Rafi with Music Composers â€“ Part 7
This article is by Mr. Anmol Singh.
Rafi with Small Time Music Composers
There were many music composers who never had the fortune to work with Rafi for a longer tenure like the well know personalities viz. Naushad, Dada Burman, Madan Mohan, Ravi, etc. Many were such who just composed one or two songs for Rafi Saab and faded forever. Many are not very well known like the famous ones, but they have few hits under their credit, which revived them from the golden era. But there were quiet a few famous composers who had their own set of singers and peer groups have also contributed to Rafi Saabâ€™s success. It indeed is very difficult to talk of each an every such music composer, but one can certainly think for few such gems, which could possibly be unknown to the world of music.
Shyam Sundar is the composer through whom Rafi Saab started his long journey as a singer. â€œNe Heeriye Teri Yaad Ne Saatyaâ€ from the Punjabi film â€˜Gul Balochâ€™ is Rafi Saabâ€™s first song. Firoz Nizami holds the credit for a remarkable composition of the duet, which Legendary Noor Jahan in â€˜Jugnuâ€™ in which Rafi Saab had also acted, â€œYahan Badala Wafa Kaâ€. When it comes to the tribute to the Father Of The Nation â€“ Mahatma Gandhi, no song better than â€œBapu Ki Amar Kahaniâ€ can provide it. Husnlal Bhagatram will be remembered for this great composition after Mahatma Gandhiâ€™s death in 1948 sung by Rafi Saab. There is another gem composed by Husnlal Bhagatram, it is a duet with the Legendary Actress & Singer Suraiya; â€œYeh Raat Yeh Nazaarenâ€. Adi Narayan Rao will be remembered for one unforgettable classical number, â€œKuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliyaâ€ from the film â€˜Suvarna Sundariâ€™. Rafi and Lata sing with terrific power and great control providing superb twist and turns. The song is based on multiple Raags but starts with Raag Sohani. Hans Raj Bahal composes a romantic song picturized on the actor Prem Nath, â€œMohabbat Zinda Rehtihai Haiâ€. In this song Rafi Saab sings â€œChali Aaâ€ with full power. Hans Raj holds the credit for another patriotic song from the film â€˜Sikandar-e-Azamâ€™, â€œJahan Daal Daal Par Soneâ€ based on Raag Shuddha Kalyan. No other song can define India so well, perhaps the reason it is played on every 15th August during Independence Day. Talking about patriotic number there is another masterpiece sung by Rafi Saab for Gulam Hyder, â€œWatan Ki Rah Meinâ€. During the Indo-Pak war, Rafi Saab when on the border and sang the song to motivate the Indian soldiers. There was a composer called Iqbal Qureshi who can be remembered for the songs, â€œSubah Na Aayeâ€, â€œMain Apne Aap Se Ghabraaâ€ based on Raag Tilang, & â€œPhir Aane Laga Yaad Wahiâ€ sung by Rafi Saab. Iqbal Quareshi has many more compositions under his credit. Music Composer Babul will be remembered for his unforgettable compositions of ‘Naqli Nawab’, “Cheda Jo Dil Ka Fasana“, “Ham Deewane Tere Dar Se“. Babul has composed some Non-filmi Ghazals as well. G S Kohli will be remembered for his compositions in films ‘Shikari’ & ‘Lambe Haath’ in the 60s. If we recall the film â€˜Goonj Uthi Shehnaayiâ€™ we have to remember Vasant Desai for this remarkable piece of work. He uses Rafi Saab for all the songs picturized on Rajendra Kumar. The songs â€œJivan Mein Piya Tera Sath Raheâ€ a mind-blowing fun duet with Lata based on Raag Gara & a solo â€œKehdo Koi Na Kare Yahaan Pyaarâ€ based on Raag Jogiya are memorable till date. If it comes to the Ghazals written by Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last emporer of the Mughal regime, no voice other than Rafi can do such an honesty. The Ghazals from the film ‘Lal Quila’, â€œLagata Nahin Hai Dil Meraâ€ based on Raag Kalyan / Yaman & â€œNa Kisi Ki Aankh Ka Noor Hunâ€ based on Raag Shivaranjani composed by S N Tripathi are masterpieces of all times. In the second Ghazal the pain that Rafi Saab puts is just unbelievable. Event a specialist Ghazal singer may not be in a position to go to such a depth of pain. There is another master piece duet sung by Rafi Saab with Lata for S N Tripathi from the film ‘Janam Janam Ke Phere'; “Zara Saame To Aavo Chaliye“. From the film â€˜Rustom Sohrabâ€™ the song â€œPhir Tumhari Yaad Aaye Ae Sanamâ€ is superb. Music composer Sajjad Hussian will be remembered for that. Sardar Malik father for present day composer Anu Malik has done some great songs with Rafi Saab. But the romatic number â€œMujeh Tum Se Mohabbat Haiâ€ based on Raag Pahadi is one of the classic compositions. Rafi Saab as sung for the Sitar Mestro Pandit Ravi Shankar in the film ‘Godaan’, based on the novel written by legendary writer Munshi Premchand. Ustad Allah Rakha the tabla mestro who did filmy compositions as A R Qureshi also used Rafi Saab for many of his compositions in the 40s & 50s. A duet from â€˜Razia Sultanâ€™ sung by Rafi and Asha is unforgettable, â€œDhalti Jaaye Raat Kehle Dil Baatâ€. Music composer Lachchhi Ram will be remembered for this classic composition. From the film â€˜Ab Delhi Door Nahiâ€™ there is a fun song sung by Rafi Saab for children, â€œChun Chun Karti Aayi Chidiyaâ€. Dattaram who has composed many remarkable scores for other singers will be best remembered. For the BR films banner Mahendra Kapoor was always the most preferred singer, but for an all time classic â€œTu Hindu Banega Na Musalmannâ€, Duttaram Naik more popularly known as N Dutta chooses Rafi Saab. N Dutta has also many great compositions under his credit. Another classic â€œPonch Kar Ashq Apni Aankho Seâ€ is equally marvelous. Such a song will provide a healing touch to a depressed mind. Another classic sung by Rafi Saab, â€œMaine Chand Aur Sitaaron Ki Tamanna Ki Thiâ€ based on Raag Bhimpalasi composed by N Dutta has a very beautiful use of Sitar between the Sthayi and Antara of song. C Arjun will be remembered for the all time great Ghazal, â€œPaas Betho Tabiyat Machal Jayegiâ€. Rafi Saab sings for the comedian Jagdeep. Rafi Saab provides a master performence here. Another composer Ramlal will be best remembered for his composition for the V Shantram film â€˜Sehraâ€™. Two songs are remarkable a catchy duet with Lata, â€œTumko Pyar Ho Sajaniâ€ based on Raag Maru Bihag and a sad solo, â€œTaqdeer Ka Fasaanaâ€ based on Raag Desh where the Shehnayi is used very effectively and beautifully. Sapan Jogmohan will be best remembered for a classic Ghazal from the film â€˜Begaanaâ€™, â€œPhir Wo Bhulee See Yaadâ€.
So we move ahead in the 70s where the lean phase of Rafi Saabâ€™s career begins. Here composers Shamji Ghamshamji deliver two beautifull songs out of which one is a duet with Krishan Kale. The songs â€œMere Hasraton ki Duniyaâ€ & â€œAnpi Aankho Mein Basaakarâ€ are remembered till date. From the film â€˜Ek Naari Do Roopâ€™ there is another classic sung by Rafi Saab â€œDil Ka Suna Saazâ€, full credit goes to the Music Composer Ganesh. This song is part of almost every Rafi musical nite held in his memory. A well-known composer Ravindra Jain primarily associated with Rajshri Productions creates a classic duet with Lata, â€œEk Daal Par Toota Boleâ€ from the film â€˜Chor Machaye Shorâ€™. In the film â€˜Do Jasoosâ€™ Rafi Saab sings with Mukesh â€œDo Jasoos Karen Mehesoosâ€. There are two more duets with Mukesh from the same film. Full credit goes to Ravindra Jain. In the mid seventies from the film â€˜Mrig Trishnaâ€™ a classical number â€œNava Kalpana Nava Roopseâ€ sung by Rafi is truly remarkable. The Dream Girl â€“ Hema Malini a renowned classical dancer provides a super performance on screen, matches the each and every rhythm perfectly for each and every swar. The credit goes the composer Shambu Sen who has also written the song.
As we move towards the late 70s it sees the rise of many new music composers. Bappi Lahri is one them who has composed many remarkable scores for Kishore Kumar in late 70s and later through out the 80s. Bappi Lahri during the 26th death anniversary of Rafi Saab in one of the news channels declares â€˜No one can sing like Rafi Saabâ€™. He sings a song himself â€œSathiya Gham Nahi Karnaâ€ originally sung by Rafi Saab, which is one of his personal favoraites. A music composer called Pandurang Dixit will be remembered for the song â€œSainath Tere Hazaaron Hanthâ€ from the devotional film â€˜Shirdi Ke Sai Babaâ€™; Rafi Saab delivers another unforgettable masterpiece. Ram Laxman is another composer who holds the credit for the devotional song, â€œDevaa O Devaa Ganpati Devaaâ€. This song is played every year in majority Ganpati Pandals during Ganesh Ustav in Mumbai. From a film â€˜Junoonâ€™ directed by Shyam Benegal there is one song, â€œIshq Ne Todi Sar Peâ€ where it takes a very unusual sudden lift to a very high pitch. This song represents Rafi Saab’s ability of V-TOL technology (vertical take-off & landing) used in modern day high tech Harrier Jets. Only Rafi can sing such a tough tune composed by Vanraj Bhatia. There is another newcomer of 70s Anu Malik who uses Rafi for a classic composition in the film â€˜Poonamâ€™, â€œMohabbat Rang Layegi Janab Ahista Ahistaâ€, where Rafi sings for another newcomer Raj Babber along with Chandrani Mukherjee. For the duet â€œJanam Janam Ka Saath Haiâ€ a mind-blowing duet with Lata from â€˜Bheegi Palkenâ€™, music composers Jugal Kishore-Tilak Raj hold the credit. Last but not the least Rafi Saab sang for his collegue â€˜The All Rounder Legend Kishore Kumarâ€™ along with Manna Dey a few months before his death. The song is â€œBand Muthi Lakh Kiâ€ from the film â€˜Chalti Ka Naam Zindagiâ€™.
To conclude it is indeed very difficult to write on Rafi Saabâ€™s work spanning across a career of almost four decades in just a few pages. It’s like finding a few drops of water in huge ocean of music. There could be many unlisted gems, which most Rafi fans may not be aware at all. Considering the songs, which have been recorded but not released so far. For example Madan Mohanâ€™s unreleased tunes where recreated in the film â€˜Veer Zaaraâ€™ by his son Sanjeev Kohli, appeared evergreen in the present times, although they were actually composed thirty years ago. Full credit goes to filmmakers like Yash Chopra who indeed play a vital role in promoting melody to the audience in present times. We hope many Rafi Saabâ€™s unreleased gems are also made public via musical albums.
In the end I would be thankfull to all the Rafi Fans in particular Mohan Flora, Sagar Thakar, P Narayanan and many others for providing vital information of many songs sung by Rafi Saab. I would also be gratefull to the website MohdRafi.com and to the WebMaster Pradeep Prabhu for publishing this entire piece of work on the website. Above all I would like to thank all the readers and die heart Rafi Fans for the love & appreciation which they have shown in the blogs and via phones calls. Your appreciation gives us the encouragement to explore and write more about Rafi Saab.
Thanks once again.
Tribute from other Personalities
“Mohammed Rafisaab remains my biggest source of motivation and inspiration. I recorded three songs with him for Poonam and one for a untitled film of Premnathsaab that never took off.’Laagi lag jaaye…’ from the former film was the last song that he recorded live – the recording was on 25th July. After that he did a song for L-P, but the track had been kept ready and it wasn’t a live ‘take’. I shall never forget what he told me: `Kamal ke phool ki tarah taharte rehna!’ He was simply the calmest, most serene and kindest human being I knew. He would insist on rehearsals but often refuse to accept money. Rafisaab was a very ‘giving’ person. He gave me vital tips on how to teach singers your song. I adore him, for he was music himself!”
“I recorded ‘live’ with him for my first film Shirdi Ka Sai Baba. The year was 1975 and the song was ‘Sai Baba bolo…’ He was truly a man of God, simple, devoted to his work, and devoid of any vices. He taught me so much on that single occasion, like what should be my posture in front of the microphone, and how I should throw my voice into it. He would tell Manoj (Kumar)ji, who was the lyricist as well as the man behind the film, “Dekho, Punjab se ek aur sher aaya hai!” I attended so many recordings just to observe him at work. I have always emulated his distinct way of enunciating each and every word with the clarity of a polished pearl. Earlier, singing his songs on shows was like a part of my training! “There was no dividing line between his singing and his persona, and that’s what makes an artiste immortal. We needed him to be around for many years. Today, singers who follow his style – Udit Narayan and Sonu Nigam – are at the top, proof that Rafi would have still been a topper if he was alive!”
“I was in awe of the man, and all the Mukesh-es, including my dad, my brother and I have always been huge fans of Rafisaab. To me personally, Rafisaab was the best thing that ever happened to Indian music, and in fact when Papa was alive I would sing his and Kishore-Uncle’s songs in Papa’s shows. Though Rafisaab was completely versatile, I always thought there was a strange pathos in his voice. And he must have been a great actor to make us feel that every hero he sang for was actually singing himself! Having met Rafisaab so often, I am still entranced by how such a shy, private person in real life would turn into a Shammi Kapoor, a Mehmood or a Jeetendra in front of the mike! “He was among the first to reach my side when Papa passed away, and I remember his exceptionally kindness each time we recorded songs together. Those who became so big, I firmly believe, are born with everything correct, but few have the heart of gold that Rafisaab had. Oh, I could go on and on about Rafisaab!”
“I began my career on January 14th,1971 and it was Rafisaab who sang my first film song for N.N.Sippy’s Silsila Hai Pyar Ka, which never took off . From my first release Kaanch Aur Heera, it was his song ‘Nazar aati nahin manzil…’ that is still remembered. He never made me feel that I was new, and he put in the same dedication into my song that he would for, say, Naushadsaab’s song. Even today, the void that he has left is not filled. Time flies and it is shocking to realize that shahad ki duniya se juda hue 25 saal ho gaye hain. I would like to repeat the sher I had written to express my feelings when he passed away:
Peshaani pe shams ankh mein taaron ki ziya thi
Woh kaise bujha jis ko zamane ki dua thi
Nakhush hai Khuda apne farishton se
Nahin to dharti ke farishte ki zaroorat kya thi.”
“Rafisaab’s persona is best encapsulated by Majroohsaab’s mukhda in the Rafi song ‘Waadiyan mera daman, raaste meri baahen, jaao mere siva tum kahaan jaaoge.’ This craze for Rafi and his songs will never end . On my stage tours, I get requests to sing some of his rarest songs even in far-flung corners of the world. 25 years later, each and every Rafi song sounds as fresh as if it was recorded just 25 seconds earlier! I got to sing in two films in which he too had sung – Baghawat and Farz Ki Jung, because of which I feel blessed. “I had three meetings with him, one at a show in Ahmedabad where I just could not help weeping at his feet at the sheer ecstasy of meeting him in person, for as a stage singer I would always sing his songs. The second meeting was at his recording: I just made his sketch that I handed over to him, and he was very appreciative. And the third and tragic last ‘meeting’ was when, among a crowd of thousands, I got the momentary honour of lowering his body into the grave! I could touch that body when millions of others could not! And I thought,
Bataa ae zindagi yeh raaz kya hai
Yeh jeena ka naya andaz kya hai
Khamoshi maut hai agar aadmi ki
Rafi ki har taraf awaaz kya hai.”
“Apart from being his fan and sharing playback credit in some films, I had the privilege of singing with him in Anpadh, and believe me, it was sheer joy. The song was a qawwali by Ashaji, Rafisaab and me and frankly, I was more than a little nervous. He put me at ease completely. I think that no other singer could bring out the sweetness and masti of every word, incredibly fit his voice to every hero and yet be in such perfect sur that every note was well-rounded and a complete experience in itself.”
“He was so simple, so pious and free of vices that he would not even have a supari, and a singer of no ordinary calibre. He would be especially caring and helpful with young artistes, which I remember right from our first recording for Kinare Kinare when I was a rank newcomer. I still remember that for our song ‘Sainath tere hazaaron haath…'(Shirdi Ke Sai Baba), I was faltering over a dozen times at my cue, but though his feet were swollen and it was painful to stand, he smilingly told me not to worry and keep trying, even though I suggested that my line should be done by the chorus. When one take was finally okay, he was even game for another, which was the norm then as a technical precaution.”