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Did Sonu Nigam reach the level of excellence of Rafi?

This article is written by Mr. Souvik Chatterji

Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam is considered the most powerful playback singer in bollywood films at the moment.  The greatest debate that haunts most of the music lovers of the country is that whether Sonu Nigam had reached the level of excellence that Rafi had reached in the 50s and 60s.

The greatest achievement of a singer lies in his acceptability before diverse range of composers and lyricists. As Rafi was classically trained and could adapt any type of song ranging from qawallies to ghazals to soft romantic numbers to westernized rock and roll compositions his demand before the musical community was immense.

He is probably the only singer in the 50s and 60s who had sung with compositions of all the leading composers including Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan, Roshan, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar, Salil Choudhury, Ghulam Mohammad, Vasant Desai, C. Ramchandran, S D Burman, LP, KA, RD Burman, and others and lyricists including Shailendra, Shakeel Badayani, Hasrat Jaipuri, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Kaifi Azmi, Raja Mehendi Ali Khan, Rajender Krishnan, etc.  Excepting Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar, no other singer were in close diameter of Rafi in the 50s and 60s, as due to lack of classical orientation some of the singers of specifically composer’s singers.

Talat Aziz, Sonu Nigam at Caravan-E-Ghazal Concert

Talat Aziz, Sonu Nigam at Caravan-E-Ghazal Concert

Sonu Nigam had sung songs composed by AR Rehman, Anu Malik, Shankar Ehsaan Loy, Vishal Shekar, Pritam, Shantonu Maitra and many other composers of the present age. In singing difficult and dynamic songs his name had appeared before Udit Narayan, Sukhwinder Singh, or others, including “sathiya sathiya” composed by AR Rehman, “sandese ate hai” composed by Anu Malik, “piyu bole” composed by Shantonu Moitra, “tumko bhula na payega” composed by Sajid Wajid, “ek din kahin” composed by Nusat Fateh Ali Khan, to name a few. But there is strong competition in bollywood music at the moment and Sonu Nigam is not the uncrowned king considering the challenge posed forward by Javed Ali, Atif Aslam and many new singers.

If compared with Rafi, probably the factor where Rafi remains unparallel, were the remote compositions that he had sung with. If Naushad’s “woh duniya ke rakhwale” was pure classically oriented, then SJ’s “aasman se aya farishta” had French background embedded in them, if Roshan’s “jo wada kiya ho” had royal andaz, Madan Mohan’s “tumhari zulfon ki” had ghazal andaz. Besides Rafi had given expression to Salil Choudhury’ s tunes based on east-west blend of music, Jaidev’s urbanized folk songs, SD Burman’s rural folk songs. There is no similarity of “madhuban me radhika nache re” with “aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche” or “dil jo na keh saka”. The list can go on. The other factor where Rafi had an edge includes the standard of Indian film music reached its zenith in the 50s and 60s which is difficult to attain.

Sonu Nigam is big asset for bollywood music at the moment and has a long way to go. But those who understand music will invariably agree Rafi’s empty space had remained absolutely unfilled. Rafi-lovers only try to fulfill their thirst by hearing the singing style of Sonu Nigam which is to a big extent modeled in Rafi’s style. Sonu Nigam himself also agrees that Rafi was unparallel and will always remained the uncrowned king of bollywood music.

Viewers expect the singers of the present age to listen to Rafi’s song and improve their own level of singing to whatever extent they can.

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

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200 Blog Comments to “Did Sonu Nigam reach the level of excellence of Rafi?”

  1. Shubham Sharma says:

    Sonu nigam and Mohammed rafi both have their own unique untouchable voices.
    And sonu nigam’s voice have equal singing level,frequency,sur and taal as in the rafi.
    sonu nigam don’t try to copy rafi rather than he sings in his own voice which is sweet,clear and heart touching.
    if people think that sonu nigam can’t sing like mohd rafi then its their mentality because i have listened all the songs of sonu nigam and mohd rafi and songs from rafi ki yaaden and rafi resurrected sung by sonu nigam and compare each song in both of the singer’s voices and then i arrived to the conclusion that in no song its looks like that sonu nigam is singing less than rafi he sings equals to rafi in quality and level and in some songs you can’t even belive that he is actually singing better than rafi.
    if you don’t belive me than listen rafi ki yaaden and rafi resurrected albums by sonu nigam and also watch sonu nigam’s live concerts on rafi songs which will gives you a deep view of the levels of singing by sonu nigam equals to that of mohd rafi.

  2. Sonu Nigam is a good singer. He has sung many beautiful songs. He also has huge fan following. But he can’t compare his voice to Mohd Rafi. Both doesn’t share any similarity in their voice. Rafi is Rafi and Sonu is Sonu. But frankly, Mohd Rafi’s voice is just exceptional. No one has reached even to the range of his vocal style. 90s singer Anwar had some of his singing styles. But his career was ruined for unknown reasons.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I do not agree. Sonu has sung many a songs of different genres, tempos…And don’t forget he has sung every song, sung by Rafi saahab and Kishore daa (even Lata ji)
    I dont say Rafi saahab is inferior to Sonu, but the vice versa is even not true.

  4. Good way of explaining, and nice paragraph to obtain information concerning my presentation focus, which i
    am going to deliver in school.

  5. Jacob Villoth says:

    To me listening to Rafi soothens the mind.His music captivated the heart of the listener which is what music is all about.

  6. rafi is rafi no body can touch him his range soft & silky voice his versitality humanity

  7. […] (atleast by us and our forefathers) Tansen… all the way till the boyishness and youthful charm of Sonu Nigam (although I personally feel that he has not followed the path that he COULD have as a singer, […]

  8. Binu Nair says:

    Anand ji bhai has publicly claimed that Rafi saaheb has sung more than 26,000

    songs during his 41 years of singing career.

    From 1941 to July 27, Rafi saaheb gave Qualitative Songs to Us and the Industry.

    Todays Singers will have to take Birth Many Times to Come Near Rafi Saaheb. If

    the Gods wishes So.

    Todays singers are making Hay and Music is on Oxygen cause singers like Rafi/Lata/Talat/Saighal/Mukesh are Not Around.

    As Anandji bhai said on July 31st, trends will change. No comments on today music to media at New Delhi at our Rafi Saaheb Event.

  9. karan says:

    Rafi shahab is the gretest singer in the world that’s no doubt. Ok..

  10. ryan khan says:

    No one compare rafi saab. he is a versatile singer. kk fan did you know no of songs kk failed to sangs but rafi saabsang it with ease. rafi saab is the 8th top singer of the world.
    koi v kisi ko xample deta sing k mamle me wo hai to rafi saheb ka dta na ki kk it means rafi saheb better singer thn kk
    aisa singer ka naam baata do jiske chale jne k baad uske liye sngs likha gya ho . wo sirf md rafi likha gya. jisse gaya hai md aziz ne. or ek bt unke death k bd lata ji do din soye nahi paye dpsion k karan wo lajwb hai unka jgh koi nhi le pynge . ye ajke singer achi trah jnte hai rafi saheb rafi saheb unki jagah na koi liya hai na koi le payega

  11. shammi says:

    I think it’s highly insulting to suggest that Sonu Nigham has come anywhere near let alone reached the levels of excellence that the great mohd Rafi sahib had. Sonu Nigham cannot sing the different types of songs that mohd rafi did effortlessly he also does not have the vocal range that the great Mohd Rafi did. Not only is he so far away from ever reaching that goal but I just don’t think he has the ability to ever do so. Most of these good singers of today all praise and worship the great Mohd Rafi for a reason and that is that he is and always will be the King of playback singing and I’m glad that Sonu Nigham recognises that.

  12. Yes, Sonu Nigam’s open acknowledgement of the fact that Md Rafi sahab is the greatest playback singer ever to have appeared in the domain of singing, has dispelled all doubts from the hear of the sceptics, who seemed to have swayed away a bit by the Kishore-RD wave of the early 70s. The great Manna Dey has repeatedly mentioned that Md Rafi is the greatest, while Nitin Mukesh ( singer Mukeshji’s son) has recently revealed that his father’s most favourite voice was Md Rafi’s. Needless to mention the choice of the great musicians of his time including, SD,SJ and Naushadji. But one would be curious to know where do Md Rafi sahab and Lataji do stand in terms of their greatness in world ranking? Surely, there should be some other great singers who might be ahead of them, eversince voice recording has come in to being? I would request you to throw light on this

  13. RAJNISH says:


  14. a music lover says:

    people should accept that there can be singers(although very rare) as good or better than some of the old singers.All new singers who have idolised the past greats and achieved success should not be bashed by the fanatics.even Kishore ,Mukhesh and even Rafi idolised KL Saigal.Sonu did Sing like Rafi very early on in his career but not anymore…he’s undoubtedly the greatest of this generation so why not accept it..every generation has its idols and subsequently its greats…above all music is subjective.

  15. Priya Sanyal says:

    Smitha either you don`t know what you r writing or u have no understanding of music or person atall. Sonu ji adores Rafi sahab and is one of the greatest Rafi lover. U should rather reda sonu nigham ji`s interview or concerts etc. Such words like one day he would pass md Rafi reminds me of Raju bhartan!
    Better you ask sonuji himself…
    If kishore da could get angry enough to reply strongly on his praise over Rafi sahab, anyone can guess what sonu nigham point of view would be on ur remarks!

  16. Ali says:

    Hi Samitha ji we hope that there be singer who will pass Mohd Rafi best wishes to Sonu ji and all other singers because we miss singer like mohd rafi and I hope that some one come and take his place in singing world as human and a singer ..
    God gave some gifts to India which are not be replace as I feel and mohd Rafi is one of them,Mohd Rafi is like a sun shine and God gave to earth one Sun and bollywood one singer(mohd rafi)
    I want say a small story I asked a saleman that I want mohd Rafi cd which I bought it from him long time ago and i need the same cd the sale man said ok I will then I changed my mind I said no because I want only one cd but you have to buy 12 cds so what you will do with other 11 cds,the sale said that don’t worry about old song I will going to sale it but the problem is with news songs and Mohd Rafi cds be sale so easy and sale man was not mohd rafi fan ,also we can ask any shop we will get the same answer…..

  17. Samitha says:

    Whatever people say. we must remember this. Sonu Nigam is still young. He has long way to go. So he will definitely pass Mohammad Rafi one day. The most important thing is sonu can sing by so many voices. No doubt.. He’s so clever….. Good Luck for Sonu…

  18. Samina says:

    Found the following link on youtube where Sonu is mimicking other singer so well.. Amazing. Though you may like it

  19. Vitthal says:

    Souvik Chatterjee ji,

    An attempt of experimentation has been done by you for which please accept accolades. But I would like to honestly differ on the issue please. Not only sonu nigam, even other singers of today cannot come even nearer or close to erstwhile established & accomplished singers in Indian film industry, namely Mohd. rafi, Ghantasala etc. because those accomplished singers have displayed exemplary original talent, which was beyond comparison & which continues to have everlasting effect, without any advanced technology in those days – the attraction which they have given directly hits at your hearts even today i.e after decades of their leaving us. It can be stated with certainty that no song of any current day singer is hardly remembered even days of after recording the song. This is sure. It is for sure again cent percent that any current established playback singer, who are mainly using advanced technology for recording and singing songs, cannot display that “original exemplary talent” factor which is “originally a gifted divine talent” for the “accomplished singers of that era – beyond comparison “

  20. Ali(unknow) says:

    Mohd Rafi like sun light
    moon looked more nice than stars as we all know that moon light comes from the sun and stars having there on lights and that is the same to Sonu ji when he was a moon he was so hit but when he tried to he like star he is no where
    sorry Sonu ji fans I agree that Sonu ji is great singer

  21. Manish Kumar says:

    post 178 sudip – thanks for sharing those two great numbers. i hadn’t heard them before. i was surprised to find that these are from 1977!

  22. sudip_dat says:

    Lata-MM combo is qualitatively of the highest order but not very versatile. Most of the great songs coming from the combo are Ghazals. No doubt, this combo is my favorite when I am in that mood.

    Rafi-SJ is way more versatile. Rafi-SD is also a unique combination.


  23. sudip_dat says:

    You mentioned “Chahe aaj mujhe na pasand karo” from Darinda. Darinda is one of the excellent masterpieces by Kalyanji-Anandji which is lesser known. Darinda had songs by Kishore, Mukesh and Rafi.. When I first heard the Mukesh song, I thought no one could sing a better sad song. But the ultimate maestro proved me wrong as always.. here are the links to Mukesh and Rafi’s sad songs from Darinda: (MUKESH) (RAFI)

  24. Faiz says:

    sonu??? ye kaun hai? who is he???? i wish i cud insert a few emoticons here….ugggggg

  25. sid sen says:

    how wud u rate the mm lata combo vs the sj rafi combo in terms of versatility?

  26. Siva says:

    myk–talking about Kabhi raat din hum door the–one of my most favourite Rafi-Lata-KA combination, you must have noticed that Kisi raah mein kisi mod par, kahin chal na ….by K-A is also of the same raag(I think Cahurukesar-in Hindustani and Charukesi in Carnatic music–of course I am not an expert in classical music–just a feel that these two songs resemble). Both are beautiful compositions, with the second one being sung by Mukesh -Lata and the first one Rafi-Lata.
    It is indeed difficult to rate which one is better-my heart would always go for Rafi-Lata although I should acknowledge Mukesh also did a great job in Kisi raah mein.. in his own style.
    If you just close your eyes and listent to both these songs, you would really feel that you are going on a long journey….
    Lata not to leave her at all-did an excellent job in Kabhi raat din matching Rafi fact she used Rafi’s trademark “special touch” in the line…”teri shoukh nazaron se “….the way she sang “shoukh”….is simply superb….great singers, great music, lyrics,,,great golden, olden days ..which may never come back to HFM….

  27. myk says:


    I consider you an elite listener (along with other knowledgable Rafians here).

    The synth was originally in the form of a clavioline (its ancestor), and was introduced to hfm via Kalyanji who played it in Nagin (the famous snake charmer music) which was under the music direction of Hemant Kumar. Later on, the clavioline took a new form and it became the modern-day synth. I know S-J used the synth in the 60’s, but K-A were one of the first MD’s to use it and experiment with it. Viju Shah (Kalyanji’s son) is also fond of this instrument, as one can see in his music.

    An example of unique K-A rhythm is the song I mentioned earlier “Kabhi raat din hum door the” from Aamne Samne. The rhythm is so different from any song of that period, very trendy and modern. I do agree, that in the 80’s, there was the L-P brand of music which was popular, and then we had the rest on the other side, with Bappi in the middle with his disco music.

  28. Unknow says:

    The Best combinations m Rafi Lata,M Rafi Naushand,Mohd Rafi SJ,Mohd Rafi Asha,Mohd Rafi Mannay Day,m Rafo KK,Mohd Rafi Madan mohan,Mohd Rafi SD Burman,Mohd Rafi Shammi Kapoor,Mohd Rafi Dilip kummar,Mohd Rafi Ravi,mohd Rafi Geeta,Mohd Rafi ………………………………………endless

  29. Unknow says:

    Dear Karan
    I gave you lost of more than 100 films but you only gave me 50 films,i never said that RD Burman is not good music director but not in the list of best 10 all time….
    Most of the films in your music was hit because of the films was hit as film as film sholay music was hit because the film was hit today when they speak about sholay they never speak about the songs,look the greatness of mohd Rafi that mohd loved Sholey more than any other film and like mr Bachchan more than any other actor……….
    RD is one of few who used Mohd rafi voice in film all songs(teesri manzil)

    I think LP gave better songs to KK than RD

  30. Harvinder says:

    Ref post 169 of Sudip :
    LP played the longest innings almost last out after opening the innings in 1961. They were also the most consistent with their melody. If anybody replaced SJ, it was them.

    Percentage wise Ravi had the highest number of hits. please look at the movies and songs and it is impossible to find any ordinary song. all his songs, be it rafi saab, asha, lata ji, mk or manna dey were impressive songs. he used lata sparingly, but whenever he used her, songs became super hits.e.g; tumhi mere mandir(Khandan), Woh dil kahan se laaun teri yaad jo bhula de. md Ravi being great hemantda ‘s assistent picked the best from his guru. most underrated and least talked about md.

  31. Harvinder says:

    Ref post 168:
    Best combinations SJ-Rafi, SJ-Lata, Ravi-Rafi, MM-Lata, OPN-Rafi, OPN-Asha, Hemant-Hemant

  32. sudip_dat says:

    Rafi-SJ is indeed the best combo ever. Qualitatively, it could also be Rafi-SD or Lata-MM.

    If we go purely with commercial value i.e. number of hits, LP rules. LP has more hits than all other music directors combined in history..And both Rafi and Lata were a big part of that.

  33. sid says:

    everyone here present, plz note

    karan said

    “kishore and rd produced great duo music in 70’s and 80’s. in fact i would say the best combination bollywood has ever produced after sonu nigam anu malik. anu malik and sonu nigam also formed a great combination
    rd burman is a very great music director. in fact the 3rd best after naushad and nayyar.”

    and the icing on the cake
    “tere naina saawan bhaadon”

    please take note of this before thinking of replying to karan.

    oh yes the rd kk combo had more gems like jawani diwani etc.. but u cant expect me to remember all at once 😛

    anyway the best md singer combo in my opinion is SHANKAR JAIKISHAN AND MOHD RAFI.. tied with SD BURMAN AND MOHD RAFI.. anyone agrees/disagrees? 😛

  34. Anil Cherian says:

    Mykji can (and I hope he will) provide the exact reason why RDB faltered with the demise of the farishta. My theory is that Rafisahab was the ‘balancer’ of RDB’s music, the pleasant interlude to the otherwise fast, hectic (and sometimes loud) act.
    It’s so nice of you to provide so much of information. I didn’t know synthesiser made its entry in HFM via ‘akele hain….’. When I said K-A weren’t exactly trend-setters, I was looking at it from a macro level and not a micro-level; but I have to agree with you here. Speaking of early ’80s mainstream music, it appears (to me) as if it was just 2 kinds of music- L.P on one side and all the others (Bappi, RDB, K-A) on the other side. May be it is just an illusion (since I’m just a casual observer of the music of that period).

  35. karan says:

    i totally agree with myk.
    kishore and rd produced great duo music in 70’s and 80’s. in fact i would say the best combination bollywood has ever produced after sonu nigam anu malik. anu malik and sonu nigam also formed a great combination
    rd burman is a very great music director. in fact the 3rd best after naushad and nayyar.
    kishore da as said before is the 3rd best singer after rafi sahab and sonu nigam.
    rajesh khanna was the first superstar of bollywood.why? not because of his acting. because of music by rd and voice of kishore da. even big b becoming a superstar a very very major role was played by kishore da. he changed his voice specially for big b and rendered the songs so nicely . the result is in front of the world.
    kishore da and himesh reshamiya are complete artist in bollywood. they can act,sing,give music,dance,write lyrics. and what more we want. himesh reshamiya is today’s complete artist and kishore da was yesterday’s complete artist

    rd burman changed is music in 1980’s.he started from the song jahan teri yeh nazar hai from the movie kaaLia . HE GAVE GOVAN FOLK music which all music directors in the world are surprised. even rd can sing so nicely. that is why he is called PANCHAM DA. so do not criticize rd . he is a great great and will always remain in the heart of bollywood for another 10000000000 years.
    thank you

  36. sudip_dat says:

    You are accentuating the point that we have ben trying to make by highlighting the popularity of Kishore..I won’t debate its veracity, but from when is the popularity a benchmark of quality? Lets put the classic songs side by side and judge the qualitatively.

    Am I surprised? No..In the garbage society that we live in today, Atish and Debojit are more popular than Saigal. What does that prove? An icon like PT Usha is so forgotten that she cries openly on TV for being humiliated.

    I have a lot of respect for Kishore’s natural talent..But I cannot just accept his greatness just because you have met people who are Kishore’s fans (unless I have significant visibility into their credentials)..

  37. sudip_dat says:

    I think you should include “Sabke rehte, lagta hai jaise koi nahin hai mera” (Samjhauta) among good songs that KA produced..There are other KA-Rafi songs like “Badi door se aye hain” (Samjhauta) and “Kuch log yahan” (Vardaan) that are decent.
    Two KA duets of Rafi that I love are:
    1. Ek baat poochu (Rafi-Lata from Kathputli)
    2. Bheegi hui Jalwon ko (Rafi-Asha from Shankar Sambhu)


  38. myk says:


    I’d say K-A were trend-setters in their own way for two reasons:

    a) They were one of the first MD’s to use a synthesizer (courtesy Kalyanji), incorporating its sound and tone in many of their 60’s songs, and introducing electronics into their music. Listen to the opening of “Akele hain chale aao” and you will hear that unique tone. Also, the opening of “Kabhi raat din hum door the” before the santoor has this present (also thoughout the two mentioned songs), as do a multitude of K-A compositions.

    b) Their western music had a distinct style, it wasn’t a copy of S-J or RD, but a distinct K-A brand which became popular and others used a similar style. Later on they also experimented more with pop music, a mix of soul and pop (also funk music), with great success. However right from the 60’s, their western orchestration had a charm of its own. Their rhythm beats whether it was the bongo’s/tabla/dholak were unique to K-A (courtesy Babla). They may have aped S-J’s style very early on (as did L-P, RD, Usha Khanna et all), but their music soon evolved into K-A music.

    I disagree with what H.P. mentioned, IMO there is no way K-A killed the soul of HFM in the late 70’s and 80’s. I think the soul of music was killed by the likes of Bappi et all, definitely not by a duo belonging to the golden era of HFM music. K-A never went the Bappi way, its Bappi who aped both RD and K-A in his music.

    K-A have many excellent songs in the 70’s/80’s too (leaving aside their 60’s work), and its both individual songs and album-wise. I also think they balanced quality and quantity very well, catering to all different types of genres, showing their versatility. They may have gone more western in the 70’s (because of various reasons, i.e action films, general trend etc.), but it does not mean their classical and melodious approach disappeared.

    They have landmark albums and songs throughout their career with a variety of singers, and many classics and hits. Sid bro, I disagree, there are many K-A songs worth raving about in the 70’s too. Let me just list a sample of K-A gems in the 70’s, which have not been mentioned:

    Mohabbat ke suhane din – Maryada
    Sab ke rehte lagta hai jaise – Samjhauta
    Sukh ke sab saathi – Gopi
    Waada karle saajna – Haath Ki Safai
    Tum jo hasoge to – Kathputli
    Chahe aaj mujhe na pasand – Darinda
    Tumse door rehke – Adalat
    Mere sapnon mein – Jaanwar Aur Insaan
    Pyar se dilbar de – Kab Kyun Aur Kahan
    Kuch aise bandhan – Farishta Ya Qatil
    Roothe roothe piya – Kora Kagaz
    Apne jeevan ki uljhan – Uljhan

    Btw, K-A lead the music popularity parade among foreign fans of HFM, scoring over “all” others, and that says a lot about their music.

    Ok, enough K-A for now 🙂

  39. KARAN says:

    to h.p,
    but the song “tere naina sawan baadon was a super hit. i liked that song so much that because of that song i watched the film. that film was a silver jubilee because of that song.baapi da was a great music director. in 1980’s he had so many hit films. so do not rate bappi da as a dabba composer. he was golden chain to bollywood music

  40. karan says:

    to post 150,
    rd burman had so many hit songs from many films.the films you have mentioned are not great films.
    but i give you you list of all hit films of pancham da.why is he called pancham da. because his songs were so great in 60 ‘s and 70 ‘s that no one can replace in the world . in 1980 ‘s bappi da the great took the list of hit films.of rd
    1.chote nawab
    2bhoot bangla
    3 teesri manzil
    4 pyar ka mausam
    5 hare rama hare krishna
    6 mela
    7 khel khel mein
    8 jeel ke us paar
    9 abhimaan
    10 aradhana
    11 deewaar
    12 sholay(the songs of this film is so popular that all music directors in the universe can dream about)
    13 kati patang
    14 amar prem
    15 hum kisse kum nahin
    16 padosan
    16 the train
    17 waris
    18 pati patni
    19 seeta aur geeta
    20 mere jeevan sathi
    21 bombay to goa
    22 apna desh
    23 namak haaram
    24 yaadon ki baarat
    25 aap ki kasam
    26 aa gale lag ja
    27 anamika
    29 raja rani
    30 do phool(“muthukudi kavadi aala”)
    31 ajnabee
    32 benaam
    33 waarant
    34 aandhi
    35 dharam karam
    36 jawani deewani
    37 mehmooba
    38 parichay
    39 azaad
    40 the great gambler
    41 jhoota kahin ka
    42 golmaal
    43 jurmana
    44 the burning train
    45 ghar
    46 caravan
    47 sanjog
    48 abhilasa
    49 heeralal pannalal
    50 chandan ka palna.

    these the 50 films of rd burman in which each and every song is a superhit. i have menitioned these films only from 1961 to 1980. i think eveybody have realized why he is called pancham abhimaan only one song was composed by sd burman da. ie tere yeh bindiya re. other all songs were composed by rd burman. in fact op nayyar has composed music for only 69 films and of which only 33 are super hit annd rd burman has given music for 123 films from 1961 to 1980 and of which 88 are super duper hit.
    this shows the greatness of pancham da.
    shankar jaikishan and rd burman cannot be compared. both are great. but rd had a slight edge. because of no of hit songs.
    why post 150 did not mention these films?
    in fact op nayyar and naushad also went down in pre 1970’s. why? because of greatness of pancham da. so think 1000 times and then post a reply

  41. sid says:


    agree totally with you here, abt both kalyanji anandji and rd burman kk combo

    infact aandhi and ghar are two more incredible works by kishore and rd

    hmm interesting.. yes rd burman’s golden era did sort of end with rafi’s passing(unless u count sanam teri kasam as part of the “golden” era)
    why do you think it so? could it be that rafi was rdb’s suboncious source of inspiration? lol anyway im not sure why he made mainly bad stuff after 1980..

  42. jyoti mohanty says:

    recently,i ran through an excerpt from times of india,bangalore edition,in which sonu lamenting the present days music & expressed his anguish over the qualitative debacle of the songs that are being composed more recently.He even hinted at the fact that, most composers are singing their own songs!!!that is the reason why sonu is more concerntrating on tamil,kannad & most south indian songs which ulike bollywood films still maintains the quality to a great extent.recent statistics shows that, sonu has either cut down or deprived of getting more/good songs in hindi.therefore, sonu is passing through a phase of partial eclipse which his guru & the great rafisaab passed through in the early 70s.but the significant difference is that, rafisaab ruled the land for more than 2 decades before he was made to live in the forced exile for next 5 years;while sonu was the top of the disc only for last 5 years or so!!! & who knows what is in stake for him in the years to come.
    bue as a great rafi-devoutee, my best wishes are always with him.To me, he is still the best in the present lot.but comparing him with rafisaab(his guru),i feel , sonu would himself never dare.Compairing with the incomparable!!!!!!!!!

  43. kapil bhardwaj says:

    The “GREAT RAFI SAAB”……..if we say”s that sonu sings like rafi saab its a big compliment for sonu but otherwise he is nowere in front of GREAT RAFI SAAB.

  44. Anil Cherian says:

    K-A was a formidable team. However they weren’t exactly trend-setters, they rather preferred to go with the tide right thru their career. So when this RDB and later Bappi cacophony came in big time to the HFM, they also joined the melee. Let us remember K-A more for their terrific music early-on (akele hain….., aaja tujhko pukare…. pal pal dil ke paas….. and the like) than their late ’70s and ’80s output.
    Speaking of RDB-KK, it is a fab combo, though a trifle over-hyped. This team has given us some memorable songs, some mediocre stuff and more hard-to-tolerate efforts. To think of it, Isn’t it rather strange that one MD who didn’t rely heavily on Rafisahab (RDB) was nearly finished with Rafisahab’s death while another MD whose #1 singer was always Rafisahab (L-P), survived the departure of the farishta and remained at the top for another 10 years?

  45. sid says:

    Also forgive me for not mentioning perhaps the best of the rdb kk combo: amar prem

  46. sid says:


    totally agree with you here. They did go the bhappi way with their 70’s songs… but then again, look at the songs that were in the binaca geet mala those days? perhaps they had no choice. the sadder thing is, apart from safar, and the songs “yeh raat hai pyasi pyasi”,”o saathi re”,”zindagi to bewafa hai” and “pal pal dil ke paas” there are no ka tracks which are worth raving abt in the 70’s.. the 60’s as u say were fabulous…

    hmm the rd kk combo are famous for these soundtracks i guess:
    kati patang
    the song humein tum se pyar kitna
    mere naina(btw I like tht song a lot but during the movie i muted it after it was played abt 4 – 5 times 😮 )
    satte pe satta
    yaadon ki baarat
    aap ki kasam
    mere jeevan saathi
    khel khel mein
    aa gale lag ja
    deewar(tho this is kind of faltoo compared to the above soundtracks)

    these have had either most songs melodious or only a couple melodious per soundtrack…

    but the lp rafi,sj rafi,madan rafi,op rafi,sd rafi and arguably the rd rafi were better imo in terms of balance between quality and quantity..

    rd kk was a good combo but no the best by a long shot.

  47. H.P. says:


    I did not expect kalyanjibhai to compose “Khaike paan banaras wala” after great compositions like “dil bekarar sa hai” Rafisaab is ofcourse winner, rajasaab, jab jab phool khile, amne samne etc..There is no doubt in my mind that K-A created some of the best compositions in 60’s, but in 70’s and onward they too joined the flow of peaople like bhappi..what a shame! 99.9% composition in 70’s and onward was totally pathetic. They introduced sanu and alka..None of these people could find replacement for rafisaab. They tried desperately but to their unfortune that there was no replacement for rafisaab and there will never be. It is easier to construct range of himalayas with mount everest with cement concrete than creating or finding another rafisaab…

    by the way the music and songs in the movies listed in post 150 were tatally trashy.. I had to leave theatre during watching mehbooba (rajeshkhanna) when the song mere naina sawan bhado by kishore started. I can not forget that moment. This combination haven’t created any song thay comes within 100 miles radius of “ai chand ke zebai” by rafisaab

  48. binu nair says:

    Post 150.. Please add the names of composers ravi and roshan, chitragupta/n.datta/c.ramchandra to ur list of great composers.

    many thanks for giving the long list of Dabba films. the music sense and listening sense too went down in the seventies and the composer alongwith his singers was washed away in due course.

    copying western music never lasts for long.


  49. sid says:

    amlan ji,

    I guess you are right. The people have a very poor exposure to rafi, kishore,etc is they think india can produce another rafi or kishore in 2-3 years.

  50. amlan says:

    I dont understand why people are wasting time reacting to some posts which are either written intentionally to iritate rafi followers or just created out of utter ignorance of hindi film music. sorry friends, I can not argue with somebody who puts sonu as 2nd and kk/manna/yesudass etc behind him.

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