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How I became a Rafi Fan… Part 2

By Achal Rangaswamy
Part 2 in continuation

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Kala Bazaar..Madras..a rainy evening..slick pavement was perhaps at a time when I hardly realized what was happening to me, I was too young to know most things.

But the first real taste of Bollywood in all its Eastmancolour clarity and beauty was- seeing Joy Mukherjee swing his guitar more like a cricket bat, wear a white sweater like a cricketer and croon ” Laakhon Hain Nigaahon Mein” in Phir Wohi dil laaya hoon. It was a Christmas afternoon and Regal Cinema in Delhi. I fell in love with voice of Joy Mukherjee, the singer’s voice I mean, and was completely bowled over by the tonga style rendition of Banda Parvar Tham Lo Jigar…the title song of the same movie. “paaon jahan rakh dogey adaa se dil ko wahin paaogey…” truly mesmerized me.

By the time the movie had got over I had fallen in love once more- with “Aanchal mein saja lena kaliyaan….”

You all must be thinking I am talking now of Ek Hi film ke geet, but this was the kind of magical influence Rafi Saab had over me. How could a person so beautifully mouth the lines “meri raaton mein jalaaye tere jalwon ne chirag…teri raaton ke liye dil ko jalaaya hum ne..” I desperately wanted to have a voice like this. but I knew all the while that only one person could be so good at it.

In the meanwhile Shaheed happened. We all dashed off to a school far away from home where they were screening the movie on a B and W TV. The movie was gripping but even more gripping was Bhagat Singh taking an oath with his palm held steadily over a flame. Patriotism filled me completely and I told myself – there cant be a better voice to protest against the British Rule. Even as  the freedom fighters, now in the form of jailmates.

Sang a beautiful number written by Pandit Ram Prasad Bismil- Sarfaroshi ki tamanna, I had started comparing one voice with another. and Rafi Saab started looming larger and larger in my appreciation of Bollywood music. The clincher came in the form of a re-run of Tere Ghar Ke Saamne where all I remembered of the movie, though there was an interesting story-line too, were the bewitchingly beautiful songs- all of them sung by Rafi Saab, barring just one, called Thaam Lo Baahein.

One game that I started enjoying to play was- and I know many of you do it even today- trying to recall the name of the actor by the way Rafi Saab made his voice curl, or dip, or laugh. Benazir must have been a forgettable film, but Dil Mein ik jaan- e – tamanna ne jagah paaye hai was an out and out Shashi Kapoor number. No marks for guessing right, I told myself.

After that it became much easier- Jaane Waalon Zara Hoshiyar had to be the rumbustious Shammi Kapoor, Yaad na Jaaye had to be a melancholic Rajendra Kumar, and Dil ki Awaaz Bhi Sun a handsomely romantic Joy Mukherjee. Even Johnny Walker stood out clearly with “Suno Suno miss chatterjee mere dil ka matter ji, calcattey wali rooth gayee kyon….”

God, how could this man sound so good and yet so different and yet so consistent? I could just never figure this out.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Calling my mother from a newly installed coin-operated phone instrument at school I told her- there is a new movie in town called Kanyadaan. Its hoarding is right opposite my school and it has an amazing song called Likhe jo khat tujhe and my mother, a wise lady that ever was, said- only remember the song and dont follow the advise !!!!

Even as this song kept playing in my mind I was at the same time living out Main Pyaar ka Raahi Hoon and Bahut Shukriya Badi Meherbaani…the list kept getting longer and longer…

What I could never fathom was the occasional silence (I was to read about it much later, and discuss it even later with all  of you) of my Idol in the ’70s, though there were gems like Tum jo mil gaye ho. There was a Yeh Raat Hai Pyaasi Pyaasi.. but why had this great man been given only a few bits here and there, like Nafrat ki Duniya ko Chhorke… for the elephant movie ?

And even before the dark day before he left us all he had given some hugely popular and powerfully packed songs the Yaaraana song for instance…. Aisa taraana jhoom ke gaoon sang sang duniya jhoomey..or hai agar dushman..or bas meetha meetha bolo…or god !! there were so many of them…

Very true… mujhko mere baad zamaana dhoondega, he said prophetically.

Now you know why I never BECAME a Rafi fan. and that is why I don’t call this write up by THAT name. Rafi Saab just took possession of my very life, my being. From the day I really knew what was happening in life.

Only very recently, I shared this piece of information with a few friends of ours from the forum….

That for about three months..running…and just prior to his last death anniversary, when I wrote my first piece which you all liked so much, Rafi Saab had been coming in my dreams every single day…he would just smile..and go away.

Now what do you call this ?

I don’t know. I can’t describe it. I can’t write further, I am overwhelmed.

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19 Blog Comments to “How I became a Rafi Fan… Part 2”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Listen to Rafi Sahab’s Son in conversation with radio broadcaster Rohit Jagessar “The Music Merchant” of

    Here is the link:'sSonInterview.mp3


  2. mohamedparvez says:

    dear achal ranga swamy ji thanx for sharing great article with us, i would like to share,a documentry on rafi saab,produced by films division,i have uploaded in you tube ,in 8 parts,also i have uploade rafi saabs rare interviews and rare songs,also i would like to inform you about blog,dedicated to rafi saab,total over 300 pages are there,to go to next page,kindly click older posts,you will find bottom of every page,kindly visit this links,take care


    mohamed parvez

  3. Rajkumar Akela says:

    Plz vote for our beloved Rafi Sahab and glorify India.

    Rajkumar Akela

  4. achalr says:

    priya ji

    thank you so much for your kind words. i am glad you liked the article.

    achal rangaswamy

  5. Priya Sanyal says:

    I`m sorry to reply so late but yes there so many of our friends who r unable to post their comments because of some log in issue!

    however, about ur article, reading which, i felt as if I`ve once again became fan of rafi sahab who I already was…but reading ur excellent article it feels like a journey of rafi sahab`s divine life of singing…
    Thanx for this ride!
    may God bless u always!

  6. achalr says:

    dear administrator
    i am receiving mails from many members of the forum that they are unable to log in and post their comments.
    could you kindly help us please?

    thanks and regards

    achal rangaswamy

  7. achalr says:

    jayant ji

    thank you so much for the info. i shall try to lay my hands on that CD. it will be a treasure.

    sivanandam ji thank you for mentioning the song from the film Jaal. it is a hauntingly beautiful song. i shall listen to it a few more times today !!

    achal rangaswamy

  8. Akbar007 says:

    Dear Achaljee,

    I agree with Mr. Nair when he says that you must write the part III of of your journey with the master Rafi Sahab. Last year on 24th December- Rafi Sahab’s Birthday, I got an opportunity to be present on the scfreening of a documentary on Rafi Sahab produced by the Films Division of India, believe me, it was an experience that I can’t describe in words. Please do watch it, if you can manage to get a CD of the film.

    Aaj bhi Bus mein, metro mein, bazaar mein, kisi dukaan par Rai sahab ka gaana radio par sunaai de, toh mere badte kadam khub-ba-khud wahin ruk jaate hain. Yeh Rafi Sahab kaa jaadoo hi toh hai!

    Aise hi kabhi jab shaam dhale toh yaad humein bhi kar lena
    Rafi sahab ko hum Bhool jaayein, kam se kam is Janm mein toh yeh namumkin hai!


  9. sivanandam says:

    Dear Achal ji
    Sorry for a late response to such an ecellent article from you. I was able to get my log-in credentials only recently.
    You really have a mastery over the words and hence we are able to appreciate your feelings about our legend.
    Just the other day I was listening to the song from the film called Jaal ( not the old one–this has Biswajeet)–Akela hoon mein humsaraf dhoondhta hoon, mohabbat ki mein rehguzar…this is one of that typical Rafi sahab’s school of singing. One of these days, if a person like you having the wizardy over the language can review this song it would be a treat for all Rafi fans!! One unique thing I noticed about this song is the combination of Raja Mehndi Ali Khan and L-P .. To the best of my knowledge this is a very rare combination as RMAK always wrote for Madan Mohan. The lines “Mein aahon mein apni asar dhoondhta hoon can only come from a shaya like RMAK.

  10. achalr says:

    thank you so much vasudha, nagesh and nrpbhai.
    honoured to read such feedback

    thanks and regards

    achal rangaswamy

  11. achalr says:

    i am posting the comments from our friends on the site- since they wroe to me directly.
    from Dr Vasudha-
    Hi Achal
    I closed my eyes and reread your article making pictures in my mind and the effect was a 3D one.Such was the magnitude of your thoughts and feelings towards Rafi saab and you have beautifully described your innermost aspirations.
    Your memory is your asset and description your forte.

    from Nagesh Sidhanti-

    Made an absolutely fascinating read !!

    An engaging journey of originally a Dev fan, who later realised it was Rafi and then ended up as a life time admirer of both. One a voice from the heaven and another its public face.

    Achalji, I read that you are bringing out a second part as well and I feel you should make it three. The third and concluding one should be the one which got published on

    If anyone is planning to make a movie on Mohd Rafi, you should write the script.

    Yeh dil maange more !!


    from N R Padmanabhan

    You know what? The moment I saw your articles on my fingers were itching to respond immediately. The site is not at all user friendly these days and I am an impulsive respondent! If at all two wrongs could ever make a right, this would have been the most fitting occasion!!

    As always you ooze with originality and novelty in presentation. The conviction takes you to unchartered territories wherein you become the master of all that you survey. And we become the recipients of such unadultarated largesse. Rafi Saahab ko bahuton ne saraaha hai, pooja hai. lekin aap ek aise shaks hain jo unse baatcheet karte hain, apne saamne baithakar. Huzoor, kabhi kabhi ham naacheezon ko bhi saath rakh liya kijiye.

    May your grow from excellence to ecstacy and may you induce others also to excel beyond the immediately achievable.

    Best regards,


  12. achalr says:

    i am thankful to each one of you- utthara, murtygaru, binuji, jayantbhai, rameshbhai and guruji for your kind words of encouragement. if you like what i write – it simply is because it is about someone we love.

    i am told quite a few people are finding it difficult to log into the comments column. i am, fortunately, not facing any such issue. i request the administrator to please look into this.

    thanks and regards

    achal rangaswamy

  13. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    Perhaps the happenings in your life, put forth so beautifully in this article, miight have happened in all our lives. Whenever we remeber / hum a song on any occassion, invariably it would be a Rafi number, he is so much into our life. In fact, Rafiji has become a family member, like we discuss about various members in our family, we are now discussing Rafi Saab and his contribution in various fora, including the present web site.

    Keep it up.


  14. binus2000 says:

    I HAVE A FRIEND IN US who reports to me every week about seeing rafi saaheb in his dream. this rafi fan had “fainted” – near rafi saaheb on the dreaded day morning, 1st august, 1980.
    rafi fans are all great people – irrespective of everything they have in them. this is the fact.



  15. rameshkurpad says:

    rangajee, ( gurujee )


    That for about three months..running…and just prior to his last death anniversary, when I wrote my first piece which you all liked so much, Rafi Saab had been coming in my dreams every single day…he would just smile..and go away.

    Now what do you call this ?

    I don’t know. I can’t describe it. I can’t write further, I am overwhelmed.




  16. Akbar007 says:

    Dear Achaljee,

    “Muhabbat ke Mahfil mein Dilon Ka tarana jab Bhi Chidega”
    Har Dil Rafi Sahab Ki aawaz ke saaye mein Hazaaron baar Machlega”

    Mujeh Bas Pyar Kaa ek Jaam de do, Main sab kuch bhool jaana chahta hoon

    Rafi sahab’s mesmerizing voice has been the life line of countless people, Thank God to ALmighty Rafi sahab is still there in our lives, our hearts.

    “Bahut Shukriya Badi Meherbani, Ham sabki Zindagi mein Huzoor Aap Aaye”

    Many Congratulations! for an equally sublime sequel to your previous article!


  17. A S MURTY says:

    To all other rafi bhakts : friends, do send your write-ups on this topic to me at, I require your thoughts and feelings. We have had pages after pages describing rafi sahab’s godly capacity to deliver a song. now we must understand rafi sahab’s latent potential to make hard core rafi bhakts from ordinary mortals like us. This phenomenon sets rafi sahab apart from any other legend.


  18. A S MURTY says:

    “In the meanwhile Shaheed happened. We all dashed off to a school far away from home where they were screening the movie on a B and W TV. The movie was gripping but even more gripping was Bhagat Singh taking an oath with his palm held steadily over a flame. Patriotism filled me completely and I told myself – there cant be a better voice to protest against the British Rule. Even as the freedom fighters, now in the form of jailmates”. There cannot be a better description Achalbhai of my own feelings. I think I told you all this when I first sighted your fabulous and gripping write-up in our private forum. I think I told you then that “these are my words Achalbhai” and I repeat them now here too.
    What I surmise is that you did not become a Rafi Fan. You were born one.

  19. utthara says:

    Learnt why you didn’t become a Rafi fan! There cannot be a bigger fan than you.

    You have a way with words. Your life story interspersed with Rafi’s gems made a fantastic read. Your growing up years encapsulated the growth of Hindi films. So, didn’t heed mom’s advice? Khat akhir likhliya? (likhe jo khat tujhe…)



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