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Background playback singing & Rafi Sahab

By Vineet Kumar Bhatia, Jaipur

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Background playback singing is an important organ of Indian Film music. The song in the background represents the synopsis & gist of the very philosophy enshrined into the movie & brings out to the surface its main theme, ethical & moral values as well.  This singing aspect can be termed as one of the toughest facets of singing arena, because in other form of singing, voice ability of a singer is superimposed by the acting i.e lip syncs of an acting artist(s). Therefore, most of the appreciations of the song are taken away by the artist(s) on the screen & the good flavour of the singing voice is just lost & goes in vain.

However, few good songs still fetch full attentions of the true music lovers both instantly (i.e. in the movie theaters itself) as well as off the movie theaters. Such songs can be categorized under category ‘A’. And few other songs, which can draw only reasonable attentions of the audience on the spot, but draw reasonable heeds, off the spot (i.e. during listening on radios or on other audio channels). Such songs can be fairly grouped under category ‘B’. Rest all can be brought under the ambit of category ‘C’. Fortunately most of the songs of Rafi Sahab are so excellent & ultimate that these fairly fall under the first two categories.

To justify my statement, I would like to share a fact with all of you regarding the inbuilt craziness of music lovers for Rafi Sahab. It is quite normal, if people appreciate a good music/song/scene/dialogue etc. & become over excited in theaters & express their feelings of delirium by dancing, clapping & pelting coins on the picture hall screens. But to find people with dancing, clapping on hearing Rafi Sahab & then appreciating & applauding like ‘WAH RAFI-OH RAFI, BAHUT KHOOB RAFI’ looks quite incredible. I use to watch movie not just for entertainment, but also as a critics. In my 50 years of age & at least 35 years of my legitimate musical awareness, I have never seen such a fine admirations shown by audience in particular to a singer. Therefore, it can be said undisputedly that Indian film music is lucky to have such a great singer in its endowment, who had nourished, patronized, promoted & uplifted Indian film music to an international level & established himself as a school of music for the new comers/ learners & as a university for the veterans/ scholars.

Now coming to the present topic, I can say that background singing is one of the most difficult forms of the singing disciplines or domains. In this form of singing, undisputedly Rafi Sahab is found to be the best specialist & that’s the reason that he had sung more such numbers as compare to his other male/female contemporaries. And to achieve the feat of this form, a singer must possess at least following attributes, traits, birthmarks or denominators in his treasure:

  1. Involvement of voice according to the theme lying behind the story.
  2.  Expression of voice in the best manner.
  3. Correct modulation of voice.
  4. Good range of voice.
  5. Attachment of voice with listeners’/audiences’ feelings.
  6. Detachment of listeners’/ audiences’ undue wandering attentions.
  7. Quality of voice.
  8. And above all, he should be a good human being & philosopher & should have the ability to capture the sentiments of the lying philosophy.

In the view of above stated characteristics, Rafi Sahab stands as a maestro. That why, whenever there had been a necessity of such songs, father of music was remembered & had been called on most of the times. Now I will append below few A to Z songs of Rafi Sahab, which had been sung in the background & can be adjudged ultimate by virtue of their quality.

  1. A – AB KOI GULSHAN NAA UJRHE ……….(Film- Mujhe Jeene Do)
  2. B – BHALAA KARNE WAALE BHALAAI …………..(Film- Ghar Sansar)
  3. C – CHAL UDH JAA RE PANCHHI………..(Film- Bhabhi)
  4. D – DEKO DIL NAA KISI KAA TOOTE…………(Film- Pyar Ka Rishta)
  5. E – EK HAI JHARNA……..(Film-Harishchand Taramati )
  6. F (PH) – PHOOL KO DHUNDE PYAASA…..(Film-Shola Aur Shabnam)
  7. G – GANGAA TERAA PAANI..  (SAD VERSION) (Film-Ganga Tera Pani Amrit)
  8. H – HIMALYAA KI BULANDI SE SUNO ………(Film-Phool Bane Angaare )
  9. I – INSAAN KHILONAA HA………(Film Kasam Bhawani Ki)
  10. J – JAHAN DAAL DAAL PAR SONE KI…………(Film-Sikander E Azam )
  12. L – LO KHOON SE KHOON JUDAA HUAA…(Film-Main Nashe Mein Hun)
  14. N – NAARI TERE JEEVAN KI……..(Film-Veer Babruvahan)
  15. O – O AASMAAN WALE APNI DHARTI KE ….(Film- Sant Raghu)
  16. P – PYAAR KI RAAH DIKHAA DUNIYAA KO……….(Film-Lambe Haath)
  17. Q – QAL CHAMAN THAA AAJ IK SEHRAA…….(Film-Khandan)
  18. R – RAKHI DHAAGON KAA TYOHAAR………….(Film-Rakhi)
  20. T – TAQAT VATAN KI HUM SE HA———–(Film-Prem Pujari)
  21. U – US DESH KI SARHAD KO KOI CHHOO NAHIN ……(Film- Aankhen)
  22. V – VATAN KI RAH MEN VATAN KE ………(Film-Shaheed old)
  23. W- WAQT SE DIN AUR RAAT…………(Film-Waqt)
  24. X (S) – SAMAAZ KO BADAL DAALO  (Film- Samaaz Ko Badal Daalo)
  25. Y – YEH LUCKNOW KI SAR JAMIN……….(Film-Chaudhavin Ka Chand)
  26. Z – ZINDGI MEN AAYAA TOOFAAN……….(Film-Aaya Toofan)

Above examples show that Rafi Sahab is the only unique singer who fits in yet another form of singing aspect in the most appropriate manner &  this is the result of his A to Z singing traits, as discussed in my previous article, published in this site.


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10 Blog Comments to “Background playback singing & Rafi Sahab”


    Dear Vineetji,
    Thanks so much for the comprehensive A-Z list of Rafi Saab’s background songs. I have always maintained that most of the background songs have been sung by Rafi SAbba and each one of them is a gem. Dharti Kahe Pukaar ke, Zindagi Zinda dili ka naam hai, Koi chal diya akela Koi rah gaya akela, Waqt se din aur raat, waqt se kal aur aaj andso many of them….. he added that extra something to these songs. No other singer could match up to him when it came to background songs.

  2. Sharad Desai says:

    In support to Mr Vineet kumars view following are few songs having deep involment quality of RAFI sahib to express the feelings:-
    1) Sacchha hai gar pyaar mera sanam, hoge jaha tum vaha honge hum
    2) Jag dile diwana, rut jagi
    3) Nafarat ki duniya ko chodke
    4) pehle mile the sapanome
    5) Mehruba likhu, hasina likhu

    Likewise there are many but at this moment shearing above 5 only,

    Sharad Desai, Pune.

  3. Jae-Bee says:

    Here is one of my all time fav. title song from Aman which was also a back ground song. – Aman ka farishta…
    Also, the title/back ground song of movie Pehchaan- Paise ki pehechaan Yahaan
    Background song of movie Upkaar- Yeh kaali raat..
    Back ground song from Chaudvi ka chaand – Mili khakh mein mohabat…
    Back ground song from Kagaz ke phool – Bichhde sabhi baari…
    Song from Nayi Umarki Nayi Fasal – Carvan goozer gaya…
    I think our Rafi Sahab exels in each and every field of music/songs

  4. Binu Nair says:

    good work vineet ji…

    Credits : Enoch Daniels – next to the singing god rafi saaheb in the picture.

    enoch ji is the original accordion player in many movies including ‘ suhani raat dhal chuki ‘…..

    music lovers may google enoch daniel for more info on the ace musician of our golden era of music. he currently lives a well retired life in pune.

    from the rafi foundaiton, mumbai

    9833 250 701

  5. S Krishnan says:

    Dear Vineet ji,

    You have also tiggered my memory – and I have been a fan of Rafi saab all my life from very young age and now for over 50 years! I thought I will add a few more of Rafi’s songs that were sung for ashariri (one without the body).
    These are typically philosophical or sad.

    1. dekho bina savan baras rahi badli (from Sawan)
    2. Ek nanhi si kali roye daali ke liya ( Aanchal ke phool)
    3. Kya Kya Na Sitam Tujhpe Hue (Mohini)
    4. Kar chale hum fida jano tan (Haqeekat)
    5. Ae Watan Ae Watan -the sad version – Tu Na Rona (Shaheed)

    And there ae songs that are sung by a non-entity in the film like a fakeer, or mendicant which might also fall in this category.

    1. Banaye ja bigade ja (Alibaba aur chalis chor)
    2. Fati hui kismat ki chadar (Aliaba aur chalis chor)

    Thank you Viieet ji for trigerring this!
    S Krishnan

  6. drfmeerza says:

    i love to listen rafi sahib songs ,he is with us every day.

  7. Syed Sayeed Khundmiry says:

    Hey All Music Lovers!!!
    This new generation period till our last breath we are able to listen an AROMATIC songs which are sung by our Rafi Saab…even all the other great legend singers with him are very accurate and melodious to their best….Rafi Saab sings to many heros, but his songs are truely live to our lives….
    I admire and solute to this great and legendary singer….
    Syed Sayeed Khundmiry…

  8. Makbul Vora says:

    Rafi is the singer who cannot be or without him no composer can compose good composition. Even one can do composition without Lataji best example is O. P. Nyar who has never use Lata.

  9. M Ilyas says:

    Dear Vineet,

    Its an excellent account of one of many qualities of our Rafi Sahib. You have missed out. You have missed out “Hum Pyar Mein Dhoka Kha Baitthe from DHOOL KA PHOOL, “Naiyya Teri Mjhdar from AWARA, “Lahoo Ko Lahoo Pukarega” from GEETA MERA NAAM, the sad version of “Yeh Mera Prem Patra” from SANGAM and one from AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY. etc etc

  10. ARIF SAYED says:

    Dear Vineet Ji ,

    It is amazing !!!

    Among millions of Rafi Sahab’s fans , few concentrate on different moods . categories and subjects of songs .

    You are one of them who brings for us one of the Rafi Sahab’s speciality of BACKGROUND SINGING .

    Really !! Rafi Sahab’s background songs are more attractive .

    Thanks for giving few examples . Would like to collect more background
    songs .

    Many Thanks Vineet Ji .

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