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Mohammed Rafi: The voice of dazzling and mystical hero Vinod Khanna

A Musical Tribute to Actor Vinod Khanna by Biman Baruah

Mohammed Rafi The voice of dazzling and mystical hero Vinod Khanna

Mohammed Rafi Sahab sung “Zindegi Tu Bewafaa Hain Ek Din Thukrayeegee…2, Maut Mehbooba Hain Aapne Saath Lekar Jayeegee, Marke Jine Ki Aada Jo Duniya Ko Dikhlayeega, Woh Muqaddar Ka Sikander… Janemaan Kehelayeega”.

This two minute sad version of the song filmed on Vinod Khanna in the climax of the film MUQADDAR KA SIKANDER (1979) when Amitabh Bachchan breathed his last in the film saying “Main Tu Sirf Sikander Hoon Vishal, Tu Mukaddar Ka Sikander Hain”. But in real life Vinod Khanna breathed his last on 27th April, 2017 at the age of 70 before Amitabh Bachchan leaving his paradigm of about 150 films for cine-goers.

Vinod Khanna was born to a Punjabi Khatri business family to Kishanchand and Kamala Khanna having textile & chemical business on 6th October, 1946 in Peshawar and after partition his family shifted to Mumbai. He was studied in St. Xavier’s High School, Fort, Mumbai, Delhi Public School, Mathura Road, Barnes School in Devlali and finally graduated in Commerce from Sydenham College. In his School days, he was forcefully appeared in drama competition. During his study time in boarding school at Devlali, he viewed the magnum epic film MUGHAL-E-AZAM (1960) several times and became fascinated with movies and wanted to become an actor. After completion of studies his father wanted him to join in family business, but he had taken two years’ time from his father to become a successful actor and promised alternatively he will join hand in business. First he was introduced by actor-filmmaker Manoj Kumar in PURAB AUR PASCHIM in a small role of drummer in a song sequence. Then he was debuted as a villain in Sunil Dutt’s home production MAN KA MEET (1968) introducing his younger brother SOM DUTT with Leena Chandravarkar. After release of MAN KA MEET, Vinod Khanna got 15 films offer at a time as a hero, villain and supporting actor.

Posters of films Man Ka Meet, Nateeja, Purab Aur Paschim

Posters of films Man Ka Meet, Nateeja, Purab Aur Paschim

Vinod Khanna’s onscreen playback was done by various singers like Mukesh ( Mastana, Amar Akbar Anthony, Daku Aur Jawaan), Mahendra Kapoor (Amar Akbar Anthony, Muqaddar Ka Sikander, Rajput), Kishore Kumar (Hum Tum Aur Woh, Mere Apne, Aarop, Imtihan, Lahu Ke Do Rang, Daulat), Bappi Lahari (Aap Ki Khatir), Manahar Udhas (Qurbani), Suresh Wadkar (Chandni) and Kumar Sanu (Jurm). Mohammed Rafi Sahab is pioneer of all this singers in the acting career of Vinod Khanna as a playback singer.

Vinod Khanna became hero in his second film NATEEJA (1969) opposite Bindu which was a very low budget Black-White movie. The duet “Dil Karne Laga Hain Pyar Tumhe, Yeh Baat Tumi Samhjaoo Humein” by Rafi Saab & Hemlata filmed on Vinod Khanna & Bindu in a seashore romantically is still very ironic in expression and emotion. The song was beautifully composed by Usha Khanna in the lyrics of Ashad Bhopali. Afterward, Rafi Saab sung solo, duet and multi-singer songs for the actor in different films like MASTANA (1970), MEMSAAB (1971), PARCHHAIYAN (1972), GADDAR (1973), HAATH KI SAFAI (1974), LAGAAM (1976), CHOR SIPAHEE (1977), MAHA BADMAASH (1977), PARVARISH (1977), MAIN TULSI TERE AANGAN KI (1978), YUVRAAJ (1979), BOMBAY 405 MILES (1980), GARAM KHOON (1980), KHUDA KASAM (1981), EK AUR EK GYARAH (1981), INSAAN (1982) and RAJ MAHAL (1982) every year in the first phase of his career in Hindi Films.

Posters of films Parchhaiyan, Gaddaar, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki

Posters of films Parchhaiyan, Gaddaar, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki

The first solo of Rafi Saab begin with actor Vinod Khanna in film PARCHHAIYAN (1972), a Punjabi “Bhangra” flair song, “Jada Aankhiya La Layee Le, Yara Khusiya Mana Layee Le” composed by R.D. Burman in the lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri. It was followed by a spicy item number, “Tu Gaddar Sahi, Tu Makkar Sahi, Hamara Yaar Purana Hain, Tujhe Inkaar Sahi” in Harmesh Malhotra’s stealing crime drama GADDAAR (1973) composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Fortunately, Rafi Saab sung for plenty of actors in the song like Pran, Vinod Khanna, Anwar Hussein, Iftekhar, Manmohan, Ranjeet, Satyen Kappu and Makran Khan. The masterpiece romantic solo of Rafi Saab came to actor in Raj Khosla’s MAIN TULSI TERE AANGAN KI (1978) composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal in lyrics of Anand Bakshi. It was a “Holi” sequence song, “Meri Dushman Hain Yeh, Meri Uljjan Hain Yeh, Bada Tarpati Hain, Dil Ko Tarshati Hain  Yeh Khidki..Khidki , Yeh Khidki Jo Band Rahti Hain” filmed on Vinod Khanna and Neeta Mehta. It was followed by another romantic solo “Tu Husn Hain, Tu Jawani Hain, Ek Aag Hain Ek Paani Hain” in costume drama YUVRAAJ (1979) from the archive of same composer and lyricist. The last solo of Rafi Saab came to bucket of the actor in Lekh Tandon’s KHUDA KASAM (1981) also composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. It was a party song, “Arey Re Sambhalo Mujhe Yaaro Maine Nahin Pe Yeh Pyar Ka Nasa Hain” in a tanked-up condition of the actor.

Posters of films Mastana, Mem Saab, Haath Ki Safai

Posters of films Mastana, Mem Saab, Haath Ki Safai

This gorgeous actor blessed with some very prolific Rafi-Lata duets in his career from MASTANA (1970) by A. Subba Rao. The romantic duet “Chhed Mere Humrahi Geet Koyee Aisa, Umro Bhar Hum Jise Gungunate Rahe” from the film composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal filmed on Vinod Khanna and Bharathi in a stunning garden. It was followed by two duets, “Suno Suno Ek Baat Kahoon, Kaho Ji Priya Main Sunti Hoon” composed by Sonik-Omi in Atmaram’s MEMSAAB (1971) filmed on Vinod Khanna & Yogita Bali and “Shashon Mein Kabhi, Dil Mein Kabhi…Nazaron Mein Raha Karna… Jag Beri Ho Tu Kiya…Tum Hum Se Wafa Karna” composed by R.D. Burman in PARCHHAIYAN (1972) filmed on Vinod Khanna & Reshma. The masterwork duet he got in Prakash Mehra’s HAATH KI SAFAI (1974). The ultimate romantic number, “Wada Karle Sajna Tere Bin Main Na Rahu, Mere Bin Tu Na Rahe Hoke Juda…..Yeh Wada Raha” composed by Kalyanji-Anandji in lyrics of Gulshan Bawra filmed on Vinod Khanna and Simi Grewal got mass entreaty. Initially, Vinod playing an adverse character in the film was not happy with director Prakash Mehra due to allocating more songs to hero Randhir Kapoor sung by Kishore Kumar then a popular singer. But eventually, this only Rafi-Lata duet filmed on Vinod Khanna surpassed all Kishore Kumar numbers filmed on Randhir Kapoor in the film. The film was a remake of DO USTAAD (1959) starring Sheikh Mukhtar, Raj Kapoor and Madhubala. The characters were re-enacted by Vinod Khanna, Randhir Kapoor and Hema Malini respectively. Vinod Khanna won his first Filmfare Best Supporting Actor Award for this film followed by two nominations in HERA PHERI (1976) and MUQADDAR KA SIKANDER (1978). He was also nominated for Filmfare Best Actor Award in SHAQUE (1976) and QURBAANI (1980).

The wave of Rafi-Lata duet continued in actor’s career by another two Kalyanji-Anandji composition,   “Aadhi Aadhi Raat Meri Paayalia Baje Mori, Chen Udda Jaye Meri Maan Ka” in LAGAAM (1976) and “Mere Pyar Ki Awaaz Pe Chali Aana, Ho Chali Aana” in RAJ MAHAL (1982). The energetically romantic words of the two songs penned by  Vishweshwar Sharma and Verma Malik respectively.

Posters of films Lahu Ke Do Rang, Bombay 405 Miles, Insaan

Posters of films Lahu Ke Do Rang, Bombay 405 Miles, Insaan

The Rafi-Asha duet started in the career Vinod Khanna with Mahesh Bhatt’s action drama LAHU KE DO RANG (1979). The holy romantic duet, “Mathe Ki Bindia Bole, Kahe Ko Gori Royee, Sajna Gaye Pardesh” composed by Bappi Lahari was filmed on Vinod Khanna & Helen where the actor played double role of father and son. It was followed by amusing romantic number, “Arre Ho Gaye Hum Aap Ke Kasam Se…Kasam Se Kasam Se” in BRIJ’S film BOMBAY 405 MILES (1980) composed by Kalyanji-Anandji. The song was filmed on Vinod Khanna, Shatrughan Sinha and Zeenat Aman and interestingly Rafi Saab sung for two actors simultaneously. Lastly, it was expressive romantic duet,   “Shathiya…Tu Mere Sapno Ka Meet Hain, Tu Mere Hoothoon Ka Geet Hain , Apani Janmo Ka Meet Hain…Khaoo Kasam Yehin Wada Karo Yehin” filmed on Vinod Khanna and Reena Roy in Narendra Bedi’s INSAAN (1982) composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal in the words of Anand Bakshi.

Posters of films Chor Sipahee, Parvarish, Ek Aur Ekk Gyaraah

Posters of films Chor Sipahee, Parvarish, Ek Aur Ekk Gyaraah

Laxmikant-Pyarelal preferred singing choral of Rafi Saab for actor Vinod Khanna as compared to other actor like Shashi Kapoor. For instance, in two male duets of Rafi-Kishore in CHOR SIPAHEE (1977) and EK AUR EK GYARAH (1981), composer pair used Rafi Saab’s vocal for Vinod Khanna and Kishore Kumar’s vocal for Shashi Kapoor. The male duets were “Bade Maze Se Guzar Jaayegi Yeh Zindegi, Hum Dono Mein Agar Ho Jaye Dosti” and “Mujhko Tujhko Do Geentay…Unko Geeny Do Yara…Kandha Chod Ke Nikal Pare Tu…Hum Hain Ek Aur Ek Gyarah” respectively.

In this affection, the multi-singer song, “Hum Premi Prem Karna Jaane, Pyar Ke Dushman Ko Hazaroo Mein Pehchane” from Manmohan Desai’s PARVARISH (1977) to be pointed out also composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. In this song, Rafi Saab sung for Vinod Khanna, Kishore Kumar sung for Amitabh Bachchan and Shailendra Singh sung for Shammi Kapoor. This was the only Shammi Kapoor song where Rafi Saab sung for other actor.

In 1970s, Vinod Khanna was the only hero who was able to compete with “Angry Young Man” Amitabh Bachchan and they shared screen space in seven films like RESHMA AUR SHERA (1971), ZAMEER (1975), HEERA PHERI (1976), KHOON PASINA (1977), PARVARISH (1977), AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY (1977) and MUQADDAR KA SIKANDAR (1978). Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna first met in the office of Ajanta Arts in Bandra owned by Sunil Dutt during pre-production of RESHMA AUR SHERA. In films like ZAMEER, KHOON PASINA and AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, Vinod Khanna supersedes Amitabh Bachchan in fight and action sequences. His combining with Amitabh Bachchan was not only commercially successful but also censoriously much-admired. The list had added more if Khanna had not shifted his base to Osho’s Ashram at USA. In fact, Manmohan Desai wanted to make NASEEB (1982) with his blockbuster Amar Akbar Anthony team, but later Vinod Khanna was replaced by Shatrughan Singha, since Khanna already shifted his base to USA. Vinod Khanna’s association started with his best friend and another co-star Firoz Khan in SHANKER SHAMBHU (1976) followed by Firoz’s home production QURBANI (1980) and DAYAVAN (1988). Both the actors were departed on same day of 27th April, Firoz Khan in 2009 and Vinod Khanna in 2017 both at the age of 70. Vinond Khanna shared screen space with all leading heroes of 1970s and 1980s. He worked with Shammi Kapoor in JAANE-ANJANEE & PREETAM, with Rajesh Khanna in AAN MILO SAJNA, SACHAA JHUTHA & KUDRAT, with Dharmendra in RAKHWALA, MERA GAON MERA DESH, PATTHAR AUR PAYAL & THE BURNING TRAIN, with Sunil Dutt in RESHMA AUR SHERA, NEHLE PE DEHLA & DAKU AUR JAWAN, with Shashi Kapoor in CHOR SIPAHEE & EK AUR EK GYARAH, with Jeetendra in EK HASINA DO DIWANE, EK BECHARA, ANOKHI ADA & INSAAN, with Shatrughan Sinha in MERE APNE, DO YAAR & DAULAT KE DUSHMAN, with Vinod Mehra in ELAAN & AAROP, with Rishi Kapoor in CHANDNI & EENA MEENA DEEKA and finally with Raaj Kumar in SURYAA, POLICE AUR MUJRIM & INSANIYAT KE DEVTA. Likewise, he also paired with all top actresses of 1970s and 1980s from Hema Malini-Rekha to Meenakhashi Sheshadiri-Madhuri Dixit.

In 1975 in peak of his career, Vinod Khanna became a follower of the spiritual leader Osho shifted his base to his Koregaon Ashram at Pune initially and finally in 1980 to Rajneeshpuram in Oregon, USA where he worked as a cleaner and horticulturist. After he went to USA, his family in Mumbai faced lots of trouble, wife Geetanjali raised his two sons Rahul & Akshaye unaided and finally she got divorced from Khanna in 1985. In mid 1980s, he came back to India and re-joined film Industry in 1987 with moderate hit films like INSAAF and SATYAMEV JAYATE. In 1990, Khanna married again with Kavita Daftary and from whom he had a son Sakshi Khanna and a daughter Shraddha Khanna.

In 1997, he became producer with HIMALAY PUTRA launching his second son Akshaye Khanna with his own star power in the film. In 1999, he got Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution to the Indian Film Industry for three decades. He continued as character actor in films like WANTED, DABAANG, DILWALE. In late 1990s, he joined active politics with BJP and elected as MP from Gurudaspur for four times and continued as a MP till his demise.

Vinod Khanna was a dynamic actor and played different roles of solo hero, supporting actor and villain in commercial as well in unconventional films. He will be best remembered as a box office star for films like HAATH KI SAFAI, KHOON PASINA, AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY, MUQADDAR KA SIKANDER & QURBANI, as an offbeat performer for films like MERE APNE, ACHANAK, IMTIHAN, SHAQUE, MEERA, RIHAEE & LEKIN, as a romantic villain for films like MAN KA MEET, AAN MILO SAJNA, RAKHWALA, EK HASINA DO DIWANE and as a dare-devil dacoit in MERA GAON MERA DESH & PATTHAR AUR PAYAL. Mohammed Rafi Saab will also be recognised forever as a major playback singer in the career of this dazzling and mystical actor. Music composers like Kalyanji-Anandji and Laxmikant-Pyarelal always preferred Mohammed Rafi Saab as a matching singing vocal of Vinod Khanna in their films. The passionate romantic songs in the golden voice of Rafi Saab from the films like NATEEJA, MASTANA, HAATH KI SAFAI, MAIN TULSI TERE AANGAN KI, INSAAN and RAJ MAHAL will always be a musical tribute to this handsome and energetic actor.

Biman Baruah

This article is compiled by MR. BIMAN BARUAH who can be reached at bimanbaruah@yahoo.co.in

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2 Blog Comments to “Mohammed Rafi: The voice of dazzling and mystical hero Vinod Khanna”

  1. EnSure says:

    Rafi Saab’s last song for Naushad Saab, in the unreleased film Habba Khatoon, “Jis Raat Ke Khwaab Aaye” was also picturised on Vinod Khanna. It was composed in Raag Patdeep. Rafi Saab became very emotional after recording the song and refused to take a single Paisa even, saying to Naushad Saab that the pleasure he got from singing Jis Raat… could not match any amount of money! That is the Greatness of Rafi Saab in one sentence!!!

    Sadly, Rafi Saab’s voice was lost forever to Mankind a few days later, Naushad Saab remembers… In 1988, Naushad Saab was given a Malayalam film to compose music for – Dhwani and he presented “Jis Raat” as a Malayalam Duet. K J Yesudas faithfully expressed his parts of the song of his revered idol Rafi Saab! But in my opinion, P Suseela, usually such a brilliant singer and as popular as Lata down south, did not do full justice to Naushad Saab or Rafi Saab…

    Do search for both “Jis Raat Ke” and “Anuraga Lola Rathri” on YouTube, both are amazing!!

  2. BUSHAN WALI says:

    Good compilation and hope in future also you will be entertaining your well wishers with the rememberances of Mohd Rafi the great immortal soul
    thank you
    Bushan wali
    California
    714 928 7783

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