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Combination of Rafi with Rishi Kapoor

By Souvik Chatterji

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Mohammad Rafi virtually ruled bollywood music during the 50s and 60s. Therefore his contribution was unique in the career of all the leading stars of the golden age including Dilip Kumar, Rajender Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Pradeep Kumar, Bharat Bhushan, Guru Dutt, Pradip Kumar, Joy Mukherjee, Biswajeet, Dharmender, Jeetender and others.

But in the 70s, Rafi did not get the same amount of songs from the upcoming composers if compared with his domination in the 60s. He made his existence felt in style with romantic combination in the films of Rishi Kapoor. Two factors went in his favour. Firstly Rishi Kapoor was the leading romantic actor of that age who balanced the action films of Big B, Vinod Khanna, Shatrughun Sinha and others with his romantic films. At the other hand Laxmikant Pyarellal, the composer who was loyal to Rafi till the last day of his life was the main contributor in Rishi Kapoor’s films.

In the film Badalte Rishtey, Rafi’s song for Rishi Kapoor “woh woh na rahen” reminded the viewers about the romantic andaz that he displayed for the previous 30 years. Besides the song “yeh duniya ke badalte rishte” was equally impressive. Madan Mohan and Jaidev combined together to compose the songs for Rishi Kapoor’s epic film Laila Majnu.

Laila Majnu flabbergasted the viewers with the flavor of music of middle-east, the area related to the subject matter of the film. Each song of Rafi had a class of its own including “ mai tere dar pe aya hoon”, “barbad muhobbat ki dua saah liye ja”, “is reshmi pazeeb ki jhankar ke sadpe” (sung by Lata and Rafi), “likhkar tera naam zamee par” (sung by Lata and Rafi).

Rafi and Rishi Kapoor continued the romantic combination in the film Sargam. All the songs in the film were backed by very loud melodious orchestration. Rafi’s songs with Lata became super hit including “ramjiki nikli sawari”, “dafliwale dafli baja”, “koel boli duniya doli”, to name a few. Rafi’s solo numbers in the film like “hum to chale pardes”, “kahan tera insaaf hai”, appealed to the masses. Rishi Kapoor’s excellent lips were complimented by Jaya Prada’s classical dance in the film. Rafi was brilliant as ever.

Mohd Rafi with Madan Mohan

Mohd Rafi with Madan Mohan

Rishi Kapoor and Rafi combination entertained the viewers and listeners in the film Amar Akbar Anthony as well. All the songs composed by LP for Rafi created sensation. The qawalli “parda hai parda” was considered to be the last conventional qawalli composed in the 70s which faded away in the 80s and 90s due to absence of Rafi and had been revived in recent times. The other songs “shirdi wali saibaba” required high pitch which Rafi provided in style. Rafi sang the song “humko tumse ho gaya hai pyar kya Karen” with Kishore and Mukesh in the same film.

The Rafi Rishi Kapoor combination continued in the film Karz. The song “darde-dil darde-jigar” had remained one of the leading songs that are played on Valentine’s day for years. LP’s strong insistence for Rafi with Rishi Kapoor also motivated RD Burman to use Rafi in films of Rishi Kapoor. The song “pucho na yaar kya hua” showed Rafi’s elegance in westernized songs where Rishi Kapoor gave brilliant lips. Also Rishi Kapoor gave able lips in the qawalli sung in the film Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahi in late 70s. Rafi was outstanding by every musical standard.

It was a huge tragedy that Rafi died in 1980, otherwise he could have sung many romantic songs for Rishi Kapoor who gave adequate expression in the songs sung by Rafi. Although Rafi’s songs for Rishi Kapoor did not have the class that was evident in the songs of the 60s as giants of giants like Naushad, Roshan, Ghulam Mohammad, Shankar Jaikishan, OP Nayyar, Madanmohan were at their zenith during that age, the combination of Rafi and Rishi Kapoor still has importance because it came at a time when action films eroded the requirement for soft romantic songs in films. For those reasons the songs and the films should be preserved.

Mr. Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

Mr. Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

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29 Blog Comments to “Combination of Rafi with Rishi Kapoor”

  1. MAJAZ MUNGERI says:


  2. Arunkumar Singh says:


    I am a firm beliver that rafi saab had a golden voice and can be called as a voice of god, but i am very unhappy with the way he was sideline after 1969. It is very difficult but somehow I dream that sensibility prevails and sowehow he should be highlighted as a no. 1 singer in the media again, because I can understand that comparisons should not be made but I always feel very let down to know that Kishore kumar was no. 1 singer and Mohamad Rafi was behind him.

  3. Priya Sanyal says:

    very nice collection of Voice of God, Rafi sahab`s collection few r rare ones,, one among them is Rafi live in west Indis and there is a folder bhule bisre geet(however none among them r bhule bisre,they r as fresh as morning dew but Biased media and others had eclipsed presence of such finnest gem) but nice collection… on musicindiaonline dot com

    Enjoy…Have a great “Rafian Day” everyone!

  4. Priya Sanyal says:

    In a recent show on TIMES NOW about Rafi sahab,
    Hrsihi Kapoor,who has hits with Kishore Kumar too.
    When, rishi kapoor was asked to tell about Rafi sahab, he used the word ” Khuda(god)” for him…

    Strange, rishi kapoor whose hits with kishore kumar is still played on FMs still Rishi himself, use words like good,nice for kishore da…but for Rafi sahab the defination is God ( to him…)
    I guess, kishorefan would try to understand what does it mean to be a voice of God…when a person say, rafi voice is that of God it never mean that that person has met god and listened God, but it simply means Rafi sahab voice is infinite the final post, beyond which only God is…..

  5. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Dear Kishorefan (Post 13)

    Hope the reply given by Rafi Bhakt (in Post 19) clarifies the matter and also hope that the spirit of this write-up by Souvik Chatterji is understood by you. But I am sure that the spirit or purpose of the write-up was understood by you even earlier, but it is your sickening habit of instigating the Rafi fans that prompted you to write the above said post of you.

    Let me assure you that we have absolutely nothing against Kishore Kumar. We all Rafi fans acknowledge him as a fine singer with great natural talent. But your frequent flirting on this forum with often-repeated rhetoric (and nothing worthwhile to write about) is an inglorious exhibition of your wretched anti-Rafi psyche.

  6. gautam banerjee says:

    I think this combination is very insignificant because Rishi appeared when Md. Rafi’s hey days were gone. Rafi had already established what a rare gem he is with his chacha.

  7. Ali says:

    dearest kishorefa I hope ur happy that now Mohd Rafi is number one singer as votes and I hope this will help u to ubderstand the greatness of mohd rafi..
    Do u know that rd buram best film as music was with mohd rafi and shammi ji
    i like kk more than u do but i am honest not like u..i never said anything wrong about kk i like him his actor..kk paid 1 rs less than lata ji ..

  8. Deepak Rahi says:

    I have no intention whatsoever to compare our beloved Rafi Saheb with any one be it active one or passed away one. One thing is very much established that Rafi Saheb has been treated as a benchmark as far as singing is concerned in india and subcontinent. Be it Hero honda award in which Rafi Saheb got 70% of votes in comparison to 45% votes to Lata or There is media hype about KK, Lata, Asha and other and efforts have been made intensionally to side line Rafi Saheb…Hope we all know that

  9. kishorefan says:

    rafi fans,
    i feel very sad about laxmikant pyarelal. kishore da was going to sing the song”parda hai parda” but pyarelal instead of kishore da gave to rafi.
    if kishore da i.e the best singer in bollywood would have rendered the song then the song would have been a tremendous hit.
    kishore da can sing any song from classical to semi classical from qawaali to comedy to sad songs to ghazals in any voice suiting the hero on screen. so i feel very sad. that kishore da is no more in this world. he could have sung more songs for rishi kapoor because after the death of kishore da rishi came very down as a hero.
    kishore da you always be there in my heart.

  10. kishorefan says:

    i completely agree with kishorefan.
    kishore only has sung the maximum songs for rishi kapoor. kishore also changes his voice completely for rishi
    so this article is totally waste. rafi has contributed just 10%for rishi. kishore da and shailendra singh have contributed other 90% for rishi kapoor.
    so rafi fans only because of kishore and shailendra rishi has been successful.

    so do not be in the past and accept the fact

  11. RAFIBHAKT says:

    Post 13- Kishore fan

    This article is on rafi’s songs for rishi kapoor and not for kishore kumar songs on rishi kapoor. I hope you got the point, my dear kishore fan. Let us discuss kishore kumar songs on rishi kapoor when the need arises or when such article appears in kishore kumar site. Kindly do not try to dilute the topic by bringing kishore kumar into this article as that has no relevance.

    Post 15 – Deepak rahi,

    Congratulations to rafians for making rafi top in voting in

    It is nice and great to see rafi’s remarkable majority in, but in my view, it is plainly wrong to pass any remarks against lata as well, who is another great singer of bollywood. Moreover, lata belongs to the female category, so comparison with rafi, I think is not proper. One thing is there, even geeta dutt has garnered more votes than lata. This is surprising.

    I had already made a point about this voting. I am again repeating. Many are active/current singers/musicians in the voting – so voting for these people, such as illayaraja, a r rahman etc. does not assume relevance. Importance and thing to be appreciated is those artists who have passed decades back are enjoying popularity even today along with these artists. Sure, if those artists would have been there today, I am sure, they would have beaten current artists easily by wider margins. In my personal view, the voting criteria should have been separated for current musicians, yesteryear musicians, females, males, south, north etc. I had already mentioned only 4 yesteryear musicians are earning appreciation even today (after decades of their passing away) in the voting site i.e mohd rafi with remarkable majority, kishore kumar, geeta dutt and ghantasala. So, in my view, if we consider, voting and popularity wise for yester year talents, only 3 artists from hindi and one artist from south are popular even today. And these artists rank among the top 15 musicians and exclusively as singers among the top 4 singers in the site in terms of voting. Remaining all are active musicians (and again all are not playback singers, many are music directors such as a r rehman, illayaraja, keeravani, gogavale etc. ) and much relevance need not be placed upon them. Even lata mangeshkar is currently there so it is going to be a different platform for comparison. K J Yesudas too is currently active and cannot be brought in any way in comparison with the yester year legends.

    The real litmus test/question will be ? whether the current active artists can be remembered or enjoy popularity after 4 decades from now, similar to the yester year artists as mentioned above. A big question mark. But for sure, without doubt, the great past talented artists shall continue to enjoy following even for many more years to come.


  12. Souvik Chatterji says:

    In respect of the reply of Mr. Sunil Pal,

    There are few things to clarify.

    1stly Kishore Kumar did not sing any song of Bobby. Incidentally KK never contributed in any film RK production where Rishi Kapoor was the hero, whether Bobby, or Prem Rog or Henna.

    The songs of Bobby were sung by Shailendra Singh, Chanchal, Manna Dey and others.

    As far as Rishi Kapoor and Rafi is concerned, their combination was grand, according to musiclovers and musical pandits.

    Laxmikant Pyarellal received the filmfare award for the best composer in 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980.
    The films included Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Amar Akbar Anthony, Sargam and Karz.

    Rishi Kapoor and Rafi’s combination was grand which contributed for the success of the films Amar Akbar Anthony, Sargam and Karz which had many songs and songs resulted in the films ending up being blockbusters.

    Rafi had sung hit songs for many new and matured actors in the 70s including Tariq, Jeetender, Sanjeev Kumar, Rajender Kumar, and others.

    As far as Jeetender or Rajender Kumar were concerned, no new mention is required to establish Rafi’s contribution in their career.

    The reason Rishi Kapoor’s contribution was grand was only because the viewers and audience accepted the combination with Rafi.

    Rishi Kapoor acted as hero till Karobar in 2000, so obviously he had given lips in the songs in different singers ranging from Kishore Kumar, Shailendra Singh, Chanchal, to Jolly Mukherjee, Kumar Shanu, etc.

    So nowhere in the article there was any mention about Rafi singing the maximum number of songs of Rishi Kapoor.

    Kishore Kumar had sung many songs for Rishi Kapoor, including the ones in the film Sitamgar, Yeh Wada Raha, etc.

    But whenever name comes in respect of the actors which matched him the best included Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bacchan.

    RD Burman had liking towards KK so he had used KK for films of Rishi Kapoor ranging from Khel Khel Me, to Saagar. There was nothing special about Rishi Kapoor in that context. He used KK to sing for Dharmender, Jeetender, Rakesh Roshan and other stars of 70s and 80s.

    Regarding the choice of Shailendra Singh, it was a blessing for Rishi Kapoor. Raj Kapoor wanted his son to have separate identity and the use of Shailendra Singh in films like Bobby, Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, Amar Akbar Anthony, gave Rishi Kapoor a separate image as a romantic hero.

    Shailendra Singh was Raj Kapoor’s creation, who himself had said other singers were great, Rafi was a genius.

    Souvik Chatterji.

  13. Zaka says:

    Congrats All Rafians, In voting Now Rafi Saab has grabed no. 1 position in Musician Category in India, Keep it up…..

  14. Zaka says:

    Congrats All Rafians, Now Rafi Saab has grabed no. 1 position in Musician Category in India, Keep it up…..

  15. Deepak Rahi says:

    Dear All Rafians,
    First of all I would like to inform you that Rafi Saheb has become the Number Uno musician of India at by leaving other behinds..Thanks to all…Lata Mangeshkar is at 323 position…Just imagine Bharat Ratna, Swara Kokila and many more is not able to find a place with a respectable limit..She even lags behind Shreya Ghosal..Rafi Saheb who passed away 30 years ago still rules th indian music..This must be brought into the notice of administration so that necessary steps would be initiated to honour the Late Rafi Saheb to which he deserves..With Regards…

  16. kishorefan says:

    this article is a sheer joke.
    everybody just listen kishore da was the best ,is the best and always be the best for rishi kapoor.
    he has sung the maximim hit songs for rishi,he completely changes his voice for rishi. rafi has delivered just one or two hit songs of which i can hardly remember anything. some qawali is there. i think
    dear post 12,
    if kishore da was alive today he would have been the voice of shahrukh khan,aamir and salman khan, kishore da has a manly voice which perfectly suits all three khans ,not rafi.
    so kishore dada is the best singer ever in bollywood and india,.
    thank you

  17. pvksraju, says:

    It is in the voice……..
    Rafi Saab’s voice culture was superb. It matched 90% of the heroes and character artistes. Kishoreda best suited Rajesh Khanna ji and Dev Saab very well. Though Rafi Saab voice was a not a mismatch on Rajesh Khanna ji in aradhana, Do Raaste but still we adore him (RK) in the voice of Kishoreda due to immense popularity gained by the songs. Both Rafi Saab and Kishoreda suited Rishi. Rafi Saab infact had a excellent qawwali in the Burning Train ” Pal Do Pal ka Saath Hamare”. Well no other singer can breathe life into a patriotic/ qawalli / soft numbers/bewaafai songs with a high pitch like Rafi Saab did. He had a soothing voice which carried all the emotions and was a perfect balm. May be had Rafi Saab lived on… he would have been perfect singing voice of Sunny Doel. Govinda, Anil Kapoor, Amir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Salman Khan and may be even Abhisekh Bachchan much later….. because if one can recollect all his clones made it to the top after his sudden demise in 1980 like Shabbir Kumar, Mohd Aziz, Sonu Nigam and to a large extent Udit Narayan. If I visualise, I feel Rafi Saab would have done cent per cent justice to even all the three Khans apart from Hritik Roshan and Abbi….. well it is just my personal view only….. I do not dispute with other”s ….

  18. biman baruah says:

    dear souvik dada
    bar bhala likhseen.
    it is the last popular singer-actor combinations associated with our beloved Rafi Sahab started with actor Ashok Kumar.
    Rishi Kapoor started his career with playback of Shailendra Singh ( Bobby) and Kishore Kumar ( Khel Khel Mein). Composer Madan Mohan first established Rafi Sahab as a voice of Rishi in Laila Majnu. Initially, from producer to actor everyone insist Kishore Kumar to playback for Rishi in the film. But Madan Mohan Saheb was adament in his decision to quit the film in absence of Rafi Sahab and all the of the film became hit, thus Rafi Saheb became voice of Rishi. Unfortnately, during the film MM expired and Jaidev completed the music of the film.
    Amar Akbar Anthoy is the best film of this combinations where Rafi SaHAb sung 4 songs for the actor and the songs are still noted as best liped songs by the actor. In the article , we missed the film Naseeb where Rafi Saheb playback for Rishi in the song “Chal Mere Bahi” with Amitabh Bachchan. The film Deedar-E-Yaar(1982) produced by Jeetendra is the last film of this combination.
    Recently, in a film party , Rishi Kapoor remarked as ” AaJ Aagar Rafi Sahab Zinda Hote Tu Shahrukh Khan Ke Liye Bhi Gaatey” . So we are most unfortunate.

    Best regards to all Rafi Lovers
    Biman , Sivasagar, assam

  19. Ali says:

    as we all know that in film laila majnu music director Madan mohan forced to use KK by film maker and Rishi Kapoor but Madan Mohan said I will give music only if mohd rafi be the singer also mohd rafi himself said to Madan ji to use KK …..
    After film laila majnu mohd rafi became the singer of Rishi Kapoor because there was no singer who was able to give magic to a new young romantic actor(Rishi Kapoor)
    LP ignore mohd Rafi also as RD burman but L from Lp used Mohd rafi only when other singers was not able to sing there some songs..
    if am not wrong in 1970’s film made music hit but when singer was mohd rafi it was not like that…but who ignored mohd rafi they all back to mohd rafi but God showed them ……

  20. ali says:

    Raj Nbr March 8 at 2:00pm Reply
    Dear group members:
    This is to inform all of you that Farrukh Viqar – our well known RJ from 89.1 fm Dubai UAE – has started a cause on Facebook, wherein the only motive is to create awareness among all the music lovers and ultimately the Govt of India for Recognizing the magical voice of the Greatest ever Hindi singer, Mohammed Rafi.

    This group was created with an aim to support this Cause – and is in no way different from the same. We would therefore request all of you to please join the Cause “BHARAT RATNA FOR RAFI SAHAB” at the following link:

    Please join the Cause, Invite your friends and LET US DO IT!!!

    PS: In a way to avoid causing confusions, We have decided to do away with this group.. and the final word remains that there is only one cause BHARAT RATNA FOR RAFI SAHAB & no group as BHARAT RATNA TO MOHD RAFI.

    many thanks and best regards
    Administrators of BHARAT RATNA FOR RAFI SAHAB group

  21. sunil says:

    kishore da has sung his best songs under rishi kapoor not rafi sahab.
    see the films like khel khel mein,karz,hum kisse kum nahin,jhoota kahin ka ,bobby had the hits of kishore da. even “sagar” was a great film in which kishore da was awarded the best playback singer for “saagar kinare : dil ye pukare”what a best playback singer for rishi is shaildendra singh.then kumar sanu who started in damini and deewana. kishore da completely changes his voice for rishi kapoor. after them,no doubt rafi sahab is the choice.
    nice article but no strength sovik ji.
    thank you
    sunil pal
    singer from goa

  22. ZTEK says:

    Rishi has always praised Rafi saab for singing for him. If one notes, Rafi has sung in so many styles for Rishi from Qawalli to Disco which again shows Rafi range! Rishi’s playbacked voice sounded so youthful when Rafi Saab sung for him. Just imagine how many more upcoming stars Rafi could have sung for in the 80’s if he hadn’t passed away!

  23. vinod mehru says:

    dear souvik,

    yeh to rishi kapoor ka good luck tha jo usko bhi rafi saheb ki awaz mili, nahin to aise kai log hai jo is baat ka benefits nahin le sake. after shammi saheb rishi is the only kapoor clan who was with rafi saheb, (randhir ko dekho may be two to three films they have done together .film jeet was carrying the music of LP and first and last time randhir had the playback from rafi saheb for entire film).

    it was a excellant work in majority carried out for combination os rafi saheb and rishi by Lp, mdan mohan and rd up to some extent .kya sargam, kya badalte rishte, aur unforgettable laila majnu. we must be thankful to good poetries by sahir saheb and anand bakshi ji also hts of to them also.

    vinod mehru

  24. anil nakra says:

    dear mr souvik
    combination of rafi sahib and rishi kapoor was very fresh and referashing the memory .
    in all musical compitation either in tv channels or in stage the darda e dit of karz film may be sung by participant ,in other words this song is compulsory

    shirdi wala sai baba ranked top bhajan by shirdi trust
    rafi’s voice suited to all

  25. achal rangaswamy says:

    very well written sir. this was a great combo- that of Rafi Saab and Rishi kapoor.
    Rishi kapoor fondly remembered Rafi Saab on Total Recall on TV the other day when he said…”he sang many songs for me…all GREAT Songs…GREAT songs..”.he said with lots of enthusiasm. he also reminisced the fact that manmohan desai said…”Rafi Saab ki awaaz mein khuda ki awaaz thi”.
    from amongst so many that he sang for rishi my personal favourite is the heart rending ‘tere dar pe aaya hoon’ from laila majnu. of course..woh woh naa rahey is superb too.

    achal rangaswamy

  26. Lalit Bhambhani says:

    Very nice article Mr. Souvik Chatterji . Rafi Sahab was great personality . Really we all mis him .

  27. Jae-Bee says:

    Very good info. I keep hearing that md LP were loyal to rafi sahb during his lean years it is not so. The only loyal mds were MM-Jaidev, Usha Khanna, and Sonik-Omi in big names. Then there is Ganesh, Shamji-Ghanshamji and above all Lalla Satar who gave a song to our rafi sahb for actor KK in 1972 when KK sahb was at his peak. If I am wrong then someone explain to me that even though Raj Kapoor insisted that Shailendra Singh be used for Rishi in Bobby instead of Rafi why didn’t LP give the song of Premnath to Rafi instead of MannaDey? I’ll tell why, because during those times MannaDey even sang for Dharmendra(Seeta aur Geeta) and for AB in sholey. And if LP and Manmohan Desai were such loyal to rafi sahb how come not a single song went to rafi sahb in Roti? People say the same thing about SJs loyalty to rafi sahb, but that is also not true, they also changed direction, maybe we will discuss that some time since this article is about LP-Rishi-Rafisahb

  28. Rajkumar Akela says:

    I request all my rafian friends to kindly click on the link below and vote for our beloved “rafi sahab”…

    rajkumar Akela

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