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Remembering Mohammad Rafi Sahab on his birth anniversary

By Dr Souvik Chatterji

Remembering Mohammad Rafi Sahab on his birth anniversary

Music lovers all over the world remember the God of music Mohammad Rafi on his birth anniversary on 24th December, 2017. The listeners of music all over the world remembered the all-time great singer Mohammad Rafi on 31st July, 2013. The noble soul had left his admirers 33 years ago. Yet he is alive in numerous everlasting hit songs which are heard and cherished for generations.

The Poll in History TV relating to 100 years of Indian cinema was erroneous. Mohammad Rafi got the maximum amount of votes yet he was adjudicated as best singer jointly with Kishore Kumar. Firstly those admirers of Mohammad Rafi who had listened to his great songs in the 1940s and 1950s, may not have voted at all, because many of them were not computer-friendly. Otherwise he would have received 10 crores votes more from across the world. The bigger factor is the musical giants in the form of composers of 1940s, 1950s and 1960s had expired. So the view of Naushad Ali, or Shankar Jaikishan, or Madan Mohan Kohli or Roshanlal Nagrath or OP Nayyar had not been taken. Neither the view of lyricists Sahir Ludhianvi, Shailendra and others were taken. All of them would have unanimously said Mohammad Rafi was the greatest singer ever to have graced Indian soil.

A Mohammad Rafi Musical Academy should be opened in Mumbai. The aim and objective of the Academy should be to train singers in the art of playback singing. The way Pune Film and Development Institute had created acting talents like Om Puri, Shabana Azmi and others, in the same way Mohammad Rafi Academy and appoint singers of repute from different parts of the world to train young singers in the art of playback singing.

Mohammad Rafi had been the greatest playback singer ever to have been graced the Indian soil. No other singer can even imagine about visualizing the emotions of Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Bharat Bhushan, Pradip Kumar, Johnny Walker, all together in the same voice. After bringing about the acting quotients of the legendary actors Mohammad Rafi went one step further to fulfill the requirements of the best composers of the country like Naushad Ali, Shankar Jaikishan, Ghulam Mohammad, Roshan Lal Nagrath, Madanmohan Kohli, OP Nayyar, to name a few, and the greatest lyricists like Shakeel Badayani, Hasrat Jaipuri, Shailendra, Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, and others. Rafi’s 26000 songs are invaluable musical treasure by listening to which any singer can improve his style of singing.

It is a huge question as to how can the singing parameters of Mohammad Rafi can be instilled in the new singers, because playback singing cannot be grammatically taught. But at least the new singers can be trained in classical singing, ghazals, qawallies and may be western style of singing also. The biggest thing is they can be made to listen to Rafi’s singing different types of songs. Few of the Indian classical singers like Suresh Wadkar, Yesu Das, Hariharan, can be few names who can regularly give training to new singers.

One big requirement for the present generation is to actually listen to the wide range of songs Mohammad Rafi had sung including the non-filmi albums. With the media shifting focus towards the new generation music of modern day giants like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Mohit Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, there is every possible chance of Rafi’s works not gaining media attention as majority of the works were during 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. The young generations hardly know the grand compositions of Naushad Ali, or Shankar Jaikishan; nor the urdu-based poetry of Raja Mehendi Ali Khan or Sahir Ludhiyanvi. So the great works of Mohammad Rafi’s generation require very strong publicity and restoration. By better knowing Mohammad Rafi’s works, Indian music can be improved, because no other playback singer in India had given adequate expression to folk songs, pure classical songs, bhajans, rock and roll songs, soft music, ghazals and other forms of Indian music the way Mohammad Rafi had done over a span of 35 years.

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8 Blog Comments to “Remembering Mohammad Rafi Sahab on his birth anniversary”

  1. ash says:

    many many happy returns of the day. 24th December.

  2. Salil says:

    It doesnt matter what people say or think, the fact will never change frankly that RAFI SAHAB is the GREATEST singer of all time, male or female. Politics and racism exists everywhere so there is nothing new in it, which is probably the reason the immortal RAFI SAHAB has still not been conferred with the bharat ratna. But, frankly the award itself gets converted to dust when the golden name of ‘RAFI SAHAB’ comes up. Even the word ‘great’ is too small in front of RAFI SAHAB. And regarding the polls well RAFI SAHAB has won every single poll proving he indeed has the largest fanbase of any Indian singer in the world. Obviously there will be biased polls yet what credibility do they have?? Kishor Kumar a multi talented legend himself was the biggest RAFI fan and openly admitted the fact of his superiority on many occasions, so we dont need to go there. 1 to 100 positions are occupied by him then the counting of other singers starts. He was the GOD of all singers. Jai RAFI SAHAB.

  3. Shaun says:

    Those songs that others could not sing were given to Mr. Rafi; he will remain the greatest most versatile singer ever; his genius does not have any company

  4. Dr Souvik Chatterji says:

    Rafisahab was the greatest playback singer ever that India produced. The huge demand of his songs more than 38 years of his demise shows the amount of brilliance that was there in the songs. From Naushad Ali to Shankar Jaikishan, Roshanlal Nagrath to Madanmohan Kohli, the majority of great composers of golden period of music all considered Rafisahab the best. That is the greatest admiration for the man with the golden voice.

  5. shammi says:

    Souvik ji, I agree that the beauty of Mohd Rafi songs and his amazing talent needs to be brought to the attention of the younger generations. This will enable them to appreciate the amazing versatility and ability of this legend to sings songs in so many genres like no artist that I have ever come across in my life.

    In my opinion a concert on a huge scale with lots of media attention and big names could make this possible but this obviously needs big financial backing and this is where the problem arises. I think if someone like Mohan Desai was alive today there would be a good possibility of this happening. Anyway, I shall pray and hope that one day it will be a reality.

  6. Jawad Rana says:

    Has any of the big wigs got the guts to pay a special tribute to Mohd Rafi, as non of actors, including Dilip Kumar and big B or any singer could match rafi sahib in his skill and professionalism and his humbleness, unfortunately but true if he was a hindu he would have had received Bharat Ratna by now and declared the greatest as Lata has been.


  8. Salil says:

    The fact is that RAFI SAHAB is no 1 in the universe forever. Although his contemporaries were great singers in their own respect, no one can ever touch the versatile unparalleled genius. Why ask me now about this fact? They all themselves acknowledged RAFI SAHAB unanimously as the GOAT and biggest INSTITUTE ever. Every poll and survey has been clinched by RAFI SAHAB proving he indeed has the largest fanbase over the globe than any other Indian singer. I was very proud of the google doodle recently on the Indian page and I salute the creator for his work. Although he couldnt get Bharat Ratna he has many memorials dedicated to him because everyone today knows their heart of hearts that RAFI SAHAB is indeed the GREATEST of any singer male or female. This is why I always will call him the ‘ONE-MAN SHOW’ and ‘GOD of singing’ because 1-100 positions belong to him then counting of other singers starts.

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