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Versatility, Thy Name is Mohammed Rafi

Two Rafi Songs from the Film ‘Naya Raasta’- A Study in Contrast
Mrs. Usha G Rao- a Senior Member of ‘Baar Baar Rafi’- The Fan Club, Bangalore, India

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Call it a cliché, an oft-repeated statement or stating the obvious, I would still like to dwell on this topic and say- ‘Versatility, thy name is Mohammed Rafi’. For me, a discussion on any aspect of Rafi Sahab’s singing amounts to a joyful celebration of his music. Each time I look at the prism of his songs, I see a new angle, a new dimension hitherto unseen by me.

I wish to present here a study of two of his songs from the 1967 film Naya Raasta. The mood and the ethos of the two songs are at total variance with each other and hence are perfect examples for the topic under discussion. The music is composed by Narayan Dutta, better known as N Dutta and the lyrics written by Sahir Ludhianvi Sahab are some of the most meaningful lyrics ever written for films. The two songs are:

  1. “Ponchh kar ashq apni aankhon se”
  2. Main ne pi sharaab, tum ne kya piya”

A brief outlining of the film’s story is necessary so as to understand the mood of the two songs. Balraj Sahni and his screen sister Asha Parekh belong to the economically and socially backward section of society. They are abused, insulted and ill-treated by people belonging to the affluent upper class. Jeetendra who is the love interest of Asha Parekh in the film plays the role of a sheet-anchor in her troubled life.

The first song ‘ponchh kar ashq apni aankhon se’ is happy, upbeat and full of hope and optimism. Saddened by her circumstances, the heroine Asha Parekh is in tears and the hero Jeetendra implores her not to wallow in self-pity and despair but to challenge the existing system and dream of a new social order.

The second antara has some of the most eloquent and thought-provoking words. They are as follows:

Rang aur nasl, jaat aur mazhab,
jo bhi ho aadmi se kamtar hai,
is haqeeqat ko tum bhi meri tarah maan jaao
toh koyi baat bane.”

Rafi Sahab, as always, breathes life into the poignant lyrics. Gauging the mood of the song, his voice, flowing like a gentle stream, assumes a tender yet cheerful demeanour that is both soothing and comforting. As he sings this song, his voice encapsulates so much of hope, promise and happiness that it encourages the listener to think positively in life.

The second song is “Mainne pi sharaab, tum ne kya piya”.

This song is complex and multi-layered as varied emotions are portrayed in it. There is a sense of doom and despair, anger, frustration, bitterness and even defiance-emotions that are incongruent with each other.

As is evident from the lyrics, the character played by Balraj Sahni is in a drunken stupor while singing this song. Defeated and frustrated by the trials and tribulations he has to undergo in life, he gives vent to his feelings in this song.

As for Rafi Sahab’s singing, well, this is a Rafi song par excellence. This sing should definitely be counted among his best. Rafi Sahab, a teetotaller in real life, does a perfect imitation of a drunken man’s ways of enunciating the words. Notice his slurring and the slight incoherence while singing. When he repeats the mukhda, after each antara, notice how he sings the line ‘main ne pi sharab’ dragging the word ‘pi’.

The second antara begins with the words:

“Tum  kaho toh sach, hum kahe toh jhooth,
Tum ko sab maaf, zulm ho ke loot”

While singing the line ‘hum kahe toh jhooth’, he lets out a snigger, a derisive laugh to show the character’s utter contempt, bitterness and a deep sense of hurt towards an unjust society.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

The last antara brings out strongly the discrepancies between the haves and the have-nots.

“Reet aur riwaaz sab tumhare saath,
dharm aur samaaj sab tumhare saath
apne saath kya dhool aur dhuan,
aaj chahe tum noch lo zubaan,
aanewala daur lega sab hisaab.”

The intensity of emotion comes out so well in Rafi Sahab’s voice when he sings this antara, especially in the last two lines:

aaj chahe tum…
……sab hisaab”
where he (that is the character played by Balraj Sahni) throws a challenge and warns people around him that future generations would make them pay for their misdeeds.

I urge all Rafi bhakths to watch the video clipping (if they have not done so already) of this song in which Rafi Sahab’s soulful rendition brings out all the subtle nuances of the song and enhances the brilliant performance of veteran actor Balraj Sahni. The entire song sequence, embellished by the two great artistes, makes for a moving visual and aural experience for the viewers.

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288 Blog Comments to “Versatility, Thy Name is Mohammed Rafi”

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  1. Anil Cherian says:

    Santoshji, Binaji:
    It happens sometimes with good people, actually it happens more with good people (bad vibes from people who were benefited by these good people). But then does it really matter at the end of the day? it didn’t matter to Rafisahab when he was there in this world. I believe many of us have seen that video (in the youtube) of Rafi sahab paying his tribute to SDB. He had only very kind words about someone who flew high using his (Rafisahab’s) wings and gave cold shoulders when he reached the peak. Had Rafisahab been alive today he would be having similar kind words about the son also.

  2. bina says:

    Dear Nadkarni Saab:

    Aapka patr padhkar main yeh mehsoos kar sakti hoon aap kitne thakaan se likh rahe hain. I pray for your health Nadkarni Saab…you have lived your life with dignity and you hold a respected place in our hearts.

    The revelation that you have made about Rafi-RD relationship is all at once incredible and saddening, as I cannot even begin to think why one would dislike a mahaan atma like Rafi Saab…phir bhi fate is sometimes cruel, and it was Rafi Saab’s naseeb that he had to encounter bad vibes from RD….par yeh kya kam hai ki Rafi Saab never let this fact affect the quality of songs that he delivered under RD’s baton… aur isee badhakpan ke kaaran hi toh unhonhe gaaya hai… paaya hai dushman ko jab se pyaar ke kaabil…

    Deewana tujhsa nahi is ambar ke neeche, Rafi Saab..

    With kind regards,

  3. santosh says:

    Dear Mr.Korti,

    I am a small drop in the ocean of rafi saab fans.I am also not a knowledgeble person compared to you.But this bashing of rd is the sheer fustration of us rafi fans who feel that rafi saab has not been given his due.This happens when a greater singer or person is denied his rightful place.So please let us bring out the fustration.What people call fustration is love for rafi saab

  4. paramjeet says:

    Unknown 30
    // rd used mohd rafi more than any male singer from 1977 to 1980 and rd was mohd rafi fan.//

    Apna point facts aur figures ke saath krupaya validate karein.. Saare filmon ke naam aur gaanon ke saath.


    Aap yahan pe jo marzi taarif kare Rafi sahab ki, magar aesi baatein na kare.. Kishore did not have “worthless work”, it is you who is “worthless”..


  5. Raju Korti says:

    ref to my earlier post.
    apologies for the typos
    in the last line pl read as without fear or favour…

  6. Raju Korti says:

    ref post 35
    mr kapil has made a valid point. instead of wasting time, energy and needless conjecturing, kite flying and speculating on the rdb-rafi relationship, fans must exercise on the great work done with other (and more talented) composers.
    i know for sure what exactly is the truth in the rafi-rdb relationship. what is appearing on this website is a whole lot of hearsay which is not fair at all. as one who knew the entire music industry inside out in those days, i can vouch that most of it is only part true, part speculation. it is neither fair to rafisaab nor to rdb, both of whom are not with us anymore. in any case nothing is going to be achieved by raking up the past muck.
    all i can say is this relationship has many complicated angles to it. it is mlike trying to untangle a very deeply complex knot. you try to do that and end up complicating it more.
    please stop this raf-rdb discussion once and for all. we all take great pleasure in castigating raju bharatan for writing “non sense” and do the same thing, writing something about which they have no first-hand information and based only on someone who has forwarded some so-called spicy stories/anecdotes by colouring it more.
    it is one thing ro mr nadkarni (god bless him and may he live long) to say a few things on the basis of his direct association with pancham, and quite another for others to do so on the basis of merely what they feel or what they have heard from unauthorised “sources”. if they have authentic sources, they must name them with fear or favour.

  7. Narayan says:

    Post 28
    Nadkarni saab,
    At the outset we all pray that you recover from this ailment as soon as possible and for this we all Rafi bakts are praying to meet you…personally…
    or if not atleast call you on phone…
    Your true revelation gave us insights into the politics of bollywood music and RDBurman played truant to get his fav singer a break… How sad and hope this is realised by the so called fans of Pancham da …
    This is inspite of the fact that Rafi sahab gave wholehearted support to the ungrateful MD.. Also Nasir Hussain gave all the work from Teesri Manzil to the MD and he had a good rapport with Rafi sahab. If you take away the vetran director’s contribution then only few songs will be credited to the MD with Rafi sahab…
    Thanks for the updates and let the whole world know the truth of blind bias for one and personal dislike for other…
    Ofcourse Rafi sahab never got affected as he is an Angel/Farishta and kept smiling…
    True to that he came back with a big bang with full support of his fans Manmohan Desai, LP,Usha Khanna, Madan Mohan,Nasir Hussaion ( who would have forced RDB to toe the line in films like Yaadon ki Baraat, Caravan, humkisise kum nahin etc )
    Like what MYK said in the early post just because one MD ignored Rafi sahab the ocean of nectar and pure gems doesnt go away..
    L Rafi sahab’s songs are always evergreen, immortal and eternal

  8. sabnavees says:

    In fact I was regularly reading the postings of Sri Nadkarni Sahab. Now nadkarni sahab’s posting has brought a shock. Its about the exit of Nadkarni Sahab. Of course death is certain for every living being, but it pains us deeply when we know the exit of a person whom we personally know and also whom we came to know through the forum of our Rafi Sahab, since we have developed a very sensitive bondage amongst us in this forum.

    I am aware that Sri Nadkarni Sahab is fighting with Cancer since the last several months. Its such a dreaded desease that freedom from it, is only the physical exit of the victim.

    I pray the Almighty to allow Sri Nadkarni sahab to quit his frame without further pain & agony.



  9. P. Haldar says:

    post 35:

    Dear Kapil,

    We are not talking about melody here but about facts. The question should never have been about whether R. D. Burman preferred Kishore to Rafi. Any person on the street knows the answer to that question. The right question to ask is whether Pancham was biased against Rafi. My hunch has always been that he was because his intent was to promote Kishore over Rafi. I realise that this statement of mine cannot be proved, but my observation of the politics in the music industry sitting hundreds of miles away in Calcutta has been rather accurate. Over two years ago, responding to an article on Rafi and Bharat Bhushan, I had written the following:

    P. Haldar Says:
    July 12th, 2007 at 2:05 am

    ref post 2:

    you are absolutely right that kk’s voice didn’t suit bharat bhushan. but when rd is the md, those things don’t matter. I’m surprised that he didn’t try kishore’s voice on shammi kapoor!


    A person who has interviewed Nasir Hussain revealed recently that the latter had wanted Rafi to sing “Tum bin jaoon kahan” for Bharat Bhushan too but Pancham had raised strong objections and finally Nasir Hussain had to yield.

    Again, there is no need to bash Pancham for his choices; as an md, he always had the right to choose his singers. But facts are facts, and there is no need to make up facts like “Rafi was Pancham’s favourite singer” and “Pancham did not prefer Kishore to Rafi”.

  10. Chandra Sekhar Mani says:

    After you read Nadkarni Saab’s revelation about the injustice done to our Rafi saab, by RDB, we cannot help but feel that RDB also manipulated the recordings to make Rafi Saab’s voice look weaker. If you now hear the songs of Rafi Saab in the album “Tere Bagair”, you can see the difference and understand what I mean. Maybe Nadkarni Saab can throw some light on this.

  11. binu nair says:

    Post 33 : Haldar saaheb : An Endearing Incident Before a Mumbay Concert…..

    I was with dada Manohari singh at the auditorium to touch his feet and hand him over the issue of Sargam Magazine.
    On seeing the Sargam mag and Rafi saahebs picture with the title : “bharat ka ratna” – mohd rafi, dada involuntary-ly said : “yehi to hai sachaaa bharat ratna. bahut khoob.

    my mission was complete, for the day.

    binu nair,
    mumbai rafi foundation: cell 9833 250 701

  12. myk says:

    Would also like to add that there is a picture of SD-Shakti-RD-Kishore-AB-Minoo Katrak at the recording of the Aradhana songs.

    There are also dates that mention that the recordings of the Kishore songs were done five months before the Rafi songs.

    The most probable explanation for that is that Rafi was the first choice for Aradhana (he was regardless of anything and any story), had to leave town, Kishore recorded the three songs, and then Rafi came back to record the other two. Rafi knowing the recording dates and schedule of the songs of Aradhana could also relate to any of the stories as well.

    I don’t buy that Kishore was the first choice of Aradhana (as some KK fans like to claim). KK’s choice had more to do with other factors involved.


    Anyways, does it really matter ?. Rafi is the greatest singer of all time, Aradhana or no Aradhana.

  13. myk says:

    Also, a certain wife of Pancham had influence over his music (which has been discussed on this forum previously), and one should also take that into consideration when discussing Pancham and Rafi-saab.

  14. myk says:


    Thanks for your wonderful post.

    Your story aligns with what Raju Bharatan wrote about SDB’s illness during Aradhana.

    However at the same time Kishore Kumar mentioned in an audio interview after SDB’s death that SDB was active during “Kora kagaz tha yeh man”, and rehearsed/recorded the song with him. Why would Kishore have said such a thing if SDB was in fact ill during the time ?. Maybe SDB was ill, and then became well by the time he recorded the song with Kishore which was during the time Rafi was out of town.

    Shakti Samanta mentioned Rafi was out of town, which is why they could not wait and went ahead with the recordings in KK’s voice.

    It is not that I do not believe what you wrote, you have worked closely with Pancham, but there are many versions of the Aradhana story going around.

    Also, from the stories I have heard from various sources I find it hard to believe Pancham disliked Rafi-saab but then in this case, what Nadkarni-ji has mentioned, one never knows.

    I have even heard stories that Manohari Singh mentioned that RD composed “Gunguna rahe hain bhanwar” and “Bagon mein bahar hai” with Rafi. So in this case RD bringing in Kishore doesn’t add up unless he did, or wanted to do it, after these two songs (if he did compose them).

    Nadkarni-ji, can you please let us know more about Rafi-saab’s association with Kalyanji-Anandji ?.

  15. A S MURTY says:

    nadkarni sahab, you have done a yeoman’s service already by disclosing something which was not authenticated earlier, though known to many. we pray to the almighty to give you better health and long life ahead, and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for placing all the facts before the music lovers. it would be a good idea if someone can meet nadkarni sahab and record for posterity all his personal experiences.

  16. Kapil says:

    Dear Friends,

    Kishore da, in his prime time, was moslty associated with the MDs like RD, L-P and Bappi… now if we remove the great work these MDs have done, we would be left with a huge i repeat huge quantity of worthless work. No doubt RD was phenomenal, but then he has a *huge* mediocre work also to his credit.

    My point is, instead of regretting/discussing over RDB preferred KK, why don’t we celebrate Rafi Sahab’s association with so many other quality oriented MDs, who hardly did any mediocre work:

    1. Roshan
    2. SDB
    3. MM
    4. Naushad
    5. Shankar-Jaikishan
    6. Ravi
    7. Chitragupt
    8. OP Nayyar
    9. Hans Raj Behel ..
    10. C Ramchandra … etc etc

    Now listen below a beautiful Rafi-Lata melody by a composer, who really had a stronger hold on melody, than RD. Thanks!

    Aapne yaad dilaya to mujhe(Aarti 1962):

  17. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Re. post 28: Mr. Sandeep Nadkarni, read your comments, please can you tell us more about you, your association with Rafi Saheb, R.D. Burman? We would like to know more and more facts from you, please we request you to tell us more on the mentioned topic. God bless you.

  18. P. Haldar says:


    I hope you have all read Nadkarni saab’s post (post 28). I know some of you are fans of Pancham’s music. I have stated before that much as I love his music, I hate him even more for what he did to Rafi saab. I feel vindicated by Nadkarni saab’s statement. Some of you keep providing numbers (e.g., how many songs he gave to Rafi saab) but if you analyse the facts carefully, you will find that it was Pancham who decidedly turned the tide in Kishore Kumar’s favour. And if it were not for directors like Nasir Hussain, Pancham would have stayed as far away from Rafi saab as possible. In the late 70s, he used Rafi saab not because he wanted to but because he was forced to.

    Some of Pancham’s fans have queried Nadkarni saab but he had maintained a discreet silence. That silence spoke louder than anything else. Nadkarni saab, it has been a rare honour for us to have someone like you on this forum. We wish you the best. Nadkarni saab, I will ask you one question. Only answer it if you want to. Among Pancham’s lieutenants, can you tell us who had a soft corner for Rafi saab; Basu or Manohari? I know Bhupi is a great fan of Rafi saab’s.

    In closing, let me post one of Rafi saab’s early songs for Dada. It is from Bimal Roy’s Devdas and it’s sung in the background. See how beautifully Rafi saab brings out Dada’s conception of rural Bengal:

  19. binu nair says:

    Sandeep ji… Aap hamare dil me hamesha rahenge aur is tarah aap humse door kabhi bhi nahi jaa paaoge.
    aap mujhe ek baar mil ne ka mauka do, aur phir hamara bhi ek chota sa kamaal dekh lo….

    ek baar humse mil lo, yeh hamara dil kehta hai…..

    binu nair, mumbai, cell : + 9833 250 701

  20. while there is no doubt about the beauty of these songs, let me give you a different take.
    compare three ” drunken” songs: choo lene do nazuk honthon ko ( kaajal :raaj kumar); mujhe duniya walon ( leader : dilip kumar); mehfil se uth jaan waalon( dooj ka chand: bharat bhushan).
    to each renditoin, rafi saab has given the mood of the character and the actor.
    one singer one voice of god, three dimensions, three vastly different styles of composers and their compositions, but each a stand out reveletion.
    in the first the grace and sophistication of raaj kumar, in the second the playfulness of an effervescent dilip kumar and in the third, the utter despair of bharat bhushan.
    thank you, rafi saab and those great writers and composers.

  21. unknow says:

    that is true that because of RD and Rajesh Khanna KK became superhit if we agree or not but SD burman used Mohd rafi in 1970’s only for fews songs if am not wrong only six and RD used mohd rafi more than any male singer from 1977 to 1980 and RD was mohd rafi fan.
    all bollywood was unfair with mohd rafi.
    on 27th of ramdan we lost Mohd Rafi and last year on 27th ramdan we lost other mohd Rafi(M Kapoor)

  22. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Janab Santosh Saheb, Bahut bahut shukriya,
    Here is my e-mail address. Delighted to be in your contacts.
    With regards,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  23. Mr Sandeep Nadkarni says:

    Friends the final & the ultimate days of my departure from this world are almost coming nearer and I am preparing for my last and the final journey. Under these circumstances I personally do not intend to take away with me the pressure of hiding a fact which was closely guarded by me for the last several years.
    The sheer subject has been none other than R D Burman who in-fact was my only source of bread & butter but for me the magician Mohammed Rafi Saab had a unique place in my heart above all and hence the dearest Rafi Saab to me was everything. In-fact I was his ladla beta and hence it becomes my automatic duty to reveal a closely guarded fact which was hidden in me for the past many years.
    R D Burman personally disliked Rafi Saab and instead had very high regards for Kishore Kumar which used to hurt me a lot. Indirectly R D Burman was solely responsible for promoting Kishore above all the levels when actually compared with Mohammed Rafi.
    Ultimately R D Burman did get the golden opportunity in the Shakti Samanta’s film “Aradhana”. His father S D Burman initially had completed the recording of the 2 songs in this film in the voice of Rafi Saab and suddenly he fell seriously ill. In-fact S D Burman wanted to record all the songs in this film from dear Rafi Saab’s voice for which he had already planned the schedule and even Rafi Saab was aware of the situation and the dates of the recordings. Taking the advantage of the situation and his father’s illness R D Burman played a major gamble of the situation and in-spite of his father’s insistence went ahead and recorded all the other songs with the voice of Kishore Kumar and thereafter it is history
    Friends for this shameful act of R D B I foe one will never ever forgive him.

  24. Siva says:

    Thanks Girish ji- you can mail to
    Although I could view it in youtube and also could listen through some sites, I wasn’t able to download.Would be thankful if you can mail.

  25. Anil Cherian says:

    Superb article, Ushaji. Congrats. Please keep on writing here.

  26. girish prahalad says:

    Siva ji – Post 6

    pls leave your email id on the board and i will mail it.

  27. santosh says:

    alludidinsaab , Bahut Bahut ramzan mubarka apko aur apke parivar ko.

    I am from Ahmedabad.I am also a pujari of rafi saab.Through this beautiful site I have been able to make freinds with nice people like Mr,Narayanan, Mr,Sabnavees etc.

    Pl write to me.I will be very happy to have u in my contacts.See how rafi saab unifies everybody who likes him.

  28. binu nair says:

    Khaja Aliuddin Saaheb : Salaam & thanks from the heart.
    Rafi saaheb waise bhi ek hi jagah jaate, heaven mein is liye ke unhon ne bahut punya kiya hai.

    in other words, the gods had sent him to serve mankind and was called back may be at the right time for some and the wrong time for others.

    anyway – mohd rafi the legend went away with his head held high.

    binu nair

  29. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Dear Usha ji,

    Once again Great write-up! You studied very well the two brilliant songs of Rafi Sahab. The second one, i.e. “Main ne pee sharab” is one of my favourites of this genre and it always haunt me. Rafi Sahab is at total command while singing this song and nobody in whole sub-continent (in whole world also, I think) can sing this song like Rafi Sahab sung. The snigger by Rafi Sahab while singing “hum kahen to jhoot” is too beautiful and natural. You have correctly picked up the same and mentioned in the article.

    Many thanks and best regards.


  30. narayan says:

    Thanks and Adaab Dr Khaja saab for the timely information…
    No wonder Gods wanted Rafi saab with them


  31. dr vknair says:

    good work, keep it up

  32. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Addendum to my previous post, I would like to add that our legend died during this holy month of Ramadan. There is a belief amongst muslims that any one who dies during this holy month of Ramadan reaches heaven.
    Long live Rafi Sahab,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  33. Khaja Aliuddin,MD says:

    Janab Binu Nair Saheb,
    Bahut bahut shukriya Ramadan mubarak ka. It is really nice of you. Our legend has so many numbers on Ramazan and Roza. I will take this opportunity also and say Ramadan Mubarak to all Rafi lovers. Please keep me and my family in your prayers.
    with regards,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin
    die-hard fan of Rafi sahab

  34. Siva says:

    Refer post #12-Girishji
    I agree with your coments on generalisations-as they say all generalisations including this one are always bad. We see this more in today’s world than may be during Sahir’s times.
    But I think in the song Ponch kar ashq, same Sahir has given another view-“rang aur nasl, jaat aur mazhab, jo bhi ho aadmi se kam tar hai”.
    Sadly today human values are slowly fading away. That is why we feel so attached to Rafi sahab who was first an excellent human being apart from being an excellent singer

  35. binu nair says:

    RAMADHAN KAREEM AND best wishes to lovers of Music-Melody-&-Mohd Rafi Saaheb.

    May the “evergreen” cherubic rafi smile remain on every face.

    binu nair, rafi foundation, mumbai

  36. binu nair says:

    Post 11… indeed yes…. guru ji…..

    Yes i had seen the movie for Rafi songs in 70 during the first week of its release. naya raasta the movie ran for some 15 weeks in mumbai. the songs are in u-tube.

    thanks, binu nair

  37. sabnavees says:

    usha ji,

    very very nice article indeed. your explanation at the ‘ punch ‘ is highly appreciated. yes rafi sahab gives a peculiar drag at the exact point of the note. a listener will never believe that rafi sahab was a teetotaller after listening to these drunkard renditions.

    i remember another rendition ‘ jangal mein mor nacha kisinena dekha from madhumati, when rafi sahab sings hamjo ‘ thodisi ‘ peeke zara ‘ jhoomein’ i question can anybody sing like that ? ? ?

    regarding the aspect of ‘ versatility ‘ i recall the song dekha hai teri aankhon mein from the film pyar hi pyar. the particular rendition ‘ pyar hi pyar beshumaar ‘ comes 9 times. at each rendition rafi sahab gave a different ‘ punch ‘

    rafi sahab is the symbol of ‘ versatility’ ‘ modulation ‘ melody ‘ & aboveall ‘ crystal clear clarity where the listener can hear each letter of the lyric sitting comfirtably without pulling his ears towards the speakers.

  38. Anmol Singh says:

    Usha Ji,

    Great write Up,

    Indeed one can listen to the song “Poonch Kar Ashk” any number of times it has the same appeal. Perhaps I will try to see the film to feel more inside of the song.

  39. girish prahalad says:

    Usha Rao ji

    a wonderful article as usual from your pen (or shall we say – the keyboard ). “ponch kar ashq “is one of my all time favourite Rafi – Sahir numbers. The following lines have a story to tell on their own –

    zindagi bheekh me nahin milti
    zindagi badke cheeni jaathi hai (2)
    apna haq sangdil zamane se cheen pao
    to koi baat baane

    I must admit that I have not heard “maine pee sharab” very often, but on seeing the song on the youtube link, one can only marvel at the grasping powers of rafisaab. Every nuance of a drunkard’s behaviour and body language gets reflected in his voice and makes one feel that Balraj Sahni himself is singing the song.

    at the cost of stirring a a hornet’s nest, i must confess that Sahir’s lyrics always made the mistake of distinguishing good & the bad based on the economical & social strata of a person. For him, a wealthy person was always a heartless & cruel person whose sole aim in life was to ” suck the blood” of the poor man, while the poor man in turn, was always the proverbial goody goody, god-fearing man.

    unfortunately, it is this kind of generalization we see in the society today, that has further divided the already divided society. If all terrorists are muslims, then all hindus are communal, if people supporting one political party are secular then people supporting the other political party are communal. The list is endless and until people recognize that – the good & the bad does not have any class, creed, religion and caste, the list is likely to grow.

  40. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    ‘Naya Raasta’ was released in 1970.

  41. Priya B says:

    Kudos Ushaji!!!
    That was a brilliant writeup about Rafi Sab’s renditions!
    I could see not only you wrote about emotions that these songs emote but you also showed how moved you are by these songs!!
    Unless you have dwelt on these songs for a long time, such a wonderful presentation would not have been this soul touching one!
    Many thanks for reminding and making us grasp the essence of the songs!
    I agree with Nagesh, above, please keep writing and we are here to enjoy!
    With nicest regards,

  42. bina says:

    Usha jee..I am sure Nasreen jee was as thrilled to read this writeup about her dear Abba jaan (when you presented it to her), if not more, as much as we at BBR are proud to have you as a member..

    Your choice of songs is very different and special because you have selected two moderately popular songs (to the lay person) and the contrast between the two songs that you have chosen to expand into a narrative. is classically significant of Sahir’s poetry..

    Let me conclude by saying that we have learnt so much about music and have yet a lot to learn from veterans of yours and Gurujee’s calibre..


    Siva, here is the link that you were looking for…

  43. Narayan says:

    Adaab Rafi !
    Congrats for a lovely artilcle and reviving our childhood memories of 2 great solos from unsung Music Director N. Dataa sir who was very melodious in his scores…
    Maine pi sharab… I can say is the best sharabi song sung by any bollywood singer and our maestro is in full form.. This used to be played regularly in Vividh-Bharati and always loved it…
    Ponch kar asq.. became a hit and was featured in Binaca Geeth mala…

  44. sdchaugule says:

    Delited to read such article and readers can hear this song on Y. Music Director of this song is Naik Datta (N.Datta).

  45. Siva says:

    Usha ji / Nagesh ji
    I tried to get the song Maine pi sharab from the Net but couldn’t find it in any of the popular sites. Can you please help me in getting this? I would be thankful to you.

  46. Nagesh Sidhanti says:

    Hello Ushaji,

    During the worldspace radio program (I had the honor of doing it
    jointly with you) , on Rafi sab’s birth anniversary last year, I heard you speaking about the unsung composers producing music for unsung
    heroes. A niche topic only a connoisseur like you can bring about.

    Today i just witnessed on a hitherto unsung exponent
    of retro music giving us delightful insights into two of rafi sab’s succulent numbers. One full of cheerful spirit and the other, made of spirit.

    Often wondered what makes Rafi sab this versatile? Just thought I had
    some answer from a fellow bhakt NRPbhai, that it is the flexibility of his
    thought process, staying result oriented and delivering it with six sigma precision. Who says these are just corporate jargons ??

    Ushaji, aap likhte rahiye aur hum aazmaate rahenge. Fantastic write up.
    Thanks for ‘usher’ing a new chapter in


    Nagesh Sidhanti

  47. Hussein Sheikh says:


    Very nice article on these two songs sung by the master from the film “Naya Raasta” which had Jeetendra, Asha Parekh and late Balraj Sahni. The film was not hit, but the songs were and are still popular. Actually, there are 5 songs sung by Rafi Saheb in this film. And the songs are: “Maine pee sharaab tumne kya piya…”, “Ponchh kar ashq apni aankhon se…”, “Eeshwar Allah tere naam…”, “Chunar mori kori…” (with Asha Bhosle) and “Apne andar zara jhaankh mere watan…”. Please keep it up and looking forward for more articles from you.

  48. binu nair says:

    Two great Songs but I doubt whether it was a 1967 film….. i wait for a correction or a confirmation.

    music is indeed from n. datta, lyrics from sahir and the movie from the nadiadwala household – great mohd rafi lovers.

    binu nair : mumbai….

  49. Siva says:

    Excellent article-simply superb. Thanks a lot for refreshing my memory on the song Maine Pi sharab–it has been ages since I heard this song. It is really an out of the world song. I had listened to Poch kar ashq many times but somehow the other song is very rarely heard. No one can put so much of emotion like Rafi sahab. One can keep wondering for ages how a teetotaller like him can sing perfectly like a sharabi!!
    Once again-great song great article Usha ji. Thanks a million. My immediate action now is to get this song from the net.

  50. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    I fully agree with your contention of the versatility of these two songs from the same film. In fact during one of the reviews of the movie, the reviewer had pointed out that Balrja Sahni singing “Maine Pee Sharab” reminded one of Guru Dutt’s ‘Pyaasa’ songs.

    Incidentally the movie also had one more Rafi solo, a Bhajan “Eashwar Allah Tero Naam, Sabko Sanmti De Bhagawan”, which incidentally was not included in the movie.

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