Mohd Rafi : The Voice of Unsung Heroes
By Ravi Kumar
Hindi film music history can distinctly be divided into two eras, BR – Before Rafi and AR- After Rafi. Between these two eras the singing sage Rafi Saheb lent his voice to numerous artists and played an extremely significant role in the success of their films and acting career as well. It is evident that many of these artists despite of their limited acting skills could survive and taste the nectar of success only because they had borrowed Rafi Saheb’s voice for their playback singing. On the other hand many a good actors relied on Rafi Saheb because only he had the ability to translate their acting nuances into his singing to justify with their screen image.
Be it an established star, a comedian, a character artist, a green horn or an extra artist, Rafi Saheb sang for all (except for female artists !). He did his job with utmost devotion without any prejudice. As a result of which many of the songs which he sang for some little known artists went on becoming chartbusters and eternally memorable.
This write up is a token of gratitude offered to the singing sage Rafi Saheb on behalf of those little known actors who appeared on silver screen with Rafi Saheb’s voice on their lips but went into oblivion and yet became immortal.
- Sudhir Kumar – This cherubic face actor had a lead role in all time Rajshri classic Dosti. He played the role of a blind boy who survives by singing on the streets. He got five great songs for his part ; Meri dosti mera pyar , Rahi manva , Jane walon , Mera to job hi qadam hai and soul stirring award wining Chahunga main tujhe which fetched applauds and awards for Majrooh, LaxmiPyare and Rafi Saheb. Each of these songs is a gem and all were filmed on Sudhir Kumar whose name hardly rolled in the credits of any other film apart from Dosti.
- Parshant – Leading man of V. Shantaram’s Sehara got some of the memorable songs from the same film; Taqdeer ka fasana, Lagi mast nazar ki kataar and beautiful duet with Lata Tum to pyar ho. He also appeared in Adventures of Robinhood which had velvet soft Mana mere hasin sanam filmed on him.
- M. Kumar – Two all time greatest ghazals Na kisi ki ankh ka noor hun and Lagta nahin hai dil mera from Lal Qila and one spirited Zindabad…Aye mohabbat zindabad from magnum opus Mughal-E-Azam were filmed on this lucky old chap.
- Randhava- A brawny actor mostly appeared in mythological or B-grade action flicks and brother of Dara Singh was lucky enough to have Rafi Saheb for his playback for the song Main to tere hasin khyalon mein kho gaya , a classical song form the film Sangram.
- Mauji Singh- Who could forget this charming Punjabi song , Ainwe duniya deve duhai from Raj Kapoor’s classic Jagte Raho ? In fact this song has been co-sung by Balbeer but the part which Rafi Saheb sang was filmed on a pot bellied sikh Mauji Singh.
- Baldev Khosa- Thokar , a 1974 film has no reason to be discussed except for its music. A beautiful romantic song Apni ankhon mein basakar ,which on listening gives the impression of a party song but for the bizarre picturisation where Baldev Khosa is found lying on a cot(in fact a charpai or khaat) in the courtyard of a rustic house expressionlessly moving his lips on this masterpiece; only saving grace is Rafi Saheb’s voice.
- Svaroop Dutt – Another Rajshri production Uphaar has a very popular song Main ik raja hun , tu ik raani hai sung by Rafi Saheb has been filmed on this not so popular Dutt.
- Kashinath Ranekar – A memorable Majrooh,Roshan,Rafi creation Jata hun main, mujhe ab na bulana from 1966 film Dadi Maa was filmed on this light eyed Marathi actor, who could not make big in Hindi films.
- Harman – One of the Shankar Jaikishan’s finest western orchestra songs Jaan pehchan ho jeena aasan ho from an evergreen suspense thriller Gumnaam,was filmed on this skinny artist.
- Lotan- An Arebian style catchy song Hai kali kali ke rukh par tere husn ka fasana is one of the early Kaifi Azami Khyyam Rafi compositions from Talat Mehmood starrer Lala Rukh was filmed on this actor with a very strange name (Lotan ! )
- Tariq - He appeared in Nasir Hussain’s two musical-action-thrillers Yadon Ki Baraat and Hum Kisi Se Ka Nahin which were mega hits of their time. The songs of Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin like Ye ladka hai allah , Chand mera dil and National and Filmfare award wining Kya Hua tera wada were filmed on this two film wonder actor.
- Vijay Kumar- A very delicate romantic ghazal Zara sun hasina-e-naazneen from the film Kaun Apna Kaun Praya was filmed on this actor who is said to the brother of Johny Walker.
- Kamaljit – Better known as Waheeda Rehman’s husband this actor featured in Shagun which had haunting Parbaton ke pedon par shaam ka basera hai and lovely Tum chali jaogi . He also featured in Mehboob Khan’s ambitious box office disaster Son of India and moved his lips on Zindagi aaj mere naam se sharmati hai and Dil todane wale composed by Naushad.
- Shekhar – A beautiful ghazal Tujhe kya sunau main dilruba composed by maestro Madan Mohan was filmed on this uncle like actor.
- Pankaj – Nazar aati nahin manzil from Kaanch Aur Heera composed by Ravindera Jain was filmed on this blank faced actor.
- Ajay – He was the hero of Laxmi Paye musical Wapas which got many beautiful songs like Ek tera saath , Ayee Baharon ki shaam , Panjaniya chhanke ram , Door hai woh anchal and Gudiya si meri ladli all sung by Rafi Saab.
- Balam – A famous qawwqali from Dharmputra Mere dilbar mujh par khafa na ho composed by N.Dutta was filmed on him.
- Manohar Deepak – Abhi kamsin ho nadan ho jane jana another LxmiPayre early composition from Aya Toofan was filmed on him.
- Master Nisar – A foot tapping qawwali Aaj kyun humse parda hai from film Sadhna was filmed on him.
The list is not comprehensive as these are a few popular numbers sung by Rafi Saab, filmed on little known actors who in fact could find an identity due to Rafi Saab only.
Salute to great Rafi Saab !!