Classical songs sung by Rafi and Manna Dey together
By Souvik Chatterji.
Music of bollywood films reached its zenith during the 50s and 60s. Composers, lyricists and singers of diversified cultures and came together and produced masterpieces. During that period the classical rendition of orthodox songs sung by Rafi and Manna Dey had made the listeners spellbound and still remain immortal more than 50 years after their creation.
Qawallies were composed in style during that period. In the film Barsaat Ki Raat in 1960, composer Roshan’s qawalli “na to karwan ki talash hai” started by Manna Dey and continued by Rafi with the lyrics “yeh ishq ishq hai ishq ishq”, was the major attraction in the film. Both Rafi and Manna Dey sang the qawalli in their own style and with their own harkats. Barsaat Ki Raat had other brilliant songs including the title song, but the qawalli stood as one of the superlative creations.
In the film Taj Mahal in 1963, the qawalli “chandi ka badan, sone ka nazar” composed by Roshan was another masterpiece. Rafi’s style of performance was as unique as Manna Dey’s one. The same was equally brilliant as the other songs like “jo wada kiya hai” sung by Rafi and Lata and “paon chu lene do” sung by Rafi.
In the film Bahu Begum in 1967, Rafi and Manna Dey probably competed against each other to prove their supremacy in the qawallies composed by Roshan. The song “dhoond ke layun kahan se mai” almost created an environment lying in a dargah. The individual classical touch given by Manna Dey was as brilliant as Rafi. The other song “waqib hoon khub ishq ke” sung by Rafi and Manna Dey made the audience speechless. Probably these songs were more difficult to sing than the solo songs like “hum intezar karenge” by Rafi or “duniya kare sawal” by Lata.
There were light songs sung by Rafi and Manna Dey together also. In Kalpana, their song “tu hai mera prem devta” composed by OP Nayyar was one example. In Parvarish, Dattaram composed the song “mama ho mama” for Rafi and Manna Dey. In the film Rustom Sohrab, Sajjad Hussain composed for Rafi and Manna Dey the song “phir tumhari yaad ayi”.
In the film Sachai, Shankar Jaikishan composed the song “ai dost mere” for Rafi and Manna Dey. Whenever Rafi sung duet with other playback singers the classical andaz could not be balanced by anyone. Whenever Manna Dey sang any duet with Rafi, whether a qawalli or any other semi-classical song, both the singers took their singing to a higher dimension, and the audience enjoyed the brilliant performances in the long run.
The songs and the films should be preserved.