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Mohammad Rafi = Lata + Asha + Geeta, etc

by Sarah Modi

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

There are several people who compare Rafi saab with Lata ji and debate who is better.  I believe, that the premise, structure, and conclusion of their arguments are all flawed.  There is no doubt that if there is any other singing legend that matches up to the greatness of Rafi, it is indeed none other than Lata ji.  However, Rafi is Lata, Asha, and Geeta all combined into one.  If Lataji represents the serious, pristine, and classic flavors of Indian music and Asha and Geeta represent the western, naughty, and seducing flavors, Rafi saab alone portrays all of these flavors and more.  He can impeccably sing classical songs, westerns songs, bhajans, ghazals, cabarets, light romantic songs, qawalis, etc.   A music director had to look no further than Rafi saab for any kind of song whether it inculcated southern, northern, eastern, or western styles of music.

If Lata ji stood towering tall with soulful renditions like yeh zindagi usiki hain (Anarkali), aayega aanewala (Mahal), and jab pyaar kiya to darna kya (Mughal-e-Azam), Rafi saab equally, if not more, matched her singing prowess with eternal songs such as mere mehboob tujhe (Mere mehboob), chale aaj hum jahan se (Udan Khatola), and zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi (Barsat Ki Raat).  To match Lata ji’s heart wrenching ghazals like yun hasraton ke daag (Adalat) and unko yeh shikayat hain (Adalat), there were Rafi saab’s gems such as rang aur noor ki baaraat (Ghazal), hum intezar karenge (Bahu beghum), chaundhvi ka chand ho (Chaundhvi ka Chand), huyi shaam unka khayal aa gaya (Jahan Aara).  If Lata invoked the devotion in you with bhajans such as jogan ban jaungi (Shabab) allah tero naam (Hum Dono), Rafi put the devotee in trance with his o duniya ke rakhwale (Baiju Bawra), man tarpat hari darshan (Baiju Bawra), and duniya na bhaaye mohe (basant bahaar).  Similarly if Lataji could boast of knowledge of indian classical singing in songs such as thare rahiyo (Pakeeza), ja ja re ja balamwa (Basant Bahar) and kaise aaun jamuna ke teer (Devta), Rafi’s exhilarating renditions of madhuban mein radhika (Kohinoor), naache man mora (Teri Surat Meri Aankhen) and saaz ho tum awaaz hun (Saaz aur Awaaz), left everyone speechless.  If there’s a God of music, Lata and Rafi represent the two personas of the same God, you can find evidence of this in their perfections merging into one in kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya (Suvarn Sundari), jhan jhan jhan paayal (Rani Rupmati), man ki been matwari (Shabab), tu ganga ki mauj (Baiju Bawra), and jo waada kiya woh (TajMahal).

But Rafi’s repertoire of songs does not end or stay confined in these styles alone, they extend to include Asha Bhosle and Geeta Dutt’s genres too.  The husky, naughty, and seductive quality of these two female singers find a perfect match in Rafi’s equally intoxicating and vibrant vocals.  To witness this you have to look no further than Rafi-Asha’s playful aaja aaja main hun pyaar tera and o haseena zulfon wali (Teesri Manzil),  abhi na jao chhod ke (Hum Dono), aap yuhi agar humse (Ek Musafir Ek Hasina), deewana mastana hua dil (Bombay Ka Babu), isharon isharon mein (Kashmir Ki Kali), sar par topi laal haath mein (Tumsa Nahin Deka), bade hain dil ke kaale (Dil Deke Dekho), etc.   Also, Geeta-Rafi rocked in teasing melodies such as aankhon hi aankhon mein (CID), chal diye banda nawaaz and  jaane kahan mera jigar (Mr. & Mrs. 55), sun sun zalima (Aar Par), and hum aapki aankhon mein (Pyaasa), among others.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Whether it was Naushad saab’s raga based music or Shankar Jaikishan’s western style compositions, these two stalwarts did not have any reservations about Rafi saab’s ability to convey the finest nuances of their compositions.  For the male part, they had to never scramble for a voice to suit their changing ryhthems, but for the female parts they could not just rely on Lata ji, they had to turn to Asha and Geeta to bring out the teasing sultry tones.  Such is the immense reach and versatility of Rafi Saab.  You would be hard pressed to find Lata ji singing songs that have the restless and romantic frenzy of Rafi saab’s taarif karun kya uski (Kashmir Ki Kali), or his comic timings in songs such as suku suku (Junglee), sar jo tera charaye (Pyaasa) or jungle mein mor naacha (Madhumati).

(As a caveat, I must add here that I am not sure if Lataji was not given cabaret and other sultry or seductive kind of songs, because she deliberately chose to stay away from them or because she was incapable of rendering them.  Since I am also a die-hard and ardent Lata fan, I choose to beileve that the former reasoning is more accurate.  I cannot imagine Lataji not being able to sing any particular kind of song.  However, since she has not done so, that is why, as a matter of fact, I have to conclude that Rafi saab was a master even in those type of songs which Lataji never sang and left for other female singers.  I myself had once written that:   “lata dil ki chaahat hain aur rafi dard ki raahat hain, in dono mein se hum kisi ek ko chune, to yeh mosiqui se bagaawat hain”).

Therefore, factually, there is absolutely no other singer who has proven to be in complete command and in absolute top form in every kind of music genre as Rafi saab is, be it qawalli (parda hain parda from Amar Akbar Anthony); bhajan (man tarpat hari from Baiju Bawra); ghazal (mere meboob tujhe from Mere Mehboob), classical (madhuman mein radhika from Kohinoor), sad songs (yaad na jaaye from Dil Ek Mandir, meri kahani bhoolne wale from Deedar, kabhi khud pe kabhi haalat from Hum Dono, koi saagar dil ko from Dil Diya Dard Liya), utterly romantic songs (jo baat tujh mein hain from Tajmahal, maine shayad tujhe from Barsat ki Raat, husnwale tera jawaab nahin from Gharana, aye phoolon ki rani from Aarzoo); philosophical songs (main zindagi ka saath from Hum Dono, man re tu kahe na from Chitralekha); patriotic songs (ab tumhare hawale watan from Haqeeqat, jinhe naaz hain hind per from Pyaasa, yeh desh hain veer jawano ka from Naya Daur), poetic verses (tang aa chuke hain and gham is kadar from Pyaasa) rebellious songs (jalaa do, mitaa do, phoonk dalo yeh duniya from Pyaasa, yeh duniya yeh mehfil from Heer Ranjha), full of fun masti songs (meri jaan balle balle from Kashmir ki Kali, dekhi sabki yaari mera dil jalaao na from Kaala Pani, deewana hua baadal Kashmir ki Kali, lakhon hain nigahon mein from Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hoon); seductive songs (dilruba dil pe tu from Rajkumar, aaja re aa zara aa from Love in Tokyo, aaj ki raat yeh kaisi raat from Aman); folk songs (govinda aala re aala from Bluff Master, haule haule ghunghat pat khole from Goonj Uthi Shenaai); and comic songs (sar jo tera chakraye from Madhumati).

Some may argue that Kishore Da has sung songs of all genres.  This is true to some extent, but frankly the command that Rafi saab has on indian ragas and murkhiyaans is unparalleled. If legends like Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan, S.D. Burman, Roshan, Madan Mohan, and Ravi could not trust Kishore da’s voice to do complete justice to their songs who are we to argue otherwise.  Kishore da excelled in an era that, over time, kept distancing itself further and further away from classical and semi classical compositions.  No one in their right minds will call 70s or 80s the era of golden music.  That distinction belongs to the music of 50s and 60s, primarily due to Rafi Saab and Lata ji.   Also, Kishore da’s most loyal music director R.D.Burman also carved out gems for Rafi Saab (kya hua tera waada and hain agar dushman from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin;  pal do pal ka saath humara from The Burning Train;  kitna pyara wada hain from Carvaan; yaadon ki baraat and chura liya hain tumne from Yaadon Ki Baraat;  and who can forget the trendsetting songs from Teesri Manzil—aaja aaja, o haseena, o mere sona re, etc.), but I have not seen Rafi loyalists such as Naushad or Shankar Jaikishan or Madan Mohan or Roshan carve out special melodies to suit Kishore Da’s voice.

Also, when it came to legendary writers such as Sahir Ludhianvi, Shaqeel Badayuni, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra and Kaifi Azmi, Rafi’s voice immortalized their soulful writings.  Sahir’s angst in, “yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai” so effortlessly merges with Rafi’s intense voice.  When Shaqeel writes the most delicately romantic lines such as, “tere saaye ko samajhkar main hansi tajmahal, chandni raat mein nazron se tujhe pyaar karun,” or the most melancholy poetry such as, “zindagi ke aaine ko tod do, ismein ab kuch bhi nazar aata nahin, koi saagar dil ko bahlata nahin,” we cannot imgaine any other sensitive and emotive voice but that of Rafi.  Similarly, when Majrooh’s shayari was the best and most introspective, there was one voice that conveyed all emotions with tremendous bhaav and laykaari —- in aapne yaad dilaya to mujhe yaad aaya ke mere dil pe pada tha koi gham ka saaya from Aarti; hum bekhudi mein tumko pukaare chale gaye from Kaala Pani; or maine puchha chand se ke dekha hain kahin mere yaar sa hasi from Abdullah. Shailendra’s poetry rose to frenzied heights with ever so tender and soft rendition by Rafi in teri pyaari pyaari surat ko from Sasural and baharo phool barsao mera mehboob aaya hain from Suraj.  Kaifi Azmi’s satire found a stinging resonance in Rafi when he sang dekhi zamaane ki yaari bichhde sabhi baari baari from Kaagaz Ke Phool or yeh duniya, yeh mehfil mere kaam ki nahin from Heer Ranjha.

India has several great singers who are very good in their own specific styles and genres but if you were to roll Lata, Asha, Geeta, Kishore, Mukesh, Talat, Manna Dey, all into one you will find Rafi saab!!  Manna Dey was very good in classical songs, Talat Mahmood was a master in singing ghazals/nazams, and Mukesh was great in sad heart breaking melodies, but if there was one singer who could tresspass in their individual and characteristic musical territories and still come out victorious it was Rafi Saab!!

Also, please see my poetic tribute to Rafi in form of a ghazal written by me (Dil Rafi Pe Kurbaan) which was posted in the May 2010 edition, and which is linked here for your convenience.

© by Sarah Modi 2010 USA

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39 Blog Comments to “Mohammad Rafi = Lata + Asha + Geeta, etc”

  1. mayank says:

    Any song sung by rafi ji lata ji asha ji together in any hindi movie

  2. Anonymous says:

    Rafi sahab is superb in every types of song rendered. When I came to know that rafi sahab is the combination of lata, asha, Mukesh, kishore kumar , manna dey and geeta dutt , I really enjoyed and overwhelmed. My rafi sahab is above all singers with a great personality.

  3. vijay kumar says:

    can you pls provide your email as i would like to send you a poster of a mohd rafi nite which i am doing on the 28th so that u can post it on your website


  4. nafisa says:

    talking abt same song sung by rafi & lata seperately,

    1. One of my favourte is “ehsaan tera hoga muzh per ” from Junglee.
    Rafi excels like only he could and lata has tried very hard, to reach the rafi
    level. and the effort shows.

    2. “Tum muzhe yun bhula na paaooge” from Pagla Kahin ka, Separately sung solo versions of the same song are more or less equally good, but still rafi’s version sounds better. i am not able to explain it.

    3. “Jab jab bahar aayi, aur phool muskuraaye” from Taqdeer. Rafi’s solo is in lori (Lulluby) mode, and lata’s version is a little fast, another female version, is there alongwith a group song of suman, manendra kapoor. All these versions are available on Youtube, i have seen them recently. They are all quite good, but still the most soothing and memorable is rafi’s for obvious reasons.

    Regards to all rafians

  5. Gokuldas kumar says:

    My greetings to all Rafians out there. You are all blessed humans because you took birth in this planet, when Rafi’s songs were born! There will be no other Rafi born here for another 1000 years! Also, I pity those music lovers, who have not studied Rafi’s songs deeply and still venture to rate him next to other singers.
    Gokuldas kumar.m

  6. Imran says:

    Nice article,

    Keep it up, we feel more proud whenever we compare and found nothing in competition of great Rafi Sb.


  7. Dawood Ahmad says:

    I think one should not compare Rafi Sahab with anybody else because no one matches his versatility his rendition of songs whatever the situation/requirement may be. I do agree we are helpless while praising his style or contribution to the music because we have no option but to compare him with the other available lot of singers who were his counterpart during his lifetime and singing afterwards but its fact NO BODY CAN MATCH OR EVEN STAND CLOSE TO RAFI SAHAB. I feel myself lucky to hear him a lot and other singers yet I believe: with each passing day that nobody was like him before and nobody would; as we have not come across any singer of his caliber even after 30 years of his death. In Naushad’s words truly he was “ATHWAN SUR” of music.


  8. Sarah says:

    In reply to Post 31


    Thank you very much for your profound understanding of the article. I never responded to the comments because my devotion and love for Rafi saab is all out there in the article and my ghazal (linked at the end of the article). If despite that, anyone believes that the write-up was meaningless then I can only respect their opinion.

    Whenever I am admist music lovers who discuss singers, they always compare Rafi saab with other singers. This is a natural humany tendency. This article was born out of one such discussion. Of course, Rafi is beyond comparison. But unless you juxtappose his immense talent with those of others, how do you say to the debating audience that he is the greatest singer.

    I really thank everyone for their wonderful comments and criticism. Nasreen, you have touched my heart. You have given words to my thoughts, I really appreciate your grasping the essence of the article.


  9. Nasreen says:

    I have read some of the comments and a couple of them are from those who seem to have missed the point of the article. (Posts 14, 18 and 24).

    I was hoping Sarah would respond to the concerns which these posts have made. I feel compelled to say that I think in order to talk about the greatness of Rafi Saab some amount of comparison is necessary. Lata is not a nobody. She is also a female singer whose equal has been hard to find. Many try to be exactly like her with no success. The closest to Lata has been Suman Kalyanpur and it is true that sometimes it was hard to tell whether the singer was Lata or Suman. But for whatever reason, the fact remains that Suman was not utilized extensively and has lost out due to lack of numbers. But apart from Suman, no one comes close to Lata. Apart from having the most beautiful voice, she sang with feeling and with soul, which are absent from the voices of other singers. Think of songs like “Ruk jaa raat, theher jaa re chanda” and “Chaand phir niklaa, magar tum na aaye” and yet again “aap ki nazron ne samjha”. No one can match Lata’s soulful rendition of these songs.

    And yet, Rafi Saab is more than this too. to my understanding of the article, the writer has not really compared but has only pointed out that Rafi Saab was equal to Lata plus all the other singers put together. the title does mention only Lata, Asha and Geeta but has an “etc.” at the end because for obvious reasons one cannot list every singer’s name in the title.

    It is a very well written article which brings out quite well the writer’s supreme devotion to the maestro through all the points made (with illustrations) and usage of words like victorious” and “unparalleled” and “on top”. So I think maybe give the article a second reading and try to understand the point being made before making criticisms that may not be appropriate..

  10. Hussein Sheikh says:

    @Raj – 29

    Even in Yaadon Ki Baraat title song, Rafi Saheb sang much better than Kishore.

  11. Raj says:

    @shail -27

    What about yaadon ki barat song between rafi and kishore ?

  12. Narayan says:

    post 23
    Go to home page of this site.. you will find the email id

  13. shaik says:

    Yes Mr.Ravi, you are right if you hear any singer singing duet with Md.Rafi, you will find Md.Rafi’s voice scoring on the other who ever it may be Lata, Asha, Kishore etc… i am not saying the rest are not good, infact i like many songs of Kishore and Lata, but if you come to comparision surely Md.Rafi stands on top. Be it a duet or a solo, Mr.Ravi gave example of duet i will give you solo examples,

    ===> Taqdeer ka fasana jakar kise sunaye… This song is sung by Md.Rafi and Lata separately but when you compare Rafi song is better rendered.

    ===> Tum bin Jaon kahan duniya mein… Here too Md.Rafi scores over Kishore.

  14. ravi says:

    i think instead of drawing comparisons b/w rafi saab and other singers is a futile exercise. let’s talk about those duets which rafi saab had sung with them and gave them a midas touch. i discussing a few here starting from asha-rafi duet from “rajkumar” ‘dilruba dil pe tu ye sitam kiye jaa’ asha no doubt has a very sensual voice but in this song rafi saab is exra ordinary , extermely mesmerising. similary in the song ‘chura liya hai tumne jo’ rafi saab is heard in the last portion and the song becomes immortal. similarly in the song ‘mujhko apne gale laga lo’ a sudden intervention of rafi saab is charismatic.

  15. M. Rehman says:

    Hello all music lovers..

    MOHD. RAFI is not comparebale to any others for following reasons:

    LATA, RISHORE, MANNADEY, MUKESH.. They all are LEGEND in indian music but RAFI is LEGEND of the LEGEND in music of entire planet. To be a Legend in music the singer has to be outstanding with extraordinary singing ability and so on…But to be LEGEND of LEGEND apart from singing, a human being have to have other qualities such as: Generous (sing without money) , Tollerance (give chance others to build their career), Helping nature (stood with people in their bed time) and you name…. I beleive we all agree every other Lengdary singers has lacking in some way or other where RAFI name contains all these greatness.

    Take an example, there is many famous (legend) versities in the world.. but can we compare those to Harvered (legend of legend) ? surely not… so for RAFI it is the same…

    Well, then we may ask ourselves who to compare with RAFI? In my opinion with NO ONE… GOD made one master piece (name RAFI) & had sent him to the plannet with short span of life for some purpose and tas taken back who had given super humanous quality unlike others.. These kind of human being does come from GOD once in many centuries to touch other poeple’s life in the plannet.

    Finally, if we are to compare RAFI with other singer then we have to wait 1000 years… And if only GOD has any plan to create another RAFI kind singer down to the centuires from now on then possible… and the future plannet people will go back to history (like 7000 years back new FARAO history being discovered which we see in these days in CNN, BBC etc) and probably they will do the same, go back to 1000s years back to search in history was there any singer in past? Most probably in those days (1000s years from now) music pundit will find there was a name MOHD. RAFI in 19 centurty music history and they will be searching all around to find his Songs’ record (if it stays till that long) and start analyzing his voice….and I am sure they will be surprised and will say WOW… WOW… what a singer was in 19th century.. Lets re-produce his song…LOL…

  16. Man Mouji says:

    Like two other gentlemen, I too feel irksome to read your mixed thoughts in a wavering way, not sticking to one point, if you said Rafi is the greatest, then stick to the point, there is no need to compare Rafi Saab with Lata ji, Asha Ji and Geeta ji. All are great personalities in their time and related singing genres. If you want to compare Rafi Saab then compare him with only Rafi, no other singer can match to his elevated position. It is waste of time to put your efforts, precious time and energy without proper output, it’s like the saying goes “ Khoda Pahad Nikla Chuha”.

    But I am sure I can appreciate your love for Rafi Saab, I read your poem in urdu, of course, it was well written.

  17. Saleem says:

    I have written many articles on Mohammed Rafi. What is the procedure to have it on this site. Please advice

  18. TNA says:

    I dont like duets of Rafi as i have to bear the pain of hearing another voice with the Guru of all Gurus, one and only Rafi.
    Duets of Rafi must all be edited and made into solos. The most irritating female voice is Asha Bhonsle specially in duets with Rafi as she is trying so hard to match with the genius that she sounded funny and vierd, as if someone is trying to put up a tawtanki show.
    Lata, is more a politician than a singer and Geeta Dutt got to sing the worst songs, she was most abused and under rated singer.

  19. BINU NAIR says:

    SARAJ JI… GOOD EFFORT. keep it up…

    i wish to add some more details as to “why” mohd rafi is considered the “best” ever singer?

    two reasons: one… he never felt “any” threat from any other singer . other singers of yesterday and today always dream of of “threats” from within and outside. i will not elaborate this fact.

    mohd rafi saab helped fellow singers like mahendra kapoor to get more songs. he complimented singers who sang in his style. singer anwar among them.
    he sent every month “pay packets” to musicians and singers, fallen on bad days.

    mohd rafi, the number one singer of the times sang for rupee one for many struggling composers and producers. one being the composer assistant to ravi saaheb – mr roshan lal khatri my friend – who composed for non-descript films like aansoo, kora aanchal and some devotionals.

    mohd rafi used to say to roshan lal in lahori punjabi : “TU SI AAGE BADH… dont talk of money, talk how many songs i have to sing for you….”
    all this from a lahori to a fellow lahori from different faiths too.

    yes. mohd rafi saab faced no threats. for, he knew that there was a “divine” person guiding him up from there.

    as i said, mohd rafi fear-ed no threats – from anyone. he was the best from among – all singers.

  20. nafisa says:

    continuing from post No. 2

    the immortal song for bharat bhushan is ‘jab jab bahar aayee aur phool muskauraye muzhe tum yaad aaye’.

    intoxicated song by lata “humko bhi gum ne maara tumko bhi gum ne maara, hum sab ko gum ne maara, is gum ko maar daalo, ” from ‘aas paas’ (hema malini) and ‘ kaise rahoon chup ke maine pi hi kya hai, hosh abhi tak hai baqi’ for ‘intequam’ (sadhana).

    lata has given a few cabaeret type songs also, and no doubt done well.

    lata is also my favourite, there are no doubts that she is the greatest among female singers and perfection personified. hardly ever losing control of her voice or the song, playback singing is all about singing for the actors performing on screen. lata is a master in this art alongwith rafi. she had different stylised voices for meena kumar, nutan, waheeda, vijyanthi mala, mala sinha, hema, sadhna, nanda, babita, aash parekh, matching with their individual accents(perfect in case of some). you listen to the song and without seeing the video u could make out who is the performer on screen, in most of the songs. she is a very hard working and dedicated to her profession. she even sang songs for suchitra sen and priya rajvansh sounding as if thery were singing those songs. who can forget rahen na rahen hum (mamta) ‘bambai se aaya hai babu ‘ (bambai ka babu) for suchitra, and the songs of heer ranjha and hanste zakhm not to mention “hai tere saath meri wafa’ from hindutan ki kasam. she even had unique voices for tanuja and leena chanda and babita.

  21. Musharraf says:


    Thank you very much for this wonderful writeup on Mohammed Rafi. From your various quotes of the songs it is apparent that you have in-depth knowledge of the songs of Rafi saab. This is true Rafi was the combination of many. There wasn’t any area where Mohammed Rafi did not leave his foot prints. Manna Dey said about Rafi in an interview with a Bengali magazine “Shananda” of Kolkata,”Such a big artist was neither born since the last hundred years nor will be born in the coming hundred years”.

  22. KK Chadha says:

    Dear Sarah,

    Read your article on Rafi Saheb. I dont think it is appropriate to compare Rafi Saheb with anybodyelse, either it is Lataji, Ashaji or Geetaji. Rafi Saheb was Rafi Saheb thats all. Why confusion. He is legent, Sur Samrat, are there two opinions? By comparing him with others we are not doing justice with his memories. Please try to understand, the moment we compare, we start giving our mean judgement which we are not suposed to. Rafi Saheb is our heart and one cannot live without heart. Please add one more non-filmi Bhajan, if you have not heard “Paaon Padu tore shaam brij main laut chalo”. Can anybody sing like that. So everybody is great but Rafi Saheb is Greatest among all.

    KK Chadha
    Dwarka, New Delhi

  23. Sachin Sharmjia says:

    Sarahji, thanks a lot for this wonderful article. As Rafi sahab is the only singer in the whole film industry whose voice range is untouchable.
    No doubt Lata ji is also the greatest female playback singer but if we compare with Rafi sahab then we would like to say that there is no match equivalent to Rafi Sahab.

  24. Jayesh says:

    Well Sarahji, this is a fantastic article written by you wherein you have rightly narrated the facts about the quality of songs sung by the singing mastereo Rafi Saab as compared to the songs sung by three most popular female singers. I do agree that Rafi Saab is the only singer who has sang each and every type of song so easily and so beutifully that all those songs have become immortal.

  25. Gagan says:

    The legend of Rafi Saab will continue to live on till time immemorial!!! He was and will always remain the greatest singer ever male or female!!!

  26. A. Almas says:

    Dear Sarah Ji

    I am totally disappointed to read your write up.

    I do not find your article any way connected with the title you chose Rafi = Lata+Asha+ Geeta etc. Even the title itself is erroneous. your thinking and writing is flickering, the thoughts are fickle in nature, I mean not steady. What actually the writer should be aware what he is going to tell to the reader, when he chose a subject, he should write the matter only related to that subject which he has chosen, any deviation to the subject brings the reader irritation and boredom. This is the basic principle of simple writing. The verbose artificial languge can not help & yield good results. Even in the simplest words you can convey the subject matter more effectively. Language is the vehicle of thought. We do not come to this site to show our verbose so called language skills with extempore writing.

    I hope my comments will not dishearten you instead it will make you stronger next time to come up with a good article related to Rafi saab.


    Altaf Almas


  27. Sarah ji,
    Excellent write-up with detailed variety of moods of our maestro Rafi Saheb.
    He needs no comparisons. Truly I can’t even imagine to compare him with any other legendary singer.
    He had a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge variations in his divine vocal cords to suit any possible humane mood.
    The 3 female singers are legends too in their own styles of singing and I love their singing in their own styles as much as I do of Rafi Saheb in his varied styles.

  28. dr j.ketwaru says:

    Sorry,you can compare Rafi saab with any other singer,but other singers they cann’t sing: comediant songs as Rafi saab (songs for Johnny Walker,Mehmood etc.etc.),and songs on very high tunes,as in films like “MughaleAzam”(Zindabaad ay Mohobat Zindabaad),and “Baiju Bawra”(Oh dunija kee rakhewalee; Mene tarapate Haridarshan etc.etc.,and romantic songs as for Shammi Kapoor. No,that is not possible,I have never heard this of a singer, male or female,even in the west of the world.Rafi was realy a singing miracle.

  29. jayarajt says:

    Great article.It is like chosing between left eye and right eye.But Saraji made some compelling arguements to chose one over the other.Reg Lata not singing cabaret type songs she did few but reluctantly.Two have been mentioned two others:”mera nam reta—-” April fool,”Main kya karoo buddah mil—–” Sangam both under SJ.I heard that she refused to sing Main kya karoo –but SJ kind of forced her it seems and that led to their rift compounded when SJ introduced Sarada.Another western number she did well was “Gore Gore obanke chore—–“

  30. Girish says:

    Great great article.

    Keep it up.

    Girish :

  31. Indeed a very intelligent article..Those who compare or treat Rafi and Lata at par should know that Lata’s heights were touched to a great extent by Suman Kalyanpur and at times it had been difficult to differentiate between Lata and Suman Kalyanpur’s quality of voice–No one could touch or come close to Rafi from any angle or perspective..

  32. Nasreen says:

    Dear Sarah Modi-ji

    All i can say is “wah wah”. What a fantastic article you have written. Everything i would love to express about Rafi Saab’s versatility you have done with such flair. This understanding of the different facets of Rafi Saab’s unique talent – this understanding is what binds all Rafi fans together. You have used all the right examples to portray the different muscial genres this supreme genius so expertly handled. But of course there are thousands more, there will always be, because each and every song he has sung has been a gem that we cannot treasure enough.

    I am also a fan of Lata – and there is ONE cabaret type of number that Lata did sing – in the movie “Inteqam” picturised on helen. the song is “Aa jaane jaan, mera bhi husn jawaan”. Well, she handled it superbly. But you are right, I don’t think she could have handled songs which have really ‘naughty’ nuances in between like a seductive laugh (which Asha was so good at), an example is “Aao na gale lagaalo na, lagi bujhaa do na o jaane ja” or “husn ke lakhon rang kaun sa rang dekhoge”.

    So in spite of the fact that Lata also stands a bit higher than other female singers, and has a voice that touches your soul — she still cannot compare with Rafi Saab whose voice touches your soul, your mind, body, heart and LIFE. It makes us live in the true sense of the word.

    Thank you for this wonderful article. i really found myself nodding in agreement with every line you wrote.

  33. We Cognize says:

    Hello Sarah Ji,

    This is an article with very good reasoning. you are right in saying what you said because you based your reasoning on facts 🙂 We as a family are die hard fans of Rafi sahab but we love Lata ji songs too ! 🙂

    Very good factual reasoning !

  34. Gautam Banerjee says:

    This is most idiotic article so far. Who are we to decide whois best Rafi, Lata or Asha. They are so great that they are out of our reach. I guess if Md. Rafi was alive he would be angry to read this article. Please stop this kind of stupidity.


  35. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Bahut Khoob, Sarah Bahen, Congratulations for such a brilliant write up.
    ” Iss ghirathe naheed ki har taan hai deepak
    Shola sa lapak jaye hai Aawaz to dekho”
    Long live Rafi Sahab,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  36. Jay-Bee says:

    So true. I once read somewhere that Shammijee said if there was no rafi he would have Asha sing for him. In my personal opinion Asha is the female counterpart of Rafi Sahb. But, to be fair to Lata she did sing a cabaret song(very good indeed) and also an intoxicating song(again very good) under LP in the movie Inteqam. The first picturized on Helan and the latter on Sadhna. Also, I think the song Hui shaam Unka Khyal… is from the movie Mere Humdam Mere Dost under LP on Dharmendra. Thanks for a good write up. Long live Rafi Sahb’s Memory

  37. mohanflora says:

    great analysis and write-up modiji,
    you have hit the nail on the head! you have written what many musicians and music critics know but are wary to acknowledge. There are scores of songs in each category that you have not mentioned in which rafi would do proud to your write-up. one category you left out was the SHARABI songs. I am listening to the intoxicating “zulfon ko aap yun na sanwara karo” by the rafi-asha combine from chandan ka palna(m.d. rdb) and i would say you are on target! Thanks.

  38. nafisa says:

    dear sarah ji,

    aap ka yeh article padh kar mera dil khushi se bahut baag baag ho gayaa. bahut khubsoorat likha hai aapne, yeh hamsab rafians ki dil ki baat hai.

    There are any no.of films music composed by rafi loyalists composers and some not so loyal composers where all songs male for the film are sung by mohd rafi. SBD, LP, Shakra-Jaikishan, OPN , Roshan and Madan Mohan, Chitagupt are most prominent in this.
    This distinction belongs to rafi and rafi alone. this in an era, when hero was a sweet and decent person and comedy and action and negative roles were left for comedians and villians. There are many films for filmalaya and nasir husain films, which had all the male songs by rafi. songs for different characters were sung by rafi for the same film.

    I think the music for “Pyar ka mausam” was RDB. all male songs except the one version of ‘Tum bin jaaoon kahan’ on bharat bhushan, were by rafi sahab. Ironic, that bharat bhushan whose full career includes such gems like “DO ghadi woh jo paas aa baithe”(Gateway of India) “Tu ganga ki mauj (Baiju Bawra) zindagi bhar nahin bhulegi (Barsaat ki raat) ( there is one more song which lyrics are not coming to mind, i will write again when it comes back because it will. ), for whom kishore sang that song, RDB must have had some justification for that ? what i fail to guess. Any way, despite this the music of Pyar ka mausam was very excellent. There is fast number which goes “Che khush nazaare, ke jab pukaare hai pyar ki manzil” .

    sarah ji “aapne yaad dilaaya toh mujhe (khub saare gaane) yaad aaya ! ”

    kaifi azmi was the lyricist for “Hanste Zakhm” too?
    “Tum jo mil gaye ho…..
    to yeh lagta hai……
    ke jahaan….. mil gayaa…..
    ek bhatke huey rahi ko..
    karvaan….mil gaya…..

    sach mien rafi sahab ki awaaz mien hindi film music ko jahaan mil gayaa tha, jiski qadar kuch hi log kar paaye, unke rehte.

    more to follow.

  39. mohamedparvez says:

    dear sarah modi ji thanx for sharing nice article with us,rafi saab”s voice suited for every type of songs, his ability to sing every type of songs ,so music directors had no problem when they called rafi saab to sing the song,i would like to share the you tube channel with everybody, i have uploaded ,over 200 rare songs of rafi saab,plus you will find interview of rafi saab,and documentry on rafi saab produced by films divisions of india,also you will find,tribute paid by legends of bollywood,kindly visit this link,take care


    mohamed parvez

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