Rafi’s greatest success with Rajender Kumar, Shankar Jaikishan and Naushad
This article is written by Mr. Souvik Chatterji
Rafi had a dream run in the 60s, mainly in the films of Jubilee Kumar, Rajender Kumar for more than a number of reasons. Firstly Rajender Kumar acted in the production and direction of biggest banners of bollywood in the 60s. Secondly from 1963 to 1966, all his films ended up in silver jubilee showing his immense popularity and strong presence in the box-office. Shankar Jaikishan was equated with God in the early 60s and the main reason of the box-office success of Jubillee Kumar’s films was the superlative music given to him by both SJ and Naushad.Â
In the film Ayee Milan Ki Bela, all the songs of SJ, picturised on Rajender Kumar and sungÂ by Rafi became super hit The immortal songs include “mai pyar ka diwana“, “aha aye Milan ki bela“, “tum khamseen ho“, “to bura maan gaye“, “o sanam tere ho gaye hum“. Rajender Kumar and Saira Banu’s online chemistry in the film helped in the success of the film.
SJ’s composition in the film Aarzoo, Humrahi and Sasural for Rajender Kumar and Rafi were equally rich. The brilliant songs include “chalke teri aankhose“, “ae nargisi mastana“, “aji ruth kar ab“, “yeh aansoo meri dil ki zubaan hai“, “teri pyari pyari surat ko“, “mujhko apne gale laga lo“, to mention a few. Sadhna complimented the powerful performance of Rajender Kumar in Aarzoo.
The brilliant combination of Rafi, SJ and Rajender Kumar, continued in the film Dil Ek Mandir and Jhuk Gaya Aasman. Prominent songs include “yaad na jaye“, “jahan koi nahi“, “dil ek mandir hai“, “o priya kaun hai jo sapno me aya“, “kahan chal diye“, to mention a few. SJ Rafi and Rajender Kumar continued in the film Aman, where songs like “surahidar garden koel si hi awaz” still mesmerizes the listeners.Â
Rafi, Rajender Kumar and SJ created history even in the film Suraj. The songs “kaise samjhayun“, “chehere pe giri zulfein“, “itna hai tujhse pyar mujhe“, “baharon phool barsao” hadÂ become immortal over the years. Rajender Kumar and Vaijayantimala’s screen presence were as majestic as the voice of Rafi and the quality of music of Shankar Jaikishan. The other films where the magic combination of Rafi, Rajender Kumar and Shankar Jaikishan made people speechless include Zindagi and Sangam, with the prominent songs being “pehle milethe sapno me” and “meherban likhoon“.
A big section of music lovers agree that had Jaikishan not died in 1971, Rafi’s dominance in bollywood music not suffered at all. In fact SJ’s tunes were brilliant and were specifically catered towards the likings of common mass. They were not that technical which could not reach the audience. Besides SJ gave tunes in around 10 films per years all along the 50s and 60s, the era when Rafi was unbeatable. RD Burman’s domination in the 70s would have got very strong resistence had Jaikishan survived few years more. The immortal lyrics of Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri also ended with the sad expiry of Jaikishan in 1971.
In the case of Naushad, his gharana was so classically oriented, that his composition for an actor had changed the destiny of the actor. Although Naushad and Rafi’s combination was associated mainly with respect to Tragedy King Dilip Kumar, he preserved a huge treasure of music for Rajender Kumar as well.
Mere Mehboob, stands out as probably one of the greatest creations of Naushad ever in the history of bollywood music. All the songs of Rafi for Rajender Kumar, including “mere mehboob tujhe meri muhobbat ki kasam“, “tumse izhaar-e-haal kar baithe“, “ai husn zara jag tujhe ishq jagaye” had revealed the royal elite culture of Aligarh and Lucknow in the form of shayri and ghazals. Rajender Kumar and Sadhna were at their best in the film.
Naushad and Rafi were sublime in Rajender Kumar’s film Palki. The song “dil-e-betaab ko sine se lagana hoga” shows the class of Naushad. Although Naushad utilized Rafi to perfection in Rajender Kumar’s Ganwar, he used Mukesh in major songs of the film Saathi due to pressure of the producer and director.
Rafi and Rajender Kumar were blessed with the immortal creations of Shankar Jaikishan and Naushad in the 60s and the films and the songs should be preserved as rich assets of the nation which can be cherished for generations after generations.Â