Rafi Duets with Lata and Asha
This article is written by Mr. H.V.Guru Murthy.
Mohammed 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-Lataâ€™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 Latajiâ€™s duets immediately bring to our mind songs like, â€œYeh Dil Deewana Haiâ€ (ISHQ PE ZOR NAHIN), â€œTasveer Teri Dilmeâ€ (MAYA), â€œDil Pukareâ€ (JEWEL THIEF), â€œTum To Pyaar Hoâ€ (SEHARA), â€œAgar Main Poonchuâ€ (SHIKARI), â€œJeeta Hi Lenge Baazi Hum Tumâ€ (SHOLA AUR SHABNAM), â€œTere Husnakiâ€ and â€œEk Shahanshahneâ€ (LEADER), â€œYeh Parbaton Ke Dayareâ€ (VAASNA), â€œRim Zhim Keâ€ (ANJAANA), â€œTuzhe Jeevan Ki Dor Seâ€ (ASLI NAQLI), â€œKuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliyaâ€ (SUVARNA SUNDARI), â€œWoh Hai Zara Kafa Kafaâ€ (SHAGIRD), â€œRut Bekaraar Haiâ€ (MAA AUR MAMTA), â€œChaand Jaane Kahan Kho Gayaâ€ (MAI CHUP RAHUNGI), â€œHumne Aajase Tumheâ€ (RAJA BABU), â€œJo Vada Kiya Woâ€ (TAJ MAHAL), â€œMeri Duniyaâ€ (HEER RANZHA), â€œSun More Sajana Re, Dekhoji Muzhko Bhool Na Zanaâ€, etc. Well the list is endless.
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), Latajâ€™s voice became shrill at higher pitches where as Rafiâ€™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 â€œKya Kya Na Saheâ€ 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 â€“ Asha duets are concerned, one can easily recall â€œAbhi Na Jao Chodakarâ€ (HUM DONO), â€œYeh Dekhake Dil Zhoomaâ€ (KASHMIR KI KALI), â€œChura Liya Haiâ€ (YAADON KI BARAAT), â€œMain Soya Ankhiyan Meecheâ€ (PHAGUN), â€œMain Pyaar Ka Rahi Hunâ€ and â€œBahut Shukriyaâ€ (EK MUSAFIR EK HASINA), â€œMaangake Saath Tumharaâ€ (NAYA DAUR), â€œHoton Pe Hasinâ€ (SAWAN KI GHATA), â€œPucho Na Yaar Kya Huaâ€ (ZAMANE KO DOKHANA HAI), â€œO Mere Sonareâ€ (TEESRI MANZIL), â€œTumhe Mai, Agar Apna Saathi Banalunâ€ (SHATRANJ), â€œRaat Ke Humsafarâ€ (AN EVENING IN PARIS), â€œSawan Aayeâ€ (DIL DIYA DARD LIYA), â€œMuzhe Pyaar Kiâ€ (PYAAR KA SAGAR), â€œPhir Miloge Kabhiâ€ and â€œAapse Meri Jaanâ€ (YEH RAAT PHIR NA AAYEGI), â€œPanchi Re O Panchiâ€ (HARE KAANCH KI CHOODIYAN), â€œHumne To Dilko Aapakeâ€ (MERE SANAM), â€œJis Dinse Maine Tumko Dekha Haiâ€ (PARWANA), â€œSuno Suno Ms. Chatterjeeâ€ (BAHAREN PHIR BHI AAYENGI), etc., the list is again long.
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. Latajiâ€™s songs always touched the heart where as Ashaâ€™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 Latajiâ€™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.