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Celebrating Rafi Saab

By Achal Rangaswamy

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

On Rafi Saab’s last death anniversary I mourned the passing away of a legend and the fact that we all miss him terribly. This time I want to say that I don’t miss him at all. Because Rafi Saab is always with us. In each and every moment that we turn on the radio or listen to young singers on reality shows on Television. I also don’t miss Rafi Saab any more because he accompanies me in the form of CDs in my car, my iPod when I travel long distance, and my computer at my workplace. Not just that, I have been blessed to have been seeing him in my dreams for months on end. His ever-smiling face and his soft spoken voice tell me that he will never be forgotten.

I celebrate the fact that we all were born in the same era as the Voice of the Millenium. And the fact that we bask in the glow of Rafi Saab’s great songs and his memorable persona.

The other day, a fellow Rafi fan asked me to list out my top Ten favourite songs of Rafi Saab. I couldn’t help laughing aloud. Not because my friend was being stingy in his approach towards the number of songs that could be attributed to Rafi Saab (my friend was being naïve, of course) but due to the sheer difficulty that would be faced by anyone when asked to list a measly ten songs.

The ocean of songs that Rafi Saab has left behind for us as our legacy can envelope anybody and I am sure most of us would drown in our effort to list out even 100. Because every song suggested by one person would be countered by another as “not-so-favourite of mine, since there are four other songs to compete with it”.

Quite overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, I almost decided to drop the subject when another thought occurred to me. Why not suggest a song each for every actor Rafi Saab would have sung for. The song may not rate as the top favourite of that actor, but what according to me would be a “signature song” for that actor as a gift from Rafi Saab himself. Each of these songs would be welcomed by that actor as something only Rafi Saab would have done justice too. And that it would be easy for listeners to identify the actor by the song itself.

Not that this task was any easier, for the moment I began listing out the song, three or four others intruded, and demanded equal attention. All the same, I manfully decided to carry on with the list and here is my own compilation. I am sure that readers would have their own views and their own list too.

Dilip Kumar– for sheer playfulness – and Dilip Saab set new standards in this, he was not always melancholic as most critics would say- I chose the song “Hameen Se Mohabbat Hameen se Ladaai” from Leader. However, and I here I am, falling prey to the temptation of mentioning more than one song, I would like to mention the famous “Mere pairon mein ghungroo bandhaade” from Sunghursh. For serious numbers there are countless attributed to Dilip Kumar, but the one I like the most would be “aaj puraani raahone se” from Aadmi. Anguish, pathos, loneliness, everything poured into this song identify Dilip Saab very closely with Rafi Saab.

Ashok Kumar– the moment you think of this actor you cannot help singing “naache man mora magan thikda diggi diggi” from Meri Surat Teri Aankhen. And the moment one stops singing that song, that painfully sweet number of a talented yet reclusive artiste in the film comes to mind- “tere bin soone nayan hamaare” from the same film- Rafi Saab touched our hearts with this number.

Dev Anand- perhaps one of the most difficult tasks would have been selecting a top Rafi number for Dev Anand. There is a veritable treasure to select from. But perhaps a bias for the first ever Hindi Film Song that I heard in my life and tried to sing myself – “Khoya Khoya Chaand” from Kaala Bazaar makes me mention it. But in the very next moment two other songs rush in for attention and mention. They are “Tere Mere Sapne” from Guide (nobody even with an iota of romantic feelings in him would ignore this song) and “Tu Kahaan Yeh Bataa” from Tere Ghar ke Saamne. Distinctly different songs, both of them. One has the hero expressing eternal and endless love with a sense of assurance and the other has the protagonist singing his way through the streets looking for his lady love, with a clear sense of purpose. These apart, the song that has been my caller tune for years now, the highly-inspiring “Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gayaa” from Hum Dono must rank as a very popular number even with youngsters who never heard Rafi Saab in person.

Shammi Kapoor-Yahoo” may have been the signature yell for Shammi, but Rafi Saab sang his heart out for many a movie that had this hi-enthu rumbustious actor in it. My own favourite though, is “Khuli Palak mein jhootha gussa” from Professor. The bias crept in probably because my mother too loved this song, But there are some beautiful numbers – each one that would make Shammi dance again. “Husn chalaa kuchh aisi chaal deewane ka pooch na haal” from Bluff Master competes with “tareef karoon kya uski” from Kashmir ki Kali. Don’t you ever think that Rafi saab only yelled or made Shammi gyrate to his songs. “Tum mujhe yun bhula na pooagey” from Pagla Kahin Ka and “Dil ke jharoke mein tujhko bithaa kar” from Brahmachari stun the listener with sheer intensity and feeling.

Dharmendra- The two Punjabis always acknowledged each others’ role in their success! And Rafi Saab did produce some gems for Dharam. My favourite is “Mujhe dard-e-dil ka pata na thaa mujhe aap kis liye mil gaye” from Akash Deep, though I am sure many would also chip in with “Aap ke haseen rukh pe aaj naya noor hai” from Bahaarein Phir Bhi Aayengi. While there are numerous romantic songs that my idol sang for the handsome Jat I am sure a unanimous high energy high voltage song from their common land would be “Main jat yamla pagla deewanaa” from Pratigyaa.

Raj Kumar- it has to be “choo lene do naazuk hothon ko” from Kajal. This is the first song that comes to mind when one thinks of Raj Kumar and Rafi Saab together. Though the song was not directly picturised on RajKumar, the beautiful “unke khayal aaye toh aate chaley gaye” from Lal Patthar is very close to my heart. The person seen singing the song is one of Rafi Saab’s own idols- G.M.Durrani.

Jeetendra- one of Jeetendra’s earliest movies was Jeene ki Raah and I love both the numbers- “ek banjaara gaye” as well as “badi mastani hai meri mehbooba”. Fresh and innocent sounding Rafi Saab gave Jeetendra many a hummable number to keep this actor in contention among the top men at that time. A lesser known song- this one from Jigri Dost- “Mere Des mein pavan chaley purvaai” brings out the rustic and patriotic touch with great vigour. There are many of those twist, jazz, rock and roll numbers too. Jeetendra clearly hit the top charts thanks to the playback singer.

Shashi Kapoor- I grew up singing, or trying to sing “Likhe jo khat tujhe” from Kanyadaan, surely one of Rafi Saab’s most romantic Shankar –Jaikishen composition. Shashi Kapoor had great songs sung for him in Jab Jab Phool khile, Patanga, Jahan Pyaar Miley. But here is my all time favourite Rafi-Shashi hit. It is “Tum bin jaaon kahaan” from Pyaar ka Mausam. Till film songs are remembered people will continue to talk of this song and continue to debate who did more justice to it – Rafi of Kishore. I refuse to be drawn into the debate. My vote goes for the version I just talked about !!!

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Sanjeev Kumar- Probably because he took to character roles early in his career, or probably because of a late start, he may not have got to sing much or dance around the trees with the heroines. But all the same, Haribhai got some great Rafi songs to sing. And my favourite of them is “tere naam ka dewaanaa” from Suraj aur Chanda. Lilting music and extended notes make this song truly hummable. Another delightful song is “khush rahe tu sada” from Khilona.

Guru Dutt- some beautiful songs for Guru Dutt that Rafi Saab sang remained etched in one’s memory. But the most loved one for me is “hum aapki aankhon mein” from Pyaasa. Of course most of the songs for Guru Dutt were melancholic and of them “yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai” and “bichade sabhi baari baari” rule over the rest.

Balraj Sahni- Most film goers remember him for his studied elegance and method acting. But few can forget some rare songs that he got to sing. “kahan jaa raha hai tu ae jaane waale” from Seema is an absolute gem. The actor also featured in the film and the scene that made Rafi Saab immortal that a TV Programme was named after the song. I just love “Meri Awaaz Suno” from Naunihal.

Sunil Dutt- Many will not agree with my choice here because they will talk of “aap ke pehlu mein aakar ro diye” from Mera Saaya. My favourite is the duet from Gaban- “tum bin sajan barsey nayan”.Rafi Saab sounds so realistic when he croons “majboor hum majboor tum, dil milney ko tarsey” in this fantastic composition with the rain in the background.

Amitabh Bachhan had the great singer sing for him in the background the refrain “array hasne walo kabhi yeh bhi socho, jinhe pyaar milta nahi,jeetey hain kaise” for the film Parvaana. Of course he also had another great number – “koi aur duniya mein tumsa haseen hai” in Pyaar ki Kahaani.

Talking of Parvaana we have Navin Nishchol too. And Rafi Saab gave him the thoroughly romantic and enjoyable duet with Asha Bhosle “jis din se maine tumko dekha hai”. Great music by Madan Mohan too.

The other famous actor was Rishi Kapoor. And how can one forget “dard e dil dard e jigar” from Karz as well as the great songs from Sargam especially “hum to chale pardes hum pardesi ho gaye”, a personal favourite of my mother too. Rishi Kapoor always revered Rafi Saab and has been heard saying that all the songs Rafi sang for him were GREAT Songs Great Rishi’s own words. “unki awaaz mein khuda ki awaaz thi” Rishi quoted Manmohan Desai talking of Rafi Saab. And, oh!! How could I forget “tere dar pe aaya hoon kucch kar ke jaoonga” from Laila Majnu? It is so difficult to mention just one song for any actor!!

Rajesh Khanna may have declared Kishore as his voice. But how can anybody forget that Aradhana had “gunguna rahein hain bhanware” and “Gulabi Aankhein” from The Train had Kaka turning romantic. Great songs in Maryaada and Chhoti Bahu and Do Raaste proved that Rafi Saab had a very big hand in the projection of  Rajesh Khanna as the  Super Star of the 70s.

Vinod Khanna generally did most of the fighting in the movies but when he wooed the heroine he got some terrific numbers. And my top favourite Rafi song for him is “waada kar le saajna” with the elegantly dignified Simi Garewal in Haath ki Safaai.

The next set of actors that I am going to talk about should (with due respect to each one of them) be utterly thankful to the great singer who was probably the main reason to catapult them to any kind of stardom that they attained.

Rajendra Kumar-I know that friends would say Mere Mehboob should be mentioned here. But my all time favourite Rajendra Kumar number by Rafi Saab has to be “Yaad na jaaye beete dinon ki” from Dil Ek Mandir. When he says with true sensitivity “moti ke daane deta, seene se rehta lagaaye” one can’t help wondering whether Rafi Saab knew the exact scene, the exact feelings in the doctor’s mind as he laments the days bygone.

I didn’t exactly grow up liking this song but over a period of time “ae phoolon ki rani bahaaron ki mallika” from Aarzoo began to appeal to me. Rafi Saab must have thoroughly enjoyed singing this song. Rajendra Kumar owes it to Rafi Saab for making this particular song click with the listeners. The number of times this song is played on various radio channels clearly indicates the song’s popularity even 45 years after its recording.

Bharat Bhushan- Baiju Baawra was perhaps not going to be a hit without those three great songs. One, a bhajan. The second, a passionate wooing of a girl going away on a boat. And the third, a clarion call to God to listen to the singer, the song that literally shook everybody, including god, to tears. Each one of them remains fresh with us even today. Who else could have created such magic but Rafi Saab? But all the same, the sheer poetry woven by Rafi Saab with his golden voice makes “zindagi bhar nahi bhoolegi” from Barsaat ki Raat, my favourite. Of course there is that nazm like Maine “Shaayad tumhe pehle bhi kahin dekha hai.” The actor who benefited the most each time a song was created, could be none other than Bharat Bhushan.

Joy Mukherjee- A tonga, or a guitar, and a lakeside view. And you have Rafi Saab giving this actor some of the greatest and lovable songs ever composed in Hindi Film history. My most favourite of them all is the title song from Phir Wohi Dil Laaya Hoon. Of course there were Love in Simla, Ek Musafir Ek Haseena, and Humsaaya. Joy Mukherjee was truly gifted. By Rafi Saab. Oh, I could make a top 25 of Rafi Saab songs for this actor who must rank as the luckiest man in Hindi films in terms of songs made for him.

Pradeep Kumar- I don’t think he acted at all. But how lucky can a man get? “Phool se chhehra, Chand si rangat chaal kayaamat kya kahiye” in Raat aur Din has me in great spirits even before one talks of  “dil jo na keh saka” or “joh baat tujhme hai” or “paaon choo lene do”. Taj Mahal, Aarti, Bheegi Raat. Movies that only had songs. And Rafi Saab. That’s it. “hum intezaar kerenge” from Bahu Begum. Remember the movie? I bet you don’t. Nor the actor. But how can you forget the great singer!!

Biswajeet- Any day and any time, “Pukarta chalaa hoon Main” from Mere Sanam. The film had a few more lovely songs, but this is clearly a winner. Of course Biswajeet had one absolutely beautiful number which many people haven’t heard. Rafi Saab shows his class in the classical when he sings “kahan dekha hai tumhe” in Biwi aur Makaan.

Feroz Khan- When Chitragupta compsed “jag dil e deewaana” he could not have thought of anybody else but Rafi Saab. Dreamy, romantic and absolutely in love, this song has to be among the top in the list of the great singer’s most romantic songs. Feroz Khan could never act, but he got some great numbers from Rafi Saab in his later films too.

Sanjay Khan- It is a male duet. But Rafi Saab scored. And how!! “Ek janib sham e mehfil” from Abhilasha is my top Rafi-Sanjay Khan score. I know there were Mela, Upaasna, Abdullah (with that lovely Maine poocha chaand se), but Ek Janib…is one song that I Must listen at least once a day.

Comedians too got some great numbers.

Mehmood had the Hyderabadi hit “hum kaley hain to kya hua dilwaale hain”. Johnny Walker had some of Rafi Saab’s greatest hits to his name, with “yeh hai Bombay meri jaan” and Jagdeep had (ironically and surprisingly too) one of Rafi Saab’s greatest ghazals sung for him. “tumhari zulf ke saaye mein Shaam kar loonga” is a wonderful essay. Gulshan Bawra lip syched for Deewane hain Deewanon ko na dar chahiye.

And then there are those one or two- movie wonders who probably received some of Rafi Saab’s great generosity.

Mile na phool toh kaanton se dosti kar li” sang Parikshit Sahni, almost talking about his own cinematic career but the song definitely will go down as one of the best compostions of Roshan for Rafi Saab. This song from Anokhi Raat continues to fascinate me even today.

Does anybody know or remember Rajeev? Well, he got to play the hero in the movie Nayi Umar ki Nayee Fasal where Rafi Saab produced two pieces of pure magic. “aaj ki raat badi shokh badi natkhat hai” and the epic “kaarvaan guzar gaye ghubaar dekhte rahe”. I just can’t seem to decide which of these songs I like more. Both are sheer gems.

Chadrashekhar may have acted as a cop in many films. But when he turned hero for Cha Cha Cha the only redeeming factor in the movie was “Subah na aayee Shaam na aayee” and “Who Hum na they voh tum na they”. There was a duet too. But these two songs showed how Rafi Saab never let down even lesser known music directors.

I don’t seem to tire making this list. Nor do I expect Rafi Saab’s fans to tire listening to these songs.

But surely, one for the road has to be- who else but the Smart man (I wish I could write the same way as he said it) Ajit the famous villain– who had two of my favourite songs sung for him- “Aaja ke intezar main jaaney ko hai bahaar bhi” from Halaku, and the peppy, bubbly “bhula nahin dena ji bhula nahin dena, zamaana kharab hai dagha nahin dena”. And another couple of  villains made another song famous. “jahaan daal daal par soney ki chidiyan karti hai basera..voh bharat desh hai mera” from Sikandar e Azam. Prem Chopra joined Premnath in this song.

The last word had to be about Pran-jeena to hai usi ka….hai kaam aadmi ka auron ke kaam aana” he sang in Adhikaar. Was this not Rafi Saab’s philosophy of life too!

So, my friendly advice to this fellow Rafi fan of mine. Never ever ask anybody for a list of top ten or top twenty. If you ask for a top hundred or so, we may just be able to make a list !!!

Rafi Saab was a singer for all seasons. A singer for all reasons.  And a singer for all who appeared on the silver screen.

I celebrate Rafi Saab. Please join me in the celebration.

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47 Blog Comments to “Celebrating Rafi Saab”

  1. Àbullaoy says:

    Even after 200 years voice of rafi will be the same when recorded non of previous present n future singer cannot sing song like m rafi.

  2. ROHIT ARORA says:


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  3. Uruj Shahid says:

    Dear Friend, Rafi sahab was the angel send by God to our earth , the purity of his voice and the kind and gentle nature no one could reach to that point as where the Rafi sb. was at the apex of it. Water is as important for life same Rafi sahab songs are important for Our Soul. I would like to remmeber songs filmed on visvjeet”AKELA HOON HUMSAFAR DOONDTA HOON,TERE JAISA KAUN HAI, BA HOSH HAWAAS”And also other “Aai baharon ki shaam, Aaj kal mein gya din,woh din yaad karo,mera to jo bhi kadam hai,and much more put me feal relax to my heart and soul. No singer in the past and nor in the future reach to Rafi sahab singing and kindness.

  4. tauqeer says:

    madhuban me radhika naache……..wat a classical song

  5. nafisa says:

    film ‘khuda kasam’ (Vinod khanna & Tina Munim).
    Songs : 1. Are re re ambhalo muzhe yaaro, maine nahin pee yeh pyar ka nasha hai. 2. yeh aap ne kya keh diya(duet with Asha)

    both the songs are uploaded on you tube. Among the last few songs sung by the meastro. Truly he died when he was at peak, the voice doesnt sound 50 year old, it is as if a 20 year old is singing.

  6. ‘chahunga mein tujhe ‘the song that made him alive for ever.

  7. Hindole Roy says:

    For Joy Mukherjee Rafi Shahab has sung the song “Aanchal May Saja Lena Kaliya” from the film Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hu. Awesome song. Only and only Rafi can sing.

  8. nafisa says:

    About RK films, Manoj Kumar films, even BR films Navketan films, they all managed to ignore (by & large) mohd rafi. under utilised by the greats. Navketan once it switched to RDB forgot that rafi exists. RK kept using Shankar-Jaikishan, L-P through out, (the teams who made their name exploiting rafi’s range and versatality and simplicity ) it is no mean feat that there are no rafi numbers in rk banner films (except biwi o biwi – rk film).

    Laxmikant pyarelal managed to use rafi in atleast Kranti and upkaar.

    BR films also made scant use of rafi’s voice despite music directors like OPNayyar, Ravi & Madan Mohan.

    L-P’s ankhiyon ko rehne de ankhiyon ke aas paas sung by lata in Bobby, remains my favourite from the film. I think if rafi’s voice would have added so much more to the composition. No doubt lata has sung it beautifully and done full justice to it.

  9. Siva says:

    Gurumurthy ji & Haldar ji-thanks for the information given. In all the RK movies of per-70, we had masterpices from Rafi sahab. Few I could think of :
    Awaara-Nayya teri majhdar hoshiyaar
    Shri 420–Ramayya vastavayya
    Chori Chori(I think?)-All line clear –for Johnny walker
    Sangam–the evergreen Ye mera prem patra
    Mera Naam Joker-Sadque-heer-tujhpe hum–You may not believe-sometimes I keep playing this song in my laptop 4 to 5 times and still do not get satisified–Although it is almost impossible to list Rafi sahab’s top 10 songs, but in my personal top 10 I can easily place this song. This is one song which no one else could have done justice–although Rafi did not have the natural vibrato like in Talat sahab’s voice, he really excelled himself in this song. Sad that this song is never played even in Vividh Bharti and I think in the film also it gets cut in many editions (of course being an extra-ordinarily long film).

  10. achal rangaswamy says:

    anwar -ul -haque saab thank you so much for your kind words. yes, i realized after posting the article that i had missed out on quite a few actors and great songs. but that is the problem- rafi saab’s songs are endless when we think of great songs!!!
    nafisa ji thanks for adding so many more songs. this effort is commendable. i do hope somebody will come up with the two songs you are talking about from the vinod khanna-tina munim movie.
    guru ji thanks for the info on the mughal e azm song. i just love that song. it highlights rafi saab’s mastery over high notes and also his involvement in the lyrics and their delivery.

  11. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Siva Saab,

    Rafi Saab also sang in 1981 RK movie Biwi O Biwi – Are Paisa Ka Khel Nirala.

  12. P. Haldar says:

    post 35:

    Dear Siva ji,

    Those words were indeed prophetic. LP wanted Rafi saab for Bobby but Raj Kapoor insisted on a fresh voice. Shailendra Singh had revealed in a radio interview (heard from a cousin) that if he had flunked the audition, Rafi saab would have got the songs. My guess is that if Bobby were made in 1970 instead of 1973, RK would have gone for Rafi saab. Rafi saab was going through his so-called lean phase, and it was make or break for RK. But I am happy that Shailendra got the offer; he did a great job.

    P. Haldar

  13. Siva says:

    Gurumurthy sahab, ref your post 32. I was wondering whether Rafi sahab sang in any of the films of Raj Kapoor ( i.e RK films) after Mera Naam Joker.
    I couldn’t think of any. Please throw some light on this-reason why I am asking is that you had mentioned about Sadque-heer-tujhpe hum fakir…from Mera Nam Joker. If what I am guessing is true(i.e if Rafi sahab had not sung any other song for RK films after that, then it is really prophetic that the last lines in that song was: Tere dar per hum aakhri baar aaye….
    I may be wrong but please -any of the knowledgeable Rafi fans–do comment on this.

  14. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    That Rafi solo from Mughal E Azam was on Kumar, who incidentally produced Dharmendra starrer Loafer.

  15. achal rangaswamy says:

    guru ji

    that song tum hi tum ho mere jivan mein is beautiful. thanks to everyone, we now have a great compilation of some superb songs of rafi saab.

    even as we were discussing the songs another one came to my mind. i dont know the singer. i know the song is from mughal e azm..and i consider it the flagship song for all lovers of love. Zindabaad Zindabaad ae mohabbat Zindabaad.

    thank you all. thank you very much

    long live rafi saab

  16. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    You have listed all Rafi-centric heroes / actors and listed out wonderful songs, which have been further added by Rafi fans. I am just going to add two more actor to the list. RAJ KAPOOR – Can you forget songs like ‘sazde heer’ from “Mera Naam Joker” and ‘Tum Hi Tum Ho’ from “Ek Dil Sau Afasne”. Well, Rafiji also sang good many numbers for Raj Kapoor as well as Randhir Kapoor – Ib Lagan Lagi Kya Karna Ib Lagan Lagi & Chup Chup Chup Kyun Baiti Ho.

  17. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Dear Achal Rangaswamy ji,

    What a brilliant article on a fabulous topic. You conceived the theme well and executed it even better. Many congratulations for writing this great piece of work.

    You have rightly said that there are hundreds of songs which can be listed as favourites. Even the number of great songs with particular artists, composers or lyricists are dozens and it is very difficult to figure them out. You made it easy for singer/artist combination and included the great ones, but as we all know we have to left many gems. Anyway hats off to your effort.

    Thanks and best regards.


  18. nafisa says:

    Another one from poonam :

    Aduet with Aasha – Teri meri mohabbat bhi ek amar kahani hai

    Group song from Nishana :

    Bambara…. mien ne tuzhe jeet liya ,

    Awaaz ke jadugar ki awaz, truly wonderful.

  19. nafisa says:

    The song from poonam :

    laagi lag jaye logon lagaayi nahin jaye re…..
    yeh agan lag jaye to, bujhayee nahin jaye re……
    beliya beliya… dil tera kisi ne le liya.

    yeh mohabbat dilon se mitaee nahin jaye re….

    Pictrised on Sudhir (on screen)

    Old is gold :
    Meri kahani bhoolne wale
    tera jahan abad rahe.

  20. nafisa says:

    many more songs, which were used as title songs(picturised on no one) which come to mind like, waqt ke din aur raat – waqt. title song from ramanand sagar’s ankhen.

    Chalo re doli uthaao kahaar piya milan ki (Doli)

    And many such other theme songs. which played all through the film as the story unfolded.

    there was another film named “Poonam” (Raj babbar, Poonam Dhillion), which had at least two rafi songs released in the 80’s , one a romantic song,and another a punjabi folk type in the climaz of the film. (the music was khayyam ? )
    Another film starring Vinod Khanna & Tina Munim had two really melodious rafi songs one a romantic duet and another was a drunkard song. Rafi’s voice was very melodous in all those songs, i seem to remember. Voice at its shining best.

    If anyone remembers kindly refresh my memory. thanx in advance.

  21. nafisa says:

    Yes. the more i think the more i remember. There is one wonderful song in Amitabh bachchan’s film ‘kaalia’, which was picturised on “(cant remember the name – a regular small role actor in all prakash mehra films)” Kaun kisiko baandh saka sayyad to ek diwana hai” (R.D. Burman). A song starting at a high pitch and continuing in the same vein. Another one gem (a duet) in Zanjeer picturised on gulshan bawra ? “Deewane hain deewanon ko kna dar chahiye”(Kalayn-Anand). Mazhar khan – in shaan – aatey jaatey huey mien sab pe nazar rakhta hun(RDB). beutiful song for parikshit sahani in anokhi raat – miley na phhol to kaanto se donsti kar li.

    Of course , the unforgettable ” Zindabad Zindabad aye mohabbat zindabaad” from mughle-e-azam. who gould forget them.

    almost all of the all time great films in the history of hindi film industry made during rafi’s career span, have at least one rafi song or just a little line to sing in the song. He would sing it without qualms. He would play second fiddle to many of his contemporaries. From the film Kranti there is one group song “chana jor garam babu” rafi has sung just one line (for Dilip Kumar) which goes ” mera chana hai apni marzi ka, yeh dushman hai khudgarzi ka ” .

    there is one such all time great hits films which is sholey sadly lacking the voice of rafi in its credits. and we all know who is to blame for that

  22. achal rangaswamy says:

    vikram ji, very true. Rafi fans are mad fans of his. and why not??!!!! he had the uncanny ability to make them want to listen to him more and more.

    vasudha, thank you very much for making me the navigator of your pushpaka vimana !!! however high we may fly, Rafi Saab shall always be way above all of us.

    uttara, coming from you this is a real compliment. i am happy we all could take a walk done melody lane, as you say.

    hussein shaikh saab and pvks raju saab, you are so very right in saying that Rafi Saab’s popularity is immense, growing and there continues to be a great thirst to listen to him even more.

    thank you all for your kind and warm sentiments

    achal rangaswamy

  23. Wasey Chattha. says:

    Rafi sahib sangeet ki dunia ke Betaaj Badshah they.unke jaisa singer na to aaj tak hua hai aur na hone ki umeed hai…Wasey

  24. Shaik says:

    Md.Rafi sang less songs for Rajesh Khanna but whatever songs he sang were HUGE hits, here some of them…
    –>Itna to yaad hai Mujhe…
    –>Rang Rang ke phool khile mujhe bhaye koi rang na….
    –>Koi Nazrana lekar aya hoon….
    –>Chup gaye saare Nazare oye kya baat hogai…
    –>Yeh Jo Chilman hai dushman hai hamari….
    –>Yunhi tum mujhse baat karti ho….

    Md.Rafi you are too good a singer…its impossible to have anyone in your place..TUMKO NA BHOOL PAYENGE…

  25. achal rangaswamy says:

    girish ji, nafisa ji and ravi saab, thank you so much for your wonderful feedback and also the additional gems rendered by rafi saab as mentioned by you. i am very glad that i wrote this article because there are so many more beautiful songs that are now being talked about.

    nrp bhai, what an analysis!!! and what a comparison you have made!!! i bow my head in all humility. rafi saab was too great to be compared. incomparable !!!

    all the same, thank you so much sir


    achal rangaswamy

  26. pvks raju says:

    Great write up. I suppose all the heroes, villians, comedians and character artistes were covered. I could recollect a few more actors on whom rafi sahab showed his kamaal. Manoj Kumar… Sajan Sajan Pukarum Galiyon Mein(Sajan 1969), Janne Chaman Shola Badan(Gumnaam1965) Raha Gardishon Mein Har Daam(Do Badan 1966)……NTRama Rao in Bhale Tammudu(1969), Aradhan(1975), Akbar Saleem Anarkali(1978) all in telugu. The first two films were straight lifts from China Town(1962) and Geet(1970). Infact Rafi Sahab sang for NTR and his sons both Hari Krishna and Balakrishna in telugu. Harikrishna for Ram Rahim(1974) and Balakrishna in Akbar Saleem Anarkali(1978). It is surprising that all the songs were smash hits in telugu inspite of the fact that Rafi Sahab was a punjabi and could not speak nor write telugu, yet his solos and duet songs were immensely popular.
    in andhra pradesh even to this day.

  27. Musharraf says:

    Dharmendar lipsang two beautiful songs of Rafi sahab in the film”Aap ki Parchchaiyan”. These are “Main nigahene tere chahrese hataun kaise” and ‘Yehi hai tamanna tere dar ke samne mere jaan jaye, mere jaan jaye” . Both were fabulous songs.

  28. Hussein Sheikh says:

    The more you hear Rafi Saheb’s songs, the more you feel thirst of his songs… people will never forget Rafi Saheb…

  29. Utthara says:

    a mini encyclopaedia of songs. The topic itself was very interesting. Fabulous, fabulous. Such a comprehensive article giving us insights into Rafi sab’s singing. Your take on each actor made delightful reading. Poor Rajendra Kumar! But he got to sing some of the best songs.
    I read the article twice __ the first time I was impatient to know the actors and the songs you were listing. The second time, I savoured every line and every song and was humming as I was reading it.
    If, with your last year tribute you took us all along with you on your long ride, this year you took us down melody lane.

    For Dev Anand: I have three faves __ Aise toh na dekho and Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chalegaye, abhi na jao chodkar
    For Dharmendra: Mehbooba teri tasveer(you don’t get to listen to this wonderful song these days) and Huyi sham unka and Mein nigahen tere chehrese
    Joy Mukherjee: O mere shahekhuba
    Ajit: Agar mein puchoon jawab doge, chaman ke phool bhi tujhko
    Jagdeep: Paas baitho tabiyath
    Rajendranath: Meri zindagi tere pyar mein hum kahan kahan se guzargaye
    Shammi Kapoor: yehsaan tera hoga mujhpar, mein gaoon tum sojao
    Sahshi Kapoor: Sari khushiyan hai, Phri aane laga yaad wohi, Theheriye hosh mein aloon
    Dilip Kumar: Guzre hain aaj ishq
    Dara Singh: maine tere haseen kahayolon mein khogaya
    Rajendra Kumar: Aji humse bachkar kahan jayiyega, Yaad na jaye
    Mehmood; Ajhun aaye balma
    Navin Nischal: Tum jo milgaye ho
    Rajesh Khanna: Mujhse bhala yeh kajal tera, gulabi ankhen
    Sanjay Khan: Humko hone laga karaar
    Raaj Kumar: Aaj is darja pila do, tujhko pukare mera pyar
    Manoj Kumar: pathar ke sanam, sajan sajan pukaroon galiyon mein
    Mahipal: Roshan tumhise duniya
    Biswajit: Bahoshho hawas mein deewana
    Feroz khan: Jaag dile deewana
    Sanjeev Kuamr: Khilona jaan kar tumto, tere naam ka deewana
    Jeetendra: Mast baharon ka mein ashiq, dil mein kya hai.
    Pradeep Kumar: Dil jo na keh sakao, hum intezar karenge, aapne yaad dilaya
    Bharat Bhushan: Baad muddat ki yeh ghadi aayi, mayoos to hun wade se tere

    Will stop here.



  30. Dr.Vasudha says:

    A smooth breathtaking pushpak vimaan ride–Sitting in the vimaan I saw every feeling expressed by Rafi saab for the actors.I loved the ride like anything.
    You have the tremendous ability to make any ride enjoyable.
    Achal what I loved the most in your write up is your analysis and each analysis imparts a unique touch of superiority for that particular song and the actor.
    Its different and I for one believe in variety is the spice of life.
    Congratulations! This is mind glowing:-).Just loved it.

  31. Vikram Shah says:

    Excellent detailing of each actor. They say there is a ‘Methodology in Madness’, I would say that there is a “Methodology in your fan-ness of Saheb”. Please keep dishing out more of such delicacies.
    Saheb ke baare mein hum to sirf itna keh sakte hai –
    Dil ke Aaine mein hai tasveer teri
    Jab jara gardan jhuka li, dekh li.


  32. Ravi says:

    Achal ji , you did a great job. Only a true Rafi fan can do this miracle.
    One correction has to be made in this write up that is about the song ‘Tumhari Zulf Ke Saye Mein..’ This sonf was picturized on Sanjiv Kumar not on Jagdeep. in fact the song Pas Baitho Tabiyat Bahal Jayegi was picturized on Jagdeep. I also want to add something to this beautiful article. A great song Main to tere hasin khyalon mein kho gaya was Picturized on Randhava. Onether gem of Rafi Saheb ” Tere pyar ne mujhe gham diya” was picurized on Subi Raj. Similarly songs like Abhi Kamsin Ho Nadan Ho and Mana mere hasin sanam were picturied on little known actors. Even Govinda and Mithun have been blessed to have Rafi Saheb for their play back. “Phool ka Shabab kya” form Farz Ki Jung was picturized on Govinda and songs like Tu hi woh hasin hain and Bhigee Bhigee rut hai were sung for Mithun. Similary Raj Babbar, Rakesh Roshan, Raj Kiran , Satish Kaul , Sudir , Sujit Kumar, Romesh Sharma , Deepak Parashar were lucky to have Rafi Sahab sung for them. Even his contemporaries like Talat Mehmood and Kishore Kumar had to borrow Rafi Sahab’s voice to immortalize their on screen acts. And a big surprise , Rafi Sahab sang ” Woh apni yaad mitane ko” , film Jugnu for himself only. Hat off to Rafi Sahab – Ravi

  33. dear friends and my fellow Rafi Fans

    i thank each one of you profusely for your warm and kind words and also for pointing out the various slips on my part.

    mohameed saab and khaja aliuddin saab, i am grateful to you for adding these names. yes, how did i forget shatrughan sinha for whom Rafi Saab sang-“mujhko mere baad zamaana dhoondega”.

    and it was a real slip on my part to leave out the great song Rafi Saab sang for Sudheer in Haqueeqat- “main yeh sochkar uskey dar se utha thaa”.

    nagesh, thanks for the very warm sentiments expressed. and for adding some more songs to the huge list of Rafi Saab’s great numbers. i am sure more additions will take place and this will become a huge compilation for all of us one day.

    Bhadalkar saab, vinod mehru ji and jayant saab, thank you. we always associate the word God the moment we think or talk of Rafi Saab, so i am sure the rains were a natural shower of gift from the skies.
    rashid diwan Saab, this is a fact that Rafi Saab has become part of our lives and we look to him for expression of our feelings, whichever they may be.

    nasreen ji, i think you are distinctly fortunate to be doing such radio programmes and getting the opportunity to take the name of our Idol so many times in few minutes, and sharing with the world your own feelings and appreciation for Rafi Saab.
    kindly do let me know which station and which programmes you do so that i too could have the pleasure of listening to them. thank you for your kind thoughts on the write up.

  34. padmanabhan nr says:

    What an effort, Achal!

    And you are spot on. one inevitable event, the death, cannot snatch from us the thousands of beautiful melodies the maestro left behind for us. let us continue to celebrate that rather than ruing what was beyond anybody’s control.

    That business manager’s cool analytical instinct is clearly evident in your write-up. but it is heart felt and is not based on cold, ruthless facts. in fact there is a rafi saahab like similarity here. he was given a combination of words in the form of lyrics; he made them memorable by lending his voice to impart feelings/ emotions to them. they became alive. for generations.

    Do I need to say more?

    Padmanabhan NR
    Rafi Foundation, Hyderabad Chapter and Adabrafi, Bangalore

  35. Nafisa Momin says:

    Also Sunil Dutt : Yeh wadiyan yeh fizaayien bula rahi (Kal aur aaj)
    Teri ankhon ke siwa (Chirag)
    Rajesh Khanna : Yunhi tum muzh se baat karti ho (sacha jhoota)
    Nafrat ki Duniya ko chhod kar (Hathi mere sathi)
    Songs from Do raaste.
    Dev Anand : Mera man tera pyasa(Gambler)
    songs from all black & white films like Apni to har aah ek
    toofan from Solvah saal, Rim jhim ke taraane (kaala pani)
    Joy Mukherjee : All songs from his home production films.
    Muzhe dekhkar aap ka musturana (available on YouTube
    Only). Original Sound track seems to be missing even from
    HMV stocks.
    Biswajeet : Songs from Do kaliyan and Shehnai.


  36. Girish Masand says:

    Great article.

    Girish :

  37. nafisa momin says:

    Mr. Rangaswamy,

    I endorse your view that some of the big stars in hindi films have risen mostly due to the great musical compositions and great singer they had in Rafi Sahab.
    SDB, RDB, LP, KA, Naushad, Gulam Mohammed, Chitragupt, Vasant Desai, O.P. Nayyar, Madan Mohan, and some more all did great work within their career time frames.

    Rafi sang some very beautiful songs for small time heroes/stars also. eg.:
    Navin Nischol – Tum jo mil gaye ho (One of my all time favorites)
    Chal mien tumkha gaal pe jhumka.
    Kabir Bedi – Jab bhi yeh dil udaas hota hai
    Balraj Sahni – Raat bhar ka hai mehmaan andhera (OOMATF)
    Jayant – Aaj kal mien dhal gaya
    Sanjay khan – Rut hai milan ki saathi mere
    Feroz khan – Duets from Qurbani and Nagin

    The lists for big stars will go on & on :
    Dev Anand – Saathi na Koi manzil (One of the forgotten haunting melodies by SDB from Bambai ka baboo)
    Dharmendra – Ke aaja teri yaad aayi, (Charas)
    Dilip Kumar – Nain lad jayee hain (Gunga Jamuna)
    saare shehar mien (Bairag)
    shashi Kapoor – Duets and Group songs in Kala pathar and Ek daal par tota Bole from Fakira, kaali ghata chayi prem rut aayee from Kaali Ghata
    Pl. watch Ishque ne todi sar pe Quayamat from (Junoon) video is available on youtube music section. Just the audio of the song is so incredible due to the haunting emotion in rafi’s voice.

    Also the songs from “Sehra” are very beautiful. I am trying to list the songs which r usually not heard/seen in the media.

    There r many more.

    I would like some feature on S D Burman/Rafi, Madan Mohan/Rafi, if they r available on this or any other site.


  38. Nasreen says:

    Achal Rangaswamy-ji – such a fabulous write up on Rafi Sahab’s songs. I feel a bit amazed at how similar our choices are. I am part of a radio program and we did a show today on Rafi Sahab (of course!). And guess what the theme was ….”Rafi Saab sings for different heroes”. In the one-hour slot, unfortunatley we were also not able to fit in everyone, but the ‘greats’ were there of course. Dilip, Dev, etc. And almost every song you have mentioned for each hero matches the song I chose for our listeners. Amazing similarity. In Rajendra Kumar’s case, however, we chose “Ae Nargise Mastaana” from Arzoo. And for dilip Saab it was “Dilruba maine tere pyaar me kya kya na kiya, dil Diya dard liya”. Just lovely.
    I so agree with everything you have written. Rafi Saab is always with me too, not just in my CD’s etc. , his voice is in my mind all the time. I cannot tire of listening to his songs and am grateful that there are so many to choose from. Each one an indescribable treasure!
    Thank you again – Nasreen

  39. Rashid Diwan says:

    Mr Achal Rangaswamy, I am absolutely speechless, a wonderful tribute to Rafi Sahab who has been our invisible partner in life been in our cars with us in our minds all the time during our sorro, happiness and when ever we needed inspiration or need for lifting up our spirit. Your research and dedication is very admirable. Wishing you all the best.

  40. Jayant Sanyal says:

    Dear Mr. Rangaswamy,

    Congratulations! An excellent write up indeed!

    Yesterday, the heavens opened up both in Delhi & Mumbai, as if they were mourning the loss of our king of melody.. Mohd Rafi Saahab. You have through this article reminded all of us that Friends, don’t worry! Rafi Saahab is there with us always. Let us celebrate Rafi Saahab in our lives!

    My Best Wishes!

    Jayant Sanyal
    New Delhi

  41. nagesh sidhanti says:

    Dear Achalbhai,

    Aadab Rafi.

    This has to be one of the most detailed analysis of Rafi
    sab’s works w.r.t his heroes. Congratulations for giving
    us, a real keepsake of an article. Please allow me to share
    the link on social communities.

    Your friend may like to rephrase ‘ which are your top 10
    songs……. for each actor?’ 🙂

    And as you rightly said, for each of the songs you have
    mentioned, the fans would come up with a list of their own.
    Some of my personal favorites ( in addition to your list) are,

    Dev Anand : Apni toh har aah toofan hai, kahi bekhayaal
    Shammi Kapoor : Tumne mujhe dekha, main gaaon tum sojao
    Dharmendra : Na jaane kyun, hui shaam unka
    Rajkumar : Yeh Zulf agar khulke
    Sanjeev Kumar : Tumhaari zulf ke saaye main
    Very Lucky Joy Mukherjee : O mere shah-e-khuba
    Even Luckier Biswajeet : Ba hosh-o-hawas main diwana
    & Hue hai tumpe ashiq hum
    Kabir Bedi : Jab bhi yeh dil udaas hota hai
    Deepak Parashar : Tu is tarah se meri zindagi

    Now I am going to miss my appointment sir. Ek hi shikayat
    hai Rafi sab se. Each time I read about him or listen to his music, priorities change instantly.

    Once again, many congratulations for the splendid analysis.


  42. vinod mehru says:

    dear achal g,

    worth reading writeup baar baar padunga aur padta rahoonga. speech less to express to my views

    aap ne sahi kaha mujhse door nahin phir bhi hardam aaspass hai dost, itna to yaad hai mujhe ki biwi bachche bhi hai, par rafi saheb hi aas pass hai dost,

    pooche jo koi mujhse muskaan kaisi hoti hai, naam rafi saheb ke leke ki yaar aisi hoti hai,

    achal aap issi tarah hamesha bantte aur share karte raho.

    with regards
    vinod mehru

  43. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Janab Achal Rangaswamy Saheb,
    Great article, and great tribute to our maestro.
    Gustakhi maaf, aapki list me chand aur heroes ka izafa karoonga, aapki ijazath se.
    Vinod Mehra
    Anil Dhawan
    Dara Singh
    Sahilesh Kumar
    Sujeeth kumar
    Bhagwan etc etc

    with regards to all Rafi lovers,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  44. A. N. Bhadalkar says:

    What a tribute to the God …
    The God of Romance… Shararat …. nazakat … valour …. har andaz ….
    I agree and appreciate every word and do join you in the celebration… a God-sent, rather a God-appeared celebration…!

  45. Mohammad says:

    Dear you have missed Shatrughan sinha for whom Rafi sahab had sung mind blowing songs like Sher ka husn ko, pyar ka samay and many more……….

  46. common_man says:

    mohammed rafi lives on with his immortal voice, expression, and humanity. he is a saint.

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