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Kalyanji Anandji’s association with Mohammad Rafi

This article is written by Mr. Souvik Chatterji.



In the Golden age of Indian film music, many composers have enriched the firmament of music with their innovative compositions, yet they did not get the recognition they deserved. Kalyanji Virji Shah (born in 1928) and Anandji Virji Shah, (born in 1933) better known as Kalyanji and Anandji, started their journey with the film Samrat Chandragupta, in 1958. 


In early 60s, Kalyanji Anandji provided successful tunes in Raj Kapoor’s Chalia, in 1960, where songs like “chalia mera naam”, “dum dum diga diga” becoming successful. Due to strong dominance of Shankar Jaikishan in that era, most of the music lovers could not dissociate compositions of other composers, and thought it was S J’s composition. In Raj Kapoor’ film Dulha Dulhan, 1964, Mukesh’s song “humne tumko pyar diya hai jitna” was composed with tragic andaz.

Mohd Rafi with Kishore Kumar and Kalyanji

Mohd Rafi with Kishore Kumar and Kalyanji

Kalyanji Anandji associated with Mohammad Rafi, the man dominating the world of playback singing in that age in Shammi Kapoor’s film Bluff Master, 1963, where most of the songs were sung by Rafi followed by Joy Mukherjee’s Ji Chahta Hai, in 1964. The most successful composition of the musical duo came in 1965 with Shashi Kapoor’s film Jab Jab Phool Khilen, where Rafi’s songs ‘pardesiyon se na ankhiyan milana”, “mai yahan ek ajnabi hun”, “na na karke pyar” becoming super duper hits. In the film Himalay Ki God Me, 1965, Kalyanji Anandji’s composition and Mukesh and Lata’s songs became successful. In 1967, Kalyanji Anandji won filmfare award for their superlative composition in Manoj Kumar’s Upkaar. Manna Dey’s song “kasme wade” was as successful as Mahendra Kapoor’s song “o mere desh ke dharti” and Rafi’s duet song with Asha Bhosle “Gulabi raat gulabi”.


Rafi’s combination with Kalyanji Anandji continued in Shashi Kapoor’s Haseena Maan Jayegi, in 1968, with songs like “Bekhudi me sanam”, “Chale the saath milke” and the songs in the film Raaz, 1967, where Rafi’s song “Akele Hain Chale Ayo” becoming very  popular. Mukesh’s song “Chandan sa badan” from the film Saraswatichandra, 1968, was also successful. Kalyanji Anandji composed legendary bhajan for Rafi titled “sukh ke sab sathi, dukh me na koi” in Dilip Kumar’s film Gopi, 1970.

In the 1970s, Kalyanji Anandji provided successful songs to Kishore Kumar including “Zindagi ka safar” in the film Safar. Rafi’s song in Raj Kumar’s Maryada, 1971, titled “tu jo aja” had an everlasting effect in the film. Kalyanji Anandji’s composition included hilly tunes composed in Rajender Kumar’s film Geet, in 1970, where Rafi’s songs “aaja tujhko pukare mere geet” becoming everlasting hit.

Kalyanji Anandji were the only musical duo along with Laxmikant Pyarellal, who could blend their own skills with the general taste of popular cinema which changed with passage of time. That was the reason why Kalyanji Anandji succeeded in composing successful songs for Firoz Khan’s films Apradh, 1972, Dharmatma, 1975, Jaanbaaz, 1986, which were spread out in two decades. He even composed successful songs in action pact films like Muqaddar ka Sikander, 1977, where he asked Kishore Kumar to sing the song “rote hue ate hai sab” for Amitabh Bacchan in the happy mood, and Mohammad Rafi to sing the same song in sombre mood for Vinod Khanna in the same film. 

Kalyanji-Anandji with Manmohan Desai, Ramanand Sagar, Kadar Khan and others at Mohd Rafis Funeral

Kalyanji-Anandji with Manmohan Desai, Ramanand Sagar, Kadar Khan and others at Mohd Rafi's Funeral

It is difficult to compile the contribution of Kalyanji Anandji in a short article because they had created everlasting hits in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s. But they had grand association with Rafi, and wherever they got opportunity the combination had provided immortal songs which can be preserved for immense musical value.


Souvik Chatterji
Master of Law from Warwick University, Coventry,UK
Master of Law from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Address: 22/6 K C Ghosh Road, Flat, 1st Floor, Kolkata – 700050

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15 Blog Comments to “Kalyanji Anandji’s association with Mohammad Rafi”

  1. peter says:

    This is the best & true comments on Mohammad Rafi s association with
    Music Maestro Kalyanji Anandji. All three of them are Legends in Indian cinema.History can not be repeated. Old is Gold.

    Comments from :

    Peter Valambia.

  2. RSBAAB Ravi says:

    I agree. Enjoy some of Kalyanji Anandji’s best songs with Mohd Rafi in my latest blogpost at The latest post features magical duets created by Kalyanji Anandji, several of these featured Mohd Rafi.

  3. RSBAAB Ravi says:

    KA really used the wide range of Rafi’s voice. From the lilting Mere Mitwa in Geet, the haunting Akele Hain in Raaz to the modern Nain Milakar from Aamne Saamne, they used the full range. There are many other lovely Rafi – KA songs, too numerous to mention here. See my blog for other facets of Kalyanji-Anandji’s music – like mastery of string instruments and ability compose gems using a singer’s strength.

  4. pc says:

    I would like to comment on Souvik Chatterji’s post wherein he indirectly questioned the capacity of KA using Rafi’s voice with other composers. I disagree with him. You need to know KA’s variety first. There are many songs ofKA with Rafi, whch are not metnioned here. The song of film Ishara Dil Bekarar sa hai, Ji Chahta Hai couple of good songs specially Hamne Dekha hai Tumhen, Samrat Chandragupta songs many others. LP could never produce the class with RAfi which SJ,MM Or Naushad. But every single song of KA with rafi specially duets are always malodious and lilting.

    There are many other specialities of KA are like variety of songs from serious,romantic,westenised,funny,Philosiphical songs,folk songs etc. Their songs with Mukesh are no less than SJ. They used all singers from talat Mehmood, Hemant Kumar,Manna Dey to RAfi, Lata, Asha,Kishore, Mahendra Kapoor and very efficiently. Similarly, they worked with almost all the lyrisist of their time. I simply want to say that KA used all the singers as per situation and requirement including Rafi.

    KA were quitely produced evergreen classics. They songs are being copied maximum by present day musicians and some of their songs were adopted by foreign composres also. Though media gave them minimum coverage but their good work will always speak. They have a huge fan following right from 1960’s.They successfully competed with composers of golden era and later LP and RDB. KA have probably the longest career in Bollywood since 1954 to 1994 almost 40 years amaging indeed.

  5. Raj1961 says:

    PMC thangal the song “main hoon papa khan” is from the 1958 movie “Post Box 999”. You can see it on youtube.

  6. B P BANERJEE says:

    i want to lata magneskar house in peddar road beside sajjan jindan JSW OFFICE is kayan anand ji living in front of jsw office pl send ne address opf bombay any contact no

  7. pmc thangal says:

    the music of ka in earlier filims like samrat chandra gupt, post box 999 and be dard zamana kya jane were much more interesting than the rest of their music.there is an old comic song sung by rafi saab and geeta dutt (mai hum pappa khan madame bil bilan..)under the baton of ka .any one who knows the name of that filim please inform it in this forum.

  8. Sangeetvishwa says:

    Any new composer would be inspired by SJ and Kalyanjibhai was no exception.I remember one of his interview where Kalyanjibhai said that when he came to become the music director he had only one dream to becom a household name like SJ. Naturally the initial years of music of KA and LP resembles to SJ because of the influence SJ had on the industry as MD’S.

    KA is probably much underrated as compared to other MD’S although they were the only ones to work in this industry for 3 decades after LP (35 years) from Parasmani to Dewana Mastana (Govinda-AnilKapoor starer).They had immense talent and kept on changing with times which was the sole reason for their survival. Other talented MD’S for instance Ravi did not survive as much as KA and LP. Infact LP was assistant to KA for some time and later on decided to start on thier own.

    It is true that KA had a liking for Mukesh (may be because of the Guju-Kutchi connection) RD had liking for Kishoreda (may be because of the Bengali connection) but every music director knew that there was no substitute for the god gifted voice of Rafisahab.


  9. Narayan says:

    In one aspect I give credit to KA… They specialised in Rafi-Lata duets which were great popular hits in their career…
    But as quoted by all they were great supporters of Mukesh and Mk…

  10. The comments on Rafi and KA. The songs of Rafi in Jab Jab Phool Khilen like “yahan mai janabee hoon” captured the sombre mood of Rafi. Also the song “dilbar dilbar” in Shashi Kapoor’s film Haseena Mann Jayegi showed the rock and roll andaz of Rafi. Most of the songs of the film Haseena Maan Jayegi had tremendous similarity with the tunes of Shankar Jaikishan. May be during the late 60s due to high remuneration charged by Shankar Jakishan producers could not afford to hire them and KA and LP got lot of opportunities and they justified their scope with brilliant songs in combination with Rafi.

    Souvik Chatterji

  11. myk says:

    K-A definitely had a special liking towards Rafi, their association is excellent from 1958, with Kalyanji scoring solo before Anandji joined him the following year, right until 1980. They definitely gave Rafi a countless number of his and their best songs. Even though they supported Mukesh, they never could do without Rafi, like most composers. In fact, by 1980 Rafi had sung the most number of songs for them, followed by Kishore and then Mukesh. Ofcourse stats are not everything, but they do show another aspect of things.

    Even Pancham, known to be a KK votary, also had a special liking towards Rafi-saab, contrary to popular view. Due to pressures from outside influences (Mr. Korti had mentioned something along these lines before), he probably did not get the chance to give Rafi all the songs he would have liked, but still Rafi sang so many songs for RDB, and whatever Rafi sang for RDB was pure “gold”, one just has to examine the compositions to know that no other singer including KK was capable of singing such songs. Had Rafi not passed away in 1980, Rafi would have sang more songs for RD in the 80’s onwards.

    Mr. Korti, do you have any more information on what RDB said about Rafi-saab, besides the anecdotes, and Vividh Bharti interview you mentioned a while back ?. Btw, did you get a chance to meet and interview Pancham ?.

  12. Harvinder says:

    Ref Raju Korti post # 2.
    I recently watched a recorded interview of Kalyanji in which he talked about his association with other MD’s and singers in general. When Rafi Saheb’s name was mentioned, Kalyanji bhai after having praised all other singers remarked “Dekhoji, Rafi jaisa singer koi nahi ho sakta” He went on to say that whenever an aspiring male singer came to them, they almost always tried singing “O Duniya ke rakhwale” and in 60’s and even 70’s “Dosti” songs to impress the MD’s.
    Surprisngly, Kalyanji considered “Yahan main Ajnabee hoon” from Jab Jab Phool Khile as their best composition with Rafi Saheb.

  13. Souvik Chatterji says:

    Many composers had liking towards other singers along with Rafi. That never meant that they ignore Rafi to any extent. SJ used Mukesh extensively for Raj Kapoor, and even after honouring Salil Choudhury, KA, and other composers who had used Mukesh, any musical pandit will say that SJ had used his range most successfully. But that was only due to the suitaibility of RK’s voice with Mukesh. SJ had tremendous liking for Rafi and showed in majority of songs including “teri zulfonki” from Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, to “janam janam ka saath hai” to “mujhko apne gale lagalo”, etc. KA’s comparison with other composers should lie on the capability of using Rafi’s range if compared with SJ, LP, Naushad, etc., rather than how many songs he had given to Mukesh or KK.
    Souvik Chatterji.

  14. Raju Korti says:

    according to me the best song that rafisaab sang for ka was in preet na jaane reet: “mai bewafaa nahi hoon tere pyaar ki kasam..”
    but let me set the record right. ka were never known to be big votaries of rafisaab. the two came together only when the heroes insisted on rafisaab’s voice. when it came to shammi kapoor and shashi kapoor who extensively opted for rafisaab, they had to perforce use the maestro’s voice. please recall that even for these two die=hard actors, ka made it a point to use mukesh. it is a known fact that ka massively supported mukesh all along. the trend became even more marked when a poker-faced actor like manoj kumar, who initially survived on rafisaab’s largesse, suddenly went off-key, opting for mukesh. i am stating this only as a piece from history. (i have nothing against mukesh, just in case his fans start getting rauccous like sonuji nigam’s fans).
    by the way, it appears to have become a trend on this website to take some lyricist, actor or some personality associated with bollywood, reel out some songs and write a piece. it is my (humble) request to please contribute something substantive about rafisaab’s singing that brings out a particular dimension of his vast range.

  15. shashank says:

    Its nice article but you have not specified two great songs sung by Mohdrafi and Mukesh duet. One is from Johar Mohd in Hongkong, “Karde Karde bhatko” and other was the film Samjauta, “Badi door se aaya hoon”. Mohdrafi sang many songs under Kalyanji Anandji composition. One great song “Mere Mitva mere mit re” from the film Geet.

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