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Is Ishq Muhabbat Ki Kuch Hai Ajeeb Rasmein

By Nadeem Sundoo

Mohd Rafi with his grand daughter taken during his last visit to London in 1979. Courtesy: Yasmeen Ji (Rafi Sahab's daughter)

Mohd Rafi with his grand daughter taken during his last visit to London in 1979. Courtesy: Yasmeen Ji (Rafi Sahab’s daughter)

I have had a very peculiar experience that I would like to share with other Rafi fans. It’s about the song Is ishq muhabbat ki kuch hai ajeeb rasmein (Movie: Zulm ki pukar). Now, I have not seen the movie nor had I heard the song before. So it does not have any nostalgic value for me. I found it on my ongoing quest for “new” Rafi songs on Youtube. This song is remarkably different from other songs on two points:

  1. It has a word that is pronounced very different from what we would normally expect. With the effect that it changes the whole musical experience of that particular line (and thus the whole song).
  2. It has a word that Rafi has put so much surr into that it carries you straight to divine levels of experience.

When I heard the song for the first time it sounded good but also a bit different from other songs; it had, at first, a musically not quite aligned sound in the line “…kabhi raat kuzar jaye”the extendedsinging of the word “jaye” is very different – I have not heard this exact level of pitch used in any other song (I’m not sure if I’m using the technical correct word for this, but if you listen to the song it stands out that the way the word “jaye” is pronounced is different from how you would normally sing it). And when you hear it for the first time it sounds out of place to the extend that you feel it is out of surr. But this is actually not the case; Rafi Saheb is of course, as always, in perfect surr. Please remark that this word could be song without the extension and the different pithing, thus it would sound “normal”. As indeed it has been done by the co-singer Chandrani Mukharjee in the line”…har baar janam le gar”, and thus it sounds very mediocre.

Now, obviously it is the music director that decides how to sing the song and in this case have decided that only Rafi’s parts should contain this special feature (please remark that Rafi does it again in the line “…apni neenden de kar”). As this feature sounded almost out of surr I am tempted to think that it must be extremely difficult to do; to sing it in a kind of out-of-surr way and still keep it in surr – balancing on the border between surr and out-of-surr and at the same time combining elements from both sides – WHAT A MASTERLY CONTROL! I am not a singer and do not have any deep understanding or grasp of surr, but my heart feels this masterly stroke – Rafi, even the word “fantastic” is too small for you!

The other thing about this song is the word “Rasmein” in the line “….Is ishq muhabbat ki kuch hai ajeeb rasmein” in the ending of each Mukda. This ending occurs 4 times in the song; one time by Chandrani Mukharjee (…na who mere bas mein”) and three times by Rafi. Please note the extended pronunciation of the word. Rafi is basically surfing on the ocean of pure surr, when he sings this word. I can simply not imagine this word be pronounced with more sweetness or surr – Rafi, sweetness envy you and surr look to you for perfection. For a brief moment when I focus while hearing this word, my heart melts and my soul enters a realm that I can only identify as divine. It is like the All-Mighty is reminding me: “See, what I have created for you”. And I reply: “Indeed, O Lord of the Universe, Thy favors are immense”. Thank you Rafi Saheb for reminding us of the favors of The Creator.

My feelings carry me away; sorry for that. Back to the task at hand: Please note that when Chandrani Mukharjee sings her section (…na who mere bas mein”) the experience is not the same (this is not meant to belittle Chandrani Mukharjee). I rest my case.

Now all the above is certainly very subjective and not all people may experience this – maybe none of you can feel it. In that case I will consider myself lucky and special – maybe this song was made for my soul!

But for you Rafi fans who have not heard this song, please hear it and prepare yourself for a drop from the divine ocean – you may be lucky.

Concluding this article I apologize for wasting your time if this was of no value for you, but my experience of this song is simply so strong that I had to write it. I hope that some of you appreciate it.

Greetings to you all

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8 Blog Comments to “Is Ishq Muhabbat Ki Kuch Hai Ajeeb Rasmein”

  1. M. S. Zaman says:

    I liked the writeup and felt very frustrated for my inability to put into words my feelings for Rafi Sahab in a correctly transpiring manner, about his style, his experiments with voice, ragas, feelings, sentiments, sensibilities, beauty, eternity, spirituality, nostalgia, vocabulary, and, God knows, what else that I could not write here.

    His experiments with singing in breaths, singing on low and high notes, playing around with voice rumblings and lahriyas etc. were simply matchless. I cannot stop dying listening to his voice….

    I wake up everyday with a great melody of Rafi Sahab on my lips and I do not feel calm until I have listened to that number sometime in the next 14 to 16 hours. May Allah forgive me, but I cannot stop sleeping after listening to his voice and waking up with a beautiful line of one of his songs on my lips. Just today, I caught this line…..hum ko to barbad kiya hai, aur kise barbad karoge…..O my God…..I will die sipping eternity from his voice…..

  2. Binu Nair says:

    i heard it now and it was ringing in the ears for two days…. nice song as usual…..

    its one of the rafi saahebs treasure. well done friend.

  3. asif says:

    heard this song many times during my intermidiate days… still remember it…… thanks for reminding again

  4. that’s why rafi saab called the genius. thanks nadeem saab for this beautiful and informative article.
    birendra singh bisht

  5. SalRafi says:

    Thanks for bringing this beautiful song out. I enjoyed it thoroughly. You are right about Rafi pronunciation and modulation of the words. Only a master in Sur can do out of surr with ease. Thanks for the write up and song.

  6. K.P.Hassan says:

    the photo of rafi saheb holding his grand daughter is very nice. the ever smiling face of rafi saheb itself reveals his innocence, generosity and ego less life/career

    i am not having knowledge of sur or ragas being used for songs. i only like the songs of rafi saheb, his melodious and heart touching voice.

    wishing u all the best.

  7. Rajiv Dutta says:

    I can feel the emotions of Sh Nadeem as he unfolds his expressions in his writeup. Further I can only say that ,I feel a touch of divinity in each and every word of songs sung by Rafi Sahib. His beauty of singing is par excellence and description beyond words. I have never seen Rafi sahib in person but whenever I hear his voice I find him just in front of me with his ever smiling face. Nothing in this world is more true to me than his voice and his graceful & divine personality.

    Rajiv Dutta

  8. Naushad says:

    Thx for this highly valuable piece of info. eventhough am not a musician apart from my name which is very musically bounded to naushad saheb. i can feel the technical aspects of this particular song.i have nothing else to said it all and in the best possible way. Rafi saheb is well beyond every other singer. this is an undeniable fact.

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