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A Letter to Raju Bharatan: On Rock ’n Roll

from P. Haldar

Mohd Rafi and Jaikishan
Mohd Rafi and Jaikishan

Mr. Bharatan,

I read your recent article “Pancham Revisited” in Hindustan Times (January 4, 2008). The article starts with the following statements about Pancham:

“He scored for 331 films in 32 years. How does his Kishore Kumar song-tally compare with Asha Bhosle’s? Where Kishore sang 558 songs for him (227 solo, 245 duets), Asha rendered 840 of his compositions (406 solo, 338 duets).”

Considering that Kishore and Asha sang hundreds of songs under Pancham’s baton and the fact that they were his favourite singers, I was expecting you to continue in that vein, probably offering insights into the qualitative differences between the two, and the chemistry that they shared with him. Unfortunately, however – but somewhat along expected lines – you bring in Rafi to the discussion, which was totally unnecessary. Reproduced below are some excerpts from your article:

"But I’d rehearsed Rafi so often for Dada that I could go along with him so far, no further. It was so tough to get Rafi to amend something you’d already taught him!

"Take my breakthrough Asha-Rafi Teesri Manzil duet – Aa jaa aa jaa.

“Rafi wasn’t able to grasp the nuances of Aa jaa aa jaa at all! How Rafi struggled as Asha so exemplarily stretched the crucial Aaha-ha aa jaa aaha-ha aa jaa notes. Give me Kishore any time – he would’ve latched on to it in a trice.

"Only I know how I got Rafi to do Tum ne mujhe dekhaa!

"With OP, remember, Rafi was on his home Punjabi ground. I don’t agree I was more patient with Kishore, not so patient with Rafi. No matter how patient I was with Rafi, he slipped into the same vocal error – time and again.”

Mr. Bharatan, why do you write such garbage? Do you have the interview on tape? If not, people might ignore what you write, thinking that you have become senile or hallucinatory. Or worse still, readers might think that you have problems telling the truth, that you adorn your articles with your jaundiced viewpoints to make a quick buck. Most Rafians actually feel that way, but what I was surprised to find is that several RDent fanatics feel the same way too.

Since you mentioned Pancham’s experiences with Rafi in Aa jaa aa jaa, let me state a few facts. I have heard Rafi sing this trendsetting duet live on stage several times. And every time he sang, he would leave us breathless. He could sing such songs in his sleep.

Mohd rafi with R. D. Burman and Asha Bhosle
Mohd rafi with R. D. Burman and Asha Bhosle

After Rafi passed away, Amin Sayani had interviewed Pancham and several other composers. This is what I recall what Pancham had said. He had approached Rafi a little apprehensively for singing the Yamma yamma duet for Shaan along with him: “Rafi saab, aap hamare saath gaayenge?” Pancham was a little hesitant because he knew that Rafi would have to adapt to his scale, but Rafi immediately acquiesced. Pancham then went on to say something along the following lines: “Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle – har singer ka ek range hota hai – lekin Rafi saab ka range kamaal tha”. Do you notice any mark of disrespect towards the legendary singer? Yes, Kishore was his favourite singer, but Pancham still recorded over 100 songs with Rafi. If Rafi had not passed away prematurely, the chances are that the number would have crossed 200.

If you are suffering from senility, let me request you listen to Yamma yamma yamma. No, I am not talking about the yummy duet from Shaan, which Rafi delivered so well with Pancham. The song I am talking about is from the period when Shakti Samanta used to travel to several exotic destinations on the wings of Rafi’s voice, much before Dada blessed him with Safal hogi teri aradhana. This one happens to be set in Chinatown, with Asha on Helen and Rafi on Shammi. Listen to Shammi carefully, because you may not be able to recognise His Master’s Voice:

Yamma Yamma Yamma Tu Parwana Main Shamma

It is a well-known fact that Pancham shot into the big league on the back of Rafi’s vocals in Teesri Manzil, his prior exploits with Lata in different raags notwithstanding. Aa jaa aa jaa main hoon pyar tera was not set in any raag, though some may claim that it was composed in raag pancham. Tell me one thing, Mr. Bharatan: Which other male singer could have delivered this song so effectively, with such punch? This song belongs to the rock ’n roll genre, set on a fast pace. The only other male singer who could have done some justice to such songs was Pancham himself; that is what he did later in songs like Duniyan mein logon ko. And that is why when he had to share Yamma yamma with another male singer, he had to opt for Rafi.

What Asha has said in public – not that I fully trust her – about the Aa jaa aa jaa episode does not tally with what you have written. She said that Pancham was worried that she would not be able to match the “male singer” in the song. So she started practising the Aaha-ha aa jaa aaha-ha aa jaa notes in her car, much to the consternation of her chauffeur who thought that she was having some major physical problems!

Rock ’n roll did not start in India with Teesri Manzil. The year Pancham ghost composed Sar jo tera chakraye for Pyaasa, Dada’s other assistant N. Dutta composed Lal lal gaal jaan pe hai lagu for Rafi, one of the pioneering rock ’n roll numbers from Mr. X. And listen to Rafi’s Jaan pehchaan ho from Gumnaam, a Shankar-Jaikishan composition which was recently featured in the American film Ghost World:

Jaan Pehechan Ho

Incidentally, Gumnaam was released a year before Teesri Manzil. See how Western audiences – who know much more about rock ’n roll than you and your fellow scribes put together – love this song. See how Rafi can enthrall people so far from his Punjabi home ground. That was Rafi doing an Elvis. Do you want to see Rafi doing a Beatles? Here is Dekho ab to kisko nahin hai khabar from Janwar, which was also released a year before Teesri Manzil:

Dekho Ab To Kisko

Don’t you think Rafi’s voice rocks in this song? If Pancham had to work so hard to make Rafi amend what he had been taught – by Pancham of all people – I wonder how Shankar and Jaikishan must have felt making Rafi unlearn what he had been taught by the likes of Naushad, Roshan and Madan Mohan! All those compositions in Malkhaus, Piloo, Kafi, Yaman Kalyan, Kalavati and Darbari Kanada where Rafi must have had “slipped into the same vocal error time and again”! The truth is that composers like Shankar-Jaikishan, O. P. Nayyar, Ravi, N. Dutta and Usha Khanna had been using Rafi for rock ’n roll numbers since the 50s and no singer understood the medium better than the King himself; here are some of his songs in black & white:

Dil Deke Dekho

Baar Baar Dekho

O Meri Baby Doll

Jai took note of chhote nawab’s Aa jaa aa jaa and O haseena zulfowali impact on the masses. And the following year, he responded brilliantly with Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche, where Rafi makes Shammi rock:

Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyaar Ke Charche

Don’t you just love the orchestration? By the way, that was Manohari Singh on the sax.

You mentioned Tum ne mujhe dekha in your article, too. In another article, I’ll showcase Jai’s response to this beautiful number (hint: it’s in shivranjani, but on a faster tempo.) Till then, enjoy another rock and roll number, this time on a Bengali star:

Chhoti Si Mulaqaat Pyaar Ban Gayi

Yours truly,

P. Haldar,
a diehard Rafian.

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130 Blog Comments to “A Letter to Raju Bharatan: On Rock ’n Roll”

  1. Vishal says:

    Mr. ali

    Not a sensible post, you failed to catch my points as your post does not address what I had put in my post. I repeat for your information from my previous post – there are many oceans each having its own strength and depth – you have to agree to this and there is no other choice – but ultimately everything is water i.e. music – please understand.

    Even sachin tendulkar has got many critics dear ali ji, despite his great status and achievements for which no other cricketer comes nearer, still even some cricketing legends have criticisms for him and do not consider him the greatest. So, do not get irriatated or excited if some criticise rafi or point out some weaknesses of rafi – why you do not counter those points and put reasonable arguments in a sensible way ? Some people might not be impressed by rafi for their own reasons which they state and there should not be any problem for you to put convincing views on such points – Rafi cannot be compared to sun, as you say – never – because when sun shines, nothing else is visible, But with rafi, even other singers had their importance, rafi had never enveloped every body and did not make other singers invisible – so your comparison is absurd mr. ali and pl. never make such comparison.

  2. Ali says:

    Dear Visal I feel so sorry about you,please listen to music director Ravi when he replaced kishore da with mohd,I can’t force you to change your mind but I want you to be honest with yourself, I am asking the same thing but still no answer I have got by kishore da fan,when kishore da stop to sing for mr Bachchan the loser was kishore do not big B but when Dilip kumar replaced mohd rafi with kishore da the loser was Dilip kumar not mohd rafi, Why rd back to mohd rafi?
    I like Indian football team but I will never say they are better football team than Agrentina or brazil ….i know many people like you they never saw Pele playing but they say he is best footballer ever born and better than maradona!!?
    If u say kishore da better actor than mohd rafi I agree but singer no way to compare as people who know about music said not me….

  3. Vishal says:

    Post 96

    why the aggression and excitement please ? OK, people might have gone to bathroom when kishore songs were on the screen in theatres. Even I have seen people closing radios for rafi songs and many people from whom I heard who never rate rafi greater and calling rafi as just an OK singer (including some of reputed music directors in hindi as was discussed in these columns sometime back) . Mr. Fact, you state people went to bathroom for kishore songs. Even there are many people who went to bathroom even when rafi songs were played in theatre. Mr. Fact, all these are absurd arguments. If one needs to go to bathroom while watching film, he has to go – whether rafi or kishore or other singers song is coming in the theatre – what funny points you are putting. Mohd rafi and kishore both had different voices and attraction – this needs to be accepted by die hard rafi fans. How kishore kumar could sing hundreds of songs and was most prolific when rafi was so greatest – all time greatest ? Rafi was not without competition – he had others with him – manna dey, hemant, mukesh, talat, mahendra to note – there were others too, – Rafi had got more chances than others to sing during the 50’s and 60’s and the same was for kishore during 70’s and 80’s , and which the other singers could too have done, if they had chances. There was never a monopoly factor in hindi playback singing at any point of time. If you talk of monopoly factor southern film industry stands as glaring example – 50’s & 60’s – ghantasala was a monopoly without any competition for nearly 3 decades, similarly in 80’s SPB was a monopoly, in malayalam – k j yesudas was dominant – one cannot find such situation in bollywood at any point of time. The only monopoly factor to some extent in bollywood can be attritubed to lata mangeshkar, as she appeared to be quite dominant than others.

    Mr. Ali

    Please go to the scriptures – there is not only sun, there is moon, there are galaxies, there are stars, there are planets, five elements, oceans (many oceans are there – each has its own depth and power) – each has its own role and greatness – hope your insensible arguments are not repeated, which I notice you are making again and again.

  4. Ali says:

    God made so many stars but only sun for this earth as one mohd rafi…
    Really I am not able to understand when kishore da was on the top please give the only one film where you can say the film became hit because of kishore da only one film please,give me one actor who said I am because of kishore da,give me one music director who said kishore was the best singer.
    Don’t read what said on tv or in new because most of the time it is not true, like two countries in the war we will see at news in both countries will be not same!!
    In 1970″s all media was with kishore with two sisters so they tried to ignore mohd rafi but one one can stop sun to shine, ok if u said kk was the best so give list hit films of kk as music not as bachcan action films, mohd rafi most 1970 songs which super hit not famous actors…..
    Please don’t read what said but think and listen ,Indian are lucky that they got some one like mohd rafi they should learn a lesson from him how great human he was…..

  5. facts says:

    Post no. 93, 95
    Please go to KK site and make these kind of sick statements. On tha absolute fair grounds – Rafisaab is all time greatest. There is one and only one rafisaab. KK did not have force and/or power… He used to shout during singing and had a hoarse voice – sometimes very unpleasent. I have seen people floaked out the cienema hall to go to bathroom or get snak during many KK songs. As an example -mela duet rutu hai milan ki and sholey’s koi haseena jab roothh jati hai were based on same tunes. people used koi haseena song in sholey as an opportunity to go to bathroom, buy snaks or just walk outside in the lobby.
    For your kind information, it was not success (there in question of deserving) of aradhana but a systematic promotion and publicity by people like amin sayani, mehmood to some extent, r.d. burman, rajesh khanna etc. What did you like about kk songs in aradhana? a lot of yelling and shouting. There is no high or low notes. the voice wasn’t pleasent. mukesh definetely gave some (or many) excellent solos during his time. I wish I can say same about kk. please take a note tha even rajesh khanna became a superstar during vacuum period. he could not servive competition with mr. bacchhan.

    conclusion: rafisaab was the best. since he is holding the places from 1 to 10 till today he has no competetion. god created a very unfair situation – he created only one rafisaab. go complain to god. if you can’t tolerate rafisaabs praises please go to the site of your choice. every one has a right to choose their favourites. don’t dare to make statements like rafisaab had a weakness. rafisaab had no weakness in his profession, no weakness of drinking or flirting with anyone.
    please get some treatment, my prayers are with you to get well soon. good luck.

  6. Rafi was a great singer no doubt, but let us not deny that Kishore made a brilliant foray in playback singing starting ‘Aradhana’ and his success too was well-deserved. In the first half of the 70s, Kishore did dominate the scene but it isn’t as though Rafi was totally overshadowed as is generally believed to be. I feel both Rafi and Kishore had their strengths and weaknesses. For example, Rafi had the range and the depth, Kishore had force and power. If the 60s belonged to Rafi then the 70s belonged to Kishore for the major part. I have always felt that for sheer longevity, Kishore, Rafi and Mukesh were the three best playback voices that we have had and would rather not get into a debate on who was the best of the lot. Period!

  7. Pasha says:

    there is a kishore lata duet song in muqaddar ka sikkender
    “salaami ishque meri jaan”.lata sung well and because of the
    depth of kishore the lines he sung is very bad to hear.please
    hear the song.

  8. anil says:

    i think the depth , pathos and the masti in kishore’s songs are unmatched. rafi spb tried hard but could not come anywhere close to kishor! hemanta also had depth which rafi lackd. manna de also had.

  9. gokuldas kumar.m says:

    My dearest Rafi fans,
    Why get perturbed by comments against Rafi emanating from writers with vested interests? Imagine even great souls like krishna, Rama, Jesus, Gandhiji have been ridiculed and criticised! consider Rafi to be another one like them! None can harm his glory. To me, unless a singer is born with so much of divinity within him, he could not have sung like Rafi!!
    God bless you all!!

  10. Jain Parangeth says:

    Why do you expect Rafisaab to be always praised by everyone? Everyone regards his/her favourite singer the best, in the total blissful oblivion of worship.

    Just listen to the songs, enjoy. Every singer has his pluses and minuses.

  11. post 87 – bhagchandaniji, namashkaar – adaab rafi,

    after reading the above post – you have said it all

    kab inlogonko akkal ayegi – jab uparwalaa akkal baant rahaa thaa – toh yeh log khaan the. – beats me.

    kyon iss dedicated – rafi webiste mein – neechh baatein likhkar apnnee aur rafi sahab kaa tauheen karr rahein hain. ???????????

    mujhey toh taras aathaa hai in parr.

    acchha huaa aapney doosra site mein article nahee likhaa – your last sentence is virtually true – 100%.

    ramesh narain kurpad

  12. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Post 88:

    Ashutosh ji,

    Your point is well taken.

    While writing my earlier post (no. 87) what was in my mind was the incident when in a live concert the electricity supply went off rendering the mike ineffective. It was at that point a teenager boy (Rafi) was called to entertain the crowd till the power supply could be restored. Rafi regaled the audience to such an extent that Saigal blessed Rafi and predicted thet he is going to be the king of playback singing in years to come. Regarding K.C. Key he used to love Rafi. In his autobiography, Manna Dey has written that once K.C. Dey had asked him to rehearse a song. After that he asked Mannada to help Rafi saab to render it perfectly. Manna Dey writes that he felt let down, but realized years later that Rafi was really the right person for the song.

    The idea was to highlight the fact that both K.L. Saigal and K.C Dey liked Rafi saab. May be my selection of words or sentence composition conveyed the message that you interpreted (that K.L. Saigal got inspiration from Rafi). I stand corrected.

    In fact K.L. Saigal used to be the inspiration for almost all the singers of the golden era of film music.

  13. Ashutosh says:

    J K Bhagchandani ji,

    When did K I Saigal got inspired by rafi ji ? I think Saigal ji was no more when rafi ji started to make his career in films. Am I correct ?

  14. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Post (85):

    Yes, Sudip ji, Raju Bharatan is at it again.

    It is been a notorious practice among many authors to write half truths (even falsehoods) with lot of spice added to it to invite controversies and in the process boost the sale of their books. Remember Adam Gilchrist, what he wrote about Sachin Tendulkar. Raju Bharatan has gone a step further. He has written about legends, most of whom are not alive to refute his non-sense.

    For the sake of argument let us assume that there is element of truth in what Raju Bharatan has written. Let us come point by point:

    (1) Salil Chowdhary did not like Rafi: Salilda’s musical disposition was such that he did not totally like any one singer. Only thing that can be said is that he did not like Rafi as much as other legends (like Naushad, O.P. Nayyar, Roshan, Madan Mohan etc.- to name a few) liked Rafi. But inspite of that some of the best compositions of Salilda were sung by Rafi (Toote hue khwabon ne….., Jangal mein mor nacha…., Koi sone eke dil wala, Taswir teri dil mein…..). He always had a specific singer in mind for each of his compositions. So what is the big deal!! Why such hue and cry.

    (2) C. Ramachandra did not like Rafi: Is it really so? C.R. never used Kishore or Talat or Mukesh or any other singer more than he used Rafi. Infact he used himself as a singer more than he used Kishore.

    (3) 21 re-takes for ‘Jaane kya dhoodhti rehati hain ye aanhen mujh mein….’: I request someone close to Khaiyaam saab to check the facts with him. This appears to be hightly exaggerated and distorted version of what might have happened in the recording room. OK, for the sake of argument again let us assume it to be true. So what? The song is such a gem that no one should care about the number of retakes. Kishore Kumar (or any other singer) even after 210 retakes could not have created even half the magic that Rafi saab has created. When Sachin Tedulkar hits a century.. does anyone bother about the number of hours he spends in net practice?

    (4) R.D Burman did not like Rafi: False again. His career was launched by Rafi. He preferred Kishore in seventies due to his personal friendship with Kishore. Infact it is well known fact that his over-dependence on Kishore proved to the reason for his downfall as this greatly restricted his creativity.

    (5) Lata-Rafi conflict: Enough has been said and written on it, so no more on this topic especially since issue is not linked to musical aspects.

    It is not surprising that a handful of Rafi-haters at the neighboring site come in a huddle and have gleefully lapped up the rediff article to vent their anti-Rafi mind set. These jokers suffer from various psychological disorders like jealousy, regional bigotry, selective amnesia etc. While they have sited the opinion of a handful (2 or 3) music directors (that too is only partly true) in a distorted and exaggerated way, they have conveniently overlooked the opinion of many-fold number of music directors who opined that Rafi was the ultimate when it comes to playback singing. They are Naushad, Roshan, Madan Mohan, O.P. Nayyar, Shakar Jaikishan, S.D. Burman, Laxmi Kant Pyarelal, Ravi etc.. there are many more. Even most of the fellow singers have time and again echoed similar sentiments. Starting from K.L. Seigal, K.C. Dey, Manna Dey, Mukesh, Talat, Kishore, Mahendra Kapoor were all in the awe of Rafi saab.

    It is only these handful of self-styled ‘gyanis’ of music (for whom Rafi-bashing has become their bread and butter) draw sadistic pleasures in such unholy activity.

    Initially I thought of writing a post at that site to rebut these jokers, but then decided against it because it will be like ‘Bhains ke aage been bajana~!!!!!!!’

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  15. common man says:

    i will ignore him because (1) i think he is dishonest (2) he is being dishonest to sell his latest book because he knows that scandal sells.

  16. Bapan says:

    RD was right abusing Rafi,indeed Rafi was much much beyond Kishoreda in terms of singing.

  17. H.P. says:

    Post #78
    The listed KK songs are for the people who like noise and shouting in the songs to substitute for high pitch. My college time friend could sing this songs so well (like sudesh bhosle). He said it was no bg deal, you have to learn when to shout…Any way listen to what you like and be happy. May be in your openion the golden period of music lasted till 1987.

  18. BINU NAIR says:

    Post 79….U are TOO WIDE off the mark like the wayward bowler mr.darius. please get a copy of raju bharatan : an autobiography of lata m.

    the maharani was on speaking terms with raju b – before the publication of the book. after the book saw day-light, the lady stopped talking to raju bharatan.
    the singer used to tell everyone : dont read this book. read the book written by writer mr.harish beimaani.

    i salute raju for his writings without fear or favour. u can like him or hate him but u cant avoid him. please read the book mentioned above and then abuse him.

  19. Unknow says:

    Sir Anil
    we agree that RD used KK more than mohd Rafi in 1970’s that is true but that is also true that RD used Mohd Rafi more than any other singer in 1960’s and from 1977 to 1980 after 1980 also RD used many other singer we can say RD lost his place after 1980..If i am not wrong LP was better use of KK than RD but people almost like to link KK with RD!!!!!!!!!!!???

  20. sid says:


    kk’s voice would not provide that sense of joy and fluidity that rafi had

  21. darius kakalia says:

    Raju Bharatan is a scoundrel.No abuse is sufficient for him.Why only Rafi Saab the shit has made a career out of bad mouthing Asha Bhosle as well.The rat is a pathalogical liar and has got away with blue murder for decades.A prominent music composer of the Golden Era once remarked to me off the record:”Bharatan is no critic just the President of the Lata Mangeshkar **** lickers association”.This I think should expose his hatred towardsAshaji and rafi Saab-Two people Ms Mangeshkar detests to this day.

  22. anil says:

    pancham did use rafi. but his more serious numers he always used kishore right from “kahana hai” of Padfosan to “ae khuda her fasala tera muze manjur hai.(abdullah), and hume tumse pyar kitana(kudrat), aap ki aankho me(ghar).
    he invariably used rafi for nasir husain as he was concrened that he should not attributed and charged with abandoning and nasir movies had good wetern music. but even in western music really trend setter “ja ne ja dhudhta”, “o sathi chal”. ho mere dil ki chain, samane ye kaun aaya he used kishore . who can forget the lovely wetern “ja ne ada from hum kisise kum nahi.
    Pancham did not disrespect rafi but for him the singer of choice speciallyfor serious sings was always kishore! Rafi was his second sur. He composed amny special songs for kishore like “aanewala pal”, “rimzim gire sawan”, “mere naina sawan bhado” til “jab bhi koi kqangana bole”, ” raha pe rahte hai”, “sagar jais”, “agar tum na hote”. he was litte shocked that “kya hua “evoked a very good response. since rajesh roshan again started using kishore heavily and lp also started using kishore to bring different flavor in music (esential for a composer to avoid monotony, see waht happened to sJ, they created magic with rafi but in the end it was monotony and sj got a set back) rd burman consciously used rafi, shailendra singh, bhupinder. It is not clear why he used bhupinder rather than rafi for kinara song.

  23. Lt Col Javed Sayyed says:

    Further to my comment below.
    The series of articles appeard in a marathi magazine.
    Recently, in may i think, i heard a radio pgme on akashvani, featuring nitin mukesh. he goes on to say that his father, mukesh used to keep telling him to sing rafi sahabs songs on stage. it was shocking for him, but mukesh said”Sing Rafi Sahabs songs. These are more popular, more likeable by the public & rafi sings for the masses!! you will gain much more by singing Rafi Sahabs songs on stage. Then, he would chide his son in front of the public-see, he is my son but sings Rafi Sahabs songs! & secretly used to feel very happy about it!!
    Another article featuring Manna dey- He goes on say- “i realised i cannot be no 1 when i was assisting my own uncle in production of a film. when i thought my big chance came to sing the songs, my uncle asked me to telephone rafi. I felt bad & made my hurt open in front of my uncle. But when rafi sahab came & sang like no one could, i realised that my uncle was right!
    such are the sentiments of Rafi Sahabs contemporaries!
    Lata mangeshkar would do extra riyaz & preparations before recording any song with rafi. They complemented each other professionally, being the topmost of their genre. Their duets are simply out of the world!! Where rafi moved up was when the song raised its bar to very high notes. No one could think of going into that domain in any way! “Jiwan mei piya tera saath rahe” is just one of these songs. Many music directors did make good use of this aspect in their music.
    Incidentally. ashok kumar-dada muni was very fond of singing. he insisted on his own playback for himself. Given his exterme ltd range, music dir were seriously handicapped! one misic dir then acted smart. some riots broke out. Ashok kumar, being very cautious, was known to not move out of his house. This music dir had already brought rafi sahab into the studio & used his playback. on hearing this song, ashok kumar realised his limitations & thus began a new chapter rafi singing for ashok kumar & other adamant actors, giving them a very different range & scale.

  24. Lt Col Javed Sayyed says:

    Dear All Friends,
    It pains to see some people criticising a Personality like Rafi Sahab or getting into futile . I have a treasure trove of Articles of the 80’s written for a weekly by Mr Raju Bharatan. Each edition featured Rafi Sahabs Musical Association with a particular Music director & at quite detailed analysis giving some very rare insights between their professional & personal relationships. I one of the articles, Mr Bharatan has said that had there been no other male singer, rafi sahab, with his divine range, talent & voice quality could have rendered all the songs ever sung quite well! Thats quite a commendation from Mr Bharatan. In one article, he has brought out about some music directors who did not like rafi”to na avadta rafi’ in Marathi. He goes on to analyse why these music directors were indifferent towards this great singer-which started from anil biswas, which rubbed on to his shagird-c ramchandra(who himself was very close to rafi & had rafi singing for him in most of his compositions) & presumably to some extent on rd. If sd specially used rafi in predominantly kk sung films like teen deviyan, guide etc it speaks about rafis indespensibility for those gems. even rds compositions have been sung by rafi with unsurpassable gusto, lilt & verve! Now after 2 decades of those articles, it is quite astonishing & shocking to hear adverse comments from Mr raju bharatans articles!! Something has gone terribly wrong somewhere!!
    I had a rare chance of witnessing a concert of kk in pune, years after rafis death which kk started with a two minute silence as a tribute to rafi sahab, with “jahan daal daal par sone ki chidiya karti hai basera” instrumental in the background. What say, we mere mortals!

  25. Jay Subramanyam says:

    Shri P. Haldar no doubt, has put in a painstaking effort in his response but I wonder why he is taking it out on Raju when the writer has just quoted Pancham, which in no way could be construed as his personal opinion. The fact remains that Pancham wasn’t all that favourably disposed towards Rafi and after 1970, which incidentally was his breakthrough year, went for Kishore in a big way.

  26. sid says:

    hmmm… pancham said good thing abt rafisaab AFTER rafisaab’s death and used him more only AFTER kya hua tera wada, am i right?

  27. gajanan says:

    i would like to know is much as possible abt kishore kumar

  28. Arup says:

    This is a great letter and thanks for sharing such a wealth of information on Md. Rafi Saab. I think for all practical purposes we cannot compare Apples with Oranges as all the singers of the bygone era have been marvelous on their own accord.

    Regards and a happy 2009.

  29. binu nair says:

    post 70 neena kochar ji,

    for the love of rafi saaheb, it gives me great encouragement to receive your letter. all your questions are in the Positive and its possible. you can talk to rafi saahebs daughter or family members. they love rafi saaheb fans. please write to me at

    thank you….

    binu nair,, mumbai.

  30. Neena Kochhar says:

    Dear Mr Binu Nair jee

    I stumbled upon your letter just by chance whilst looking for the “Rafi Villa”. I would appreciate very much if you can provide this information.
    Secondly, as I have read all the above posts, I was wondering if it would be possible to contact Rafi jiee’s son who I understand is in Mumbai running a big business. If this is true then he may be able to provide authentic information regaring Rafi jee.
    I am from the UK – Reading to be precise, a place not too far from London. I have recently (re)started presenting shows on radio – currently at a community radio station very near London – in Slough – – and in my shows, the maximum requests are for Rafi jee’s songs. So, no matter what people like Raju ji write is to some extent immaterial as true love and admiration for Rafi Jee can never be affected by any writing.
    Please let me know if you are able to contact Rafi jee’s only living son and get some information for us all.
    Lastly, is there a way that the Rafi Foundation can be extended to the UK as well?
    I look forward to hearing from you. Many thanks.
    Neena Kochhar

  31. SANJAY ARORA says:


  32. Deodatta says:

    Raju Bharatan has created controversy on many occasions – often by putting words in other’s mouth. These are unfounded statements and should be taken with a pinch of salt. Personally I believe that both Pancham and Dada Burman had tremendous respect and appreciation for Rafi’s golden melodious voice. Rafi has indeed created milestones in Indian music that are not easy to attain….leave alone Raju Bharatan’s venumous sustained attacks, which can never tarnish the great image and the respect in our mid for the greatest and one-and-only singer of twentieth century Hindi music, Mohd Rafi.

  33. anon says:

    Raju Bharathan is dishonest. Having said that, Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar would have definitely sounded better in Kishore Kumar’s voice. The KK barritone would give this song the PUNCH that Rafi’s relatively softer voice did not provide in the song. The punch & barritone would give the songer greater tone & energy IMO. So why didn’t RDB use KK here? My guess is Nasir Hussain & Shammi Kapoor and the trends set by Rafi loyalists Shankar Jaikishan.

  34. AV says:


    During a random search on the web, I came across your response to Raju Bharatan’s atrocious article which depicts Mohammed Rafi in poor light. This is not the first time that Raju Bharatan has spread false rumours against great celebrities. All his articles seem nothing more than some verbiage with a twisted writing style and endless digressions. His articles are usually ill-researched and his contribution to film journalism is nothing more than gossip. Remember how he had spread erroneous information about the number of songs sung by our great singers in the early 70s. Contrast this with the authentic research conducted by the likes of Vishwas Nerurkar or Harminder Singh Hamraaz.

    I fully support your response to Raju Bharatan and more people need to come out in the open against his articles and his penchant for creating unnecessary controveries out of non-issues. I agree with the sentiment of another poster (above) that Raju Bharatan should never write another article, for the benefit of humanity.


  35. Ai Shahid says:

    Refer to Comment # 58 above … Krishna ….. I pay obeisance to you and just listen to this Bhajan of God RAFI …. Raadhay … kahay neer bahaai …. You will simply break into tears !

    I will always pray for you well – being Krishna !

  36. Dear Ganeshji,

    Refer Post 61. RB’s early seventy article was not in Illustrated Weekly but in Film Fare that KK is better than Rafi and he quoted MD Anil Biswas. The reaction to his article went on for about three to four months (i.e 6 to 8 issues of the Magazine) so much so that the Editor had to declare that further comments on the article will not be published. In fact, RB wrote another article after few years in the late seventies after Rafi had come back with a bang, almost apologising for his earlier article and appreciating Rafi and openly admitting that he was naive and immatured to write the earlier article. In fact, I have been searching for these two articles, if any one can mail to me, I will be greatful.

    RB also listed out Rafis’ best for each MD in his later article as under (giving it from my memory):

    “Kya Kya Se Kya Hogaya” (GUIDE) – SDB.
    “Man Mora Bawra” (RAGINI) – OPN.
    “Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki” (DULARI) – Naushad.

    Whatever RB’s opinion about Rafi, it should be admitted that he is a good analyst of Cricket and Film Music and a Commentator, in fact one of the most read in the seventies. Let us not forget, he was also the main man behind the Film “Victory Story” about the India – England Cricket series of 1972, which India won 2-1. Of course, his weakness was sensationalising certain issues which might have happened or pronounced in a very casual way or out of context. Let us admit, all of us do or have done at some time or the other. But, if he has really played with the words of certain people, who are no more with us, that is really bad.

  37. binus2000 says:

    post 61..

    ganesh ji on the dot………

    lets forget this bug called raju bharatan as he can ‘never’ take
    a stand in his writings.
    in his weekly column first he wrote “falsehood” about rafi saab and
    in the next week column he wrote that Rafi and lata are the
    country’s best singers………..
    he thrives on controversy and profits from them.

    i suggest he be given the editorship of the weekly hindustan
    times magazine .

    he will ‘surely’ close shop of the hindustan times or bring down
    its circulation just like the “illustrated weekly of india”.

    binu nair…..the rafi foundation.. mumbai.. cell 9833 250 701

  38. binus2000 says:

    post 60.. krishna..ji

    not much use to meet this lady as she is leading a lobby which
    says pancham is the “only” greatest and competent m.d. and
    kk the best singer.. forget her.

    please be in touch with narayan – one of the most lovable rafi fan
    and person who is my college mate and friend of 35 years standing.

    bangalore has a great group of rafi lovers and as per narayans
    suggestion i would be sending a blueprint for a voice of rafi –
    singing competition and music classes for singers and beginners.
    we can do this with a good sponsor or in partnership with the
    lions or the rotary clubs.

    also, you can have two music shows on dec.24 and july 31 in
    all the best for the interest…

    binu nair. //////the rafi foundation///// mumbai……….

  39. M.Ganesh says:

    This is not the first occasion when Raju Bharatan has done this. In the early 70’s ,when the Illustrated Weekly was the leading English Periodical, Bharatan wrote that Kishore Kumar was superior to Rafi sahab. Remember this was the period when Kishore was re-emerging. This comment led to a huge uproar resulting in angry responses from all quarters . The matter ended when Kishore Kumar wrote to the periodical mentioning that he considered Rafi sahab as his Guru.
    The point is Bharatan is a known Rafi baiter. But my advise to my fellow Rafisahab’s fans is ignore Bharatan. He is not the authority on this subject. He was lucky as his father held a senior position in one of the leading news agencies. Bharatan got a break as a journalist easily due to this connection. He wrote on Cricket and Cinema besides creating crosswords. A jack of all trades , but master of only one( crosswords). He can be classified as a gossip columnist. In the same periodical during the same period , he had attempted to link the simple and straightforward gentleman , S.Venkataraghavan, the great Indian Off spinner romantically with Hema Malini. How silly , just because both of them are Tamil Iyengars.There was an uproar including a pained reaction from Venkat . If I an not mistaken ,the Editor published an apology …
    So friends we know that we are dealing with a person craving for attention by making controversial statements. The best way to gve a befitting reply is – IGNORE HIMi

  40. KRISHNA says:

    Dear Mr.Binu Nair,

    We should actually meet Asha Bhonsle once and collect some valuable info from her regarding our beloved Rafi saab. I am from Bangalore and do not know much about Mumbai. In fact I met Mr.Narayanan, Mr.Guru Murthy and also Mr.Ashok Dalmiya at OPN show in Bangalore and wish to take Rafi foundation forward. Bangalore is a place which is now maturing and shaping up. I had once read in the newspaper that Rafi Sahab wanted to build a hospital. Hope this dream comes true.

  41. binus2000 says:

    Post 57 : …………

    well said KRISHNA ji……..

    apt words.. for the dogs in various shapes and kinds who write
    real bull shits about some of the legends of our land.

    may i tell u a real life incident which i witnessed just outside the
    mumbai (local) airport on nehru road vileparle…

    a majestic horse was galloping away ” without the rider “…….. which
    is the rarest sight in mumbai.

    before we could notice , the dogs started barking…. and when we noticed
    the horse was – galloping away in all its “glory”; in the busy streets of
    vile parle at 8.15 p.m. evening peak time..

    in real life…………….

    the dogs will bark naturally but raju bharatan “barks” for his
    greed only and to please his masters.
    i suggest mr.zorawar or our delhi rafi foundation team bring this to the
    notice of the management of hindustan times at the earliest on how
    raju bharatan writes “nonsense” about legends who are no more to
    answer his slanders as ………………..
    this surely affects the credibility of the newspaper raju b. is writing for.
    more, raju has made a fortune by telling lies and slandering legends
    of the land in his whole career for his pay increases, free whiskey and
    freebies of the times. this habit has not gone away yet from this
    person and i have info that many composers have told him “get Out”
    after a few round of his drinks.

    as u said krishna jii…. dogs will bark and stop too, elephants will ride
    majestically; but raju bharatan will bark non-stop….
    we have to do “something” to tame this mad dog..

    binu nair.. mumbai.

  42. KRISHNA says:

    Elephant’s walk is royal even when a dog barks. So is our Rafi sahab, let anybody write anything to their wills we know what he is and what his songs are (not were). He is God, He is a new relegion. He is our master. He therefore is Omnipresent. I will say, Lord Krishna sung Bhagavad Gita to Arjuna in Rafi Sahab’s voice which made Arjuna understand the reality of life. Thats the guarentee I give to all Humans about my beloved Rafi Saab. Unfortunately, today he is not around us. What to do. Paapi Kali Kaala.

  43. Sanjay says:

    ref 53: aseer – there is a contradiction. supposedly the aradhana solos in the voice of mohammed rafi exist. so if this is true, then you assertion is not. which reminds me, are you guys trying to pull people’s legs with the aradhana solos? if they truly exist – it wouldn’t take this long to get them. it takes 10 minutes to send a music file by secure email. it shouldn’t take this many weeks – there’s no reason for it. if that fan really has it – he’d send it by email. it is either one or the other. can anyone give a SOURCE for the quote by shakt samanta?

  44. n t bapat says:

    The above writeup aptly reflects the great sense of OUTRAGE engulfing every

    Rafi fan”s soul .

    May Raju Bharathan*s sick mind cease to work lest his dirty hands write more


    Aa a devout Rafi fan I am shattered.

    Bapat from Bangalore

  45. GINNIE BHATIA says:


  46. SS says:

    post 36 by our respected Binu bhai

    Binu bhai, you should be a music critic and not addle brained rat bags like Raju.

    your knowledge about Music is first rate.

    Pancham used to love and respect Rafi, KK was his very close pal. They were buddies and Pancham wanted to help KK to resercut his singing career hich he did. Thats what friends are for.

    Raju, if you have any shame then apologise and never ever write again. Just take a sanyas.

    If you are looking for a career move then maybe you could start writing porn, that would not require much thinking and integrity any way.

  47. Aseer says:

    @ binu ji
    “shakti samanta told us last week: since rafi went on a tour, he
    asked s.d.b. to record songs in the voice of Kishore da…” yes, i always heard this story from my father who used to point out the greatness of Rafi sahab with this story. for the first time i m hearing it outside and i feel good.
    this story has a great extent of truth in it.

  48. Aseer says:

    comment by great Shankar ji of SJ duo about raju, “us gadhe ko to sab bhairabi sunai deta hai.”

    cudnt suppress my smile, sorry raju

  49. SS says:

    Raju from where have you got this pathetic story. Ashaji, Pancham da and Nazir Hussain have all given absolutely different version of this where Asha ji was the one they were not sure could be able to match with Rafi.

    Rafi was not only the best singer ever but also a human being par excellence. Unknown journalists like you could make their bread and butter because Rafi was too kind and too accomodative.

    Obviously you age has caught up with you and probably you are suffering from alzheimer or you have completly gone bonkers, or you are on drugs or alcohol or you are simply trying to get some cheap publicity.

    Shame on you, you are a mighty disgrace.

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