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A homage to composer RAVI: The “King of Soft and Soulful Melodies”

This article is penned by Mr.Biman Baruah,Goregan(E), Mumbai

Mohd Rafi with Verma Mallick, Devendra Goel, Ravi

Mohd Rafi with Verma Mallick, Devendra Goel, Ravi

Legendary music composer Ravi Shankar Sharma popularly known as RAVI expired on 7th March, 2012 due to cardiac arrest who celebrated his 86th birthday with friends three days before his death. He was survived by his separated son Ajay and daughter in law, actress Varsha Ushgonkar.

On his death, his filmmaker friend, A. Krishnamurthi remarked, “Ravi was noted for his heart-touching, soft, melodious tunes, which made his songs and music immortal and is hummed even today, decades after he composed them. As well as he was a very fine gentlemen and a great human being.”

Ravi Sahab was born in Delhi on 3rd March, 1926. He was untrained in classical music and learned music from his father, a Bhajan singer. He taught himself to play harmonium and other classical instruments. He worked as electrician to support his family. In late 1950s, he came to Bombay with a dream of becoming a playback singer in Hindi Cinema. Initially, he was homeless in Bombay, living on the streets and sleeping in Malad railway station at night. Considering his early days of struggle, his father sent him Forty Rupees per month and arranged a little accommodation for him in the Kalbadevi area in south Bombay. In 1952, he was first discovered by singer cum musician Hemant Kumar who engaged him to sing back-up vocals of super hit patriotic song, “Vande Mataram” from the film Anand Math. Since then he was working as assistant to composer Hemant Kumar. He might have pay particular attention to his singing career, if the filmmaker Devendra Goel had not signed him as a music director for his film Vachan (1955). Moreover, Ravi himself also realised that in presence of Talat Mehmood, Mukesh and Mohammed Rafi his singing career will not be feasible. Later, he sung with Mohammed Rafi in his own composed song, “Aaj Mere Yaar Ke Shaadi Hai” from Aadmi Sadak Ka (1977).

Ravi Shankar Sharma’s soft and soulful compositions greatly matched with the soft and sweet voice of Rafi Sahab who worked with him in more than 30 films. Mohammed Rafi got his first National Award for the song, “Babul Ki Duayein Leti Ja” from Neel Kamal (1968) and first Filmfare Award Best Male Singer Award for the song, “Chanudhvin Ka Chand Ho” from Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) composed by RAVI in the lyrics of Sahir Ludhianvi and Shakeel Badayuni respectively. Rafi Sahab also got three Filmfare nominations out of sixteen for songs composed by Ravi: “Husnwale Tera Jawaab Nahin” from Gharana (1961), “Choo Lene Do Nazuk Hothon Ko” from Kaajal (1965) and “Babul Ki Duayein Leti Ja” from “Neel Kamal” (1968).

Ravi Sahab was a blue-eyed composer of some famous film makers specially B.R.Chopra and Devendra Goel from Bombay. He composed music for all films directed by B.R. Chopra from Gumrah (1963) to Nikaah (1982) and Tawaif (1984). He composed music for all films directed by Devendra Goel from Albeli (1955) to Aadmi Sadak Ka (1977). He was also well-liked by some South Indian Banners, i.e. GEMINI (Ghoonghat, Gharana, Grihasti, Aurat, Samaj Ko Badal Dalo), AVM (Meherban, Do Kaliyan) and VASU FILMS (Bharosa, Khandaan).

Ravi Sahab composed music for about 70 Hindi films starting from ALBELI (1955) to TAWAIF (1984) and EK ALAG MAUSAM (2003). In 1980s, he also composed music for more than 15 Malayalam Films as Bombay Ravi. He introduced singer Chitra in Malayalam films, who won her second and third National Award for Best Singer in Malayalam film Panchagni (1986) and Vaishali(1989).

Mohd Rafi with Verma Mallick, Devendra Goel, Ravi

Mohd Rafi with Verma Mallick, Devendra Goel, Ravi

Ravi Sahab composed music for Hindi Films in 1950s, 1960s and 1970s starring all leading heroes of that time. A brief association of him with Mohammed Rafi and leading heroes given below:-

Ravi-Rafi and Pradeep Kumar :-
Ravi Sahab started his career as a music director with Albeli (1955) directed by Devendra Goel starring Pradeep Kumar, Geeta Bali and Jhonny Walker. This association followed by Ghunghat (1960), Mulzim (1963) and Ustadon Ke Ustaad (1963). The Rafi solo, “Sau Bar Janam Lenge, Sau Bar Fana Honge” from Ustadon Ke Ustaad was became one of the best song picturised on the actor.

Ravi-Rafi and Rajendra Kumar:-
This combination worked in six films starting from Rajendra Kumar’s first film, Vachan (1955) and Ghar Sansar (1958), Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959), Gharana (1961), Pyaar Ka Sagar (1961), Gehra Daag (1963). The Rafi-Asha duet, “Sahar Se Door, Masti Shor Picnic Hali Dilwaloon Ki” from Ghar Sansar was became a great party song of that time. The Rafi solos, “Husnwale Tera Jawaab Nahin” from Gharana and “Mujhe Pyar Ki Zindegi Denewale” from Pyar Ka Sagar and “Tuhme Pake Maine Jahan Pa Liya Hai” from Gehra Daag are became memorable Jubilee Kumar songs.

Ravi-Rafi and Guru Dutt:-
Though Ravi Sahab started his career as music director with Albeli and Vachan in 1955. He was established as a composer in Hindi Cinema after Guru Dutt’s Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960). The film was a love triangle between Guru Dutt, Rehman and Waheeda Rahman which was commercially very successful. The title song of the film and “Mili Khak Main Mohabbat, Zala Dil Ka Aashiyana” the solos by Rafi Sahab were huge hit. He also composed music for Bharosa (1963) staring Guru Dutt and Rafi solo from the film, “Is Bhari Duniya Mein, Koi Bhi Sahara Na Raha” last notable song picturised on the actor.

Ravi-Rafi and Sunil Dutt:-
Ravi Sahab composed music for Gumrah (1963), Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke (1963), Khandaan (1965), Waqt (1965) and Humraaz (1967) starring Sunil Dutt. In Gumrah, Waqt and Humraaz, Mahendra Kapoor sung wonderfully for Sunil Dutt under his composition. Rafi Sahab sung for Sunil Dutt in Yeh Raaste Hain Pyaar Ke and Khandan. The Rafi-Asha duet, “Yeh Khamoshiyan Yeh Tanhaiyan” and “Neel Gagan Par Udate Badal” from the two films respectively are became everlasting. The film Khandaan won four Filmfare Awards: Best Actor (Sunil Dutt), Best Music (Ravi), Best Lyricist (Rajinder Krishan) and Best Female Playback Singer (Lata).
Sunil Dutt introduced his younger brother Som Dutt as a hero with Leena Chndravakar and Vinod Khanna in Man Ka Meet (1968). The music of the film composed by Ravi and Mahendra Kapoor sung for Som Dutt in the film.

Ravi-Rafi and Raaj Kumar :-
Ravi Sahab composed music in four films acted by Raaj Kumar: Kaajal (1965), Waqt (1965), Humraaz (1967) and Neel Kamal (1968), out of which in two films Rafi sung for Raaj Kumar. The Rafi solos, “Choo Lene Do Nazuk Hothon Ko” from Kaajal and “Tujko Pukare Mera Pyar” from Neel Kamal are very soulful.

Ravi-Rafi and Manoj Kumar:-
Ravi Sahab worked with Manoj Kumar in four films: Grahasthi (1963), Do Badan (1966), Neel Kamal (1968) and Ammanat (1977). The Rafi gems from Do Badan and Ammanat were very popular. In Do Badan, Manoj Kumar played the role of distressed lover and Rafi Saheb soulfully sung three songs for him: “Naseeb Mein Jike Jo Lika Tha, Woh Teri Mehfil Mein Kaam Aaya”, “Bhari Duniya Mein Aakhir Dil Ko Samjane Kaha Jayee”, and “Raha Gardishon Mein Hardam, Mere Ishq Ka Sitara”. All the Rafi solos from the film are everlasting and the film had also three Filmfare nominations in the field of Music: Best Music Director- Ravi, Best Lyricist-Shakeel Badayuni for the song “Naseeb Mein Jike Jo Lika Tha” and Best Playback Singer-Lata Mageshkar for the song “Loo Aa Gayi Unki Yaad”. Ammanat is the delayed and last film of this composer-singer-actor combination and the Rafi songs from the film, “Matlab Nikal Gaya Hai To, Pehchan Te Nahin” and “Door Rahekar” made a mark in late 1970s.

Ravi-Rafi and Shammi Kapoor:-
This combination worked together in Shakti Samanta’s China Town (1962) and B.S. Ranga’s Pyar Kiya To Darna Kiya (1963). The Rafi solos, “Bar Bar Dekho Hazar Bar Dekho” and “Jab Tak Hum Hain Hum Hi Hum Hain” from the films respectively became fashionable as Shammi Kapoor songs among youngsters.

Ravi-Rafi and Biswajeet:-
Ravi Sahab composed music in four films acted by romantic guitar boy Biswajeet, i.e. Shehnai (1964), Sagaai (1966), Do Kaliyan (1968) and Paisa Ya Pyar (1969). The Rafi solo “Na Jhatko Zulfoon Se Pani, Tuhmara Kuch Na Bigdega Yeh Moti Toot Jayega” from Shehnai, Rafi-Asha duet, “Na Yeh Zammen Thi Na Aasmaan Tha” from Sagaai, and Rafi-Lata duet “Tumhai Nazar Kyon Khafa Ho Gayi” from Do Kaliyan are smash hit songs of the actor.

Ravi-Rafi and Joy Mukherjee:-
This combination worked in four films: Door Ki Awaaz (1964), Bahu Beti (1965), Yeh Zindegi Kitni Haseen Hai (1966) and Umeed (1974). The multi-singer song, “Hum Bhi Agar Bachche Hote, Naam Hamara Hota Dabloo Babloo, Khane Ko Milta Laddo, Aur Duniya Kehti Happy Birthday To You” from Door Ki Awaaz became a popular birthday cum children song sung by Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhosle and Manna Dey. The Rafi solos, “Jawan Ho Mashallah” form Yeh Zindegi Kitni Haseen Hai and “Mujhe Ishq Hai Tujhi Se” from Umeed are also became popular as Joy Mukherjee songs.

Ravi-Rafi and Sanjay Khan:-
Ravi Sahab composed music for four Sanjay Khan films: Dus Lakh (1966), Ek Phool Do Mali (1969), Dhakan (1972) and Dhund (1973). The Rafi solos, “Aa Lag Ja Gale Dilruba” from Dus Lakh and “Mere Dost Tujhe, Tera Meet Mubarak” from Dhadkan are heart touching and soulful. The Rafi-Asha Bhosle duet, “Yeh Parda Hata Do, Zara Mukhra Dikha Do” from Ek Phool Do Mali is a all time popular footstep song and personal favourite of the actor.

Ravi-Rafi and Rajesh Khanna:-
Ravi composed music for only one film, Doli (1969) starring Rajesh Khanna in the initial careers of the superstar. The Rafi solo “Danton Tale Dabakar Hooth Aakhen Karke Bari Bari Kha Jayeegi Mujko Aise Dekh Rahi Hai Khadi Khadi” and Rafi-Asha Bhosle duet “Sajna Saath Nibhana” were became identical in the lyrics of Rajinder Krishan.

Ravi-Rafi and Dharmendra:-
Ravi Sahab composed music for four films starring Dharmendra: Phool Aur Patthar (1966), Aankhen (1968), Aadmi Aur Insaan (1969) and Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka (1975). The title song of the last film, “Ek Mahal Ho Sapnon Ka” sung by Rafi Sahab became a popular romantic track.

Award & Recognitions:-
Ravi Sahab was honoured with Padma Shree in 1987 by Government of India. He won two Filmfare Best Music Director Awards for Gharana (1961) and Khandan (1965). He also got Filmfare nominations for Best Music Directors for five films: Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), Do Badan (1966), Humraaz (1967), Aakhein (1968) and Nikaah (1982). Lata Mangeshkar got Filmfare Best Singer Award for the song, “Tumhi Mere Mandir Tumhi Mere Puja” from Khandan composed by Ravi. As a composer he also enhanced singing careers of Asha Bhosle and Mahendra Kapoor. Asha Bhosle was his regular female singer for his compositions from Vachan (1955) to Tawaif (1984). He was very influential in making Mahendra Kapoor a trendy singer of Hindi Film Music. Kapoor won two Filmfare Best Male Playback Singer Awards for “Chalo Ek Bar Phir Se, Ajnabi Baan Jayee Hum Dono” in Gumrah (1963) and for “Neele Gagan Ke Tale, Dharti Ke Pyar Pale” in Humraaz (1967) under compositions of Ravi, out of total three awards. After successful career in Hindi Films in 1950s and 1960s, he took a long break in mid 1970s till 1982. In 1982, he composed music for B.R.Film’s Nikaah with some popular tracks. Singer cum actress, Salma Agha won her Filmfare Best Female Singer Award for one song of the film, “Dil Ke Arman Aansooyon Main Beh Gaye

Mohammed Rafi was always a preferred singer for composer Ravi. But there was an undisclosed difference between Rafi Sahab and B.R. Chopra. Hence, Ravi Sahab lent voice of Mahendra Kapoor for all his compositions for B.R. Films from Gumrah (1963) to Dhund (1973). However, he used voice of Rafi Sahab for the title song of Waqt (1965) which was the theme of film and unmatched for other singer. The song was in the background of the film. “Aye Meri Zohra Jabeen” by Manna Dey from Waqt, “Milti Hai Zindagi Mein Mohabbat Kabhi Kabhi” by Lata Mageshkar from Ankhein, “Zindagi Ittefaq Hai Kaal Bhi Ittefaq Thi Aaj Bhi Ittefaq Hai” by Asha Bhosle from Aadmi Aur Insaan are some notable songs composed by him for other singers. The songs composed by Ravi Sahab, “Babul Ki Duayein Leti Ja” from Neel Kamal (1968), “Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai” from Aadmi Sadak Ka (1977) and “Doli Chadh Ke Dulhan Sasural Chali” from Doli (1969) are also became very popular in wedding celebrations in North India.

As a music composer, Ravi Sahab will always be remembered as King of Soft and Soulful Melodies. His soft, heart-touching and melodies tunes will make his compositional songs immortal and will be hummed by music lovers forever.

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17 Blog Comments to “A homage to composer RAVI: The “King of Soft and Soulful Melodies””


    Biman Barua ji you are also unmatched in your writing. Thanks for sharing. Shat shat naman to RAVI saab and Rafi sahab.

  2. Amresh Karmacharya, Barcelona says:

    Ravi’s composition of “Melodies” is unparalleled in Hindi film arena. The treasure is simply priceless!

    Excellent job Bimanji !!

  3. Binu Nair says:

    i liked the article and the comments of staunch ravi-rafi supporters and music lovers.

    well done biman ji.

    your truly was significantly lucky to meet ravi saaheb almost any time ‘without any appointment’.

    the last time i met him of c o u r s e was at the last rites and before that at his kitchen cum dining table……..ravi saahebs music haunts us and this is what a keralite singer and mohd rafi lover told me in Kerala some days ago.

    ” I read the article on ravi saheb and noted that he gave hit music to 17 malayalam movies.. .. they are all runaway hits.

    sung by yesudas, chithra and others.

    they are rare numbers and chithra sang her first song under ravi and walked away with many awards. it was” manchal prasadam nettil- ” il charti ( holy yellow turmeric decorating the forehead …..)

    many songs of ravi saaheb are played on radios and music channels with many not knowing the composers name.

    some of them will be played ‘Live” on May 18th in Mumbai at a concert of rare gems of ravi saaheb in the programme titled ” shaam – e – rafi saaheb ” at the Mysore auditorium near Matunga C. Rly.

  4. bimanbaruah says:

    Respected all Rafi Lovers
    Many many thanks for your compliments which encouraged me to write more articles for this great musical site heartly veiwed by Rafi Lovers.

    Dear Sri Chitta R Deka Ji , I really missed out some more famous films and songs of this combinations. By the way, you are from which place of Assam, where u r stating ????????????????

    Dear Sri Birendra Singh Bisht JI
    The song.”Sau Bar Janam Lenge, Sau Bar Fana Honge, Yeh Jane Bafa Hum Tum Na Judaa Honge” from Ustadoon Ke Ustad definately picturised on Preadeep Kumar and not on Feroz Khan. The song, “Hum Tum Se Judaa Ho Ke Mar Jayenge Ro Ro Ke” from Ek Sapera Ek Lutera composed by Usha Khanna picturised on Feroz Khan. Since there is a similarity between “Antara” and “Mukhra” of both the songs, you may be confused. Hope now it is clear.

    Dear Sri Ashok Mehta Ji
    Thanks for informing the Rafi song from Aurat picturised on Rajesh Khanna. I was aware of Ravi Sahab composed music for Aurat(1968) starring Rajesh Khanna, Feroz Khan and Padmini and the song ” Yeh Kisi Ke Badan Ki Sholoon Ne Pani Mein Aag Lagayee Hai” sung by Mahendra Kapoor which was picturised on Feroz Khan and Padmini in a River. So the film, Aurat not included in the Ravi-Raf-Rajesh Khanna composition.

    Very Best Regards and Wishes to all Rafi Lovers.

    Biman Baruah

  5. Akram Baig says:

    Dear Sir : Biman Baruah i heartly respect u for such a nice Article………..I Love MOHAMMED RAFI SAHAB

  6. anil nakra says:

    good collective musical information is very informative and valuable and refreshing memory
    about late ravi sahib and rafi sahab .

  7. shikha Vohra says:

    I agree this is a well-researched article. The omissions stated above are there of course. Raaj Kumar had two beautiful Rafi solos in Nai Roshni.KIS TARAH JEETE HAIN YE LOG BATA DO YAARON and JITNI LIKHI THI MUQADDAR MEIN. Also Manoj Kumar’s debut film APNA BANAKE DEKHO had music by Ravi with the title song by Rafisaab. AURAT starred Rajesh Khanna with Padmini in this AVM production. Also AAJ AUR KAL had beautiful solos ITNI HASEEN ITNI JAWAN RAAT as well asYE VAADIYAN YE FIZAYEN. Another SUNIL DUTT starrer NARTAKEE had a Rafisaab song zindagi ke safar mein akele they hum.
    I regret that nowhere is there any mention of Ravisaab’s two daughters Veena and Chaya who cared for him till the last. God bless them both.

  8. Ali says:

    I think Ravi is one of 5 best music director ever born ib Bollywood …

  9. Mohan Ram says:

    Dear Baruah,

    It was a nice article . We read about Tansen and his singing in the history books

    but, we are fortunate enough to have heard the voice of Rafi Saheb( The Tansen

    of 20th century)

  10. Ahamed Kutty says:

    we all know that rafi saab did not get what he deserve.
    we are all waiting for the central government to confer
    the prestigious “bharath ratna” award to rafi saab
    posthumously.but we can make rafi saab on top of the
    world by voting in favour of him.we are so happy that
    the number of rafians all over the world will be millions.
    but sad to note everyday only 100 votes are casting for
    rafi saab?please inform all of your friends to vote for
    rafi saab to make him “world ratna” atleast we rafians.

  11. Ahamed Kutty says:

    very informative article about rafi saab and ravi saab.
    congradulation baruahji.i think another song of ‘pyaar
    kiyaa to darna kya’ “jaane bahaar husne tera” is a very
    popular really shows the srength as well as the
    sweetness in the voice of rafi saab.

  12. Rajiv Nair says:

    Dear Mr.Biman Baruah, your article about Ravi is awesome, it has nice intricate details about the music director who was very simple and down to earth. Ravi like madan mohan are the 2 music directors who deserved a Padma Shri for their contribution. Their music was always fresh and had great depth.

    Anyway the combination of Ravi and Rafi was really unmatched.

  13. Ashok Mehta says:

    Dear Mr Baruah many thanks for the nice article.No doubt Ravi was a great music director and had a distictive style.Refering to Ravi- Rafi -Rajesh Khanna I think in addition to Doli there was another movie of Rajesh Khanna ie Aurat in which Ravi was music director and song Shola ulfat ka bhadka ke sung by Rafi was picturised on Rajesh Khanna.

  14. dear baruah sahab excellent detailed article on great music director ravi sahab and singer of the millenium great rafi sahab. there is no second opinion that the great rafi sahab was first choice of every music director/composer at his time and rafi sahab gave his best all the time. dear baruha sabab just want to bring your kind notice that the song “sau bar janam lenge” was filmed on ‘firoz khan sahab’ and not on ‘pradeep kumar sabad’.. long live ravi sahab, long live our great rafi sahab.
    Birendra Singh Bisht

  15. Chitta R Deka says:

    Good article on Music Director, Ravi. The writer missed out some of the Ravi movies like Aaj Aur Kaal. Nayee Roshni etc, where Mohd Rafi songs were simply superb.

  16. r l arora says:

    Legend Rafi Sahib can’t be compared with any singer. He was simply the best thats why songs of Rafi Sahib are heard the most.

    r l arora

  17. Mohammad Ilyas says:

    Rafi Saab was at his best for Ravi Saheb. Although Mahendra Kapoor was preferred by B R Chopra but some of the songs sung by Rafi Saab were immortal. Similarly Manoj Kumar seemed to prefer Mukesh and Mahendra Kapoor voice but Rafi Saab’s songs in his films Do Badan, Neel Kamal, Grahisthi and Amaanat were a top notch. The songs in Do Badan were probaby the best ever for Manoj Kumar. Well Done Ravi Saheb and Rafi Saab.

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