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Rafi Duets with Lata and Asha

This article is written by Mr. H.V.Guru Murthy.

Rafi Duets with Lata and AshaMohammed Rafi Sahab has sung plenty of duets with many female Singers, but quantity-wise, duets with Asha and Lata stand out. It is gathered that Rafiji has sung about 903 duets with Asha and about 447 with Lata. The huge difference was perhaps due to Rafi-Lata’s rift for about three years and consequently the higher number of duets of Rafi- Asha during that period. One more reason was the preference of MDs like OPN to have only Rafi and Asha.

Which duets were better, whether it was with Lata or Asha? A very difficult question to answer and the safest bet will be to say that both were equally good. But let us analyse.

Before any analysis is carried out, it is better to list out some of the duets of Rafiji with both Lata and Asha so that we do not miss out any significant aspect or Khubi in their duet songs. I have listed down some of the duets in the following paragraphs, not in any particular order, but definitely more importance given to soft and melodious songs and loud songs are ignored.

Rafiji and Lataji’s duets immediately bring to our mind songs like, “Yeh Dil Deewana Hai” (ISHQ PE ZOR NAHIN), “Tasveer Teri Dilme” (MAYA), “Dil Pukare” (JEWEL THIEF), “Tum To Pyaar Ho” (SEHARA), “Agar Main Poonchu” (SHIKARI), “Jeeta Hi Lenge Baazi Hum Tum” (SHOLA AUR SHABNAM), “Tere Husnaki” and “Ek Shahanshahne” (LEADER), “Yeh Parbaton Ke Dayare” (VAASNA), “Rim Zhim Ke” (ANJAANA), “Tuzhe Jeevan Ki Dor Se” (ASLI NAQLI), “Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya” (SUVARNA SUNDARI), “Woh Hai Zara Kafa Kafa” (SHAGIRD), “Rut Bekaraar Hai” (MAA AUR MAMTA), “Chaand Jaane Kahan Kho Gaya” (MAI CHUP RAHUNGI), “Humne Aajase Tumhe” (RAJA BABU), “Jo Vada Kiya Wo” (TAJ MAHAL), “Meri Duniya” (HEER RANZHA), “Sun More Sajana Re, Dekhoji Muzhko Bhool Na Zana”, etc. Well the list is endless.

Rafi, Lata and Dattaram

If the above songs are closely listened to and observed, it is revealed that both Rafi and Lata being supremely gifted matched each other especially when the songs were at lower pitch like that of IPZN, Leader, Heer Ranzha songs, etc. Melody was maintained throughout the song. The only negative point was, as clearly revealing in the song of Maya (Naino Ka Kajra, Piya Tera Gum), Lataj’s voice became shrill at higher pitches where as Rafi’s voice was rock steady at all pitches. But both were absolute masters when it came to classical, even Carnatic as in SS song. But we have not heard many qawali duets by these two great singers except perhaps “Kya Kya Na Sahe” from MERE HUZOOR, if this song can be considered as a qawali.

Another noticeable fact was that whenever it came to saying or speaking few words in-between a song, some how it always appeared odd (unlike in the case of KK or Asha), perhaps because we were only prepared to listen to their songs at which both of them were so good and melodious, but not spoken words, which always looked bit artificial and not as spontaneous as their singing. Of course, it is my personal opinion. Except OPN, this pair was used by all the MDs. But this pair was especially used in many songs by LP and KA.

As for as Rafi – Asha duets are concerned, one can easily recall “Abhi Na Jao Chodakar” (HUM DONO), “Yeh Dekhake Dil Zhooma” (KASHMIR KI KALI), “Chura Liya Hai” (YAADON KI BARAAT), “Main Soya Ankhiyan Meeche” (PHAGUN), “Main Pyaar Ka Rahi Hun” and “Bahut Shukriya” (EK MUSAFIR EK HASINA), “Maangake Saath Tumhara” (NAYA DAUR), “Hoton Pe Hasin” (SAWAN KI GHATA), “Pucho Na Yaar Kya Hua” (ZAMANE KO DOKHANA HAI), “O Mere Sonare” (TEESRI MANZIL), “Tumhe Mai, Agar Apna Saathi Banalun” (SHATRANJ), “Raat Ke Humsafar” (AN EVENING IN PARIS), “Sawan Aaye” (DIL DIYA DARD LIYA), “Muzhe Pyaar Ki” (PYAAR KA SAGAR), “Phir Miloge Kabhi” and “Aapse Meri Jaan” (YEH RAAT PHIR NA AAYEGI), “Panchi Re O Panchi” (HARE KAANCH KI CHOODIYAN), “Humne To Dilko Aapake” (MERE SANAM), “Jis Dinse Maine Tumko Dekha Hai” (PARWANA), “Suno Suno Ms. Chatterjee” (BAHAREN PHIR BHI AAYENGI), etc., the list is again long.

Mohdrafi with Prem Dhawan, Asha B, Rajkapoor and Shankar-Jaikishan

If these songs are observed carefully, melody was always maintained, whether it was at lower pitch (Hum Dono, Phagun, YKB, PKS) or higher pitch, but still there is a feeling that Rafiji was more steady at higher octave, as in the case of KKK song. Rafiji goes high in the first and third stanza (Dil Aaj Khushi Se Pagal Hai and Barson Se Phiza Ka Mausam Tha), but Asha at the same time in the second stanza maintains her low voice (Tinake Ki Tarah Main Beh Nikli), perhaps OPN wanted it that way. Similar is the case in YRPNA song. But Asha appeared to be ahead of Lata while singing at higher zone. The pair was also good while singing classical (DDDL) as well as qawalis. In fact in most of qawalis, the female singer was always Asha. The pair was also adept at singing comedy songs. This pair was also used by all the MDs but major percentage was by OPN, followed at a distance by RDB and Ravi.

As most of these duets were plain and simple romantic songs, not much of feelings were involved but having heard so many songs of all these Singers, we can safely conclude that Lata was ahead of Asha in this region of expressing feelings in the songs. Lataji’s songs always touched the heart where as Asha’s songs appeared more melodious and rhythmic perhaps due to OPN.

Of course, it should be admitted that we enjoyed both their duets and were lucky that their peek coincided with our time. Hence, my personal opinion is that both the duets were equally good. I personally would prefer to listen to both Lata and Asha duets, one song at a time, alternatively. In fact, there was a period especially in sixties when each film used to have duets of both Lata and Asha with Rafi.

Having sung so many wonderful songs with Rafiji, the alleged opinion or scheming of Lata and especially Asha is unbelievable. I personally feel that people have either misunderstood them or deliberately spreading false news. Such great artistes cannot have scheming or dirty mind. Some misunderstandings between two individuals can always be expected. Moreover, in the same web site, I read an article listing the condolence messages of different film personalities when Rafiji expired. Asha, it seems broke down in between and could not complete her statement where as Lataji’s words on Rafiji in the Shraddanjali cassette clearly reveals the respect she had for Rafiji. Perhaps, the sisters could have been more transparent and come out with rejoinders whenever they were misquoted.

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64 Blog Comments to “Rafi Duets with Lata and Asha”

  1. A Rakesh says:

    Going through all older posts, I came across this on. Great write up and good analysis. How about two of my favourites Rafi saab’s duets – ‘Rut hai milan ki’, with Lata ji, RDB composition (Mela) and ‘Kitni haseen ho tum’, with Asha ji, Iqbal Qureshi (Ye dil kisko doon). Both the songs have great work (harkatein) by these greats.

  2. Kumar says:

    I was wondering whether anybody could tell me where I can find translations of the lyrics of some of his songs. Specifically, I would like the translation into English of “Mizaaj-e-girami”. Thanks.

  3. Sham Lal Mehta says:

    Rafi–the versatile genius, is a symbol of perfection like other meastroes of their field i.e. Sunil Gavaskar, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Dalip Kumar et.el. He is immortal. The divine voice can never fade away. His classical songs are a treat for the soul and most of the duets with Lata or Asha are memorable.

  4. Binu Nair says:

    99 . 00 % mohd rafi saheb lovers say rafi saheb – pls note and correct.

    binu nair
    the rafi foundation, mumbai

  5. BALWANTSAQI says:

    I REQUESTED ALL TERRORISTS OF THE WORLD HEARKEN RAFI.AND PLEASE NO ANY BODY ON THE EARTH KILL OR HURT.RAFI I CAN WRITE POEMS IN THE FEW LANGUAGES .DEAR YOUR SINGING MADE ME A POET EXPERT.THE SINGING AND POETRY ARE A FINEST WAY OF WORSHIP.ERGO I WILL ALWAYS REMAIN ABOUT ITS A FULLY ALERT.DEAR I SANG SO MANY OCCASSIONS MERI AWAAZ SUNO.WHEN PEOPLE BEHAVED WITH ME WRONG OR MALAPERT.RAFI YOUR SAQI GOT COUNTLESS PAIN AND SORROW.I SINGS O! DUNIYA KE RAKHWALE.WHEN FEEL IN DESERT

  6. Balwant Saqi says:

    RAFI LET ME TELLYOU…. DEAR RAFI LET ME TELL YOU LIVES IN MY HEART. I NEVER FELT YOUR PRESENCE OUT OF THE CONCERT.RAFI YOU NEVER CAN GO FROM MY SOUL AND MIND.DEAR I ALWAYS FOUND YOU LOOK HERE ENTROVERT.O! MY LOVE I ALWAYS THINK ABOUT YOU AND SINGING.DEAR NO ANY BODY IN THIS WORLD CAN ME CONVERT.RAFI WHEN YOU AND GREAT GOD LIVES IN MY SOUL. THEN DEAR ME NEED NOT TO LOOK ANY EXTROVERT.DEAR RAFI I SEEM YOUR FAN CLUB AS A HEAVEN.BECUASE MANY PEOPLE COMES DAILY HERE TO INSERT.

  7. sunita verma says:

    great work of analysis. keep it up.

  8. kosik says:

    can any one give me list of lovely songs like ” rat ke humsafar ” ( an evening in Paris )- ” patta patta buta buta ” ( ek nazar ), lata-asha-rafi duets or single, also ur favorites, pls mail just list ti my maid id

  9. sinchan says:

    i think rafi saab is divine. he has all the feel in the song bull’s eye.
    i m a singer too and thanks to all legendry composers for have made rafi saab sing amazing long live compositions
    sinchan dixit, playback singer, bangalore

  10. Pushpavanam.R says:

    Dear Mr. Gurumurthy, It is by chance that I happened to see your write-up. I am so delighted to read your in-depth study of the immortal Md. Rafi. And the quality of response is amazing. It will, perhaps, take a life time to analyze and appreciate the great music of Rafi.
    It gives me immense pleasure to know such a lot of genuine admirers of rafi. Keep the great work going.
    Kudos to you.
    Pushpavanam.R
    Chennai

  11. Binu Nair says:

    Post 49 ajay ji: good selections…all the songs were runaway hits.
    i have a choice too; a hit duet, from farz which went on to become a golden jubilee hit.
    the song :( rafi and suman) toba meri toba kabhi mohabbat na maine karni thi, magar mere dil ne mujhe doka de diya….. the music accompaniment is amazing, fast paced and foot tapping stuff.

    on two saturdays, we played live this song. if you are in mumbai ajay on 14th you are invited to the saturday night fever programme in which 20 songs of l and p will be played “live”.

    binu nair… rafi foundation, mumbai…

  12. SANJAY ARORA says:

    what about duets from
    1 ) MAA AUR MAMTA -APNE NAINON KO SAMJHA DE
    RUTH BEQARAR HAI

    2 ) MAN KI AANKHEN – CHALA BHI AA ( ON DHARMENDRA & WAHEEDA )

    3 ) NAGIN -TERE MERE YAARANEY
    INTERESTINGLY ALL THE SONGS OF NAGIN WERE DUETS AND STARTED WITH THE WORD TERE/TERA

    4 ) JEET – 3 DUETS
    5) BIKHRE MOTI- YEH JO LADKI HAI
    6 ) JALTE BADAN -VAADA BHOOL NA JANA

  13. anil cherian says:

    Ajaybhai:
    Rafi-Lata duets under LP have a charm of their own, I just love them (atleast most of them).
    What do you think of this (in)famous accusation (by several HFH followers) that LP made Rafisahab sing louder and stronger thereby taking away some of the sweetness of the master’s vocals?

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