, mera yaar sa haseen
Chand ne kaha, Chandni ki kasam, nahi nahi nahi

Maine yeh hi jaab tera dhoondha, har jageh shabab tera dhoondha
kaliyon se misaal teri poochi, phoolon me jawaab tera dhoondha
maine poocha baag se falak ho ya zameen, aisa phool hai kahin
baag ne kaha har kali ki kasam, nahi nahi nahi

Wah, saab! Tareef ho to aisa ho varna na ho! The poet has thrown restraint to the winds, and indulged in the most eloquent of praises. Metaphorically, the moon and moonlight are the ultimate benchmarks of beauty and fairness in Urdu poetry. You could compare the beloved to the moon, but rarely is it surpassed. Anand Bakshi decided to go for it, and did he ever?!

Is there such a flower as my beloved, the poet asks? Not just on terra firma, but on earth as well as in the heavens? The “nahi, nahi, nahi…” is reminiscent of definiteness; traditionally, saying yes (or no) thrice is a mark of absolute surety. There are no half-measures here. This is it, says the poet. She’s the best, the most wonderful. Take it or leave it!

Chaal hai ke mauj ki ravaani, Zulf hai ke raat ki kahani
Hont hain ke aaine kawal ke, aankh hai ke maikhadon ki rani
maine poocha jaam se falak ho ya zameen, aisi mai bhi hai kahin
jaam ne kaha mehkashi ki kasam, nahi nahi nahi

Oh, let’s go for it, says Anand Bakshi. Take every known metaphor for bewitching beauty, and break it up and cast it to the winds.  Whether it is the flow of waves, the hidden secrets of the night, the petals of the lotus or the charm of the tavern, they all are subservient to the beauty of my beloved. Her walk, her locks, her lips, they are not the best in the universe, they ARE the universe!!

Khoobsurati jo tune paayi, lut gayi khuda ki bas khudaayi
meer ke gazal kahun tujhe main, ya kahun khaiyyaam ki rubaayi
main jo poochun shayaron se aisa dilnashi koyi sheyr hai kahin
shayar kahen shayari ki kasam, nahi nahi nahi

“You want extravagance”, asks the poet, “You’ve got it”. This verse goes way beyond what’s ordinarily allowed, and is almost blasphemous! I’ll talk about the second line first. Those of you who are students of the ghazal, will know that the quintessence of all things beautiful is a poem by the great Meer Taqi Meer. Even Mirza Ghalib, the acknowledged master of the Urdu ghazal, said in the maqta of one of his poems, and which has his takhallus:

Rekhte ke tumheen ustaad naheen ho Ghalib!
Kehte hain agle zamaane mein koi Meer bhee thaa

To compare a beloved’s beauty to a Meer ghazal is almost outrageous, but to add to it the beauty of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam takes it to unprecedented heights. Bakshi saab knocked it out of the ballpark when he said, “lut gayi khuda ki bas khudaai”. There’s nothing left to be said. She’s the one; she’s the only; she’s a sight for the Gods, and she’s mine.

Aadmi khudgarz hota hai. I wish this song was picturized on Waheeda Rehman, my personal all-time favourite heroine, but you can’t ask for everything!!! Sanjay Khan and Zeenat Aman are quite all right; the scene is almost tastefully shot; I wish there was less physical contact in the song; it might have enhanced the beauty of the song if she’s worshipped instead of possessed.

Mohd Rafi with R.D.Burman

Mohd Rafi with R.D.Burman

Rahul Dev Burman once again proves that he was a brilliant music director. Some of us diehard Rafi fans berate him for using Kishore saab more than Rafi; I don’t comment on such things. Things are never what they seem, and there’s always an alternative viewpoint. However, beauty is usually a thing of quality, never quantity. In this song, RD Burman uses a mixture of modern instrumentation and old-style composition brilliantly; he knew that the complexity of the score would be handled with ease by Rafi saab.

Of course, that’s where all our ability to write ends. No one, and I repeat no one, can describe the beauty of Rafi’s singing. You just bask in the glory of his voice and the brilliance of his rendering. Only he could balance the melody with the passion in this song; the outrageous comparisons with the gentleness of ascribing divinity to the beloved; and the hot breath of longing passion with the coolness of a gentle brook. How else can you describe this beautiful singing, sung in the late evening of his life – but who’d know it? Rafi saab might have aged; his voice didn’t; his body might have sagged, but his passion for a beautiful song remained as firm as ever.

I will always cherish this song; I hope when you listen again to it, you’ll feel the beauty too, and turn to your beloved and say, “I love you”. For Rafi saab sang this song on your behalf, to your partner, whoever he or she may be. He gave us his all, never held back, and compared to his selflessness, even this song pales.

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70 Blog Comments to “The passionate praise”

  1. Anmol Singh says:

    Gan Sharma Ji,

    Kya Baat Hai !!!

    Perhaps there are many things behind the words of praise for woman. When Rafi Sahab sings apart from words it portrays honesty, trustworthy and an innocent human being, which is the dream of every woman.

  2. Narayan says:

    Post 63 of Mohanbhai,
    Fully second and wholeheartedly support ur views of celebrating our icon’s 85th birth anniversary in style..
    For those who are interested to write to the leading newspaper of our country I can give their email ids and you can request them to pay a fitting tribute to the legend of legends Mohd Rafi sahab..
    My emaild id is

  3. gansharma says:

    Dr Khaja Aliuddin saheb,

    Thanks for a detailed and comprehensive list sir. Bahut hee badhiyaa list hai, sir. Thank you very much. And I will keep writing; your encouragement is really wonderful.

  4. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Janab Gan Sharma Sahib,
    You are a true lover of Rafi Sahab. Aapke hausle bahut buland hain. I really admire you. Keep up the good work. Here is my second instalment of romantic naghme of our maestro. Enjoy!
    1) Paas baitho tabiyyath bahal jayegi – Punar Milan
    2)Voh chand sa chehra liye, chat par tera aana – Qawwali ki raat
    3)Yeh teri saadgi yeh tera baankpan – Shabnam
    4)Sharma ke na ja balkha ke na ja – Shahnaai
    5)Pyar ki manzil mast nazar, tum ho haseen – Ziddi
    6)Pahle mile the sapnon me – Zindagai
    7)Mukhde pe tere bijli ki chamak,zulfon me ghata lahrati – Aadhi raat ke baad
    8)E phoolon ki raani, baharon ki malika – Aarzoo
    9)Chalke teri aankhon se sharaab aur ziyada – Aarzoo
    10)Sab me shamil ho magar sab se juda lagti ho – Bahu Beti
    11)Jaane woh kaun hai, naam hai un aankhon ka – Bheegi Raat
    12)Dil jo na kahsaka – Bheegi Raat
    13)Tum jahan jaoge, mujhko bi vahin paaoge – Chor Darwaza
    14)Kaanton me phansa yeh aanchal – Do Dil
    15)Tera husn rahe mera ishq rahe to yeh subha sham rahe – Do Dil
    16)Ham tumse juda hoke, mar jaayenge ro ro ke – Ek sapera ek lutera
    17)Choo lene do naazuk hoton ko – Kaajal
    18)Yeh zulf agar khulkar bikhar jaye to accha hai – Kaajal
    19)Tukde hain mere dil ke ae yaar tere aansoo – Mere sanam
    20)Huve hain tum pe aashiq ham bhala mano ya bura mano- Mere Sanam
    21)Meri nigah ne kya kaam lajawab kiya hai – Mohabbath isko kahte hain
    22)Aaj ki raat badi shokh badi natkhat hai – Nai Umar ki nai fasal
    23)E’musavvir tere hathon ko – Naya Kaanoon
    24)Hai tabassum tera – Nishaan
    25)Jaag dil-e-diwana,tit jaage visl-e-yaar ki – Oonche log
    26)Nainon me kajra, maashallah, balon me gajra subhan Allah – Noor mahal
    27)Mere pahloo me aake baitho khuda ke vaste – Rustu-e-Hind
    28)Mai to tere haseen khyalon me khogaya – Sangram
    29) Aise to na dekho – Teen Devian
    30)Kahin bekhyal hokar yun hi chhoo liy kisine – Teen Devian
    31)Shokhian nazar me hain – Aasra
    32)Chaand kitni door tha, sitare kitnee door the – Afsaana
    33)Abhi na phero nazar – Biraadri
    35)Haseen ho tum khuda nahi ho – Badtameez
    36)Kaajal vale nain milake kardala bechain – Devar
    37)Har jagah aapke khadmon ke nishan milte hain – Do dilon ki daastan
    38)Solah singhar karke jo aayi suhag raat – Gaban
    38)Jinki tasveer nigahon me liye phirta hoon – Husn aur Ishq
    39)Tere gesun ka saya meri jaan jisne paya – Love and Murder
    40)Haseen waadiyon fizaon se kahdo mera yaar – Laal bangla
    41)Bina tumhare maza kya hai aise jeene se – Street singer
    42)Bahut haseen ho bahut jawan ho – Mai wohi hoon
    43)Aankhon pe palkon ke ghughat – Mai wohi hoon
    44)Yeh poornoor chehra, yeh dilkash ada,namoona hai qudrat ki karigari ka-Mohabbath Zindagai hai
    45)Na jaane kyon hare dil ko tum ne dil nahi samjha- Mohabbat zindagai hai
    46)Yun rootho na haseena – Neend hamari khwab tumhare
    47)Teri zulfen paresha, teri nazren pareshan – Preet na jaane reet
    48)Yun na dekho hamen baar baar – Preet na jaane reet
    49)Saaz ho tum aawaz hoon mai – Saaz aur aawaz
    50)Zulfon ko hatale chehre se – Saawan ki ghata
    With regards to all rafi lovers, long live rafi sahab,
    Shab Bakhair,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

    To be continued

  5. Padmanabhan NR says:


    That was one hell-of-a-way to exhort people to action. yes, the action has started in Hyderabad and bangalore, people writing individually to newspapers to come out with special feature on rafi saahab on 24th december. I am confident that others will also join.

    padmanabhan NR

  6. Imran Rustam says:

    Very Nice Write Up Gan Sharma Jee.

    No one can sing a praise song like Rafi Sb. Simply incredible quality of Rafi Sb.

    Any romantic song sung by Rafi Sb feels more romantic due to his melodious voice. Thanks Khaja Aliuddin Sb, you have listed many beautiful songs.


  7. post 63

    gan ganapati mohan pyaarey – what a statement – what a piece of advise – kyaa aap pichley janam mey ” priest the ? ”

    all in good zest and true appreciation of your power in the english language.


  8. gansharma says:


    Kya khoob likhi ho…….describing Anand Bakshi as a “people’s poet” is so true. I am glad that I could do my very small bit to bring to light what is usually an oft-ignored song. As well all know, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of such gems that we don’t enjoy like we could. What a singer, what a singer!!

    His anniversary is on the 24th of Dec,; I really hope that our nation, its press, and its people will celebrate his 85th in the most grandiose way. We owe it to the man!

    Yours truly is a Rafi Fan who lives in Toronto, Canada. I am traveling to Bangalore to attend two big Rafi concerts, one in Bangalore on the 19th and another in Calicut on the 24th. I have no other agenda except to spend time with Rafi’s fans. If I can do this, I urge all you fans to do your bit: make 24th a day of celebration and charity : write to your favourite newspaper and urge them to bring out a feature; write to your MP and state assembly representatives to organize celebrations; organize community events; contribute to your favourite charity in Rafi Saab’s name; give toys to an orphange on Xmas eve; walk door to door collecting money for cancer research. While you’re doing it, wear your headphones and listen to a hundred Rafi songs.

    As AS Murty from Hyderabad says – “No lover of music can be a bad human being”. Let’s demonstrate our goodness!!!!!


    Gan (Mohan)

  9. BINU NAIR says:

    About post 40 and 41…(JKB AND ACHAL SAAHEB’S)


    my god mohd rafi would sing as always the best way out, often aiding the composers – how to improve a song. the composers would accept this. but let’s give credit to the great lyricists of the golden era of music.

    about post 41…..achal saaheb : rafi saaheb is arguably the best singer of tinsel town – by far. no one can even come anywhere near rafi saaheb in terms of versality and range.
    mohd rafi songs are so much in-built in people’s psyche that they are acceptable all 365 days in a year. Just see the music shows remembering rafi saaheb. people flock to hear good rafi clones – even at the cost of “lightening” the purse in these difficult days of inflation and recession….

    need i say more……

    thanks to ramesh ji and rafi lovers for contributing their wise words for the king of melody and music.

    binu nair , rafi foundation, mumbai….

  10. Utthara says:

    Mohanbhai, one thing struck me while reading all the posts. That this song was never a fave of many. Including yours truly. This, despite the fact it was sung by my favourite Rafi saab and written by my fave Anand Bakshi, whom I call a people’s poet.
    I am not pontificating here. But the true test of any article is when it gently draws the reader and makes him/her change his/her opinion of the subject matter favourably after reading it. In this case, you have become a true evangelist. Converted many of us. Now, we all like this song. I have begun to appreciate the song after reading your views.
    I call Anand Bakshi a people’s poet because he wrote simple lyrics with a wealth of meaning. No flowery language for him. But in this song, he brought out the beauty of the beloved with his superlative descriptions __ telling that SHE IS THE ONE, THE INCOMPARABLE. Rafi saab is as usual at his singing best.

    Of all the beauty songs sung by Rafi saab, I love

    1. Mehbooba teri tasveer kis tarah mein banaoon__ ishq par zor nahin(not because my fave Dharmendra is the hero!).
    2. Oops! Again a Dharmendra number __ Mein nigahen tere chehre se hataoon kaise __ Aap ki parchhayiyaan __ the way rafi saab says tauba tauba __ heavenly!
    3. Can’t help it! Again a Dharmendra song __- Aap ke haseen rukh pe aaj naya noor hai __ Bahaaren phir bhi aayenge
    4. Ai husn zara jaag tujhe ishq jagaye __ Mere Mehboob
    5. Yeh jo chilman hai dushman hai hamare __ Mehboob ki mehendi
    6. Taarif karoon kya uski __ for giving sheer joy __ what a boisterous taarif! __ Kashmir Ki Kali.

    Of course there are many more like Chaudvin ka chand __ Waheeda __ my favest heroine. And a befitting song to describe her grace and beauty.

    Your article brought this out __ Dilne phir yaad kiya barf si lehar aayi hai…



  11. gansharma says:

    Dear Jay saab,

    Thanks for your note. Very glad it made a difference!!


  12. Jay Iyer says:

    Mohanji, That was a beautiful review. You r right. i had heard this song before and always thought it was a pleasant song, but never gave it too much attention. but after ur review i really listened to it and could feel the beauty of the lyrics and rafi’s velvetty voice. thanks for the lesson.


  13. SANJAY ARORA says:

    Dear Gan Sharmaji , continuing from the list of Khaja Sahab,

    1 ) O My Love – Night In London

    2 ) Mera Yaar Bada Sharmila – Milan Ki Raat

    3) Husn Wale Tera Jawab – Gharana

    4 ) Husn Se Chand Bhi Sharmaya – Door Ki Awaaz

    5 ) Zulf Bhikrati Chali Aayee – Ek Kali Muskayee

    6 ) AND FOR THE BELOVED – Main Kahin Kavi Na Ban – Pyaar Hi Pyaar

  14. khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Shukriya Gansharma Saheb,
    With regards,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  15. murad says:

    nice article

  16. gansharma says:

    Khaja Aliuddin Sahib,

    Bahut shukriya sir. Thanks for your kind words. And what a beautiful list of songs! I’ve copied and pasted into my playlists. Thank you. Sir, aapka hukm sar aankhon par. Ham Jaan-e Bahar Husn Tera ka review zaroor likhenge.

    Have a very good day!

    Gan (Mohan)

  17. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Gansharma Saheb, Adab Araz hai, Bahut khoob, Its a beautiful reveiw of a romantic song. There are so many romantic songs of Rafi Sahab. But still I would like to list few of my favourites.
    1)Akele me ghabraate to honge-Beewi
    2)Lut gaye lut gaye pyar me tere-Choti Bhabi
    3)Tera husn mana badi cheez hai-Aan
    4)tasveer banata hoon teri khoone jigar se-Deewana
    5)Gori karle tu aaj singaar rasiya dvaare khade-Insaaniyat
    6)Aankh me soorat teri lab pe tera afsana hai-Chhoomantar
    7)Aaye bahaar banke lubha kar chale gaye-Raaj Hath
    8)Jawaaniyan ye mast mast bin piye- Tumsa nahi Dekha
    9)Tujhe kya sunaavun mai dilruba-Aakhri Daavn
    10)Hai kali kali ke lab par tere husn ka fasana-Laala Rukh
    11)Tum ek baar muhabbat ka imthihaan to lo-Babar
    12)Ham to hain tum par dilse fida-Bewaqoof
    13)Haay re zara dekho o gori mudke-Chaand mere aaja
    14)Ham bhi to tere deewane hain_Kaala Aadmi
    15)Tum mere saath ho Aaha aaha-Miyan beewi raazi
    16)Ankhiyan sang ankhiyan lagi aaj-Bada Aadmi
    17)Teri pyaari pyaari soorat ko kisiki nazar na lage-Sasural
    18)Ek ladki se mujhe preet hai-Suhaag sindoor
    19)Ham to pahle hi nazar me de chuke hain dil tumhen-Apna banake dekho
    20)Raaz-e-dil unse chhupaya na gaya, pyar ki aag kuch aisi bhadki-Apna banak dekho
    21)Cheda mere dil ne tarana tere pyar ka-Asli Naqli
    22)Nazar bachakar chale gaye vo-Dil Tera Deewana
    23)Hamko to tumhare ishq ne kya kya bana diya-Ek musafir ek haseena
    24)Mere mehboob mere saath hi chalna hai tujhe-Gyaara hazar ladkiyan
    25)E gulbadan,phoolon ki mahak kaanton ki chuban-Professor
    26)Yeh waadiyan yeh fizaayen bularahi hai tumhen-Aaj aur kal
    27)Nazriya na maro nazar lag jayegi-Bachpan
    28)Yeh jhuke jhuke naina-Bharosa
    29)Yahan koyi nahi tere mere siva-Dil ek mandir
    30)Zara sun haseene nazneen,mera dil tujhi pe nisar hai-Kaun apna kaun praya
    31)Deewana kahke aaj mujhe phir pukariy-Mulzim
    32)Sang sang rahenge tumhare jee huzoor-Mulzim
    33)zindagi ke safar me akele the ham, mil gaye tum to sahara mil gaya-Nartaki
    34)Roushan tumhi se duniya,raunaq tumhi jahan ki-Parasmani
    35)Aanchal me sajalena kaliyan-Phir Wohi dil laya hun
    36)Tum jispe nazar daalo, us dil ka khuda hafiz-Yeh raaste hain pyar ke
    37)Bahare husn teri-Aao pyar karen
    38)Dil ke aayine me tasveer teri rahti hai-Aao pyar karen
    39)Abhi kamsin ho naadan ho jane jaana-Aaya toofan
    40)Meri mohabbat paak mohabbat-April fool
    41)Dil me ek jaane tamanna ne jagah payi hai-Benazeer
    42)Bahar nazar karun, apna pyar nazar karun jo tum kaho-Baaghi
    43)Tum kamsin ho nadan ho nazuk ho bholi ho-Aayi milan ki bela
    44)naino waali tere naina jadu kar gaye-Beti Bete
    45)Bul bul ko gul pasand hai, teri pasand kya hai yeh mujhko maloom nahi-Ek din ka Baadshah
    46)Dil khush hai aaj unse mulaqat hogai-Gazal
    47)Dil mere aaj kho gaya hai kahin-Door ki aawaz
    48)Dil beqarar sa hai, ham ko khumar sa hai-Ishara
    49)Sab jawan sab haseen koi tumsa nahi-Mai suhagan hun
    50)Jaan-e-bahaar husn tera bemisal hai-Pyaar kiya to darna kya,lyrics by shakeel and music by Ravi. Gansharma Saheb, I would appreciate if you write your expert review on this romantic number of our maestro. Is gaane me Rafi sahab ki gayeki ghazab ki hai.Thanks in advance.
    With regards to all rafi lovers,
    An ardent fan of Rafi Sahab,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  18. A S MURTY says:

    Mohan your post 51 gives your old email id. you have created a new rafi-email id, remember ? ghazalrafi@…. do give that in your posts. also request to all the other rafi bhakts spread out there, please create a new email id with word ‘rafi’ either as a prefix or a suffix to your chosen name, sometimes even with a dot and create the largest set of email ids of rafi bhakts. this is for those who do not have such an email id. many of you already sport such a fanciful and respectful email id. please forward details of all such new email ids to us at so that a complete list of all rafi bhakts is at one place and instant messages go each one of you.

  19. gansharma says:

    Thank you, Narayan! Much appreciated!

  20. gansharma says:

    Nasreen ji,

    You’re right….she’d have been cradle-snatching, but I assure you I wouldn’t have missed the cradle for an instant…LOL.

    Right again on calling Rafi saab’s voice the crowning glory, the icing on the cake. No question. As Lata Mangeshkar says in an introduction to one of his retrospectives, “aise gayak baar baar janam naheen lete”. Yet, there are cakes and there are cakes. Give me a Shakeel / Naushad / Rafi any day, and I’ll gladly let go of the rest. (Well, not quite!)

    Your choice of songs is bemisaal. Thereis not one I’d remove if I were to write my own list..each one better than the rest.

    Very glad to have made your acquaintance, and please keep writing.



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