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Mohammed Rafi: Third generation voice of Rishi Kapoor

By Mr. Biman Baruah

(Wishing Happy Birthday to Rishi Kapoor Sahab with voice of Rafi Sahab)

Mohammed Rafi Third generation voice of Rishi Kapoor

Mohammed Rafi is the only singer peers of Hindi Cinema and Kapoor ancestors play a very significant role in Indian Cinema for last four generations starting from their commandant Prithviraj Kapoor to present heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor. Mohammed Rafi Sahab shaped intelligence of legitimate playback singing in Hindi Film Music with his widespread voice and great transforming quality in his voice. He is the first ever singer who eliminated the distance between acting and playback singing in Hindi Film.

Rafi Sahab had a universal voice and can sing for all actors universally modulating his voice quality according to range of voice and onscreen mannerism of the actor. His quality of singing had capability to convince audiences that the actor is singing on screen. Thus, he was the only singer who can sing for three generations of Kapoors from Prithviraj Kapoor to Rishi Kapoor unanimously.

Rishi Kapoor was born on 4th September, 1952 in Bombay, debuted as child artist in MERA NAAM JOKER (1970) and as hero in BOBBY (1973). He won National Film Award in 1971 for child debut and Filmfare Best Actor Award for his debut as hero. He was extremely recognized for his bright lip-synchronising with playback singing and this lover boy started his career with a new singer Shailendra Singh, also gain some fame with Kishore Kumar with song “O Hansini Meri Hansini” from ZEHREELA INSAAN (1974). But both these two singers voice was not too accurately suit with the actor and it was believed that Rafi Sahab will suit better for Rishi Kapoor. Incidentally, composer Modan Mohan was signed by producer for LAILA MAJNU, when Laxmikant-Pyarelal was walked-out from the project. From producer to hero everybody wanted that Kishore Kumar will playback for Rishi Kapoor in the film. However, Modan Mohan Sahab was very adamant with his verdict that a serious Punjabi musical love story with Sahir Ludhiyanvi poetry cannot be made without Mohammed Rafi. Thus, Modan Mohan first fixed Rafi Saab to playback for actor Rishi Kapoor in LAILA MAJNU (1976). Unfortunately, Modan Mohan passed way during making of Laila Majnu and composer Jaidev Sahab completed the film. The film became a musical hit and the songs “Tere Dar Pe Aaya Hoon”, “Barbad-E-Mohabbat Ki Dua”, “Is Reshmi Paazzeb Ki Jhanker” and “Ab Agar Hum Se Khudai Bhi” were declared smash hit.

Manmohan Desai’s most successful family drama, AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY (1977) made on-screen royal bond of this two singer-actor adeptness. Lamxikant-Pyarelal accommodates maximum numbers of male singers in the film, Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor, Kishore Kumar, Shailendra Singh with Lata Mangeshkar. Rafi Sahab sung three different solos and a multi-singer song for Rishi Kapoor, “Parda Hai Parda Parday Ki Peche Pardanachi Hai”, “Taiyab Ali Pyar Ka Dushman”,“Shirdiwale Sai Baba, Aaya Hai Teri Dar Pe Sawali” and “Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar Kya Karen” which all  became chartbusters. After Amar Akbar Anthony, Mohammed Rafi became core playback voice for Rishi Kapoor till his demise on 31st July, 1980 and SARGAM (1979) is the best example where Rafi Sahab sung all seven songs for Rishi Kapoor. The four Rafi solos, “Mujhe Mat Roko Mujhe Gaane Do”, “Ham To Chale Pardes Hum Pardesi Ho Gayee”, “Ram Ji Ki Nikli Sawari Ram Ji Leela Hai Niyari”, “Kahan Tera Insaaf Hai” and three duets with Lata Mangeshkar “Dafliwale Dafli Baja” “Parbat Ke Us Paar” “Koyal Boli Duniya Doli” became very popular and film was declared musical hit. Lamxikant-Pyarelal won the Filmfare Best Music Director Award for the film.

In late 1970s and early 1980s, Rafi Sahab playback for Rishi Kapoor in majority films like HUM KISISE KUM NAHEEN, AAP KE DEEWANE, BADALTEY RISHTEY, DUNIYA MERI JEB MEIN, ZAMAANE KO DIKHAANA HAI, DO PREMEE, KAATILON KE KAATIL, KARZ, NASEEB and DEEDAAR-E-YAAR. The most popular songs of this combination are “Hai Agar Dushman Zamana Gham Nahin” from HUM KISISE KUM NAHEEN, “Pooncho Na Yaar Kya Hua” & “Bolo Bolo Kuch Toh Bolo” from ZAMAANE KO DIKHAANA HAI and “Dard-E-Dil Dard-E-Jigar Dil Mein Jagaya Apne, Pehle Tu Main Sayar Tha Aashiq Banaya Apne” from KARZ.

Mohammed Rafi Sahab nominated for Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award for two Rishi Kapoor songs: “Pardah Hai Pardah from AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY (1977) and “Dard-E-Dil Dard-E-Jigar” from KARZ (1980) both composed by Laxmikant- Pyarelal in the lyrics penned by Anand Bakshi. Rafi Saheb also won National as well as Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award for the song “Kya Hua Tera Vaada” from HUM KISI SE KUM NAHIN (1977) starring Rishi Kapoor which was composed by R. D. Burman in the lyrics penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri. Unfortunately, the song was filmed on Rishi Kapoor, Kajal Kiran and Tariq Shah but lip-synchronised by second hero Tariq Shah.

The composers like Modan Mohan, Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, R.D. Burman and Rajesh Roshan composed music for the songs of this singer-actor combination. Rishi Kapoor was the very lucky as an actor of third generation of Kapoors and he was the last actor with whom Rafi Sahab’s career as a singer had reached highest popularity level in his last days in late 1970s and early 1980s.

If God permits and Rafi Sahab had survived for longer age of time, the record may include new generations of Kapoors like Rajiv Kapoor who made his acting debut in EK JAAN HAI HUM (1983) and finally Ranbir Kapoor who made his acting debut in SAAWARIYA (2007).At a standstill there is chance for this title to our beloved Rafi Sahab. If R.K. Banner or any other aficionado producer will take initiative to include unreleased romantic Rafi numbers in a present romantic icon Ranbir Kapoor film, in that case Rafi Sahab will became “Singer of Four Generations of Kapoors”. 

Biman Baruah
Mr. Biman Baruah who compiled this Article

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20 Blog Comments to “Mohammed Rafi: Third generation voice of Rishi Kapoor”


    My pyare pyare lovers of Rafi Sahab ….
    The writer of book written to defame VishwRatan Mohd.Rafi Sahab is nodoubt a shaitaan, enemy of Indian music ,a spot on huminity, most jealous and frustrated person in India.He cannot reach to absolute happiness in his life as he iis a big lier & dishonest person.
    No any singer (female,male) in the World is being listened so much in comparision of Greatest singer Rafi Sahab.We cannot listen other singers continiously till only one day.

  2. rakesh kumar says:

    rafi was my god fader i love rafi thanks



  4. Anonymous says:


  5. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Also in the same film the multi singer song “Hum ko thum se”
    after Bachan and Vinod Khanna when Rishi Kapoor starting the
    voice of Rafi Saab,the entire situation is changed and what is
    the correct word for that “the georgious voice” or “the Golden
    voice” and we cannot imagine any other singer to give the
    same effect Rafi Saab has given.The handsome Rishi,the
    beautiful Neethu Sing and the voice of Rafi Saab…..

  6. Sayyed Mohd.Saqlain says:

    Mr.Biman Baruah

    You have written an article on three generations of Kapoor family,i liked it.I want to add only one thing as i have been listening & viewing the songs for last 40 years that in my openion with Shami Kapoor,Dilip Kumar,Dharmendr Rishi Kapoor is the actor to whom Rafi Sahab,voice suit most.It will be a great tribute to the greatest singer of industry by producers,directors if they utilise the unreleased songs of Rafi Sahab in their new films.

  7. Jae-Bee says:

    Very detailed article on Rafi-Rishi, Thank you Sir. It would have been much informative if it mentioned of Raj & Prithviraj as well, since the title is based on three generations. While giving tribute to Rafi Sahab, Rishi mentioned the relationship of him with the Kapoor family. He said Rafi Sahab sang for his uncles (Shammi & Shashi) as well brother Randhir, but forgot to mention his father Raj which according to my research with the exception of md sdb Rafi Sahab sang for Raj Kapoor under all major mds of his time such as: Naushad; Gulam Mohamed; SJ; OPN; Ravi; KA; and C.Ramchandra. Unless I am missing something, nowhere have I found any song that Rafi Sahab sang for Prithviraj Kapoor. Does any Rafi fan know about such song(s)?

  8. Nazimuddin Shirur says:

    The song ‘ parda hai parda hai’ starts with Rishi Kapoor’s monologue someting like —- is yaum e Azaadi k —– following which Rafi Sahabs endearing high pitch but soothing and sweet Aalap starts it becomes impossible to differentiate between Rishi’s voice and that of Rafi Sahabs that kind of a match we have never heard of. No other singer has ever achieved that and will never achieve many people say he was Gods Voice and it is hard to argue against it
    Salute Rafi Sahab

  9. Shaun says:

    It is our inalienable right to like whomever we please; however, anyone that denies Rafi is the greatest must have their hearing examined and corrected; unless of course, they are biased then that too is OK; the world cannot and will not be totally just

  10. Ahamed Kutty says:

    I think the handsome Rishi Kapoor was shining like a Sun
    in those days because of the songs of Rafi Saab.Especially
    in the song “pardha hei pardha” Rishi was at his best.

    It is not a small thing – it is a World Record that Rafi Saab
    sung for three generations and no singer can dream of it.
    I think this reason itself is enough for conferring the “Bharath
    Ratna ” award on Rafi Saab posthumously.

    Like I said earlier it will be interesting to put the song of Rafi Saab
    “Dhil ki kalee yu hi sadaa” from the film “Inkaar” for
    any of the coming film of Ranbir Kapoor to have the
    credit to Rafi Saab for singing for the fourth generation!!!!!!!!

  11. Z Rentia says:

    Rafi has sung for Ranbir Kapoor too 🙂

    There is a portion in Ranbir Kapoor film Rock Star where a song from film Kashmir ki Kali (I believe the song is taarif karo kya uski) is playing and Ranbir doing lipsync to it.

  12. Binu Nair says:

    Many hits by Rafi Saheb for RISHI…. Excelent coverage.

    Biman ji

  13. Mohammed Saqlain Haridwar says:

    Actually 3 artistes have enjoyed most on Rafi Sahab,s romantic songs ist great Shammi Kapoor 2nd RishiKAapoor 3rd Zeetendra.No doubt Rishi Kapoor has more skill to shoot on the songs of Geatest singer of the World.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Informative article.It is not easy to sing for three generations
    within 55 years of life and the achievement is a world record.
    In so many ways Rafi Saab is typical which cannot be achieved
    by any body.The above only reason is enough for Rafi Saab to
    be conferred the prestigious Bharath Ratna award posthumously
    to him.

    Also it will be interesting to put the song “Dil ki kalee yu hi sadaa”
    from film Inkar in any of the Ranbir Kapoor coming film to have
    the record to reach to the fourth generation.It will only happen
    in our Great Nation with the one and only Rafi Saab.Long Live
    Rafi Saab and his songs…..

  15. SalRafi says:

    Nice article. I always liked Rafi Saab Rishi Kapoor combination. He was most suited voice for Rishi with his youthful, handsome charm no one but Rafi Saab would have suited for his voice and mannerism. Though a good singer KK’s voice fits more matured and manly actors not younger ones.
    One correction: it is not Tariq Shah but Tariq Khan, Aamir Khan’s cousin is in HKKN movie.

  16. shammi says:

    Great article, and I’m sure there are millions of Mohammed Rafi fans who would have loved to see the combination of Rafis playback singing with the younger generation of the kapoor clan had the great legend been alive today. There would never have been a doubt to whether the voices would have matched as it did seamlessly with all the actors Mohd Rafi sang for, after all that was the amazing ability he had he truly was blessed with an oustanding talent which no one will ever be able to repeat.

  17. Kishore H. Sonpal says:

    It’s so amazing that even thirty-five years on since he wa laid to rest, that so much information can be compiled on the “King of play-back singers.”
    One can never tire reading such informative articles on the works & accomplishments of this (in true sense of the term), “Evergreen” singing maestro. Even posthumously he continues to entertain his admirers just as much, maybe even more, than when he was alive.
    If ever there will remain any misgiving towards the Almighty from self, it shall & will remain “so early recalling of this great artist,” when worthless people, like yours truly, are given more time to squander on this earth.
    Finally, his rendition of his golden voice to three generations is his achievement, but his continual entertaining for his true admirers, shall continue perpetually.
    A short TV Ad, where a dyeing grandmother yearns to hear her favourite Rafi saab & the family playing the song “Khoya khoya Chand” & the old lady passing away peacefully, shall eternally remain etched in my mind.
    That’s what can be termed as “Kayamat aaye aur tum aana!”

  18. K P Hassan says:

    very nice article. Rafi sahab’s contribution to our film industry was appreciated by all. Nobody can challenge it even today. Rafi sahab had no any hesitation to share his golden voice to any new comers, or comedians, or persons in character roles etc. Because he had no any ego problems like some other singers of those days. A number of films got success due to hit songs of Rafi sahab. Really Rafi sahab was a universal singer. He can sing for every actors by expressing their mood and style. When he sings for children, then he become a child. when he sing for comedian he is also become a comedian. His quality of singing can not be compared with anybody. Shammiji got fame because of Rafi Sahab and Shanker Jaikishan. we can see the gift of Rafi sahab with success of every actors of Yesteryear.

    Rafti sahab and his melodious songs will remain in the hearts of his fans till collapse of this universe.

  19. Sharad Desai says:

    Rafi sahab in real term was King of playback singing. Very good write up by Mr. Bimanji!

    Keep it up! Share more about Rafisahab in combination with various film personalities.


    Sharad Desai

  20. D K DESHMUKH says:


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