Optimism in Rafi Songs
Written by: H.A.K. Walijah
Rafi Saab songs can be categorized into various genres carrying different shades and moods of human life, if one could listen to them carefully with attentive ears and devoted heart, one definitely shall find hope or confidence, optimism erupts from his songs which grant us the hope of re-living and not giving up the hope. Most of the songs of Rafi Saab remain till today inspiration to millions of his listeners who receives inspiration in hard times; his optimistic songs stand like a shield of condolence or blanket of tender patting laced with encouragement, bravery and steadfastness. As we say in Hindi “Ummeed” which instill (tendency of new hope) in the heart of the listener as a consoling power with a strong encouraging message to struggle hard and thrive; but do not give-up until finds the way of success & happiness. Hindi equivalent meaning of the English word optimistic is “Aashawadi”.
The Optimistic or Aashawadi songs of Rafi Saab inculcate new hope to the crestfallen, or an outcast or even a defeated person in life. His songs remain till today the life-force to the listeners which more or less filling the vigor in veins, infuse enthusiasm in heart and bind with zeal the aspiration to live on stimulating the depressed persons in high spirits once again. Optimistic songs are just a particle from Rafi Saab voluminous work; I mean songs he sang throughout his life that a career spanned around 36 years. Optimistic songs of Rafi Saab are one of the bright ways to inculcate the habit of thinking positive when darkness prevails around and losing hope that nothing could be done and it’s over now, at that time the songs are the only companion to the listener filling in him the courage to face the harsh situation and come out victorious breaking the shackles of darkness and despair.
Rafi Saab versatility which has been universally acknowledged by many great names in film music world and till today no singer has obtained such popularity and love as he did from his fans even after his physical departure from this materialistic world. His fan-base is enormous all around the globe. Most importantly, it was his association with Naushad Saab that produced some of his greatest songs. Then Naushad Saab put him on the peak for that singer finally to clinch the issue as the number one playback singer with Baiju Bawra (1952) when Rafi established himself as the ‘Saatwan Sur‘ of film music. His neat appearance, mild manners, timely arrival at recording studios endeared him to Naushad who was instrumental in grooming this highly talented singer, although he modestly says that he “merely showed Rafi the right direction”. Rafi’s range was amazing and fantastic from classical tunes, ghazals, and quawalis to the wild ‘yaahoo’ style songs, His songs range varied from sad, bubbly, teasing, pleasing, mocking, rocking, or fun filled or with devotion etc., endorsed from top heroes to comedians or even to the common man or unknown actors. We could rarely find in any singer’s career who had sung such a variety of songs and in fact that was true when we think about our beloved Mohd. Rafi Sahab. Yes Rafi Sahab makes it look simple and sings with ease, very natural as if he communicates in daily life through songs.
The years 1945-65 were a golden period in Indian cinema. Though made with limited means, many of the films produced then became timeless masterpieces. Most were dramatic love stories set in a background of tangled family relations, poverty, exploitation, and misery. In a format that became characteristic of Hindi cinema, many songs and dances were included. Frequently during the movies, actors sang, pondering on problems and situations. Many of the songs, composed by the greatest Indian musicians for the films, have become timeless tunes that every Indian knows. Popular cinema, often mistaken for being formulaic and repetitive, mobilizes the nation to maintain the dynamic work of self-reinvention. Hindi film narratives are typically about a protagonist, his family, and a set of stock characters: the hero; his love interest, the heroine; a comic figure, often the hero’s sidekick; and the villain, a foil in the narrative, the obstacle the hero overcomes to attain his goal.
Listening to music that not only has a soothing melody, but an uplifting message, especially those of Rafi Saab Songs that brings the comfort and heeling consolation to the listener. Have we ever had a song ‘stuck in our head’ for a few hours or days, the lyrics repeating themselves in our mind? If those lyrics were positive and inspirational, that would be a good thing.
Now let us think over what’s the simplest meaning of “optimism” – A free dictionary gives the following meanings for optimism:
- Always hoping or believing that something good will happen.
- The belief that good is ultimately triumphant over the evil in the world.
- A state of mind in which one always hopes or expects that something good will happen.
- Positive attitude.
- A general disposition to expect the best in all things.
- The general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled; “in spite of his troubles he never gave up hope”.
- The optimistic feeling that all is going to turn out well.
- The tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things.
- A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.
- The doctrine / philosophy of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
Keeping in view the above assorted definitions, let’s segregate the songs of Rafi Saab and find out the sour & sweet temperament in human life. Pick up each slot and insert the Rafi songs according to the definition we read above. I try to insert some songs in each slot as per the definitions above and I leave this exercise to the lovers of Rafi Saab to carry on further if they wish to do so. All the words mentioned below are one and the same but with a little variance.
1) BELIEF/ HOPE: Always hoping or believing that something good will happen.
2) STATE OF MIND: A state of mind in which one always hopes or expects that something good will happen
3) ATTITUDE: Always Positive
4) DISPOSITION: A general disposition to expect the best in all things.
5) FEELING: The general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled; “in spite of his troubles he never gave up hope”.
6) TENDENCY: The tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things.
7) DOCTRINE: The doctrine / philosophy of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
I know this is hard and tough job for general reader to categorize Rafi songs as per the above definitions. But for veteran Rafians still there is hope that they could find out the right song for the right slot as we have variety of songs sung by Rafi Saab both happy and sad especially associated with optimism.
BELIEF / HOPE: Always hoping or believing that something good will happen.
- Raat bhar ka hai mehman andhera (Sone ki Chidiya – 1958)
- Gham ki Andheri Raat mein (Sushila – 1966)
- Tere aane ki aas hai dost (Aas Paas – 1980)
STATE OF MIND: A state of mind in which one always hopes or expects that something good will happen.
- Raahi Manwa Dukh Ki Chinta Kyun Sataati Hai (Dosti)
- Mile na phool toh kanton se dosti kar li (Anokhi Raat – 1968)
- Mohabbat ki rahon main chalna (Uran khatola)
- Nayya meri chalti jaye sahare tere (My Friend – 1971)
- Tu ganga ki mauj main jamna ka dhara (Baiju Bawra)
ATTITUDE: Always Positive.
- Nannhe munne bachchey teri muthi main kya hai (Boot Polish)
- Tu iss tarah se meri zindagi main shaamil hai (Aap to Aise na theyy)
- Teri aankhon ke siwa duniya main (Chirag)
- Mile jo kadi kadi ek zanjeer bane (Kasme Vaade)
- Ponch kar ashq apni aankhon sey (Naya Raasta – 1967)
- Kahaan Ja Raha Hai Tu Aye Jaane Wale (Seema – 1955)
DISPOSITION: A general disposition to expect the best in all things.
- Jiyo to aise jiyo jaise sab tumhaaraa hai (Bahu Beti -1965)
- Garibon ki suno, woh tumhari sunega (Dus Lakh)
- Aagaye yaro jeene ke din (Phir wohi Raat – 1980)
- Yeh desh hai veer jawanon ka (Naya Daur)
- Ek Na ek din ye kahani banegi (Gora aur Kala)
FEELING: The general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled; “in spite of his troubles he never gave up hope”.
- Woh jab yaad aaye bahut yaad aaye (Parasmani)
- Chal Musafir door hai to kya hua (Ganga ki Saugandh)
- Saathi haath badhana (Naya Daur)
- Mathe ki bendiya bole kahe ko gori (Lahu ke do rang)
TENDENCY: The tendency to expect the best and see the best in all things.
- Main Zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya (Hum Dono)
- Hum ko tumhare ishq ne kya kya (Ek musafir ek hasina)
- Aane se uske aaye bahar, jaane se uske (Jeene ki Raah)
DOCTRINE: The doctrine / philosophy of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
- Mann Re Tu Kahe Na Dheer Dhare (Chitralekha – 1964),
- Unchi unchi baton se kisi ka pet bharta nahi (Mr. Natwarlal)
- Insaf ka mandir hai yeh (Amar)
I am sure the distinguished Rafians have more knowledge about Rafi songs and strong grasp through which they can very easily insert the songs in the right slot. I was struck with lightning speed this idea of presenting Rafi Saab songs in an altogether different and fresh manner. As a matter of fact, I write this essay in a different structure inviting fellow Rafians to do some homework for Rafi Saab (to show a spirited gesture how much they love the legend) by selecting his melodious songs and inserting them in the appropriate defined slots mentioned above.