You're browsing: Home / Meri awaaz suno / Life Without Rafi

Life Without Rafi

This article is by Mr. Raghav

I as an avid listener of Hindi film music shudder to think of the possibility of life without Rafi. Though he is not amongst us today in physical form, the rich legacy and heritage of music he leaves behind is an everlasting treasure cherished every day by myriad of fans like me.

Before Rafi entered the film music scene in a big way, there were likes of Saigal, Surender, KC Dey, Mukesh, Punkaj Mullick all fine singers in their own way, but none had the unique qualities of Rafi; the richness of voice, infinite range of scales, versatility, classical background, equal ease with any kind of music be it classical, light, folk, western, Arabic, oriental, styles.

The Music Directors of the era like R.C.Boral, Anil Biswas etc, constrained as they were with limited range of the singers of that era, had no choice but to limit their compositions within the confines of the vocal range of the singers of that era. All the songs of that era today sound so staid, simple and sleepy to us brought up on Rafi. Had there been no Rafi, would the music scene have been same as it became? Could the MD’s have had the courage and opportunity to compose a variety of songs that became possible with Rafi? Could we still be stuck in the same old format and form of music?

Rafi changed the whole scenario. The metamorphosis was revolutionary in style as well as in content. The form and content, as well as the format and template of songs changed forever. Rafi’s versatility made it possible for MD’s to think of composing songs like man tadpat, chaudhvin ka chand, madhuban mein radhika and scores of similar songs in classical tradition.

Of course western oriented songs could have been sung by likes of KK, but who could sing feisty, full of life songs like Yahoo Chahe Koyi Mujeh, Jab pyar kisi se, Tumsa nahin dekha, Khoya khoya chand etc.

Music directors like O.P.Nayyar, Shankar Jaiskishan, S.D.Burman, Madan Mohan, Chitragupt, Ravi, even Naushad couldn’t have blossomed and developed the way they did thanks to a voice like Rafi which made it possible for them to compose any weirdest, hitherto untried, unheard of kind of songs because they knew that Rafi can sing anything, and that too very very well!

Rafi made it possible for MD’s to broaden their horizons, think anew, experiment, take risks, be innovative and broadband their musical genius.

Without Rafi could all this have been possible? I think NOT.

Besides his voice and versatility, biggest contribution of Rafi was to start and enable a revolution that swept Hindi film music from 50’s and changed it forever.

After Rafi? Well, many people sounding like Rafi came and went but none could take place of Rafi. KK dominating the scenario, once again brought in a change because the MD’s had to compose within the confines of KK style and range. Subsequent emergence of singers like Sanu, Udit did bring about changes, but the possibilities that existed with Rafi on the scene, never resurfaced again.

I request readers to come up with a list of songs which couldn’t have been composed but for presence of Rafi, songs which no one else could have rendered, could LP compose Chahunga main tujhe? who else could have sung it?

– Raghav

Proclaim your love for Rafi Sahab on twitter

Post your Comment on this Blog

If your comments hit the moderation queue, comments will be moderated within 7 days.

3 Blog Comments to “Life Without Rafi”

  1. Yunus says:

    There will never ever be another singer to grace this planet.As the famous saying goes…A Legend lives Once.

  2. Nasir Ali says:

    Life without Rafi? It seems as if a part of our soul has gone away into oblivion. This is no exaggeration. After Rafi, I for one, (as indeed many others for sure) lost interest in the hindi or bollywood songs. The only consolation was that there is a rich legacy left behind by the Great Soul for his millions of his fans. I could go on and on expressing the void left behind by the loss of the great maestro.
    I thank Mr. Raghav for reminding us the era before Rafi Sahaab and how the bollywood music acquired much greater dimensions owing to the great talent and humanism of the latter.

  3. Bonifacius says:

    Great article. I am just sad I dont know how to reply properly, though, since I want to show my appreciation like many other.

Post your Comment on Facebook

Receive updates in your inbox. Enter your email address:

Other Writeups

Social Collaboration