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Mohammed Rafi and Music Duo: Sonik-Omi

by: H.A.K. Walijah

This picture was taken when he was rehearsing for the song Dono ne kiya tha pyaar from the film Mahua with the music director duo Sonik-Omi.

Mohd Rafi with Sonik Omi

Bhoolega Dil Jis Din Tumhe, Woh Din Zindagi Ka Aakhri Din Hoga….. Kya Hua Tera Wada”. Even today all  Rafi fans dedicate these heart-stirring lines to the only singer whose immortality can be vouched for. Almost three decades have been passed after his sad demise and yet his popularity and fan-following remain intact. Mohammed Rafi was an Indian playback singer whose career spanned four decades and is one of the most prolific and versatile male singers in the history of Indian cinema.  Rafi had rendered in his long and distinguished career as the leading playback singer in Hindi Film Music. Rafi had a mastery over all genres of songs. No raga was beyond his reach and no emotion was left untouched. Rafi has left behind a rich legacy of songs sung by him over more than 30 years and he has been a great inspiration to a large bunch of singers. Magical singers like Rafi are one in a million. He was not only a valley of talent but also a very good person by heart.

When we come to the Duos scoring music in Hindi films, suddenly a list of music duos will come to the memory like   Husnlal-Bhagatram was hindi cinema’s first composer team, and then came Shanker-Jaikishan, Kalyanji-Anandji and Laxmikant-Pyarelal. There were smaller names too, like Sonik-Omi and Sapan-Jagmohan, and the tradition continues today with Nadeem-Shravan, Anand-Milind, Dilip Sen-Sameer Sen and Jatin-Lalit, with Sajid-Wajid and Sanjeev-Darshan as the latest additions.

In the galore of hindi film music there was one music duo SONIK-OMI who had given the super hit music for the movie Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966).  The uncle-nephew team of Sonik-Omi didn’t reach as great a height as the enviable music-composer duos of the 1960s or 1970s but some of their creations remain unforgettable.   The duo began their careers by working as chorus singers for music director Roshan and later worked as assistants to many music directors viz Madan Mohan, Roshan etc, before they tried their hands as independent music directors. Though they gave some scintillating music in the few opportunities that they got, Their absolutely wonderful musical blockbuster “Dil ne phir yaad kiya“. The music duo had also churned out quite a few master pieces during the Golden Era of Hindi Film Music.

Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya was the first film where they teamed up with Rafi Saab and had worked together.  They have to their credit some of the most fabulous numbers from yesteryears like Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, Kaan Mein Jhumka Chaal Mein Thumka, Raaz Ki Baat Agar Keh Doon, Dono Ne Kiya Tha Pyar Kabhi, Cheecho Cheech Ganeria, Aye Phuljari, and Yaad Rahega Pyar ka to name a few.  The duo who registered their presence on film music, ruling the industry for six decades, credited with over 120 Hindi feature films, this uncle-nephew team stole the limelight with debut film Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya, with all the nine songs rated as super hits. They enjoyed success with 4 film scores in particular but were never looked  upon as ‘great’. Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966), Aabroo (1968), Mahua (1969) and Sawan Bhadon (1970)  proved to have music with a mass appeal, however it would appear having composed for scores of films thereafter, they were unable to recreate their magic.  Their repertoire included films like Sawan Bhadon, Mahua, Umar Quaid, Abroo, Mujrim, Beti, Rafter, Ranga Khush and Do Chattane

For instance Aabroo (1969) was one such movie Sonik Omi, the music director duo created sensational song in this movie, Nevertheless, what an amazing songs this movie had. Here is a Rafi song picturised on the hero. “Aapse pyaar hua aap khafa ho baithe” would have been an immortal song by now.

In 1970 “ Sawan Bhadon” was the debut movie of Navin Nischol and Rekha. Sonik Omi were the music directors, the song “kaan me jhumka chaal me thumka kamar pe choti latke” was a hugely popular catchy solo song of 1970s. Rafi saab must have expended enormous amount of energy singing this song. The passion and involvement that Rafi saab showed while singing this song can be felt so clearly by everyone who has listened to this song.  Sonik Omi, who had given outstanding music in their earlier movie viz “dil ne phir yaad kiya” and “aabroo”, lived upto their high standards and they created absolutely wonderful songs in this movie as well. And for a change, this movie turned out to be a box office hit. Varma Malik was the lyricist in this movie. What a song this is. This song beats most other songs of this genre hands down.

Likewise Sonik Omi has given outstanding music in many movies- Dil ne phir yaad kiya, Aabroo, Mahua, Bhai ho to aisa etc. It is just that they did not get enough credit and opportunities.  Rafi Saab had sung many songs for this music duo both in hindi and pujnabi films. For some extent it is believed that Rafi Saab was personally very close to the duo who were hailed from (Sialkot) Punjab, because Rafi saab was too from Punjab  and whenever he went for their recordings he would say, “Aisa lagtaa hai ke main apne ghar aaya hoon” (I feel as if I were come to my own house)

They were not fortunate enough to work with big banner film-makers. But found most of the movies were B-grades. It was also found that almost all movies directed by Joginder, had Sonik-Omi as his music directors – 1975 Ranga Khush; 1976 Fauji; 1976 Yaari Zindabad; 1977 Pandit Aur Pathan; 1980 Teen Ikkey; 1982 Kasam Durga Ki; 1994 Ganga Aur Ranga; 1995 Pyasa Shaitan.

Apart from solos and duets with female singers, Rafi saab sang many duets and qawwalis with the classic singer Manna Dey from Do chattane (1974) and Pandit aur Pathan (1977).

Ho tera pyar khuda na hona mujh se juda (Do Chattane) Rafi, manna dey
Main pandit aur tu Pathan (Pandit aur pathan) Rafi, manna dey

And the patriotic number Lakhon rangon se ranga hai apna Hindustan (Do Sholay – 1976) Rafi

These songs remind us of the secular brotherhood that our country upholding being diversed in many ways.

Dono ne kiya tha pyar magar mujhe yaad raha tu bhool gayi (Mahua – 1969), this is a song where Rafi Saab sings at high pitch for a longer duration.  Rafi delivers this masterpiece song.

That  song was a super hit. Before recording a song, He used to rehearse a song till he got it perfectly. Whenever he was satisfied with his recording, he would go to Mohammad Ali Road and have lassi. He was very fond of cold drinks and loved eating too.



Raz ki baat kah doon to jaane mehfil main kya ho… (Dharma – 1973) a classic qawwali with Asha Bhonsle which was created history at the time it was released in 1973, only because of this qawwali number the film declared hit.

In late 70’s there was another memorable duet with Chandrani Mukherjiee from Zulm ki Pukar (1979) – is ishq o mohabbat ki kuch hain ajeeb rasmen was heard everywhere in those days.

I can recollect some of the memorable songs that the music duo composed and sung by Rafi saab which are: –

  • Dil ne phir yaad kiya barq si lehrayi hai (Dil ne phir yaad kiya -1966) Rafi, mukesh, suman
  • Kaliyon ne ghunghat khole har phool pe banwra (Dil ne phir yaad kiya – 1966) Rafi
  • Lo chehra surkh sharab hua (Dil ne phir yaad kiya) Rafi
  • Main Surah hoon tu meri kiran (Dil ne phir yaad kiya) Rafi, Asha
  • Yun chaal chalo na matwali (Dil ne phir yaad kiya) Rafi
  • Hassen Zulfon ka rang de do (Beti – 1969) Rafi
  • Mere mehboob tu mujh ko na bana aur deewana ( Beti) Rafi
  • Ay meri jaan e chaman dilruba shola badan (Mujrim – 1969) Rafi
  • Ek meethi nazar phool barsa gayee (Beti) Rafi, Asha
  • Har Chehra yahan chand (Aabroo – 1968) Rafi
  • Aapse pyar hua aap khafa ho baithe (Aabroo – 1968) Rafi
  • Yeh dil nahin hai ke jis ke (Aabroo 1968) Rafi
  • Dono ne kiya tha pyar magar (Mahua – 1969) Rafi
  • Kaan main jhumka chaal main thumka (Sawan Bhadon – 1970) Rafi
  • Sun sun o gulabi kali (Sawan Bhadon) Rafi, Asha
  • Main teri heer hoon (rafter – 1975) Rafi, Asha
  • Raaz ki baat kah doon to (Dharma – 1973) Rafi, Asha
  • No solah se upar na satra ke kam (Dharma) Rafi
  • Saath hum tum chale the yahin to kahin (Ladki Jawan hogayee – 1977) Rafi
  • Ek den dena padega (Do Sholay – 1976) Rafi, Asha
  • Is ishq o mohabbat ki hai kuch ajeeb rasman (Zulm ki pukar – 1979) Rafi, Chandrani Mukherji
  • Phoolon se meri dosti ( Heeron ka chor 1980) Rafi
  • Allah ka naam paak hai (Maan gaye ustad 1980) Rafi
  • Yeh jawani hai meri jaan (Heeron ka chor) Rafi
  • Bheegi bheegi rut hai  umango (Taqdeer ka badsha – 1982) Rafi
  • Sona Chandi  heera moti na paisa rupaya (Taqdeer ka badsha) Rafi
  • Gajre ki kasam (Raam kasam – 1978) Rafi, Lata

and so many other songs…

The ultimate respects paid by this duo to the greatest singer as “an epitome of humility and down-to-earth, Rafi saab was like a farishta from heaven. We became close during rehearsals. A few months before his demise, one morning at 8 am, when he was at the pinnacle of success, I saw him strolling in the corridors of the music studio and when I asked him what was the matter, he said with all innocence, “Mainu nau baje bulya hai ji, aje nau nahin baje naa.. . And today, superstars move with dozens of security guards”.

Finally the below couplet can justify the love and respect have on Rafi Saab from his fans who love him more than anything

“ Mohabbat Maani-O-alfaaz main layee nahin jaati
Yeh woh nazuk haqeeqat hai jo samjhayi nahin jaati ”

means love can’t be expressed through words, as such this delicate truth even can’t make oneself understand.

Proclaim your love for Rafi Sahab on twitter

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27 Blog Comments to “Mohammed Rafi and Music Duo: Sonik-Omi”

  1. Tamil Songs says:

    Thanks for finally writing about > Mohammed Rafi and Music Duo:
    Sonik-Omi | Rafians tribute to a true Maestro –
    Mohd Rafi < Liked it!

  2. sonu qureshi says:

    the voice of god

  3. Rafi is 8th wonder of the world. In music , his voice remains unsurpassed to this day and it will remain so for ages to come.
    His style of singing is unique and inimitable. Clarity of his voice even when he takes it to incredibly high pitch is melodious. This is unachievable for any singer.
    Each song is a glory of Indian music.
    whether it is ” yaad na jaaye beethe dino ki”Dil ek mandir
    Khulee palak me jhootha gussa,bandh palak me pyar”-Professor
    these are unforgetable immortals of Indian music.
    Rafi is alive in every one of us.

  4. Hashmat Alvi says:

    I enjoyed one more write up written by our brother Janab Walijah Sahab, yet on another music directors who rose to stardom for few years, but whatever they created the songs and sung by Rafi Sahab is marvelous. The listed songs are noteworthy and melodious. Their contribution to the HFM is unforgettable. Thanks again to write something on the forgotten music duo Sonik Omi whose tracks were really created magic, my special mention to Dil ne phir yaad kiya, Sawan Bhadon etc. super and melodious numbers.

  5. A.T.M. SALIM says:

    dear walijah sahab

    thank you for this fine article on sonik-omi’s association with our beloved rafi sahab !
    sonik-omi used to call rafi sahab fondly as ” khan sahab ” instead of rafi sahab !
    now here I am adding one wonderful duet song of rafi sahab & asha bhonsle with music by sonik-omi :

    ” ek main,ek tu , i love you ,i love you ….” film :shankar dada – the song is picturised on shashi kapoor & neetu singh .

    best regards/a.t.m. salim

  6. A.T.M. SALIM says:


    Dear Halder Babu

    thanks a lot for the compliments !
    But I would say -you are an ocean full of music knowledge -be it regarding our beloved rafi sahab or a saxophone player of any music concert !
    i always look forward to read your valuable comments in this site and thus enjoy to read them .
    now as you have mentioned the title song of ” dil ne phir yaad kiya” -which i also do love to listen again & again and i consider this song as one of the best ‘triangle’ songs of hfm.
    beside this , i would recall another song of this movie :
    ” lo chehra surkh sharab hua,
    ankhon me sagar chalkaya,
    yeh gussa, tera subhan allah ,
    ek husno ka dariya chad aya….”
    this song is one of my most favourite songs of rafi sahab .rafi sahab has rendered this song just marvellously with music excellently accompanied by sonik-omi . just recall -how rafi sahab utters the words : ” yeh gussa , tera subhan allah ” with simultaneously tabla beat being played !

    with best regards/a.t.m.salim

  7. Imran says:

    Walijah sahab,

    Very nice and informative write up as i personally was unaware of this music duo. I am also from Sialkot Punjab and this is owner to have such people who worked with great Rafi sb.


  8. P. Haldar says:

    Dear Walijah saab,

    Thanks for removing the picture; such mistakes do happen, but all of us should be careful about accepting as “truth” items posted on the internet. My fellow Kolkatan, A. T. M. Salim saheb, is a storehouse of knowledge; in fact, he has contributed a lot of photographs to this site.

    I’d like to commend you for writing a beautiful article on Sonik-Omi’s compositions for Rafi. Master Sonik was one of the best music arrangers in the industry and, as Utthara ji has pointed out, he arranged most of Madan Mohan’s compositions. But music arrangers as a tribe — with some notable exceptions — do not become great md’s.

    The “Dil ne phir yaad kiya” title song is a wonderful song delivered by two of the oldest friends in the music industry, along with someone whose voice was confused with that of the creeping Ivy even by Mrs. Hope! The song has a Khayyamesque pahadi touch and that is what makes it very special to me.

    Regards and best,
    P. Haldar

  9. khaja Aliuddin, MD says:

    I would appreciate, if you e-mail me the above mentioned song of Rafi Sahab from the movie “Heeron ka Chor”. Shukriya.
    With regards,
    dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  10. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Dear Rafi fans,

    I am glad that most of the rafi fans like this article. I am also grateful to all those people who appreciate it.

    Moreover, I am grateful to TNA, Mr. A.T.M. Salim and Mr. P. Haldar to have such razor sharp eyesight on photos, as I agree and believe in “To err is human, to forgive divine”. Now the photo has been deleted.


    H.A.K. Walijah

  11. ZTEK says:

    In regards to the above list of songs, as far as I remember the songs from the film “Taqdeer ka badsha” were composed by Bappi Lahhri.

    My favourite Rafi/Sonik Omi number is “yeh jawani hai meri jaan” (Heeron ka chor 1982),a duet with Asha. Rafi really rocks with so much energy in this song, it really suited Mithun in the film. Music was great and vibrant. I’ve got this song in good quality MP3 format and when I play it on my hi fi system, Rafi’s voice sounds so fresh and youthful and just steals the show with this song! I urge anyone who is not heard this song to listen to it – it will just blow you away!

  12. P. Haldar says:

    post 13:

    tna, you are right. The gentleman on the right is indeed Harindranath Chattopadhya, whose sister was Sarojini Naidu. The gentleman on the left is none other than Jaikishan and, if I am not mistaken, this picture was taken during the rehearsal of the English version of “Baharon phool barsao”, written by Harindranath.

    Walijah saab, you must have got the photo from another source on the web, with wrong names for the personalities and wrong title for the song. I’d request you to remove the photograph, if possible. To confuse Jaikishan with Omi is doing grave injustice to a man who, by the age of 40, had accomplished more than most musicians could do in a lifetime.

    If our dear friend Sandeep Nadkarni were here today, he would have pointed it out instead of me. Incidentally, in his dying moments, he played the “Dil ne phir yaad kiya” on his violin.

    Jai Shankar, Jai Kishan!

    Regards and best,
    P. Haldar

  13. A.T.M. SALIM says:

    REF:POST -13



    AND 2) ” THE SHE I LOVE….” .


  14. Harvinder says:

    I always wondered as to how this Chacha bhatija duo did not succeed despite starting so well with “Dil ne phir Yaad Kiya” and “Aabroo”. These were not flashes in the pan, but geniune melody. Were they swept aside by RD wave ? Only LP & KA could deliver decent music in that era. Even stalwarts like ChitraGupt and Ravi fell by the way side. Of course Shankar was incomplete without brilliant Jaikishan. MM and Jaidev were also ignored by the masses.

    Whatever the destiny, I rate Sonik Omi’s music very high and grossly underrated MD’s.

  15. tna says:

    The man in the photo looks so much like Harindranath Chatopahyay who was himself a very great fan and friend of Rafisaab.

  16. suri says:

    yeh jawani hai meri jaan (Heeron ka chor) – Rafi singing for Mithun, hear the second verse of this song ” tere yehi bus tareef hai ke ashiq hai sara zamana tera” – no singer can sing this line as Rafi has sung.

    Rafi is a king maker, he made good MD’s appear great and stupid actors look good and ordinary lyrics sounded like poetry when he sang.

    Sonik Omi songs are immotalised by Rafisaab. Even a hundred RD Burman composed songs don’t stand in front of one sonik omi song. Thats a fact, Sonik Omi songs are original and not begged, borrowed or stolen.

  17. suri says:

    Yeh jawani hai meri jaan (Heeron ka chor) – Rafi singing for Mithun, hear the second verse of this song ” tere yehi bus treef hai ke ashiq hai sara zamana tera” – no singer can sing this line as Rafi has sung.

    Rafi is a king maker, hge made good MD’s great and stuoid actors look good and ordinary lyrics sounded liek poetry when he sang.

    Sonik Omi songs are immotalised by Rafisaab. Even a hunderd RD Burman composed songs dont stand in front of one sonik omi song.

  18. Walijah sahab,

    thanks for a neat and comprehensive account of sonik omi – who lost most of their popularity when they started giving music to JOGINDER films ( he made movies because he was a prince and had some daulat to burn ).

    shades of those days and the struggles – the songs made – the music composed – situations – have been well brought out by you – and let me tell you read your write up in one go – with all concentration.

    the punjabi background with rafi sahab and this duo did help to a great extent in teaming up and producing some unforgetables.

    its hard to believe – that – sonik omi who made a song like dil ney phir yaad kiyaa – could slip and make ordinary songs too..

    I think your article will be widely read – as you have essayed three people and havent written to much of technical details .

    I feel more rafi bhakts should write about those times – those films – those music directors ( legends ) – those playback singers ( legends ) – those actors ( legends ) those film makers ( legends ).

    If we start writing all lists of songs with a huge commentary – it becomes a bit boring – and any one can gather info from websites know these details.

    Walijah Sahab – keep it up – You have shown people how you could be effective writing in simple PROSE not being poetical or giving too much of detail.

    ramesh narain kurpad.

  19. Y. Sharif says:

    Walijah Sahab,

    hats off to sonik Omi for composing the song Kaan main jhumka chaal main thumka…. a very youthful, catchy and soulful number which rafi saab sang with shoukhi, masti, ched-chaad, with many other moods. This song can be classified as classic song of rafi saab for the music duo sonik omi.

    Sonik omi did most of the b-grade movies but their songs were always soulful and melodious. the songs in Umar Qaid were superhit songs, the duet of Lata and Mukesh.. yaad rahega is almost the hit duet of this movie.

    Sonik Omi were the masters of qawalli songs, in 70’s most of the movies had the trend to insert atleast one qawalli song in movie, rafi saab was their favourite singer to render the qawalli numbers and then Manna Dey as well.

    I feel relaxed to listen the beautiful songs of rafi saab composed by this music duo sonik omi.

    thanks again to bringing out this memorabilia on sonik omi


    Y. sharif

  20. Kabeer Aman says:

    Respected Walijah Sahab,

    When Sonik Omi comes to the mind, I recollect the song Dono ne kiya tha pyar magar mujhe yaad raha tu bhool gayee… what a heart pinching soulful number, this is evergreen song rafi saab sang for the music duo who never seen great heights in their careers but rafi saab supported them by singing almost all songs for the male singer part in the movies. You have done a good job to revive the dust laden memories of talented music directors who had great times with Rafi Saab in their heydays.

    nice write up, congrats

    with best regards

    Kabeer Aman

  21. Man Mouji says:

    Janab Walijah sahab,

    Once again I am glad to read your writeup on the forgotten music duo sonik omi. Really they were at their best in dil ne phir yaad kiya, the songs were in fact gems altogether. with your best efforts you once again rekindle the forgotten memories of yesteryears stalwarts.

    I remember one song in Umar Qaid (1975) where at the end of the song rafi saab sings the few lines on the occassion of a sister marriage, the song is really touches the heart, here is the link

    this great song sung by rafi saab, asha bhosle and minoo puroshottam.

    Great write up, keep going sir,

  22. A. Amas says:

    Dear Walijah Sir,

    As usual nice writeup. you very aptly said that No raga was beyond his reach and no emotion was left untouched. Rafi saab had sung many beautiful and memorable songs for the music duo – Sonik Omi. you almost cover the topic with your insight and love for rafi saab. Hats off to you once again.


    A. Almas

  23. binu nair says:

    sonik and omi did a movie with jeetendra as hero. it was produced by the nadiadwalas…

  24. binu nair says:

    he said : yes. kuch films me hum na kaam bhi kiye hai…

    omi saaheb has released his “UNRELEASED SONGS ” IN THE VOICE OF MOHD RAFI.. it ‘s presented by universal music.

    dont miss these songs…..

  25. Girish says:

    Great article, thanks for posting it.

    Girish :

  26. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Janab Walijah Sahab, Salaam,
    Great article on this combo rafi and Sonik-omi. I will add few more songs to your list. Gustaqhi maaf.
    Soldier- ham hind ke mazdoor kabhi mar nahi sakte, lyrics by Aziz Kashmiri
    Ladki pasand hai- Maan bhi jaavo sanam, rooth ke jaya na karo, lyrics byG.L.Rawal
    Teen chor- Two songs from this movie. ke khazane me maya hi maya
    2. nadiya ke paani me haye re haye jawani dekho aag lagathi hai,
    lyrics by Rajendra krishan
    Playboy- two songs from this movie:
    1. Aaj tumhare kore badan pe, lyrics by Asad Bhopali
    2. Aaja meri jal pari, tu kyon gum suom khadi, lyrics by Omkaar Varma
    Shankar Daada- is desh ka sandesh laya mai, lyrics by varma malik
    Ladki jawan ho gayi – Saath hum tum chale the, yahin to kahin zindagi se mile the, lyrics by v.Sharma
    Bhakti me shakti – two songs from this movie, penned by indrajit singh tulsi
    1. maa hai jyotan vaaliye, maa tere darbaar jhuke sara
    2. Dukh aur sukh dono tan ke kapde, kis kaaran pahnaye
    Prem gangaraam – Two songs from this movie, picturised on I.S.Johar, and lyrics by varma malik
    1.Tu sihaal ki hai, tu sohni mahival ki hai
    2. Babam babam alakh niranjan dukh bhanjan
    Laakhan – Bolo shri krishna bhagwan ki jay, lyrics by varma malik
    Badla aur balidan- Meri laash ki mitti kharab na ho, ise aake thikane laga dena. This sentimental song was written by Shaadan Dahalvi
    Lahu pukaarega- woh ek taraf tanha hai, lyrics byvarma malik
    Maan gaye ustad – mera ek sawal hai sawal ka jawab do
    Long live rafi sahab,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  27. Utthara says:

    Walijah saab,

    I am glad you have profiled this unsung duo. They gave some memorable music. Unfortunately, some were B-grade films. They were arrangers for Madan Mohan.

    Dil ne phir yaad kiya songs are a musical treasure. Each song is a gem __ the title song, Kaliyon ne ghunghat khole and Aaja re pyar pukare.

    Rafi saab is at his drawling best in Kaliyon mein and he changes his voice and intonation to suit Dharmendra’s voice. Superb.

    Aap ka bhaut bahut shukriya for writing about this talented duo. You have beautifully brought out their valuable contribution to Hindi film music.



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