Rafi and Johnny Walker
By Souvik Chatterji
Rafi had a huge contribution in the success of Johnny Walker, the elegant comedian of the 50s and 60s. Most of the songs sung by Rafi for Johnny Walker were hits and caught public attention. Rafi even imitated the style of dialogue delivery of Johnny Walker. Johnny Walker acted both in lead roles in notable films as well as supporting roles in hit films of stars like Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Dev Anand, and others and the different composers who composed music in those films including OP Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishan, SD Burman, Salil Choudhury, Ravi, Naushad, Dattaram, Laxmikant Pyarellal and others composed catchy songs of Rafi which were picturised on the legendary comedian.
The songs in the film CID, composed by OP Nayyar, including “ai dil mushkil jeena yahan”, picturised on Johnny Walker were melodious. OP Nayyar’s composition for Johnny Walker in the film Aar Paar titled “are na na na na nana touba touba” was also equally hilarious and melodious. Rafi imitated the dialogue throwing style of Johnny Walker in the film in style. The song in the film Mr. and Mrs. 55, composed by OP Nayyar and picturised on Johnny Walker, including “jane kahan mera jigar gaya ji” became extremely popular. The song was as popular as some other of the songs of Rafi like “dil par hua aisa jaadoo”. The other songs were picturised on the hero of the film Guru Dutt. Rafi’s song in Raj Kapoor’s film Chori Chori composed by Shankar Jaikishan was also hit titled “all line clear”.
Johnny Walker became an indispensable part of the films of Guru Dutt and used to get important roles in the films of Guru Dutt. In the film Pyaasa, Rafi’s song “tel malish” picturised on Johnny Walker became landmark hit. SD Burman, the composer of the song modified his style of composition to suit the song of Rafi in the film. In the film Ustadon Ke Ustad, Rafi sang a very peppy number for Johnny Walker titled “maine kaha tha aana Sunday ko”, composed by music director Ravi. In Dilip Kumar’s Madhumati, Rafi’s song for Johnny Walker titled “jangal me mor nacha kisi ne na dekha” became super hit. Salil Choudhury, the brilliant composer composed the songs of the film and received the filmfare award for the best composer in the year 1959. The song “mai bombai ka babu” from the film Naya Daur was also successful. OP Nayyar’s composition for Rafi suited the style of acting of Johnny Walker and impressed the viewers.
The other songs of Rafi which became successful include “gareeb janke”, from the film Chu Mantar, where Johnny Walker played the leading role. Even the songs in the film Chaudavi Ka Chaand, composed by Ravi became extremely successful. Johnny Walker’s songs in the same film “mera yaar bana hai dulha” and “yeh duniya gol hai” became extremely successful. Rafi’s song “nashe me hum nashe me tum” in Johnny Walker’s film Black Cat also became extremely popular. In the film Johnny Walker, there were few hit numbers composed by OP Nayyar for Rafi including “bekithiyaar hoke pyaar”, “bachke balam chal”, “mooh se mat”. Some of these songs were duets and Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhosle also sung well.
In the film Baharen Phir Bhi Ayegi, Rafi’s song for Johnny Walker titled “suno suno Miss Chatterjee” became extremely popular. OP Nayyar’s background beat was very melodious. Laxmikant Pyarellal composed very melodious songs for Johnny Walker and Biswajeet in the film Night in London. Most of the songs became super hit.
Johnny Walker was probably the only comedian who had given lips in so many hit songs of Rafi, even considering Manna Dey’s songs for Mehmood. The list of films where Rafi had sung for Johny Walker can go on and cannot be covered in one article.
The songs and the films should be restored and preserved.