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The one and only Mohammed Rafi

By Javid Raza

The one and only Mohammed Rafi

Five things when it comes to such simple tunes, (very light form of ghazal/geet) there was absolutely no match to Mohammed Rafi Sahab.

His style, rendition, throw of words, feel, complete adaptation to the lyrics. There was no singer on this globe and there will never be a singer of his caliber who can sing better than Rafi sahab. Pick any song from the list below and I challenge any singer, any ghazal exponent, a thoroughly classically trained singer, etc. – NO ONE CAN COME NEAR RAFI SAHAB.

God has given him a mellifluous voice, delicately wrapped with a tinge of melancholy and a powerful, resilient range.

Top music directors of his era, after the recording used to hug Rafi Sahab, kiss his forehead, touch his feet and with tears in their eyes used to say, by God, we never created the composition like this, but Rafi Saab, you have taken it to an unimaginable level. He was every music directors, actors, distributors, producers and directors number one choice.

From Bhajans, to ghazals, from pop to sad songs, from patriotic to comedy, from qawwalis to semi classical, you name it, utmost justification was heavily poured by Rafi Saab into each and every song. Every word was carefully studied, matched thoroughly with the composition and obviously rendered with utmost perfection.

His untimely death created a humongous vacuum in the field of playback singing. Ghazals, Qawwalis, Bhajans slowly disappeared from Bollywood with Rafi Saab. There used to be songs on Raakhi, Holi, Birthdays, Eids, New year, Diwali, Rangoli, Kite flying, Baisakhi, Weddings, Brides, Brothers, Sisters, Etc.everything vanished from the scene.

Someone asked me, that in this present era the technology is so advanced with outstanding sound equipment, new instruments, exotic, sophisticated studios, our songs must be outstanding, extra ordinary compared to the sixties, seventies or even the eighties. But on the contrary, no one wants to listen to these songs, they have no life. They come and go so fast.

My personal answer is, there are no composers in Bollywood who have solid knowledge of music. All they do is ‘ cut & paste ‘ songs from the West or even from Far East. They don’t compose the song, they program it with the help of new technology. They don’t care about the story, or the actor or the demand of the situation. Some music directors purchase songs from young programmers and make money on it. Creativity is dead.

It’s a disgrace to hear the songs of today. They have no life. It’s only noise you hear. No lyrics, no meaning attached to the story of the movie. the only popular songs are the cheap, disgraceful ” item songs ” picturized on women wearing revealing clothing. People are complaining that they cannot see these movies with their families.

In those good old days, families used to go to the theaters whenever there was a new release, because they had their trust in the movie makers …. not any more ! – So pathetic !

Instead of producing such stupid, idiotic songs in Bollywood movies, they should wipe out playback singing from the industry – It’s a waste of time and money.

Please listen to these awesome numbers sung by Rafi Saab.
The composition is simple and beautiful, with minimal orchestration, beautiful lyrics, extremely well rendered.

1. Teri zulfein pareshan, teri nazrein pasheman

2. Deewana keh ke aaj mujhe phir pukaariye

3. Mai to tere haseen khayaalon mein kho gaya

4. Zara sun haseena-e-nazneen

5. Itni haseen, itni jawaan raat kya kare

6. Ye wadiyan, ye fizayen bula rahi hain tumhein

7. Tujhe kya sunaoon mai dilruba

8. Tu mere saamne hai, teri zulfein hai khuli

9. Mai nigaahein tere chehre se bataaoon kaise

10. Kahin bekhayal ho kar, yunhi choo liya kisi ne

11. Tumhari zulf ke saaye mein shaam kar loonga

12. Ishq ki garmiye, jazbaat kise pesh karoon

13. Teri aankh ka jo ishaara na hota

14. Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi wo barsaat ki raat

15. Tumhein dekha hai maine gulistaan mein

Hope you enjoyed these gems by Rafi Sahab.

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7 Blog Comments to “The one and only Mohammed Rafi”

  1. R Srinivasan says:

    Great article, and great choice of songs. Indeed, I wonder why people would want to listen to modern Hindi music, which is nothing more than a copy of the Western style. Surely people who have a taste for this style would prefer the original English version rather than the poor copy that Bollywood offers? The one music director who presided over the transition of Bollywood music from the original classical style to the modern “Hinglish” and “Hindi-Pop” style is none other than R.D. Burman. If you listen to the pre-1970 RDB, you will not be wrong in concluding that RDB was a talented music director (I especially like his immortal number “Tum ne mujhe dekha” rendered brilliantly by Rafi Sahab). In my view, the pre-1970 RDB was strongly influenced, if not guided, by his father S. D. Burman. But when SDB became too ill around 1970, the true RDB emerged and proceeded to completely wreck the great original Bollywood music of the Golden Era. RDB also preferred Kishore Kumar to Rafi Sahab, and complained that Rafi Sahab took too much time to “understand” RDB’s compositions. What RDB did not understand, or deliberately left out, was that Rafi Sahab was a perfectionist who wanted to master every little detail of the song before agreeing to record it. Rafi Sahab’s God-given talent, amazing range and voice control, and sheer hard work and discipline, surely was an unbeatable combination that did full justice to the music of the Golden Era (1945 — 1970) dished out by legendary music directors and lyricists. It is a shame that RDB and others in his coterie, like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle, would want to put down the immortal Rafi Sahab and elevate Kishore Kumar (a great singer, but no match for Rafi Sahab).

  2. Dev says:

    Brilliant article Javid Saab. Your views mirror mine. The selection of songs that you highlight are also Top Class and amongst my favourites. What we all have come to expect from Rafi Saab.

  3. n.g.ramaswamy says:

    Thoroughly enjoyed. Keep sending.

  4. MAJAZ MUNGERI says:


  5. Habeeb Bacchus says:

    Well written with a passion against what is happening in the Bollywood film
    Industry. When I see “snippets” of scantily dressed women shown in the
    nowadays films…I get turned off…yes..I switched channels..others will get
    “turned on”. India is not manufacturing enough “raw cloth or finished clothing”..
    so, the film producers cut back on costs and force the women to wear a piece
    here, a piece there just to barely cover the crotch and/or overflowing boobs.
    And they hope to make lots of $$$$$ with such TRASH. The “mind” must
    be made to wonder what the female body looks like when she is fully covered
    and not exposed.

  6. shammi says:

    A great article, and I couldn’t agree more with the fact that the songs today have no real meaning or substance to them. The music that accompanies the meaningless lyrics of songs today is just as bad!!
    I can’t believe it’s been 37 years since the great legend passes away and yet no one can touch the heart strings of the listeners like Mohd Rafi. His songs sound just as fresh and are evergreen and will continue to entertain and be loved by millions for many decades to come.

  7. Fahad says:

    Javid sahab, very nice article and above mentioned songs, some of them are really rare for me. Just curious, do you or anyone has Rafi sahab song ” Pila de pila de pila de meri jaan, saharb na sahe tou zahar he sahe” I think it’s a song from unreleased film. If someone has, can please upload or share with me. I shall be very thankful.

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