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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?”

  1. Anmol Singh says:

    Ref Post 148

    Western instruments are not the root cause of downfall of music, since such instruments were very effectively used by prior MDs i.e. SJ, C Ramachander, O P Nayyar, SDB, etc. But they maintained melody, using any type of instrument.

    I agree with Harvindar Ji post fully.

    With the success of Black & White films in color we will soon see a change in trend for quality music. ‘Naya Duar’ will be a big success, ‘Hum Dono’ to follow the same. Similarly we will see many more classics like ‘Pyaasa’, ‘Barsaat Ki Raat’, ‘Tere Ghar Ke Samne’, etc in color in the future. In other the Rafi era will be back and the present generation will soon have a glimpse of the golden era.

  2. binus2000 says:

    Sunil Kumar : u are talking from ur hat.. like asha bhosle who thinks
    rd burman is the best singer; she went on to hit the poor himesh
    reshamiya for telling a home truth that rd sings from his nasals…too..

    Just because madam benazir bought hare ram hara krishna songs :
    r.d.burman becomes the greatest m.d.

    good joke… Do u know how many songs of op nayyar, naushad, ravi
    shankar jaikishan, khayyam , rajesh roshan , l & P and other geniouses
    the people of pakistan including benazir bought in the last fifty years…
    It will run in to millions of rupees.. I do get calls from music lovers
    from around the world : they do not talk of r.d. burman .
    they talk of legend music directors whom I just mentioned..
    Do you know what naushad ji had said : his songs sell annually for
    a crore or more …. even today in these days of remixes etc…

    Are you aware that r.d.b,. used rafi saab in his initial days and enjoyed
    success thereafter dumped rafi saab for three years. then rdb got
    dumped and he went back to rafi saab who gave some glorious
    career rebuilding hits for rdb.. this is in the records – sunil ji.

    please see the records before giving mis-statements. But, remember
    I will not dump r.d.burman .. He has
    glorious works to his credit; but he also gave typical mediocre
    numbers and highly forgettable works too…May I say he was good
    in copying too.. May I say thay he was at the centrepoint of pulling
    rafi saab down and depriving us of many many good numbers..
    And , lastly if Rajesh Khanna s image suited Kishore Kumar, why
    he took rafis voice – when he was a novice in films..
    Little hard to answer.. sir..

    Binu Nair.

  3. riteshmallik says:

    RD preferred KK over Rafi for d simple reason dat kk used 2 pick up song very early dan rafi..Also Rafi used to do lots of retakes before final recording…RD wasnt comfortable wid dat…RD was no doubt a gud music director but he cant b termed as one of d greatest…He has been hyped out of d context because of a particular business strategy 2 promote none sense music (remixes) in india…and d strategist r successfull in dr design…RD also played his part in d downfall of indian music…wid d introduction of western instruments he actually led way 2 music directors of d likes of bapi lehri…just see d kind of music dat we had in post 70 phase ..barring few most of dem were rotten stuffs….

  4. Harvinder says:

    Dear Sunil Kumar and your post 146 you ask a question “Why else remixes are mostly on RDB’s music”. My response

    His commercial wife is Asha Bhonsle who is promoting her ex husband. His music does suit remixes. You will also notice programmes on RDB where Asha bhonsle is the promoter directly or indirectly.

    Now can you answer as to why remixes are more on Asha Bhonsle songs and not Lata. Do you like to think that Asha is better than Lata ?? If you think that way than I will accept your claim that RDB was the best MD.

    I have listened to Lata’s interviews and only names she mentions are Salil Chowdry, Shankar Jaikishan after Madan Mohan. I feel she knows about music and MD’s more than me atleast.

  5. sunil kumar says:

    dear readers,

    I want to all you learned persons know that RDB was one of the greatest music directors india has produces till date.
    I still remember when benazir bhutto came here in 1972 with her late father
    Z A bhutto she went out in Simla to buy the records of Hare Rama Hare Krishna .

    Such was the popularity of RDB fisrt time in india Music directors were given due credits and college girls used to say ” Apne ko R D Burman Samajta Hai”.

    he has used both RAfi & KK judiciously as and when required It really depended who the hero was and who suited him .
    But I agree that he had great chemistry whith KK.
    Songs like” chingari koi badhke, kabhi kabhi sapna lagta hai, O Hansini ” are just examples of this chemistry.

    But we are failing when we donot recall “Teesri Mazil ” He used Rafi so well for shammi kapoor as the becoz his voice suited him . How can u say u did not used rafi when Rajesh Khanna ruled the industry at that time only Kishore was his voice.
    Do you mean to say why Raj kapoor used only Mukesh It suited him.
    RDb was music director ahead of his times.
    Even today todays youth identifies with his songs and they are being remixeds by todays generation is the tribute to this great MD.

  6. Akbar Warris says:

    Rafi Shaib was never meant for the road side music quality of RD Burman’s Era as legends are legends Mr SD Burman was always upset as RD’s music what more can I say.

  7. P. Haldar says:

    There used to be a running joke in Kolkata during the 70s that sd had his first heart attack when he heard “piya tu ab to aaja” and “veera tara tara tara… duniya mein logon ko”, and he died when he heard “mehbooba mehbooba…”. Please note that this is only a joke, without any offence to anyone.

  8. myk says:

    Hi P. Haldar,

    Your post 132 poses a great question. Since the discussion is about LP, RD & KA, I agree with your assessments but I also think LP and RD both finished first together in the second race. In the first race, although LP won, KA had a great run then with great albums.

    Coming to the third race, I think LP and Rajesh Roshan won, followed by RD, KA and others. Rajesh Roshan was the alternative to the Big Three (LP, KA, RD) from the mid-seventies onwards and what beautiful music he produced. He stood out on his own merit and his music had his own stamp and flavour. You are right, he assisted the great LP so ofcourse he has to be good. Laxmikant termed him as the last of the originals. RR may not have had the quantity that the Big Three had in that period (in terms of films), but quality wise he was no less. Just noting down some of his albums at that time, Julie, Doosra Aadmi, Kunwara Baap, Priyatama, Swami, Des Pardes, Inkaar, Swayamvar, Kaala Patthar, Dillagi, Unees Bees, Baaton Baaton Mein etc. all contain outstanding music. It is a shame RR had to wait another 25 years to win his next Filmfare award after Julie, the music from quite a few of his albums post Julie could have won him other awards. In the 80’s RR also had great albums but he wasn’t as consistent as earlier.

    RD had great albums in the late seventies but IMO not as great as his previous works. Even in the early 80’s, he produced good music but in general that decade was also not that great for him. LP managed to be good in the 80’s and were more successful than RD, but they weren’t the same after Rafi passed away. Pyarelal mentioned they had hundreds of tunes in stock that they never used because the only person capable of singing them was Rafi. I am sure people would have remembered the 80’s much more had Rafi been there.

    After Rafi saab left us, the quality work that most composers managed to come up with reduced. It was as if the ‘inspiration’ to produce excellent music was gone, and the overall quality of music in general went way down.

  9. Nair says:

    Ref. post 138 Manish Kumar: My post 103 had an element of generality involved in it, far from a case study “approach”. The post was only contextually meant for the article.

    On your first para, first off, sorry for the nonfigurative language, a “have to” while drawing on the theory of music. Next, you might agree that in our cognition we all have a “musical port”, through which musical signals enter our cognition. The characteristics of the musical port cannot simply be said. Anyway, it is not an “open door” complex, what enters there depends on many factors such as the listeners’ family background, superego, social status, sophistication, and so on. In musically unaware teenagers, the musical port is generally nascent and closed. The musical signals coming from a deep classical number bounce after hitting the closed doors of their musical port. There is nothing in their cognition that can exert a force on the doors. However, repeated hearing (we can call it “intelligent listening”) can develop a familiarity with the signals which can ease the tightness of the doors, now signals are slowly filtering inside. In the case of the musical port of middle aged persons, their worldly experience, emotional stability, and similar factors exert pull on the doors. Apropos of RD-KK type tunes, the emphasis on speed and tessitura takes the musical signals to the teenagers’ musical port, it instead of entering the doors haloes the whole port, only to fade away as the listener matures. However, knowledge of music can always keep the port doors open. (At this point, I must reiterate Rafi’s skill in delivering complex compositions with such simplicity that it can wield an external force on firmly closed doors).

    On your question on L&P: They were the ones most reflexive to the vicissitudes of music. They assimilated modernity not only by emphasizing on form but content as well. “John Jani Janardhan” is a wonderful introduction of polyphonic beats (even crash cymbals), it appears that they have to the extent employed refined recording techniques. They were the true assimilators of modernity, yet they neither plunged into modernity nor rejected formalism, but maintained an effective balance, which seems to be the reason why they are second to RD among teenagers (L&P compositions have only a semi-haloing effect). Your conclusion is squarely on the mark Mr. Manish Kumar: “LP had a long and versatile career”. They even enabled Kishore Kumar to break the mould, although not fully, of plain note singing. However, RD was not a mere “form” composer; he was a “content” composer also. He might have been driven by commercial concerns that he marched with the former image or might be to promote Kishore. Many of the well-informed Rafi historians have already harped on this point (I am ignorant of the waves in the industry)

  10. Anmol Singh says:

    Hi Manish,

    RD-KK combo was great in 70s plus few hits in early 80s. Most FM radio channels mainly broadcast songs composed by RD. Courtesy Asha B. I don’t hear many KK songs composed by LP, KA, RR, etc on FM channels.

    Regarding Rafi fans among the youth there are plenty excepts especially the ones who are classically trained. One can find different category of participates and judges appearing various musical competions. Most participants pefer to sing KK songs because changes of error are minimum. Very few attempt Rafi songs since they are difficult to sing, therefore chances of failure and lossing marks are prominent.

    Coming to LP’s greatness they were king makers for many actors & singers in the 80s that too without a single use of Lata & Asha after the mid 80s.

    “Mr. India” will be remembered for the song “Hawaa Hawai”, the song elevates Sridevi and Kavita Krishnamurthy. Similarly “Tezaab” will be remembered for the songs “Ek Do Teen”; “Kahdo Ke Tum” & “So Gayaa Ye Samaa”. Madhuri Dixit & Alka Yagnik at elevated. Similarly Anil Kapoor & Chunky Pandy get recognition through these songs.

    Similar was LP’s success in “Ram Lakhan”. Moving ahead the films like “Agnipeeth”; “Hum” & “Khudaa Gawah” provide the Big B Amitabh Bachchan a new direction. Prior to that Big B had 4 major flops, “Tofaan”, “Jadugar”, “Indrajeet” & “Ganga Jamuna Saraswati”. None of these films had LP music. So one can imagine LP’s musical impact.

    Film “Saudagar” gives a elevation to Manisha Koirala. Song “Emlli Ka Butaa” brought to egoistic icons Dilip Kumar & Raj Kumar (Jaani) together. The use of Maharashtra folk music in the songs and background music by LP was excellent. “Khalnayak” is remembered for “Choli Ke Peeche Kya Hai”, this elevates both Nina Gupta and singer Elaa Arun. Of course both were never seen in any other film there after.

    The difference between and RD and LP approach was, LP were extra carefull when they composed music for big banner film makers like Subhash Ghai, Boney Kapoor, Mukul Anand, etc. Where as RD appears to be casual in approach or may be his music didn’t click considering films like “Manzil Manzil” & “Zabardust” produced by Nazir Hussein. RD lost this big banner there after 20 years of association starting from “Teesri Manzil”.

  11. Manish Kumar says:

    i think LP is very underrated and don’t get enough credit for some very obvious points of greatness – ESPECIALLY by the young populations – although middle aged people are equally guilty.

  12. Manish Kumar says:

    anmol singh: your post shows the how great, consistent, and versatile LP were. i cannot for the life of me understand why RDB is SO MUCH better remembered than the LP-Rafi combination among youths. don’t get me wrong – youths love LP & Rafi – but RDB+KK just dominates. It surely isn’t because of true greatness – because during the times LP was winning. You can have ties, but I would not put LP below top 3 – they were GREAT composers with the longest, most consistent career among ANY. They produced some amazing gems. Rafi & Lata worked the most with them. One of my favorite Kishore songs “Yeh Jeevan Hai” or one of the many favorite Rafi-Lata duets “Yeh Zulf Kaise” from Piya Ka Ghar are from LP. Even after Rafi Sahab left us, these guys were able to continue strong for another 18 years – see the songs of Deewana Mastana 1998 by Alka Yagnik – amazing composers! Love them!

  13. Manish Kumar says:

    Nair: your post is the most intriguing to me. I believe that I understand the “face” of your arguments and agree with them – but don’t intimately understand what you are saying as it is not simple. Your passage almost reminded me of the standard reading comprehension exams in the states e.g. the SATs or MCATs. Let me clarify some points though: You say that RDB introduced the plain note style of composing / singing whereas Naushad had something more sophisticated (no doubt that Naushad put emphasis on classical renditons). You’re saying that it is easier to grasp the essence of RDB’s composition without requiring musical experience / “sophistication”. A middle aged man has had enough years of experience listening to such music that he is now matured or “sophisticated” enough to grasp the shades of greatness in a song like “Mere Mehboob Tujhe”. Indeed, the latter song was GREAT in many subtle shades and only after multiple attempts could I slowly enjoy each word of that masterpiece of a song.

    My question to you then is this: how about LP? When I was a child in the 1990s I instantly loved songs like “Salamat Rahe Dostana Hamara” or “John Johnny Janardhan” or (no suprise RDB) – “Kaun Kisiko Bandh Sakega”. Why is it JUST RDB that has this benefit – LP was beating him handily in the 80s, they weren’t always classically intense like Naushad, they also had fun songs like RD (and some probably did have the plain note style that youngsters immediately love – LP had a long and versatile career).

    There are hundreds of composers, dozens of GREAT composers – why is RD the most popular among youngsters by far? Go to HamaraCD, see the top 20 songs – 98% are KK+RDB. Was RD the ONLY one to grasp that simple concept you mentioned? These things really throw me off. I can see your argument against Naushad – I cannot extend it for every other composer though – as seems to be the case. Although your argument is a compelling one.

    What do you say?

  14. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 136:

    Anmol ji, thanks for such a detailed analyis of the post-1980 period. Except for a few films like saagar, namak halal, love story, kudrat, masoom, 1942, I don’t know about most of the songs you’ve mentioned in the post. When I get the time, I’ll listen to the lp songs you’ve mentioned, but I have no desire to listen to boppi da’s songs. About suresh wadkar, you are right. I heard a song “seene me jalan” composed by jaidev which was really very good. I also saw a video where he sing at an o p nayyar nite in dubai. if I remember correctly, he sang “Aanchal mein saja lena kaliya” and before he started he said that he was very apprehensive about delivering a “bahut hi zabardast” singer’s song. OP and Manohari Singh were on the stage too.

    I grew up with pancham’s bangla songs and, despite his anti-rafi bias, he still remains part of my youth. From what you’ve described, he must have been in dire straits after 1985. I agree that rafi saab could have helped him, especially with the semi-classical, folk and soft romantic songs. One thing I know for sure is that he would have sung for him free if he knew that pancham was facing financial problems.

  15. Anmol Singh says:

    Ref Post 135,

    Mr Haldar Ji,

    After Rafi death music dynamics started changing immediately. 1981 saw the rise of actor Kumar Gaurav, which also brought Amit Kumar into limelight. Plus RD won 2 filmfare awards in 1981 & 1983, perhaps his first one in 1981. Between 1981 & 1983 he gave a number of hits with KK and Amit Kumar. Quiet a number of his songs were hits. To name a few movies composed by RD.

    ‘Kudrat’, ‘Barsaat Ki Ek Raat’, ‘Shakti’, ‘Sanam Teri Kasam’, ‘Masoom’, ‘Satte Pe Satta’, ‘Agar Tum Na Hote’, ‘Shaukeen’, ‘Love Story’, ‘Namkeen’, ‘Dard Ka Rishta’.

    1983 also saw few big banner flops by RD – Mahaan, Nastik, Pukar, etc. This was the trigger point of RD’s downfall.

    Parallely Bhappi L was gradually on the rise. Namak Halal in 1982 elevated his position as music composer. Then in 1984 – Sharrabi elevated him futher where he started competing with established composers like LP, KA, RR.

    Coming back to Pancham in 1984 he could not provide any hit though he gave music in many films. In 1985 he just had one hit ‘Saagar’, perhaps the last best composition for KK. In 1986 again no success. In 1987 only one hit – ‘Ijazzt’.

    Analysing LP after Rafi’s death where the most effected. But they used many new comers like Shabbir Kumar, Anwar, Munna Aziz (Rafi Clones) very effectively. Plus they used Ghazal singers like Manhar, Pankaj Udhas and above all Suresh Wadkar. Compare to all Suresh being classically trained can be rated as the best amoung all.

    To name a few – “Sari Duniya Ka Bojh Hum Utha Te Hai”, “Jeet Janyenge Hum”, “Dil Diya Hai Jaan Bhi Denge”, “Tum Se Mil Ke Naa Jaane Kyon“, “Pyar Kiya Nahi Jaata Hai”, “Mohabat Ab Tejara Bann Gaye Hai”, “Zindagi Imtihaan Leti Hai”, “Teri Mehbaniyan”, “Dil Beqrar Tha Dil Beqrar Hai“, “Aaj Kal Yaad Kuch”, etc. LP made many non filmy singers sing marvelous filmy songs; “Chiti Ayee Hai Ayee Hai Chiti Ayee” by Ghazal Singer Pankaj Udhas is truly mind blowing. They even used Manhar Udhas for the songs of ‘Hero’. Manhar Udhas was used very well by KA in ‘Jaanbaz’. The song ‘Har Kisi Ko Nahi Malta’ is very well sung.

    With Suresh Wadker LP composed – “Saajh Dhale Gagan Tale”, “Chal Chameli Baag Mein”, songs of Prem Rog where he sang for Rishi Kapoor, “Likhanewaale ne likh daale milne ke” a duet with Lata from the film ‘Arpan’ is truly mind blowing.

    Just try putting Rafi Saab’s voice for the above songs and one can imagine the difference. All the above songs could have been evergreen (Sadaa Bahaar) till date if sung by Rafi himself. It is incredible that LP could maintian their position without Rafi in the 80s.

    Coming back to Pancham, he also composed hits without KK in the 80s. A ghazal with Bhupindar from ‘Masoom’, “Huzoor Is Kadar Bhi Na Etras Ke Chalie”, a super performance by Suresh under Pancham. The song “Tujh Se Naraaz Nahi Zindagi” sung by Anup Ghoshal is also good. I believe KK could have done a better job here. He used Shabbir Kumar along with Lata in ‘Betaab’ very well and one unforgettable score sung by Anwar, “Koi Pardesi Ayaa Pardes Main”. This is one of the best song sung by Anwar, full credit goes to Pancham for this marvelous composition. But this did not really benefit RD in true sense.

    So with the success of Bhappi Lahiri, music market in 80s got divided into 2 catgories. First is the quality music where LP were associated mostly with big banner film makers. Second was the sub standard music where Bhappi Lahri was the ruler. The rise of sub standard music was due to the Jeetendra- Sridevi, Jayaprada, Kader Khan & Shakti Kapoor series of films where Bhappi L was the main composer. Surprising KK, Lata & Asha sang for most of these films. Out of the old composers KA, RR, Usha Khanna, Khayyam, etc gave music in very few films but continued to manage at least one hit per year.

    Coming back to RD in the mid 80s he tried to get a share in the sub stardard music category where he had lowered his price. Possibly this was RD’s biggest mistake where in the long run he lost touch with many big banner film makers completely. Why ? May be because KK, Asha where contributing more under this category. Similarly from mid-80s onwards one doesn’t see Lata & Asha singing many LP songs. LP used Kavita Krishnamurthy, Alka Yagnik & Anuradha P equally well.

    With the death of KK in 1987 brough an end to Bhappi L and the era of sub standard music as well. 1988 we see the entry of new composers Anand-Milind later Nadeem Sharvan and Jatin-Latin. Once again a change in musical trend. Since RD had lost touch with the big banner film makers, it was diffcult to make a come back with new singers, since his success criteria was very much KK dependent. His over dependency with KK took a tol of him later. Rather RD got beaten by both sub standard music and big banner film makers. It was a time in late 80s where RD had to literally go from door to door to get quality work, which tool a tol of his health. One feels very Sad and unfortunate for RD.

    But thanks to Vidhu Vinod Chopra who helped RD to come out of his lean phase through the scores of ‘Parinda’ & ‘1942 Love Story’. Finally RD died with a good name.

    Had Rafi Saab lived in the 80s all this could have never happened to RD. Plus sub standard music share could have been substantial. That was the power & influence of Rafi the great.

  16. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 134:

    Anmolji, thanks for sharing your views; I guessed as much. It’s interesting how you break the 1977-83 period into two time frames. I can understand why rd bounced back after 1980. But tell me one thing: when did this boppi da edge out rd? In our times, boppi da used to be called the “poor man’s rd”. I haven’t followed the post-1980 period closely but I’ve read reports that rd lost his market to boppi da. Is that true? If true, it’s a real shame.

  17. Anmol Singh says:

    “First, tell me if you agree with my assessments and then tell me who you think won the third race.” 1977-83 Period

    1st Position – LP
    2nd Position – RD
    3rd Position – RR, KA
    4th Position – Bhappi, Usha Khanna
    5th Position – Ram Laxman
    6th Position – Anu Malik

    Possibly the 1977-80 needs to be broken into 1977-80 & 1981-83. There will be different results. The first phase is totally LP dominated where as after Rafi’s death the next phase is RD domination, but not much difference between LP and RD.

  18. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 127:

    venkatji, you are better than an encyclopedia. I was aware of the approximate sd, naushad, sj, op, lp and rd numbers, but had no idea that chittragupt and usha khanna composed so many songs for the farishta. Wow chittragupt! He was always the dark horse. This year marks the 50th anniversary of “chal ud jaa re paanchi”. Here is a clip on some songs of chittragupt that will be released soon:

    Venkatji, can you please increase sd’s number — cheat if you must — by one to 97? I was thinking of Vishy’s 97 not out against the W. Indies at Chepauk in 1975. Vishy, one of my favourite batsmen, is a great fan of the farishta. SD’s 97 with rafi is also one of the best unbeaten innings, better than most centuries.

  19. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 126:

    myk, I like rajesh roshan’s music a lot and, based on your prodding, listened to the kishore-lata-rafi song from doosra aadmi after a long time. you are right, rafi makes a brilliant late entry with “yeh mastiyan yeh bahar”. RR has to be good; after all, they assisted the duo that composed “roshan tumhi se duniya”. The duo that composed gems like “hui sham unka khayal aa gaya” and “jo unki tamanna hai barbad hoja” for the farishta. Wouldn’t it have been great if the junior Chittragupts had used the farishta in their debut film like junior Burman, junior roshan and junior malik did? They would have but by the time they made their entry, the farishta had left us.

    The rhetorical question that the author of this article has posed pertains to a very eventful period in the history of hindi film music, the years between 1969 and 1977. rr made his debut in the mid 70s. So the context of the discussion is confined to the 3-way race between ka, lp and rd, with the old patriarch running on a separate track, but always keeping his eyes on his errant children.

    For the sake of argument, suppose there are three independent 100m sprints, one in the 1963-69 period, the second in the 1970-76 period and the third in the 1977-83 period. In my opinion, lp won the first race, followed by ka and rd. In the second race, I think rd won with ka and lp tied for the second spot. First, tell me if you agree with my assessments and then tell me who you think won the third race.

  20. binus2000 says:

    People in the industry were waiting in the wings to pull down
    Raafi saaheb. When raafi decided to take a break around 1970,
    the scheming caucus sprang to action.
    Composers waited and then switched over to Kishor Kumar. Jr burman
    -the sisters-sr.burman and others boldly declared through their
    accomplices – that rafi days are ov er.
    But, they never realized that raa fi ji will stage a triumphant return.
    they could never stop the raa fi tide..
    Raafi went away in 1980 – with his head held high as the numero uno
    singer of the hindi screen.
    Lets pay homage to rafi saheb this July 31 at his resting place : opp
    santacruz police station , next to j u h u gardens, Mumbai..
    Rafi lovers : we will meet up there.

    binu nair.

  21. Rajesh says:

    Everybody knows RD preferred Kishore Kumar,the greatest singer of all times.

  22. Manish Kumar says:

    clarification: i do realize that the last two lata-kishore duets were not composed by lp, but the one that is my current favorite is indeed by lp

    also, i understand that “hit” is very subjective and depends on how you analyze the weekly/monthly charts.

  23. Manish Kumar says:

    I reiterate again: I don’t think it was LP alone not being strong enough to retain Rafi – it was the other factors. I personally rank LP as one of the best – they gave IMMORTAL gems and for the longest time too! My favorite Kishore-Lata duet is “Accha To Hum Chalte Hain” although “Jai Jai Shiv Shankar” and “Chai Pe Bulaiya” spring to mind too (you can imagine how much I’d have loved to attend the Wembley Concert in 1983 where Kishore and Lata performed – the live versions were even better than the recordings! Kishore was at his best in that concert”. One of my favorite Kishore songs is “Yeh Jeevan Hai” from Piya Ka Ghar. Really love it when Kishore sings barritone. LP were EXCELLENT – they just had to yield to the wave of a new music and voice – they always held their ground and in the end they won the marathon against RDB. RDB alone did not beat LP – it was Rajesh Khanna, changing times, etc. Don’t want to repeat myself – I think I addressed my thoughts earlier.

    Are you guys sure about the stats for 1977-1980? I was told by a reliable source that Mohammed Rafi was used by MDs more than Kishore Kumar and these stats contradict that. Maybe I was wrong. I also heard from a reliable source (granted – he’s a Raffian so he may be biased hahaha) that when he was around in those times – he noticed Rafi have more hits than Kishore from the 1977-1980 period.

  24. B.Venkatadri says:


    Incidentally, R.D.Burman (a dubious Rafi Fan!) has recorded a total of 122 songs (43 solos, 65 duets and 14 group songs) with Rafi Saab. His father, S.D.Burman, a confirmed and ardent Rafi Fan, had recorded a total of 96 songs (47 solos, 45 duets and 4 group songs) with Rafi Saab. But, considering that SDB’s total no. of songs must be far far less than that of RDB, even SDB’s lesser 96 Rafi songs must be accounting for a very high percentage of SDB’s total songs.

    Also, by the way, RDB has the Rank 9 among all MDs in the order of total number of Rafi songs. The first ten ranks are as below:

    6.Kalyanji Anandji–169
    7.Madan Mohan–160
    10.Usha Khanna–116

    Now, friends, aren’t you surprised with the high ranks of Chitragupta, Ravi and Usha Khanna? I indeed was when I first came to know of these!


  25. myk says:

    Hi P. Haldar,

    As usual another brilliant post. Interesting how you mention K-A vis a vis Kishore, in my view after the Burmans comes Rajesh Roshan as the composer who used Kishore’s voice the best. K-A have used the big three (rafi, kishore, mukesh) all very nicely.

    For me, the best Kishore-Rafi duets come from RR as does the best Kishore-Lata-Rafi duet “Kya Mausam Hai” (Doosra Aadmi). Only a very talented musician could have composed such a song with changing moods. I would rank this as one of the top three Rafi entry songs, the way he comes in with “yeh mastiyan yeh bahar” is mindblowing.

    I have mentioned this before, I rank Pancham highly but like you, I feel he was blind-sighted by KK too much. I love the way RD used the guitar in his songs, he was truly an innovator in that sense, the way he merged the guitar into his songs. An interesting aspect about Pancham’s music is his use of the bass guitar or just a guitar as part of the main rhythm. This comes in two aspects, one is the guitar being used throughout the song, and secondly only during selective parts of the rhythm. For example listen to “Pyar Hai Ik Nishan” from Mukti, you will notice the guitar come only at the end of the rhythm pattern. Pancham even used the guitar in his classical compositions along with the tabla, this was part of his experimentation and this was his “sound”. If you want to hear RD in SD’s films, listen to the way the guitar has been merged in the rhythm, SD’s handling of rhythm was totally different.

    Pancham was also excellent at chord-based compositions, SJ were also fantastic in this regard.

    Listen to Rafi’s “Aye Jaan-e-Wafa” from Chhalia (1973). I have mentioned this song in the past, and I am mentioning it again because I adore it, it ranks as one of the best RD-Rafi songs for me. This is proof that if the two had come together more often during that period, the output would have been amazing. The guitar work is amazing, as the rhythm is great.

    Some more excellent and under-rated RD-Rafi gems:

    sanson mein kabhi (with asha) – parchhaiyan (1972)
    mohabbat se tumhe dekha (with lata) – raaton ka raja (1970)
    door se tera diwana (with asha) – raaton ka raja (1970)
    jab ek kaza se guzro to – devta (1978)
    champa khili daar – faisla (1988)
    koi aur duniya mein – pyar ki kahani (1971)
    mohabbat mein aji kya (with lata) – fandebaaz (1978)

  26. binus2000 says:

    Haldar ji:
    Usha Timothy has confirmed the calcutta show details. Plus many
    incidents of raafi shows.
    She toured with raafi : 40 world tours and many many in India.
    According to her there would be above one lac people for raafis
    In kerala : on a same sunday kishore sang at a 1000 capacity
    hall and raafi sang at a stadium where thousands attended. People
    from the industry used to be j e a l o us of raafi s popularity. Most
    in them have given glorious tributes to raafi , also in the same breath.

    binu nair Mumbai.

  27. Nadeem says:

    If U testless guys say that KK snag better than Rafi ” Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan” Its shame for music world. We feel pity on ur music sence
    (Refering KK site unde article Darker Truth comment they didn’t publish my many comments)

  28. Hamza says:

    mr myk, thank you for updating my knowledge regarding the database song with the acurate figure. It has really made me happy to see the reality. I wonder where you guys get all the information?. You are extreme fans of mohd rafi though I always thought that i was the no 1 fan untill i came to this website. Regarding rafi saab you cannot confine fragrance of flowers behind doors or walls or any other containers. Many have tried to suppress Rafi saab but have failed, believe or not when we write and talk about these people such as RDB and others we are immortalising these ungrateful poeple. Music directors are dependant on high qaulity singers, you have seen how Rafi brought RDB into the limelight after ‘Teesry manzil’ and once he had a chance to sting RDB just did that, otherwise he would have struggled for some time. Also i read that Dilip Kumar refused to participate in the documentry of Rafi saab. I felt hurt after what Rafi saab done for him he couldn’t even say a few words. Shame on Dilip Kumar. Long live Rafi saab. Elvis presly of the west and Rafi saab of east.

  29. Ganesh says:

    Last I read on site that somebody (May be Saira) wants Punjabi Film Song “AAJA SONYE AAJA HIRYE” Plz send me his/her e-mail on my mail i e

  30. javifazl says:

    jawaid ji app ke khayalat sun kar aur padh kar dil khush hogaya. woh insan jo hamari dilon mein rahta hy us ke bary main yeh aap ki aawas hamari aawas hy

  31. mohamed parvez says:

    i believe why rafi saab did not got support from sd burman because during that pereiod rafi saab was touring abroad he was performing stage shows there most of the time rafi saab was in london with his sons this was between 70&75

  32. A S MURTY says:

    Nice to know more and more people joining debate on various subjects. Mr Ramakrishna of Hyderabad is a person who has studied Rafi Saheb’s songs in depth and has deep knowledge too. I agree that it is not important who has what collection of Rafi Saheb’s songs. What is important is whether the songs of this greatest legend reach out to today’
    s generation and if not, are we not to blame ourselves ?? Let us spread the fragrance of the songs that each one of us possess to all those who do not have access to them and let them also enjoy the same bliss that we are fortunate to do.

  33. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 95:

    hi myk, good question. I’m amazed at your knowledge of film music and the questions you ask. I didn’t have half your knowledge or analysis power at your age. And look at manish; when he should be watching the phillies vs. oreoles game, he’s writing tomes on film music. Our film music will be alive because of people like you.

    Please note that my theory on pancham is based on my own thinking. When I said pancham was by shakti’s side, I didn’t mean it literally. But if you have observed pancham’s behaviour vis-a-vis rafi, the picture gets clearer and clearer. I gave you the Aradhana example. But consider “Tum bin jawoon kahan”, which was a major Bengali hit earlier in Kishore’s voice. In the hindi version, he keeps the yodeling part intact for Kishore, without rafi probably not even knowing about it. People don’t complain because, after all, rafi’s version is on the hero and kishore’s version is on bharat bhushan. Some people say that he used it to suit the situation. Can you imagine bharat bhushan singing in the voice of kishore? If he had wanted someone else, he could have brought in manna dey, but he didn’t.

    We can keep arguing about which version is better, but you cannot deny the impact made by kishore’s yodeling. No one can beat him in that kind of song. Do a simple experiment; run the tape and try to mute the yodeling part. Let me know how the song sounds. That was very unfair to rafi. If you look at the songs that had separate lata and rafi versions, the structure of the song remained the same; there was a level playing field.

    Having said that, I still think that the RD-KK pair was one of the best combinations in film music. They were made for one another just like Rafi-OP. The cultural affinities may have led to their bonding. I still believe that RD exploited kk’s talent more than anyone else; he knew exactly which dimension (the “y” dimension) to focus on. The problem was when he tried to overreach with kishore; kishore presented range limitations that rafi never did for any md. But if you look at songs like “hawa ke saath saath”, “kehna hai kehna hai”, “raat kali ek khwab mein”, “pyar deewana hota hai”, “o mere dil ke chain”… they are simple tunes but eminently hummable. This is film music; not every song has to be based on a raga. You know very well what the same crowd that is spewing venom on pancham now would have said if he had given the Amar Prem, Kinara, Aandhi, Khushboo, Mehbooba songs to rafi. My frustration towards pancham is based on those errors in judgment. Someone who composed “raina beeti jai” definitely had the calibre to produce beautiful songs.

    You are a keen follower of film music and trends. If melody and quality were the sole yardsticks of commercial success, Salil and Madan Mohan would have fared much better. Unfortunately, commercial success depends on a lot of other factors. And one of them is whether the big-banner producers are willing to back the md and singer. Many of the Hrishikesh Mukherjee films would have gone to Salil instead of rd if Hrishida had a choice. But it’s ultimately what the Sippys, Chopras, RKs, Nasir Hussains and Manmohan Desais of the world decide. It’s unfortunate but that’s the truth.

    Every producer from S. K. Mukherji to Ramanand Sagar used to back Rafi in the 60s. The tide started turning against him in the early 70s. As many of you pointed out, rafi was still delivering melodious songs in those years. But Rafi’s voice used to reverberate every day, every minute, every second in the 60s. He was not born to sing one good song in a Sonik Oni film here and another in a Shyamji-Ghanshyamji film there. If you check the records, you’ll find that there were times when he was recording five songs a day and that too with a live orchestra.

    Big bangs in the film world are usually created by big names like Naushad, S. D. Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan. In the 70s, the big md’s were rd, lp and ka (of course, sd was there till 1975). Among the three, only lp were rafi bhakts. ka were at best neutral; their original favourites were lata and mukesh, but they used rafi to enter the big league in the 60s. When kishore’s time came, they happily shifted to kishore. You’ll be surprised to know that a lot of the kishore fans rank ka third after the burmans in their pecking order. And there’s boppi da (I just loved the way Kishore da squeezed his chubby cheeks on stage). So lp was facing a two-pronged attack from rd and ka, with the common weapon being kishore. And on top of that there was rajesh khanna. Somehow lp failed to fixate Rafi’s voice on Rajesh (I consider that to be Rafi’s only failure in terms of playback) and soon afterward they had to shift to Kishore. As I’ve said before, RK’s Bobby provided lp the ideal opportunity to give rafi the big bang he needed, but rk wanted a fresh voice and there went rafi’s chance down the drain. LP tried to prop up rafi in a number of films like loafer and dharamveer but somehow they didn’t make the cut.

    Then, around 1976, Nasir Hussain and Manmohan Desai (two of the staunchest Rafians) produced HKKN and AAA; all of the rafi songs in the two films became major hits. Let’s not worry about the quality of the songs. See what hkkn did for him; he received the coveted filmfare award after a gap on nine years! He also received the national award. The film industry takes its cues from such signals, whether you like it or not. Every post-1976 Rafi concert I’ve attended, he used to sing songs from those two films. People can keep on talking about melody, quality, class, etc. etc., but diehard rafians knew that rafi was back and producers (the meanest creatures in the world) would start knocking on his door again. And that’s exactly what happened; the Sippys and Chopras wanted rafi to sing for them again. He was signing so many songs that junior singers had to wait for months to get a chance. His last concert in Kolkata (February 1980) was such a success that organizers wanted him back for a solo appearance. And you know which was the last song he sang: “Aaja aaja main hoon pyar tera” with the crowd going so wild that the police commissioner had to come and escort him. Usha Timothy was his partner on stage; binuji can check and find out whether what I’ve said is true or not. I don’t like distorting facts.

    Rafi was not born to sing classical songs only. Check the year 1961 and you’ll find he sang “Main zindagi ka saath” and “Chahe koi mujhe junglee” in the same year, both massive hits. The second one started a cult revolution with the Shammi-Rafi combo; now tell me was it in Yaman Kalyan or in Darbari Kannada when Rafi was rolling down the snow-covered slopes? I’m sure the purists frowned when Rafi screamed “Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe”. Did it bother me? No, because another rafi was born — the junglee, janwar, budtameez, pagla kahinka rafi. As I’ve said many times before, never try to pigeon-hole rafi into any genre; he is unlike any singer you’ve seen.

    You are a very discerning rafian. As you know, I’m not a big fan of “kya hua tera wada”, though I’d never deny its impact. But in that same film, pancham composed a qawaali for rafi-asha that would have made a roshan proud. And then in B. R. Chopra’s “The Burning Train”, this combo again produced another gem of a qawaali: “pal do pal ka saath hamara”. And then Pancham gave all those songs in Mukti, Abdullah, ZKDH and Shaan. LP was happy to see rafi back at the top; the rajesh khanna wave had subsided by then and they started giving rafi entire scores in films like sargam. Extrapolate from that point to 1981; he would be singing at least 200 songs a year if he were alive. As I’ve said before, rafi was not born to sing only “mahua, tera wada kya hua”.

  34. sj says:

    Nair ji

    Fantastic post, some valid points…..excellent.

    Narayana ji

    RDB was instrumental in the rise of KK but he was also instrumental in the devious plot to side line Rafi. Just abour every song for Dharmendra before 70 was sung by Rafi but RDB not only used KK but also to Mana Dey, a pathetic attempt to side line Rafi.

    KK must have felt a looser deep inside him as he could never compete with Rafi on a plin and fair field. It was more like a fight at WWF where someone gets a chair from behind and takes a opponent out.

    On the other hand even with these pathetic and unfair tactics, Rafi roared his way back and destroyed their devious acts.

    One would have seen Rafi go well past by KK in 80’s who had gone burnt out in just a decade of singing. He was also conteplating retirement in the 80’s.

    Rafi is Rafi…….one man army and a true badshah of singing who was a miracle and gift of God and who dares to stop such a force.

    Rafi lives.

  35. Anmol Singh says:

    Sorry for the delay, was busy with something else.

    In response to post 59 by P Haldar

    >>”Mr. Anmol Singh, if you ever get the chance to meet Pyareji again, ask
    >>him what he thinks of Pancham; his answer may shock you.”

    Any icon like Pyeralal will never talk in open about any personality with
    people like us. But yes during our meeting with Pyarelal did highlight who
    is Pancham to bring Rafi down. A singer like Rafi will shine even if he
    sings for a below average composer.

    >>”since all of you agree that there was something called a Rajesh Khanna
    >>wave, let me ask you this: who was rajesh khanna’s favourite md? KA, LP or

    Rajesh Khanna did give first preference to RD, but always kept LP on stand
    by. Therefore LP also have equal no of hits with KK compared to RD. It is LP
    who have used Rafi (of course more of KK) on Rajesh K between 1971 to 76. LP
    have contributed considerable nominations for KK in the early 70s.

    >>Mr. Anmol Singh, yes, Naushad was a trend-setter. That is not the point I
    >>was trying to make. In the early seventies, during the Rajesh Khanna wave,
    >>do you seriously think that Naushad would have posed a serious threat to

    Naushad and RD are composers of different generation all together. LP and KA
    were there to give him competition. Looking from success point of view LP
    and RD were very much equal. RD did compose max songs between 1971-75.

    Compared to Naushad & MM, SD was not a specialist in any area, plus could
    compose any type of song therefore kept going till the end. During the 71-75
    phase majority of SD’s assignments were executed by RD. So there is a
    definate certainty the ‘Aradhana’ theory of using KK instead of Rafi has
    been repeated in many subsequent films after 1969. Plus SD with his falling
    health was in no position to oppose. Otherwise SD will hardly make any
    mistake in selection of singers.

    Ref to Post 73

    >>binuji, I’m with you on chingari koi bhadke, as well as quite a few other
    >>songs including sd’s badi sooni sooni hai. I hope you now understand why I
    >>maintain that it was rd who shut rafi out. He challenged the establishment
    >>and all the other leading md’s, including lp and ka, fell prey. If lp were
    >>that strong, they should have never switched to kishore in the first
    >>place. Look at mm; despite immense pressure, he didn’t switch. stuck to
    >>rafi during his lean phase and still managed to produce gems for him in
    >>hanste zakhm, heer ranjha and laila majnu.

    Again LP and MM are composers of different generation. LP’s association with
    KK was there prior to Aradhana success. MM is the composer of the classes.
    His tunes were of are very high calibre which needed only singers like Rafi
    and Lata to deliver. I don’t think KK ever had the cabability to sing any of
    MM’s tunes to perfection. Same is the case for LP, many of LP’s tunes are
    difficult to sing. Plus during the early 70s they used Rafi, Mukesh & Manna
    Dey equally well.

    Plus RD challenging the establishment of all leading MD’s finally resulted
    in building his own grave in the long run. Just image Rafi doing the same to
    RD in late 70s. Possibly RD could have been wiped out long back, because by
    then Rajesh Roshan and Bhappi Lahiri had also joined the competition apart
    from LP & KA. But a person like Rafi would never do so or else RD fans would
    claim Rafi ruined RD.

    >>My comment on rd trying to make Kishore sound serious was not made in
    >>jest; it was dead serious. The author of this piece misunderstood the
    >>context in which I was making the comment. I don’t know for sure if rd in
    >>his heart of heart believed that kishore was the best for all kinds of
    >>songs, but that’s what his behaviour in the 1972-76 period demonstrated.

    Possibly it is a misjudgement on part of RD. If KK was suitable for all his
    songs then he shouldn’t have used Rafi at all later. But by then he had no
    choice. Just imagine KK singing “Chand Mera Dil”, “Kya Hua Tera Wada”, “Hai
    Agar Dushman”, “Pal Do Pal Ka”, etc. No way man.

    Similarly in the early 80s when KK was there why RD could not repeat the
    magic of early 70s. Why he composed sub standard songs, which finally
    resulted in Bhappi Lahri’s rise. Why KK sang more no of songs for Bhappi
    then RD in 80s. Please think.

    Now coming back to Naushad whose music spans over 3 decades between early
    40s to early 70s. No were in his entire career one can find any
    irregularities like the case of RD. Yes, music tastes had change in ealry
    70s, but instead of giving sub standard music Naushad decided to stop. Same
    was the case with OPN and other music composers of the 50s & 60s. Indeed
    their dignity and respect in intact till date.

    So in other words though RD was a great composer but with a poor foresight &
    judgement especially when it came to selection of the right singer for the
    right song. Plus the type of music to be provided in different era. This is
    where LP were far ahead from most of their contemporiries, therefore they
    were least affected in the 80s due to sub standard music.

    RD fans forgive for being too harsh, but facts cannot be suppressed.

  36. binus2000 says:

    Rafi lovers: please see post 120 : King of mel o d y: and write back to
    THE SARGAM MAG. and teri ada ( six unreleased songs of legend )
    Mohd Rafi will be released on Aug.15.. 07 it is confirmed.
    The rafi foundation has decided to build a Music library of rafi songs
    in mumbai in memory of the legend singer ..It will be a meeting ground
    for rafi lovers.
    the rafi foundation and sargam magazine thanks for their
    great services being rendered to legend rafi lovers.
    For membership of the RAFI FOUNDATION and sargam mag. pl. write
    to me. Mr. Narayan is the national coordinator and based in bangalore.

    binu nair cell +9833 250 701.

  37. binus2000 says:

    SCREEN MAGAZINE has helped the cause of music and Mohd Rafi in
    recent years. In fact during our college days we would buy the screen
    for the sake of pictures. some of them used to be put on hair saloons
    and corner shops – for entertainment and commercial reasons . this was
    during the time when multiplexes, vcd s, and t.v. had not yet arrived on
    the scene and film ticket used to cost 65 naya paise; the balcony rates
    being rs.1.25 which rose later to rs.2.25 .
    In screen I would see the pictures of Mohd Rafi – all smiling during the
    launch and recording of a song for a new movie. At least 3 pictures of
    Raafi used to be there..
    Dear rafi lovers: s c r een will publish original articles on Mohd Rafi whih
    are not published in the website and in any print media.
    Rafi lovers can send this to me : Mumbai..

  38. P. Haldar says:

    Dear friends, as I’ve said before, the rafi tent is big enough to accommodate everyone. As venkat ji pointed out, rafi worked with the maximum number of md’s. So it’s quite possible that your pecking order may not be the same as mine. I personally feel that rd was biased against rafi, but I still enjoy the sound of his music. I know salil used rafi sparingly, but I consider him a brilliant composer. When you have such a huge group of talented singers and md’s, there’s bound to be personal likes and dislikes. We search for the absolute truth but there is no thing as such. These are just views that we express, share with one another. There is no point in making personal jabs. I’ve never claimed to be an expert, but I have been addicted to the farishta’s voice since a very young age. Never wavered in my opinion of him. I am not an industry insider. But I get to know a lot about rafi saab and his associates based on the comments of people like binu nair, venkat, narayanan, anmol singh, prakash shah, irfan, myk… In fact, I didn’t even know that rafi saab had taken a 8-month long sabbatical till binuji and myk told me. I know he used to go to london regularly to visit his sons, but I wasn’t aware that he took such a long break. Rafi saab, pancham da, kishore da — they are all gone. The fact that we are even having such an interesting discussion is a tribute to their talent. Whenever we are saying that someone is better than another, it’s always on a relative scale. They are all great; sometimes our passion for our favourite singer or md dominates our sense of proportion. If Pyareji and Manna da think that pancham is great (it is well documented that both rank him higher than his father), are we going to say that they don’t understand musical notes or shastriya sangeet?

  39. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Well the whole qusetion now boils down to whether RDB was a great MD or not? No doubt, he was a good MD but not in the same bracket as Naushad, SDB, Madan Mohan, OPN, Hemant Kumar, etc. The hall mark of these MDs were that they were very consistent right from their first movie to their last whether sung by Rafi or any other Singers. But in case of RDB, consistency was totally missing especially after 1970. Yes, he gave some memorable songs with KK during this period, but there were far too many mediocre songs during this period some sung by KK and some others by other Singers also. Though all the MDs lifted tunes now and then, RDB and Bappi Lahri made it more frequently. Another point is that the geeat MDs set tunes based on Ragas, which some times appealed directly to our heart though our ears took some time to grasp. Being Indians, I am sure most of us would plump for a classical based Raga even if it is a film song, whether we fully identify and grasp the significance of the Raga. In fact, these songs based on Indian ragas are enjoyed even today after so many decades, where as the songs of eighties and later went out of circulation within a year. Reason being these post 80 songs have neither good lyric or poetry, mostly in prose form, not based on good ragas, MDs doing some hurriedly completed job (Please recall a great MD like Naushad used to take only one film at a time and it seems he refused a Producer who wanted Naushad to complete film music for his movie within a month), neither good picturisation with no emphasis on facial or eye expressions (We hardly see any close up of Actors during today’s songs, usually all distant shots), too many Instruments in the song, etc. Today’s Singers are also not that much talented and we have to pity them they hardly get any chance to sing songs such as the hit songs of fifties and sixties. Well, we have our treasure of geret songs of the golden era and let us enjoy the same.

  40. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Who was good at classical singing? Answer is Mannadey. Who was good at soulful singing? Mukesh. Who was good at comedy songs – Kishore. Who was good at Gazals – Answer has to be Talat Mehmood. Who was good at singing Rabindra Sangeet with a heavy throated voice. Answer is Hemant Kumar. Who was good at raising the picth of teh song? Of course, Mahendra Kapoor. Now the real quaetion? Who was good at all these and gave much more than what the MDs or Heroes or even Public expected. It was Mohammed Rafi and Rafi alone..

  41. Narayanan says:

    To all Rafi-ians,
    Very popular reaction expected but most of u have analysed well. But let us not forget what Haldarda post 75 has said that in 1960 alone Rafi sang more than 360 songs which gives me goosepimples. Oh what a period of melody with all stalwarts and Rafi producing gems n treasures for us to listen.
    Only we wished that the radio jockeys, entertainment editors, Djs and the comperes of electronic media are given some exposure on the swinging 60s……
    I enjoyed the comments of Manish,Vijay,MYK,Venkat,Haldar and others.
    This question is an enigma to me and in a live show of Rafi saab a wellknown compere commented that Sr Burmanda also did not support Rafi saab post 69. The examples are Sharmilee hero Shashi, Jugnu hero Dharam and surprise of Dev films like Tere mere sapne,yeh gulistan hamara…etc never had Rafi saabs songs.
    Pl correct me if Iam wrong the songs of the fantastic combo of the Rafi-SDB which were dominating pre 69 had only post 69 Us Paar, Anurag duet with Lata,Abhimaan duet with Lata, Chupke Chupke with kishore.
    Chote nawaab for reasons best known to him even for Sholay n Seetha aur Geetha took Manna dey for Dharam sidelining natural voice of Dharam, Rafi.
    Any comments gentlemen

  42. Irfan says:

    I had read earlier in a magazine that Rafisaab sang the song ‘Dard-e-dil’ which was based on a single note and proved that music was really God-gifted to him.Could anyone knowledgeable of music explain what does this mean??

  43. Irfan says:

    Ref 76
    Good question,We all know that Ravi was the favorite MD for BR Chopra, And no it was not that Ravi had everything in his hands and BR chopra had to give in.This entire episode took plenty of days to come through, did Ravi got the title song of waqt sung by Mahindra Kapoor and then suggested to BR to replace him, I don’t think he did that because it would have solved the issue in a far lesser time, what Ravi did was insist on Rafisaab singing the song the moment the tune was accepted because as an MD he knew what Rafisaab could deliver and what limitations mahendra Kapoor had .Imagine the songs of the entire film are done with and the film is under production except for one song which narrates the theme of the film.As this is a sung that doesn’t need to be filmed on anyone,my assumption is that the may have taken the entire shooting period (months/year).This can be the only reason how the news reached Rafisaab.And one more point to be noted is that he asked Raviji how much was paid to all the singers in totality ,that means all the songs had been already recorded.I guess if someone can get to Raviji we may know the exact story.As far as Rafisaab handing out the money to the musicians it is a FACT.

  44. Manish Kumar says:

    Harvinder: I do believe that it was a group effort and that each piece was important. Having said that, if you took RDB out of the equation – there would be no Kishore wave. RDB ALONE was not enough – though he was the one calling the shots IN THE BEGINNING and then when the wave hit – producers forced other MDs to follow suit. You ask about how many movies RDB did: it just took a few movies with Rajesh Khanna + Kishore Kumar to get the wave – most famously with Aradhana Kati Patang, Amar Prem. No one doubts you crediting the other factors as VERY IMPORTANT e.g. Rafi leaving for Haj etc – but RDB was the architect of it.

  45. Ganesh says:

    That was all MONOPOLY

  46. Emdad says:

    Most of of articles here talks about the quantity and the popularity of RDB/KK. Quantity and popularity has commercial value but it has nothing to do with quality and Rafi had the quality admitted by music pandits. Manna Dey was far behind to Mukesh commercially. Does anybody ever said that Mukesh was a better singer than Manna Dey?

  47. RAMAKRISHNA says:

    whats the use of keeping RAFI Sahabs record and in which way its going to help? Its as if blowing one’s own trumpet about the data collection. More over who has that much of time to prove the accuracy of the data. In stead of it let us feel and share the melody, depth, modulation & sweetness of His voice & how he used to merge the notes in the interlude without our knowledge. While he used to ALAAP how it makes us to get up and stare at it with spell bound posture. And his CHULBULA numbers how it tickles us & makes us feel as if we do the same in the closed bath room and last but not the least his ROMANTIC numbers I am very sure that each of us feel that the number belongs to us making us possessive. Let us share these in spite of blowing our trumpet that we are the only record holders.

    I am not sure whether this will be published as so many of my feelings about Rafi sahab have not seen the light.

  48. Nair says:

    The youths’ (excluding those who understand the interior of music as well as who have elementary training) attraction towards Kishore Kumar and R.D. Burman in comparison with Mohammed Rafi and Naushad probably has a logic more reflective than mere ‘generational proximity’. That logic is related to the perceptibility/understandability of music. I elaborate:

    Music is an inexplicable phenomenon. Musicologists and researchers of music excavate certain components of this phenomenon through their ‘aesthetic sensors’ and cognitive skills which they present [through discourse] as musical doctrines. Musicians and composers use these doctrines to create musical pieces. Some of the musicians have, akin to the musicologists, high research potential and can without the aid of secondary literature construct doctrines. No need to assert that each musical configuration is built on the basis of one or the other dominant doctrines. Naushad is a composer with the aforesaid cognitive power and Rafi a singer, who has the capability to understand and then materialize such a composition. Their work in Baiju Bawara and Kohinoor are revelations of certain components of music which until then remained unexcavated. Those who understand the interiors of music appreciate the work and acknowledge the composer’s and singer’s contribution for enriching the world of music. Some matured people are awestruck by such compositions, they are aware that there is something in this composition which requires special cognitive power to understand.

    R.D. Burman’s and Kishore Kumar’s contribution, as I mentioned in my post (no.67), is the introduction of ‘plain-note’ compositions and singing style, a flagrant violation of the rules of, at least, Carnatic music. One argument frequently appears in discussions (mostly as justification) is RD Burman’s assimilation of the waves of modernity. Unfortunately, the discussants simply throw the word ‘modernity’, as if it means everything modern. Certainly, modernity in music stresses on transformation, radicalism, and extreme simplicity, at the sometime modernity does not recommend compromising the content. The emphasis on content particularly has high relevance for Indian music, be it Carnatic or Hindustani. Many a number of composers mistook ‘transformation’, ‘radicalism’, and ‘simplicity’ as signals to deviate from formalism. What R.D. and Kishore did was also a mere deviation from formalism which is a naïve assimilation of modernity. Yet, the stress on form, e.g., the use of innovative musical instruments, yodeling, conversational singing, and full throated singing, and the extreme simplicity of compositions attracted the adventurous aptitudes of musically ignorant youths, for here is something they understand. Musically literate ones understood the contravention done in the name of modernity and lamented over the fate of music. The pity is that true essence of modernity lay elsewhere.

    True, there was a reduction in the numbers of songs delivered by Rafi at this phase. However, those musicians, who were particular about content, summoned Rafi to their recording rooms (many times by R.D. himself for conventional songs with emphasis on content). They together produced musical pieces that are truly ‘modern’ in terms of form as well as content.

    My point is that to appreciate to Rafi and Naushad one needs the cognitive maturity of a middle aged man or sharp perceptibility (coupled with knowledge of music) found in some bright youngsters.

  49. vijay says:

    Harvinder says :Mr Guru Murthi’s article has invited lots of response from hard core Rafi fans and self proclaimed analysts.


  50. jawaid77in says:


    Main is desh ka ek aam sa aadmi hoon aam zindagi guzaarta hoon aur aam logon ki bhasha bolta hoon, aam sa aadmi hoon isliye ek aam aadmi ke jazbaat unki zaroorat , unki khushi aur unke dukh ko bhi samajhta hoon aur yeh bhi samajhta hoon ke jahan aawaz nahi hoti wahan per bhi kuchh un-suni sadayen hoti hain, jahan protest nahi hota wahan per bhi kuchh tamannaon ke poore hone ki khawhish zaroor hoti hai.
    Bharat ek democratic country hai yahan bolne ka adhikaar to sab ko mila hua hai lekin pane ki khushnaseebi kisi kisi ko mili hai agar aisa nahi hota to main aaj apni aur un lakhon logon ki aawaz banker aap ke saamne khada nahi hota
    Ji haan main usi aawaz ki baat kar raha hoon jis ke bare mein K.L.SEHGAL ne kaha tha “tum ek din bahut oonche kalakar banoge”, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan ne kaha tha “guru gud rahgaya aur chela chini bangaya”
    Woh aawaz jisne na jaane kitne Heroes aur Music directors ko unki pehchan dilai.
    Woh aawaz jo “voice of stars” rahi.
    Woh aawaz jisne hindi film industry pe chaar dahaaiyon tak raaj kiya
    Who aawaz jisne hamen 28,000 se bhi zyada geet diye.
    Who aawaz jisne National Congress ki himayat mein apna paigham logon tak pahunchaya is geet ke madhyam se “ Congress ko vote do”
    Who aawaz jis ne logon ko apni aawaz ke zaria family planning ke liye per utsaahit kiya “lal tikon” jaise geet ke zaria.
    Who aawaz jo haddiyon ke goode jamaane wali sardi mein bhi tibbet aur leh ki oonchi pahadiyon pe jaake bhartiya faujiyon ki himmat badhati rehi,

    Secularism ki misaal bante huey jisne sab se zyada filmi aur non filmi bhajan gaaye
    Jisne sab se zyada filmi desh bhagti geet gaaey
    Jisne sangeet ko ek naya terz diya


    1967 MEIN Padam Shree ki padvi ke baad to jaise hamaare Ewaan-e-eqtedaar mein baithe huey log apni zimmedari se mukt hogaye, yeh bhoolhi gaye ke uske baad bhi us jaise insaan ko dene ke liye samman ke roop mein aur bhi bahut kuchh baaqi bacha hai. Warna kya wajah hai ke aajj tak unhe Sarkar ki taraf se who samman nahi mila jiske who sahi maano mein haqdaar hain
    Main poochhta hoon unlogon se jo sarkari taur se sammanit karne ke adhikaari hain ke kya mehez ek 5 rupiye ka daak ticket unki shaksiyat ko justify karta hai???

    Hum agar unki zindagi mein unhe who sab na depaaye jis ke who haqdaar they to ab waqt aagaya hai ke hum ek haqdaar ko uska haq deden,


    Yeh demand bahut hi secular hai kisi proper caste ya creed ki taraf se nahi kyun ki RAFI SAHEB artiste thay, funkaar thay, poori Hindustani qaum ke asset thay who dilon pe raaj karne waale aise Shahenshaah hain jinka raajj aaj bhi hamaare dilon pe hai.
    Aur humm unke is geet ke haami hain
    “tu hindu banega na musalmaan banega
    insaan ki aulad hai insaan banega”

    Agar is aam se insaan ki khaas baatein sarkar ko pasand aayen to aisa karke hamari sarkar ki izzat aur bhi badh jaegi aur hamen bhi ehsaas rahega ke hum ek SECULAR AUR DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY ke baasi hain….
    Us desh ke baasi hain jahan sirf paani ki GANGA hi nahi bahti bulkay insaaf , sachhai, adhikaar aur samman den eke liye jazbon ki bhi ganga behti hai.


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