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Mohd Rafi: The Last word in ‘Acting in Singing’

By J.K. Bhagchandani

Mohd Rafi

Two eternal lovers meet at dawn in a secluded place. These moments of love, of passion are stolen, yet sweet; short yet rich. The lovers are apprehensive yet ecstatic; they are silent yet communicative, conveying the inner most feelings; they are restless, yet tranquil. The atmosphere has elements of charming sensuality. The song ‘Meri duniya mein tum aayee….’  (Heer Ranjha) conveys this wonderful set-up through its lyrics, its composition and most importantly through the way Rafi and Lata have rendered, almost like whispering in each others’ ears.

Or more simply, listen to the song ‘Deewana hua baadal… ye dekh ke dil jhooma.. (Kashmir Ki Kali). How Rafi saab enacts the word ‘jhooma’. The element of ‘being happy’ has so effectively integrated in rendering by Rafi saab that it instantly sets up the mood of the song.

All this is what we can say as the phenomenon of ‘Acting in Singing’ at its best. This phenomenon is so fascinating that in-spite of so widely written about and discussed, there is still so much to be talked about.

Let us dwell briefly into history.

Film songs essentially are situation-driven; they compliment and supplement the film’s theme, take forward the film’s story line. Hence this aspect of ‘Acting in Singing’ assumes a very significant ingredient in making of a film song.

Right since the inception of Indian cinema, songs have been an integral part of almost all films. During its days of infancy when technology too was primitive, the songs as conceived by music directors and lyricists were finally enacted on the sets only. The actor (who essentially had to be a singer also) would sing (final take) his or her songs on the sets. The musicians would also play their part on the sets hiding behind trees or other objects.

But soon the scenario changed. The making of the songs reached at the rightful place: the recording studio. With this the concept of playback singing came into being. Initially mostly same actors who acted in the films gave playback of their songs. In this context the contribution of K.L. Saigal in Hindi film songs remains quite phenomenal.

The separation of performers on screen and playback singers was the most significant development of film music. It was no longer necessary that actors on sets need to be good singers and singers in recording studio to be good actors. These two contributors of song enactors were now being performed by different set of artists. But since the song picturization in the film required merging of these two diverse inputs, it was very important that actors enacting the song had some idea of music/ singing and singers understood some basics of the acting, the actor’s style and mannerism, so that the final impact of the song in the film has facets of realism, pleasure and is heart-touching.

It is in this perspective that Rafi saab stands the tallest among all great playback singers. His advent into film industry was at a time when the concept of playback singing was at the age of adolescence. He almost single-handedly gave the terminology ‘playback singing’ a new direction, a new meaning, converted it into such a fine art that even today 32 years after his demise, we still get awe-struck by his matchlessness. It will not be an exaggeration to say that but for his vocals, many actors’ career would not have gone the distance that it actually did. In his blog, Amitabh Bachchan on the 32nd death anniversary of Rafi saab wrote, “I am reminded today of the death anniversary of Mohammed Rafi Saheb and to reminisce on his association. What can one possibly say on one that possessed perfection. His voice gave voice to many, to build their character and position.” What a fitting tribute by the star of the millennium to the singer of the millennium! Rafi saab not only integrated actor’s style and mannerisms to augment their screen image and stature but also gave a distinct persona to their disposition through his songs.

He also incorporated many innovations to create the mood of the song. He poured so much feeling in the song and acted each word of the lyrics that it enhanced its meaning. Actually Rafi saab did more than half of the actor’s job through his singing and the actor simply had to follow the in-built mannerism, tone and mood of the song and provide the lip and body movements accordingly. He, through his rendering, helped to construct the on-screen character of the actor as conceived by the producer and director. Be it a washerman of UP (Ganga Jamuna), a Lucknow nawab (Mere Huzoor), a suave urbanite (Night in London, An Evening in Paris and many more), a disconsolate poet (Pyasa), a simpleton priest-like soul (Gopi), a freedom fighter (Shaheed)…… etc. etc.; and integrated such characterization with actor-specific components.

It is almost a miracle that such a shy and simple soul (that Rafi was) who would generally talk in whispers, mostly keep his eyes on the earth while speaking would suddenly become a boisterous Shammi Kapoor, a debonair Dev Anand, a masculine Dharmendra, a intellectual philosopher Guru Dutt, a tragedy-struck Dilip Kumar, a comic Johny Walker, a joyous Joy Mukherjee or a romantic Rajinder Kumar in the recording studio behind the mike.

Listening to ‘Aankhon hi aankhon mein ishara ho gaya…’ (CID) will give anyone the feel of the typical Dev Anand ‘head-shake’ so effectively built within the song. On the other hand this in-built head-shake in the word ‘karr…’ in the song ‘Dil ke jhrokhe mein tujhko bithaa kar…(Brahmachari)’ is more intricate to suit the actor Shammi Kapoor. For movie ‘Pyasa’: he converted himself to Guru-Dutt to render ‘Ye mehalon ye takhton ye taajon ki duniya…’ and ‘Ye kooche ye galiya…’ and changed himself to Johny Walker mould to render ‘Sar jo tera chakraye…’. He wore the Dilip Kumar mannerism to sing ‘Toote hue khwabon mein…’ and slipped into Johny Walker style to deliver ‘Jangal mein mor nacha kisi ne na dekha…. in the same movie (Madhumati). Songs Dil kahe ruk ja re ruk ja yahin pe kahin…. (Man Ki Aankhen) and ‘Badra chhaye…’ (Aaya sawan jhoom ke) have Dharmendra written all over. And you will find jumping Jeetendra spread in the song ‘Mast baharon ka main aashiq…’ (Farz) and ‘Paaon chhoo lene do phoolon ko inayat hogi……” (Taj Mahal) has Shah Jahan/ Pradeep Kumar royalty personified.

Apart from amalgamating actor-specific ingredients, emotions, mood and situation (of the song), Rafi saab’s renderings also ensured that Music composer’s signature in the composition remained the high point of the song. Two similar situation songs composed by different music directors will have different flavours of Rafi’s voice. For example: Din dhal jaye hai…. and ‘Koi sagar dil ko behalata nahin…. both having similar situations with different set of actors and music directors … one can feel the S.D. Burman- Dev Anand touch in first song and Naushad-Dilip Kumar touch in the other song. It is amazing to note the extent of detailing that is incorporated by Rafi saab. He actually entered into the song layer by layer reaching its very core and in the process reaching and touching listeners’ soul.

Going further into the point of Rafi saab enacting every word of the song in a way to convey the nuance of the song; get that heavenly romantic feeling in the way Rafi saab has delivered the words ‘hasin shaam’ in the song ‘Ek hasin shaam ko dil mera kho gaya…’ The entire mood, the situation of the song is packed into the rendering of just these two words. In contrast, same word ‘shaam’ in the song ‘Hui shaam unka khyal aa gaya…’ is sung so differently. The song depicts a specific depressing moment of loneliness of the character, it has a kind of feel of ‘pause’ (or in Hindi ‘theharaav’) so effectively brought out by Rafi saab’s rendering.

‘Teri zulfen pareshan…..’ (Preet na Jaane Reet) has Rafi saab infusing the word ‘pareshan’ with romance and ‘sweet sedition’ but same word (Pareshan) in the song ‘Dil Dhal jaaye…’ (Guide) in the lines ‘…tum mujhse main dil se pareshan…’ is laden with pathos, with sadness and melancholy making us feel its depth.

Or feel the romantic fervor in the tranquil surroundings in the song ‘Ye kahmoshiyan, ye tanhaiyaan…..’ (Ye raaste hain pyaar ke). The word ‘Khamosh’ in the other song ‘Khamosh zindagi ko awaz de rahe do…’ (Teri Talash mein) has contrasting listening experience filled with glum, sadness and loneliness.

Song ‘Abhi na jao chhod kar….’ (Hum Dono) has Rafi saab’s rendering every word honey-dipped and oozing with romance. In the first stanza, the line ‘….. Hawa zara mehak to le…’ is flowing like a fragranced air and line ‘…… nazar zara behak to le….’ is dripping with exhilarating ‘nasha’.

‘Maayoos to hoon wade se tere….’ (Barsaat Ki Raat) has the disenchantment feature inherently built in the way Rafi has thrown the word ‘Maayoos’

Movie ‘Kalpna’ had a Manna Dey- Rafi gem (Tu hai mera prem devta….). The song starts with Manna Dey’s perfect and brilliant rendering in the opening lines. It is only when rafi saab sings his portion ‘… man ki pyaas bujhane ayee.. antarghat tak pyasi hoon main….’ one realizes that there could be something beyond ‘perfect and brilliant rendering’. The way he has sung-acted (or enacted) the words ‘pyasi hoon main…’ soaked in ‘thirst’ or ‘pyaas’ that it instantly connects with your soul.

Even in seemingly similar situations of songs Rafi saab brought out some subtle variation to go precisely with specifics of the song situation. ‘Mujhe duniya walo sharabi na samjho…’ (Leader) and ‘Maine pee sharab tumne kya piya…’ (Naya Rasta) have ‘broadly’ similar concept.. but still there is difference. The first song is more of a party song with a ‘satire’ element sprinkled in it, but the second is more of a ‘loner’s song’, it has kernels of ‘derision’ or ‘contempt’ (and ‘hate’) factor for society (or for some specific wrong doers) in-built into it. How effectively Rafi saab has done justice to both analogous but ‘little different’ songs is simply amazing.

More minutely, consider the song mentioned at the beginning of this write-up (Meri duniya mein tum aayee….) viz-a-viz other similar song ‘Tumse kahoon ek baat paron se…’ (Dastak). Almost similar songs… but in Dastak song one can feel the additional element of rain (Hai bheega sa jism tumhara…) in the song. There is something unexplainable magic that Rafi saab has done in the Dastak song to instill that ‘wet’ feeling.

One can actually go on and on in discovering such fine attributes in innumerable songs of Rafi saab to make them a thing of magnificence, to make it the most authentic actor-specific, on-screen character-specific, situation-specific, music director-specific creation, to make anyone feel the soul of the song, to make anyone imagine-enact the scene of the song.

It can also be said that it was his mastery over ‘Acting in Singing’ that made him a versatile singer in real sense, adapt in almost all possible genres of playback singing. Be it a sugar coated romantic number, a soulful sad song, a ghazal, a qawali, a powerful patriotic song, a devotion-filled bhajan, a detailed classical number and so on, Rafi excelled in all.

The benchmarks created by him remain untouched, unachievable by any artist.

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74 Blog Comments to “Mohd Rafi: The Last word in ‘Acting in Singing’”

  1. Raj says:

    post 43 – Binu nair correct

    “the alternative is to have the cd’s in the car with your favourite singers 100% songs. ”

    True, CD’s of kishore kumar can be kept and that is what is being done, even in channels, buses, cabs. and which cannot be avoided…

  2. Raj says:

    I did not know kishore kumar is so much popular. Thanks to the rafi fans for enlightening about kishore kumar’s popularity. Rafi fans are also working towards enhancing kishore kumar’s popularity by discussing continuously about him, that is really great about kishore kumar. Wonder why rafi is losing charm in those channels and a pity that rafi fans need/struggle to work to build towards popularity of so called once popular rafi.

  3. Kishorefan says:

    Rafi lovers

    Remove your jealousy towards kishore kumar’s popularity and rememberance. It is a normal phenomenon for the reaction by rafi fans whenever the world shows that kishore kumar’s popularity is surging. I can understand that. Despite any hue and cries, it is just normal for rafi fans to react as such, as has been happening for past many years. All these days they were worried that kishore kumar site had no posts, now when posts are coming then also they are worried more now ??? Always worrying rafi fans, I advise you to stop worrying and enjoy the popularity of kishore kumar. All the best.

  4. sunil kumar says:

    Dear all Rafi lovers, I request you all to lodge your protest against this biased attitude of these channels . Make you voice reach these people whosoever they are posting their comments on their face book of 92.7 BIG FM Delhi. please support by posting your cab see on their face book their mascot is photograph of kishore kumar on the T-tShirt of a boy which says “SHOR NAHIN KISHOR CHAHIYE”. Please support and lodge you r strongest protest.

  5. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Dear Sunil ji and Santosh ji (Posts 44 & 45):

    I seldom listen to any FM channel, because they have nothing to do music. Even their jokes are sick. I carry my pen drive in the car with songs of Rafi saab, of Manna da, of Mukesh (all singers… no discrimination). Today I forgot to carry my pen drive and switched to FM channel (92.5- Big FM). Also I wanted to check the extent of biasedness that is being practiced. In nearly 95 minutes to and fro driving time they played around 18 songs. 13 of them were Kishore Kumar’s songs, and please note, none (repeat NONE) was Rafi’saab’ songs. And these jokers call the program “Gaane jo hit the, hit hain”.

    The concern shown by Sunil Kumar is very apt. It is shocking to note that even 32 years after the death of that singing saint, his detractors (few in numbers) are calling the shots. The same FM channel used to play exclusively Rafi’s songs at 1.00 PM, and suddenly they took the program off the air. It is not merely a co-incidence that their discontinuance of this Rafi’s slot coincided with Shahid Rafi’s tough stand against the nightingale on the apology letter issue.

    Dear Friends, please see the sinister designs. We have to sensitize people about it. We have to make the younger generation explore Rafi saab. I request all Rafi fans to use various forums of the net (FB, Orkut, Twitter etc.) to make people aware of evil designs of certain lobby, also make them listen to music beyond Kishore Kumar, R.D Burman and two sisters residing at Pedder Road, Mumbai. And yes, make younger generation realize what Rafi saab was.

    J.K. Bhagchandani

  6. santosh says:


    I agree with u that all these fm channels are bull ——-.But I take heart from the fact that off late the program by Annu Kapoor, The golden era on Masti channel is showing rafi saab’s songs more.Also rare fact are told about rafi saab regularly.Yesterday Annu Kapoor told how rafi saab helped a beggar named mastan , who was a former chorus singer with rafi saab.Also Annu Kapoor told that people like rafi saab are inspiriation.So take heart.I understand the fustration.I used to listen to radio earlier , but I have stopped for the same reason,It is being made out that retro songs mean rd, kk, and those stupid sisters.This is a deliberate campaign and so I dont find surprising that youngsters consider kk a great singer, which in fact is not true.He had a good strong voice,That was the plus point , which hid all other defects.So please dont get upset.RAfi saab was and will be the benchmark of playback singing till this world ends.These stupid contestants when they sing rafi saab’s songs seem so immature to listen to, eg, when dharmendra and hema were special guests on indian idol, vipul shah one contestant sang rafi saab’s songs they were so patethic and yet the judges praised him to no extent.So these stupid singers of today dont try to sing rafi saab’s songs during competitions.

  7. sunil kumar says:

    The problem Binu ji is not us we know who is who very well but today’s generation are getting mislead . I am talking about those young people who don’t know Rafi and Kishore .For example my children never knew Chalti to Naam Gaadi songs But now since they go school / college in buses this channel is being played by all bus walah’s and CAB walah and is becoming popular because people are fed up with today’s worthless songs they want hear old songs and this channel plays old songs and I find it strange because it is not normal that a channel plays 90-95% songs of Kishore and R D Burman. There is something fishy and deliberate i feel.
    Even its caption line is “DELHI DOES NOT WANT SHOR DELHI WANTS KISHORE “, Then they play this song “BABU SAMHJO ISHARE HORN PUKARE” of Chalti ka naam Gaadi every now and then. They are trying to play with young minds i don’t know what is their aim . All matured people knowledgeable people know who is Rafi and his worth but what about these innocent young minds they don’t know much about music so whatever they hear daily repeat at home. If I am loosing sleep it is because this channel is popular among people who want to hear old songs there is no other option for such people currently. I can play CD when driving my own car but what about lacs of people going in buses cabs etc. I have written to them but more and more people should write to get an impact and they should get to know people don’t like such favoritism for one singer and Composer people know and object to such things in large nos. Like Bhagchandani ji raised an issue and others followed up and finally that man had to bow and removed those atrocious comments . No one can ignore masses because it is masses who make these channel popular and they know it and they will then tell their masters about it. But I feel don’t let it go unnoticed and make our presence felt. It is marketing strategy of a product keep on repeating same product again and again those who don’t know other product will buy that only .

  8. binu nair says:

    Post 39.. Such channels do not have a long life. pls do not take these fm channels seriously since most of the times they are paid to play such songs. They are not bothered by quality at all. ‘hafta mil gaya na’ that’s enough for them.

    besides they have scanty information of our music since they have read less, heard less and have understood less.

    they are fresh graduates who are also paid nuts . so who bothers about the quality.

    the alternative is to have the cd’s in the car with your favourite singers 100% songs.

    Why to lose sleep over this near expiry fm radio called 92.7 fm radio?

  9. kishore kumar as a singer very well knew his limitations and rafi’s extraordinary capabilities and therefore as a gentleman acknowledged it openly and honestly.. his followers who have no knowledge of music, however, have such an infertile mind set. bhagchandani ji , binuji and others- we should ignore them and keep on pursuing till rafi gets ” bharat ratna “. you can find singers like kishore kumar in every durga pooja pandal in kolkata but no one touching fraction of rafi’s capabilities- a fact every (ki)shor lover should ought to know..

  10. sunil kumar says:

    The blank face of a heartbroken Kishore Kumar prior to Mohd. Rafi’s funeral explained Kishore’s innermost feelings for his more illustrious senior, who was much more to him than a rival or competitor. No wonder Kishore Kumar paid his richest tribute to Mohd. Rafi with his Bengali haunting number, Se Jano Ajo after his favourite singer’s death. No one knew better than Kishore Kumar that Mohd. Rafi had a range and versatility which he never possessed himself.

  11. binu nair says:

    Who is managing the site. You all will be shocked to find the fact. Post 38..

    let me tell the managers that “sensationalism” never shall make a site popular.

    why is the delay in pulling out the scandalous thing on mohd rafi saaheb i wish to ask.

    and why permit fake kishore kumar lovers to ‘come in ‘ and write fake and imaginary things.

    the rot has started once again. sorry to see and say that.

  12. sunil kumar says:

    Bhagchandani ji this is what kishore fans do when they are clueless they start behaving like animals loose their mental balance. what can you then expect from them. We know what Rafi saheb is we don’t want such people to come to us or become Rafi fans their place is there only. That site is managed by Kishore fans what can you expect i have been there long back and responded to their Gaali’s but soon realized that how can you expect good behavior from such kishore fans and if there is even a single person who is cultured or well behaved will either become like them or will be thrown out. we should concentrate on our work how to spread message of Rafi saheb a Divine personality. I am worried about one channel 92.7 big FM which 24X7 old songs channel but it airs 95% kishore and R D Burman songs. There seems to some conspiracy to make Kishore popular by neglecting others and playing his songs whole day just one or two other songs in whole day. I don’t know who owns this channel under whose guidance their RJ ‘s are playing songs. earlier at least they were playing Rafi songs for 2 hours 1.00 to 3 .00 Pm but now removed that format. I had asked them on their facebook is it Kishore channel only why is that you play only his songs . they have not replied . i don’t expect any answer because everything is happening deliberately.

  13. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Attention dear friends:

    I would like to draw the attention of all Rafi lovers and music lovers to a highly derogatory comment about Rafi saab posted at web site Please read one line comment (no. 2246) in the article “An endless feud between fans of Mohd. Rafi and Kishore Kumar” at the following link:

    If it was a normal criticism I would have copy-pasted that comment here for your opinion but it is such a gutter level comment that I don’t want to copy-paste here and soil the pious forum.

    There are two ways of dealing with it. Either we ignore it and let go that mischief maker or we take the matter head on. Such language can not be accepted even for ordinary mortals and to use it for a person as divine as Rafi saab is sin of highest order.

    I have already posted my comment requesting the moderator to remove that post… but my post has been kept ‘under moderation’. I wonder why that post was not moderated. It is dated Oct. 20, 2012 and came out today (after 5 days), implying that the comment in question remained under moderation for 5 days. What moderation has been done? Why was it allowed to be published?

    Please give your opinion.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  14. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    I once again thank all the readers for their encouraging comments.

    Haldar ji, You have made a very apt point. I fully concur with you.

    One more song that deserves to be mentioned under the topic of the article is “Watan pe jo fida hoga, amar wo naujawan hoga….” from movie ‘Phool Bane angare’. The song starts with lines: ‘Himalay ki bulandi se suno awaaz hai aayee….’ with the real buland awaz of Rafi saab.. fully in sync with the underlying meaning of the words, then the next line is “Kaho maaon se de bête kaho behanon se de bhai…”…. a really emotional and heart touching line. How Rafi saab brings his voice (from the bulandi) to lower octave and packs it with emotions without being abrupt (maintaining the continuity) is out of this world. What Rafi saab has done in rendering these two lines (depicting opposite emotions) is something of a text book for all aspiring singers.

    Rediscover this somewhat under-rated song at the following link:

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  15. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Dear Mr. J.K. Bhagchandani,

    What a great article on a beautiful subject. You didn’t only completely covered the topic but also touched other points majistically, like use of similar words in different styles, singing differently the similar style songs for different composers etc. The article is simply outstanding and worths all praises it got up till now.

    For me, it is ranked No. 1 in all the articles written up till now at this site. Thanks for giving such an in-depth information about the topic. Keep it up!

    Thanks and best regards.


  16. Mohammad Akhter says:

    Nobody said it better than you: “The benchmarks created by him remain untouched, unachievable by any artist” —— that is so true. i congratulate you on such a brilliant article Jagdish Ji

  17. bunty gandhi says:

    My god ..what an write up about rafi ..simply superb ..

  18. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Bhagchadnani,

    Excellent article! Really enjoyed reading it. I have always maintained that Rafi saab is the greatest acting singer that our country has produced. Actually, the only other true acting singer is Kishore Kumar; sometimes Asha has put on a good show. The others are great singers but they cannot be called acting singers, though their voice often matched that of some actor. For instance, Mukesh’s matched Raj Kapoor’s, Hemant’s matched Uttam Kumar’s and Manna Dey’s matched Mehmood’s.

    Before Rafi hit the scene in the mid 40’s, it was the age of acting singers, including stalwarts like Pankaj Mallick, Saigal and Noorjehan. Given the popularity of these singers, there is no doubt that they cast a spell on the young Rafi. But what he did was remarkable; knowing that acting was not his forte, he basically established the art of playback singing and starting pulling ahead of Mukesh, Manna and Talat. And, in this art, he had one understudy — not Mahendra Kapoor, but his biggest fan — Kishore Kumar. To understand how good a student Kishore was, I can give you examples where Kishore adapted Rafi’s nuances on Dev Anand, something that was lost on the evergreen actor. And despite the fact that Kishore was an accomplished actor and that his natural voice was closer to Dev’s, it was Rafi who scored above Kishore, something the actor never acknowledged. And one can never underestimate the role of S. D. Burman, who exploited Kishore and Rafi so well on Dev. The other composers who instinctively understood playback were the two giants — Shankar and Jaikishan. How they used Mukesh on Raj Kapoor and Rafi on Shammi Kapoor should be captured as a copybook on playback singing.

    P. Haldar

  19. salimk says:

    Written from the heart, well done Jagdish ji.

    Rafisaab was a one man industry. He help create music directors and actors and they day he passed away since then there are no music directors or actors, most of them are simply doing things that people cant remember after a day when the magic created by the gharana of Rafisaab still is fresh in our memories.

  20. ali says:

    the song from film ‘shanker hussain’ (1970’s)music by
    khayyam “kahee ek masoom nazuk si ladki,who can sing this song,please give me link of this song if any one have got it sang by other than mohd rafi

  21. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Dear all,

    I take this opportunity to thank one and all for their wonderful and flattering comments. Let me admit that I am no great writer, but writing about Rafi saab motivates me.

    This topic was very close to my heart. Because the excellent skills that Rafi saab had in sing-acting out every word of the song always fascinated me. And that is what made him so distinct from all other legendary singers.

    Of late this site has lost participation of some very distinguished rafians. I appeal to all to keep contributing to this vibrant site with their valuable write-ups, comments etc.

    Once again thanks to all.

    J.K. Bhagchandani

  22. mumbaikar8 says:

    J.K. Bhagchandani.

    Dil khoos kar diya aapne.

    What a a great article about a great singer.
    You seem to have to put in a lot of effort, but its worth it.
    keep writing.

  23. Sachin Sharma says:

    Dear Bhagchandji
    Bahut bhadiya article.
    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article for GREAT RAFI SAHAB.

  24. C R Deka says:

    A lovely and comprehensive writ-up. The author touched upon the very basic of playback singing and Mohd Rafi was simply the supreme artist with total control and command over his singing. I still remember ” Acha jee mein haari” from Kala Pani where Rafi didwith his voice , what Dev Anand did it on screen ! My heartiest complements for a wonderful article.

  25. Binu Nair says:

    Post 25 …..latest.

    my letter is now released from moderation and has appeared in post numbering six.

    binu nair.

  26. Binu Nair says:

    October 8th written comment is ‘still’ showing it as Under moderation…..and i am wonder whether it will see the light of the day.

    anyways, i am complimenting my friend and mohd rafi saaheb lover j k b for a lovely write-up.

  27. jolly says:

    I thought that I was the number 1
    rafi fan but you sir take the award
    brilliant writing

  28. Samina says:

    “one realizes that there could be something beyond ‘perfect and brilliant rendering’.” This line says is all.. What an amazingly well written article that I got to read after a long time. I felt obliged to congratulate the writer..Thank you!!

  29. mohamedparvez says:

    Dear sir,Thanx For Sharing ,Great Article With Us, Rafi Sahab Was Born Singer,He Had Ability To Express The Same Word According To Song Situation,Variation Of The Same Words He Brings In Different Songs Is Superb,Please Visit This Links,Dedicated To Our Beloved Rafi Sahab,Take Care

  30. n t bapat says:

    Fabulous anthology on facts that stand out in absolute distiction .

    Please compile similar facts pertaining to the tell tale truth evident in all

    Rafi saab’s and Latha’s solo songs sung separately to bring home the

    divine superiority of Rafi saab’s rendition .

    Thanks and regards for all your endeavour.

    N T Bapat

  31. S I Tanweer says:

    Jagdish Sahab,

    First of all adab. I fully agree with Ramesh Narain Kurpadji’s comment that your article is like a marham to not only the Rafians but all music lovers who believe in sincerety/honesty in any profession. I feel sad about the way Lataji took this matter again (royalty issue with Rafi Sahab). If she reads the above article, she would definitely regret for what she had expressed in that interview.

    Hats off to Jagdish Sahab for a wonderful article.

    (a Rafian)

  32. Nasreen says:

    Dear Bhagchandani-ji

    Very fine article. The way you have dwelt on Rafi Sb.’s superior ‘acting’ skills through the way he sang for various heroes (who became heroes because of Rafi Sb’s acting skills) proves your devotion as a true fan.

    Really wonderful to read. While doing so, a couple of other songs entered fluidly into my mind and following your example (comparing Rafi Sb.’s various renditions of the same word in different songs) I wanted to share them.

    1. The word “Dard” in 2 different songs:
    Mujhe darde dil ka pata na tha (Akashdeep with Dharmendra).
    “Darde dil, darde jigar (Rishi).

    2. The word “Yaad” in 5 different songs for 5 differetn actors
    Yaad kiya dil ne kahan ho tum (Dev Anand)
    Yaad na jaaye (Rajendra Kumar in Dil Ek Mandir)
    Tujhe yaad na rahe ya na yaad rahe, meri Mahua (film Mahua actor Shiv Kumar) Jab jab jab bahar aayi…..mujhe tum yaad aaye (Taqdeer with Bharat Bhushan) and
    woh jab yaad aaye, bohut yaad aaye (Parasmani, actor Mahipal)

    As you have rightly said, one can go on and on..if we started, perhaps life would pass (and so pleasurably too)…but this is after all, life, not heaven. We have to live here, earn our living, look after children, cook, clean, shop, etc.

    But listening to Rafi Sahab the way you listen focussing one each word, its intonation understanding the way he turned each word into a shining crystal-like brilliance brightening our souls…..makes it worthwhile.

    Thank you again for your fabulous article


    Thanking Almighty Allah for Rafi and the lyricists and musicians who worked together to create these jewels for us…..


  33. Akhtar says:

    just imagine all the different actors Rafi Sahab has sung for, he must be a very good actor behind the mic. also. Here is where Rafi Sahab best songs are made. I always imagine rafi Sahab behind the microphone when ever i listen to some of his songs, you can sometimes picturize his face that was made for singing. FOREVER SHALL THE SONGS OF RAFI SAHAB. THERE WILL NEVER BE A SINGER LIKE HIM EVER. I AM BETTING ON IT!!!!!!!

  34. Ragini says:

    Dear Jagdish, thank you for writing this superb piece & pointing out the finer aspects of Rafi’s singing style.
    Rafi Saab was a gentle, kind and generous human being besides being an amazing singer. He wanted to lend more to the scene besides his heavenly voice. That was just like Rafi, a pious and a giving human being.
    The fact is that the popularity of heroes, more than the heroines, depended on the songs picturized on them. The role of Rafi’s voice was IMMENSE in a hero’s popularity. He added playfulness, romance, soulfulness and a giant dose of charisma to the hero’s personalities thus contributing largely to the hero’s popularity.
    I would say that Rafi’s voice was more dashing than the heroes on the screen………. such was the persona of his singing & his lovely voice.

  35. jagdishbhai – adaab rafi. if i were rafi sahab – i would come down on earth to bless you as a true ” bhakth ” of music and also of the intricate nuances that constitute a song and singing. you took me into a journey of show casing the avathaar through such shocking realities that i was actually there as all this was happening. you have actually made us aware of a lot of highly intricate details of the high levels of ingenuity of rafi sahab through your descriptions to use one your own words layer by layer. after this long journey you taken me on rafi sahab and his creations – i felt you just showed to the rest of the world that only a ” singing avathaar ” could do what rafi saheb did. one thing is for sure your article will be like ” marham ” for rafi bhakths who have been deeply hurt by the singing nightingales baseless outbursts. – if lata could read your article – all that she would do is sit and cry. now here is something which comes out straight from my heart – jagdishbhai – when ever you meet rafi sahab in heaven – he will get up – come towards you – smilingly embrace you and say beta – kaho kaunsa gaanaa sun-naa pasand karogey ………. god bless you jagdishbhai – i have one request – you are the true son rafi sahab – please write more often. – adaab rafi.

  36. achal rangaswamy says:

    mazaa aa gaya jk bhai, kamaal kar diya aapney !!! hats off…!!!!!!

  37. r l arora says:

    Rafi Saab had excellent and exceptional quality of singing every song matching with the voice of Actor for whom ha sang the song and it matched the situaton of the event too. Thats why he was superb playback singer and no one can match with him. my big big salute to Rafi Saab.

  38. dear bhagchandani saab, excellent and very informative write-up for we rafians. simply rafi saab was a magician. I want to add 2 more songs one from movie ‘jaanvar ‘ O tumse acchha kaun hai dil lo jigar lo jaan lo’ and another from movie ‘tumse acchha kaun hai ‘kabhi hamne nahi socha tha aisa bhi din aayega pani me aag lagegi patthar bhi pighal jaayega dekho tum se acchha kaun hai’. how sweetly and softely rafi saab sang the first song and when rafi saab sang second one ‘ the earth went for saking. moreover the actor was the same in both songs the legend Shammi kapoor saab. what a style of singing rafi saab has had. Regards, Birendra Singh Bisht

  39. vijay bavdekar says:

    noted lyricist-music director said in rafi’s honour,”rafi always acted through his versatile voice”.

  40. Zafar Ahmad says:

    Thanks Daniji. Rafi Saab fun prevailed in my brain. What was the voice? we cannot forget him.

  41. Onika Setia says:

    Rafi Sahab was great singer and actor.

  42. Ahamed Kutty says:

    dear bagchandaniji,
    no doubt one of the best articles of this divine site.


    there is a song from film ‘shanker hussain’ music by
    khayyam “kahee ek masoom nazuk si ladki” and
    the expressions give by rafi saab is superb.the way
    he is singing and the effect – the words directly hitting
    our hearts.the line “zabaa se kabhi oof” the way rafi
    saab rendering “…oof” – how can we express it?

  43. Musharraf says:


    Simply wonderful! I have nothing more to say.

    Best regards


  44. pradeep k khanchandani says:

    dear bhagchandani sab,
    superb,a beautiful article
    giving all rafians,the knowledge of deep roots of”mastery over acting in singing”.
    obeviously it is proven that no one cAN REACH THE QUaLITIES of singing like rafisaheb had
    excellent write up.

  45. Binu Nair says:

    Well done j.k.b.

    lots of hard work has gone in to the write up. there is research done that mohammad rafi saaheb could sing in 14 different voices in the recording rooms.

    in mumbai, temple priests used to wonder about the bhajans sung by the legendary singer. even we cannot pronounce the words so accurately, they say.

    for youngsters its always the song of romance which they like …. ‘donon ne kiya tha pyar magar’ or the ‘ abi na jaao chod kar ‘ timeless classics.

    for patriotic songs its always ‘ kar chale hum fida’ which tops the charts.

    mohd rafi saaheb would have been a great actor too but he chose to concentrate on singing in the early days when his colleagues talat ji and mukesh ji ventured in to acting and had flops to their name.

    rafi saaheb was content with the acting inside the recording room itself while the actors ‘had’ very less to do when the cameras focussed on them.

    nice article. enjoyed it. great.

  46. Nagesh Sidhanti says:

    Dear Bhagchandani sab,

    Enjoyed reading about this unique aspect of Rafi sab.
    Completely concur with your theory that Rafi sab, by detailing his renditions
    & emotions the way he did, actually made sure that the actors had no choice but to manifest them on screen.

    Keep such insightful articles flowing sir…


  47. Ajay S. Chauhan says:

    Beautiful Article Bhagchanadani ji, all I want to add is that Mohammed Rafi Saab IS NOT the BEST MALE singer. HE simply is THE BEST! One has to attentively listen to his duets with the lady artists and also to the tandems. In all those not only he holds the sway but also comes out superior- ahesaan tera hoga muj par; teri aankhon ke siva duniya main rakkha kya hai; jab pyar kisise hota hai, and many more. Surely not just his singing which pulls people but also something deeper, sublime, spiritual to his melodious and mellifluous voice. That voice which strikes a chord with millions even today, young and old, and is claimed to be divine. Rafi was a life force, a joy that could not be contained in songs.

  48. khaja Aliuddin MD says:

    bhagchandani sahab,
    Bahut khoob, superb narration. nothing to say.
    A die-hard fan of Rafi Sahab,

    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  49. Vijayan says:

    Hats off to you dear.What a wonderful article!! You have really worked out a lot in knowing who is the great legend Mohd.rafi saheb. Please see my portrait drawn using 125 hit songs in this website archives in November2011.

  50. N.G.RAMASWAMY says:


    Hats off to u. What a wonderful article! You have given a clear cut explanation “mastery over acting in singing”. Same words sung in different situations in different ways can only be attributed to Rafi Sahab. The current generation should be given copies of such articles. Thanks and keep on writing.


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