Sharab & Saagar
The article is penned down by Mr. Mohan S Murdeshwar and Mr. Nitin D Dhareshwar
Koyee Sagar Dil Ko Behelata Nahee, Bekhudi Mein Bhee Karaar Ata Nahee
Any music buff especially close to old Hindi film songs would have heard many times over and enjoyed the evergreen number “Saawan ke mahine mein ek aag see seene mein lagti hai tho pee leta hoon dho char ghadi jee leta hoon” (from the film “Sharabi” under the music composition of Madan Mohan) so poignantly rendered by the legendary Mohammed Rafi in his mellifluous voice over half a century ago and continues to haunt every troubled soul seeking a desperate liberation from worldly miseries.
The simple words of “SAAGAR” and “SHARAB” indeed have some equation with the Melody King – who in his life time remained a strict and most disciplined teetotaler despite being an inseparable part of the film fraternity, well known for hosting late night parties at the drop of a hat. To think that Rafi Sahab could so effectively induce such deep rooted pathos in equal measure into the hearts of those who had a weakness for wine as also those who shunned it – is a huge tribute to his golden voice and his aversion to be a party man !! What a superlative quality indeed!!! To be so close and yet miles away as it were, from the irrepressible attraction of gulping down a peg or two. Yes- it is said in the back rooms of our film industry that the “SHARABI” numbers which have an overwhelming effect of intoxication could come only from the voice of the one and only Mohammed Rafi.
A most humble gentle and simplest of human beings, Rafi Sahab was indeed an ANGEL for all his innumerable fans across the world and it is our singular good fortune that he was specially gifted to our country by GOD probably because music has been a quintessential part of Indian culture down the ages – loved, understood and appreciated by an Emperor as well as a pauper.
Naushad Sahab in his tribute to this great human being has so aptly stated – “Amironke Mehelonme Goonjthee hai Teree Awaaz, Garibonke jhopadonme thu basta hai, Koyee keheta hai ke Dil chala gaya Dilbhar chala gaya, par koyee ye nahi keheta ke Duniya se Mausikee ka Paigambhar Chala Gaya”
I had the rare privilege of viewing one of his live interviews wherein the interviewer asked Rafi Sahab a true but a very simple question “Aaj aap kaunsa geet Sunwayenge” and his ever agile & quick reply was “Aap kaho tho sabhee geet sunayenge” So simple was he at words and in his thoughts and yet so rich and pure at heart!! It would seem so incredible when one hears the magical effect of the highly popular song hummed for the thespian Dilip Kumar in the film “Leader” written by Shaqueel Badayuni and set to tune by one of the greatest composers Naushad Sahab namely “Mujhe duniya walon sharabi na samjho main peeta nahin hoon pilayee gayee hai, jahan bekhudee mein kadam ladkhadaye wohee raah mujhako dikhayee gayee hai” and virtually took the music lovers by storm. Just try and visualize another equally popular number penned again, by Shaqueel Badayuni with music composed by Naushad Sahab from the film “Dil Diya Dard Liya” – namely “Koyee Sagar Dil Ko Behelata Nahee, Bekhudi Mein Bhee Karaar Ata Nahee” which is a testimony to the incomparable “Genius” called Mohammed Rafi and places him automatically on the highest pedestal ahead of every other singer of his time. Can we remember any other singer of his generation who has left behind such an indelible mark in the minds of his fans? The immortal K.L.Saigal though, belonged to another era and provided the greatest inspiration to every singer including Mohammed Rafi. Both had their unique style of singing and a voice that could melt down the heart of an unrelenting despot!!!
“The versatility of Mohammed Rafi was undoubtedly unquestionable since any & every song he rendered was a joy to behold and a class apart!! He never sought any publicity of any kind and consciously avoided film functions, parties & gossip mongers and yet occupied centre stage with his resplendent voice in the background of all such events. No function or party could ever be celebrated or enjoyed without listening to his songs which is true even to this day.
– Just recall the exhilarating effect of this number “Chalkaye Jaam aayeeye aapkee aankhon ke naam, hotonke naam” from the film “Mere Humdum Mere Dost”. The contrast in mood is almost unmistakable when one hears another distinctly ‘sharabi’ song “Huee Shaam Unka, Khayal aah gaya – both, runaway successes and one can instantly relate to the hero of the film Dharmendra – thanks to some splendid lyrics contributed by Majrooh Sultanpuri Sahab and lilting music composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. The sudden swing in the mood of the central character of the other film“Pratigya” full of vigour and vitalilty which seems to be oozing out of every muscle of the HE – MAN of Hindi films -Dharmendra dancing belligerently in the song – “Main Jat Yamala Pagala Diwana” with matching lyrics by Anand Bakshi –dashingly sung by Rafi Sahab both on screen and on stage whenever he performed during stage shows is there for everybody to rejoice and perhaps think of wearing his dancing shoes.
Now every lover of old hindi songs would be familiar with the classic song “Sawan ke mahine mein ek aag see seene mein” from the old film Sharabi so aptly conceived to lend credence to the situation in the film and put into words by Rajinder Kishen one of the finest lyricists of his time and musically embellished by Madan Mohan ji - a very beautifully woven soft rendition exclusively and craftily picturised for the ever green Dev Anand.
We slowly go down memory lane to the romantic era of the film industry and stumble upon the file ”KAAJAL” and you are sure to be treated to this eternally sensitive poetry of love written by Sahir Ludhianvi so sweetly tuned by Music Director Ravi ji with and enacted on the silver screen by the ‘aristocrat’ among actors — Raaj Kumar. And Pronto!! you can’t miss this timeless and classy song “Choo lene doh nazuk hotonko kuch aur nahee jaam hai ye, Kudrat ne jo humko baksha hai woh sabse haseen inaam hai ye” And then, you have one more melancholic number from the same lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi in “Kabhi Khud pe, Kabhi Halaat pe rona aaya” from the film “HUM DONO” – this time set to tune by the grossly under rated music composer Jaidev who has brought the Best out of Rafi Sahab for generations of music lovers to remember!
As we go down into the mid-sixties, can we afford to overlook the immortal songs from the film “Guide” which became a rage among film lovers? Apart from the masterly direction of Vijay Anand, the film was a classic in several other fields as well and especially for its outstanding music and song like “Tere Mere Sapne ab ek rang hai and Din Dhal jaye hai, raat na jaaye” can surely be rated among the best ever songs sung by Mohammed Rafi under the music direction of the “Dada” of film music Sachin Dev Burman. It is certainly a feather in the cap for Shailendra, rightly called as the Poet of Romance!!
Yet another hit film which produced songs that has left its viewers rocking to its music even to this day, was ”Kashmir ki Kali” which took the young cinema goers by storm as it were. The rich and enchantic flavor of its lyrics written by one of the renowned lyricist S.H.Bihari probably enthused music director O.P.Nayyar to churn out the most memorable tunes of all times in “Yeh Duniya Usiki, Zamana usika,,, and Taareef karoonkya uski jisne tumhe banaya” . But the former caught up with the listener’s fancy instantly due to its exquisite share of Saxophone played by the legendary Manori Singh (Manori da) while the latter continued to regale every young lad smitten by love at first sight !! These two songs have become a rule rather than an exception at every music program held in memory of Rafi Sahab in any corner of the world and command the highest accolades.
A few years down the line, one can hardly lose sight of another memorable number “Main kaun hoon main kahan hoon mujhe yeh hosh nahee” from the film Main Chup Rahoongee with unfathomable emotions pouring out of the pen of Rajender Kishen set to tune by that ‘Master of Melodious Music’ Chitragupta ji –yet again in the immensely soothing voice of Mohammed Rafi . And when one thinks of Johnny Walker, the Comedy King of yester years dancing with gay abandon, “Jungle mein mor nacha kisine na dekha hai- hum jo thodisee peeke zara jhume hai re sabne dekha” from the film Madhumati – it would most certainly captivate our mind and remind us over and over again that none else than Mohammed Rafi would have done so much justice to it. Shailendra ji with his trademark lyrics and Salil da (Chowdhary) as the music composer have both made this feet tapping song so memorable and enjoyable both for those young in age and at heart !!!
Much has been said & written on the legend known by the name of Mohammed Rafi and one wonders how many sterling and hitherto unknown qualities this ‘gentle genius’ possessed.
“Rafi Sahab ne apnee puree zindagee mein sharab jaisee cheej ko kabhi chooa tak nahi balke kabhi dekha tak nahi, par apne beshumar khubsoorat geetonme use dhal kar sharab jaisee cheej ko bhi amar banaya”. How well then, this breezy song says it all “Peete peete kabhi kabhi yoon jaam badaljate hai – jaam badal jate hai logonke naam tak badal jaate hai”
Yes – a virtuous and priceless human being to the core, he lived a down to earth life full of humility and steadfast devotion to his family, his profession, his innumerable fans all over the world whose thundering performance behind the microphone belied his gentle and sensitive personality !! How many of us dear friends – can today vouch to adopt at-least a few of his many good qualities of mind and heart which Rafi Sahab had proudly treasured over so many years?
In his relatively short life of a little under 56 years, Rafi Sahab left an indelible mark with his humane qualities which are indeed as rare a phenomenon that he was known to b both in public and private life. . Can we, as his avid fans steal a leaf from his book by vowing to keep away from the ill effects of Sharab? It would be such a great and wonderful tribute to the memory of this LEGEND if only we could emulate his highly inspiring life in some ways and make life more meaningful both for us and our loved ones.
Friends! By doing so, I feel that all of us can take justifiable pride in calling ourselves as his true fans and respecting all the good things that he stood for and followed religiously all along his eventful life.!!
RAFI SAHAB AMAR HAI AND AMAR RAHENGE………..SADA SADA KE LIYE !!!!