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The legacy of the `Rafi Gharana` – achieving the impossible

By Salim K

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

It is common to see people excel in certain traits, during certain times and under certain conditions but to see someone excel over nearly 4 decades and beyond is rare and unheard of. This rare feat is achieved by Rafi Sahab in the art of playback singing.  From his first assignment in early 40’s to his last in July 1980, one sees a career that remains unmatched and uncompleted to date. Rafi Sahab is not only a singer but an institution – a gharana that is now called the “Rafi Gharana”.

Legend of legends: It was Mukesh, Mana dey, Hemant Da and  Talat in 50’s – but Rafi Sahab made a permanent mark in that era. It was Mukesh , Mana Dey and Mahendra Kapoor in 60’s but Rafi Sahab became an inspiration for these great legends and it was Kishore and Yesudas in the 70’s but Rafi Sahab kept on surprising us and raising the benchmark of singing. Rafi Sahab proved that he was  the uncrowned king of singing, what come may and such was the impression he made in his so called quiet years that the music charts in August and September of 1980 had him with more songs on the top of the charts compared to all other singers, male and female.

Mana dey once said: “I could sing classical songs more proficiently than anyone else but when Rafi sang classical compositions, he sang in a way that could relate to a wider audience rather than the ones who only liked classical songs. His presentation of the song was more superior to mine and I have no shame in accepting that he was the best in his art. Whatever he sang became a part of the Rafi Gharana“.

How apt are the comments of the legendry Mana Dey. Rafi sahab was a born singer who continuously excelled and raised the bar so high that he became an inspiration not only for future singers but also his colleagues and co-singers.  Rafi sahab attained the status of a legend by the 60’s and by 70’s he was and is still considered the greatest singer in HFM. Fans of a certain artiste always believe that their icon is the best but with Rafi sahab this is not the case.  Fans of Rafi Sahab do not have to prove the greatness of the emperor for his achievements speak for themselves.

Whether it is Talat Mahmood, Hemant Kumar, GM Durrani, Mukesh, Kishore, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra, Yesudas, Sonu Nigam, Shabbir Kumar,  S Balasubramanium, Lata, Hemant Kumar, Udit Narayan and others, all consider him a benchmark .

When songs of singing legends swear by the unmatched greatness of Rafi Sahab: What kind of admiration and respect these legends had and have for Rafi Sahab are well documented.  Whether its Mukesh insisting Nitin to sing the songs of Rafi sahab and not him in the shows or when Jayanto, son of the legendry Hemant Kumar says that Rafi sahab is the best singer of all times is a testimony of the true greatness of Rafi sahab. Every son or daughter would always believe their parents are the best in their work but for Nitin and Jayanto to say this is an example of the respect and admiration  And Kishore Kumar a self professed Rafi Sahab fan who accepted with grace in the 70’s that Rafi Sahab could sing a song in 100 ways what he (Kishore) could sing in one. Sadly today some naïve people compare the bhakt (Kishore) with the master (Rafi sahab).

It is said, it is easier to remain on the top but hard to maintain it. Well Rafi sahab proved this statement wrong by setting and maintaining lofty standards over 35 years. In a competitive industry dominated by politics, this simple and gem of a person managed to reign supreme for so long, simply amazing!!. Commercial success meant nothing for him, he always tried to compete with himself and no wonder his skills remain unmatched to date and I don’t think it can ever be equaled. It did not matter for whom who was the MD and how much he was to be paid for a song, all that mattered for him was the quality he had to offer the song. It is a miracle that God should have bestowed such rare and unmatched talents to a person who was not only the greatest singer of all times but also a very kind and noble human who never took advantage of his popularity.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

When SP Balasubramanium yelled “impossible” : SP Bala Subramanian an esteemed singer and a legend in his own right believes that Rafi Sahab was unique and cannot be matched by anyone which in my view is an understatement; When SPB was speaking of one of the eternal renditions of Rafi Sahab  “O Duniya Ke Rakwaaley” , on a TV program, just as the songs ends SPB screams “impossible”.  Impossible for anyone to sing in the manner Rafi sahab could. It’s a known fact in industry that Rafi Sahab ruled high pitch and there is no male singer better in switching notes so easily. There are artists who can go beyond but then they sound strained or they don’t have pleasant voices when they venture into those territories. The voice and singing of Rafi Sahab is just perfect.

The miracle song of Brahmachari: When Rafi sahab sang Dil Ke Jharoke mein from film Brahmachari his range and pitch went where no singer would ever dare to go. The song was initially composed to be sung at a single range however the song required to express the feelings of a broken heart hero in the film and Rafi sahab with SJ decided to have it done with multiple range which would require Rafi sahab to sing literally with very little breathing.

The song was recorded and Rafi sahab reached twice the range as originally decided. He sang the first verse at a low pitch and then took the same at four different range levels, a feat that is impossible to achieve unless the singer breathes heavily. Hear the song in the cleanest version and I bet you can’t hear any breathing whatsoever. All in the recording room became cold and the news spread about the song. Many well wishes including singers and MD’s were upset when they heard the song and called Rafi sahab and asked him to promise that he would not never attempt any think like this in future as it could have harmed his health. People who have good knowledge of playback singing can tell you why this song is impossible to sing the way Rafi sahab did but they will also tell you that only Rafi sahab could do it.

The winning rendition in Barsaat Ki Raat:  As we all know Roshan sahab was the MD and Sahir the song writer of the evergreen qawali “na tho caravan Ki talash hai”. When Roshan finished the composition he called Mana Da to sing for the Ustad who was singing in the film and said, Mana you must sound like an Ustaad as you are singing for one in the film. Roshan then called Rafi sahab and said, you will sing for Bharat Bhushan who  wins the qawali competition in the film from a position where his group appear loosing. Rafi sahab knew exactly what Roshan meant.  Rafi sahab picks up the song in a way that cannot be described in words, no one could ever match this , whether classical singers or thumri experts or any one.

The alaap he starts his part is mind boggling and the lines he sings after it can’t be described by mere words. After the recording Roshan approached Rafi sahab and said, you won, you sang in a way that any Ustad would loose. Rafi sahab knew that he had to sound like a winner and he produced this mastery rendition of unmatched and un- measurable proportions and met the demands of the script.

When Rafi sahab was called to re-record a song not originally sung by him:

It was the year 1973 when Rafi Sahab had began recording after an absence of about 18 months or so as he had decided to give up singing for religious reasons. The title song of Ek Mahal Ho `Sapon Ka was originally recorded by legendry  singers Lata and Kishore.

After the song was recorded, the producer asked  Ravi to get it recorded in Rafi sahab’s voice for reasons best known to him.   Mind you the year is 73, a period which is linked to the dry period of Rafi sahab in terms of his output not the quality. One really wonders  ” how is it possible that a singer that is at the prime of his popularity as a singer (Kishore ) can be replaced after the song had being recorded by a singer who was so was so called eclipsed by Kishore in that period. This incident is just one of many that dispel these myths.  Competition was nothing new to Rafi Sahab and as discussed above he had to compete with many distinguishes singers over the  4 decades but in terms of quality, he had no competition.

Overcoming bias, politics and factionalism: For any fair competition there must be an equal playing field. In 40’s, 50’ and 60’s, even though Rafi sahab was considered the best singer in most of this period, other singers had equal opportunity. The 70’s was different though. There was a clear bias and an unfair playing field with certain music directors making it their personal passion and aim to back only one singer in a rigid manner without considering the nuances of the songs.  Even in such unfair times, Rafi sahab kept on increasing the benchmark by memorable renditions. A highly regarded music critic once told me that no singer male or female has sung half as many great songs as Rafi sahab has and that as per him every song of Rafi sahab sung in 70’s was equal to 10 songs sung by others in that era.  A musician for Laxmikant Pyarelal once told me that when recording “ Aaj mausam Bada” from Loafer in 73, he and others in the orchestra felt that this one song overshadowed  all the songs released in 73 of all other singers and should have got unanimously at least a film fare award. Rafi sahab, the true legend as he was and is gave a resounding slap to all these biased elements and politicians of the music world when he got the national award in the 70’s and when he had more songs on the top of the charts than any other singer in the year in which he left us.

Such was his unmatched persona and presence that even his physical absence could not stop the unmatched greatness of his everlasting singing that reigns supreme to date and will always reign supreme forever.  After Rafi Sahab left us, there was As if a famine in the “world of quality singing” that sadly exists to date. Music directors became so desperate  and anxious that they looked for any singer that could sound a bit like Rafi sahab. It became a mockery, music world was left in ruins and the only fragrance left was the memory of Rafi sahab and the songs that he has left behind for us and the coming generations to hear and cherish forever.

Bias and mischievous people tried to take the great man out of the recording room but could not take him out of our hearts. Like always Rafi sahab had the last say.

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57 Blog Comments to “The legacy of the `Rafi Gharana` – achieving the impossible”

  1. salim k says:

    Writer and Journalist, Vinod Viplav, author of the first biography of Mohammad Rafi Meri Awaz Suno said that the contributions of Mohammad Rafi have been neglected on various levels. People usually remember him as the best singer or the best man while he is more than that – he is the symbol of communal harmony, secularism and national integration and he must be remembered in this form.

  2. salim k says:

    Dhahanjay saab

    Thank you for your kind words, yes Rafisaab is indeed the only complete singer, unmatched and unparalleled.

  3. Dhananjay says:

    Salim Sahab gr88888 description of Rafi Sahab.I’m 29 and a very huge fan of Rafi Sahab.Nobody can come even close to Rafi Sahab.he was the best he is the best and will be best forever.

  4. Binu Nair says:

    When i seee and hear the songs of “today” i just turn my head away.

    last week i met composer anu malik who greeted me affectionately when i
    told him that I am a Rafi saaheb lover and that we have a group.

    Immediately, he said : ” so am I ” . Pls. we have to sit and discuss

    and hear what Pyarelal ji said fews days ago to me : ” hum pachees, 25
    words rafi saaheb ko kehte, toh saaheb ek (one) word me uska Jawaab de
    dete te. wo mahaan te ”

    and our own ashok sharma the sitar player ( son of Bhagatram )

    rafi saaheb ………. he is number one all the time. leave what people
    say. they speak according to circumstances and their needs. which we all
    know now.

    ashok ji said: rafi saaheb ka kya kehne, studio me aate te aur ek jagah
    gaane ka rehearsal karte. leking malum hi nahi hot ta ke rafi saaheb
    rehearsal kar rahe hai.

    all those silently rehearsed songs are “pure gold”

  5. salim k says:

    Jasbir bhai and Binu Bhai

    bahut Shukriya for your kind words. Binu bhai when i see people like yourself putting such an amount of hard work and dedication, it simply motivates me further.

    Any tom, dick and harrry cannot value the true value of a genuine diamond. We are living in an era of mediocrity, Rafisaab is the pinnacle of excellence and we are expecting ratbags to do justice to the incredible stature of Rafisaab.

    The word “great” today is thrown at any one, even people with zero talent and labelled great, and the ones who are truly great are been purposely forgotten. The fact that a singer was placed 21 and was jumped to the 10th position because of who she is is a glaringly example of the low life politics that have existed in the world of playback singing since 1970.

    All this only proves that there is only one great singer and that is Rafisaab.

  6. Binu Nair says:

    Salim bhai………

    Keep on the good and great work of going in to the soul of rafi saaheb songs just for the reason that they are special and not to be made again.


    the rafi foundation.

  7. jasbir singh says: should be read as salim bhai…not as spelled wrongly just typing error…

  8. jasbir singh says:

    salkim bhai..shabaash for that wonderful truth of life…rafisaab is gharana of music….will remain so as long as humanity survives …….
    in my opinion….no i indian is mahatma gandhi,next is mother teresa and after that it is mohd rafisaab only… all follow him…..dirty politics ruling over country at present…sycophancy is unlimited….above all ..rafisaab resides in our hearts for ever….we all support u binajee….

  9. salim k says:

    Zaheendaish bhai w.a.s

    very kind of you to say that, Insha Allah I will keep writing for people like who who enjoy and appreciate.

  10. Zaheendanish says:

    Salim Bhai, ASA

    You write so nicely that I yelled out …………..Splendid and charming.

    Keep the fountain of writing flowing until the last drop..

  11. salim k says:

    thank you umesh.

    I had a dream last night where i saw internal of the house of Rafi sahab, his tabla, harmonium and where he used to rehearse.

    I was also told in the dream that he was planning to sing a song with Pink Floyd, Anyone out there who has an knowledge of this.

    We dont need a rigged voting system to say who is the best and loved Indian, do we?

  12. aditya sharma says:

    Excellent write up salim bhai. like always well one. Please send me your email sirji.

  13. Binu Nair says:

    n d t v 24 x 7 will telecast a documentary on mohd rafi tomorrow evening 7 pm to 8 pm.

    titled Mohd rafi in bollywood………..

    from the rafi foundation.

  14. pradeep k khanchandani says:

    dear binuji,
    we all rafi lovers are with you.
    cnn-ibn channels will be boycotted also complaints must be sent to government authorities for misguiding public by these fake and fixed polls and press trust of india(pti) also must be informed about this hateable works of cnn-ibn

  15. Binu Nair says:

    People ‘must’ have a backbone to stand upon.

    lets all boycott the cnn-ibn channel of the greatest broker contender mr rajdeep sardesai for bringing a candidate who polled votes and was ranked 21st was brought ‘in’ from the backdoor in to number 10 position thereby :

    putting jawaharlal nehru and mohammad rafi saaheb – out of the reckoning.

    shame on this sham voting and to the cnn-ibn channel.

    wish to inform mohd rafi lovers and all well meaning citizens that a lady journo called me up and told me and i quote…

    ” i will even by accident “never” even see the husband-wife team of cnn-ibn and its channel – which is led by now known broker rajdeep sardesai and his wife sagarika.

    Pls watch any other channel other than the cnn-ibn english, marathi channels.

    and write to them what the common people of this great country feel about its facade of gathering viewership by the programme : ” who is the greatest indian after mahatma gandhi”.

    that this is a ‘fake’ polling is well known to all as we know that
    even mahatma gandhiji had big enemies but,
    mohd rafi had no enemies except one person whom many of us know.

  16. sunil kumar says:

    Sir, Mail id of Rajdeep Sardesai is “”.

    All of us join in sir with you to expose Rajdeep sardesai & company. It will not

    go unnoticed and whole country will know about it. These people can go to any

    length to cater to their business interest. All these polls are sham I feel . Rafi

    saheb is the king and will always remain.

  17. Binu Nair says:

    Who is the greatest ” broker ” among Indian Journalists??

    Undoubtedly……” Broker rajdeep sardesai ”

    since he did the unthinkable.

    of bringing lata mangeshkar from 21st position to 10…

    shame on the cnn-ibn channnel.

    I have decided to boycott this channel for ever.

    Pls. join us and write to their head office in london dear mohd rafi lovers.

    from the rafi foundation,

  18. Jayesh says:

    on going through the list of top 10 indians “fixed” by cnn-ibn, it is observed that except mother teresa & jrd tata, all other are either politicians or projected/promoted by politicians/political parties. They themselves have chosen their list & ignored greatest indian rafi saheb, who was miles ahead in the no. of votes as compared to lata mangeshkar, but not included in the list. this is indeed a partial & biased poll which should be strongly protested & such channel should be boycotted.

  19. umesh says:

    Salim ji

    Beautiful write up and I hope in all this voting business, we are not giving you the accolades you deserve.

    Guys, we cannot control what Mr.Sardesai and others are doing, but we can surely take time out and enjoy this write up in Mohammed Rafi and thank the author for this rare information provided.

  20. Ahamed Kutty says:

    where is kanshiramji and rajagopalchariji?

    in the first list of top 50, bsp leader kanshiramji and freedom fighter
    rajagopalachariji was there.after ambedkarji,kalamji and
    sardar patelji in the fourth position was for kanshiramji and
    on 9th position (just before indiraji) rajagoplachariji was the new list of top 10 their names are missing.was the vote
    for “missing personalities” or for “great personalities”?

  21. Binu Nair says:

    Cnn email address is based at london…

    no use sending emails to london… it will be lost.

    pls send to rajdeep sardesai and his wife sagarika – who have sold themselves to big vested interests.

    send to the indiian cnn ibn sold out channel now mohd rafi lovers.

    yestday met pyarelal ji and rafi saaheb fmly members.

    they are all unhappy by the dirty facade when number 21 become number 10….

    Pyarelal sir told me about mohd rafi saaheb : woh devta samaan te. jab hum 25 words kehte te unko, woh ek word me uska “jawab” dete te humko.

  22. salim k says:

    My posts are not getting through. I have emailed these jokers but i dont think much will come out of this but I still encourage people to flood them with the emails so at least they know we are not fools to believe this sham.

    I really dont know why they were and are after the great noble man. Shame on these people who call themselves Indians but in reality they are just factions that have weakened our nation over the years. Rafi Sahab’s voice is a voice of unity going beyond the lines of religion and boundaries.

    Truth is always at the altar in todays corrupt environment. Rafi sahab was exposed to this bias and corruption in the 70’s but he rose over this garbage and beautified the environment. If they are hell bent in playing the game of behalf of others then why have this sham, simply say what they want us to read and believe. Today media is not about truth but about false and clandestine tales and this one is no different.

    Infact it proves beyond doubt that Rafi sahab along with Mahatma Gandhi is the most famous, respected and adored personality whether goons like Rajdeep Sardesai like it or not.

  23. pradeep k khanchandani says:

    dear binuji,
    aapki koshishon ke liye aapko natmastak hoke,dil se daad deta hoon.
    shaayad vishal dil wale,aur karoro dillon pe raj karne wale,hamare rafi saab jaise mahan aatma ko ye chhoti dil wale, vikrut maansjkta wale log kya pahchanege.
    mulla ki daud masjid tak.
    chhoti soch wale sankuchit daayre me hi sochte hai.
    cnn-ibn wallo ko sachchai se koi itefaq nahi

  24. Binu Nair says:

    pradeep ji………

    pls try at the email directly from your p.c. again and join FACE BOOK where sanjeev dixit and others are doing a wonderful job of keeping the mohd rafi flame alive and up.

    shame to rajdeep sardesai, his wife sagarika and his team for
    making cnn – ibn a scandalous news channel.

    we are smelling a big corruption here in the polling of : ” who is the greatest indian after mahatma gandhiji”

    Pls protest the injustice of bringing up losing candidates to the “top ten list” by the scandalous dishonest and sham team of cnn – ibn and boycott the channel after due intimation.

  25. sunil kumar says:

    Thanks Binuji for telling us inside story we were wondering what has happened. this we will not let go unnoticed . CNN IBN Will have to explain for this farce. I have also sent a Email to them and i have directly written to Rajdeep who is editor in chief I wonder how come such a senior and respected journalist also agreed to become a party to such farce. we should spread this message in all forums of rafi saheb . The man won greatest singer of the millennium by securing 70% of the total votes. Only Indian among first 10 in music category at They will have to come out with the explanation for this act of theirs . Rajdeep sardesai stop calling yourself a journalist a journalist brings truth to people . Rafi sahab zindabad.

  26. Anonymous says:

    It is extremely the way Rafisaab’s name was not included in the second short list. Even though he was leading Lata and others by a mile. There is a rigging in the way Rafisaab’s name has been sidelined by the media( including CNN IBN). I do not why we what is their fixation with Lata Mangeshkar or Kishore Kumar. Lata herself has admitted that Rafisaab is the best playback singer ever, so who on earth are Rajdeep Sardesai and his ilk to use theeir discretion in the short listing process. As per their website, Kishore Kumar is touted as the most popular singer of India. Heaven’s please!!!….Kishore Kumar is excellent but there is absolutely no one but Rafisaab who is the voice of India. These media folks have to get their ears and minds checked before they resort to their pathetic politics!!!… Mr. Sardesai if you are reading this!. You have grossly disappointed us.

  27. pradeep k khanchandani says:

    dear binu nairji,
    my email has been “not delivered”.i;e not received by receipants as the reason for same shows that “”this type of id does’nt please kindly guide me on which postal adress i do correspond the cnn-ibn channel.i will be thankful to you if you send it on my id that is thanks.

  28. Ahamed Kutty says:

    dear binuji,
    now it is clear the selection of ‘great indians’ is a mere drama.
    when they showed the photos of all 50 each photo there was a
    small description about the person.with kishore kumar there was
    a special thing saying “please comment”.whatever they have
    tried he could get only less than 7000 votes compared to the
    more than 20000 votes of rafi saab.

    also it was interesting in the description about kishore kumar
    he had four wives and it was his qualification to include among
    those 50 great indians!it was a shame not only for the other
    49 great peronalities but for the entire nation.

  29. Binu Nair says:

    Very true and factual …….

    agar aur koyee mahatma hai mahatma gandhi ke baad to woh ‘sirf’ rafi saaheb hi hai.

    Pradeep ji, bhagchandani and all rafi saaheb lovers who feel betrayed and let-down by the cnn-ibn polls blatant partiality.

    pls write to the channel protesting the injustice done to rafi saaheb and the attempt to pass their favourites – lagging behind in the polls.

  30. pradeep k khanchandani says:

    dear binu nairji, i could not stop myself to lighten my feelings so i also sent a email to”” which is reproduced below…….
    shrimaan sampaadak sahib, aapne kis ground par yeh poll karwaya………..politics,social,humanity,theatre, ya koi aur.? agar aap mahaatma gandhiji ki jeevan shailly se prerit hokar,unki kurbaniyon ko dhyan me rakhkar,ya unki swarthheen bhavna ko parakhkar, yeh poll karwaya hai to jin dus logon ko aapne shaamil kiya hai to unka in sab baton se door door tak koi rishta dikhayee nahin deta hai.agar aap”mahaatma” shabd dhyan me rakhkar sochenge to sirf aur sirf rafi sahib hi is par kharey utarte rafi sahib ke karib the, unse milenge to jaanenge ki rafi sahib wakai farishta the.rafi sahib sufi santon ki tarah har samaj ke logon ko saath leker chale. rafi sahib jab haj karne gaye to mike par unko “ajaan” padne ko kaha gaya.ajaan khatam hote hi bahut logon ki aankhon me paani bhar aaya.woh kahne lage ki yeh to asman se aaye kisi farishtay ki aawaz thi.aur jab rafi sahib ‘”o duniya khe rakhwale”’gaate hai to maano phthar se bhi aansoon chhalak aate hai.saadgi rafi saahib ki aisi ki is duniya me aise devta ki umeed karna hi bekaar hai.teen teen peediyon ko [prithviraj kapoor,,rajkapooa,,rishikapoor] aawaz dekar bhi kabhi kisi record ke chakar me nahi pade.rafi sahib khoobiyon ke samander the unko jaanne ke liye aapko bahut geheraiyon me jaana samander ke thode moti chaahiye to meri ek iltaza hai .””'”farishta tha woh””” naam se unki ik kitaab chhappee hai woh pad leejiye.aap phir faisla keejiye ki woh “mahaatma” kahlane ke layak hai ki nahi.aur please “mahaatma” shabd dhyan me rakhkar hi faisla leejiye. varna is ‘mahaatma'” shabd ka apmaan na hi kare to behtar.???????????????????

  31. Lt Col Javed Sayyed(Veteran) says:

    I too have lodged my strong protest with CNN IBN. Pl read the contents & form your opinion. Pl do the same to stop this sham.
    Dear Mr Rajdeep Sardesai,
    Pl STOP this rigging of opinion polls. Sudden jump of certain favourite personalities is not ethical, rather shameful.
    How do you explain excluding of the majority of Indians who are not tech savvy, do not have access to your News channel & thereby, the news & process of such a poll & also no access to electronic media?
    Regular harping on Lata Mangeshkar in your programme interview with a bunch of select few who are already sold out on Lataji, trying to influence the audience is shameful. How do you rate the Voice of God-Mohd Rafi Sahab?? Again, raking up Kishor Kumars name without giving due cognisance to Rafi Sahab is skewed & Biased. Also, How the hell can anyone think of advancing A R Rahman over the genius of Rafi Sahab, who has ruled over 4 decades of extremely melodious music & so many generations? Has Rahman achieved influencing even a small percentage of listeners? You hear Rafi Sahabs songs every single day many times during the day, songs meant for any conceivable occasion. Can U say the same thing for AR Rahman? Disgusting & utter nonsense.
    Pl refrain from such biased views & opinion polls. Do not attempt to Rig the polls by personal favouritism & excluding of the masses from voting.”- Unquote.

  32. Lt Col Javed Sayyed(Veteran) says:

    Dear Salim Bhai,
    No words to describe your xlnt writeup. Its time to wake up & feel the pulse of the rafi magic, dear restful sleeper!! Pl forbid such demeaning statements in this forum. You are insulting a rafian who has poured in such xlnt effort Love & AFFECTIONS & has brought out the facts so well. It is an xlnt article by any stds.
    Bringing out facts of the 70s is really imp for much maligning has been done about rafi sahab by some myopic bunch of shameless people from different departments.
    Keep up the good work, sleeping is good for health in some context!!

  33. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Binu ji (Post 12),

    It is indeed a sham. I have also sent a mail to which is reproduced below:

    Dear Sir,

    The recent voting conducted by you guys for the ‘greatest Indian after Mahatma Gandhi’ was a sham of gigantic proportions. Lata Mangeshkar who had got less than half votes than Mohammed Rafi (who was at 12th position) is included in top 10. How and Why? Please explain.I had watched the count upto 12.00 midnight on 25th July. Why did you guys remove the final vote counts from the web site? It is obvious what you guys were upto. Me, being a Rafi fan feel cheated.

    We had heard about ‘match fixing’ in sports. Here is a case of ‘Greatness fixing’. If you had already chosen the list then why did you inact the drama of voting? You are ‘manufacturing’ the opinions.

    It is shameful, to say the least. Please display the list based on the voting. Please do so.

    Hope this mail reaches the top guy(s) of this entire episode.


    Jagdish Bhagchandani

    I request all Rafi fans to flood them with protest mails.

  34. Ahamed Kutty says:

    respectful salimji,
    what you have written are correct.once Mannada in an interview
    told that he had learned so many “gharanas” from various
    masters but rafi saab brought his own “gharana”.

    i could heard the live programme of rafi saab from audio tape
    during that after hearing the song “oh duniyaa ke
    rakwaale” i thought rafi saab was taking so much strain while
    singing this song.i had a chance to see in doordharshan rafi
    saab singing this song infront of naushad saab.i could not
    believe it! i had seen live programme of yesudasji and in
    medium pitch songs itself we can see the strain in his face.
    as far sa rafi saab is concerned the way he was singing is strain in his face.very calm and attractive.

    on another occassion mannada told while singing duet song
    with rafi saab he was wondered the way rafi saab was
    singing and enjoying the song.

    the memories of rafi saab will remain through his golden voice.

  35. subhash jain says:

    thank you salim ji for providing such rare information. There is no doubt what Rafi acheived, no one did and the outcome he used to achieve in his songs, no one can achieve.

    Raja go and listen gili gili hakaa…thats what you deserve.

  36. mohamedparvez says:

    Asalamu Alaikum Salim Sahab,Thanx For Sharing Unique Article About Rafi Sahab”s Gharana, Rafi Sahab Had Rare Talent To Sing Any Kind Of Song,Once Kishoreda Called Rafi Sahab To Sing Haathi Mere Saathi”S Claimax Song,Nafrat Ki Duniya Ko Chhod Ke,KIndly Visit This Links Take Care

  37. pradeep k khanchandani says:

    welldone salimsahib,an excellent article. whenever we read articles,we become to know more and more about rafisaheb.and you have done that job verywell.whenever we read about rafisaheb , listen rafi songs, sing his songs,even talk about rafisaheb or see his charming face,we feel special feelings of happiness in the heart. and mr raja,you are already can you read and evaluate this article???

  38. Binu Nair says:

    salim ji:

    please allow me to ‘move away’ from this subject to register ‘our’ strongest protest on the sidelining of mohammad rafi – in the who’s the greatest indian poll conducted by cnnn – ibn and outlook magazine.

    mohd rafi with 21,500 odd votes stood at number 12 position when polling stopped on 25th june.

    indira gandhi was eleventh, jawaharlal nehru was thirteen.

    lata mangeshkar was behind at 21st position, amitabh bachan, dev anand, raj kapoor were all trailing.

    we smelt a rat when indira was elevated to tenth position.

    today, july 2nd the jury has toppled list of ten top indians. lata mangeshkar has entered the first ten zone though she was trailing in the first round of voting.

    similarly jawaharlal and indira gandhi was brought in from the back benches.

    the public opinion and the voting is given short shrift. therefore please object strongly to this sham of handpicking their favourite indian as one of the greatest indian after mahatma gandhi.

    I am getting sms – messages now from mohd rafi lovers which says :

    ” Send e-mail to greatest and oppose the selection procedure & result s of top ten of the greatest indian. ”

    we mohd rafi lovers strongly oppose the sham that is being conducted by the cnn – ibn team, outlook magazine and by their sponsors.

    the credibilty of cnn-ibn has taken a ‘severe beating’ mr. rajdeep sardesai and sagarika by your blantant partisan ways of bringing ‘the greatest indian after mahatma gandhi from the back doors.”

  39. Aditya says:

    Rafi sahab was is and will always be the greatest male playback singer…no one can match his range, pitch and his versatility. His madhur and divine voice was indeed a gift of lord. Infact a singer like him is once in a lifetime. He is class and cannot be replaced. All singer including kishore kumar are below him in terms of voice modulation and other aspects of singing. I feel Rafi was an incarnation of God on this earth….even till data music lovers mourn the death of such a great soul and rafi is the source of livelihood for thousands of musicians..People are earning their bread and butter by singing his songs . A great person who will always be remembered, loved and will be missed. The immortal Rafi sahab! May God give him jannat and bless his soul.

  40. Rashid Diwan says:

    I am in my 60’s and cannot remember any time when I have not listened to the great man singing. His voice, the style the music and the lyrics are all so perfect in every song. I always appreciate and enjoy the write ups on Rafi Sahab in this forum as we in our own small way pay tribute to this Legend who has influenced our lives, shaped our thinking and sub consciously been with us throughout our lives in happy and sad times as we have related our feelings through various songs. So please keep writing and we will keep on reading as Rafi Sahab lives in our hearts.

  41. Champaka Megharaj says:

    Salim bhai,

    Aapka Writeup tho lajawab hai… iss ke liye aapko bahut bahut shukriya !!

    A lot of research abt Rafi sab must have gone into this writeup,for which U need to be appreciated & congratulated !

    Mohd.Rafi was & still is undoubtedly the uncrowned KING of Playback singing.

    Its our misfortune that he was taken away from our amidst so early in life. If only God had spared him for our sake for some more years,we would have been fortunate to listen to many many more pearls of Rafi sab’s melody !!

    I grew up listening to the songs of Rafiji. Now on the threshhold of 60, I am still a hardcore fan/listener of the unmatched, unparallelled Singer- Rafi sab,
    Such is the Charisma of his voice & renditions. LONG LIVE MOHD.RAFI !!

  42. salim k says:

    was Khaja Bhai


    Santosh bhai, Ram bhai ,Lateef bhai and sister Shweta, thank you for your kind words. It is all my pleasure to share the facts with you and I will keep sharing if provided with the opportunity.

  43. santosh says:

    Mr.Raja , I feel there is no room for people like u in this form.This forum is a place where all rafi bhakts come and express their feelings about rafi saab.It does not necessarily mean that all articles should be about unknown facets of rafi saab’ and his singing.It can also be a medium to express one’s love for rafi saab.I feel salimbhai has done the same.So if u feel sleepy u can go to sleep but keep ur mouth shut

  44. salim k says:

    Rajiv thanks for your appreciation. I am sorry about a few grammatical mistakes in the article. I will make sure in future, it is proof read well.

    Post 1: i choose not to comment if thats ok.

  45. Rajiv Nair says:

    Dear Salim, excellent article on the one and only genius in playback singing, Mohammed Rafi Saab. the article proves the point that he was someone sent by the almighty god only for people to live life happily and with harmony.

    Rafi’s himpitched singing of o duniya ke rakhwale is unmatched till today. Veteran singer Yesudas till today is toiling to sing this song with the perfect pitch of Rafi saab. But feels that he has not reached the perfection rafi saab gave in the 50’s. This compliment is from yesudas who has won the national award 7 times. This is testimony to the vocal skills of the legend called Mohammed Rafi.

    I hope he is crowned the most popular personality in India by broadcasting channel CNN IBN. And better late than never let this genius receive the Bharat Ratna. I do not see any one more deserving than our Rafi saab.

    Again leaving on the note that Salim’s article is well articulated and with good language and explaining skills.

  46. Dr Lateef M Khan says:

    Really it seems to be a profound research and covered all the aspects of a great singer, those who are covetous of him are bound to get lethargic, drowsy or gets a feeling of uneasiness and shiver.
    Thanks for your hard work of enlightening and comparative analysis. I love and admire his contemporary singers, but the quality of Mohammad Rafi is unparalleled till today and it is a miracle of Almighty God.

  47. shweta singh says:

    What a beautiful article with great annecdotes, simply class writing Salim Sahab.
    Indeed no other human voice comes close to the greatest singer of all times.

    Really nice to read about the “ek mahal ho sapon ka…annecdote. Go Rafi !!!!!

  48. Ram says:

    AAdab Salim Bhai,

    Wah aapne to Rafi Saab ko 1970 ke daurme kichade uthane walon ke gaalpe ek tamacha hi maar diya ke ye ek jabardast jawab hai oon sabko….aur woh logko yeh baar baar padhna pade…

    Aapka is write upke liye bahut bahut sukriya.

  49. khaja Aliuddin, M.D. says:

    ASA, Janab Salim Sahab,
    “Bahut khoob”. I concur with you.Bias and mischievous people tried to take the great man out of the recording room but could not take him out of our hearts. Like always Rafi sahab had the last say.

    With regards to all Rafi lovers,
    A hard-core fan of Rafi sahab,

    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  50. RAJA says:

    Why I am so sleepy while reading this write up, reasons best known to the writer himself.

    What’s the point in all this write up. The title does not suit the content of this write up.

    I am not criticizing but expressing my freedom of speech.

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