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Mohd Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur Duets

This article is written by Mr. R.Padmanabhan

Mohd Rafi and Suman KalyanpurThe dawn of independent India saw the blossoming of, perhaps the greatest singer this country has produced who answered to the name of Mohammed Rafi. Even to this day the vocal magic of Rafi Saab is embellishing the musical shelves of Rafi Saab’s aficionados. Why is he rated the greatest is a matter of conjecture, but the fact cannot be gainsaid that he had done full justice to any song we were and still are privileged to hear. The myriad moods and emotions every song requires are best brought out by the vocal genius of Rafi saab.

Even diehard fanatics of Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Mukesh, Talat Mahmood, great singers as they were would grudgingly agree that Rafi Saab was the cock of the walk as far as playback singing is concerned. In fact one can easily visualise who the artiste is from the style of rafi saab’s rendering. Meherbaan Likhoon is the song of Rajender Kumar, koi sagar dil ko is the lament of Dilip Kumar, Sar jo tera chakraaye is the comic voice of Johnny Walker and Chahe koi Mujhe Junglee is the typical outburst of Shammi kapoor. There are many other examples but the paucity of space limits the numbers.

Mohd Rafi with Suman Kalyanpur, Hasrat and Jaikishan on Harmonium
Mohd Rafi with Suman Kalyanpur, Hasrat and Jaikishan on Harmonium

Though Rafi Saab’s solos are precious gems and his duets with the sisters, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle far outnumber those duets with another talented singer, Suman Kalyanpur, the latter also find a pride of place in the hearts of film music lovers. I list hereunder some of the gems:

1. Ajahun aaye Baalma, a classic from Saanjh Aur Savera, a Shankar-Jaikishan composition.
2. Aaj Kal Ter Mere, a lilting melody from the same composers.
3. Dil-e-Betaab ko seene se Lagaana hoga, a melliflous composition from the rich repertoire of Naushaad Saab
4. Chand takta hai Idhar, from Doojh ka chand by Roshan Saab.
5. Itna hai tumse pyaar mujhe, a romantic song from Suraj-another S-J contribution.
6. Baad Muddat se yeh ghadi aayee, a song based on Chaaya nut raga from the ghazal maestro Madan Mohan from Jahan Ara.
7. Ke jaan chali jaaye, from the film Anjaana, a Laxmi-Pyare composition.
8. Maine ae Jaane Wafaa Tumse Mohabbat ki hai from Bedaag-Roshan Saab.
9. Tumse O Haseena Kabhi Mohabbat, from the film Farz, another Laxmi-Pyare contribution.
10. Na Na Karte pyaar tumhin Se kar Baithe, from Jab Jab Pjool Khile,a Kalyanji-Anandji composition.
11. Thehriye Hosh Mein Aaloon , a beautifully romantic contribution Of Khayyam Saab from Mohabbat Isko Kehte Hain.
12. Mujhe yeh phool na de tere dilbharon ki kasam from Gazal-a Madan Mohan product.

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56 Blog Comments to “Mohd Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur Duets”

  1. gkmarwaha says:

    Please duets of Suman Kalyan pur

  2. Shashank says:

    Lata is a benchmark, for others to test their individual talent. No one will doubt that Suman Kalyanpur was a good singer, but kindly don’t compare her with Lata. There simply is no comparison. Listen carefully to songs by the two and notice the
    1) Difference in the voice quality.
    2) faulty diction by SK (as if she is speaking half sentences)
    3) Range and Pitch of Lata.

    It has become a fashion to criticise Lata, but tell me if you have Lata as an option why would one opt for SK or Anuradha ( with so much mistakes in her renditions) who is also at times compared with Lata ?

    Asha is probably the only singer who comes closer, but Lata’s voice steals the show from her sibling.

    Alka and Geeta Dutt are all good in their limited range but do we have to bash Lata in every reference to other singers ?

    If Lata is claimed to have exercised Monopoly, tell me how monopoly can be established if one is’nt the best and is the preferred voice by Producers, Music Directors and all the Actresses of the time ? And that being the case, is it to be construed as Lata’s fault. ?

  3. meenu says:

    Dear Ashok,

    Suman is staying in Mumbai. Her Husband Mr. Kalyanpur is a Business man.
    Her younger sister Shyama chittar( Jeevan chalane kaa naam… Shor ) passed away last month.
    Suman used to visit Lata Mangeshkar’s house . She was never threat to the Mangeshkar sisters as they were quite establised before Suman’s entry. Lata used to refuse full film becuase her bussy schedule / Foreign trips ; during that time she used to suggested Suman’s name to the composer.
    People imagine many things and put in forums. But look at the truth !
    Lata went far ahead than any singer in India ; nobody can reach to that place.
    In Cricket – Tendulkar & in Music – Mangeshkar.
    Saare awards Lata ke saamne chote hai !

  4. ashok rawat says:

    dear sir,

    I want to know where is sumankalyan pur now, what she doing, what about their family,

  5. Chandra Mohanan says:

    I have been an admirer of SUMAN for almost 50 years . Her duets with RAFI

    are simply beyond description . Some of her solos r equally good, if not better

    than LATA’s . She certainly deserves much greater recognition for her unique

    voice . T K Chandramohanan, TRIVANDRUM .

  6. pmc says:

    Ref post 44, Mr. Sabvanvees

    The one hero who is also very much underrated just like Suman is Pradeep Kumar. I think Rafisaab has given few of his best songs to this debonaire star. Be it Hum intzar kareinge (Bahu Begum), Dil jo na kah saka (Bheegi Raat), evergreen hits of Taj Mahal and many others. Rafisaab’s voice matched the mannerism of Pradeep Kumar to the fullest. One cannot imagine anybody else on the screen when these songs are played.

  7. sabnavees says:

    ref post 41, Sri Natarjan,

    I agree with you 100% that Mukesh ji was not a monotous singer. He had a special voice. Each and every singer is equally improtant, say its Mukesh ji, Kishore daa, Manna daa, hemant daa, talat ji, Mahender kapoor ji. all have tremendous talent. but amongst all the singers rafi sahab was more clear, versatile & eloquent. He sang all types of songs, may it be bhajan, romantic, pathos, sentimental, emotional. all with utmost clarity, excellent modulation& feelings. His voice suited for all say its Shammi kapoor ji, Dharmendra,Jitendra, Rajesh khanna, Mehmood, Rajendra kumar, Johny walker, Guru dutt ji. His duets with Lata, Asha, Shamshad begum saheba, Geeta dutt madam & Suman kalyanpur ji are all evergreen.
    Rafi sahab used to modulate his voice as per the mannerism & style of the hero.
    all the singers are the legends, but rafi sahab stands as ‘ the legend of the legends’ with a voice so clear & soothing where you can hear every letter of the song without any huskyness, shivering or nasal. every word of the lyric is reproduced with clear diction & melody.

    the magic of rafi sahab still persists in the concerts, musical nights & talent hunt competitions. Its ‘parennial like the flow of holy ganges’.

  8. V. Prathiba says:

    I think Din ho ya raat hum rahen tere saat from Miss bombay, composed by hansraj bahel was the first duet of Suman ji and rafi saheb

  9. vinay sharma says:


  10. Natarajan.R says:

    i do not agree with the contention that Shri Mukeshji was a monotonus singer. i strongly condemn that statement . Hope many others would also…

  11. Meenu says:

    There is lot of difference between Lata’s voice and Suman’s voice. Those who carefully listen the Suman’s songs can differentiate it. Her voice shivers occassionaly. She has good range , melody but she lacks variatons in songs.
    I never heard her songs like – ‘Dilwil pyaar wyaar mian kya jaanu re’ or
    ‘Aaa Jaane ja.. From Intakaam’ type songs. She is a monotonus singer like Mukesh, sounds similar in every song.
    Thanks LATA for her Politics because of that we could hear quality songs.

  12. SANJAY ARORA says:


  13. Balan V.Iyer says:

    Agree the duets of Rafi/Suman are very less in number. The list furnished above may be supplemented with the following 2 numbers: (i) Aise to na dekho ke behak jaayen kahin hum…Aakhir koi insaan hai farishta to nahin hum…Film Bheegi Raat…Music… Roshan and (ii) Tere hum o sanam tu jahan main wahan…Film Bachpan…Music… Sardar Mullick.


  14. Raja Asif says:

    And another beautiful duet, the title song of Saanjh aur Savera.

  15. Refer Post 20. “Ajahuna Aaye” itself was a classical song. Suman also sang inJANWAR “Mere Sanga Gaa Gunguna”, which was also a classical song.

  16. Raja Asif says:

    I am really suprised that no Rafian has mentioned in my opinion one of the best duet of Rafi and Suman from the movie Bheegi Raat, Aise to na Dekho ke Behak Jayen Kahin Hum. If any Rafian has not listen to this song please do it now, I assure you will not be disappointed.

  17. ssmakkar says:

    i think the duet ” theriye hosh mein aa loon” rafi sahib and suman k. is one of the finest expositions of two voices complementing each other to bring out the best emotions- and very softly.
    the way rafi sahib starts is gossamer silk and the way suman ji says ” unhun” twists the heart.
    his question is
    ” kab talak rahiye ga yun door ki chahat banke ”
    and she says” ever so lovingly” mujko iqrare mohabbat se haya aati ahi” and goes on to beg ” dekhiye sar ko jhuka dun, to chale jayega”. then rafi saab says”
    aise bhi sharm hai kya, paas to aane dijiye”
    but no,the lovers love and pleadings come into play leaving us lovers of music to come to our senses after this glorius display of affection and love play.
    khayyam sahib is wonderful with his musical touches.

  18. dilkash_rafi says:

    one of my all time favorites, “mujhe yeh phool na de” from the movie ghazal sung on Sunil Dutt. Amazing romance and vocals by Rafi Saheb and Suman ji

  19. kuloomian says:

    kindly send me parbton ka pedon per pervaiz bhai

  20. abdul zamin says:

    If. ever there was were an assessment of individual vocals Mohdrafi was superb
    and was the extensin of excellence thankyou.

  21. usrafian says:

    Padmanabhan Sahab,

    Pl accept my high regards for the article.

    As per my littile knowledge, all Rafi & Suman’s Duets are 100% SUPER-DUPER Hitttttttttttt !!!

    Rafi Saab was unmatched, uncomparable – singing-wise as well as modesty-wise. Suman Kalyanpur was never a clone of anyone, her voice was very much natural. During singing voice is not the only factor which has to be considered but the feelings inpoured in the song are of much importance, Duets of Rafi & Suman are the best example of this principal.

  22. yasminhos says:

    I love this song – aa hum ehde-wafa kar le ye rasm ada kar le sung by rafi and suman kalyanpur

  23. Narayanan says:

    yes I agree with venkatdri garu that parasmani duet is Rafi-lata “Woh jab yaad aaye”
    Ref to post 19 of Gurumurth sahibre

  24. B.Venkatadri says:

    Rafi Saab had sung 143 duets with Suman Kalyanpur according to one count.


  25. Hussein Sheikh says:

    There is a nice duet Suman sang with Rafi Saheb from a movie called Main Shaadi Karne Chala and the song is – Jab se hum tum baharon mein…. this being one of the best duet. This song was also sung by Mukesh and kamal barot.

  26. Nitish Sinha says:

    @ anil bhai..
    Yes it is told by media that she was a clone of Lata. but media is always free to told anything.They are free to say that R D burman is best composer ever. But I did not think so. If someone try to copy a singer , their voice may get stretched at different pitches. Take the example of Anwar. in the high pitch or aalaps his voice goes nasal and it seems that singer is Aziz nazan! That is the difference between Rafi saab and his clones. But the voice of suman was smooth and beautiful as ever in any of her song. The similarity was natural. Rafi saab had sung around 100 duets with suman and maximum of them is worth of listening….

  27. Nitish Sinha says:

    Such a great singer she was, and just 40 odd duets with Rafi Saab! However I still think that it is too much , when you know that there is always a hanging sword(or two!) above your head. BRAVO!
    Just think of Mubarak Beghum…… I have read an interview of her years ago not worth of mentioning..because no one is going to believe her words. Such list of female singers are long, however no one will believe any of them.It ws really a better option choosen by VANI JAYARAM not to try her again in HFM after great songs of MEERA.
    I think DIL E BETAAB KO.. is one of the finest duet of hindi film music. Amazingly, Naushad saab never try her voice except on the two occassions.
    Shanker jaikishan used him for 14 songs or so in which 10 are duets with Rafi Saab..and you will love almost all of them-
    Dil ek mandir hai [Dil ek mandir]
    Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche [Brahmachari]
    Tujhe dekha tujhe chaha tujhe pooja[Chhoti si mulaqaat]
    Tumne pukaara aur hum chale aaye [Raaj Kumar]
    Tujhe pyaar karte hain, karte rahenge[April Fool]
    Itna hai tumse pyaar mujhe [Sooraj]
    Ajhuna aaye baalma [Saanjh aur Savera]
    Agar meri jalwa numaayi na hoti [Beti Bete]
    Dil ki kitaab kori hai, kori hi rehne do[Yaar Mera]
    Meri yaar ki yaari dekh ke [Insaniyat]

  28. ATM SALIM says:



    1) AA HUM AHD-E-WAFA KAR DE … ( FILM: DO BHAI -1969 ; MD: L-P)


    KHANNA )


    1965 ; MD:CHITRAGUPT )


  29. RAMAKRISHNA says:

    ref post 19

    gurumurty sahebre,

    Rafi sahab has given us innumerable evergreen hits with Geeta dutt ji, lata, asha, suman ji, shamshad begum saheba, noorjehan saheba. the song becomes the sweetest the moment rafi sahab steps in.

    It is as similar to adding a ‘ pinch of salt ‘ in the preparations. this ‘ salt’ acts as ‘sugar’ at that point. without this every thing is unpalatable.

    hope its understood ! ! !

  30. B.Venkatadri says:

    Guru Murthy Sir, Woh Jab Yaad Aaye from Parasmani is a Rafi-Lata duet, not a Rafi-Suman one.


  31. parveen says:

    suman the great,also admirer of rafi.suman at her best in sj dil ek mandir hai.if u doubt on suman classical singing then listen barsaat ki raat title song,or duet with rafi yass ka dur pe from shama

  32. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    How come people missed “Wo Jab Yaad Aaye” from PARASMANI? “Baad Muddatse” from JAHANNARA is another classic. I feel Rafi-Suman duets are as good as any Rafi duets with Lata or Asha.

  33. Ashok Vpatil says:

    Md. Rafi is the gratest playback singer India has produced. He was far superior in quality when compared to Kishor Kumar, Mukesh or Balasubramanyam. His excelled others, be it Baiju Bawra, Aradhana, Hum Kissi say kam nahi.
    There are singers comparable to Lata, Asha or Kishor.
    But there is no singer comparable to Rafi. He was a singing institution. He deserved the highest civilian award.

  34. binus2000 says:

    No other female singer has survived more – post sixties than
    suman kalyanpur. She has a strong wealthy background hence
    she survived the onslaught of the ‘sisters’.

    Only two other men survived the elder sisters wrath. one was
    the rythem king o.p. nayyar who was close to asha ji. she could
    not do much.
    the other person was the one and only – mohd rafi saab.
    this is part of film folklore and fact.
    you may like it or not……..

    binu nair….. the rafi foundation…. //sargam sa re ga ma

  35. unknow1 says:

    as u all know that Lata Ji did’t sing for SJ boz they gavesongs to Suman K.on zee Tv if am not wrong Suman said that she got many help from Moh Rafi…

  36. Padmanabhan says:

    Thanks to all Rafians for having followed my article and penned their responses. Narayanan saab’s choice of “parbaton ke pedon par shaam ka baseraa hai from the Khayyam saab’s Shagoon classic was heartening and Venkatadri’s in-depth analysis of Ajanhun aaye baalma and Theheriye hosh mein aaloon was every Rafian’s sentiments echoed.
    Thanks a lot, everyone.

  37. mohamed parvez says:

    i would like to mention parbaton ke pedom par shyam ka baserra hai claasic duet by rafisaab & sumanji music by khayaam saab is one of superb duet

  38. Hari Agrawal says:

    can anyone tell me where on internet can I find some songs from Meenu Purushottam?

  39. Anil Cherian says:

    Dear All:
    I’ve heard and read that Sumanji was often referred to as a Lata clone. Could some one elaborate a bit on this?

  40. B.Venkatadri says:

    A good article, Mr. Padmanabhan.

    I, for one, always had a special and comfortable feeling towards Rafi-Suman duets. The reason is simple. Unlike the two sisters, Suman always knew Rafi Saab was superior to her and was content to play the second fiddle in all the duets. It must have been a comfortable and cordial atmosphere at the recording studios, quite unlike the politics of scale/pitch, the politics of who should have the starting line, etc. that one witnessed with the two sisters (especially the older one) and some of their patron-MDs.

    Here, I am happy to share one observation that I always make when I listen to “Ajahun Aaye Baalma” from Sanjh Aur Savera (SJ). When Rafi Saab sings “Aur Bhi Mora Man Lalchaaye”, he puts in a highly classical sangat on ‘Man’. Next, when Suman sings the same line, “Aur Bhi Mora Man Lalchaaye”, she is made to say ‘Manooooo Lalchaaye’ and is exempted from that highly difficult classical sangat employed by Rafi Saab!

    However, actually, the Rafi-Suman duet I like/love the most is “Thahariye Hosh Mein” from Film:Mohabbat Is Ko Kehte Hain (Khayyam). Just see the unique way Rafi Saab says the word, “Door” in “Kab Taalk Rahiyega Yun Door Ki Chahat Ban Ke”. Also his sweet/controlled/modulated voice at “Aisi Kya Sharm Zara, Paas To Aane Deeje”!


  41. Narayanan says:

    Padmanabhan Sir,
    Great article to begin with and we will expect many more from the knowhow of Rafi saab……..
    I liked the Rafi saab- Sumanji’s duet from the film Shagun by Khayyam sab…..
    Pavtone ke pedon par shaam ka ….

  42. santosh says:

    one of the sweetest voice on earth is rafi saab’s voice.Any emotion any feeling is best brought out by him.Also about Suman klp, she was a good singer who was victim of politics by singers such as Lata mangehkar.when we listen to her voice we cannot differentiate between both the voices.I repeat it again and again in my each comment that when i listen to rafi saab i feel the other singers such as kishore,manandey, mukesh are ordinary stuff.when i listen to lata i do not get this feeling in except few songs such as Ayega Ayega , Pyar kiya to darna kya etc.Songs sung by kishore are ordinary bathroom songs and yet given such hype and importance.As the old saying goes ” Action is less then words compensate for it”


  43. P. Haldar says:

    Suman Kalyanpur is the Padmakar Shivalkar of hindi film music. The only difference is that she was kept at bay by a fellow Marathi.

  44. Piroe M.A. says:

    I like suman’s voice very much. It is very sweet to listen at.
    I am very angry that she got only few chances to sing. But what she sang will never be forgotten. I think that the music industry has neglected her as a great professional singer. The main reason I think is the fact that she was a threat to the sisters, because she was great. really great…..

  45. rafians74 says:

    hi rafians,
    if u want download rafi sahab’s big collection , plz visits ‘s thees sites ( intr in search box mohammad rafi or rafi) but login frst, -home of rafi fans

  46. A S MURTY says:

    Excellent article by all standards Mr. Padmanabhan. Kudos and keep doling out such stuff in the future. In fact, it was long overdue from your side. You have very beautifully crafted and articulated your feelings and given us the new dimension of Rafi Sahab’s verstality with singers other than LATAJI and ASHAJI. No doubut, one cannot offhand remember all the songs while compiling an article and it is always good to leave space for others to chip in with the unmentioned songs like some of the other RAFIANS have already done as response to your wonderful article. Maybe, on a later date you will come up with articles on Rafi Sahab’s songs with Geeta Dutta, Shamshad Begum and even other male singers like has been mentioned in other comments. From my side, keep up the good work and keep writing, it keeps us all occupied.

  47. mohamed parvez says:

    dear rafian do you have daastan e laila majnu s song i would like to have all songs sang by rafisaab from this film i would like to add rajasaabs song

    tu jungle ki morni

  48. Ajay says:

    One more beautiful, romantic and melodious song …with Laxmikant-Pyarelal….Raat Suhani Jaag Rahi Hai Dheere Dheere Chupake Chupake Chori Chori O……..form the film “Jigari Dost” released in 1970…

  49. Rafian1 says:

    Suman ji is an excellent singer.Following are some ever green duets from this pair which is not mentioned in the list.

    Raat suhani jag rahi hain –Jigr i dost(1969)
    Tujeh dekha tujeh chaha –Choti si mulaqat(1967)
    Dil ek mandir hain–same film
    Narazgi yeh aapka–Unees bees(1980)
    Pukarti hain mohabbat–Dastan e laila majnu(1974)
    Teri palkom mein kajal–jay vijay(1977)
    Tere hum oh sanam–Bachpan(1962)
    Tuje pyar karte –April Fool(1964)
    Dil ne phir yaad kiya hain(With Mukesh also).

  50. RAMAKRISHNA says:

    padnabhan sir,

    you have forgotten the name of the great Geetha dutt. rafi sahab has rendered so many excellent numbers with her. as for example, ‘ ai dil mushkil hai jeena yahaan’ , ankhon hi ankho main ishara ho gaya’ , ‘janey mera kahan jigar gaya zee, abhi abhi yaheen tha kidhar gaya zee’

    another stalwart madam Shamshad begum. she & Rafi sahab has given us the evergreen melody ‘ o lekey pehela pehela pyar ‘. what a number it is . it goes along with us till the end of time.

    sir you have forgotten the number ‘ tumney pukara aur ham chaley aaye’ with suman ji. what a song it is ! ! !

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