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SD Burman and Mohammad Rafi

By: Souvik Chatterji. Master of Law from Case Western REserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. Master of Law from Warwick University,UK.

Rafi Sahab with S.D.BurmanSachin Dev Burman was born in Tripura, where the fields, soil, trees and nature as a whole had shaped the music. There cannot be any music which is sweeter than the compositions that God has created in nature for human beings to cherish generation after generations. What is required is the poetic and musical mind to realise the melodies evident in the breeze, in the rainfall, in the fragrance of flowers blossoming at the arrival of spring. Tripura is situated at the border of East Bengal, and as a landmass has similarity with East Bengal and West Bengal which in Bengali we term as “nodi matric” meaning being fed by a number of rivers.The minds of the people in this part of the world is as soft as the alluvial soil of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Padma and other rivers.

SD Burman came to Kolkata and learned Classical Music from the Giant of Ustadi Gharana named Viswadev Chatterji.Viswadev’s famous song “Nabaruno Rage” used to be played as the first song in All India Radio in the morning, everyday and acted as messanger of dawn.The genius had taught SD Burman, ragas of different origin and created a legacy of Hindustani classical which shaped SD Burman into a grand creator as known by the later generations.

Bimal Roy, Talat Mahmood, Mohd Rafi & S.D.Burman during recording for the film SujathaSD Burman had his own basic discs in Bengali, some having flavour of folk songs, others having the orthodox ragas embedded in them.His notable songs include “Paddar dheu re”, “Jhilmil jhilmil jhiler jole dheu kheliya jaire”,”mono dilona badhu”,etc. When he went to Bombay, he took Manna Dey with him, another legendary singer of the Bengali modern era. Manna Dey dominated the BEngali film arena with his tremedous performance in Uttamkumar’s films “shankhobela”, “Antony firingi”,etc in the 60s and 70s.

S.D.BurmanSD Burman got involved with the Navketan Banner and composed most of his songs for that banner. But he developed an everlasting bond with Mohammad Rafi, the man with the golden voice who had an answer for the different emotions of human being, including happiness, tragedy, comedy,etc.

SD Burman had composed the songs “yeh mahalon ,yeh takhton, yeh tajho ki duniya” in the film Pyasa, 1957 and “Bichre sabhi, bari bari” in the film Kagaz ke phool, 1959, for Gurudutt, with whatever pathos he had in him. Rafi brought tears in the eyes of music lovers with his compassionate andaz.

Manna Dey sometimes had a grievance, that inspite of the classical control being possessed by him SD Burman had preferred Rafi in some of the classical compositions. In the film Meri Surat Teri Ankhen, Manna Dey gave a superlative performance with the song “Pucho na kaise maine rain bitayi.” Rafi had superceded SD Burman himself with the performance of “Tere bin sune” composed in raag Pilu which was the hindi version of SD’s own song”Ami chinu Eka basoro

In the film Tere Ghar ke saamne, 1963, SD Burman’s composition “tu kahan yeh bata”,”tere gharke saamne” “dil ka bhanwar karen pukar”and the rest of the songs combined sweetness of Rafi’s voice with the folk effect in the orchestration. In the film “Teen deviyan” Rafi’s song “aise to na dekho” and “Kahin bekhayal hoker” had Ghazal andaz.Besides Rafi’s preformance in Guide,
1965, with the songs “Tere mere sapne”, “din Dhal Jaye””Kaise kya ho gaya bewafa hogaya tere pyar me” brought out the softer side of SD Burman.

Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman
Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman

There are other songs like “Hum bekhudi me tumko pukare chale gaye” in the film kalapani,1960, where Rafi matched SD Burman himself (his bengali song was “Ghum bhulechi”) and “yeh di diwana hai” and “mehbooba teri tasveer” in te film “Isqe par zor nahin” where Rafi’s excellence is balanced with SD Burman’s orchestration.In Rajenderkumar’s film Talash, SD Burman brought out his best for Rafi in the song “Palkon ke peeche se.”

The list of songs showing Rafi’s combination with SD Burman can go on. But one thing is common, whenever SD Burman was passionate about the hindi version of his own songs, Rafi appeared in his mind automatically. Rafi’s Archive should contain SD Burman’s creation also to show the background of folk song and hindustani classical, used in the songs composed in 50s, 60s, 70s.

Souvik Chatterji - the author along with his wife, Rumi Chatterji
Souvik Chatterji – the author along with his wife, Rumi Chatterji

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81 Blog Comments to “SD Burman and Mohammad Rafi”

  1. binus2000 says:


    Just two days back I spoke to lyricists yogesh ji. I had seen hm 33
    years back at a salil da press conference and i jumped with joy
    when i found his address and details.
    yogesh penned immortals from anand and rajnigandha – both
    salil da’ movies and the song : rajnigandha phool tumhare yun hi
    mehka jaaye is a beauty and its frangrance will never end.
    yogesh is close to rafi saabs son-in-law and on rafi passing way he
    had composed a poetry in memory of rafi saan.
    I will be meeting him on 29th oct. in a programme dedicated to
    majrooh sultanpuri songs and yogesh ji will be honoured.
    any questions to be asked or any info: pls write to me and i will
    take up with him.
    and let me remind u of the illustrated weeklyarticle which u may send
    to my e.mail address..

  2. myk says:

    P. Haldar,

    Looking forward to that episode that you wanted to share :).

    I want to add one more lilting duet in this discussion. It is by Lata-Manna, “Soch Ke Yeh Gagan Jhoome” from Jyoti (1969). Manna pales in comparison to Lata in this song. It has such a sweet tune but Manna in my view falls a little short. The interesting aspect is that Manna in an interview stated that he was not SDB’s first choice for this song, but due to producer pressure SDB had to go with him.

    I don’t know but I am getting the feeling that maybe this song was meant for Lata-Rafi. Around this period, Dada was on a hit streak with Lata-Rafi duets from Jewel Thief, Aradhana, Talash and IPZN. Maybe this would have been another one in the making. Judging by the tune, I don’t think another male singer except Rafi would have done justice to it. I was disappointed when I heard Manna in this song, and was wondering what made SDB choose him, until I read the interview. Not that Manna did a completely bad job, he was good in the song, but not at the level of Lata and what Rafi could have achieved with this song.

    Can you please look into this and find out if SDB had Rafi in mind for this duet ?.

  3. myk says:

    P. Haldar,

    I totally agree, Rafi was the best choice when it came to singing “sooni” songs, in his voice they were a class apart.

    I still don’t understand SDB’s logic that if he thought Rafi was the greatest why use him so little post Gambler (1971) ?. Ok, Kishore had become popular, his second serve had clicked but what about his first serve ?. Even after the two duets from Anuraag and Abhimaan that became smashing hits and the duet from the latter which is an all-time classic ?. Dada Burman always stuck to his guns, even if Pancham went the Kishore way there was no reason for Dada to as well. With Kishore he was restricted in composing, whereas with Rafi he proved that there was no limit on what they could achieve together.

    I think ‘Badi Sooni Sooni Hai’ would have been a different composition all together had Rafi sung it. I am guessing Dada Burman would have made Rafi sing at a much different scale.

    The last solo Rafi sang for SDB was “Ae mere man main hoon magan” from Us Paar written by the same person who wrote the songs of Mili, Yogesh. This brings me to another interesting point, SDB and his lyricists. He worked with so many of the best, Shailendra, Neeraj, Hasrat, Sahir, Yogesh, Anand Bakshi, Majrooh etc. and they all were nice associations.

    What is your view of the Us Paar Rafi song ?. I feel its a beautiful song, the passion in Rafi’s voice is just amazing, full of many feelings. Many might say that the song song sounds as if RDB had a hand in orchestrating it, since it may remind some of the music of “Chala jaata hoon” from MJS, however SDB proved that he could also compose songs with racy orchestration. So in the end no matter who handled the orchestration it was still I feel vintage Dada Burman. The rest of the Us Paar albums sounds pure Dada Burman to me as well.

    There is a quote from an article on written by Pradeep Singhi in which he relates an incident. He met SDB and this is what he writes:

    “Besh toh. Eikhaane bosho” (Why don’t you sit down, come, sit here.), he beckoned and then sang the first two lines of O re maajhi, mere saajan hain us paar . “Have you heard this song?”, he enquired. When I replied in the affirmative and informed him that the film was Bandini, his face broke out into a wide grin.

    Then he hummed a few more lines of another song and, as if to test my truthfulness, asked “Ei dhun ta sunechho?” (And have you heard this tune?). The tune did not sound familiar at all and I truthfully said “No.” He gave a short chuckle in his inimitable style and said, “Ei gaan ta akhonee toh compose hoyechhe. Rafi gaaibe” . (This song has just been composed!. Rafi will sing it.) He was pulling my leg! I can’t be totally sure which tune he hummed, but I have a strong feeling it was Teri bindiya re, which was sung by Rafi Saab for Abhimaan . If so, I wonder why he didn’t name Lata.


    Maybe this song is the Us Paar song, or maybe when humming the tune of Teri Bindiya Re he just had Rafi in mind. Anyhow, my point is that SDB’s songs were always the brainchild of the master himself. No matter who was involved after or who handled what department, Dada always had the final say. There are exceptions ofcourse, and also when Dada was sick, Pancham handled most departments. However coming back to the Us Paar song, since the rest of the album sounds SDB’ish, the Rafi song to me would also fall in that category, the passion of one of the all-time greatest combinations in history: SDB and Rafi.

    Ofcourse there is always the possible scenario that once SDB thought of the tune he called Pancham and told him to go practice it with Rafi and gave him rights to work on the orchestration but right now I highly doubt it. By 1974, Pancham was no longer the official assistant, it was MDB, I am not sure about Basu-Manohari, I believe other arrangers came in. Maruti Keer was also part of the Pancham camp full-time.

  4. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 41:

    myk, here’s my response to part e of your query. Yes, “badi sooni sooni” hai is a classy composition but I don’t think it will survive the passage of time. Because of big B, it might survive for another 20 years. Some people might think it’s just an above-average composition, but if the farishta had sung, it would have been an all-time classic. I have visualized him singing this song several times in my mind’s ears, with his eyes slowly shutting and his right palm making a slight anti-clockwise twist. Rafi saab loved the word “sooni”; there was so much dard in his voice. With dada, the feeling of loneliness took on a different meaning; here’s the first song that comes to mind. Meera di passed away earlier this week, Jaidev ji and Pancham da are no longer here. Each had a role to play in this timeless classic.

    1. Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye

    Go through the comments and see what people have to say about the sd-rafi combo.

    The second song has the word “sooni” in it. Here’s rafi-dada-dadamoni in action:

    2. Tere bin sooni nain hamare

    Imagine any other singer singing these songs. Would the effect have been the same? Didn’t the farishta also sing “mahal udaas aur galiyaan sooni”. Was the nightingale able to match Rafi saab’s dard and udaasi? (Mr. Bharatan, are you listening? Stop writing like a moron.)

  5. myk says:

    Also, would like to add that SDB’s albums always sound so fresh and modern, and never dated. This is one of the great points about the genius composer.

  6. myk says:

    Thanks for your reply P. Haldar, it is very interesting. I also rank ‘Phoolon Ke Rang Se’ very high. SDB knew how to bring out the best in Kishore’s voice, he sounds different under Dada, he didn’t even sound that particular way under Pancham. The two MD’s whom I feel Kishore sounded unique for are SDB and RR. He sounded nice for others too, but these two knew how to bring out the best in his voice. For Rafi who had the best voice of all past and resent, SDB also knew how to bring out the best in him. Add to this he gave Rafi a particular crooning style that was different from other MD’s.

    Looking forward to your reply on the other points. Btw if possible can you please mail me offline the bengali song names by SDB that were converted into hindi songs.

    Can you please respond to these other points as well:

    f) Although L-P feel that Pancham was more talented than his father, I beg to differ. SDB was more talented than his son, and in my view the greatest ever composing talent to come out of Bengal, edging out Salil, Hemant etc. He was outstanding and also had great command over western music too, maybe not as experimental in this department as his son, but still a strong grip. Add to this his ability to compose in all other genres, he was the complete composer. What do you say ?.

    g) If there ever is one composer where the ration of quality to quantity is high, that is SDB. He didn’t want to work on too many films at once and wanted to focus on quality which was a wise move. From his debut to the mid seventies you will find majority quality albums. Take the period from his debut to around 1955, the quality stands out with Afsar, Baazi, Sazaa, Jaal etc. Then 1955-1965 look at the amazing albums, just to name a few, Pyaasa, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Funtoosh, NDG, Guide, Teen Devian, BERK, TGKS, Kala Bazar, Kala Pani, Bandini, Ziddi etc. Then 1965-1975, again with Talaash, IPZN, Aradhana, Gambler, TMS, Sharmilee, Anuraag, Abhimaan etc. an awesome career. He may not have been commercially the most successful (like SJ or LP) even though his albums may have been blockbusters in sales, he still was supreme. Your opinion please.

    h) What is your opinion on SDB and the ghazal genre ?.

    i) If SDB had been alive to witness the turn of events that happened from 76 onwards, what do you think he would have done with his first serve (Rafi) ?.

    My aplogies if there are too many points to respond to, its just that SDB is a very interesting MD and IMO there’s no better authority to ask than you Mr. Haldar.

    Also (correct me if I’m wrong), SDB had to give up Love In Tokyo, Gumnaam and Baharen Phir Bhi Aayenge due to his bad health.

  7. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 41:

    myk, here’s my response to part c of your query. sd was influenced by many styles, but primarily by dhrupad (a classical form), folk, nazrul geeti and rabindra sangeet. Within folk itself, he was influenced by bhatiyali (the bengali boatman song typified by his “maajhi” songs) and the folk music of the northeast (Assam, Tripura, Manipur).

    No, Rafi didn’t sing any of his Bengali songs. sd used to sing his compositions himself, but he would sing it in a style that was totally different from the Hindi version. Those songs were meant for the bengali milieu. In that respect, he was very different from Salil. The bengali versions of Salil’s songs were identical in tune to the Hindi versions. Mostly, these dual versions were sung by Lata, but there were exceptions, e.g., Hemant’s “amai proshno kore neel dhrubatara” was sung by Mukesh in Hindi, “kahin door jab din dhal jaye”.

    As far as sd is concerned, some of his major Hindi film hits were sung in Bengali by him (Pyaasa, Kala Pani, MSTA, Anuraag, IPZN, etc.). It’s three days after Kishore da’s 20th death anniversary, so I am going to cite his “Phoolon ki rang se, dil ki kalam se” from Prem Pujari, where sd served an ace with his second serve. I consider this song to be in Kishore’s top 5 and one of the top 10 songs of the 70s. The Bengali version was penned by Mira Dev Burman and sung by the maestro himself. If you ever get the chance, listen to sd’s: “barne gondhe chhonde geetite, hridoye diyechho dola… “.

    I’ll talk more about the SD-Rafi relationship later; I’ll share an episode that will surprise most of you. But I first need to verify the source.

  8. binus2000 says:

    Post 42 : Some discussions are underway on Badi sooni soone hai,
    sung by KK to be a just above average song.
    What about Chingari koi badhke? Is the voice not extra hoarse as
    reported by music lovers.
    according to me a nice superb song has been – wasted with due
    apologies to lovers of this song.
    I have asked two singers to record this number in Rafi style and
    they have promised that they would do it. I am waiting to hear
    this number.
    I also strongly feel that r.d.burman should have recorded this number
    in the voices of rafi and Kishore just as shankar-jaikishan had recorded
    ‘ ehsaan tera hoga mujh par ” in the voices of lata & rafi.
    and in my opinion although r.d.burman played favourites in the song
    ‘tum bin jaaon kahan’, kishore and rafi both excelled in the rendition
    and it’s very difficult to differentiate between the two numbers.

    binu nair.. ////mumbai/////

  9. myk says:

    P. Haldar,

    for point e) it should read:

    I see you rank the song “Badi Sooni Sooni Hai” as a classy composition just in itself, maybe not as a classy composition with KK singing it, even though it is good. In your opinion what Rafi-SD songs are similar to this Kishore song from Mili ?.

  10. myk says:

    Hi P. Haldar,

    Looking forward to your response about my previous post. In the mean time I would like to add some more things, can you please respond to these points as well:

    a) Firstly, can you please tell me more about what SDB said about Rafi, it is very interesting. I read that before they recorded a song, SDB would practice the composition with Rafi in his car. SDB’s driver was one lucky person to have witnessed and heard the two maestro’s practicing magical masterpieces. This is definitely one of the most greatest partnerships in HFM history, the greatest singer with one of the ultimate composers.

    b) Secondly, Rafi is given one song per film after IPZN in 1970. Could not SDB have created a Rafi song in Sharmilee, Naya Zamana, TMS and other films ?. Rafi’s brilliance under Dada is spotted in Abhimaan, Anuraag, Gambler and Us Paar (this song has RDB touches, maybe he handled the recording here even though SDB was capable of composing such fast songs) among others.

    c) Next, was SDB’s style more Rabindra Sangeet or was it another style rooted in Bengali music ?. Has Rafi sung any of SDB’s compositions in Bengali and not just the Hindi version of an original Bengali song ?.

    d) Why did SDB pay hardly any attention to Mukesh or Suman ?. Even though his repetoire is amazing already, the two singers could have added nicely to it. What made him not use these two singers more often ?.

    e) I see you rank the song “Badi Sooni Sooni Hai” as a classy composition just in itself, maybe not as a KK composition even though it is good. In your opinion what Rafi-SD songs are similar to this Kishore song from Mili ?.

  11. P. Haldar says:

    myk, welcome back. Give me a few days and I’ll try to respond to you as best as I can.

  12. myk says:

    Mr. Raju Korti,

    It’s great to know that you are a journalist. You have a lot of inside information which is great and interesting to know.

    The SDB-Rafi angle is also a very interesting topic. It is true that SDB preferred Rafi over KK but why after 1970 did SDB decide to use Rafi so sparingly ?. Some of SDB’s best abums also came post 1970 but here the ‘Rafi touch’ is missing.

    I remember Mr. Haldar had discussed this and had replied to a query of mine that SDB had a ‘serve’ method. On the female side he used Lata and Geeta early on, when he had an argument with Lata, dropped her and started using Asha along with Geeta. Soon Geeta slowly started fading out and when he patched up with Lata, Asha was forced out. On the male side Rafi was hardly used by Burman Dada early on, it was mostly Hemant, Kishore and Manna along with Mukesh and Talat. Then he dropped them all for Rafi and this partnership was the greatest for SD. After Aradhana when KK became popular, he dropped Rafi and KK became his primary singer. SD mentioned this serve ‘method’ in the Filmfare Raju Bharatan article I have.

    We had Abhimaan which was the perfect album to have Rafi’s vocals for all the male songs. Just one “Teri Bindiya Re” was enough to show what Rafi could have done had he sung the rest of the score. How about Sharmilee, I listen to “Kaise Kahen Hum”, “Khilte Hain Gul Yahan” and “Aaj Madhosh Hua” and wonder what SDB was thinking here using Kishore, and that too for Shashi Kapoor. Prem Pujari had no Rafi for Dev even though KK did a excellent job with “Phoolon Ke Rang Se” and “Shokhiyon Mein Ghola Jaaye”.

    SD was a mighty MD, one of the most knowledgeable and greatest. Although RD was very talented, SD in my view was better. Also, what made SD a better MD was his use of Rafi, something RD didn’t follow. SD was also strong on western music and has proved it in many of his compositions.

    Can you, Mr. Haldar or others answer my query please. I would like to know if Manohari Singh was a regular saxophone player for K-A ?. K-A’s use of the santoor and their light music style reminds me of SDB even though it was totally K-A in nature.

    Kishore did sing “Badi Badi Sooni Sooni Hai” well, but I don’t think he did maximum justice to the tune. KK listed this Mili song in his Top 10 of All Time.
    Rafi was the perfect choice for this type of song.

    I have also read that SD didn’t want Manna for “Soch Ke Yeh Gagan” from Jyoti but due to producer pressure he had to go with it. I am getting the feeling that if SD had his way, it would have been Rafi here. Such a beautiful and versatile tune, Rafi was the only one who could have matched Lata here, Manna falls short.

    The song from Us Paar “Aye Mere Man” sounds totally RDB influenced to me even though SDB could compose a song like that. Rafi is at his best here, his voice is magical.

    I think the Kishore songs for SD pale in comparision to the Rafi songs for Burman Dada. Try finding five SD-KK songs that can match these five:

    Aise To Na Dekho – Teen Devian
    Tere Mere Sapne – Guide
    Khoya Khoya Chand – Kala Bazar
    Mera Man Tera Pyaasa – Gambler
    Hum Bekhudi Mein – Kala Pani

  13. Raju Korti says:

    my dearest binuji
    i will not talk about any individual song. there was no song composed on this earth, worth his/her salt by any composer that rafi wouldn’t have elevated to the heavenly level. why talk of chingaari koi bhadke alone? i am convinced all those songs that rafi did not sing and went to other singers was just as well. let others share some limelight as well. it is sheer hypothetical to talk about rafi being able to sing songs that went to others. we can never imagine the dimensions that rafi’s boundless genius would have lent to any song. there are some things left best to imagination. afterall there is one only one sun. stars are many, why talk about if a particular star would have become sun? you get my point?
    regards. and thanks. you are doing great service to the phenomenon called rafi.

  14. binus2000 says:

    Raju Korti Ji…

    U are an inside man : hence ur analysis and the reported facts
    stand out.
    I need your views on the song ” chingaari koi badhke ” if it was
    sung by rafi saab.
    some how , I find the song too hoarse to listen to and i put off
    the radio when ever it is sounded.
    My nephew : born 1980 : surprisingly echoed the same feelings
    to me recently. I think rafi saab would have turned this
    in to a masterpiece like the : kya se kya ho gaya or the din dhal
    jaaye. This song going to KK is one more serious blemish on the
    part of r.d.burman mis-reading the “voice culture” required for a
    serious song.
    More, a composer friend says : Kishore used to call rafi to the
    studios and tell the producer that ” this song would be sung by
    rafi, and leave the place ” . KK was truly magnanimous but some
    songs he has taken which is beyond his capacities is my considered
    i seek ur valued comments.

    Binu Nair

  15. P.Narayanan says:

    Haldar da,
    I also had the same feeling with the MILI song badhi sooni…….wherein the Burmans made an error in judgement and also in the films like Sharmilee,Tere mere sapne,Jugnu { Chakkida n Dharam], Naya Zamana …..
    Only saving grace was Gambler,Anurag,Abimaan,Chupke Chupke and one more song which goes like this ‘ Aye mere man mere magan …. do not recollect the film.
    Also in Prem Pujari n Jewel Thief Rafi saab songs were restricted and I have no clue… Can anyone highlight the same?.
    Also a leading organiser of music shows in Mumbai mentioned that Rafi -SD Burman till 1969 till Aradhana was a mind bogling 90 films out of SDB’s 130 films .. But after 69 it became very meagre…..

  16. P.Narayanan says:

    Excellent Interactions and valuable analysis Haldarda,Raju Korti sir,Shirish,Binu,Both the Murty garus……..
    As mortal beings we have only one birth to live and hence this passion towards reverred Rafi saab and his fruitful musical journey with another great maestro Burman da…
    Infact Iam wondering if our Guide hero would have become so famed in the 50s n 60s without the great combination of Rafi-SD Burman duo…..
    All the songs were superlative hits and please remember that Rafi saab was competing with himself in the Shankar-Jaikishen, OPN,MM,Roshan,Naushad,LP, combo….. to deliver the best.
    No wonder the Guide hero won 2 filmfare awards in the same film n kala Paani where Rafisaab had a major role to play….
    It is different note that the actor is ungrateful and… that Rafi saab n his legion of fans cared.
    But the hero has expressed that for any sentimental songs Burman da’s automatic choice was Rafi saab and no one else….

  17. KS Ramachandran says:

    Dear Shirish,
    Well said. But ironically, I seem to have enjoyed those days when in Kolkata, during my school days, I used to struggle to make up Rs 1. 40 paise to get a rear stall ticket to see even during 60’s and 70’s, old movies like Deedhar, baiju Bawra etc. I dont know if anyone would agree wiht me that there was much disposable time during 60’s and 70’s for many of us to sit back, listen and enjoy every minute, little, little and tiny things in life which are evergreen and which we can cherish for a lifetime even today. Electronic gadgets, and other technological advancements have given us the much needed comfort (without which we wont be communicating so easily today!) but alongwith has also given us the speed of life with deteriorating quality and value systems…]
    When things are easily available in abundance, one seem to lose interest….
    Best regards
    KS Ramachandran 98410-71388, Chennai, India

  18. RAMAKRISHNA says:

    REF POST 30,




  19. Raju Korti says:

    righe again, mr haldar. but first things first. the reason i have a lot of inside information is because of my profession. i am journalist of 28 years of standing, apart from the fact that i love old film music in particular and rafi in all passion. now about your query on badi sooni sooni hai. there is little doubt that kk sang it exceptionally well. he always did that when he was under sdb’s incomparable baton. all of kk’s majority best songs are courtesy sdb. kk himself has gone on record saying that. i had the chance of meeting kk a couple of years before he passed away. he was an eccentric and impulsive person, but when it came to sdb, he would be all seriousness. when he asked me which was the best song he had sung for sdb, i told him most of them were very good. but on an impulse i said phoolon ke rang se from prem pujari was the best. kk suddenly turned misty-eyed and said i was spot on. the point iam trying to make here is while sdb could control kk, rdb’s penchant for trying something maverick made kk spiral out of control. in case of the mili song, the tune had already been conceived by sdb, who was always a man of convictions and who held the hindusthani music flag aloft. but then sdb who had been suffering an indifferent health, left the job to be completed by rdb. you are right when you say that had it been rafi, the song would have enhanced manifold because unlike kk, rafi had the “najaakat” to sing such soft songs. there is, of course, no way comparing rafi and kk as some poeple do it (either to stir up a needless debate or out of sheer ignorance). comparing kk with rafi is like comparing the sun with a lightworm (i am sure kk fans will start groaning). i mean just that because kk showed only flashes of briliance whie rafi shone with blinding brilliance all the time. an ordinary song always looked ordinary with kk but with rafi, even an ordinary song was elevated to the highest pedestal. we all know why, so no need to go into the analysis.
    coming to the point, sdb being sdb, was sure about who was going to sing his composition. invariably the tune decided it. but there was another yardstick that sdb employed and this is where the genius of sdn showed. he would call up rafi or kishore and decide on the basis of the voice heard on the phone. if rafi didn’t sound too well to him and the tune was made for rafi, he would alter it a little to suit it for kk. that is iff kk sounded better on phone. all this did not detract sdb from the fact that the dice was always loaded in favour of rafi. there were other fractors too. for instance if kk was himself in the role, obviously it had to be kk (ex chalti ka naam gaadi). if it was dev anand, the dice sometimes fell in kk’s favour. here, i must make two points. first, sdb always said that though he was fond of kk, he acknowledged that rafi was miles ahead and heads and shoulders above. second, even dev anand did not have the guts to question burmandada. that’s why (and contrary to misconception) it was rafi who sang more songs for dev anand than kk did. even in a film like gambler, where it was kk all the way, sdb realised that he couldn’t do without rafi in mera man tera pyaasa. ditto for aradhana where kk got away with big hits, but the vintage sb tunes were reserved for rafi (gun guna rahe hai and baghon mein bahar hai). remember only sdb had the gumption to get rafi sing for rajesh khanna and dev anand even in their prime.
    just how firm sdb was in his mind can be guaged from the sujata example. dada wanted only rafi to sing jalte hain jiske liye. but when bimalda (roy) said if they could explore talat’s vocals, sdb was so displeased that to keep bimalda’s word, he grudgingly got talat to sing and told him curtly: “look this was rafi song, but i am giving it to you. please do’t mess my song.” talat swallowed these words and went on to gave one the biggest hits of his career.
    all the same one wonders what rafi would have done with the song. surely, it would have been a disc worth its weight in gold. it was an irony of sorts that later, talat who had recorded for chitragupta the full song “chal ud ja re panchhi” found to his dismay that the song was re-recorded in rafi’s voice a few days before the release of the movie. and rafi turned it into a masterpiece the way only he could do it. similar things happened with dilip kumar’s aadmi and rajendra kumar’s paalki too. but in all these cases it was a case of all-is-well-that-ends-well story.
    that’s the way it woud all happen. as for rdb’s pitch for trying something modern, sdb was vocal that his son, if not reined in properly, would go astray. everybody knows what happened to rdb later. years after his prime, he was making do with one kumar sanu (1942 a love story) who can at best be described as kk’s 1000th xerox. destiny is a great leveller.

  20. Ref: Post 27
    Dear Mr. Raju Sahab,
    You are a true Rafi Sahab fan. Many people have a treasure trove of Rafi Sahabs songs and videos and indulge in either trading them or indulging in show casing them. But it is nice to know that you are different from them. Your name will go in the annals of history, for this noble gesture of yours.
    You have truly imbibed Rafi Sahab’s qualty of co-operation rather than competetion!.
    We will all wait for next couple of months with bated breath. Let his voice explode all over and let every ear be fortunate to savour his voice.

    Shirish Kulkarni
    98204 52562

  21. Ref: Post 24
    Dear Haldar Sahab,
    Your humility is at view once again. Your passion for Rafi Sahab shines through every word (Alfaaz) that you write. The other day i was telling my friends that the only source of listening to Rafi Sahab’s songs (for that matter any songs) were either at the barber’s place or waiting outside some hotels that had a radio. We were poor by way of money, but our passion was rich. We had no option but to visualise the songs. So when the power went off we used to sing “Chirrag dil ha Jalao, bohout andhera hai”, when we had to thank somebody we used to say “Ehsaan mere dil pe tumhara hai dosto”, when we became sad we said “Jab bhi eh dil udaas hota hai”, when we used to dream ” Koun hai jo sapno main aaya”, when we saw a pretty face “Teri pyaari pyaari surat ko”, lovely eyes used to evoke ” Hum ko to jaan se pyaari hai tumhari aankhen”, Heart breaks would evoke “Pathar ke sanam tujhe hum ne”, bad times were to sing “Raha gardishon main” and so many other songs for all occasions. The list is endless!
    Before i sign off, will it not be right for me to say:
    “Chale the saath milke, chalange saath milke, tumhe rukna padega, meri awaz sunke”

    Shirish Kulkarni

  22. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Dear Haldaar Saab,

    Very true. Raat Akeli Hai from Jewel Thief was another good number from SD so also Jalte Hain Jiske Liye from the same movie. All these four songs were unique and were not on the lines of the Cabaret numbers of other MDs including RD. These songs did not have loud music and were melodious.

  23. Raju Korti says:

    well, to be serious mr haldar, i think you are great. the kind of odds that you have overcome to become a rafi lover needs genuine appreciation. i grew up to be a rafi lover during my kg days in 1961 when the numero uno was as it his crescendo. by the way the kaise kahoon song man mohan man mein.. has rafi, sd batish and suman kalyanpur, not lata.

  24. Raju Korti says:

    thanks to all the true rafi devotees out there. as for mr haldar saheb, i was only writing in lighter vein. in fact, i am a lesser mortal too. what i meant to say was we are all like-minded people devoted to the common chord called rafi. afterall, there are few people in this world who continue to bring such dazzling sunshine to our otherwise strife-torn lives. long time back, i had the privilege of meeting well known hindi writer gulshan nanda. he was so succint in his choice of words for rafi. said he: whenever the dead will have to woken from their slumber, whenever a mob intent on violence will have to be brought back to sanity and whenever all evils will have to be banished from this world, it will be only rafi’s heavenly voice that can achieve it. that tribute, though metaphorical, shows what rafi’s voice was capable of. it is to the matestro’s credit that he has brought all of us under one umbrella. i know of so many people who have great rafi collection, but they prefer to stifle that voice by keeping the whole gamut of the legend to be savoured by pests and cockroaches. my collection is meant for all rafi lovers. in his life time, rafi’s voice did not miss even a note for pecuniary consideration. the only service i can do, the only debt i can repay to this noble soul is to share this rich inheritance with all of you. just wait for a couple of months. the mountainous rafi range would be echoing in all your houses.

  25. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Korti, I have a question for you since you seem to have a lot of inside information about the Burmans. Do you know the real story behind “badi sooni sooni re”? I felt like crying after watching Mili, not because Jaya Bhaduri died but because that song went to Kishore. I remember cursing SD (god forgive me for I knew not what I was doing) and asking my friend, a diehard SD fan, “suddha’r mathai ki bhimroti hoyechhe?” (Has the old man gone mad?). Years later, I read that rd got the song recorded because sd was sick. My question to you is this: When SD conceived the tune, did he have rafi or kishore in mind? I haven’t heard anything specific on this song, but if you have any background information, I’d love to know. Kishore sang this song very well, but up to the point where his voice could take him. Rafi would have transformed this song to another “hum bekhudi mein”, to one more of his “sooni” songs. Imagine rafi delivering the following words: “badi sooni sooni re”! This song, along with “Tum jo mil gaye ho”, would have been two of the greatest songs of the 70s. Why couldn’t kishore in his magnanimous way told rd, “yeh gaana mujhse nahin hoga re pancham, tu rafi saab ko bula le”?

  26. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 21:

    mr. guru murthy, don’t forget “raat akeli hai” delivered by seductive Tanuja in Jewel Thief. Though set in a bedroom and not in a bar, it can qualify as a cabaret number.

  27. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Korti, please don’t confuse me with a great man. I am an ordinary person; the only thing great about me is my extraordinary passion for the one and only Rafi saab. Have been like this ever since I was 12. Growing up in a middle-class Bengali household where Hindi films were taboo and where Rabindra sangeet and Western music were staple, it would be difficult for most of you to imagine how I became a Rafian at such a young age. In fact, I was addicted to his voice much before I saw his picture. I used to stand in line for hours to purchase tickets for his concerts. The younger generation would never even appreciate what we had to go through — forget about internet and youtube, there was no tv in kolkata those days.

  28. A S MURTY says:

    Mr. Raju Korti, I did get to see your name earlier and in recent times, you have given most valuable comments and I fondly hope that the ideas that you have must surely be implemented by all the RAFIANS, for not every one of us can have such wonderful thoughts and with so much knowledge. I also look forward to your collection of songs which you are now compiling and would like to lay my hands on them. Pls do remember to email and contact me at or 093912 67272 (Hyderabad). Also whatever you, Mr. Binu, Mr. Shirish Kulkarni or others from the Rafi Foundation would take up, we from Hyderabad too are solidly behind and with you always. Let us all do things in a most befitting way for as we all know, the time lost now will never come again. All the very best in your endeavours.

  29. Raju Korti says:

    mr haldar, i think we are going to be great friends. afterall, great men always think alike. very soon, i hope to share all my rafi collection — which is almost all his songs — with fellow admirers (for free). presently, i am in the process of converting all my audio cassettes (and all songs are from the original soundtrack) into cds. this will make management easier and i will be able to provide any song to whoever is interested in.

  30. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Dear Haldaar Saab,

    Thank you very much for your post 15. “Man Mohan Man Me Ho Tumhi” as you have written is a wonderful classical composition. I was missing the lyrics as the song is more than 40 years old but still it was there in my sub-conscious mind as a wonderful song.

    As far as SDB is concerned how many including his son could compose two wonderful cabaret numbers – “Karle Pyaar Karle Ke Din Hai Yehi” from TALAASH and “Reshami Ujala Hai” from SHARMILEE. Perhaps, these are the only two cabaret numbers composed by SDB in his long career, but still can be counted as two of the best songs in that category in Indian film music.

  31. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Korti has mentioned some wonderful compositions by SD. I have included links for three of them for your viewing pleasure.

    The first one, Apni to har aah ek toofan hai, is abolutely brilliant. Somehow this song got overshadowed by khoya khoya chand. Shailendra’s lyrics are so deceptively written; is uparwallah god or waheeda?

    The second one Mr. Korti mentions, teri dhun har kahin, is a much lesser known song from the same film; how wonderfully rafi saab sings “lai lai lai”:

    The third, Chupke se mile pyase pyase, is a duet with Geeta; this song is set in a conversational mode, something that sd was expert at. Pancham must have played the mouth organ in this piece.

  32. unknow1 says:

    SD was great but was greater when he used Mohd rafi as I think

  33. Raajkumar Akela says:

    Congratulations to one and all on the launching of “SARGAM”…
    a musical gift from our Mumbai Rafians. My hearty well-wishes
    to those who have toiled behind this. I am dying to see it. Hope
    to read something untouched on Rafi Saab’s life in it. My best
    regards to Rafians all over the globe.

  34. Raju Korti says:

    dear shirish
    believe me, the pleasure is mine too. today, i spoke to binuji and made this point in very many words. we all hero-worship rafi, but we must realise that there is no barometer which can describe any person as a greater or lesser rafi lover. the maestro throbs in our heart and it is up to us to savour the treasure trove that he left us in a magnificent legacy. let’s do something different, markedly different from the cliched way we are going about the whole thing. i mean, it is all too easy to belt out some typical numbers and go home in the fond belief that we paid a handsome tribute to the man. it’s time we digressed from this beaten track and bring out the rafi brilliance in its true and pristine glory. i have some off beat ideas, which i sincerely feel will make a big impression on the cognoscenti. let’s not be bogged down by the fact that singing lesser known numbers will fail to pull the crowd. in fact, there are any number of vintage rafi songs that are guaranteed to get the heartstrings. i am sure even an obscure rafi song will penetrate anybody’s heart. such is the virtuosity of the great man. i can reel out all these numbers. the question is who will sing them at the cost of playing to the gallery?
    i am sorry if i have hurt anyone by these remarks, but let’s please, please pay a tribute to rafi that even he up there appreciates in letter and spirit

  35. P. Haldar says:

    Apart from Bhismadev Chattopadhyay, SD’s teachers included K. C. Dey (Manna Dey’s uncle) and Ustad Badal Khan. He also considered Ustad Allaudin Khan — arguably the greatest figure in Hindustani classical music in the 20th century — his guru. Baba Allaudin Khan had three children: Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, Annapurna Devi and Pt. Ravi Shankar (adopted). It is rumoured that Annapurna Devi (surbahar/beena) withdrew because of the “abhiman” played out in real life with her then husband Ravi Shankar. Apparently, she was the best among the three children! Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia is one of her famous students.

  36. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 12:

    Mr. Guru Murthy, I think the classical song you are referring to from Kaise Kahun is “Man mohan man mein ho tumhi”, sung by Batish, Lata and Rafi. It’s a wonderful composition.

  37. Ref: post 11
    Dear Mr. Raju,
    You have raised a very pertinent point. The repertoire of Rafi Sahab’s songs need to be fully exploited not only for our listening pleasure, but for perpetruating his memory. You have rightly said that we keep on hovering around a bunch of famous songs, when a complete tree of songs that can be savoured are available with us. We need to compile such songs and present it in front of music lovers.. I am prepared to assist you in any way in this endeavour. Needless to say, if you wish to take any assistance. You can contact me on 98204 52562.
    I have always enjoyed your writings. Your love for Rafi Sahab just sneaks out of every word you write about him. While i am not that erudite, i am prepared to go that extra mile for our Rafi Sahab.
    It was also a great pleasure to meet you recently during Sargam magazine launch at mumbai.
    Shirish Kulkarni

  38. P. Haldar says:

    Souvik, I have to say that I was a little disappointed with this article. You have devoted very little space to this titan in many film music, whom many consider to the greatest music director ever. I won’t be surprised if his fan following in Maharashtra is greater than in Bengal (where the orkut babes have taken to his son in a big way). Sachin Tendulkar was named after the maestro.

    Like SJ, SD was versatile in every respect. He could compose in every idiom (except perhaps qawaalis). While SJ used a variety of male playback singers, their female oeuvre is totally Lata-centric. SD also used all the male singers (Talat, Hemant, Kishore, Manna, Rafi and Mukesh), though he never really cared much for Mukesh. But see what he has done with female singers. He produced gem after gem for Geeta, Lata and Asha. In terms of the use of lyricists, he used Sahir, Shakeel, Majrooh, Hasrat, Shailendra, Neeraj, Gulzar, Yogesh, Anand Bakshi! I don’t know of anyone who has used so many lyricists. The interesting thing to note about him is that whether Lata sang for him or not, whether Jaidev or RD stopped working with him, whether there was some wave or not, he never lost his connect with the people. His songs were always popular.

    You have mentioned only Bhismadev Chattopadhyay as his guru. There were many other influences in his life; I’ll write about them when I get more time. On the Eastern side of the Ballygunge Lakes, if you proceed further east from Buddha Mandir, is the counterpart of his Jet Bungalow in Kolkata. You can call it a music mandir given the number of music stalwarts who used to visit that place. Incidentally, chhote nawab grew up in that house. On the other side of the lakes, behind Menoka cinema hall, was Hemant Kumar’s house. And a couple of miles to the northeast, was Salil Chowdhury’s house.

  39. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Kaise Kahun also had three more wonderful songs. Duet with Asha “Kisike Mohabbat Me”, solo “Zindagi Ko Zhoom Le Jara” and another classical song sung by Rafi and Asha.

  40. Raju Korti says:

    Rafi is a virtually a free flowing ocean of music. Unfortunately, we admirers of this keep singing the same ‘bhajans’ in his praise. SDB composed some finest melodies that had strains of Ravindra music. The table, the santoor and the flute were all part of their unbeatable repertoire. Remember the 1964 film Benazir where Rafi went so majestically on a mischievously smiling Shashi Kapoor: “Dil mein ek jaane tamanna ne jagah payee hai.” In Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Rafi sang the saqme ” Sun le tu dil ki sada..” in two parts and was so astonishingly resonant. In Kala Bazaar it was evergreen Dev Anand and his sidekick Rashid Khan singing: Teri dhoom har kahin”, not to speak of “Apni to har aah ek toofan hai” and duet with Geeta “Rimjim ke taraane leke aayee barsaat”. In Nau Do Gyaarah there were two Rafi-Asha duets: “Aaja panchi akela hai and Kali ke roop mein chali ho dhoop mein..”
    Remember Meri Surat Teri Aankhen where protagonist Ashok Kumar sang in Rafi’s mesmeric style: Nache man more (Pt Saamta Prasad was on tabla) and the wonderful duet: Tere bin soone, nain hamare..”
    In Insaan Jaag Utha, it was Sunil Dutt who had to lean on Rafi in that lilting melody: Chaand sa mukhda kyun sharmaya.” And then that funny number: Yeh chanda roos ka, na yeh japan ka..” I could go on and on. Here are some more Rafi greats under SDB:
    1)Saathi na koyi manzil: Bambai Ka Babu
    2)Deewana mastana hua dil: Bambai Ka Babu
    3)Chupke se mile pyaase pyaase: Manzil
    4)Yehi to hai woh: Solva Saal
    5)Akela hoon mai: Baat Ek Raat Ki
    6)Aaj ka din hai pheeka pheeka: Baat Ek Raat Ki
    7)Dil ka dard nirala: Kaise Kahoon.
    8)Tang aa chuke hai: couplets from Pyaasa

    I can list many more. Please get these immortal songs also in public memory. The more known are repeatedly reeled out.

  41. shashank says:

    SDBurman gave great & melodious songs with Mohdrafi in many films. Like my favourite “Tere Mere Sapne, ab ek rang hai”, “Nach Man mora” and other songs. He was a great music composer who used rafisahab most in Devanand’s films. So, his association with rafisahab was great & finally his last song with rafi was “Saregama” of the film “Chupke Chupke” duet with Kishoreda, in that film also he brought another singer to sing Mukesh & Lata the song “Bago mein phool kilte hai”, marvellous music director.

  42. RAMAKRISHNA says:

    ref post 7 ,

    gurumurty garu,

    we are very fortunate sir that we are born during that period when rafi sahab was putting his heart and soul to give us the best melodies. we are the most fortunate people sir.

    I feel pity on this generation that they dont know the meaning of melody since it has become a shadow of rafi sahab in heaven.

  43. parveen says:

    pyar hua iqraar was sung by mannadey and lata.

  44. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    I do not know how I missed songs of KALA BAZAAR in my earlier comments. Songs like “Khoya Khoya Chaand” and “Apni To Har Aah” are still fresh and lilting. And the duet with Geetha Dutt “Rim Zhim Ke Tarane Leke” is one of the best picturised duet in Indian film Industry perhaps next only to “Pyaar Hua Ikraar Hua” of SHREE 420. We just cannot forget Dev and Waheeda under an Umbrella, just walking, their eyes revealing so many hidden feelings, but unable to express openly, the song coming in the background. Alas, we hardly get any thing like these songs now.

  45. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    I would like to add “Mera Man Tera Pyaasa” from GAMBLER, “Hum Bekhudi Me Tumko Pukare” from KALA PAANI, “Saathi Na Koi Manzil” and “Deewana Mastana” from BAMBAI KA BABU, “Sunle Tu Dilki Sada” from TERE GHAR KE SAAMNE, “Gungunarahen Hain Bhanwar” from ARADHANA, “Kali Ke Roopme” and “Aaja Panchi Akela Hai” from NAU DO GYARAH, “Achaji Me Haari Chalo”, all other songs of PYAASA like “Hum Aapki Aankhon Me”, “Sar Jo Tera Chakraye”, “Yeh Kooche Yeh Neelaam”, and with minimum music “Yeh Hanste Huye Phool”, “Game Is Qadar” and “Tang Aa Chuke Hain” as well as the songs of JIDDI starring Joy Mukherjee like “Champa Kali”, Janoo Kya” and “Pyaar Ki Manzil” to the above list.

  46. K.S. Ramachandran says:

    Dear Sirs,

    Just thought I will share some more audio clippings of my rafi numbers which I had recorded earlier. The first song is “Phalakpe Jitne Sitarehn Hain” from “Mere Huzoor” and the second one is “Aaj Purani Raahonse” from “Aadmi”.
    Hope you all like it. Please let me have your honest comments, which I would welcome for my own improvement.

    K.S. Ramachandran
    Office: Chief Financial Officer, Secova eServices Limited, Meridian House, 121/3, Manickam Avenue, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600 018; Tel: INDIA -91-44-2499 2252 Extn: 117; Fax: 91-44-2467 0625; US – +1-732.836.3800 Extn: 7120; email:
    Residence: “Amritha”, 2nd Floor, E58A, 21st Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090, India. Res Tel: 044-2446 8896 /044-2446 1790; Mobile: 98410-71388 email:;

  47. heloo i whant pleas only Bhajans mohd rafi sab sant email for mee

  48. Raajkumar Akela says:

    Journalist Vinod Viplav has published an article in “THE HINDU” and said
    that somethings just refuse to go out of fashion. This is 100 percent right
    in the case of legendary vocalist Rafi Saab. Time will change..people will
    change..thinkings will change..theories will will change
    …music will change…but the magic of Rafi Saab’s miraculous voice will
    never change and it will bewitch the coming generations for centuries and

  49. K.S. Ramachandran says:

    Dear Rafians,
    I just thought I will share a small video clipping of my performance in Chennai a while ago. It was only an attempt to sing “Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj”, from the film “Baiju Bawra” sung by our great Rafi Sahab in Raag Malkosh. Please forgive me if I have made any mistake in the rendition…I only hope you can view the video. I would appreciate comments and suggestions and also if you are able to view the video.

    Thanks and regards
    K.S. Ramachandran
    Office: Chief Financial Officer, Secova eServices Limited, Meridian House, 121/3, Manickam Avenue, TTK Road, Alwarpet, Chennai 600 018; Tel: INDIA -91-44-2499 2252 Extn: 117; Fax: 91-44-2467 0625; US – +1-732.836.3800 Extn: 7120; email:
    Residence: “Amritha”, 2nd Floor, E58A, 21st Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090, India. Res Tel: 044-2446 8896 /044-2446 1790; Mobile: 98410-71388 email:;

  50. Hussein Sheikh says:

    SD and Rafi Saheb made best songs. Their songs are countless and unforgettable.

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