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Their voice too

This article is by Rajiv Vijayakar. Taken from SCREEN Aug. 4th. 2006.


Even before he became ‘Bharat’ with Upkar, Mukesh and Mahendra Kapoor did have the quantitative edge over Rafi in Manoj Kumar country (no pun intended). But Rafi was no less than them as the voice of Manoj Kumar. From the rousing patriotic songs of Shaheed (‘Mera rang de Basanti chola …’, ‘Ae watan ae watan …’) to the romantic rhapsodies of Sajan (‘Resham ki dori …’, ‘Saajan saajan …’), Mohammed Rafi sang a complete range of songs in films as varied as Do Badan, Patthar Ke Sanam, Gumnaam and Sawan Ki Ghata down to Amaanat.

Manoj Kumar also had another unusual bond with that peerless voice – the first two (and very popular) songs that Manoj Kumar ever wrote, ‘Sai Baba bolo …’ and ‘Sainath tere hazaaron haath …’ were both sung by Mohammed Rafi under composer Pandurang Dikshit for the Manoj-written and presented film Shirdi Ke Sai Baba.

Rafi-Manoj composers: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Prem Dhawan, Shankar Jaikishan, Ravi, Madan Mohan, O.P.Nayyar.


The King Of Comedy may be associated primarily with Manna Dey, but Rafi bagged center-stage not only in his maiden production (Chhote Nawab) that introduced R.D.Burman but also with Mehmood hits in films like Shatranj (‘Badkamma …’), Gumnaam (‘Hum kaale hain to kya hua …’), Sanjh Aur Savera (‘Ajahoon na aaye baalma …’), home-production Sadhu Aur Shaitan (‘Kabhi aage kabhi peeche …’, ‘Mehbooba mehbooba …’) and Parvarish (‘Mama o mama …’) down to Ek Baap Chhe Bete (‘Ghadi milan ki aayi…’) in the late ‘70s.

Rafi-Mehmood composers: Shankar-Jaikishan, Dattaram, Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Rajesh Roshan.


Ah – Rajesh Khanna! The man whose superstardom meant a curtailment of work for Mohammed Rafi after Aradhana! But the Rafi-Rajesh record is rich with regal melody, and even a Bappi Lahiri used him in for a Khanna qawwali in Suraag. At the other end of the musical spectrum, Naushad too used Rafi for Rajesh Khanna in Dharam Kanta the same year.

But the real gems for The Phenomenon came earlier – in `Yeh reshmi zulfein …’ and ‘Chhup gaye saare nazaare …’ in Do Raaste, ‘Itna to yaad hai mujhe …’, ‘Yeh jo chilman hai …’ and ‘Pasand aa gayi hai …’ (Mehboob Ki Mehndi), ‘Koi nazrana …’ and the title-track in Aan Milo Sajana, ‘Yoon hi tum mujhse baat karti ho …’ (Saccha Jhutha), ‘Sajana saath nibhaana …’ and ‘Daanton tale dabaakar honth …’(Doli) and those gems from Aradhana itself, ‘Baagon mein bahaar hai …’ and ‘Gungunaa rahe hai bhanwre …’. And of course there were others too, from his debut film that saw the haunting ‘Akele hain chale aao …’(Raaz) to films like Shehzada, Humshakal, Bundelbaaz (all under R.D.Burman) of which ‘Kaahe ko bulaaya …’ from Humshakal stood out.

Rafi-Rajesh composers: Kalyanji-Anandji, R.D.Burman, S.D.Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Ravi, Naushad, Bappi Lahiri.


From the word ‘Go’ Randhir Kapoor and Kishore Kumar had a bond that lasted as long as Kishore Kumar was alive. And yet Rafi had his moments with the senior son of Raj Kapoor, with popular songs in ‘Chal premnagar jaayega …’(Jeet,Randhir’s first outside assignment), ‘Chup chup chup kyoon baithi ho …’ (Humrahi) and ‘Ibb lagan lagi …’ (Lafange). But the standout song came all the way late in 1981 – in the devotional Sufi number ‘Har jalwa tera jalwa …’ in Harjaee.

Rafi-Randhir composers: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, Ravindra Jain, R.D.Burman.

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9 Blog Comments to “Their voice too”

  1. mohanflora says:

    Snippet on a Rafi song-from the web:

    yamma yamma” that plays towards the end of the movie,SHAAN, (with a gypsy dance or something) is notable for one “historical” fact. Apparently, it was to be sung by two legendary singers – Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar. However, on a particular rehearsal/recording date, Kishore Kumar was unavailable or something and it was recorded by Rafi and R.D.Burman. In the subsequent days, Rafi fell ill (unfortunately, never to recover) and hence the song was retained as a Rafi-RDB duet, perhaps the only one of its kind.

  2. mohanflora says:

    Let me take a guess, ashq,
    Rafi has song most songs for the following in descending order:
    1..Shammi Kapoor
    2. Rajendra Kumar
    3. Dharmendra
    4. Shashi Kapoor
    5, Jeetendra
    6.Vinod Mehra

    Rafi has sung more songs for both Dharmendra and Shashi Kapoor than has Kishore Kumar.

  3. ashq says:

    Hi Rafi sahab fans.

    I am non Hindi person.I have watched only few Hindi movies.But I am a great fan of Rafi sahab and I have watched a lot of his songs in video.Before becoming a Rafi sahab fan I was unaware of the actors of Hindi films.Now I know almost all of them.I just love those acters too since I feel very nice to see them singing Rafi sahab songs.In my view most of the actors are suitable to convey the expressions of Rafi sahab.Only exception I see is Vinod Khanna.I prefer to watch following actors singing Rafi sahab songs.
    2.Shashi Kapoor
    3.Shammi Kapoor
    4.Rajendra Kumar
    6.Vinod mehra

    please let me know that who has sung the maximum Rafi sahab songs among those mentioned above,if somebody knows about it.Also for Dharmendra & Shashi Kapoor who has sung most no of songs?Kishore da or Rafi sahab?

  4. Nair says:

    Dear Unknow!

    I can feel that innocence of yours that made you to think that Amitabh Bachan and Shammi Kapoor were the best singers. By the way, I have observed your blogs and many times felt that your love for Rafi Sahab is unblemished and beyond any skepticism (obviously with understanding). Carry on my friend.

    And thanks to Mohan Flora, as always, for those wonderful clips.

    Rajiv has researched an unexplored area and elicited the best.


  5. unknow1 says:

    thanks Sir mohanflora again and again
    Dear friends
    Please listen to this songs ‘Chana zor garam…’(Kranti)when mohd Rafi enter to the song,that is Mohd Rafi no one else can enter to the song by this way,when I was a child I don’t know who is Mohd Rafi or Manny Dey and other singer only I liked songs which singed by mr Bachchan and also I liked Mohd rafi songs that time i didn’t know that was Mohd Rafi in mostly Shammi kapoor films

  6. mohanflora says:

    Sorry you can also try this for Zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi

  7. mohanflora says:

    Of course Rafi was the voice of Bharat Bhushan and Pradeep Kumar, super stars in their own era. Click on the following to hear Rafi and see them.

    1. Pradeep Kumar’s Jo Waada Kiya Hai

    2. Bharat Bhushan’s Barsat ki Raat

  8. mohanflora says:

    Exhaustive and well written Rajiv,

  9. Messi says:

    That’s a wonderful article. Got to read it a few days back, shows how Rafi’s voice matched
    different generations. Thanks a lot. I think Shammi Kapoor is the best choice for Rafi and
    vice versa. Rafi is the voice of Shammi Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor is the face/Body Language
    of Rafi’s voice ( Ofcourse other than Rafi himself ), who do u think is the best for Rafi ?

    With regards

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