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Their voice too

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


In the Shailendra-Kishore wave for heartthrob Rishi Kapoor, shrewd observers were already feeling a lacuna that only Rafi could fill – instinctively, they seemed to feel that Rafi, rather than both these singers, would suit Rishi Kapoor. But who would bell this musical cat?

The onus thus fell on Madan Mohan when Laxmikant-Pyarelal went out of H.S.Rawail’s Laila Majnu. The heavyweight Punjabi music with Sahir’s poetry was unthinkable then without Rafi’s skills, and the score emerged as Madan Mohan’s last burst of glory despite Jaidev having to come in to complete it when Madan Mohan passed away.

And then the floodgates opened,never to close till Rafi’s death. Rishi Kapoor, easily among our most musical stars, and Rafi seemed to share a rare and royal rapport and resonance as film after film and song after song were unleashed by multiple music directors, including the Kishore-oriented Pancham.

In the cavalcade of dazzlers they collaborated on, with Rishi’s on-screen expertise matching Rafi’s peerless craft, the truly standout ones included awesome songs like the complete score of Sargam (led by Dafliwale …), ‘Parda hai parda …’, ‘Shirdiwale Sai BabaTaiyab Ali pyar ka dushmun …’ (Amar Akbar Anthony), ‘Hai agar dushmunPoocho na yaar kya hua …’(Zamaane Ko Dikhaana Hai) and Rafi’s last stunner released in his lifetime ‘Dard-e-dil (Karz). These were backed up by other hits as well as excellent but less-popular songs in films like Naseeb, Deedaar-E-Yaar, Badaltey Rishtey, Do Premee, Duniya Mein Jeb Mein, Aap Ke Deewane and Kaatilon Ke Kaatil. …’ and ‘ …’(Hum Kisise Kum Naheen), ‘

Rafi-Rishi Kapoor composers: Madan Mohan, Jaidev, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, R.D.Burman, Rajesh Roshan.


Amitabh Bachchan’s music began with Mohammed Rafi with the songs ‘Ek pate ki baat sunaaoon …’ and ‘Koi aur duniya mein tumsa haseen hai …’(Pyar Ki Kahani) as the first two songs ever lip-synched on the iconic star.

Bachchan’s subsequent innings were also studded with Rafi memorabilia, like the classic ‘Teri bindiya re …’ from his home-production Abhimaan and ‘Patta patta boota boota …’ (Ek Nazar, his first film with future wife Jaya Bhaduri as co-star).

Oddly enough, most of Rafi’s later songs for Amitabh Bachchan were either duets (Benaam, Adalat, Suhaag, Mr Natwarlal) or multi-singer songs (Kasme Vaade, Suhaag, Naseeb). But there were solos too, like ‘Mere dost qissa yeh kya ho gaya…’(Dostana) and ‘Mere desh premiyon…’ (Desh Premee) and above all the cult Naseeb song ‘John Jani Janardhan…’ in which Bachchan danced in front of the Who’s Who among stars in a ‘film party’ sequence.

And Rafi himself was a major fan of the star. When it was time to record their duet, ‘Chal mere bhai…’(Naseeb) in which Bachchan sang his own lines while Rafi sang for Rishi Kapoor, the singer became as excited as a child!

Rafi-Amitabh composers: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, R.D.Burman, S.D.Burman, Rajesh Roshan, Vijay Raghav Rao, Madan Mohan.


This was perhaps’s Rafi’s ultimate achievement – actually singing for his great colleague and singer Kishore Kumar himself. It was also the supreme mark of respect that Kishore had for Rafi that he approved of this on the basis of the needs of the two sterling compositions, the pathos-filled ‘Ajab hai dastaan teri…’ from Shararat and the classical ‘Man mora baanwra…’ from Ragini under S-J and O.P.Nayyar respectively. Perhaps it would be apt here to also mention the standout duets and multi-singer songs they sang too – from ‘Chal shuru ho jaa…’(Humjoli) to ‘Chana zor garam…’(Kranti) with the title-song of Yaadon Ki Baaraat, ‘Chal kahin door nikal jaaye…’(Doosara Aadmi), ‘Salaamat rahe dostana hamara…’(Dostana), ‘Ek rastaa do raahi…’(Ram Balram) and many others in films like Naseeb, Waqt Ki Deewar, Neeyat, Raampur Ka Lakshman, Aap Ke Deewane, Chupke Chupke, Kasme Vaade, Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish, Zakhmee and Jungal Mein Mangal.

Rafi-Kishore composers: Shankar Jaikishan, O.P.Nayyar (for playback), Rafi-Kishore together: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Kalyanji-Anandji, R.D.Burman, S.D.Burman, Shankar Jaikishan, Rajesh Roshan, Bappi Lahiri, Madan Mohan.

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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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