Music Director Ravi and his special partnership with Rafi Saab
By Achal Rangaswamy
While I was driving back from work, and for some strange reason, only one song kept coming back to me. It was “ Na muh chhupa ke jiyo aur na sar jhukaake jiyo”. Little did I know at that time that music director Ravi was already gone.
As usual, it was my friend from Bangalore Nagesh Sidhanti who had informed us by mail, but I hadn’t checked the mail but had just posted a Holi Song of Rafi Saab- the very popular Holi Khelat Nandalal Biraj mein from Godaan. When I saw a response to that post of mine from Vasudha my other friend from Bangalore, I wondered why she mentioned Ravi in her reply. Upon scrolling down a mail or two I read this note from Nagesh. And I was dumb struck. What a coincidence. I had been thinking of many songs, and all of them were Ravi Saab’s songs.
It was then that I realized that there had indeed been a magical bonding between my singing hero and this soft spoken but very durable music director who had been around from the time I had come to understand that there was something called Hindi Film Music.
So many films come to mind, so many phenomenal songs rush into one’s thoughts. Big banners, large films, multi-starrers, each one of them had songs composed by Ravi. A small short name, but a giant of a composer who got all great singers to sing for him.
But I just can’t seem to be able to complete a compilation of songs that he composed for Rafi Saab. Neelkamal, Nai Roshni, Waqt, Khandaan, Godaan, Bharosa, Chaudvin ka Chaand, Girl’s Hostel, Door Ki Awaaz, Kaajal- oh the list could just go on and on. We all remember the signature songs like Chaudvin ka Chaand ho, and Neel gagan par udte badal aa aa aa, and Raha Gardishon mein har dam, and Is Bhari Duniya mein koi bhi hamaara na hua. It is so easy to recall Naseeb mein jiskey joh likha thaa. People will never forget Husn se chand bhi sharmaya hai.
But I am going to make a humble attempt now to list those beautiful songs that some of us may have partly forgotten:
The film Mulzim had this beautiful number recorded on Pradeep Kumar that had magical lyrics by
Shakeel Badayuni -Divana keh ke mujhe phir pukaariye
Nartakee (1963) starring Sunil Dutt also had great Lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni and one always remembers that haunting zindagi ke safar mei akele the hum, a truly hummable song that has remained fresh in our minds.
Comedian Agha got a great chance to sing Poocho Koi Sawaal Bacchon, playing a bemused school teacher. Rafi Saab seems to have thoroughly enjoyed singing this one.
Nayee Roshni brought for us this intoxicatingly beautiful number jitni likhi thi muqaddar me hum jee chuke and the equally well -composed kis tarah jeete hain ye log bata do yaaron.
Baazi kisi ne pyaar kaa from the film Nazraana has been always fondly remembered by Ravi Saab’s fans
Neelkamal fascinated the audience and listeners of its songs alike. The Raj Kumar signature song Tujhko pukaarey mera pyaar found an able ally in Balraj Sahni based bidaai song where Rafi Saab actually broke down – baabul ki duaayen leti jaa, but one wonders how many people recall that Waheeda Rehman dance- based song sharma ke yun na dekh adaa ke maqam. Pure delight, that song !
Pyar Ka Bandhan was a forgettable film but it had one song that had me captivated from childhood and every time I sat on a Tonga, which was quite often in my early days in Delhi I always sang ghoda peshawari mera taangaa lahori mera. Rafi Saab too seems to have recalled his early days of Lahore as he specially brought out that robust and enthusiastic Punjabi accent when he sings ‘hoga gulaabi rang kaala’!!!
Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya brought with it that number even Shammi Kapoor would have loved to remember always. Soft and sensual, jaan-e-bahaar husn teraa bemisaal hai has always been a favourite of Rafi Saab’s fans. But that wasn’t all from this film. There is that pain laden number- zindagi kya hai gam ka dariya hai, a perfect threesome in Shakeel, Ravi and Rafi Saab.
Rafi saab brought the brother-sister bonding beautifully with rakhi dhagon ka tyohaar bandhaa hua in the film Rakhi. To bring in a different mood, Ravi composed yaa meri manzil bataa yaa zindagi, picturised on Ashok Kumar. Rafi Saab has modulated his voice superbly in this song where he touches new scales.
Sagaai too had a robust, Punjabi song – o paape na sharmaa kuch garmi warmi dikha, a song made even more colourful with the lyrics of Rajinder Kishen, the jackpot king of Mahalakshmi. The same film had the Rafi-Asha duet, Na yeh zameen thee na aasmaan thaa, truly hummable and tuneful.
Shehnai Biswajeet imploring Rajshree not to shake her tresses in na jhatko zulf se paani ye moti …a perfect Rafi Saab romantic number. I am sure many young men would have sung this song for their ladyloves.
Ummeed brought a durable and lovable signature Ravi style song by Rafi Saab- mujh ishq hai tujhi se meri jaan
And who can forget that most popular radio days hit from Ustaadon Ke Ustaad – sau baar janam lenge sau baar phana hongey, with its haunting instrumental encore to the main lines.
Waqt, the film entranced everyone with its multi star cast and many beautiful songs, but Rafi Saab had only one there. All the same it was very important to the theme of the film and aptly the title song went like waqt se din aur raat waqt se kal aur aaj, waqt ki har sheh ghulam, waqt ka har sheh pe raaj.
Ye Rastey Hain Pyar Ke starred Sunil Dutt and the elegant Leela Naidu. This movie was loosely based on the infamous Nanawati case. It had some marvelously composed Asha Bhonsle numbers but my favourite has remained the Rafi Saab special- tum jis pe nazar daalo us dil ka khuda hafiz, a song I have heard so many times during my school days with the transistor tucked under my quilt on those winter nights in Delhi.
Ye Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai had Joy Mukherjee croon Masha Allah tum jawan ho to the Rafi inspired khudara yun na dil todo.
And I too have the same thing to say to Ravi Saab- Mashallah kya gaaney banaaye. Yeh zid chhodo aa bhi jaao ab wapas aur hamein apne khoobsorat geet sunaao.
RIP RAVI SAAB. Tujhko pukarey hamara pyaar.
Jaatey jaatey I couldn’t help sharing with you all a simple song composed by Ravi Saab that I have always held very close to my heart- it is a Rafi-asha duet from the film Girls Hostel. I would like you all to enjoy this one.