Singers inspired by Rafisaab
This article is written by Mr. Abhishek Taparia
28 years since his death the maestro continues to enthrall and inspire people. Rafisaab could indeed take the credit of inspiring the most number of singers.Some of them good some of them bad but nevertheless everyone succeeded to some extent. Here are the few singers who made the most out of their inspiration
It has to start with the self-confessed ‘chela’ of Rafisaab. Mahendra Kapoor’s voice was so similar to Rafisaab that many a time listeners had to listen very carefully to distinguish the two voices. Both hailed from punjab, had similar pitch and a similar kind of voice and sang some great songs. But the same voice would become the bane for Mahendra kapoor although he sang some great songs he could never quite come out of the shadow of Rafisaab. The main difference between the two was Rafisaab had total control over the ‘surs’ n ‘taals’ n would never go off key whereas Mahendra Kapoor could go off key at times. But nonetheless he was one of the legends of HFM and would always be remembered as a great.
Anwar came into prominence in the 70s when Rafisaab was having a slight rough time. Anwar I feel did sing some of the songs which could have been pocketed by Rafisaab (like the song ‘hamsa ka bhool hui‘ from Janta hawaldar, ‘mohabat ab tizarat ban gayi hain‘ from arpan) but once rafisaab came back into fore Anwar lost his ground. Anwar voice was in a way similar to Rafisaab but more hoarser than any other Rafi follower. I read somewhere that Anwar was related to the legendary film maker Nasir Hussain but it didn’t help him much.
Shailendra singh idolized Rafisaab but the best thing about him was his voice was completely different from Rafisaab and he never tried to copy Rafisaabs style. Shailendra was one of those singers who had very limited capabilities. He came as the voice of Rishi Kapoor and thanks to Rishi Kapoors chocolate boy image he got to sing a lot of good romantic songs for Rishi Kapoor. The pitch and range of Shailendra were very limited and he was not the one who could express all the emotions with his voice. But shailendra did sing quite a few good songs (like ‘hoga tumse pyar kaun‘ from ‘zamane ko dikhana hain’ and ‘jaane do na‘ from sagar).
He shared his name with Rafisaab and tried to sound like Rafisaab but did not measure up all that well. He came into the picture after the demise of Rafisaab and sang quite a few songs in the worst era of HFM the 80s. He had more range and emotions than both Anwar and Shailendra but as he tried to emulate Rafisaab. He became more of a clone like Anwar. He did sing some good songs for Govinda, Rishi Kapoor etc but unfortunately the era was marred by some really poor music.
He just like Mohd Aziz tried to emulate Rafisaab and was another in the clone category. Again like Aziz he tried to bring in emotions into a song by changing his voice unlike Rafisaab who would not change his voice to express some emotion but would change his mood as was required for the song. Shabbir’s main problem which I feel was his unclear voice he would eat half the words while singing. Also his pitch was not that high thus singing at the same pitch throughout his career. The highlight of his career were the songs of Betaab and a supposed tiff between Big B/RDB(im not sure) and Kishore Kumar allowed him to sing a few songs for the big B in movies like Mard, Coolie.
Udit Narayan as confessed by him comes from Rafisaabs school of singing. The best about Udit Narayan is his sweet, happy voice which became his USP. Udit Narayan never tried to copy the maestro and thus became the no 1 singer in the mid 90s by replacing Kumar Sanu. Udit has sung a large number of songs and is still very active. He became the voice of Aamir Khan and SRK for most of the music directors. Udit as others has limited range (has hardly sung sad songs) and pitch. He is very good in romantic and happy songs.
Now I come to the guy who I feel is the number one successor of Rafisaab. Sonu started off as a clone of Rafisaab and would sing for those low budget T-series remakes of old songs but he had potential. The best part about Sonu is he is highly learned and thus like Rafisaab would never go off key and has number of variations and ‘harketeins’ in his kitty. The main problem with Sonu is his shrill which does not allow him to go full on as it would crack at higher pitches. Although he has a lot of Rafisaab singing qualities, Rafisaabs humanly qualities are missing in him the main being humility. The Rafi resurrected tour was a bit overboard and he could easily have interfered and named it Rafi Revisited. But anyways for me he is the best singer who got inspired by Rafisaab.
There are a few more singers who derived inspiration from Rafisaab but i cant recollect their names if anyone would want to add the singers i have missed they are welcome.
P.S. The ratings are my sole opinion and readers view might differ.