Rafi’s pleasant memories with Madan Mohan
This article is written by Mr. Souvik Chatterji.
If any composer had utilised the ghazal andaz of Mohammad Rafi to the best of his potentiality it is Madanmohan whose name appears in the minds of the lovers of music across the nation. Madanmohanâ€™s father Rai Bahadur chunnilal send his son to Dehradun to join the army. Instead he left the army and joined All India Radio in Lucknow. He came in contact with Ustad Faizz Khan, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan and carried on their legacy in the compositions he made for 30 years which can be classified as masterpieces.
As Madanmohan was not associated with the Big Banners like RK or Navketan, he was not categorised with any star of bollywood during 50s, 60s, 70s. Further he never wanted to balance the popular test of music and excellent class of classical compositions he created. But the compositions were so rich in lyrics and tunes that the musical pandits had no way but to admire them.
The golden age of bollywood music was categorised with the excellence of Mohammad Rafi and as such if any composer neglected Rafi and tried to reach the summit of popularity they have invited their own downfall. Madanmohan did not make such a mistake. He started his career with the film Ankhen in 1950. He also composed music for Raj Kapoorâ€™s film Ashiana in 1952. His notable songs for Rafi in the film Railway Platform, 1956, include â€œbasti basti parbat parbatâ€. In Gateway of India, 1957, Madanmohan used Mohammad Rafi for the song â€œdo ghari woh jo pass aa baitheâ€ picturised on Bharatbhushan. It was very successful and strengthened the everlasting bond of Rafi with Madanmohan. Rafiâ€™s intoxicating appeal in the song â€œkabhi na khabhi kahin na kahin koi na koi toi ayegaâ€ in the film Sharabi, 1964, composed by Madanmohan can be classified one of the best songs in sombre mood.
The most majestic ghazals of Rafi composed by Madanmohan include â€œkisiki yaad me apnako hai bhulaye huyeâ€ and â€œbaad muddat ke yeh ghari ayiâ€ from the film Jahan ara, 1964, picturised on Bharat Bhushan. Talat Mehmoodâ€™s song in the same film â€œphir wohi sham wohi gham wohi tanhai haiâ€ was also based on ghazal andaz. The classic lyrics were written by Rajinder Kishan. The film titled Ghazal, in 1964, was based on ghazals and Rafi was outstanding by every standard in the song â€œrang aur noor ki baraat kise pesh karun.â€ In the same year Rafiâ€™s patriotic flavour was bolstered in the song â€œkar chale hum fida jan-o-tan sathiyonâ€ in the film Haqeeqat, where Rafiâ€™s ghazal titled â€œhoke majboor usne bulaya hogaâ€ shared with Bhupinder Singh, Manna Dey and Talat Mehmood was sensational.1 The majestic lyrics were written by Kaifi Azmi. In the film Neela Akash, 1965, picturised on Dharmender, Rafiâ€™s song â€œakhri geet muhobbat ka sunayun to chalunâ€ showed the tragic note of Madanmohan. In the film Need Hamari Khwab Tumkhari, all the songs were sung by Rafi including â€œhusn ne jab isq se takraya thaâ€.
Returning back to ghazals, Rafiâ€™s song â€œaap ke pehlu me akarâ€ in the film Mera Saya, 1966, was as outstanding as Lataâ€™s title song â€œtu jahan jahan chalega mera saya saath hogaâ€. The lyrics were written by Raja Mehendi Ali Kahan. Raj Khoslaâ€™s crime thriller ended up becoming a musical blockbuster just like Woh Kaun Thi, in 1964, where Madanmohanâ€™s composition â€œnaina barse,â€ â€œlagja galeâ€, etc. for Lata Mangeshkar was probably the most immortal creation in the history of film music, with Sadhna giving life time performances in ghostly characters in both these films.
The landmark ghazal â€œtumhari zulf ke saye me sham karlungaâ€ in the film Naunihal, in 1967, is probably one of the five best ghazals Rafi did sing in his life. Experts in music realise that ages will pass, but no second singer can provide blood and flesh in the superlative ghazal of Madanmohan the way Rafi had done in this song. Kaifi Azmi has written sensational lyrics for the abovementioned song. People started thinking that Rafi and Madanmohan were made for each other. The belief was put to action in the next film Dulhan Ek raat ki, in 1967, picturised on Dharmender in the song â€œek haseen sham ko dil mera kho gaya. In the film Chirag, 1969, â€œteri aakhon ke siwa duniya me rakkha kya haiâ€ Madanmohan combined ghazal with light orchestration to try to inspire the common listeners in understanding these type of songs.Â
In the film Heer Ranjha, 1971, picturised on Rajkumar, Rafiâ€™s song â€œyeh duniya yeh mehfilâ€ was well acclaimed by music lovers. Rafi was outstanding by every standard in the song â€œtum jo mil gaye hoâ€ in the film Hanste Zakhm, 1973, where Madanmohan synchronised lightning with his own orchestration. Madanmohan also gave a tremendous break to Bhupinder Singh in the song â€œdil dhoonta hai, phir wohi, fursat ke raat dinâ€ written by Gulzar in Sanjeev Kumarâ€™s Mausam in 1975. Rafi had the song â€œchari re chari kaise gale me pari.â€
Madanmohanâ€™s last performance with Jaidev brought out Rafiâ€™s Himalayan range in the film Laila Majnu in 1977. Rafiâ€™s songs â€œtere dar pe aya hoon,â€ â€œbarbad muhobat ka duya saath liye jaâ€, picturised on Rishi Kapoor showed his master spirit of adapting to tunes of middle east which was the geographical location where the story was based. Madanmohan died in 1975, without even seeing the success of Laila Majnu, it appeared like out of seven sur in every octave one sur had gone, because, the majestic combination of Madanmohan with Rafi cannot be forgotten through ages. Rafiâ€™s archive should restore Madanmohanâ€™s combination to let the next generation know about the high esteem with which Madanmohan addressed Mohammad Rafi during the golden age of film music.Â
Bhupinder Singh was a great admirer of Rafi. In his interview in DD India, he said, he got a chance of acting and singing in the film Haqeekat and he was supposed to share the microphone with another singer for the song â€œhoke majboor usne bulaya hoga.â€ He chose Mohammad Rafi to share the microphone with and as he was taller than Rafi, Rafi was given a tool to balance the voices. Manna Dey and Talat Mehmood shared the other microphone.
Master of Law from Warwick University, Coventry,UK
Master of Law from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
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