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Rafi Sahab did not get Bharat Ratna

This article is by Amooly@HF.

So what if Rafi Saab if didn’t get the Bharat Ratna he still lives in our hearts, his name is indelibly linked for all time with Sangeet and Poetry, the great Tansen was probably the ‘Rafi’ of his time. Rafi Saab is one of the few people that would have graced the Bharat Ratna, rather than the award gracing him.

An award given to somebody in his lifetime is worth a dozen awards given after he has gone.

Rafi Saab award is that millions of people stop and listen to him – how many other Bharat Ratnas do we do that for. We listen for his voice inflexions, his soothing tonal quality, his capacity to hit all the highs and all the lows and all the tones in between that your heart is dying to hear.

Rafi Saab is a unifying force for the India and the Indian diaspora, he is living proof that ‘It is good to be great, but it is greater to be good’.

Rafi Saab was a ‘Khudha ki Bakshi’ (God’s Gift) for all of us who can understand and appreciate him.

Rafi Saab voice will be alive till mp3’s till wma’s exist till the notes Sa Re Ga Ma.. exist. He has achieved immortality, he expressed the hopes and lamentations of the young India in his songs, why do we want to give him a Bharat Ratna, what will it proove – other than ‘baby boomers’ and their children appreciate good music as well? Our parents also appreciated him as well but for them he was just there, just like a part of the infrastructure – till one day he went and the clouds cried and cried.

Rafi Saab is voice echoes in the valleys and lakes of Kashmir, he echoes in the hills of Darjeeling, he voice rises above the mountains of the Himalayas his taan flows with with the waters of the Ganga he is endowed with all the graces from Saraswati his voice breezes in like the cool wind, like the ebb and flow of a gentle tide and now he should have the BR as well! If it helps he has probably been awarded more Bharat Ratnas in people’s hearts than any one else but he would be – he is not just a Jewel of India, he is an Anmol Rattan – Jewel beyond compare and beyond value.

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29 Blog Comments to “Rafi Sahab did not get Bharat Ratna”

  1. Anonymous says:

    anybody can sing the song but everybody dont have the power to make feeling in the song

  2. Bhupender says:

    comparison, kishore and rafi sahib — kishore kumar is not qualified to compare with Rafi sabib.

  3. Binu Nair says:

    why this comparison – kishore and rafi?? when its settled that rafi leads by far in all types of songs and kishore regarded rafi as his guru….

    i think the issue is settled and we must be “busy” enjoying and taking rafi works – far and wide.

    Binu Nair, mumbai….

  4. arushi says:

    i want to show all the kishore lovers how immature he was and tell all of u abt the personality of great m.rafi and….. kishore

    On Thursday, July 31, 1980 after composing the song Shaam phir kyun udaas hai dost for the movie Aas Paas with Laxmikant-Pyarelal , Rafi asked if he could leave for home. L-P were surprised because Rafi would be the last person to leave the recording session. While leaving, Rafi said once again “OK. I will leave.” Rafi died at 10.50 p.m. on the same day due to a massive heart attack. His funeral procession was one of the largest Mumbai ever witnessed. The Republic of India mourned his death, and there was public holidays for two days in his honor.Shammi Kapoor, who was shooting outside Mumbai, rushed back to attend his funeral in Mumbai. Later, the Padma Shri Mohammed Rafi Chowk in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai was named after him…………………………………………………………………………………

    kishore:Kishore Kumar stopped singing for Amitabh Bachchan in the mid-1980s, after Amitabh didn’t do a guest appearance in a film produced by him. He also stopped singing for the actor Mithun Chakraborty, after Yogeeta Bali divorced him and married Mithun.
    Kishore Kumar is said to have been paranoid about not being paid. During recordings, he would begin singing only after his secretary confirmed that the producer had made the payment.Once, when he discovered that his dues hadn’t been fully paid, he landed up for shooting with make-up on only one side of his face. When the director questioned him, he replied “Aadha paisa to aadha make-up.” (Half make-up for half payment).On the sets of Bhai Bhai, Kishore Kumar refused to act because the director M V Raman owed him five thousand rupees. His brother Ashok Kumar persuaded him to do the scene. But, when the shooting started, he walked across the floor and, each time he walked a few places, he said, “Paanch Hazzar Rupaiya,” (five thousand rupees) and did a somersault. After he reached the end of the floor, he went out of the studio, jumped into his car, and ordered his driver Abdul to drive away.
    On another occasion, when the producer R. C. Talwar did not pay his dues, Kishore Kumar turned up at Talwar’s residence one morning and started shouting “Hey Talwar, de de mere aath hazaar” (“Hey Talwar, give me my eight thousand”). He did this every morning for a few days, until Talwar paid him.

    rafi sahab:Once, when a minor composer, Nisar Bazmi did not have enough money to pay him, Rafi charged a fee of one rupee

    kishore:once Kishore Kumar was to record a song for the producer-director G. P. Sippy. As Sippy approached his bungalow, he saw Kishore going out in his car. Sippy pleaded him to stop his car, but Kishore only increased the speed of his car. Sippy chased him to Madh Island, where Kishore Kumar finally stopped his car near the ruined Madh Fort. When Sippy questioned his strange behavior, Kishore Kumar refused to recognize or talk to him and threatened to call police. Sippy had to return. Next morning, Kishore Kumar reported for the recording. An angry Sippy questioned him about his behavior on the previous day. However, Kishore Kumar insisted that Sippy must have seen a dream, and claimed that he was in Khandwa on the previous day.
    Kishore Kumar was also noted for defying producers and directors. Once, a producer went to court to get a decree that Kishore Kumar must follow the director’s orders.

    rafi:Rafi recorded two English albums. One of them is Pop Hits.

    u should realise the real fact

  5. hemant says:

    alan u have done a gr8 job by telling many of us such an as —Astonishing—facts give my thanx to ur friend who gave so much true i have realised who is a true singer-1who just sings and 1 who is made to sing…kishore is not a singer indeed but a reader of lyrics like many in the country

  6. alan says:

    well,it feels heartbreaking when i see indians not knowing abt the quiality of a singer.i am working with a news agency in this profession i came to know abt m.rafi and i heard his song .his voice was unmatchable in the tracks i listened , though i was not able to understand a word of it except “yahooo!!”. i came for a survey related to the singers in india and wat i found was surprising.i found that in the cities people prefered the new songs(hip-hop kind) and in the rural areas almost whole crowd listening music ,was biG fan of m.rafi .and then it was mukesh. negligible amount of people were interested in listening to kishore’s song.that is true.i asked one of my friend-who was an indian abt the gr8 singers in he gave me a brilliant reply–“when m.rafi was alive and b’fore his haj(as some1 told him that singing is prohibited in Islam on haj trip) only few songs were played on radio which were in the voice of kishore that to were containing words that made people laugh”jhum jhum jhumroo…”or had excellent kyrics so people listened them as a joke or just listened the lyrics and music but not to enjoy singing . but it was only after m.rafi’s death that kishore gained popularity.kishore was getting work in the film industry just b’coz of his brother Ashok Kumar (dadamoni)- a gr8 actor of that time who once told kishore that he can not b’come a singer as he can’ it was not his voice but the helping hand of many others.another fact is that kishore almost had no “bhakti” song in his pocket that requires lots of pitch variations and i could b sung by a true singer like m.rafi (O Duniya Ke Rakhwale,Insaf Ka Mandir Hai Yeh,Mujhe Apni Sharan Mein Lelo,Sukh Ke Sab Saathi ,Jai Raghunandan Jai Siyaram….),mannaday,lata can sing ” ….remember the fact that – “a singer is born as a singer and not made in to a singer-voice is GOD gifted”………… so my dear indians do not put acid on the jewel(m.rafi) of ur country as he is uncompareable to any singer or so called singer(kishore-who was made into a singer by help of many)…….

  7. Meenu says:

    Hi Siddiqui ,

    Your comment –
    we can here more kishores in every nook and corner as his voice is not inimitable as of rafi

    My comment –
    Peolpe copy all good things. You can find rafi clones too e.g.
    Shabbir kumar, Mohamad aziz, Anwar and in many musical orchestras there are many clones , but they all are far away from Rafi saahab.

    Inimitable voice is – Talat Mahamood’s. I have not seen any clone till date.
    Atif from Pakistan have that style be he lacks silky and soft voice of Talatji

  8. siddiqui says:

    i like both the singers but one should accept the fact that rafi was better than kishore hence we can here more kishores in every nook and corner as his voice is not inimitable as of rafi

  9. Nair says:

    Well, in the last sentence of first para, what I meant is that Kishore’s rendition was really not up to the mark. For him RD tunes are the best.

  10. Nair says:

    Dear Ashu,

    Good effort from your part to elevate your favorite singer to those heights where he himself would have, if sat, felt very uncomfortable. Well, we have our own tastes and perspectives. However, I would like to comment on one point; the degrading comparison you have made, after declaring that it is wrong to compare both singers, on the song “Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare”. It was a song sung originally by Mohd. Rafi; a song recently judged on the basis of a survey among the music world of Bollywood as the best song of the millennium. Mohammed Rafi who rendered the song has been judged as the most influential singer of the millennium. Now, by singing that song, although as a tribute, Kishore Kumar showed that he is not even worthy of comparison with Rafi.

    My friend both singers are good indeed…..Kishore Kumar deserve a comparison with Rafi on the basis of the popularity he also had in the 70s. On the basis of music, Kishore is not worthy of comparison with Rafi.

  11. mohanflora says:

    Bandita, Kya hosh mein ho kya?
    In which world or planet are you living in? And how much exposure do you have to indian film music? There has been and never can be as great/better singer than Rafisaab. The songs of the RDB/Kishore combine seem so stale and “being plagiarised from other sources” and you feel in a refreshing mood after a Rafi hearing. Most songs of Rafisaab in his “so-called second coming” are now identified as classics and where are RDB/Kishore’s songs of the same era ? Visit the Rafi-Kishore saga page on this site and your arguments will vanish just like did those of the Kishore protagonists on that page. Even though I liked Kishore in the early 70’s but in the long run I came to know who was”lambi race ka ghoda” Rafi, Of course!
    Besides to compare, you need to have equal or more or less equal bodies of work. Kishore only had the 70’s and 80’s while Rafi had 50’s, 60’s, 70.s and part of 80’s. So just don’t even think of comparing them!

  12. Anonymous says:

    Dear Bandita my sympathies your musical taste. Keep it up.

  13. Bandita says:

    28 June,2006.
    I just want to tell that Mohd. rafi was a very good singer,but Kishore Kumar is undoubtedly the greatest singer not only of India but also of the world.Initially
    he concerntrated more on acting but still sang numerous superhits for S.D,Shankar-Jaikishen, Madanmohan etc.(picturised mainly on himself & Dev Anand).From 1969,he concerntrated more on playback singing & the result was he became the badshah of playback singing.It is true that Rafishaab did make a comeback at 1977,but Kishoreda was still at the top.Infact,the no 1 to 10 position belonged to the versatile genius Kishore Kumar till his death at 1987.Laxmikant-Pyarelal sidelined Rafi at the late sixties,and got Kishoreda as their main singer.R.D,Kalyanji-Anadji,S.D,Bappida,Swapan Jagmohan,Basu-Monahari,Ajoy Das,Hemant Kumar-everyone’s favourite was Kishoreda.Only Naushad,S-J & Modanmohan used Rafi more.Kishoreda sang for many leading heroes,superstars,new & not so famous heroes of yesteryears.He was 5 times more versatile than Rafishaab.Youngergeneration prefer Kishoreda to Rafishaab.Kishore clones
    are far more successfull than Rafi clones.In any public performance or singing contest,the ratio of Kishoreda to Rafishaab’s song is 15:1.So Kishoreda is much more universal and popular,having world-wide fame.KK
    also excelled in acting,singing classic Bengali songs,film & music direction,
    writing lyrics.Having so much all-rounds talents,he remained at top for a larger span of time than Rafishaab.

  14. ashu says:


    I wanted to rectify my one line in prev. comment.
    Kishore started his concert in Khandawa with Rafi’s Song ”


  15. ashu says:

    Dear Anmol and Suhail,

    I know what you both guys are feeling and i don’t want to hurt you guys. You people are more biased to Rafi, no doubt he was among the best but at the same time don’t forget Kishore, he was a “man of parts”.

    Rafi ruled in 60’s because Kishore was more concentrating on his acting skill, and he was playing all the naughty role so MDs are not very serious abt him.

    I hope you people rememeber, LP gave first major hit to Kishore after JHUMAROO (1961 to 1965- Kishore was in lean phase because of MADHUBALA), Song is “MERE MEHBOOB KAYAMAT HOGI”, same year DOSTI movie releases where all songs were fantastic and all sung by Rafi. During 60’s nobody want to experiment with Kishore except SD. SD was greatest because he only believe in the talent. He was the one who trust novice. Everybody worship established (Rafi) guy but SD identify Kishore talent and was giving chance in all DEV anand movie.

    It is very sad to know that Rafi fans never accept his defeat from 1970-1977 and after he manage to survive till he got die. RD was never biased, he always select singer as per his voice and his capability to improvise the song.

    He was really inclined toward KISHORE because he only could do justice to his songs. Though Kishore was not trained singer but he was capable enough to shake Rafi’s chair. Before Kishore, Rafi fan was feeling very secure because MUKHESH has very limited range.

    As you said LP inclined to Rafi, following great songs he composed for Kishore..

    1. Ek ritu aaye ek ritu jaaye (Rare melody)
    2. Sarkati Jaaaye hai rukh se naqab (with Rafi.. Kishore is far ahead of Rafi)
    3. All songs from Anurodh (most are classical based)

    Not only RD prefer Kishore, I hope you know Rajesh Roshan, Bappi Lahiri, kalyanji Anandji, Sapan Jagmohan.

    New generation always go for Kishore than Rafi.

    I one sentence, comparing both legends are wrong. They are uncomaparable.
    Kishore had great respect for Rafi and vice versa. If you have little info on Kishore then you must know that after Rafi’s death kishore went to Khandawa for concert and he started his concert with Kishore songs “Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare”. After listening you can compare who is great.

    I always admire Kishore because he started from scratch and he reached to top without any proper training and people started comparing him with one well versed trained singer.

    I am sorry if i hurt you guys unwittingly.


  16. hitesh says:

    rafi ji did not require any award,,,because there is no award on the earth which can do the justice to such a great man,,,,,,,,,,he him self was the greatest award to this world…..

  17. Rashid Khan says:

    Rafi sahab was the great singer of all times

    Rafi sahab was the legends amongst all the singers , he has sungs no of songs and he has sung al kind of songs and he has sung number of patriotic songs for our country then also he has not got the Bharat Ratna award , as far as award is concern , none of the award is big than Rafi sshab , all the awards are small in front of Rafi Sahab

    But Rafi sahab’s fans wants Rafi sahab to get the Bharat Ratna award

    Beacause Rafi sahab’s deserves this awards

    We have a Mohd Rafi Group a Bombay , every year we do programme for Rafi sahab at his Birthday & on his death anniversary at Mohd Rafi Chowk bandra

    We also visit Rafi Sahab’s Residence every year


    Rashid Khan
    Cell : 9869030908

  18. Devinder Kumar says:

    No award can honor My Rafi Sahab. The award would be honored. He was the sound of purity, of sincerity. Listening to Rafi Sahab is not like listening to a singer but to hear emotions; to commune with Nature. He does not sing he says as it should – he just brings out clear his inner self. And God enabled him to bring out just any feeling he wanted. I feel honored that I had the privilege to hear such a voice in my life.

  19. suhail ansari says:

    Dear Anmol,

    I also don’t have anything against Kishore Kumar, indeed he was very good singer, I must say he was the only singer who challenged Rafi Sahed. And the time also favour him very much till first half of 70’s. Your observation that Kishore was is bad state in late 60s is right because Kishore lacked some capability which he later developed. But he couldn’t reached upto the status as Rafi Saheb was.

    Rafi Saheb is one of the greatest ever male playback singer of Bollywood.



  20. Anmol Singh says:

    Dear Suhail Ahmed,

    I am a Rafi fan, but I have nothing against Kishore Kumar. Indeed he is a very good singer. Perhaps Kishore was in a bad state in the late 60s. May be it was God’s will to provide him a break in Aradhna in absence of Rafi Saab. The reason being God is kind and He takes care of every one ‘s bread & butter.

    Anmol Singh.

  21. suhail ahmed ansari says:

    Dear Anmol,

    You are perfectly true. All the heroes for whom Kishore Kumar was used like Amitabh, Dev Anand and specially Rajesh Khanna you will see that whenever Rafi Saheb did playback for them the song became super duper hit and it was more hearable than any other songs because it sounded differently. I think all these heroes were meant for Rafi Saheb only. You know that half the number of songs in the initial period of Dev Anand was sung by Rafi Saheb and all were superhits songs.



  22. Anmol Singh says:

    Dear Suhail Ahmed,

    D was instrumental in promoting Kishore over Rafi. An example can be considered from the film “Aandhi”. All the best tunes were given to Kishore and one silly song to Rafi. It is life making fun of Rafi’s voice. Similar conspiracy can be observed in many films were RD did the compositions.

    Comparitivily SD though been another Kishore loyalist, has always provided Rafi Saab a fair deal. One can see the effective use of Rafi and Kishore for Dev Anand. Unlike RD he never favoured Kishore over Rafi. Perhaps SD’s compositions are convincing.

    LP have always been Rafi loyalists, since films like “Parasmani” and “Dosti” lanched their career. Another important factor is the majority tunes composed by LP are of very high pitch which only person like Rafi Saab or Lata Ji can do justice. Songs like “Ye jo Chilman hai” “Etna To Yaad hai mujhe” picturzed on Rajesh Khanna are sung by Rafi, perhaps Kishore never had the capablity to even attempt them. Another song “Mere Dost kissa” picturized on Amitabh also sung by Rafi. After Rafi Saab death LP did dominate the 80s and early 90s with their compositions, but compared to songs sung by Rafi Saab for LP in 60s and 70s, songs of 80s and 90s were nothing.

    Anmol Singh.

  23. suhail ahmed ansari says:

    Dear Mr. Anmol,

    Late 70s really proved that Rafi Saheb was unmatchable. Take for example the film fare award winning song, “Kya Huwa Tera Wada” prove this point. One should not forget that it was Rafi Saheb pilgrimage to holy place Mecca that pave way for Kishore Kumar as he was given the song, “Roop Tera Mastana”, which was originally meant for Rafi Saheb. Since then Kishore Kumar didn’t look back and it was very unfortunate that all the musician overlooked Rafi Saheb for Kishore Kumar. The most disheartening behaviour was by R.D. Burman who climed the laddar of success with the hits of Teesri Manzil songs sung by none other than our favourite Rafi Saheb. But surprisingly, “Kya Huwa Tera Wada”, song was composed by R.D. Burman only. I think the most instrumental factor in Rafi Saheb comeback was Laxmikant Pyarelal composition. This duo composer gave one hit after another till Rafi Saheb demise. Take for example the songs of Sargam, “Hum tho Chale Pardes, hum Pardesi ho Gaye”; “Ramjiki nikli sawari, Ramjiki nila hai nyari”, and many others. And who can forget, “Maine Poocha Chaand Se Phalak ho ya jameen”;”Dard-E-Dil, Dard-E-Jigar”, from Karz was all super duper hits.

    The only tragedy was the time which was not willing to favour Rafi Saheb and took him away from us.



  24. Anmol Singh says:

    Dear Ram,

    Possibly you misunderstood me. My reference was to the recognition which Rafi saab deserved for his works. Rafi Saab certainly deserves much more than a Bharat Ratna.

    Dear Suhail Ahmed,

    Your observations regarding the dirty politics is correct. Possibly one can witness this in the 70s, when media tried to project Kishore Kumar as a better singer than Rafi. Plus the film makers who were Rafi loyalists for past 2 decades, changed stand over night. The reason being majority film makers were blind followers. But late 70s proved that Rafi is unmatchable.

  25. suhail ahmed ansari says:

    I think “Bharat Ratna Award”, is only worldly satisfaction that one can get after knowing that the particular person has been awarded Bharat Ratna. I mean to say the person can know that the one who has been awarded this coveted award might be or definately be a great person. But tell me one thing how many Bharat Ratna’s awardee do we actually know. But we know one thing that Rafi Saheb is one of the greatest singer of the millenium and this fact can’t be denied even though he has not been confronted of this most valuable award. The award which is denied upon Rafi Saheb clearly expose the dirty politics in our film industry and jealousy towards Rafi Saheb unmatchable voice. We all as a Rafi Saheb fan doesn’t required to see that Rafi Saheb didn’t had Bharat Ratna because we know that Rafi Saheb is genuinely the top most singer of the time.

  26. ravindra says:

    A singer of Rafi saheb’s cadre comes on this planet in centuries .So I do’nt think that merely Bharat ratna award would have sufficed, rather an award of the planet could be a true recognition of that legend.

  27. Ram says:

    Dear Anmol Singh,
    Mohd Rafi is the KING and give 2 others award

  28. Anmol Singh says:

    It Government can give Bharat Ratna to freedom fighters after 30 to 40 years after their death, then why can’t Rafi Saab get it.

  29. Ali says:

    If we speak about award,I think we wrong because we can not be honest 2 give award 2 those people they should have,what u can say about MOhd Rafi jest have only Six film far award and Lata five.
    King(M RAfi) and Queen(Lata)they give award 2 others not get award from others,

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