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Combination of Mohammad Rafi, Roshanlal Nagrath and Pradeep Kumar

By Souvik Chatterji

Mohd Rafi and Roshan

Mohd Rafi and Roshan

Whenever any reference relating to everlasting singer Mohammad Rafi comes, the attention goes to the big budget films and songs for big banners. Rafi is known the most for singing catchy numbers for Shammi Kapoor under the composition of Shankar Jaikishan and classical songs for Dilip Kumar under the composition of Naushad Ali. Although Rafi had sung brilliant songs for all the leading actors of 40s, 50, and 60s, much had been written about the successful films where both the songs and the films did excellent business.

But Rafi had sung excellent songs for Pradeep Kumar under the composition of Roshanlal Nagrath, where even if the mass was not touched, the class was addressed and the royal andaz of singing showed the range of Rafi to suit his voice for any form of playback singing. The magic of Roshanlal Nagrath, Pradeep Kumar and Mohammad Rafi started in Aarti released in 1962. Phani Majumdar directed the film. Four of the songs of Rafi stand out, “aapne yaad dilaya”, “ab kya misaal doon”, “baar baar tohe kya” and “tere bin lage na jiya”. Some of them were solo songs, while others were duet songs sung with Lata Mangeshkar. There were other duet songs of Rafi with Asha Bhosle, but the ones in pathos andaz like “aapne yaad dilaya” mesmerized the audience. The lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri, the composition of Roshanlal Nagrath, the voice of Mohammad Rafi and lips of Pradeep Kumar made the viewers spellbound. None of the songs had lost their charm even today.

The magic continued in the film Tajmahal in 1963. M. Sadiq directed the film. Pradeep Kumar played the role of Shahjahan while Beena Roy played the role of Mumtaz Mahal. Here the combination was different with Sahir Ludhiyanvi writing the songs for  Roshan which were sung by Mohammad Rafi.  Four of Rafi’s songs were masterpieces including “jo wada kiya wo nibhana parega”, “paon chulene do phulonko inayat hogi”, “chandi ka badan”, and “jo baat tujhme hai”. Roshanlal Nagrath won the filmfare award for the best composer only once in his life, that was for the composition of the music of the film Tajmahal. He deserved it many more number of times. Sahir Ludhiyanvi won the best lyricist award for the lyrics of the film. Rafi was as outstanding as Pradeep Kumar in the role of Shahjahan.

The magic continued in the film Chitralekha in 1964. Kidar Sharma directed the film. Pradeep Kumar, Meena Kumari and Ashok kumar played the main roles. Rafi’s song “man re tu kahe na dheer dhare” is still considered one of the 10 best bhajans Rafi had sung. Sahir Ludhiyanvi wrote the songs of the film. Rafi’s other song “cha gaye badal” was equally impressive.

The Roshan, Rafi, Pradeep Kumar combination continued in the film Bheegi Raat in 1965. It was directed by Kalidas. Rafi’s songs in the film “dil jo na keh saka”, “aise to na dekho”, “jane wo kaun hai kya naam hai”, “mohabbat se dekha” all were masterpieces. Some were duets with Suman Kalyanpur, while the others were solo songs sung by Mohammad Rafi. Lyrics were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The words were excellent. Rafi was unparallel in all the songs.

The combination continued in the film Bahu Begum in 1967. It was directed by M. Sadiq. Rafi’s songs “hum intezar karenge tera qawamat tak”, “dhoond ke layun kahan se”, “vakiv hoon ishqgade” were all masterpieces. While some had ghazal andaz, the others were stand out qawallies with Manna Dey. Roshan was as brilliant as Mohammad Rafi as Sahir Ludhyianvi. In the same year, the combination was sublime in the film Noorjahan. Rafi sang the songs “aap jab se kareeb aye hain” and “wo mohabbat wo wafayen” in style. For a change the lyrics were written by Shakeel Badayani.

The unfortunate death of Roshanlal Nagrath in 1967, ended the journey of Rafi with Roshan and Pradeep Kumar. Otherwise masterpieces after masterpieces could be created. Rafi’s archive should preserve the songs of Pradeep Kumar and Roshan, which showed the royal andaz of music existing in the courts of Mughals, Pathans and Sultans in India.

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

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16 Blog Comments to “Combination of Mohammad Rafi, Roshanlal Nagrath and Pradeep Kumar”

  1. Dr. Souvik Chatterji says:

    Dear Shammiji,
    Thanks for the compliment. I am a Law academician by Profession. I learned classical music from Sapna Dey and Pradip Basak in Kolkata. As far as Rafisahab is concerned my father Ex-chief Public Prosecutor had intimacy with bengali singer Manobendra Mukherjee. He came to our area to perform on one of the days. There he shared his own views of Rafisahab. When I was young I heard Rafisahab’s bengali albums like ‘pakhitar buke jeno tir merona”. I got mesmerised with the interview with great Naushad Sahab in Doordarshan in late 1970s. After taking interviews of musical personalities, lyricists, and meeting eminent singers, I came to the conclusion that Rafisahab was the greatest Indian singer of the entire 19th Century.
    Dr. Souvik Chatterji

  2. shammi says:

    Dear souvik, I am always interested and fasinated by your articles especially those relating to the one and only mohd rafisahab. I’m a big mohd rafi fan and have been ever since I was a young girl, please carry on bringing joy to many mohd rafisahabs fans by continuing to write about this legend of legends. It would be nice to get a little insight into the person who writes these articles, for instance are you a big mohd rafi fan too and when did you start enjoying his music?

  3. mohammed says:

    the another song of pradeep kumar sung by rafi saheb is “SAU BAAR JANAM LENGE” from ustadon ke ustad. the voice of rafi saheb in this song is the “voice of god” i can’t say more than this.

  4. Souvik Chatterji says:

    Dear Achalji, Jasbirji, Binuji, Rameshji,
    Thanks a lot for reading the article providing your comments. I could not provide exhaustive list of songs of Rafi, Roshan and Pradeep Kumar combination because the list is very long.
    But the fact whenever the 3 had worked together they created history.
    All these creations of film Aarti, Chitralekha, Bheegi Raat, Taj Mahal will remain immortal.
    Souvik Chatterji

  5. achal rangaswamy says:

    an excellent subject to have tackled, considering the vast reservoir of songs these three gentlemen spun together on the screen and behind it.

    souvik ji, this brought back to me so many songs that i grew up listening to. please do continue writing such articles


    achal rangaswamy

  6. jasbir singh says:

    wonderful articles on veterans roshansaab n rafisaab…in fact,roshansaab was quawalis creator, he gave us the most memorable ones in the golden voices of..rafisaab,manadey,shamshad begum and asha bhonsle ….who can forget their sweetness…

  7. Ali says:

    Dear Andrea, Manna da said if u want to be a singer you should follow mohd rafi ,what ever said about greatness of mohd rafi that can’t be even compare to anyone in Bollywood so we don’t need anyone if they became famous because mohd rafi is abc… In the music world as student it is not important to remember from who I learned, mukesh ji said to his son if u want to be a good singer don’t sing my songs but mohd rafi songs……

  8. andrea correa says:

    singing is one of the hardest job friends………….read on.

    some singers whom i know have burdened themselves with another hard job.

    of themselves ‘judging’ their own singing and then subtly claiming that ‘they’ sing very near to mohd rafi . therefore they should be titled – next mohd rafi.

    some of these bhajan or bathroom singers are widely off their mark and will bore the listeners to even death.

    I have seen sonu nigam recently – singing his bhangra and punjabi type new songs at shanmukananda hall and ‘ not ‘ rendering even one mohd rafi song even though the audience were shouting – rafi, rafi – full throatedly.

    sonu nigam is known for his singing mohdrafi songs and coming up in life but today he has forgotten mohd rafi.

    aslam is another singer from chennai ‘who’ after singing mohd rafi songs made a name for himself. these days he rarely renders mohd rafi numbers inspite of audience request.

  9. Binu Nair says:

    brilliant discovery of musical gems : Souvik ji..

    roshan ji was well known for sewing quawalis and this itself can be a lengthy article.

    Dil jo na keh sakha as always moves the heart and stops the breath of most people when attempted. its a gem of a song.

    ” mana re tu kaahe na dheer dhare ” the best song selected by great musicians – by far is a philosophical number rather than a devotional number – it seems to me.

    wish to hear aise to na dekho once more as mentioned and recheck the films name.

  10. rajnish says:

    souvik tumne achaa likha likhte raho hindustani film music athaa samandar hai tumhe aage bhi likhte rehna hoga phir kabhi

  11. souvik chatterjee sahab,

    you have come out with a beautiful combination of three great masters and brought out the innermost nuances of their works.

    though you dealt with the subject in hand encompassing a lot of prosaic details, i felt in my personal experience ( with your past write ups ), you could have fared much better – somewhere down the line, i felt you were not delivering – ” jaisey kee rooh bhatak gayaa hai. “.

    please do not mis-read or mistake me and neither am i bringing your nice article down in the presence of other rafi fans, who will definitely have great praises for your writing.

    its only that, after reading the title and the author and as i read i felt i expected it have lacked that ” punch ” you normally give in your articles.

    souvikjee, i am no grreat writer myself and hence have no rights to post negative comments here but : dil kee baathh – kehdaalee “.

    gutaaquee muaafee chahthaa hoon – happy to read your fine thoughts and please do keep writing often with many more gems following one another5 like the stream.

    adaab rafi and god bless you souvikjee.

    ramesh narain kurpad

  12. R.PMaurya says:

    I am extremely glad to read the wonderful knowledge regarding our great legend Rafi saheb who sang wonderful songs during 1940,50 & 60 which was a golden era of the Hindi films and this era will never come again and more over it will never be end. The songs which were composed and sung along with the music composer of the past era viz a viz 1940 – 1960, the Roshan Lal Nagrath ji , Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri ji, Naushad ji, created the best songs which really are unforgettable and give immense pleasure while we listen and look like the singer, composer,lyricist are still alive and doing their best job for the mankind. Thanks a lot Mr Sauvik Chatterji for the vital input to the Rafi’s fans all over the world. Please continue………….

  13. Similar, linkage exists with almost all music directors who composed Rafi songs for Pradeep Kumar. Such was the wide spread strength of repertoire of music directors of that era. And of course, there is no denying the fact that Rafi is the common factor.

  14. vinod mehru says:

    dear sauvik ji,
    aarti , tajmahal, bheegi raat, bahu begum aur noorjahan aisi films thi jinka sangeet sun kar aaj bhi speechless ho jaata hoon.

    mujhe zindagi ne ek mauka diya tha inme se kuch geet rafi sahab se live performance mein sunne ko mile the, roshan ji ki death se kuch mahine pehle mumbai ke shanmukhanad haal mein hua tha roshan nite show in july 1967, aap mujhe flashback mein le gaye hai.

    roshan ji mere sab se fav music director hai aaj bhi, aapne sahi mention kiya hai jis tarah rafi sahab/ shammi ji shankar jaikishan ji ka sangam hai waise hi theek rafi sahab/ pradeepkumar ji aur roshan ji ka combination hai.

    haan agar roshan ji kuch aur samay zinda rehte to maza hi kuch aur hota aur kuch achhe geet milte, abhi abhi http://www.rafi .com par rafi sahab aur roshan ji ka hi gaana play ho raha hai ki hum intezaar karenge qyamat tak, bhale hi yeh geet film mamta ka hai jo roshan ji das behatreen films mein ek hai .

    shukariya dost parichay karwanwe ke liye,may god bless u

    vinod mehru

  15. rlarora says:

    Lot of thanks Chatterji Sahib for sharing your knowledge about our Star and Uncompare Rafi Saab. Kindly keep on sharing your knowledge.

    kind regards,

    r l arora

  16. Naushad says:

    Thanks very much Mr Souvik for writing this article which is very sweet and informative as well.

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