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Best of Bollywood Songs

By H.V.Guru Murthy

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Which is your most favourite song in the history of Hindi film music during the past eighty years? If any body puts this question to me, I would rather not answer, as how can you choose just one song out of thousands of songs especially if you consider that versatile singers like Rafi Saab, Lataji, KK, Ashaji, Mannada, Mukeshji, Hemantda, Talatji, etc. etc. have sung so many wonderful wonderful songs.

But precisely a similar exercise was carried by the Magazine OUTLOOK in their 2006 June issue. Thirty prominent musicians of the Hindi Film Industry including Manandey, Mahendra Kapoor, Khayyam, Rajesh Roshan, Gulzar, Javid Akhtar, etc. were chosen to be in the Jury and were given the task to select the best songs.

The Jury came out with 20 songs sung by various Singers like Rafi, Lata, KK, Mannadey, Asha, etc. set to music by stalwarts like SDB, RDB, Roshan, Madan Mohan, Khayyam, Salil Chaudhury, Hemant Kumar, etc. Some of the songs in the list would be wholeheartedly agreed by majority of the music lovers but some reservation would be expressed regarding certain other songs from the list.

First let us go through the list. The no. 1 song considered was Man Re Tu Kahe Na Dheera Dhare (Chitralekha). This song was followed by other songs like Tere Mere Sapne and Din Dhal Jaye from GUIDE, Kuch To Log Kahenge (Amar Prem), Waqt Ne Kiya (Kagaz Ke Phool), Jo Wada Kiya (Taj Mahal) and Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya (Mughal E Azam). The journey continues with Ai Qateeb E Taqdeer (My Sister), Aayega Aayega (Mahal), Piya Tose (Guide), Main Ye Sochakar (Haqeeqat), O Sajana (Parakh), Kuch Dilne Kaha (Anupama), Zindagi Ke Safar Me (Aap Ki Kasam) and Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho (Hanste Zakhm). Other songs in the list are Dil Cheez Kya Hai (Umrao Jaan), Chura Liya Hai (Yaadon Ki Baraat), Tum Pukar Lo (Khamoshi), Har Ghadi Badal Rahi (Kal Ho Na Ho) and Poocho Na Kaise (Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen).

The list contains five of SDB, three of RDB, two each of Roshan and Madan Mohan, and one each of Hemant, Khayyam, Naushad, Salil Chaudhury and Shankar Ehsan Loy. But there are no songs of SJ, LP, KA, OPN. Similarly Rafi and Lata lead in the Singers Category whereas Talat and Mukesh do not find a place, unfair one must say.

Few would have any reservation about the No.1 song – Man Re. A classic song with just two antaras sung by Rafi Saab, written by Sahir Ludhyanvi, music by Roshan and picturised on Pradeep Kumar. The song is more philosophical conveying the moral dilemma of a person caught between a Courtesan and a Bikshu. Whether you consider the music which is so melodious, the lyrics which is so meaningful or the singing, who else could have justified the song other than Rafi Saab, this song has good credentials to become the Number 1 song. But, still, I am sure some music fans would have opted for Baiju Bawra’s “Duniya Ke Rakhewale” which catapulted Rafi to the top slot as well as which was a much more difficult song sung at a very high pitch or Pyaasa’s “Yeh Mehlo Ye Takhto”, which was a sort of revolutionary song depicting the utter contempt of the Poet towards the Society.

The Chitralekha song can be enjoyed at

Among other songs, the two Guide Rafi solos make the mark due to sheer class so also the Haqeeqat number, which is a unique song without the conventional mukhda and antara as well as the Hanste Zakhm song, which is good to see that at least after thirty years this unique song is getting its due. Though the Taj Mahal duet is good, still one would wonder at the exclusion of duets from Maya, Ishq Par Zor Nahin, etc. In the same way, though Chura Liya Hai is good, perhaps Ye Dekhake Dil Zhooma and Abhi Na Jao Chodakar were better. How to fit in other Rafi greats like Suhani Raat, Hari Om and the innumerable number of gazals / geets like Kaise Kategi Zindagi and Jis Raat Ki Khab Aayi. What about the mother of all qawalis Na To Caravan Ki Talash Hai.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

The three Lata numbers from Anupama, Parakh and Mahal are good selections, but the other two Lata songs from Guide and Mughal E Azam are surprise selections, as one can find umpteen number of other wonderful Lata numbers from movies like Mera Saya, Hanste Zakhm, Dil Apna Aur Preet Paraye, Maya, Dil Ek Mandir, etc. Perhaps the Guide and Mughal E Azam songs were selected due to their total appeal, picturisation significantly contributing to their selection with beautiful and innovative dances by Waheeda and Madhubala and restrained acting by Dilip Kumar.

Geeta Dutt’s Waqt Ne Kiya selects itself especially with that unique picturisation with the light shaft and memorable performance by Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehaman.

Kishore’s selection of the two songs are bit disappointing because Kishore has sung some very good songs in the early sixties especially for himself in movies like Door Gagan Ki Chaon Me. Similarly Saigal could have been represented by Soja or Ek Bangala or Jab Dil Hi. Hemant has been named for Tum Pukarlo, but Hemant was equally good in Na Ye Chand Hoga and Ye Raat Ye Chandni. Similarly Mannadey has been selected for Poocho Na Kaise Maine, but what about Laga Chunri Me Daag or Bhay Bhanjana? Similarly I would have preferred Asha’s Chain Se Hum Ko Kabhi or Poocho Na Hame Hum Unke Liye.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the song from Kal Ho Na Ho. Even the makers of this song would be embarrassed to be in the company of such illustrious songs. Perhaps the Jury wanted at least one song for this generation. If I were in their position, perhaps I would have selected Chitti Aayee Hai Watan Se, for the beautiful picturisation made memorable by Akash Khurana with his superlative acting.

Similarly the selections considered GUIDE as the most popular movie, SD Burman as the most popular Music Director, Shailendra as the most popular Lyricist and Rafi and Lata as the most popular Singers.

I am sure, every one would come out with his own list, but a fair selection will be to cumulatively list out all the songs from all music lovers for getting a fairly good representation rather than restricting to just twenty.

The article and the list of 20 songs can be accessed at,

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67 Blog Comments to “Best of Bollywood Songs”

  1. Ali Rashid says:

    Dear P. Haldar (Ref. Post 37),

    While I more or less agree with your list, I would slightly alter two areas. They would be the K-A and RDB lists. My lists for them would be as follows:

    K-A: rafi/mukesh, lata, kishore, mahendra/asha

    I feel K-A reserved their best for rafi and mukesh on the male side, and Lata on the female side. although mahendra kapoor has sung over 100 songs for the duo, there is a vast difference when comparing his output to rafi’s ouput for the duo.

    RDB: lata, kishore/rafi, asha

    Firstly, although asha has sung many memorable and experimental songs under pancham, I would place his lata ouput ahead primarily because I find he gave her more classy songs. I also find more than half of his asha ouput as below par, which also tilts the balance in favour of lata, and why I also place her output after the other three legends.

    I know many ‘may not agree’ with me on my next comment, but I find on the male side, pancham gave great songs to both kishore and rafi. kishore has the amar prem, aandhi, khushboo etc. and rafi scores with teesri manzil, caravan, baharon ke sapne et all. From a class, perspective, there are many high points on the rafi/pancham journey, from “Ilahi tu sun le” to “maine poocha chand se”. In the recent coffee table book that was released with the new pancham documentary, there is a photo of pancham, rafi, dev and majrooh rehearsing for ‘teen devian’. I wouldn’t be surprised if pancham may have ghost-composed ‘aise to na dekho’.

    What do you say ?.

  2. Priya Sanyal says:

    rameshkurpadji no other way to say u thanx(4 ur complement) than to dedicate this song to u&every1.There can never be any song more nostalgic than this one!This song became so popular that it became equivalent to national anthem,It used to be played
    in every cinema hall before any movie and also on streets,scools etc
    not for lyrics only but mainly because motivating divine rndition of Rafi sahab.

    Awards stands negligible for such a class, yet, his song recieved so many awards and personal greetings that none of social song have ever recieved!
    Although, the song released decade before my birth after india defeat in Indo -china war,I could see light in the eye of my parents when they used to listen this song.

    One voice came to fire the dark heart of every individual of wounded nation, and light spread all over, such was magic of Rafi sahab`s voice beyond the entertainment to real life. This song, a private album , it became so popular that they used to show this song to remotest villages all over india and almost every one of that age have listened this song…
    Contributed by some leading actors(heroes of film)to give their presence in the video of the song, and all of them playbacked by one voice with all variation to suit all but especially to suit the divinity of being integral or being ek…….awaz do ham ek hain…

  3. rameshkurpad says:

    what came first the egg or the chicken – pankaj mallick or swargiya kundan lal saigal.

    in many ways – pankaj mallick was more clean and likebale in comparison with saigal.

    the songs mentioned by you haldarji are nostalgic – it reminds me of 50,s and 60’s.


  4. P. Haldar says:

    post 43:

    Mr. Bhagchandani,

    The line “payal ki jhankar liye” reminds me of pankaj mallick. The way rafi delivers this line is very different from his usual style; it reminds me of several pankaj mallick songs, including “aayi bahar aaj aayi bahar”:

    and “piya milan ko jana”.

    There may be traces of saigal in the song; that’s not surprising given that pankaj mallick was saigal’s mentor and close friend.

    I’d also like to note that naushad, more than any other music director, provided the continuity from the old guard (pankaj mallick, saigal, raichand boral, k. c. dey and timir baran) to the new guard (c. ramchandra, khemchand prakash, shankar jaikishan, s. d. burman, roshan …), which is what we know as hindi film music (I don’t like the use of the “bollywood” label for such music.)

  5. Anil Cherian says:

    Haldar Sir,
    Thanks for the links; I’m hearing the song for the first time. Rafi sahab goes pretty high here; would be a high ‘pa’ or ‘dha’. speaking of high notes, there is a song starting ‘deepak jalao…’ where Rafi sahab goes very high and sustains it a long time.

  6. Rajkumar Akela says:

    Plz vote for our beloved Rafi Sahab and glorify India.

    Rajkumar Akela

  7. P. Haldar says:

    post 42:

    Mr. Cherian,

    No, it’s not Durrani, but the singer-director whom Naushad admired. The man whose hoof beats he followed in deedar:

    The lesser known version of the same song is by Rafi-Shamshad, with Rafi following the original master’s style and Shamshad more of a Punjabi style:

    Could you comment on Rafi’s pitch during 1:40 – 1:52?

  8. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Haldar ji (posts 38 & 41),

    The style of delivery of words ‘Paayal ki jhankar liye…’ by Rafi saab reminds me of Saigal saab.

  9. Anil Cherian says:

    Haldar sir (post 38),
    Is it G.M.Durrani?
    Rafi sahab sounded similar in some of his early songs like ‘dil me chupake…’. Waiting for your subsequent posts.

  10. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Bhagchandani,

    Thank you for your kind words. I love all the non-filmi songs you cited. But you haven’t still answered which yesteryear singer “payal ki jhankar” reminds us of. I’m almost 100% sure that rafi had him in mind when he delivered that line.

    Bengali music, both filmi and non-filmi, used to be very different before pancham arrived on the bengali scene with a big bang. It had a charm of its own: sweet, soft and melodious. There were several great singers and musicians, some of whom you are familiar with: hemanta, manna, salil, s.d. burman, shyamal mitra, geeta, manabendra mukherji, nirmalendu choudhury, anup ghoshal, dwijen mukherjee, subir sen, sandhya mukherji, arati mukherji, sudhin dasgupta, anil bagchi, nachiketa ghosh, binod chatterjee, aparesh lahiri, and many others. Bengali music used to be like comfort food — after listening to hindi film music (biriyani) for five days, the appetite would turn to home-made bengali food.

    Rafi hardly ever played in the Bengali market. There was no real need to. But I’d like you to listen to a Bengali song “oi dur diganta pare” from the 60s. There is is nothing great about the song but what amazes me is how well he adapted himself to the Bengali style of singing. The voice remains soft and soothing, without his trademark adayen.

    If you ask me to identify a singer whose style this song resembles closely, it is shyamal mitra. This is the same Shyamal who rehearsed Rafi the morning of that fatelul day in July 1980. The previous night, Rafi saab was not feeling well. Begum Bilquis sahiba had asked Rafi saab to cancel the rehearsal but he didn’t listen. His answer was simple: the music director had come all the way from Calcutta and he didn’t feel like opting out. The last words that Rafi saab rehearsed were in Bengali. The songs were sung by Shyamal Mitra himself later.

  11. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Haldar ji, (post 38)

    Please accept my compliments for the brilliant post. The three non-filmi songs that you mentioned are among my favourites too.

    Please note the way Rafi saab delivers the word ‘paayal’ in the song ‘Tum aao rumjhum karti…) or the way he says ‘Shaam ke deepak..’ in the other song; so different from a normal filmi andaz.

    Though it may look childish to some readers, but I would like Rafi fans to listen to any of above non-filmi songs and immediately listen to any filmi gem of Rafi saab (for example: Ae chaand ki zebaai…. Or ‘Is rang badalti duniya mein…’ or ‘Din dhal jaaye hai…). It will give you a feeling of pleasant non-belief, it will amaze you no end. The contrast in gaayaki for a filmi song and a non-filmi song (coming from the same singer…. aptly described as mian Tansen of 20th Century) is to be heard to be believed. How Rafi saab has grasped ‘the essence of a song not associated with any filmi hero’ is what makes him the singing miracle.

    Apart from the wonderful non-filmi songs that you mentioned I would like to add some more:

    Mein kab gaata mere swar mein pyaar kisi kaa gaata hai…

    Do ghari baitho tumhar roop aankhon mein basaa loon….

    Paagal naina sagri raina koi ro ro baat nihare… (could not find the link on Youtube)

    Mere geeton kaa shringaar ho tum….

    J.K. Bhagchandani

  12. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    You have further elaborated the MD / Singers list. One small comment. Personally I feel, KK was used better by SDB than by RDB and also no other MD came any where near SDB while using KK. Perhaps, SDB knew KK’s limitations and used him within that limitation, like SJ and Mukesh, where as others especially RDB gave KK numbers for which he was not suited, though I will admit that I enjoyed RDB / KK combination in Mere Jeevan Sathi, HRHK, Ajnabi and Paraya Dhan.

  13. P. Haldar says:

    There are songs for which you cannot attach a price tag — they are priceless. Binaji has commented on one such song, Khayyam’s masterpiece “Sham-e-gham ki kasam” delivered by the silken-voiced Talat. I can cite another priceless composition by Khayyam “woh subah kabhi to aayegi” delivered by an unlikely pair: mukesh-asha. Yet, mukesh and talat don’t even find a mention in the top 20 list. I can cite at least three other Khayyam compositions that would easily knock out some of the songs from the list.

    In the early 80s, kamal amrohi was making a film in which the md was khayyam. The biggest surprise was the selection of the singer, Kaban Mirza, whom some of you might remember from the “man chahe geet” days. When probed on his selection, Amrohi saab had this to say: “I don’t have Tansen, I don’t have Rafi, so I selected him.” Such a sweet and simple answer.

    Doston, I’m going to request you to listen to the following Khayyam composition, penned by Madhukar Rajasthani and sung by Mian Tansen of the 20th century:

    Which yesteryear singer does his voice and style remind you of? Listen carefully to how he sings “payal ki jhankar liye”.

    I’d also request you to listen to another madhukar rajasthani song, “sham ke deepak jale”, which along with “tum saamne baithi raho” has been one of my favourite non-filmi rafi songs.

    In this song, rafi sings in rafi’s original voice, in a much lower bass, almost toward the “talat” end of the spectrum.

    In subsequent posts, I would jot down some random thoughts on rafi’s voice and style, and why as Anil Cherian had rightly pointed out, his is a universal voice.

  14. P. Haldar says:

    In my previous post, I forgot to mention suman k and shamshad begum. With a few more changes, here’s my revised list:

    Naushad – Rafi, Lata
    Madan Mohan – Lata/Rafi, Talat
    Roshan – Rafi, Lata, Mukesh, Manna, Talat
    SDB – Lata/Rafi, KK, Manna, Geeta, Asha, Hemant, Talat
    RDB – KK, Asha/Lata, Rafi
    OPN – Rafi, Asha, Geeta, Mahendra, Shamshad
    KA – Mukesh, Lata, KK, Rafi/Mahendra
    Ravi – Rafi, Mahendra, Asha, Lata
    SJ – Rafi, Lata, Mukesh, Manna, Suman, Kishore
    LP – Rafi, Lata, KK, Mukesh
    Salil – Lata, Mukesh, Hemant/Talat/Manna, Rafi/Yesudas

  15. P. Haldar says:

    Guru murthy ji,

    I’ve revised your list a little, and also ordered the singers within each list. (The “/” symbol denotes these singers have been used equally well.) See what you think.

    Naushad – Rafi, Lata
    Madan Mohan – Lata/Rafi, Talat
    Roshan – Rafi, Lata, Mukesh, Manna, Talat
    SDB – Lata/Rafi, KK, Manna, Geeta, Asha, Hemant
    RDB – KK, Asha/Lata, Rafi
    OPN – Rafi, Asha, Geeta, Mahendra
    KA – Mukesh, Lata, KK, Rafi/Mahendra
    Ravi – Rafi, Mahendra, Asha, Lata
    SJ – Rafi, Lata, Mukesh, Manna
    LP – Rafi, Lata, KK, Mukesh
    Salil – Lata, Mukesh, Hemant/Talat/Manna, Rafi

  16. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    These 28 songs cannot be considered as the best of LP, so many good numbers have been left out. Considering the topic further, which Music Directors gave good songs with different singers, my personal repeat personal opinion is as below:

    Naushad – Rafi, Lata
    Madan Mohan – Rafi, Lata
    SDB – Rafi, Hemant, Lata, Asha, KK
    RDB – Rafi, Lata, KK, Asha
    OPN – Rafi, Asha, Mahendra
    KA – Rafi, Mukesh, Lata, Mahendra
    Ravi – Rafi, Lata, Asha, Mahendra
    SJ – Rafi, Lata, Asha, Mukesh
    LP – Rafi, Lata
    Salil – Mukesh, Rafi, Lata

    Any comments?

  17. P. Haldar says:

    post 32:

    priya ji, the song you mentioned is from the film “naya din nayi raat”. It was released in the “priya” (!) cinema hall, near Deshapriya Park. When the song was played on screen, the hall resonated with the sound of coins. The composer was laxmi-pyare.

    I am going to make a provocative comment now. Please feel free to disagree with me. Lata was lp’s godmother; she promoted them no end during their initial years. LP also had a much longer innings with Lata than with Rafi. But I consider LP’s output with rafi to be better than that with lata. How many of you agree with me? How many of you consider lata’s output to be better? How many of you consider them to be more or less equal? Just curious to know. (To be honest with you, the dada-lota combo gives me sleepless nights!)

    Anyway, I found that a retrospective of LP’s work was released last month. The album has two discs with 28 songs, out of which 10 (or possibly more) are Rafi’s, only one or two fewer than the nightingale’s. What’s surprising is that however you slice and dice any data, the man always comes out on or near the top! I’ve also included a review of the album by Richard Elliott:

    Disc 1:
    1. Hansta Hua Noorani Chehra
    2. Jaanewalo Zara
    3. Dil Vil Pyar Vyar
    4. Sawan Ka Mahina
    5. Mast Baharon Ka
    6. Pathar Ke Sanam
    7. Nazar Na Lag Jaaye
    8. Chhalkayen Jaam
    9. Aa Jaane Jaan
    10. Yeh Reshmi Zulfen
    11. Main Sharabi Nahin
    12. Yeh Jo Chilman Hai
    13. Taaron Mein Sajke
    14. Mujhe Teri Mohabbat Ka
    15. Ek Pyar Ka Naghma Hai

    Disc 2:
    1. Soul Of Bobby
    2. Hum Tum Ek Kamre
    3. Beshak Mandir Masjid Todo
    4. Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai
    5. Arre Haaye Haaye Yeh Majboori
    6. Satyam Shivam Sundaram
    7. Dafliwale Dafli Bajaa
    8. Om Shanti Om
    9. Yeh Galiyan Yeh Chaubara
    10. Lambi Judai
    11. Chithhi Aayi Hai
    12. O Ramji Bada Dukh
    13. Jumma Chumma


    Laxmikant Pyarelal
    Bollywood Remembers

    (Times Squre Records)

    US release date: 9 March 2010

    UK release date: 9 March 2010
    By Richard Elliott

    This double disc, originally released by the Indian Saregama label last year, collects together two and a half hours of material by Bollywood composers Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar (1937-1998) and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma (b. 1940), better known by the collective name Laxmikant Pyarelal, or just plain “LP”. The duo met as musicians at the music academy run by legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar—Laxmikant played the mandolin and Pyarelal the violin—and went on to score over 500 movies between 1963 and 1998 (the year of Laxmikant’s death). While they worked with virtually all the major Bollywood directors and singers, they were particularly associated with Mangeshkar and Mohammed Rafi, and these singers dominate the tracks on offer here, especially on the first disc (Rafi died in 1980).

    LP’s work is characterized by a notable openness to a wide variety of musical styles and instruments. Classical ragas mix with jazz horns, wah-wah guitars, funk and disco rhythms, and the insistent beat of the dafli (a circular frame drum). A range of singing styles are used throughout, and while the instantly recognizable Bollywood string style lends a consistency to many of the tracks, there is much quoting from other cinematic traditions, a cheeky highlight being the use Ennio Morricone’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” in one track.

    Bollywood Remembers is packed full of classic tunes and sonic surprises. If forced to pick standout moments, I would list the yearning “Jaanewalo Zara Mudke Dekho Mujhe”, the Spaghetti Western-referencing “Taaron Mein Sajke”, “Mujhe Teri Mohabbat Ka” (a beautiful duet between Rafi and Mangeshkar), the jazz funk of “Soul of Bobby” (an excerpt from the rare 1974 instrumental album of the same name), the stinging Hawaiian guitar licks of “Arre Haye Haye Yeh Majboori”, the fabulous dafli drumming on “Dafliwale Dafli Bajaa”, and the epic disco funk of “Om Shanti Om”. All the inclusions are fantastic, however, and should appeal to anyone with an interest in Bollywood music, which is to say anyone interested in beautiful singing and inventive arrangements.

  18. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    Classics are classics, which should not be re-made and spoiled. I am astonished that the days of close ups of actors especially during song sequences have almost disappeared and now a days, we have songs in fast forward mode, the camera keeps moving and we only have long shots and no close ups of actors to see their emotions or acting talent. One line is picturised in Switzerland and another in Netherlands. In those days, we had the title song of ‘Around the World’ in a similar way, but now all songs are like that.


    Thank you very much for sharing the Dev interview. It is well known that Dev always had a soft corner for KK, though MR sang so many wonderful songs for Dev. In fact, in his autobiography, I understand he has referred to Rafi only once. But it should be acknowledged that Dev’s youthful charisma was mainly due to Rafi’s songs and after he switched over to KK completly in 70s, his youthful charisma vanished. Even now if Dev is remembered, it is for movies like Guide, Asli Naqli, Hum Dono, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Kala Bazaar, Kala Pani, Jab Pyaar Kisise Hota Hai, etc. and not for movies like Joshila, Sahib Bahadur, Amir Garib, Loot Maar, Jaaneman, Prem Pujari (especially second half), Prem Shastra, Dev-Sharmila starrer, Ishq Ishq Ishq, Shareef Badmash, etc. though I admit I enjoyed his Des Pardes, HRHK, Tere Mere Sapne, Heera Panna and Warrant mainly due to the story line and few songs.

  19. Priya Sanyal says:

    Dear moderator, I`ve four times tried to post this link but it has not appeared even for once, Plz allow it to be posted!

    i don`t find anything offensive in it so that it should be edited!

  20. P. Haldar says:

    Some of you feel bad, as I do, that shankar-jaikishan does not appear in the rankings. I’m also surprised that none of OP’s songs feature in the top 20 list. I’m posting below a song from 1960 in which rafi and asha pay tribute to s.d. burman, shankar jaikishan, naushad and o. p. nayyar — these four mds ruled most of the 50s and 60s, the golden era of hindi film music.

  21. Priya Sanyal says:

    sory, link to the song of Rafi sahab is , mani wo hi

  22. P. Haldar says:

    Dear friends,

    As I have mentioned before, the methodology adopted by the Outlook poll is flawed. But more disturbing than that is the inferences that have been drawn from this poll. Based on the results, the outook article concluded that:

    “Similarly the selections considered GUIDE as the most popular movie, SD Burman as the most popular Music Director, Shailendra as the most popular Lyricist and Rafi and Lata as the most popular Singers.”

    Mind you, I love the results given that I admire and respect all the musical personalities mentioned above. But the inferences are erroneous and misleading. Let me explain why. Let’s suppose you have a panel of five experts (E1, E2… E5) who have been assigned the job of selecting the top 5 songs of hindi films, similar to what was done for the outlook poll. And let us suppose that sj’s songs are denoted by sj1, sj2, sj3, etc., sd’s songs by sd1, sd2, etc., rd’s songs by rd1, rd2, etc, madan mohan’s songs by mm1, mm2, etc., and so on. I’ve given below a scenario of possible selections by the expert panel:

    E1: SJ4, SD3, RD1, RD2, OP5
    E2: SJ1, SJ2, SJ3, SD2, SD3
    E3: MM1, MM3, SD2, LP4, SJ7
    E4: SD2, SD3, MM1, RD1, OP5
    E5: SJ12, SJ19, SJ22, SD3, RD1

    Who should be the most popular md based on these votes? Well, according to common sense, it should be sj (8 of his songs were selected), followed by sd (7), rd (4), mm (3), op (2) and lp (1). But if you follow the methodology adopted by outlook, the top 5 songs would be: SD3 (4 votes), SD2 (3 votes), RD1 (3 votes), MM1 (2 votes) and OP5 (2 votes). And sj would not feature among the top 5 md’s!

    I cannot believe that none of the experts — especially when you have folks like Manna Dey and Sonu Nigam on the panel — voted for sj. My hunch is that out of the 20 songs Manna da nominated, at least 6 would be sj’s.

    When I was growing up, hindi films and hindi songs were taboo in my household. There were two things that hypnotised me and made me a diehard hindi music fan even before I hit my teens — one was rafi saab’s voice and the other was sj’s music.

    Jai shankar, jai kishan!

  23. Priya Sanyal says:

    sorry, I missed to quote link of the song, main wohi…
    Its here…(thanks)

  24. Priya Sanyal says:

    Nasreen, we echoed eachother! So, as ur message is meant to all, let me react on ur “Kaash woh waqt ruk jaati…..”
    Listen this song from Master singing

    “maut Aane Se Bhi Pyar marta Nahin. Dum Nikalne Se Armaan Nikalte nahin” (can anyone share detail of this movie)
    and other song from mid 70s movie…rafi sahab singing his eternal nature that he is forever,saying main wo hi…(live in concert version)
    U know, Nasreen, Time has not stopped but become eternal,this divine gift of Rafi sahab`s voice is still with us.

    “aapko ek naya Gaana sunata hoon,,bilkul naya…gaane ke bol bhi wohi hai, picture ka naa bhi wohi hai”……..Superb!!!

  25. Nasreen says:

    Sorry my last post was meant to use Guru Murthyji’s name, i addrressed it to Haldarji in error but that does not mean it wasn’t meantfor haldarji at all. It is just a general message to all.


  26. Priya Sanyal says:

    Binu Nair ji…

    Ishwar allah tero naam, is one of Bhajan`s by which my day starts…Yes, really what he used to sing he not only felt but be one with it,especially this type of lyrics!

    Why not lets arrange all of rafi sahab stories at on place at one section that everyone who visit this site also get touch of person Rafi with the master singer.As whenever we lsiten rafi sahab we feel and ask our heart,how come can such voice possible,can such rendition possible,who might sing such song…and search starts for the person with such a voice of God and we r blessed to find that as is his voice so is he the person also….

    i`ve listened and liked Michael Jackson`s some songs, but no wonder to find out that his needles of drugs r also so precious to many!Its kalayuga!!Funny!
    they r just machine of making money or fame!While rafi sahab is example of huminity…

    Its very strange and menifestastion of special strngth that person like Rafi sahab could stay in mainstream of public life in midst of all those materialistic freaks,still unattached…

  27. Priya Sanyal says:

    20)P.Haldar Ji, Namaste!
    I love reading ur post everytime and also that u appear quite famliar and affectionate for ur reverence about rafi sahab!
    so, how can I quit posting to be away from my family members here!
    However, mere mehboob, reference, I don`t remember any specific sharing about it. :-)) why don`t u share with us if u have some information about it!

    21)GURU MURTHY ji, I,personally would never like to see remake of this film,Guide, as neither can we have such music, script today nor can anyone tally with the charismatic Dev anand or wahida ji`s of 60s. I`ve shared it earlier too that I had a chance to meet Dev anandji personally when he came to Delhi for screening of his Film hum Dono in colour! While talking he started talking of only his present state of mind that how creative is he with his films and productions.I didn`t entertained this talk and I asked him about his earlier days and especially music of his films, then he started talking of kishore da, the songs like “Ruk jana o jana nahi or churi nahi”. i persoanlly didn`t feel comfortable or rather felt little disgust that he has not even once took name of Rafi sahab.
    Then I abruptly asked him that whats the reason of his failure in 1970s and later on as an actor and also he no longer remained as most attractive,stylish and a man of fascination,what missed from his acting life in 70s!
    He got slightly illogical saying that 70s was best of his life etc etc…but very soon he get back to golden era of his life and also of film Industry and started talking of the song of the same movie, thats Kabhi khud pe kabhi halat pe,..remembering this song his mood was entirely changed from egoist elder to a kind guardian…he then as long as stayed with us, only used the word of praise for rafi sahab that how much Rafi sahab complemented to his persona to make him a personality and also that hwo he missed his voice later on too while talking of “mera man tera pyasa”,one of the most melodious of 1970s song….
    He also told that his most fav. song is Rafi sahab`s “Har gham ko dhuyen me”..and the he get back to Guide of which he told, that Guide was the sky above which there is nothing and best part was Rafi sahab`s song in it. futher told, that Actually, story of the film portray very fine how an ordinary man turned in divine but Rafi sahab`s singing in all three song presented the human side of that person with all divinity and because of which ,no where the film got weaker!and he asked can anyone sing,”din shal jaye raat na jaye”?
    finally, Dev anandji`s wish is to remake the same movie guide,thats already colour but with cinema scope and same songs with Dolby stereo.

    Radha(Priya Sanyal)

  28. Nasreen says:

    Dear haldarji – ref post 21

    I may sound pessimistic, but they cannot make such films like guide anymore – Waheeda cannot be replaced, neither can there be another Dev. And the songs? How??? Do I need to say anything further?

    The appeal of the time these films were made, is not something you can bring back. I mean, who would you have in place of someone like Waheeda? Rani Mukherji, Preity, Aishwarya, or Bipasha Basu, Kareena, – who??? does any of them have that grace and charm, that soft voice, that decency of Waheeda Rehman – has any of them refrained from shedding their clothes for the camera? I don’t mean to be disrespectful, to these very capable actresses, but I hope you know what I mean.

    No, it was a different time – that particular magic is a part of that time. And best kept only in our memory to be enjoyed through reminiscing about them, watching them in the company of likeminded people or else by ourselves, overlooking the slight technical etc. errors, marvelling with wonder at the voices of those singers, and at the pure romance, something that I find so totally lacking in today’s films. Romance in today’s films seems to mean just getting each other physically.
    Among today’s films, I have found “Jodhaa Akbar” very enchanting and the music was good too.

    I am afraid the ‘golden era’ is past, however. Computers had not invaded the world so thoroughly and there was still some mystery – such an important ingredient for romance and real beauty. Like the voice of Rafi Saab in all his songs but I mention here “yaad na jaaye, beete dino ki’ and the voice of lata-ji in “Ruk jaa raat, thahar jaa re chanda beete na milan ki bela”.

    Kaash woh waqt ruk jaati…..

  29. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    GUIDE was one of the films with eternal appeal like Sangam, Sholay, Gol Maal, Mughal E Azam, etc. You will not get bored even if you see ‘n’ number of times and every time you will see something new in the movie. GUIDE had good story (who else but RK Narayanan), good direction (Vijay Anand), good acting (Dev and Waheeda), good dialogues, good screenplay, good location, good lyrics (Shailendra) and good music (SDB). The singers Rafi and Lata were pure magic. I wish they make such films again, I mean of such quality. I again wish they dont remake it like Sholay or Don, as the total appeal of the movie will be totally missing.

  30. P. Haldar says:

    post 9:

    Priya ji,

    Really enjoyed reading your comments. I’d be curious to know if your father or your grandfather ever discussed “mere mehboob tujhe” in your presence. If you don’t feel like answering, please don’t feel compelled to do so, but do keep posting your comments.

    P. Haldar

  31. P. Haldar says:

    Dear Guru Murthy ji,

    You’d be surprised to know that over the last couple of months I had been toying with the idea of writing a similar article based on the Outlook poll. Well, I am happy that you wrote this piece but if you and others are interested, I’ll write my article with a slightly different twist. I agree with many of the sentiments you expressed in the article.

    As far as the Outlook poll is concerned, please note that it is not a scientific poll. There is a reason why SJ does not appear in the list and why SD appears so many times. If you look at the “flawed” methodology that the poll adopted, you’ll understand why the results are so skewed.

    But even in this flawed poll, there are certain truths very few people will disagree with. Rafi’s “din dhal jaye”, Lata’s “aayega aayega” and Manna’s “Puchho na kaise” will be automatic choices on a lot of music lovers’ lists. Also, Rafi’s “man re tu kahe na dheer dhare” and Lata’s “piya tose naina lage re” have been the eternal favourites among music personalities, so I am not surprised at their inclusion.

    A final question: What is it about Guide that enchants music lovers? Three superb Rafi solos, three superb Lata solos, one superb Dada solo and one superb Kishore-Lata duet. It cannot get any better than that. And note that these songs were recorded when the titan and the titaness were not on speaking terms. Try to pit “tere mere sapne” against “aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai”, “din dhan jaaye hai” against “piya tose naina lage re” and “kya se kya ho gaya” against “mo se chhal”, and you’ll see how close the competition was.

    I am fortunate to have attended a concert by the nightingale a few months after dada passed away. She started the concert with “aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai”; all I remember is that it was pure magic.

    P. Haldar

  32. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    What a nice incidence you have narrated. I shared the incidence with all Rafi Bhakts in Bangalore.


    I fully agree with you. Any list of top Hindi film songs is incomplete without SJ, LP and Mukesh and also Talat. How can we forget songs like Raat Ne Kya Kya, Tumko Phursat Ho, Zindagi Denewalen Sun, Ae Mere Dil Kahin, Pyaar Par Bas To Nahin Hai and scores of gazals sung by the gazal king.


    I concur that listing 20 or 30 songs is impossible. May be if some 500 songs are given, we can try.

  33. achalr says:

    sorry for the belated response to your beautiful write up. while the heart is gladdened to see a large part of the list from Rafi Saab’s songs, i echo the sentiments of many others who said the same thing- that it is very difficult to compile a top 20 or even 30.

    one fine morning, with nothing much to do and also a great desire to compile a list of the top 25 Rafi songs (forget any other singer !!) i scratched my head, shook it many times in dissent with my own lists..and finally had over 13 sheets of paper lying on the floor now in crumpled state.

    i gave up in sheer desperation. in spite of having my own bias and favourite songs, i still couldnt do justice to this list. i found it easier to face a very fast bowler from a neighbouring school in delhi, and this chap had a reputation of being close to making it to the All India Schoolboys Team !!

    you are very objective in your analysis, guruji and i found reading your article truly enriching.

    warm regards

    achal rangaswamy

  34. Harvinder says:

    As a Rafi Sahab’s fan, I always agreed that his song was adjudged as the best, but I still can not fathom that SDB and RDB score over Shankar Jaikishan and LP. It is impossible and looks biased. Have the judges forgotten that SJ brought Western MUsic in good way. All the filmi prsonalities, inclunding one and only one Lata ranks SJ as the MD’s “Who achieved the most”. LP to me were the most commercial, melodious and consistent MD’s ever. Each of these pairs individualy could match/come close to SDB and RDB put together.

    Yes there should have been a mention of atleast one Mukesh song.

  35. binus2000 says:

    RADHA JI : POST no 9…..

    my neighbour friend who used to stay in bandra west’s guru nanak park area tells me that behind the rafi house (in the compound) cooking used to take place. the food cooked was meant for the poor and hungry souls who visited the rafi house .
    you are right. during rafi days hardly anyone went away empty handed. it was also said that on each month 28th rafi would not go for recording. he would be sendeing the aid covers to his colleagues – then out of work.

    truly a saint singer.

    binu nair

  36. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Binu ji (Post 13),

    Rafi saab fully deserves the top place. I too have been voting regularly for him. His voice is God’s blessing to us.

  37. binus2000 says:


    Rafi saab has taken the number one spot among indian artistes. job well done by rafi fans by voting rafi saaheb massively. special mention to rajkumar akela and sanjeev dixit in this regard.
    mohd rafi is leading and his vote count up till the last second is : 16461. the nearest competitor is ilayraja with 11207 votes. the third is a.r.rehman with 8046 votes.
    mohd rafi is a timeless miracle – having gone 30 hears back. today too his songs are as fresh as the morning dew. how many singers can remain in the hearts and minds of large sections of people as mohd rafi is a persistent thought.

    among the world artistes michael jack son is leading with 81774 votes. good show by his fans.
    there is interesting news too about michael jackson – that his needles and syringes used for injecting “drugs” will be auctioned for millions of dollars.

    michael jack died young. let his soul now rest in peace.

    binu nair, mumbai

  38. The film Naya Raasta had that great Sahir Sahab’s song “pooch kar ashq aapni ankhon se, muskurao to koi baat bane”.
    The film was released in 1970.

    shirish Kulkarni

  39. Imtiyaz A. Sharif says:

    Dearest Rafians,

    Please keep on voting Rafi Sahab. He should be atleast on top 5 in the world musicians list. He is still on 14th position.

    Best regards,

    Imtiyaz A. Sharif

  40. binus2000 says:


    one MORE FACT about the godly legend :

    RAFI SAAHEB HAD JUST FINISHED RECORDING THE SONG FROM NAYA RAASTA : ishwar allah tero naam, sab ko sanmathi de bhagwaan AND LEAVING HOME.
    the lift man talks to rafi in marathi. its about the liftmans daughters impending marriage .
    our friend a great rafi fan says and i quote : ” i went back to the studios a few weeks later and asked the liftman, what he spoke to rafi in the lift – that day.
    the lift man said : i talked about my daughters marriage. rafi gave me the rs.10k he earned for the recording that day. the year somewhere in 1972.
    naya raasta starred jeetendra and may be asha parekh. music was by n.datta and lyrics by sahir ludhianvi and produced by the nadiadwalas.

  41. Priya Sanyal says:

    “””Mohd Rafi and power cut”””
    Rafi sahab singing with divine but not voice…

    Hah!!! Finally i`m home again at the website of Rafi sahab (my GOD,my friend,my family),.By last so many days I`ve tried so many time to register but by some error,process remained incomplete.But before,I would have give up,I`ve registered to have log in account.
    This log in process surly stops spammers and provide atleast few information about who writes here but its also like a pause!!
    unfortunately, I guess So many friends of ours,who still read the post,skip to post their affection to all of us in form of their valuable comments.And new visitors hardly attempt to spare time to post comment by registering.

    I`ve seen myself(and heard from so many people)that where Rafi sahab used to visit.The crowd used to go mad with every wave of his divine voice and even by just looking the moves of his fingers with the changing expression of song

    (my father,even though was from musical background and attached with film industry,still’
    had great inclination about all the singers with Bengal origin,only,,most of the time he was partial.
    But I respect his feelings for I love my parents most,unconditionally and pray for him to live happily in their new abode,heaven.
    but there is one more person whos like God to me,love personified Rafi sahab.
    Rafi sahab died when I was just 10 years old,so I for whole life repent to have some talks with him the way as I can have today as rafi sahab was divine singer still a saintly person.So`,to compensate this repentance, I always used to ask my father to tell me something about Rafi as he had met him so many times.

    then he told me about an incidence with Rafi sahab that once rafi sahab was in canada and
    power cut happened,microphone went out of order,audience sitting at the back rows were unable to listen even a single word. Rafi sahab was so deep in singing that he couldn`t make out that most of the listeners r unable to listen him. My father was present on the back of stage so ,he could listen the voice.
    My dad further got excited and almost shouted while telling me this story,”strange,strange strange”..
    .Rafi sahab was singing song ,”man re tu kahe na dheer” and in mid of song the power went out ( its a low note song), then after this rafi sahab started singing ” chaudvi ka chand ho”… It was like a magic show, as when Rafi sahab sang this line , jo bhi ho tum khuda ki kasam lajawab ho”..the audience made noise…the next line when he sang,”tum wo sharab ho” again the loud noise..jaane bahar tum kisi shayer ka khwab ho” hooh! amazing how people only shouted wah wah when the song went to its extreme every time…not just one or two people but whole audience applauded were a person who loves and understands music would do,although for sure they were unable to listen the voice……
    this is something or can be called a new raaga from Rafi encyclopedia of singing that he could move listeners even with voice by just the movement of his fingers and everyone went on trance and later who ever thought what happened that day could never forget this pure hearted singer who used to pour his soul just to give peace and smile to listeners who came to him.
    Off stage when they informed Rafi sahab that when he was singing power cut happened.
    Rafi sahab smile and almost laughed like a child saying ,he already knew that. the moment power cut happened, he felt that and he bowed down to god in his mind saying, “God, these people have come to listen me ,please help me to serve them”

    Well, no need to say people go in trance when they really listen him.My father who almost hated rafi sahab for some racial or professional issue at last moment of his life became a Rafi sahab greatest lover with such a soulful songs but still he never expressed it and kept on talking almost all the time of others. So all the critics who visit this site with harsh words r those who have never listened Rafi sahab with heart as they r themselves far from their own heart.strange so many fans of kishore da hate Rafi sahab, but among their favourites are so many Rafi sahab`s song that they understand as kishore voice.
    Lets forgive them…kyunki,,”ek banjara gaye,jivan ki geet sunaye…”

    Anyone who used to come Rafi sahab`s home,rafi sahab made this rule that no one would leave with empty hand,he could do anything to help others and so many person in film industry especially debutant music directors( including,RD burman,LP, ravindra Jain etc) whom when no one knew were helped by Rafi sahab with some master piece and they became stars
    …not only film persons but every one was very affectionate to him even to his critics he would answer with compassion.
    Everyone wanted to meet him,so little discipline was necessary for organiser of the show but if any one,anyhow come to see rafi sahab,rafi sahab could never ignore them rather meet cordially.
    So I wish everyone who come to this site,on behalf of Rafi sahab, is most welcome but those who really come to defame him out of jealousy can never be tolerated!

    I wish if we were as simple as our Farista Rafi sahab was
    Adab rafi!
    Radha(Priya Sanyal)

  42. Priya Sanyal says:

    Yes, Guru Murthyji.
    I`ve also seen this research article but as I read “O duniya ke Rakhwale” is not there I stopped reading further and finally after so many article by ur article I finally read that complete survey .
    Still it felt really nice to see top three as rafi sahab even to the world.
    However, ur presentation is excellent.
    Great Job sir/thank you.

  43. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Binuji, Binaji, Rameshji & Uttaraji,

    Thanks for all your comemnts / appreciations. Very true. If we restrict to just 20 or 30, we would not be doing justice to so many songs, so many singers, so many lyricists and so many Music Directors. That is the reason, we have so mny so many good songs / singers left out from the list. I personally feel the choices were made depending on the total impact of the song including picturisation as well as popularity and definitely star value of actors / actoresses. Precisely that is the reason, why songs on lesser known actors have not been included, otherwise, who knows songs like Truck Driver (One of Lataji’s favourite – Kanha Re Kanha), etc. could also have been included. In fact, Rafi Saab and Lataji have sung so many wonderful numbers on lesser known actors. If we strictly go by lyrics / music / singing, so many of the songs could have been replaced by other definitely better songs.

  44. utthara says:

    Guru saab, only a person like you, with vast knowledge of hindi cinema, can analyse so splendidly.

    when OUTLOOK came out with this publication, many criticised the slection of songs. Mind you, the jury comprised singers, music directors __ Abhijeet, Adesh Srivastava, Alisha Chinai, Anu Malik, Ehsaan, Gulzar, Hariharan, Himesh Reshammiya, Jatin, Javed Akhtar, Kailash Kher, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Khayyam, Kumar Sanu, Lalit, Loy, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Mahendra Kapoor, Manna Dey, Prasoon Joshi, Rajesh Roshan, Sadhna Sargam, Sameer, Sandesh Shandilya, Shaan, Shankar, Shantanu Moitra, Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam, Talat Aziz.
    it was this grand jury which finally selected these top songs after considering various aspects.
    With due regards to them, I don’t agree with their list. And you have echoed my reasons. You have very well analysed as to why some songs shouldn’t have been included in the list.

    It is foolish to pick 20 from of thousands of songs. Such a list will always be subjective.

    thanks for writing on such a debatable topic.



  45. rameshkurpad says:


    mubarak ho – sirf aaphee ek shaksh hai jo aisee sochh aur vichaardhaaraa pesh karsaktey hain.

    a well encompassed article – which made great reading. i felt a sense of satisfaction on how complete a write up you have prresented.

    while echoing on binajee,s views – i would like to add that – 20 songs would not be enough to even list out rafi sahab’s songs – then how the hell is one going to be able to rake out a list featuring so many aspects of music.

    it was never an easy task. hence – not worth it too however, at times its hard to believe such an exercise was undertaken.

    i say this because, there is a systemic failure in its very approach. not properly drawn out. does,nt do justice to the very question.

    a highly absorbing and interesting article by you gurujee – keep gunning away – you are just great.


  46. bina says:

    Gurujee:Soch vichaar karne waali analysis hai aapki…  bahut hi mushkil hai pasandeeda gaanon ka list banana…wonder what criteria the jury had to go by in selecting the songs…!mere hisaab se toh khud Rafi Saab ke No. 1 songs mein 10 gaane hone chahiye..If allowed more leeway, Talat’s and mukesh’s ke hits shaam-e-gam ki kasam and sajan re jhoot mat bolo respectively should have found a mention too..

  47. krishnarafian says:

    No one can believe this and the list is completely faltoo. There can never be top 20 beautiful songs. The list is incomplete without considering Mukesh, songs of Shammi Kapoor, songs from the movie Aradhana and above all none of these guys have ever tried to remember just one patriotic songs. Zero points to all these guys who have less knowledge about retro music..

  48. binus2000 says:


    so now we also have golden era songs wrapped up and presented in newer styles to market consumer goods.

    read the full story in mumbai mirror , sunday : march 21.

    binu nair, mumbai rafi foundation

  49. A S MURTY says:

    Guruji many thanks for the informative article. I just went through the link provided by you. Great to see so many songs of Rafi Sahab listed as favourites of the eminent panel.

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