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Did R.D.Burman really preferred KK over Rafi?

This article is written by Mr.H.V.Guru Murthy.

A regular browser to web site, having gone through the letters of Rafi lovers would assume that R D Burman did not utilize Rafi properly, instead he preferred Kishore Kumar. Because of this reason, Rafi Fans are still upset with RDB even though he passed away a decade back.

Yes, it is true that RDB preferred KK over Rafi during early seventies. For that matter, which Music Director or Actor or Producer or Director will not have his preference. It was well known that Raj Kapoor always preferred Mukesh, Manoj Kumar preferred Mukesh or Mahendra Kapoor, B.R.Chopra films had Mahendra, MD Ravi also had plenty of songs with Mahendra so also O.P after he broke with Rafi. Similarly OP always had either Asha or Geetha Dutt and never Lata. Salil also used all other Singers. Director Subba Rao insisted on Mukesh for SAATHI even though the hero was Rajendra Kumar and MD Naushad, two Rafi Fans. Even Kalyanji Anandji had many films with Mahendra Kapoor, Mukesh and KK even though Rafi was instrumental in their raise through JAB JAB PHOOL KHILE, AAMNE SAAMNE, etc. LP, by all means Rafi Bhakts, used KK regularly in the early seventies even for Rafi heroes like Jeetendra, Dharmendra, etc. SJ also switched over to KK in movies like MAIN SUNDAR HOON, DIL DAULAT DUNIYA, KAL AAJ AUR KAL, etc. Of course, the music standard came down a notch or two in that period. But, well, it is their prerogative to have whomsoever they wanted though I am sure in heart of heart, why even openly, they would have admitted the superiority of Rafi over all other Singers. Similarly, RDB also used KK for almost all his movies in the early seventies as perhaps he had some special chemistry with him.

However, let us not forget that RDB used Rafi extensively during late sixties as his main playback singer right from the first movie. He gave hit music with Rafi in TEESRI MANZIL, NAQLI NAWAAB, CARAVAN, PYAAR KA MAUSAM, THE TRAIN, ABHILASHA, ADHIKAR, RATON KA RAAJA, etc. Later during late seventies he returned to Rafi and gave hits like SHAAN, HUM KISISE KUM NAHIN, ABDULLAH, ZAMANE KO DIKHANA HAI, etc. In between, he had Rafi in CHANDI SONA qawali with Mannadey (Ek Shok Hasina Se), YADON KI BAARAT (Title song and who can forget the duet with Asha Chura Liya Hai Tumne), DIL KA BAADSHAH (this Raj Kumar starrer had all songs by Rafi), THE GREAT GAMBLER (Raftasa Mera Naam), SHEHZADA (Solo Tere Attaroo and duet with Lata Kaahe Ko Bulaya), etc.

Mohd Rafi with R.D.Burman

If a person cannot appreciate the greatness of Rafi, then it can be safely concluded that the person does not have a sense of music. Of course, RDB was a good MD though not a great MD like Naushad, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar, SDB, etc. RD would have definitely known the great qualities of Rafi, the Singer. Just because he did not use Rafi extensively as one would expect, let us not degrade this MD who gave us some good songs in CHANDAN KA PALNA, PADOSAN, HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA, MERE JEEVAN SAATHI, AJNABEE, AMAR PREM, SANAM TERI KASAM, BHOOT BANGLA, BAHARON KE SAPNE (Rafi solo Zamane Ne Maare), PARICHAY, KINAARA, APNA DESH, ZAHREELA INSAAN, RAMPUR KA LAKSHAMAN (Pyaar Ka Samay with Lata, KK and Rafi), 1942 – A LOVE STORY, KATI PATANG to certain extent, etc. though he gave some very mediocre music in films like DEEWAR, SHOLAY, KITAAB, ZAKHMEE, RAFOO CHAKKAR, NAMKEEN, DHARAM KARAM and BIWI O BIWI (so un-RK film like), etc. so many forgettable movies as for as music was concerned.

The irony of RDB was either he gave good music or petered out to a very mediocre music in so many films. I read some where that Shashi Kapoor called RD as National Anthem Music Director. In those days, theatres used to play National Anthem at the end of the movie and the Hall doors used to be shut till the completion of the Anthem. As soon as the Anthem used to commence, our in-disciplined people used to rush to the Hall Door and wait for the door opening. Similarly, whenever RDB songs commenced in most of the movies, people used to rush to toilet.

Still, it is not fair that we use harsh and sometimes, un-parliamentary language against any body if they differ with our views. We cannot forget the contribution of all these MDs, Heroes, Singers, Directors, etc. in making the Indian Film Music so rich.

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1,376 Blog Comments to “Did R.D.Burman really preferred KK over Rafi?”

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  1. Kamal Kumar Tumuluru says:


  2. Anonymous says:

    You are another bengoli S.BHATTAHARJEE so what to expect from another biased RD fan. LOL.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Really interesting


    Sorry Mr. H V. Guru Murthy, couldn’t at all agree with you. According to you, RD was no near to Naushad, O.P.Nayyar, Madan Mohan et al. It is so sweeoing a comment. RD’s versatility was second to none, that’s why his music still remains relevant. There is also a mistake when you say Raffoo Chakkar and Zakhmee are RD’s creations. The truth is with every passing year, RD’s popularity is increasing by leaps and bounds. Who can compose songs from a diverse films as ‘Amar Prem’, ‘Teesri Manzil’, ‘Ghar’, ‘Hum Kisise kum nehin’, ‘Massom’ and ‘Sanam teri kasam’? By the way, you can’t dismiss the music of ‘Sholay’, ‘Namkeen’, ‘Deewar’ very mediocre.

  5. Ranjit Chaudhury says:

    What Md Rafi achieved in his lifewas superhuman . He was a superman . That he could sing songs like “Tumne Mujhe Dekha”( Teesri Manzil), “Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe”( Kanyadan), Parda Hai Parda ( Amar Akbar Anthony), Phir Ane Laga Yaad ( Ye Pyar Kisko Doon),Duniya Pagal Hai ( Shagird), Aaj is Darj Jo Pila Do Ki Na Kuch Yaad Rahen( Vaasna), Subha Na Aye Sham Na Aye( Cha Cha Cha) , Gulabi Aankhen( The Train)and many other such impossible numbers with such effortless ease is itself a mystery. And what a soulful and divine voice he had . ( Phir Wo Bhuli Si Yaad Aai Hai , Meri Awaz Suno,pyar Ka Raag Suno and the list is endless). He is a solace in our life.

  6. Rahul says:

    My favourite RD- Rafi Saab Songs include:
    a) Waadiyan mera Daman
    b) Nizultana Re
    c) Pyar hin ik nishan kadmon ka
    d) Jab ek qaza se guzro toh
    e) Dukh Sukh ki har ek maala

    Although undoubtedly one cannot miss out songs from Caravan, teesri Manzil, YKB etc.. even Shaan.. In many songs he has used Kishore Kumar Saab and Rafi Saab together

  7. D K DESHMUKH says:

    voices of kk,shailendrasingh and Rafisaab were fit for Rishi kapur. But look at the songs sung by Rafi -tremendously successful than others and that too at the time when kk was top at his career. Male-duets of Rafi-Mannadey are uncountable & popular. Rafi excelled & outshone even Bharat-Ratna recipient Lata in 99% duets & also all of their Do pehlu & do rang songs.The most difficult song of Hathi mere sathi was sung by Rafi while other duets by kk. KK was DEV’s natural voice but SDB,OPN,SJ used RAFI for maxmum songs i.e. more than 75% songs of DEV are sung by RAFI. MAXMUM QUAWALIS,MAXMUM PATRIOTIC SONGS,MAXMUM GAZALS,MAXMUM ROMANTIC SONGS,MAXMUM BHAJANS ARE SUNG BY RAFI. Man mora bawara a classic song was sung by RAFI for kk as artist so also AJAB HAI DASTAN.

  8. anurag says:

    Why so long discussions? Kishore will have to take many births to come to Rafi level.

  9. anurag says:

    In Roop Tera Mastana, the best song was ” Haseen Dilruba”. No other song was even close to it. Any othedr singer will have to undergo 20 yrs of music training to sing that song.

  10. pabitra kumar dash says:

    one thing proves the greatness of this untrained singer KK that whenever the present generation even socalled trained legendary singers are trying to present a song of kk on any stage or other places seem to be flat as if only and only kks voice is fit for itThey can imitate any legendary singers except this great singer.By saying this I don’t have any intention to belittle others who have contributed a lot to enrich the film music.Namaskar to all especially to kk.

  11. PKVISHWANATH says:


  12. Ramesh Rawat says:

    Shammi and Ahamed – Is it necessary that to glorify Rafi you need to vilify RD Burman. You might not know this but RD Burman was rated very highly by the likes of Naushad, Anil Biswas, Nayyar, Salil and many others. You can propagate whatever disinformation you want to but the fact remains that RDB was one of the greatest music directors.

  13. shammi says:

    To all kishore Kumar fans please note that a singer who does not have the versatality to singer all types of songs can’t be regarded as a singer let alone a great singer and picking and choosing the easy songs to sing and passing the difficult ones to artists like the great Mohd Rafi says it all. Sorry but this is an artist who became famous through his yodeling and in my opinion should have stuck to it instead of subjecting the public to his songs. All of the contempories of that era whether it be Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor and Manna Dey who knew alot about music have clearly stated that Mohd Rafi was the best.
    Mohd Rafi’s dominace was over a much longer period of time and at a time when the music was at it’s all time best. Also let’s not forgetll the great music directors of that time you can’t tell me that they weren’t specialists in their field and they preferred Mohd Rafi and with that I rest my case!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Sorry for repeating the following.My friends please hear the song of Rafi
    Saab “Man re tu ” sung by KK in the UTube and you will find who is Rafi
    Saab and who is KK.I am sorry to say the song sung by KK is horrible
    to hear which shows his inability to render classical songs.A singer cannot
    sing all types of song will not be a perfect singer.Why in the film Hathi Mere Saathi,all male songs sung by KK and for the difficult song Rafi Saab had
    been brought?Can anybody bring any song which cannot sing by Rafi
    Saab had given to KK.In the KK forum healthy discussions were there
    regarding who is the best and after KK fans know who is Rafi Saab and
    who is KK which leads to the standstill of that site.We all know what was
    the condition of RD in his last days since he paid for the dependency on
    KK than any other singer.KK did not bring a new style which lasted for
    long.He became a singer because of luck since the films especially of
    Rajesh Khanna became super hits and the producers who are investing
    huge sums of money want the returns went with KK and he became
    a singer.Mr.Rawat,don’t insult the Rafi fans here and if you want you go
    to your idols site to do so and help to have some activities there.

  15. Ramesh Rawat says:

    H.V. Gurumurty, you 2 paisa author! Read below what the uncle of HFM Anil Biswas said about RD Burman. (Anil Biswas was idolized and revered by the MDs like Naushad, OP Nayyar, Roshan and C Ramchandra – in case you don’t know)

    Aisa ‘allrounder’ na huya hai kabhi na hogaa. That includes his father, and myself
    and all the other music directors. main yeh cheekh ke kehna chahta hoon ki aisa
    all rounder kabhi aur hoga nahin aur iske saath jo hai na hamaara yug Khatam ho jaata hai. dekho jis sahajta ke saath woh sanjeeda gaana tayyaar karta tha na, usi sahajta ke saath woh “aa aa aaja aa aa aaja” jaise saans waala gaana bhi tayyaar karta ha. yeh sab golmaal woh karta tha.

  16. Ramesh Rawat says:

    The writer of this article has written rubbish, RD was not just a good MD but definitely a greatest MD. It’s a well known fact that Manna Dey has gone on record as rating him one of the greatest music directors. That itself bears the testimony of his greatness. May god bless the writer of this article a better sense of music.

  17. B. Iyer says:

    RD was great! He did not need Rafi to excel. His combination with Kishore Kumar was mind-blowing. I personally rate Kishore Kumar better than Rafi. Ghantasala was also superior to Rafi. Rafi never received praise from ghantasala at any point of time – to my knowledge – but it has been the other way round – rafi indeed acknowledged ghantasala as superior, not once, but on three occasions, one was when rafi rehearsed numerous times the song kuhu kuhu number, second was when he heard chal ud ja re panchi of telugu version and the third was when rafi sang telugu songs for Bhale tammudu film in telugu in 1969 , after meeting and obtaining the advise of ghantasala in singing the telugu songs. Are you aware of these facts ? All these three occasions, rafi had categorically stated that ghantasala was far superior to him in singing. In kuhu kuhu rafi even made a statement that I can never sing like ghantasala, rafi went even to that extent. People forget these, because decades have passed for these facts.

  18. Kush Mukherjee says:

    Here is Rahat Fatah Ali Khan paying rich tributes to Kishore and Pancham, it really does not matter whether the biased Rafi fans appreciate the true genius of Kishore and Pancham or not because all great and/or popular artists know the worth of Gurudev Kishore Kumar and Lord Pancham. :

  19. Kush Mukherjee says:

    On 4th of August 2014, Google’s doodle was dedicated to the finest and most popular singer of India – Kishore Kumar – which speaks volumes about Guru Kishore’s popularity and superiority over other singers. Lord Pancham and Gurudev Kishore were the finest and best. Rafi was just lucky enough to get good songs from a number of great music directors, Kishore could also have rendered those songs quite easily. Guru Kishore had a very special voice which will always be remembered among common folks.

  20. Anuj Sharma says:

    RD used to respect Rafi sahab a lot. Although it is true that Pancham has given more songs to Kishore than Rafi, he never ignored Rafi and quality-wise, has given equally great quality songs to Mohammad Rafi till his passing away in 1980. Looking at the remarkable cavalcade of scintillating numbers- solos, duets and qavvalis- given by Pancham to Rafi sahab one cannot miss the vital connection between these two great personalities that produced songs expressing a plethora of human emotions such as- pathos, joy, romance and comedy’ in that melodious musical era! Here are some more lesser known terrific Rafi-Pancham songs:

    Rekha o Rekha – Adhikar – 1971
    Jao jao tum bhi jao – Dil Ka Raja – 1972
    Pyar Ka samay – Rampur Ka Lakshman – 1972
    Sason me kabhi – Parchaiyan – 1972
    Ek sa chehra subko – Sanjog – 1972

  21. Naghma says:

    Rafi was one of the finest vocalists and RD was one of the finest composers. Both are legends in their own rights and will be remembered for the centuries to come. Lots of love to both of them. <3 <3

    Peace 🙂

  22. Anuj Sharma says:

    Some lesser known terrific Rafi-Pancham solos:

    1 – Tume Dekha hai maine gulisitan mein – Chandan ka Palna 1967
    2 – Zamane ne maare jawan kaise kaise – Baharon ke sapne 1967
    3 – Ae Jan-e-wafa aisa bhi kya – Chhalia 1973
    4 – Wadiyan mera daman – Abhilasha 1968
    5 – Illahi tu sun le hamali – Chhote Nawab 1961
    6 – Pyar hai ek nisha kadmo ka – Mukti 1977
    7 – Jab ek qaza se guzro to – Devta 1978
    8 – Jeena to hai usi ka – Adhikar 1971
    9 – Meri nazar mein sirf tum ho – Pyar ka Mosam 1969
    10 – Che khus nazare – Pyar ka mosam 1969

    Rafi-Pancham too was a great combine!

  23. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Dear Music Lovers,
    By seeing the recent polls it is clear that there will not be
    a singer again like Rafi Saab for centuries.Rafi Saab left
    for the heavenly abode more than 34 years back and he
    is the number one even defeating the Bharath Ratna
    Awardee Lataji to far behind who is a living legend.Also
    it is clear that to have at least 50% what is he no male
    or female singer is there.

  24. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Dear Binuji,
    One more interesting thing about the Rafi Fans in Kerala that
    there are at least four different Fan Clubs on Rafi Saab in
    Calicut where Rafi Saab is on top on every singer whether
    it is Regional or other languages.

  25. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Dear Music Lovers,

    Rafi Saab has been selected as:
    01) The Singer of the Millennium -poll conducted by Hero Honda _

    02) The Best Male Singer – a poll conducted by CNN-IBN on the occasion
    of Celebrating 100 years of Indian Cinema (he secured more votes
    than Lataji who was top in Female Singer category)

    03) The Greatest Voice of Hindi Cinema – a poll conducted by IBN

    04) Most Versatile Singer India Ever Produced – a poll conducted by

    Also in a poll conducted by CNN-IBN to select “The Greatest Indian
    after Gandhiji” Rafi Saab was on 12th position compared to the 32th
    position of Kishore Kumar.His song “Bahaarom phool barsaao” has
    been selected as the “Best Song of Hindi Cinema” in a poll conducted
    by BBC-Asian Net Work.

    In the selection of the Best Music Director Category (poll conducted
    by CNN-IBN) on the occasion of Celebrating 100 years of Indian
    Cinema,R D Burman was far behind than A R Rahman.The so called
    Lord was zero in his last days who was struggling for a work to get.

  26. shammi says:

    Arnab, worship your god of music on his fan website and don’t make intelligent people who are Mohd Rafi fans be subjected to your nonsense on this site.

    Having an opinion is one thing but coming out with so much rubbish is unexceptable.

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