Mohammed Rafi sings with Suman Kalyanpur – Ajahoona aaye balama sawan beeta jaye – hayere sawana beeta jaye
This article is penned down by Mr Gaurav D Bijoor.
Mohammed Rafi can be truly described as the uncrowned King of Melody and also the Greatest Ever – whose simple name will always spell sheer magic.
In his astonishing career spanning almost 36 long & patient years from the year 1944 – “Gulbaloch” to 1980 – “Aas Paas” he has been successfully associated with more than 30 female play back singers ranging from the most to the least popular category and with these singers Rafi Saab the dynamic has had the unique golden opportunity of rendering either one OR more songs, equally with class & beauty of its own. Though the list of the female singers so associated with Rafi Saab is lengthy the same in a nut shell can be considered ranging from the “Malika –e-Taranum” – Noorjahan to Anuradha Paudwal in general.
From the exhaustive list the few great & very popular female singers include Noorjahan, Khursheed, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale, Samshad Begum, Suraiyya and Geeta Dutt in particular. In this respect I recollect from my dear father Mr D P Bijoor that Rafi Saab had rendered only one duet each with Noorjahan & Khursheed. With Noorjahan, Rafi Saab has sung the duet from the film “Jugnu” (1947) which recites “Yahan badla wafa ka bewafaee ke siwa kya hai” with music scored by Feroz Nizami and with Khursheed he has sung the song from the film “Aage Badho” (1947) which recites “Sawan kee ghata, dhire dhire aana” under the music composition of Sudhir Phadke. Rafi Saab had sung only one song each with these great singers mainly since after the partition took place in the year 1947 they both preferred to migrate to Pakistan and hence there was hardly any opportunity for Rafi Saab to further associate with them.
The maximum quantum of the duets sung by the Melody King Rafi Saab are with Asha Bhosale which range almost to the extent of 806 songs approximately followed by Lata Mangeshkar with almost 344 songs approximately & Samshad Begum with almost 184 songs approximately.
The decade from 1941 to 1950 can be considered as the golden period mainly on account of the entry of the aforesaid great & popular female singers in the industry including the entry of the Melody King Mohammed Rafi Saab. However in-spite of these great, popular and already established singers, there was an entry of a very talented, sweet & melodious voice owner in the industry in the early decade of 1950s with the name of Suman Kalyanpur (nee Hemady), who had a voice culture so very similar to that of the Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar. Few of the songs which Suman has rendered are extremely difficult to recognize as to whether the recitation is the work pertaining to either Suman Kalyanpur OR Lata Mangeshkar. In-spite of the very tough competition directly from the established & proven melody queen, Suman with her sheer hard work & determination became very popular and was a house-hold name to reckon with in those days; but I personally feel and I am of the firm opinion that Suman Kalyanpur did not receive the due accolades and also the recognition from the industry big-wigs which she deserved a lot. Sheer bad luck Sumanjee.
Friends this particular aspect has led me to pen down a few words in respect of Suman Kalyanpur whom I can confidently believe that she had that extra punch of her own. Here I clearly recollect the words of Mr Sandeep Nadkarni Grandfather from his article – Mohammed Rafi – The Greatest Magician and he had written “Above all the female singers I personally rate Suman Kalyanpur as the one whom I always admired a lot mainly because of her great & joyful nature and above all she was a great human being. The combination of Rafi – Suman was excellent and their chemistry was so unique which indeed worked wonders on various occasions. When these 2 greats used to perform the atmosphere in the recording rooms was always very healthy & pleasant and each and every artist associated with such recordings was always in a joyous mood and this was the magnitude of Rafi – Suman when they always paired together”
Suman Kalyanpur was born on 28th January 1937 in Bhavanipur situated in Calcutta (Bengal before partition) however in the year 1942 their family shifted from Dhaka to Mumbai when Suman was hardly 5 years old. She recorded her first song at the Bombay Labs at Dadar, Mumbai for the Marathi film “Shukrachee Chandanee” with music scored by Yeshwant Deo in the year 1953 however this film never got released. While recording her first song the then popular music director Mohamad Shafi was also present in the recording studio and he liked and admired the voice of Suman very much and eventually gave her the required break in the hindi film “Mangoo”. This film was produced by Shaikh Mukhtar productions and was directed by N N Ansari. Mohamad Shafi composed his first song with Suman titled “Koyee Pukare dhirese juzhe” which was actually in the form of a loree. For this particular loree the aalap in the middle of the song was rendered by none other than Hemant Kumar and Bela Bose. Considering the beauty of this recitation Shafi decided to record a couple of more songs with Suman Kalyanpurs voice for this film which were “Chanda sangh tare kare atkheliya” with Suman, Usha Mangeshkar & Savita Banerjee (Salil Choudharis wife) and a duet with Talat Mahmood. All the songs of this film were ready for release but at the last minute the music director of this film was abruptly changed from Mohamad Shafi to O P Nayyar who except for the loree song of Suman cancelled all the other songs as enumerated above.
However the loree song became very popular and this started the career of Suman Kalyanpur in the industry. Immediately in the year 1954 she got the film “Darwaza” with music by Nashad in which she rendered 2 solo songs “Aag lage iss sawanme” and “Chute tumse tho chale hum” and a duet with Talat Mahmood “Ek dil do hai talabgar” which became very popular & smash hit. After the success of these songs Suman bagged films “Shree Ganesh Viwah” with music scored by Chitragupt and “Coffee House” with music by Roshan.
Suman Kalyanpur recorded her first duet with Mohammed Rafi in the film “Shree Krishna Bhaktee” and the song was “Sawan megh udhe, thodasa gulal tu bhee le le le le” with music by Chitragupt in the year 1955. In the year 1957 a film titled “Miss Bombay” with Nalini Jaywant and Ajit as the co-stars was released in which Suman had sung almost 3 songs of which her duet with Rafi Saab “Din ho ya raat hum tere sath sath” became a stupendous hit. In the year 1958 Suman sang for almost 13 films in a row and the few of the films from the lot were “Neelamani” with Chitragupt, “Alheelal” with Bhulo C Rani, “Bhala Aadmi” with Nissar, “Chetak aur Rana Pratap” with Iqbal Quereshi, “Gajgauree” with Sudhir Phadke, “Kal kya hoga” with Nissar, “Light House” with N Dutta and a few others.
Though Rafi Saab had left for his heavenly abode in the year 1980 the duets with Suman Kalyanpur which he had recited earlier were released thereafter. A few of them are as follows: 1) “Yah wada pyaar ka irada pyaar ka” from the film Waqt kee Pukar (1984 with music by Bappi Lahiri) 2) “Oh saperan chal chaliye nee sherawali maa ke darshan ko” from the film Yaadon kee Zanjeer (1984 with music by Rajesh Roshan) 3) “Sardar ye mera dil dhadka, kuch tho bataye kahan atka” from the film Maa kee Saugandh (1986 with music by Sapan-Jagmohan) 4) “Gulabee najare najare sharabee sharabee ishaare” from the film Lakhpati (1991 with music by Iqbal Quereshi). The song from the film Lakhpati was Rafi Saabs last song with Suman Kalyanpur and hence they both have rendered almost 141 songs approximately. It may also be noted that the female singers who arrived in the industry after the entry of Suman did not get the opportunity of singing so many songs with Rafi Saab as she did and for this matter of fact the credit should in fact go to Lata Mangeshkar mainly since after the year 1962 the melody queen did not render duets with Rafi Saab for a few years which was on account of the royalty issue and this was in-fact a blessing-in-disguise for the great Suman Kalyanpur.
Few of the duets between Rafi-Suman which are my favorites are listed as follows:
1) “Jane wale kabhee nahi aate jane walon kee yaad aati hai” from the film Dil Ek Mandir with music by Shankar-Jaikishan
2) “Kahdo kahdo jahan se kahdo ishk par jor nahee, mar jayenge ek doosre par” from the film April Fool with music by Shankar-Jaikishan
3) “Tumhne pukara aur hum chale aaye, jaan hatelee par le aaye re” from the film Rajkumar with music by Shankar-Jaikishan
4) “Ajahoona aaye balama sawn beeta jaye” from the film Saanjh aur Savera with music by Shankar-Jaikishan
5) “Parbatonke pedon par sham ka basera hai” from the film Shagun with music by Khayyam
6) “Aaise tho na dekho ke behak jaye kahin hum” from the film Bheeghi Raat with music by Roshan
7) “Na na karte pyaar tumhee se kar baithen” from the film Jab Jab Phool Khile with music by Kalyandji-Anandji
8) “Tumhse oh haseena kabhi mohabbat na maine karnee thee” from the film Farz with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
9) “Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche har jaban par” from the film Brahmchari with music by Shankar-Jaikishan
10) “Nashe mein hum nashe mein Tum” from the film Black Cat with music by N Dutta
11) “Jabse hum tum baharon mein” from the film Main shadi karne chala with music by Chitragupt
12) “Tere hum oh sanam” from the film Bachpan with music by Sardar Mallick
13) “Chand hai aur tare bhee hai” from the film Ruplekha with music by Nashad
14) “Tahareeye hoshame aaloon tho chale jayega” from the film Mohabbat isko kehte hai with music by Khayyam
15) “Tujhe dekha tujhe chaha” from the film Chhotisee Mulaqat with music by Shankar-Jaikishan
16) “Rahe na rahe hum maheka karenge” from the film Mamta with music by Roshan (The solo version of this song has been sung by Lata Mangeshkar and the duet by Mohammed Rafi & Suman Kalyanpur)