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Did R.D.Burman really preferred KK over Rafi?

This article is written by Mr.H.V.Guru Murthy.

A regular browser to web site, having gone through the letters of Rafi lovers would assume that R D Burman did not utilize Rafi properly, instead he preferred Kishore Kumar. Because of this reason, Rafi Fans are still upset with RDB even though he passed away a decade back.

Yes, it is true that RDB preferred KK over Rafi during early seventies. For that matter, which Music Director or Actor or Producer or Director will not have his preference. It was well known that Raj Kapoor always preferred Mukesh, Manoj Kumar preferred Mukesh or Mahendra Kapoor, B.R.Chopra films had Mahendra, MD Ravi also had plenty of songs with Mahendra so also O.P after he broke with Rafi. Similarly OP always had either Asha or Geetha Dutt and never Lata. Salil also used all other Singers. Director Subba Rao insisted on Mukesh for SAATHI even though the hero was Rajendra Kumar and MD Naushad, two Rafi Fans. Even Kalyanji Anandji had many films with Mahendra Kapoor, Mukesh and KK even though Rafi was instrumental in their raise through JAB JAB PHOOL KHILE, AAMNE SAAMNE, etc. LP, by all means Rafi Bhakts, used KK regularly in the early seventies even for Rafi heroes like Jeetendra, Dharmendra, etc. SJ also switched over to KK in movies like MAIN SUNDAR HOON, DIL DAULAT DUNIYA, KAL AAJ AUR KAL, etc. Of course, the music standard came down a notch or two in that period. But, well, it is their prerogative to have whomsoever they wanted though I am sure in heart of heart, why even openly, they would have admitted the superiority of Rafi over all other Singers. Similarly, RDB also used KK for almost all his movies in the early seventies as perhaps he had some special chemistry with him.

However, let us not forget that RDB used Rafi extensively during late sixties as his main playback singer right from the first movie. He gave hit music with Rafi in TEESRI MANZIL, NAQLI NAWAAB, CARAVAN, PYAAR KA MAUSAM, THE TRAIN, ABHILASHA, ADHIKAR, RATON KA RAAJA, etc. Later during late seventies he returned to Rafi and gave hits like SHAAN, HUM KISISE KUM NAHIN, ABDULLAH, ZAMANE KO DIKHANA HAI, etc. In between, he had Rafi in CHANDI SONA qawali with Mannadey (Ek Shok Hasina Se), YADON KI BAARAT (Title song and who can forget the duet with Asha Chura Liya Hai Tumne), DIL KA BAADSHAH (this Raj Kumar starrer had all songs by Rafi), THE GREAT GAMBLER (Raftasa Mera Naam), SHEHZADA (Solo Tere Attaroo and duet with Lata Kaahe Ko Bulaya), etc.

Mohd Rafi with R.D.Burman

If a person cannot appreciate the greatness of Rafi, then it can be safely concluded that the person does not have a sense of music. Of course, RDB was a good MD though not a great MD like Naushad, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar, SDB, etc. RD would have definitely known the great qualities of Rafi, the Singer. Just because he did not use Rafi extensively as one would expect, let us not degrade this MD who gave us some good songs in CHANDAN KA PALNA, PADOSAN, HARE RAMA HARE KRISHNA, MERE JEEVAN SAATHI, AJNABEE, AMAR PREM, SANAM TERI KASAM, BHOOT BANGLA, BAHARON KE SAPNE (Rafi solo Zamane Ne Maare), PARICHAY, KINAARA, APNA DESH, ZAHREELA INSAAN, RAMPUR KA LAKSHAMAN (Pyaar Ka Samay with Lata, KK and Rafi), 1942 – A LOVE STORY, KATI PATANG to certain extent, etc. though he gave some very mediocre music in films like DEEWAR, SHOLAY, KITAAB, ZAKHMEE, RAFOO CHAKKAR, NAMKEEN, DHARAM KARAM and BIWI O BIWI (so un-RK film like), etc. so many forgettable movies as for as music was concerned.

The irony of RDB was either he gave good music or petered out to a very mediocre music in so many films. I read some where that Shashi Kapoor called RD as National Anthem Music Director. In those days, theatres used to play National Anthem at the end of the movie and the Hall doors used to be shut till the completion of the Anthem. As soon as the Anthem used to commence, our in-disciplined people used to rush to the Hall Door and wait for the door opening. Similarly, whenever RDB songs commenced in most of the movies, people used to rush to toilet.

Still, it is not fair that we use harsh and sometimes, un-parliamentary language against any body if they differ with our views. We cannot forget the contribution of all these MDs, Heroes, Singers, Directors, etc. in making the Indian Film Music so rich.

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1,381 Blog Comments to “Did R.D.Burman really preferred KK over Rafi?”

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  1. mohamed parvez says:

    this picture is taken during recording of heeralal panalal song seedey raste chalonge to next to puncham da is kishore da not in the picture

  2. sj says:

    Ref Post 35 and 41

    “Coming back to RD. I believe the song that KK sang so well – the famous “Tum bin Jaaoon kahan” was first sung by Rafi and the spool passed on to KK for a week to improve upon. Is it an acceptable norm ?? If yes, than credit must go to KK to improvise on Rafi version, but if not than it is unscruplous on the part of RD and KK. I read somewhere that towards the end, most of his movies/songs flopped as Bhappi Lahiri was able to give RD taste of his own medicine and overtake him in his own field.”

    >>>>Yes KK sang it well but does that equate to he sang better than Rafi……it is indeed a ridiculous proposition. Both songs had different moods, tune and situation. For me Rafi’s version excels as it has so much of romance and elan in the song. KK has sung good songs even before that period and those songs get no mention in the desperate propganda of KK fans. Shows how much they know of HFM and KK.

    >>>If at all Rafi must be given more credit to sing the hindi version he KK had already sang the bengali version. The idea that RD asked KK to better the song makes one sick in the stomach. If this is true then the case is clear, RD had a problem with Rafi and the conspiracy theories discussed above are actually true. Its like asking some third rate actor to better Dilip Kumars or Amitabh’s performace.

    ” Yes, it’s true that RD copied/adapted tunes from others. But so did Anil Biswas, S. D. Burman, O. P. Nayyar, Roshan, Hemant Kumar, Shankar-Jaikishan and Salil. That is something that almost everyone indulged in those days. Sometimes there were copies of copies, like from sd to roshan to rd. After all, it’s “bombay meri jaan”.”

    >>>>Yes but then these MD’s are not treated like demi gods further look at the percenatges of plagerism. RDB leads the chase. Further all his so called great songs are not original. Others did but handful and they are not even known for those songs. ? Dont you see an ethical and moral problem with that?

    >>>Seriously as Rafi fans we must not even be slightly bothered about why and how RD side lined Rafi so that KK could make some bread ad butter. It is meaningless as Rafi’s quality could never be reached by any singer.

    >>>Commercially he may have had a setback for some time (72 -74) but for a man who sang free several times and was not a business man, this woud be the most insignificant thing.

    >>>Infact Rafi was unhappy about the quality of music that was produced in 70’s. One cant count the number of decent songs in that era. Lets face it KK got to sing better songs but that does not make him a better singer tha Mana and Mukesh let alone Rafi.

    >>>The rigged charts and the nexus behind them had also a very dirty and big role to play, the producers made their decisions based on the charts and pressurised MD’s to use KK.

    >>>But when it was a question of quality, they knew they had only one option and that is Rafi. Can you imagine that he was called in 1973 to re-record a song that was sung by KK, the title song of ek mahal ho sapno ka. The producer was disapointed with Kk’s singing and called on Rafi….isnt this enough proof about the fact that KK was used more as a means to make some quick bucks and not to achieve excellence in singing.

    >>>It is a joke that with all that backing and popularity he lost film fare awards to Mukesh, Chanchal, Mana Dey, Yesudas and Rafi. Come on guys….this is amazing stuff that the popular choice award going to others and not to the popular singer of that period.

    >>>Much has being said and will be said in future about Rafi but people cant change one thing and that is Rafi still rules and has a fan following second to none, a vast majority of great MD’s, singers and critics have Rafi as at the pinnacle of singing in HFM. We are not living in an ideal world there will be a miniscual proportion who would like to term everything that shines as gold when in reality they are useless pieces of scrap.

    Rafi ran the marathon of singing and KK joined the race in the last 100 meters, led for the first 50 and still could not win the race…..the wise here will get my point.

    If there was ever a synonomn for winner, it is Rafi.

  3. Anmol Singh says:

    The sad version of “Tum Bin Jaun Kahan” sung by Rafi has not been released but appears in the film. This is the strategy followed by Pancham to promote KK over Rafi. Plus the romantic version sung by Rafi is effortless. If one listens to the word “Chaah Ke” in the song, Rafi resonates the word like a tuning fork, where as KK sings it straight. Plus the antara of the KK version does not appear effort less like Rafi. The plus point in the KK version is only yodelling.

    Coming to the 71-75 phase Rafi has rendered many songs which were beyond the capability of any singer to render them. Though it was a KK era but Rafi Saab was called for delivering such songs. The few songs sung by Rafi in this era were all mega hits. Since Rafi was a complete singer the so called “lean phase” was not really applicable to him since he delivered very few gems and was very there in the lime light. This was not case during 60s for KK, since he was never a complete singer.

    Comparing the database on both Rafi & KK website it has been observed, that between 1948 to 1969 KK has delivered a max of 25 songs in a year. Where as Rafi was delivering far more number of songs per year during 1971-75. Another fact in 1980 Rafi has sung more number of songs then any singer, though he lived only for 7 months.

    The Rafi come back was very much engineered by LP. LP’s use of KK was unique which was totalling different from the Burmans. During the 71-75 phase compared to Pancham there are equal numbers of hits by LP for KK. The only difference was Pancham certainly composed more number of songs for KK. Plus LP never missed any apportunity to use Rafi Saab, so was Madan Mohan and other composers excluding Pancham.

    Once LP were on the top i.e. during the mid 70s. there immediately brought back Rafi and gradually started side lining KK. If one carefully observes KK has not sung many songs for LP during the 80s. KK sang max songs for Bhappi Lahiri during the 80s compared to Pancham and other composers.

  4. Mohammad Alfateh says:

    Dear fans
    All music directors were indebt of Rafi sahab. He gave his best to everyone. He didnt need music directors like R.D.Burman. It was R.D.Burmans good luck that he could approach Rafi Sahab.

  5. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 35:

    “Coming back to RD. I believe the song that KK sang so well – the famous “Tum bin Jaaoon kahan” was first sung by Rafi and the spool passed on to KK for a week to improve upon. Is it an acceptable norm ?? If yes, than credit must go to KK to improvise on Rafi version, but if not than it is unscruplous on the part of RD and KK.”

    Yes, it’s acceptable because Rafi has sung many, many songs that were initially dubbed by other leading singers. In fact, the Aradhana songs were supposed to be dubbed by Kishore and then delivered by Rafi. SD used to employ this ploy quite often; he even used to record the same song in different voices and select the one that’s the best. But no one knows of a single Rafi song that SD discarded.

    The “tum bin jawoon kahan” tune was originally sung by Kishore in Bengali. Then rafi sung it in hindi, followed by Kishore in Hindi. It only shows how much in awe Kishore was of rafi. Rafi couldn’t care less. Even after listening to “man re tu kahe na dheer dhare” thousands of times, neither kishore nor lata could come close to the original. The trick that rd employed in this song was different; he played to kishore’s core strength: yodeling. The kingmaker (as prakash ji rightly said) was strategizing on how to dethrone the emperor. It didn’t work then, but it worked later. I’m surprised that people on this forum can’t see through the puzzle.

    Hemant, Talat, Manna, Kishore, Geeta, Lata and Asha played a lot on the bengali stage. Rafi and Mukesh didn’t. More on that later.

  6. binus2000 says:

    according to shakti samant rafi saabs sabattical for many months
    post 71 created the vacuum and Kishore Kumar stepped in to fill
    the slot.
    Even Latas three month foreign tour enabled singers like Kavita,
    anuradha and others to take centrestage which Lata could never
    Laxmikant – Pyarelal the composers never again became the blue
    eyed boys of Lata after their daring association with the above new
    singers.. the relations simply cooled off..
    so lata was their benefactor who became a detractor in later years.

    binu nair

  7. Dear Rafian,
    What i believe is Till late sixties all md has one and only mohd.rafi as a choice in playback singing for heros like shammi,dilip,rajendra,dharmendra,jeetendra,and numeroes others.
    In seventies a flow of new star sons like Rishi,sunny,and newcomers like mithun,govinda,kumar gaurav,aamir etc entered so mds started using shailendra singh,amitkumar,firstly for this boyish look 2nd generation and after they established as heroes md started using kk(For club,stage,and jazz type songs) for them,so there is no groupism or unfair deal md’s part i sees to not using MD.Rafi.RDB was working as with father sdb,and sdb had high respect for rafiji and it shows in early film of rdb using rafi when he started as md.The whole scenario and image of film set up of hindi cinema has change between 70-75.What i believe that “hame aaj ki tarikh me rafiji ke achhe songs sunke “luft” uthana chahiye.aur ye kehna ke rdb ki vajah se kisika achha ya bura hua to ye to ye dikhata hai ki rdb jaisa koi king maker nahi tha?is kadar ki baate rafiji ki tohin nahin to kya hai?

  8. P. Haldar says:

    Venkat ji, thanks for sharing your thoughts. You are one of the most knowledgable rafians I’ve encountered over the years. Reminds me of my days growing up in Kolkata where there used to be people with encyclopedic knowledge of film music and the personalities involved. At some point in time, I’d like to share my top 25 rafi songs with you; let’s see if we agree on at least 15. Let me assure you that my list won’t include any post-1971 songs.

  9. myk says:

    In regards to my previous post about SJ and RD vis a vis western music, all three, SJ and RD were trend-setters and handled western music in different ways.

  10. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 34:

    myk, there are other rd films in the 1970-75 period like Parichay, Khel Khel Mein and Anamika that also had hit songs. I just gave you a sample. I have to listen to the songs of Amir Gharib and Prem Kahani to figure out whether they compare with the list of rd films that I had provided. There were songs like “Soni aur Moni ke ek jodi ajeeb” and “Prem kahani mein ek ladka hota hai”, but I don’t think you are talking about those songs. The songs in Bobby, Mehboob ke Mehndi, Daag, Aan Milo Sajna were definitely good.

    I am also a bit amused to learn that Sonik Omi produced more hits than RD; now that’s something! Kishore was always a great singer, no one disputes that. Everyone — including Khemchand Prakash, C. Ramchandra, S. D. Burman, Shankar Jaikishan and LP — had used him in the 40s, 50s and 60s. The truth is that none of them was able to elevate him to even the no. 2 position, which was perenially held by mukesh. Kishore reached the no. 1 spot after the twin blasts generated by rd: Amar Prem and Kati Patang. My question to you is why did rafi have to wait for six long years before rd composed “Kya hua tera wada”? What were sonik omi, lp and ka doing? It’s true that the rajesh khanna wave had a lot to do with kishore’s success, but to keep rafi sidelined for six years needs something more than that. And that something was rd’s music. There were three md’s who could have helped rafi remain in the No. 1 spot, a position he had maintained since 1952. They were SD, Jai and OP, all master trend-setters. The first decided not to, the second died in 1971 and the third lost his midas touch. LP tried his best over the years and his AAA score did support rd’s hkkn score to some extent to elevate rafi to the top, but it is a fact that hkkn was rafi’s comeback film. If someone does not want to accept that simple fact, so be it.

    Even when Kishore used to be the voice of Dev Anand, everyone from OP to SJ to Salil used rafi on dev; such was rafi’s dominance. And look at chhote nawab; in a couple of years, he switched all rafi-based actors, including Jeetu, Dharam, Sanjeev and Shashi, to Kishore. And you guys are telling me that Kishore’s rise had nothing to do with rd’s music. Please note that producers/directors like Ramesh Sippy, Ramesh Behl and J. Omprakash were not Bengalis.

    Yes, it’s true that RD copied/adapted tunes from others. But so did Anil Biswas, S. D. Burman, O. P. Nayyar, Roshan, Hemant Kumar, Shankar-Jaikishan and Salil. That is something that almost everyone indulged in those days. Sometimes there were copies of copies, like from sd to roshan to rd. After all, it’s “bombay meri jaan”.

    There was always a certain amount of freshness and unpredictabililty in rd’s music. And, as I’ve said before, I was waiting for another “Tumne mujhe dekha” and another “Ni sultana re”, but that was not to be. The farishta must have seen shades of jai in pancham; here’s a video of him enacting “tum ne mujhe dekha” on stage.

    Incidentally, the last time I heard the farishta perform in Kolkata, Narinder Kaka, Leslie Godinho and Anabel Castro — the lead performers in his orchestra — played the “piya tu ab tu aaja” tune before the genial giant stepped onto the stage. The jalebis and halwa that the two were sharing were the signs of a great second-innings partnership to come, but destiny had other things in store.

  11. B.Venkatadri says:

    Haldar Ji, Reg. post no. 28, what you suggested (ie. Rafi Saab should not have allowed the patch-up with Lata during 1967 and thus should not have revived her life as a duet singer!) is true, but if Rafi Saab could do that, he would never have been Rafi Saab!

    He is the saint who has sung free of charge for many small-time MDs! But, by encouraging them so, he could give us some wonderful songs under these lesser-known MDs!Incidentally, he holds the record for having sung for the highest number of MDs (over 245 MDs in number!). So, from this one can make out how many of these must have been small-time MDs! A Lata or Asha would not even look at these people!

    You have queried as to why MDs did not use Geeta much. One thing is clear and we have to face it! That is, Lata and Asha were not only very good singers, but their voices represented the beautiful, charming heroines! Like among male singers, only Rafi Saab’s voice did. Manna Dey says this in his language that Rafi Saab’s voice is hero’s voice. Among females, thus, none including Geeta could match up to these two sisters!

    Having said everything, the bottomline is this! Genuine music-lovers with a real good ear for music, such as yourself, myself and others here and everywhere rate Rafi Saab as the greatest singer of all times, both in quality of singing and the actual songs sung, and also in the ‘success’ achieved. And this conviction of genuine music-lovers is further reinforced by the superlative and passionate testimonies that are repeatedly uttered by legends such as Manna Dey, SP Balu, Jesudas, Ravi, S.Janaki and many many others. Mind you, these testimonies do not just say that he is a great singer, but they clearly and unequivocally say that he is the best of all for all times! As far as I am concerned, I know over 2500 songs of his, of which no less than 750-800 are real gems. Now, based on these 750-800 gems, I can confidently say that he is the ultimate singer that this earth has ever seen!


  12. viswan says:

    if the article is true i think rafiji is the only singer escaped from the nefarious designs of certain group of coartists,thanks to his unmatched ability as a singer.we all know the special charector of a cuckoo(koyaliya)bird.though it sings beautifully it never lays it eggs on its own nest.

  13. myk says:

    I think SJ more than picked out just a few points on western music, they were instrumental in bringing it to the fore front much before RD. In that sense SJ were the pioneers of western music, RD just introduced a new side of it to the audience and his rhythm patterns and orchestration was different than that of SJ’s. SJ also had their own unique rhythm patterns and orchestration as well.

  14. binus2000 says:

    Dear gurumurthy : we respect every artiste of the day : be it
    a singer, actor, director, comedian etc as u said it.
    I like Lata Mangeshkar s voice and ashas too.. truly great .
    But , I will never excuse them for their nefarious roles in the film
    industry – of intimidating rivals, running down the farishta mohd rafi,
    spreading word that Kishore is better than rafi, their tantrums with
    m.d.s, lata s frequent cancelling of recordings during her tenure putting
    musicians to lose their daily earnings and other recordings, boycotting
    music directors if they took other female singers and for often keeping
    right talents from coming up.
    runa laila was driven out from the industry every one knows and Kalyanji
    bhai had a tough time for giving a song to this singer.
    Laxmikant Pyarelal too were out of her good books once they begun
    taking singers like anuradha podwal, kavitha krishnamoorty and
    alka yagnik in the eighties when lata had gone on a foreign tour for
    three months.
    the list is long and it carries long tales of intrigues to keep their spot
    and the cash : rafi saab did not fall in to the sisters grip; and hence
    paid a price in the seventies when the sisters hit back at rafi saab.
    but , all the intrigues could not dent the popularity of legend mohd rafi.

  15. dravid says:

    If what mentioned in these posts about the conspiracy of Pancham, Lata and Asha is even half true then shame on them but why blame KK for their nonsense. The poor fellow was not even allowed to sing in chorus during the period Rafi reigned supreme.

    KK fans surely go over the top and ridicule Rafi to raise the stature of KKnot knowing that KK was a total discard as a singer and without Pancham favors would probably settle down in Kandwa and never be heard of.

    If Pancham was not a Bengali, he would have being ridiculed like the way Anu Malik is for his violation of copyrights and shamelessley copying tunes left right and cente. Also for argument sake if Rafi was from Bengal, these 3 bigots would have no problem with his elite class of singing.

    The film industry is even worst than a whore house, at least in a whorehouse there are some principles, thet have none. Due to Rafi, may of them are successfull and today they do not even remmeber him. KK treated these pigs well, he treated them like shit. Rafi was too honorbale and to classy for this industry.

  16. Harvinder says:

    I am reading the blog on RD Burman and how he promoted KK. I expressed my views earlier also. To me first of all RD Burman should not be termed great. Yes he was instrumental in introducing Wetsern music in a big way. Earlier MD’s like SJ picked only bits and pieces from Western music. To me SJ , Madan Mohan and even LP were greater MD’s. Percentage wise even OP Nayyar, Khayyam and Sonik Omi would score over RD (It is songs rendered and popularity – only in terms of percentages) RD may score in number of movies and songs. RD is lucky to have a wife in Asha Bhonsle who is out and out commercial singer like our cricketers playing slog overs. I watched her live programme in Vancouver twop months ago and listned to her live interview/talk show. Firstly she is well past her prime. I was disappointed to hear her more or less plead promoters to call her again. She promotes RD’s songs and herself.
    Kishore da was a brilliant singer and it is incorrect to say that RD promoted him. Yes RD also got the best out of Kishore in Kati Patand, Amar Prem etc, but to talk of RD only is insult to Kishore da. We now know that Aradhana wave and Rafi’s absence from Bombay in 1970-71 of 8 months. I have another interesting observation. Rajesh Khanna also brought in a wave of Single hero (No Mehmood/Johny Walker type of parrallel story). Pre Rajesh Khanna era invaribly had a song by the side hero. Overuse of Rafi Saheb’s voice for side hero/comedian or even father also made listners feel the need for a change. KK was there to grab it with both hands. Genius and singer with golden voice Rafi saheb’s ability to mould his voice to suit any face also turned against him. KK almost always sang only for the hero – that helped.

    Coming back to RD. I believe the song that KK sang so well – the famous “Tum bin Jaaoon kahan” was first sung by Rafi and the spool passed on to KK for a week to improve upon. Is it an acceptable norm ?? If yes, than credit must go to KK to improvise on Rafi version, but if not than it is unscruplous on the part of RD and KK. I read somewhere that towards the end, most of his movies/songs flopped as Bhappi Lahiri was able to give RD taste of his own medicine and overtake him in his own field.

    I do not agree that Lata-Asha sisters kept Rafi Saheb out. Post Aradhna the wave was such that the main singers title went from Rafi to Kishore. Good news today is that nobody is the main male singer be it Sonu, Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet, Udit or even Himesh. Yes amongst ladies, Alka stands tall.

    I know that RD could play almost all the instruements, but to become an MD at such young age is the gift/blessing of being SD Burman’s son- Same as Bhappi’s son turning into an MD as a teenager. Reminds me of a 15 year old Doctor parents son performing surgery in Chennai.

    It is better we talk more of great MD’s and not include RD in the list. To me, he was very good and above average at best. If he helped KK, then KK helped him more than RD deserved.

  17. myk says:

    Hi P. Haldar,

    I fully agree with you on RD’s albums both popularity and quality wise. I can add a few more to that list, mela, adhikar, raaton ka raaja, chhalia, benaam, humshaqal, ajnabee all had great music by RDB. Here are some LP films at that time (1970-75), Aan Milo Sajna, Khilona, Mehboob Ki Mendhi, Haathi Mere Saathi, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, Jal Bin Machli Nritya Bin Bijli, Piya Ka Ghar, Bobby, Ek Nazar, Daag, Ameer Garib, Prem Kahani etc. These films had great music as well and were popular too.

    True, its not always good to go by box office stats, BL will never be a better MD than MM even if he sold more, but sometimes its interesting to see what albums sold the most. LP never had a dull period for a long time after they took over SJ, Laxmikant once said RD kept them on their toes once they were able to take the number one position. I know you lived through that time, I have not, my father also lived through that time as well, but LP were always consistent as was RD in that 1970-75 period.

    For me, RD’s best music came when Rafi saab was still alive. This is my opinion of general music itself, it took a turn for the worse after Rafi’s death. RD could never repeat the success of HKSKN until 1942 ALS, but even after HKSKN he had great albums in Ghar, Mukti, Devta, Kinara, Abdullah etc. but in the 80’s his music didn’t have the same kind of experimentation and in many of those albums it felt as if he was giving music for the heck of it. There are exceptions such as Saagar, Ijaazat and so forth but definitely not the same as before. His best in my view was 1966 to the very early 80’s with those Rafi-based films.

    I also agree that RD overlooked Rafi on many occasions for his best tunes. If half of those tunes that he gave to KK went to Rafi, it would have been excellent, what a waste of an opportunity. If RD didn’t have this bias, his repetoire would have been much better. I don’t think an award in the name of RD was the best thing to do, that is giving him too much credit for no reason.

    Take the film Chhalia (1973), RD used Rafi, Lata, Mukesh, Asha, Kishore and Vani Jayram for the songs. Asha was given two solos and a duet with KK, KK had only the duet with Asha, Mukesh and Vani came together for a duet, and there was each a solo by Lata and Rafi. IMO the Rafi solo “Aye Jaan-e-Wafa” was the best of the film followed by Lata’s “Aa Mere Saathi Aa”. That Rafi solo was proof of what RD and Rafi could come up with if RD wasn’t blind-sighted by Kishore, a beautiful song, the guitar is just excellent. Wish we had more such solos from RD-Rafi during that time.

    Also, the RD-KK partnership can get quite repetitive, this is hardly the case for any Rafi-MD combo’s and RD also used KK for songs that should have gone to other voices.

    There was a post about trend-setters mentioned, after Pancham, Rajesh Roshan was another trend-setter in his own way, with Julie he created another musical grammar that was followed by N-S, Anu Malik and others in many of their films.

  18. suhas says:

    Ref Post 19

    Pearl….explain me plz in what way RD was great……..

    Great people are creative and do not scheme.

    Here are a few of the tunes that he stripped from others…..the list is endless.

    Raju chal Raju – Azad
    MD: RDB
    Oginally Composed by Ervin Drake in 1961

    ‘Karo baaten mulakaaten’ – Bhanwar
    MD: RDB
    Orginal Donovan’s 1968 hit ‘Jennifer Juniper’

    Kabhi Bekasi ne mara – Alag Alag
    MD: RDB
    Original: ‘Kabhi khwaishon ne’ from the Pak film, Mehrbani, sung by Akhlaq Ahmad and composed by M Ashraf.

    Aap sa Koi Haseen – Chandi Sona
    MD: RDB
    Original :Gharibeh Ashena, composed by Shamaiezadeh and sung by Googoosh in the early 70s.

    Jab Tak hein Jaan – Sholay
    MD: RDB
    Original ‘Jomeh’, by Iranian singer Googoosh, who is one of the most famous Iranain singers

    Kahi Na jaa – Bde Dilwala
    Music: RDB
    Original: French singer Edith Piaf’s 1946 number, ‘La vie en rose’.

    Aja O mere Raja – Apna Desh
    MD: RDB
    Original :’Blue Light Yokohama’ by Japanese singer, Ayumi Ishida

    Chura lita hein – Yaadon Ki Barat
    MD” RDB
    Original”: If it is Tuesday a Belgium song

    Kaisa Tera pyar – Love story
    MD: RDB
    Original by Abba’s I have a dream

    Tera mujse hein – AA gale la ja
    MD: RDB
    Original: ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ by Elvis Presley

    Mehki thandi hawa – Bombay to Goa
    MD: RDB
    Original : Beach Boys number ‘Help me Rhonda’

    Mera Kaha Manoge : Gurudev
    MD: RDB
    Original:Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound machine’s ‘Oye mi canto’

  19. sj says:

    Venkat says: From then on, I had many pieces of further evidence regarding the utmost meanness of these ladies!

    I often wonder why and how God has bestowed upon these mean mercenary creatures such great musical talent!

    Adulterated talent kaho Venkat ji. This lady is sanile, arrogant and thankless.

    Let me share this…..I hope KK fans are reading, they call her Asha Tai (he he)..said Sanjay dutt sings like KK……well its on record.

    Any KK fans here to comment on their Tai….lol

  20. P. Haldar says:

    Friends, what sparked off this heated discussion is I guess my comment in response to Anmol Singh’s comment on Kishore playbacking for Bharat Bhushan. Let’s not continue with this thread because for some of us the wounds are still raw and we keep losing sense of our objectivity. The rafi tent is big enough to accommodate everyone: S. D. Burman and his son, Roshan and his son, Sardar Malik and his son, Chittragupt and his sons… Under this huge tent, there will always be mini-camps for the different md’s, so let’s learn to respect the followers in camps that may not be our favourite ones.

  21. P. Haldar says:

    Friends, I want to share an interesting experience with you. On a recent visit to Kolkata, I switched on the radio to listen to hindi songs. There was a time, even in the recent past, when four out of ten songs used to be rafi’s. Not anymore, because the orkut babes have taken over the fm channels. To my surprise, 70% of the songs being played on this channel (that too around midnight) belonged to rd, kishore and asha. Anyway, here’s the interesting part. The rj went on and on about the greatness of rd and then made this startling announcement: That rd went to pakistan to convince parveen sultana to sing “hume tumse pyaar kitna”. And parveen sultana agreed to sing only after she was offered Re. 1 more than Lata’s rate. I thought I was having a bad dream because Parveen is from Assam, married to a bengali. My cousin has even carried her tanpura to stage at the famous Dover Lane Music conference in Kolkata. But I was not dreaming; I was wide awake listening to the garbage that is being spread in the name of music.

  22. unknow1 says:

    When RD got his first flim)chote nawab)RD said he went to Mohd Rafi to sing for him that time Mohd rafi was so busy but Mohd rafi singed for him.
    We mohd Rafi fans mosly like RD music but we don’t agree that he was the best.
    Media tried to sideline Mohd rafi from 1970 to 1975 the Media did that but from 1976 to 1980 the Media with two sisters lost because how they can win from God gift singer,Thanks to God that we lost Mohd Rafi when he was at the top,that was a gift of God to a great human and said by OP nayar world will not forget mohd rafi.where is Lata ji today?

  23. P. Haldar says:

    Dear Venkat ji,

    In hindsight, I think rafi should not have patched up with lata. Suman and Asha were doing a wonderful job, why bother? Also, I want to know your thoughts on why none of the md’s brought in geeta to partner rafi. Given that her voice was so good till as late as Aavishkar and Anubhav, why didn’t the top md’s — especially sd, sj and mm who had worked with her earlier — use her services? I can understand op sticking to asha but what about the rest? After all, Geeta was accompanying Rafi on stage shows even in 1963, when the spat with Lata started.

  24. M.Zaman says:

    Dear friends,

    This is a new experince for me about Rafi sahab, how talented he was , sorry,
    “he is”. every one’s voice / singing style can be copied , like suman did for lata no one can make out who is singing ? sure lata, but no, suman kalanpur.
    ( Chale ja chale ja jaha chele ja pear male)or so many others. but she victimised of dirty politics, led by great singer like lata mangeskar.
    But Rafi sahab had, sorry, having a unique voice which can not be copied.
    The truth is the quality of Rafi sahab can not be discribed in mare words


  25. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 20:

    sj, you’ve said it. I think rd was scared that if he gave rafi a half-way decent tune, rafi would come back. And that’s what happened with “kya hua tera wada”. As I’ve said a couple of times before, even if rd had given one-fourth of his catchy tunes to rafi in the 1971-75 period, the comeback would have been earlier, not in 1976. Long live the king!

  26. binus2000 says:

    this is a nd tv flash:

    the rafi foundation coverage will be relayed at 11.30 p.m. (night)
    in the english programme – Night out

    and at 12.00 p.m. in hindi. this will be relayed continuously
    on wednesday too..

    rafi lovers – pls record this and also f l a s h this to music lovers.

    binu nair rafi foundation Mumbai 9833 250 701

  27. B.Venkatadri says:

    Oh, gentlemen,

    The less said about these sisters, the better! Even I did not know what they are capable of, until the electronic media in India have matured and they started making appearences on these media!

    I distinctly remember one Asha concert on some TV channel about 8-10 years back. In fact, that was the first of its kind on electronic media. I was very happy that this program was going to come, sat near TV much in advance and have grinned and borne all the advertisements. Obviously, I was waiting for all her great songs of 60’s under OPN, Ravi, etc.

    But, lo and behold, what had actually happened? This lady has acted and behaved as if she never knew anyone called OPN or Ravi or Rafi Saab, etc.! She went on behaving as if she started her career with A.R.Rahman, with occasional passing references to RDB! I was sadly disappointed and have shut down TV after a few minutes. Do we see meaner specimens than this!

    From then on, I had many pieces of further evidence regarding the utmost meanness of these ladies!

    I often wonder why and how God has bestowed upon these mean mercenary creatures such great musical talent!


  28. Anmol Singh says:

    Refering to post 21 by Binu Nair.

    The way Mukesh got important in the early 70s, things are quiet clear who was calling the shots. In fact Mukesh got good coverage by the media after his death.

    Though the early 70s was a periof of KK-Pancham combo, but there work didn’t get rewarded except for 1969 and 1975.

    In other words both Pancham-KK combo and Rafi Saab were being manuplated by vested interests.

  29. mohamed parvez says:

    i would like to aad song from film devta jab ek qaza se guzroto ek aur qaza miljati hai this is back ground song there are 2 version of this song lyrics by gulzarsaab music by puncham ji sang by rafisaab great song great combination

  30. binus2000 says:

    Panacham went in to the hands of the peddar road sisters and
    both of them used him for their regular and sinister games. a brilliant
    career was cut short as he got frustrated by the failures and he hit
    the bottle.
    No doubt : he is a genious but lost his way. towards the beginning of
    chote nawabs career rafi saab gave him great hits. and towards the
    end too rafi saab created the magic again.
    in the middle path of his career things went right and wrong for this
    genious; and he was caught in a dilemma. he reduced his fees , his
    music and films bombed and the road ahead became too steep for
    him … the two sisters have not yet retired and I have with me
    many episodes about them and their ways…
    But, our discussion is rafi saab and his great music and not these
    persons who have played many nefarious games to reach the top.

    binu nair.

  31. sj says:

    Excellent posts by Venkat, P Halder Binus, MYK and others.

    I agree 100% of the nexus betwee Asha, Lata and othere to get Rafi out of the scene in the 70’s. Lata must be a great singer but her credentials as a decent person has being questioned. She used to threaten other MD’s of not singing for them if they used other singers. Shankar of SJ has testified to this fact. She was responsible for getting Runa Laila out of the industry.

    Asha Bhonsle’s mother in law gave a interview of RDB’s demise stating how disgusting human is she. Her clear cut jealousy for Rafi is clear and is being mentioned in many articles. Lata and specially Asha were comfortable to sing with KK as they well knew he was never going to be a threat.

    RDB was a super henpecked and did whatever Asha asked him to do so, one of RD”s assistant has testified this fact.

    Now did RD prefer KK over Rafi, yes in 70’s no in 60’s. RDB was a strategist, he knew he had to use Rafi in 60’s to come up the ladder which he did.

    When he realised that KK was salebale, he decided to promote KK at the cost of neglecting Rafi. Not only that he went on record stating rubbish statements like:

    1. there is no singer like KK

    2. I proved people Rafi could sing fast songs

    RDB was the PR guy for KK and the above statements reflected his ignorance as Rafi was and is still is the king of singing. Fast songs…..he invented and bettered them….slow songs…sad songs….western songs….bjahans…romantic songs….philosophical songs…u name it and he is second to noe.

    Every effort was made by the nexus to sideline Rafi and to some extent they were successfull but even a 100 kk’s or RD’s or Asha’s are nothing in front of Rafi, the silent and decent singing giant bounced back with nothing numbers and ruined the vicious plans of this ghetto.

    What a shame that such talented people had to fall to such low levels to side line a person so decent, modest, kind and gracious as Rafi.

    Rafi got te song Kya hua becos of Nasir Hussain, a mediocre RD tune (probably copied), Rafi created gold out of dust, no wonder they feared him.

    Rafi was prefered by 95% of MD;s over any other male singer, RDB is a odd one out and seriously who cares a bull about who he prefered and why.

    RDB was put out of work by MD;s like Bappi Lahiri and Anu Malik, this is a testimony of his so called genius. RDB fans need a reality check and find out that his best and hit songs are not created by his efforts but begged, borrowed and stolen.

    RDB is by no means a SJ, OP Nayar, Naushad, Ravi, Madan Mohan, Laxmikant Pyarelal or a SD Burman.

    Rafi continues to dominate, he lives in the purity of singing fields, fields that he glorified by his unmatched skills and God given voice and talent. He ruled the day he sang in front of Saigal and he rules now whenver someone wishes to hear a pure and classical voice.

    They tried to side line him and they failed, Rafi had to prove nothing in the 70’s, he was already the number one singer by then by a million miles. However the soft spoken giant wanted to prove a point and give a sterling slap on their faces which he did.

  32. Pearl says:

    Pancham was not a great MD ? whatta joke. One needs to be unbiased
    and musically reach to appreciate RDB or any of the yesteryears MDs.
    They all were great in their own rights. Only biased people like the Author said
    some rafi fans don’t like RDB because of obvious reasons can hate RDB or
    undermine him.

    RDB-Rafi pair is unbeatable, this pair has awesome songs. May be Kishore
    was RDB’s favorite so what’s wrong in that ? Every MD has their own favorite
    so have the Actors, Directors and Producers. If someone’s favorite is not Rafi
    some so called Rafi fans feel uncomfortable and they say every nonsense
    about that person, whatta fools we have around us.

    Thanks for the article anyway, the pic is great. Thanks

  33. Anmol Singh says:

    Songs of Pancham-Rafi combo are just increditable. There are many such songs. Perhaps the one which is not very famous is from ‘Mukti’, “Pyar Hai Ek Nishan Kadmon Ka”. The film starts and ends with the same songs explaining the summary of human relationships in just a few words. Incredible delivery by Rafi Saab for Pancham.

    Coming to the topic of trendsetters for Pancham is primarily credited by the media is very contridictory.

    Trendstetters exist in every era of music. There were many trendsetters prior to and after Pancham.

    Naushad – For the composition of classical based songs in films the credit goings to Naushad. The film “Baiju Bawraa” is a trendsetter. Later many other music composers followed the trend. Example – SJ in “Basant Bahar”, SDB in “Meri Surat Teri Ankhe”.

    C Ramchandar – Influenced by Benny Goodman C Ramchandar is credited for the introduction of Rock-N-Roll music in the early 50s. Examples – “Enaa Menaa Dekha” sung by KK, “Shola Jo Bhadke, Dil Mera Tarse”. C Ramchandar composed many songs on Rock-N-Roll, but never lifted any western tune. There is no record on C Ramchandar lifting any western tune.

    O P Nayyar – There were many music composers from Punjab Gharaana prior to O P Nayyar. But when it comes Bangda Beats the heart beat of Punjab, it is only and only O P Nayyar.

    S D Burman – He will credited for the popularity of Bengali Folk music in Hindi films. He will also be credited for compositions of songs for couples in joyfull mood. He along with Majrooh set the trend. Later Niraj along with SDB also delivered such catchy duets. Examples – Sharmilee, Prem Pujari, etc.

    Madan Mohan – For composition of incredible Ghazals of all times in filmy music only Madan Mohan can be credited. The song “Aap Ki Nazaron Ne Samjha” is a trendsetter as far as filmy Ghazals are concerned.

    Jagjit Singh – After Madan Mohan’s death filmy Ghazals took a back seat and started moving to private albums and concerts. Jagjit Singh is the trendsetter as far as private Ghazals are concern. Later Talat Aziz, Pankaj Udhas, etc followed the trend.

    Anand Milind – They were the trendsetters for the return of quality music with the release of “Qayamat Se Qayamant Tak”. Later Nadeem-Shravam followed the trend with the success of “Aashique”. There success was also supported by Gulshan Kumar.

    A film fare award in the name of Pancham is a disgrace to music and an insult all great music composers of the 40s, 50s & 60s. Rafi fans are never against Pancham, but certainly against being given too much importance at the cost of ignorrance many all time great music composers.

    Please forgive for being too harsh.

  34. unknow1 says:

    Look to the greatness of Mohd Rafi he liked The flim he didn’t sing in(SHOLAY)and like actor he didn’t sing much for him(mr Bachhan)
    how a song become hit?as i think mostly if flim is hit the songs be hit but only for a small time but when the flim is not hit and song is hit it mean day after day song became more and more hit(as I think)
    jest listen to Mohd Rafi songs from 1970 to 1975 as i Think how more u listen that songs u love that songs more and more.
    Raj Kapoor didn’t use Mohd rafi much but be said about Mohd Rafi uncrown King,Majon Kummar also othe name who didn’t use Mohd Rafi much but when Mohd rafi voice used for Manoj ji that was hit.
    Rd was a great MD but I don’t think he was more great than Nausahad,OP ,SDB,Madan Mohan,SJ and many other(as I think)I think if RD used Mohd Rafi as used by OP Nayar,Nausand Ali and madan Mohan I think today RD was more famous as he is.
    who said that mohd Rafi was not at the top from 1970 to 1976 plz listen to mohd rafi songs from 1970 t0 1976 u will see.
    As I think LP and KA used KK better than RD(as i think)
    all songs in SHOLAY was hit as I think songs was hit because of the flim was super hit and many other 1970’s mostly flims made songs hit not songs made flim hit but when there was Mohd rafi it was not like that

  35. binus2000 says:

    Urgent : N D Tv has confirmed the r e l a y of rafi foundation and
    rafi saab footage on tuesday evening onwards. so rafi lovers pls.
    flash this message and also r e c o r d this event of July 17 tuesday..

    rafi lovers pls do not miss this….

    binu nair : mumbai

  36. binus2000 says:

    Halder ji..

    rafi lovers think alike… I get calls from distant lands and similar
    views are always spoken like the above posts and the article.
    the masses were shocked that rafi is being sidelined by a caucus
    and they paid back the ring leader : r.d.burman in due time.
    during these times post 71 the binaca geet mala was rigged and
    many were on the pay rolls of the music syndicate consisting
    of vested interests right from chote nawab to the peddar road sisters
    to radio announcers. But, the masses were with rafi saab and time
    proved that the diamond coated vocals of the farishta rafi saab
    can never be dented. rafi saab came back with a bang and the
    rest is history …. rafi-ism is only growing.

    binu nair the rafi foundation Mumbai.

  37. myk says:

    RD turning back to Rafi saab in the late seventies/early eighties and making up for that lost time was indeed too little too late. He should have realized his mistake earlier and not waited till HKSKN. By the time 1980 came around, RD-Rafi were recording songs on a regular basis, reminding one of their glory days of the late sixties/early seventies.

    RD must have thought that he would produce magic with the golden voice in the next decade, seeing how Rafi was back on top, it would have been a great decade of RD-Rafi magic. Sadly that was not to be, as destiny had other plans in mind.

    I am sure everyone would be curious as to how the 80’s Pancham-Rafi combo would have been had Rafi lived at that time. We did get glimpses though through Shaan, Abdullah, Kudrat, The Burning Train, Takkar, Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, Bulandi etc.

  38. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 7:

    myk, you’ve made some very good points as usual. The only thing I’d advise you is not to get too swayed by box office stats. For, if you go by stats, it’s likely that Bappi Lahiri would be a greater md than madan mohan.

    Here are some of the films that had rd’s music in the 1970-75 period: Kati Patang, The Train, Amar Prem, Buddha Mil Gaya, Caravan, HRHK, Apna Desh, Jawani Diwani, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Seeta aur Geeta, Aap ki Kasam, Yaadon ki Barat, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Aandhi, Khushboo and Sholay. Show me any md in that period who had that kind of output (both in terms of quality and popularity) and then I’ll buy that theory that RD was not the leader in those five years. I grew up during that period; in the film trailers, RD’s name was the one that was given the maximum prominence. When his name was flashed on screen, the cinema halls used to erupt with applause. Take Sholay; yes, the songs may not have been that great, but what about the background music? I’ve heard the Kersi Lord-Manohari-Uttam Singh combo play the title music on stage; it’s a brilliant composition. Or consider the music of “O haseena zulfon wali” in Teesri Manzil. Did anyone hear that kind of sound in film music before? I don’t know what went wrong in his later years, but when you judge a singer or md, you’ll have to judge him by his best output. And, by that token, I rate him higher than any of his contemporaries.

    Kishore and RD were made for one another, as was the case with Rafi and OP. They produced some of the most memorable songs in the 70s. My only criticism of RD is that he was blind-sighted by Kishore. Given Kishore’s limitations with respect to range, RD could have extended his horizons a lot more with rafi. And the funny thing is that whenever you listen to a Rafi song composed by rd, it almost inevitably sounds good. So my question is why he ran away from rafi in the 71-76 period even when the song was picturised on Dharam, Jeetu, Shashi or Sanjeev? That’s what perplexes me the most and that’s why I think he had a bias against rafi (the two sisters may have had their part to play).

    Here’s something for LP-lovers, and I am one. The two best songs composed by LP for Kishore were in the sixties: Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi and Fiza ke phool. Did they make any dent on Rafi’s popularity? Zilch. Please accept the truth that if it were not for RD, there was no way Kishore would have been able to dislodge Rafi from the top.

  39. B.Venkatadri says:

    Haldar Ji,

    I wish to add one more thing to my post no. 8. The total number of Rafi duets (with all co-female-singers) in 1964, 1965, 1966 and 1967, however, only went on increasing year after year. It was only the Lata duets that dwindled, and rightly so, as she indeed has asked for it!


  40. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    As expected, the article has attracted lot of comments. Here, I would like to recall that Rafi and Lata patched up and sang after three years SJs “Tum Bin Sajan Barse Nayan”, what a wonderful song. Also people may recall Raju Bharatan’s article in Film Fare in the early seventies in which he had accepted MD Anil Biswas’s opinion that Rafi is deteriorating and the emerging voice is that of KK. There were a spate of letters in the magazine ridiculing Raju Bharatan and Anil Biswas and highlighting the greatness of Rafi. In fact, after few months, the Magazine Editor had to officlayy declare that all correspondences on the subject are closed. RB had a tough time defending himself. In fact, perhaps to make amends, he came out with another article few years later stating that he was immature to have supported his earlier view point and also highlighting the greatness of Rafi. I clearly remember the list of songs he gave of each MD which he considered best of Rafi for that MD. The songs included SD’s “Kya Se Kya Hogaya” of GUIDE, significantly OP’s “Man Mora Bawra” of RAAGINI filmed on KK, C. Arjun’s “Paas Baito Tabiyat”, Naushad’s “Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki”, etc.

  41. B.Venkatadri says:

    Binu Ji, Thanks for your post.

    Haldar Ji, Thanks for your post. You said in your post that some journalists cannot admit the fact the Lata-initated Rafi-Lata rift during mid-sixties had indeed hurt Lata herself very very badly. But, there is nothing to admit or not admit in this! The statistics will speak for themselves!

    Just ask them to go through Salim-ul-Haq’s book which enumerates almost all the songs (broken up into solos, duets and group songs, cosinger-wise) of Rafi Saab! Let them see for themselves the huge decline in Lata’s no. of duets from 1964 to 1967. Also point it out to them that while Lata because of her foolish arrogance could sing only 425 duets in total with Rafi Saab, the clever schemer, Asha, had sung as many as 780 duets with Rafi Saab!


  42. mohamed parvez says:

    in the film chandan ka palna rafi saab had 2 songs one duet with asha ji -zulphon ko aap yu sawarana karo other one is solo tume deka hai gulsithan men
    both songs are top class

  43. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 4:

    What a woman! First, made sure that OP stopped giving songs to Geeta, then ditched OP, married RD, ruined his life, and now shows her devotion as a full-fledged bengali bahu. I don’t like getting into the personal lives of singers and music directors, but dada should have been much more careful about letting her loose at his Jet bungalow. At least, meera dev burman should have been much more careful with her emotional son. Read in a press report that after rd’s death, asha opened his locker only to find a Rs. 5/- note. The relationship between the two must have soured at the end; otherwise, why use none of the sisters for 1942? But I have to admit that I do admire her a lot as a singer. She has been the most versatile female singer and, in my reckoning, she formed the best duet pair with rafi. What duets this pair has produced! I really think that she suffered from an inferiority complex in the 50s, 60s and 70s. Everyone from sajjad to naushad, salil to madan mohan, sd to sj, ka to lp considered didi the no. 1 singer. rafi, mukesh and kishore also considered her the second best. Even rd gave his best songs to lata. The only man who made her his one and only female singer was op. it’s ironic she doesn’t even recognise him anymore. In her case, I think it’s a psychological problem. Most of her contemporaries are gone, so she is going all out to take revenge, trying to prove to the gullible teenagers how she, RD and kishore have been ruling the music world. Let her enjoy her time under the sun; after all, she suffered a lot living under her didi’s shadow for 40 years. And let us all enjoy “Jaiyen aap kahan jayenge” and “Aankhon se jo utri hai dil mein”, two vintage op compositions for asha.

  44. myk says:

    P. Haldar,

    Great to see another one of your posts. I agree with most of your points, except about RD being way ahead of LP and KA in the 1970-76 period. I think LP were always the market leaders when they displaced SJ. Sure RD had a lot of great albums in that 70-76 period, and he was very popular, as well as a trend-setter, but in my view he never managed to take over LP however close he might have been to them. KA on the other hand produced great music but were never in the race for numero uno compared to the others.

    KK’s reign for a few years had alot to do with RD, if not for RD others would have not taken to Kishore (such as LP) the way they did, but there were other reasons why KK had his reign, Rafi’s temporary leave for 8 months had a lot to do with it or else I think Kishore would not have zoomed that much ahead. It is the sheer genius of Rafi that in a few years he commercialy came back to the top, he was always there in the seventies but from a commercial angle KK may have had the edge for a few years (as explained earlier). In 1971, one of KK’s great years, Rafi sang more songs than him.

    Coming back to LP and KA, LP atleast gave KK quite a few songs and even KA did the same, even as both were firmly rooted in ‘Rafi land’. This is again where RD differs, as for a few years in the mid seventies he pretty much ignored Rafi. The very same man (Rafi) who helped him (RD) reach his peaks in the late sixties. As far as I know, RD and Rafi would often to go the Bazaar after their song recordings, and distribute jelebi’s to people. I think they had great relations.

    I rate RD as a highly talented musician, he is one of my favourites, but he had two drawbacks. One was overusing KK for songs that were not meant to be in his voice, examples, Aandhi, Mehbooba etc. and various other tunes. The second is not using Rafi as much as other MD’s. Sure he wanted to be different from the rest, but in the process his repetoire suffered. How great would it have been if those classical compositions or other great tunes he composed were in the voice of Rafi, I am sure they would have been remembered more than they are today. Thank Heavens RD created a “Churaliya Hai Tumne” or ‘Pyar Hai Ik Nishan” or a “Chand Mera Dil” just to name a few, for Rafi, or else he would have missed out big even more.

    You are right, SD was very knowledgable when it came to choosing his singers and RD was not that great in this aspect. I find it funny when Pancham fans mention how RD had the knack of choosing the right singer based on the composition. If he did, we would have definitely seen more of Rafi in RDB’s repetoire.

    On an ending note, Box Office India has the stats for the Top 15 Music Albums that sold the most from 1970-79. There are two RD albums on that list, YKB and HKSKN, both NH films but both that had the best songs by Rafi. Rafi triumphed in YKB’s best song “Churaliya Hai” and then HKSKN is remembered because of Rafi as well.

    Very Ironic !

  45. binus2000 says:

    r.d.burman never said : Hum ne tansen ko nahin suna..
    par rafi, tera jawab nahin…..

    from avinash :a rafi fan from usa forwarded by binu nair of
    rafi foundation:

  46. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 1:

    Mr. Venkatadri, I cannot agree with you more. I believe every word you’ve said in your email, because that’s what I’ve believed myself for a long, long time. Your theory on the real reasons behind the anti-Rafi bias is identical to mine. I didn’t state that explicitly because I didn’t want to drag politics into all this, something that the two sisters excelled at. Heart of heart, both sisters knew that they were better singers (note that I’m not using the adjective “playback”) than Kishore, so tell the world that Kishore is better than Rafi, and everything gets solved. Let me tell you something else; I have this sneaking suspicion that some of the well-known film journalists, including you know whom, are on the payroll of the sisters. And that is why they cannot admit the simple fact that you so clearly pointed out, that Rafi’s rift with Lata hurt Lata, not Rafi. Yes, I’ve seen the picture with Jai trying to make Rafi and Lata shake hands.

    You know what really bothers me; it’s not Kishore’s rise. It’s just that this matlabi industry let the sublime voice of the farishta gather rust. Kept spreading the false propaganda against him and destroyed the confidence of this star performer. What a voice he had till around 1971! What fluidity! Could weave any type of magic with that voice of his. And yet, producer after producer, director after director, md after md, fell for the trap that Rafi was passe.

  47. binus2000 says:

    Well said Venkatadri:

    On dot. to the point. well said.

    r.d. burman the talented m.d. was allowed to be used by the
    peddar road sisters – the mangeshkars for their selfish ends. the
    world know of it and they failed against rafi saab.. with others they
    succeeded and the curse will never leave them it is felt by many
    music lovers.

    rdb was a henpecked husband – it was felt many a times and he
    died due to frustration. He was without work in his end days but his
    output can never be brused away.. r.d.b. went back to rafi and gave
    some great numbers but it proved to be too little and too late… fate
    intervening with the untimely and sudden passing away of rafi saab
    after regaining the numero uno spot in hindi playback singing.

    In the recent music launch of Naya Daur : the vips included
    dilip kumar, asha bhonsle , yash chopra, b r chopra, saira banu and
    others. asha spoke for ten minutes and others too spoke.
    rafi saab has seven songs out of 8; but no one mentioned Mohd Rafi.
    this is the spineless industry and the crude crooner asha bhonsle for u.
    nor was the name of op nayyar mentioned…
    they have an agenda but it will not succeed ; nobody can belittle
    rafi saab in life or in death… for he stays in our hearts.

    binu nair. mumbai.

  48. Irfan says:

    Dear Guru MurthyJi,
    Your’s was a nice article but first some corrections.
    Raj Kapoor’s preference for mukesh was only due to his belief and most of us that Mukesh’s voice suited RK’s like a T.But he did understand the values of Rafi, thats why except for jis desh mein ganga behti hai and Satyam shivam sundaram you wil find Rafisaab singing at least one song for RK productions.I had seen his interview in which he had said that Rafisaab was one of the greatest actors.

    As far as Manoj Kumar was concerned why he considered Manoj Kumar over Rafisaab can be best explained by himself.To each his own choice.Singer Ravi’s first prefernce was always Rafisaab rather than Mahendra Kapoor but he had to give in to BR Chopra who was also reluctant to have Rafisaab.It is Ironical that Rafisaab’s only shishya was considered by Manoj Kumar and BR productions.I guess it may have surely made Rafisaab more proud.I would like to jot down an incident that most of us may be knowing .During the making of WAQT, BR chopra wanted the titile song to be sung by Mahindra Kapoor but music director Ravi was adamant that only Rafisaab would be able to give justice.Things stretched on and reached Rafisaab too about BR Chopra’s non-preference or him.Finally BR chopra had to give in to MD Ravi’s suggestion,when Ravi approached Rafisaab the latter asked him how much amount was being paid in total to all the singers.It was more than 10000 RS.Rafisaab said that he wanted the same amount for his one song.This was unlikely Rafi and when BR chopra got to know about this he was shocked but had to give in.When the recording was done and Ravi handed the amount to Rafisaab guess what Rafisaab did.He told him to distribute the entire amount amongst the musicians.What a fitting reply.

    Coming back to RDB Pyar ka samay from Rampur ka Laxman had KK,Rafisaab and Suman Kalyanpur; NOT Lata .It seems strange though that if he did not use Lata why didn’t he use Asha (May be for a change or may be he wanted to know how many similarities are there between Lata and Suman Kalyanpur considering that the vocal tembre of the latter was similar to Lata’s.

    And most of the Rafi Lovers do not hate RDB because he prefered KK but they are angry with him and the reason for this is that RDB used Rafisaab for his initial breaks You have given the list(RDB He was talented; no doubt about that and the songs were great too but then without Rafi would that had seem so easy) but we all know that preferring KK over Rafi was a loss for himself and later from 76 till Rafisaabs death.He used Rafisaab.May be ’74 might have been an eyeopener for him when 80% of his songs were a flopshow.One can easily handpick songs by the 2 (deewana mujhsa nahi,tumne mujhe dekha,wadiyan mera daaman,tum bin jau kaha,gulabi aankhein,chand mera dil,kya hua tera waada,maine pocha chand se) And anyone knows that quality wise they are much higher than those that KK have sung for RDB.

    What LP did from 71-75 was that although they used KK they also used Rafisaab.Just to keep floated.Once they knew Rafisaab was back they didn’t give second thoughts about who will sing for their films.This is the reason why Rafians prefer LP over RDB.


  49. P. Haldar says:

    “But, well, it is their prerogative to have whomsoever they wanted though I am sure in heart of heart, why even openly, they would have admitted the superiority of Rafi over all other.”

    I have been following Hindi film music for over forty years and I haven’t seen any statement from RD indicating that in his “heart of heart”, he felt Rafi was superior. In fact, many of his statements are downright disrespectful toward Rafi. After Rafi died, he made a statement like this: “who said Rafi can’t sing fast songs? I proved everyone wrong with ek bechara pyar ka mara”. And, if Raju Bharatan is to be believed, he didn’t care much for Rafi. There is nothing wrong in rd’s preferring kishore to rafi; that is his prerogative. But when he says things like “even in classical songs, kishore is the best”, then you sense that something is wrong.

    It is true that in the late sixties, rd gave a lot of songs to rafi. Which md wouldn’t? A film producer like Raj Kapoor or B. R. Chopra can always dictate terms when it comes to the selection of singers. But in RD’s instance it was different. It was he who called all the shots, and everyone else followed him. Please don’t confuse rd with other md’s. RD was a mega-talent, probably the only one in the seventies who can rank alongside the top md’s of the fifties and sixties. I know most of you won’t agree with me, but I rate RD as one of the top five md’s of all time. My top two md’s are… well, both their names start with an “s”.

    Please don’t confuse rd with salil or ravi, who were great md’s, but they were not trend-setters. If you have to really compare rd with any md, it has to be shankar jaikishan (even more than his father). Like sj, rd used to work for big-banner films where the success depended to a large extent on its music. Look at sj. Shankar composed “Dost dost na raha” for Mukesh and Jai composed “Yeh mera prempatra kar” for Rafi in the same RK film. Consider a Balraj Sahni film like Seema. Shankar composed “Tu pyar ka sagar hai” for Manna and Jai composed “Kahan ja raha hai” for Rafi. And even during the rajesh khanna wave, SJ asked Rafi to sing “Dil use do” in ramesh sippy’s andaz and “unke khayal aaye” in Lal Patthar.

    And what did Chhote Nawab do? Made sure that everyone from Jeetu to
    Sanjeev Kumar to Dharmendra — none of whom would have objected if Rafi sang for them — sang in Kishore’s voice. That is not called preference; that is called “bias” against the greatest playaback singer ever in hindi film music.

    That Rafi came back with “Kya hua tera wada” has nothing to do with rd’s liking for rafi. It had everything to do with nasir hussain making sure that rafi sang in his films. Nasir, unlike Shakti Samanta and Dev Anand, never forgot the contributions that rafi made toward his career.

    I’m getting tired of this rd topic. Many people on this forum want to rewrite history, but let me tell you once again that rd dominated the 1970-76 period; LP and KA were way behind. If you don’t want to accept that, that’s fine but please don’t try to convince me with your unfounded theories. Rafi’s lean period coincided with RD’s reign at the top. The whole KK-Rafi saga can be viewed through the rd prism; take out rd, and rafi would have finished kishore in a couple of days.

    In closing, let me cite the hauntingly beautiful song “Ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga” from 1942. Any discerning observer would be able to see Dada Burman’s influence in this song. I don’t know why, but I’ve always tried to imagine this song in the farishta’s voice. If all of them were alive, Dada would have given the song to Rafi, but RD would have given it to Kishore. That is where rd differed from sd and sj, who instinctively knew which male singer would suit the song the best. Unfortunately, rd didn’t.

  50. B.Venkatadri says:

    Mr. Guru Murthy,

    I am convinced that I know the reason why RDB promoted KK over Rafi Saab in post-70 era(An era anyway known for steep decline in musical standards!).

    The reason is just two persons whose names are:Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

    As we all know, Lata always tried and miserably failed to establish her superiority over Rafi Saab. She knew that in the absence of Rafi Saab, she would be the greatest singer among both male and female singers! Conversely, she also knew that it would never be possible if Rafi Saab is on the scene.

    She went on showing this attitude of hers again and again and it came to a crunch during her boycott of Rafi Saab (ie. refusing to sing with him), just because Rafi Saab did not want to join her trade union activities against HMV!

    But, unfortunately for Lata, during that ill-advised boycott of Rafi Saab (for nearly 3 years, during 1964-66!), all MDs have mercilessly replaced her with Asha or Suman in over 90% of duets. They replaced Rafi Saab with Mukesh or Mahendra in only less than 10% of duets!

    So, after badly burning her fingers and realising that she was very badly losing all duets to Asha/Suman, she used the good offices of jaikishan for a patchup with Rafi Saab around 1967.

    But, even after this ‘patch-up’, she went on nursing a grouse against Rafi Saab even in the later years. Now, let us come to Asha! This great lady had merrily capitalised on the rift between her own sister and Rafi Saab, by capturing most of the duets with Rafi Saab during that period! But, once she fell out with her mentor, OPN, she again became close to her elder sister. And both the sisters were then together in all their schemes!

    Post-1970, Asha has also become very close to RDB in more ways than one! So, it was both these sisters who have influenced RDB to sideline Rafi Saab and promote Kk, who they knew can never be a threat to their superiority!

    To further prove this point, I will quote from a program on Vividhbharati aired during the early eighties. The program was kind of a group discussion between three people: RDB, Gulzar and Asha. RDB was explaining about the recording of the song, “Aa Ja AA Ja, Main Hun Pyar Tera” for Film: Teesri Manzil. He said that the song’s recording was preceded by many rehearsals. He started to say something to this effect: “Ab Rafi Saab, Itne Bade kalakar Ne……”. Then he paused, edited himself by saying “Donon, Donon Bada Kalakaar Ne Poora Cooperation Dee”! Asha was sitting next and he knew she would kill him if he did not edit that sentence the way he did!


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