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Mohammed Rafi – Difficult To Know Him Fully In All His Hues And Colours!

This article is written by Mr. B.Venkatadri (also known as Venkat) from Hyderabad.

Normally, Music Directors compose songs keeping in mind mainly the proposed singer’s voice range/scale and also his/her other qualities such as ability to do justice to sangat’s, etc. For instance, if they were composing for Mukesh or Talat, they would do so within a narrow span of scales, certainly not too high and also not that low also. Also, they would not keep many difficult sangat’s for them. For instance, can Music Directors compose a “Zindabad, Zindabad” or a “Tarif Karoon Kya Us Ki” for Mannadey or Talat or Mukesh or even Kishore, for that matter? Simply no way!

However, many Music Directors have gone on record in various interviews thus. While they have to be constantly conscious of the constraints of many singers, male and female, while composing, when it comes to Rafi Saab, they have an absolute free hand in tuning the song. They can just freely compose their musical best and ask Rafi Saab to sing. He would deliver! Not only would he deliver, but would always give them a bonus by adding his own Adaayen/Harkatein, which the MD could never have conceived earlier!

So, that is Rafi Saab for you, friends!

With this small preface, we come to our main theme of today.

I always wondered why, but the fact is that Rafi Saab has scores of songs which start with either an aalaap or some opening line of a different tune compared to the main song! No other singer, male or female, has even 1/20th of the number of such songs.

Here are some examples.

  1. Wafa Ki Raah Mein Aashiq Ki Id Hoti Hai, Khushi Manaao, Mohabbat Shahid Hoti Hai—-Zindabad, Zindabad—Film: Mughal-e-Azam-1960 (Naushad) .

    See, in this opening, how movingly he utters the words, “Khushi Manaao”

  2. Khol Aankhen Apne Khwab-E-Naaz Se, Jaag Mere Pyar Ki Awaz Se, Zindagi Betaab Hai Tere Liye, Aa Gale Lag Ja Usi Andaz Se—Mohabbat Zinda Rehti Hai, Mohabbat Mar Nahi Sakti—Film: Chengiz Khan-1957 (Hansraj Behl)

    The entire opening line is so sublime and gives you goose bumps!

  3. Mehrabaaaan Likhoooooon, Hasiinaaaa Likhooooooon, Ya Dilrubaaaaa Likhoooon, Hairaaan Hoooon Ke Aapko Is Khat Mein Kyaaaaaaa Likhoon—Yeh Mera Prem Patr Padhkar Ke Tum Naaraz Na Hona—Film:Sangam-1964 (Shankar Jaikishan)

    Rated as one of the best expressions of love in the history of cinema! And Rafi saab, with this lone song of his, overshadows everything else in the film!

  4. Phool Ko Dhhoondhhe Pyaasa Bhanwara, Deepak Ko Parwana, Duniya Apne Rab Ko Pukare, Tujhko Tera Deewana Aaja Aaja Aaja Aaja

    then an out-of-this-world kind of Piano interlude by Khayyam and then

    Jeet Hi Lenge Baazi Hum Tum, Khel Adhura Chhoote Na, Pyar Ka Bandhan Janam Ka Bandhan, Janam Ka Bandhan Toote Na, Aaaan –Film:Shola Aur Shabnam-1961 (Khayyam)

    See how, through this opening, Rafi Saab enhances the effect of the main song!

  5. Khushi Jis Ne Khoji Woh Dhan Leke Lauta, Haseen Jis Ne Khoji Chaman Leke Lauta, Magar Pyaar Ko Khojne Jo Chala Woh Na Tan Leke Lauta, Na Man Leke Lauta—Subah Na Aayi, Sham Na Aayi –Film : Cha Cha Cha-1964 (Iqbal Quereshi)

    I was 11 years old when this picture was released and its songs used to come on Radio. Whenever this song came on Radio, I used to literally touch my ear to the Radio and listen. When the opening gets over and ‘Subah Na Aayi‘ part starts, I used to experience an ecstasy that I cannot describe in words. At that age, all I knew was that here was some singer and I was just falling head over heels in love with him! A love and worship that would later last a life-time and more….!

I need to write pages and pages to enumerate all his songs with such nice openings. May be, I can now participate in the comments and mention a few more songs along with the readers.

Similarly, there are a number of Rafi Saab’s songs with a nice opening Aalaap or Humming. Some examples:

  1. A soul-stirring Aalaap before Duniya Na Bhaye Mohe –Film:Basant Bahar-1956(Shankar Jaikishan).

    The song reaches its peaks during the three antaras , “Dil Ke Yeh Tukde Kaise Bech Doon, Duniya Ke Baazar Mein”, “Tu Hi Bata Main Kaise Gaaoon Behri Duniya Ke Aage” and lastly at “Tere Pyaar Ki Yaad Jo Aaye, Dard Chalak Jaaye Aankhon Se”.

    When the song comes to these peaks, I invariably get pensive and utterly restless and my eyes become moist. During the recording of this song, all the musical instruments must have played by themselves out of reverence for the Maestro! And the recording over, I can visualize Shankar and Jaikishan hugging Rafi Saab warmly with a lot of affection and awe!

    Also, one should notice the little variation Rafi Saab throws in suddenly at “Jeena Nahi Aaya Mohe, Ab To Chupaa Le” part, after third Antara!

  2. Marna Teri Gali Mein, Jeena Teri Gali Mein from Film:Shabab-1954 (Naushad) was sung not only by Lata, but Rafi Saab too sang it separately in a 1:17 duration bit, with a divine aalaap that he alone could render.
  3. Have you heard the nice humming before “Ek Haseen Sham Ko, Dil Mera Kho Gaya” from Film:Dulhan Ek Raat Ki -1967(Madan Mohan)? Is it not so very romantic and seductive?
  4. And what about a great Aalaap cum Humming before “Do Sitaron Ko Zameen Par Hai Milan Aaj Ki Raat” from Film :Kohinoor-1960 (Naushad)
  5. And this nice, stylish and cute “Lara La La, Lara La La, Aha Oho Aha” and then Rahi Mil Gayi Raahon Mein, Baatein Huyi Nigaahon Mein from Film:Dil Deke Dekho-1959 (Usha Khanna). Won’t even today’s teenaged damsels become ‘fida’ with such great voice and such stylish renditions!

Here too, the list is endless.

Finally, as Music Director, Ravi had once said, you can hear all other great singers with your ears, but you need to hear Rafi Saab with your heart!

Proclaim your love for Rafi Sahab on twitter

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74 Blog Comments to “Mohammed Rafi – Difficult To Know Him Fully In All His Hues And Colours!”

  1. b.venkatadri says:

    Mr. A.S. Murthy,

    I too have seen your post just now and am responding to thank you. Yes, even the opening Aalaap mentioned by you from Aadmi is one of his many superb ones.

    Today is the Birthday of the Farishtha. I am sure he is blessing all of us and is delighted that there is not a day ever since his death 27 years ago that he is not remembered by this world.


  2. A S MURTY says:

    I wondeer how I had missed out on this good article by Mr. Venkatadri earlier, or have I already posted a comment ?? Fantastic research work Mr. Venkatadri and thanks for listing out the opening lines of many of the memorable songs, both known and unknown to me earlier. one of the readers Mr. Irfan has also coined the word “edilibs” for these opening lines in the songs and I thank him too for adding the same in my vocabulory. One other songs which has such a edilib was left out in the article and I could not locate the same in various comments too. The edilib goes thus – teri muhabbat pe shak nahi hai, teri wafaon ko maanta hoon. magar tujhe kiski arzoo hai, main yeh hakikat bhi jaanta hoon. These are the opening lines of the song – na aadmi ka koi bharosa, na dosti ka koi thikana from the film “aadmi”. Wonderful article and a thought provoking one too. Let all our rafian friends and even those who are not, read this article and they will agree with what has been said in the article.

  3. Mahender says:

    Mohammad Rafi lives in our lives days and nights together. I have been listening to him, about him ever since I got into my senses. My father was himself a bigtime fan of him, and eventually all of his friends that I knew shared this sentiment with him. Mohammad Rafi’s voice is not just a singer, it is much more than it. Rafi saab koi insaan nahi thhey, vo to farishtey hi thhey. Unki awaaz itne saalo ke baad bhi hamaarey saath hai. We all are blessed that we are listening to his songs. If you go and read Bible, at one place, Bhagwan Jesus himself says that “Blessed are those who have not seen me but still they believe in me”.. accordingly, we all are blessed to be sharing a common objecting of knowing much more about this angel. May God bless all those who have come across this heavenly voice.

  4. Rafi is a immortal person

  5. binus2000 says:

    Hi friends: a new biography on legend Mohd Rafi…by Vinod Viplav..

    Uni journalist and founder of the rafi foundation delhi has written
    a bio on Mohd Rafi . The book will be released on July 30 at a
    function in delhi. Its in Hindi and the title is : Meri Aawaz Suno…

    Please order your copy from mr.Vinod Viplav or to me:
    binu nair : Mumbai: 9833 2150 701

  6. Irfan says:

    Hi Dear Rafians,
    Thinking about Rafisaabs edlibs, two duets that came across my mind One more song (duet with Suman Kalyanpur for Anjaana) that was started marvellously by Rafi saab.’Ke jaan chali jaaye jeeya ahi jaaye’.I hope you have listened to the edlib ‘Qarar khoya mohabbat ne is zamaane mein, ye baat sach hi kahi hai kisi deewane ne’.Another duet between Rafisaab-Lata is the evergreen ‘Mujhe teri mohabbat ka sahara mil gaya hota’,from Aap aaye bahaar aayee starting with ‘Dil shaad tha k phool khilenge bahar mein , maara gaya gareeb isi Aetbaar mein’.Interestingly both songs had Rajendra Kumar (Jubilee hero) as the protagonists.


  7. U0012087 says:

    Hello All

    Yes I agree with Mr Venkat admin should load up this song if they have it as I would love to hear this song.


    Khalid Rashid

  8. Whenever i watch my all time favourite evergreen dev saab
    1. Dil ka bhawar…
    2. Kabhi khud pe…
    3. Tu kahan ye bata…
    4. Sau saal pahle…
    5. Sathi na koi manzil…
    6. Falsafa pyar ka…
    7. Khoya khoya chand…
    8. Mera man tera pyasa…
    9. Mai zindagi ka saath…
    10. Apni to har aah… and a lots lots more sung by rafi saab
    i find him more and more handsome and energetic. He was
    the most handsome hero indian cinema has had so far and
    rafi saab’s devine voice doubled his charming personality.

  9. Syed Ali says:

    Hi fans,
    Add me to the list of the millions of fans of Rafi Saheb. From childhood I have been mesmerized with his voice and will until I die. Speaking of alaap’s and humming, even though I don’t know much about notes and keys and tunes and different ranges, I would appreciate if someone can give me a crash course on Indian music and all the different ranges and why and how he was so different from others even though we all know he was the best but I need to know all the differences. How can anyone forget the range of this song composed by S.D. Burman from “Kaagaz ke Phool” , “Dekhi zamaane ki yaari, bichde sabhi baaari baari” with the chorus, beautiful, wonderfully rendered by the King of voices. Living in U.S. for the past 17 years, it is so disappointing to see what has happened to our Bollywood music and whenever I listen to songs on the radio stations and TV here, they hardly play or show any of his songs and in my opinion, we here have forgotten our great musicians and singers of the past which I would say without them, they would be no songs or music in Bollywood today because they were the founders and inventors of music for the industry. However, I will always be a fan and a lover of old music and also some good new music.

  10. RAMAKRISHNA says:

    Dear Sri venkat garu,

    Glad to know that you are an ardent fan of Rafi Sahab. Me too. Me is a fan of late Sri Rafi Sahab since my very very child hood. It used to touch my heart and remain there till I listen to another number of Rafi Sahab. thats Rafi sahab for me. Its only Rafi sahab and no one else. He covers all the 64 keys of the harmonium with the same ease from the first one to the 64th one.
    Venkat garu I am also a resident of Secunderabad. I request you to kindly give your contact number so that I can meet you in person . my cell number 9949509592.

    regards venkat garu.


  11. Irfan says:

    Dear Mr Venkat and Rafians ,

    What a topic you have started, I guess no other songer might have sung as many edlibs as Rafisaab had, There also one more from Phir wohi dil laaya hu, The song is ‘Humdum mere khel na jaano chahat ke iqrar ko’,It starts like ‘Door bahot mat jaaye leke qarar hamaara,aisa na ho koi loot le raah mein pyaar hamara’ and Asha follows ‘Paas rahu ya door mai hu saath tumhare,denge gawahi pooch loye khamosh nazare’,The way asha struggles to be at level with rafisaab is very visible,her whole line is nothing when you compare to Rafisaabs ‘Door……….’

    As far as other singers are concerned I gues only we have Mukesh ji’s song from Yahudi ‘Dil se tujhe ko bedili hai….ye mera deewapana hai’ that can be considered as a very good renderation.

    But when it somes to Rafisaab’s edlibs, it raises the whole song to another level of immortality.

    Thanks 4 ur thought and writeup.

  12. binus2000 says:

    dear Prakash bhai:

    I met last week pyarelalji twice : for a few hours;

    some interesting notes were exchanged.. the l and p team were
    great rafi followers….. but there are many inside stories in the
    industry which many would not share… and many things cannot be
    written too even if told… this industry is the opposite to the very
    character that rafi saab possessed and lived for, throughout his life…
    l and p were great composers and we miss laxmikant today – who
    was a real rajah from the heart like rafi saab was..
    On the 11th I am inviting Mr. Omi…for the song feast by rafi lovers.
    the one from the SONIK AND OMI TEAM.

  13. Dear Binuji,

    I recd.your sms for 11th july programme at parle but as per my reply to you thro sms..i can’t move from here.But narayan and you would do much better if you invite and convince Pyarelalji to give some more light of his own experiance with legend Rafiji for all this years association.Because Pyarelal himself is living legend,and Laxmikant pyarelal has given some beautiful melodious tune / songs with Rafiji from chhaila babu(old) to aas paas and i am sure what he will disclose would be unfold tilldate.
    All the best to you and Mr. P.narayan taking all this pain for rafi foundation.
    Note:Some of my friends of your city will contact you shortly, They are also rafian but not knowing abt.your activity.Due to any reason if pyarelalji not able to come than ask for his brothers Narendra sharma,shashikant,or gorakh they all are associated with LP and must have many irrelevent (anecdotes) stories with rafiji to tell to gathering of 11/07.

  14. sangeetvishwa says:

    Dear All

    Prakashji has brought out one more pehlu of rafisahab and well written article
    needless to mention that rafisahab is the most versatile singer of all times.

    Before RAFISAHAB appeared on the scene Music directors had limitations with the singers available but rafisahab gave them the complete freedom to compose from one corner of the harmonium to the another.

    Same was the case with female singers but that problem was also solved when Lataji started singing and that how we got the hit singing jodi of the
    millenium RAFISAHAB -LATAJI.


    Rafi Fan

  15. Narayanan says:

    Well said Prakashbhai,
    kindly send the anecdotes to binu nair email who is compiling all anecdotes related to Rafi saab for the forthcoming Sargam mag dedicated to Rafi saabs glory n his innumerable fans.
    Haldar da,
    Great songs from Pyaasa. Infact the SD Burman da Rafi saabs combination is one of the best in indian music .
    In this it is only Rafi1 and the same is true with Naushad,Madanmohan,OPN,SJ n in Roshan. Most of the 50s 60s songs of LP are also can be Rafi1.
    I liked ur analysis about Rafi1,2,3 etc…

  16. Prakash shah says:

    Dear Rafian:
    A Writer director Prayagraj had associated with Great film maker Manmohan desai – maker of Badtameez,AAA,Naseeb,Dharam Veer,GJS,Suhaag,Sachha jutha,Roti,Bhai ho to aisa,etc.
    Do you know this Prayag raj came bombay to try as a singer in film but destiny took him as a succesful writer of films.
    This same Prayagraj Voiced “Yahoo”in junglee-“AFFU KHUDA”in Jab jab phoolkhile,and “KUKKU”in super hit farz.All this songs are sang by Rafiji,who actually offered him tea from his own flask after seeing him several retakes for the last film.

  17. akmal jangvi says:

    dear fans
    nice again.
    allaps are always difficult to sing,
    but not for him.
    thanks parvez sahib for sending me songs.

  18. Surendra agarwal says:

    pls make index of songs better to search ,the site is good…..
    good juke box
    pls make folder wise song selection bhajans. serious etc

  19. unknow1 says:

    Dear Sir,
    As I think for RAFI FOUNDATION should be bigger names like Mr Bachchan or MD Ravi or singe M kapoor…..or some one like u Sir binu nair a great fan of Mohd rafi……………..

  20. P. Haldar says:

    Listen to this mushaira from pyaasa; not a trace of a musical instrument in 2:20 minutes!

  21. binus2000 says:

    Please : SONU NIGAM give ten minutes to THE RAFI FOUNDATION
    and show some dedication to the memory of the legend by
    supporting us…. It is very difficult to reach u through ur secretary
    whose number u have given me some time back.. .
    binu nair.

  22. saira says:

    me also a big fan o rafi jo i dont think any singer ever can compet hom after him ilike sonu nigam he is good too this is for rafifan you been to sonu ji,s comcert on atlanta please can you update the medley he samg of rafi ji,s please if any body on this site been in atlanta comcert can update the medley song,s of rafi sang by sonu nigam
    thanx saira
    or email at

  23. mansoor says:

    Dear friends,

    Nice expressions in the article about the amazing capabilities and range of Mohammad Rafi! Music directors gave wonderful music to Rafi’s songs and used beautiful instruments in the orchestra, but the voice that followed the music was even more beautiful and captivating. You can listen to hundreds of his songs and would find each one very different. It will be such a difficult task to come up with a list of Rafi’s best 100s or 200s, you will always find another song that very well could be a part of that list. Another amazing thing about his songs is that you never get tired of listening to Mohammad Rafi. You can play a song or a CD over and over, but it will sound pleasant every time – or even better than the last time. Please keep sharing Rafi’s thoughts and songs. We have only one life, might as well live it beautifully!

  24. B.Venkatadri says:


    Many thanks once again for your kind reactions to this Aricle.

    After many years, I was just listening to this beautiful solo of Rafi Saab from Film:Mera Qasoor Kya Hai(1963)–MD:Chitragupta. This song has shades of another Rafi solo of Chitragupta from Aakashdeep–“Mujhe Dard-e-Dil Ka Pata Na Thha”.

    The MQKH (1963) song I am referring to is this.

    Opening lines without orchestra: “Kaaton Pe Chal Ke Paaon Ke Chalon Se Kya Gila, Maangee Thi Khud Hi Raat Ujaalon Se Kya Gila”

    Actual song: “Kahin Se Maut Ko Laao Ke Gham Ki Raat Kate”

    In my view, these opening lines rank among the top ten such songs of Rafi Saab. See how he enunciates the lines and draws out empathy from the listener!

    I request the Admin. to see if he could upload this great song for the benefit of those who do not have it already.


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