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Combination of Shankar Jaikishan with Mehmood and Rafi

This article is written by Mr. Souvik Chatterji.

Mohd Rafi with Shankar

Mohd Rafi with Shankar

Shankar Jaikishan had always been known to set trends and not follow any existing system created by the other compositions. SJ used Lata to her limit in Barsaat in the late 40s, during a time when the other female singers like Noorjahan, Suraiya, Samshad Begum, Rajkumari were also prominent in singing playback songs in bollywood films. SJ never stuck one single team and that was one of their secrets of success in bollywood films.

In respect of Mehmood, it was a tradition for most of the composers to use Manna Dey to sing for Mehmood, most of which were very very successful. SD Burman used Manna Dey to sing “duniya bananewale” in the film Ziddi for Mehmood, where he used Rafi to sing the songs for Joy Mukherjee like “bolo bolo, aye dildaar“, etc. RD Burman used Manna Dey to sing the songs “sawaariya” and “ek chaturnaar” in the film Padosan for Mehmood. LP used Manna Dey to sing “o mere maina” in the film Pyar Kiye Ja, for Mehmood. There are numerous other examples where Manna Dey was used by the composers to suit Mehmood.

Shankar Jaikishan had something else in mind. He used Manna Dey in very serious classical songs like “sur na saje” in Basant Bahar, emotional songs like “tu pyar ka sagar hai” in Seema, or folk songs like “chalet musafir” in Teesri Kasam. When it came to Mehmood, SJ experimented with Rafi, and those songs probably are considered the most successful songs of Mehmood in his entire career.

The song “ajahu na aye balma sawan bita jai” in the film Saanjh Aur Sawera, picturized on Mehmood, stands out as one of the most classically oriented compositions of SJ for Rafi. The song had both appeal for the mass and also the class. The song “hum kale hai to kya hua dilwale hai” in Gumnaam, became a trademark song of Mehmood. Rafi almost reproduced the style of dialogue throwing of Mehmood in the song and it appeared to the masses that the song was sung by Mehmood himself.

Mohd Rafi with Lata and Jaikishan

Mohd Rafi with Lata and Jaikishan

SJ used Rafi to sing the song “mai rickshawala” in the black and white era in the film Choti Bahen, during a time when Mehmood’s image was not created. Mehmood almost made people cry in the film and the credit goes to Rafi’s emotions in the song. In the film Zindagi, Rafi’s song for Mehmood titled “ghungharwah mora cham cham baje“, became big hit.

The other hit songs of Rafi for Mehmood composed by SJ include “o gori chalona hans ki chaal“, “zindagi mujhko dikhade raasta“, “mai hoon jaani tera” etc.  Rafi’s presence was felt in the films Beti Bete, Bhai Bhai, etc. where Mehmood had prominent roles and SJ composed the music of those films. Even the song “bakhma bakhma” in the film Shatranj became successful.

Even in the duets that were sung for Mehmood, SJ created a new trend in allowing Suman Kalyanpur t sing some of the songs with Rafi or Sharda to sing some of them, in addition to Lata who had sung around 440 duets with Rafi during the golden age.

The songs and the films of the legendary combination of Shankar Jaikishan, Rafi and Mehmood should be restored for their filmic appeal and versatile creations.

Mr. Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

Mr. Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

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14 Blog Comments to “Combination of Shankar Jaikishan with Mehmood and Rafi”

  1. Naresh Pathria says:

    mahmood with mohd rafi and shankar jaikishan has given many super hit song the combination of mohd rafi and shankar jaikishan have created magic in the history of music i still remember ajhu na aaye balma sawan beeta jaye and zindagi mughko dikhade rasta both songs from sangh aur savera are still very very popular all these songs have soulfull music .

  2. arwind paul says:

    to shabnaveesji, panchamda know that s.d.burman shahab done the mistake,rafi shahab sings the songs mere sapno ki raani,roop tera mastana right(no doubt),but kishoreda made them masterpiece,making them immortal in the hearts by giving them such imense feeling unparelled in world.K.K’s music is immortal.

  3. Imran Rustam says:

    Mehmood had most of his career best songs luckily in the golden voice of Rafi Sb…….. Combination of both is very nice. When we listen “Hum Kale hein to kia hua dil wale hein” combination of Mehmood+Rafi comes in our minds….. In fact Rafi Sb gave boom to the career of Mehmood with the help of his unique voice.

    Long Live Rafi Sb & Mehmood


  4. Souvik Chatterji says:

    In reply to both Shabnaveesji and Sudershanji, I have previously also mentioned that Shankar Jaikishan’s uprightedness had not been highlighted in bollywood history. Lot of film historians have mentioned that LP, who were followers of SJ and did shine in the 70s, kept Rafi busy during the period when many known composers did injustice with him. But the same LP had to give almost all the songs of Roti, Haati Mera Saathi, Aan Milo Sajna, etc., due to the presence and insistence of Rajesh Khanna. SJ stuck to Rafi even for composing music for those actors like Manoj Kumar who were more loyalists towards Mukesh or Mahendra Kapoor. The best example is Gumnaam. Ek Ladki hai jisne, jaan pehchaan ho, o mere man, all these songs were sung by Rafi and SJ ensured that the songs suited Manoj Kumar and become superhit.

    In fact composers like OP Nayyar envied Shankar Jaikishan for the reason of Rafi’s cordial relationship with the musical duo inspite of Rafi singing huge number of songs for Nayyar Sahab. Even the end of relationship of OP Nayyar with Rafi after Joy Mukherjee’s Humsaya was related to Rafi’s spending time with SJ for recording of song in the late 60s.

    For SJ, Rafi was equivalent to Emperor Akbar, while the other singers were the Navaratnas.

    Souvik Chatterji.

  5. Dear Souvik ji and all,

    Shanker-Jaikishen did not care about their market when they were preferring Rafi Sahab over Kishore Kumar. Even in Lal Patthar, “Geet Gaata Hoon Main” was originally made for Md. Rafi. After demand by some quarters Shankerji had to change the format of the tune to suit to Kishore Kumar. They might have followed the rule of the market then but did not. Even Solos by Shankerji after Jai’s death have more Rafi than that of Kishore. Thanks for the nice article and thanks to those who added more information on SJ+Rafi+Mehmood combination. Sabnavees ji’s information about introduction of Sharda is 100% correct. Very few people know it.


  6. Narayan says:

    Ramkrishna saab and Souvikji,
    Both of you are 100% right..
    Infact SJ were the main music duo who stood by Rafi sahab and gave chance to Suman,Sharada,Mubarak and Ashaji in a big way…… If iam not wrong Lataji lost about 120 lovely duets due to her dispute…
    Rafi sahab did not lose or would have lost negligibly in few unpopular duets to Mahendra Kapoor ..

  7. sabnavees says:

    yes souvik ji,

    as a matter of discussion why shankar- jaikishan even the great burman daa also a big admirer of rafi sahab. under his music direction his first choice was rafi sahab only.

    during the aradhana days burman daa was for rafi sahab & the result was extremly melodious songs. when burman daa fell ill the responsibility was shouldered by pancham daa & he took kishore kumar for ‘ mere sapnon ki rani & roop tera mastana songs. had these songs been sung by rafi sahab I am sure the youth would have been uncontrolable.

    thank god these numbers were sung by kishore kumar.

  8. Souvik Chatterji says:

    In reply to Shahnaveesji, thanks for the information you have provided to the readers of the forum and admirers of Mohd. Rafi Sahab. My point was not to highlight the introduction of Suman Kalyanpur and whether SJ had the credit to do so, my point was that when there was rift between Lata and Rafi, unlike many other composers, SJ sided with Rafi. They were probably the most loyal composers to Rafi. SJ hadcontributed the most for Lata’s dominance at the early part of her career, during the days of Barsaat. But they had never compromised with the choice relating to Rafi. They acknowledged the fact that he was unparallel, without doing injustice to Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Talat Mehmood and others.

    SJ not only ensured that Rafi got quality songs, they also ensured also that if anyone interfered with Rafi, they had sided with Rafi and only Rafi. They were least bothered whether Dev Anand wanted Kishore Kumar to sing his songs. Whenever SJ composed music in his films like Asli Nakli or Pyar Hi Pyar or Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, they gave the best songs to Rafi. For them Rafi was the uncrowned monarch of bollywood music.

    Souvik Chatterji.

  9. pvksraju says:

    A solo was picturised on Mehmood in the film Pyar Hi Pyar.(1969)…. Hum Aageyaa Phir Daar Kaheka…. Mehmood also sang for himself alongside Rafi Saheb in the song Kiss… Kiss… kissoko pyar karoon, kaise pyar karoon from Tumse Acha Kaun Hai(1969)…… but the best for Mehmood was Hum Kale Hain to Kya Hya Dil Walen Hain(1965) … film Gumnaam.

  10. sabnavees says:

    dear mr souvik,

    your article is nice but the entry of suman kalyapur ji as a playback singer is not due to shankar- jaikishan. rafi sahab had a difference of opinion with lata mangeshkar regarding the ‘ royalty ‘ issue. lata refused to sing with rafi sahab. at that instant music directors had no alternative other than putting suman ji at the microphone.

    now as regards the entry of sharda as playback singer is totally due to the veteran raj kapoor. sharda rajan iyengar in short known as sharda was living in teheran along with her husband. she was rendering a song in the residence of one mr ahuja where raj kapoor was present incidentally. he was impressed & suggested her to come to bombay for which she had agreed. then she was introduced to shankar- jaikishan. it was shankar who gave her the maiden song ‘ titli udi’ in suraj much against the wishes of jaikishan ji.

    suman ji came due to rift between rafi sahab & lata. sharda came being introduced by raj kapoor.

  11. girish prahalad says:

    souvik ji

    two more songs that have rafi-mehmood-sj combo are
    taqdeer kahan lejayegi – saanjh aur savera
    pyar ka lekar udan katola – tumse acha kaun hai

  12. anil nakra says:

    dear mr charttiji
    yur artical is good and informative and its shows the how deeply yu know the music not about md rafi or shanker jaikishan , this kind of article only who can write who has vst knowledge of music ,
    please do write on shammi kapoor and sj , rajinder kumar and md rafi etc

    best of luck

    anil nakra
    navi mumbai

  13. Hussein Sheikh says:

    The article is nicely written. There are a couple of more songs in which Mehmood recorded with Rafi Saheb, for example – “Main marne chala hoon…” from the film “Gunahon Ka Devta”, “Badkamma Badkamma…” from the film “Shatranj”, etc…. and both the films had Shankar-Jaikishan is the music directors. Rafi Saheb sang many memorable songs for Mehmood.

  14. biman baruah says:

    Respected Souvik Ji

    congratulations once again for great job on great combinations of sj-mr-mehmood. Mohd. Rafi and Mehmood both were the kings in their field, former one in the field of melody and later one in the field of comedy after Jhoney Walker. SJ used KK for Mehmood in Main Sundar Hoon with Asha Bhosle in the song ” Nach Meri Jaan Phataphat”

    I would like to mention three songs where mehmood sings some lines with mohd. rafi : “Hum Kale Hai Tu Kiya Huwa Dilwale Hai” from Gumnaam, “Mehbooba Mehbooba Bana Lo Mujhe Dulha, Jalai De Mera Shola” from Sadhu Aur Shaitaan and “Saji Rahi Gali Meri Maa” from Kunwara Baap. Afterwards , Mehmood sing full fledged songs in films like : “Muthu Kulli Ka Vari Kall ” with Asha Bhosle in Do Phool and “Na Biwi Na Bachcha, Na Baap Bada Na Maiya, the whole thingh is that Sabse Bada Rupaiya” with Chorus in Sabse Bada Rupaiya.

    With love & regards
    Biman, Sivasagar, Assam

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