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Mohammad Rafi’s Pathos-Laden Songs

Written by: H.A.K. Walijah

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

It is generally believed that pathos-laden songs is the realm of Mukesh and Talat Mehmood where they bring forth the human pain and suffering of the characters alive on the silver screen through their voices, whereas Rafi Sahab universally acknowledged as all-rounder due to his mind-boggling versatility, while millions revere him as the epitome of romance and solace; but a closer look will reveal that there are so many songs of Rafi Sahab that are really heart-rending and pathos-laden even excelled to Mukesh and Talat Mehmood melancholic songs. I have been a very strong follower of his songs, especially the “dard” that comes out naturally from his voice.  From the very beginning, K.L.Saigal was subjected to the fawning adoration of the public as  a singer he excelled in the pathos-laden songs like Jab dil hi toot gaya, Balam aan baso mere man mein, Karoon kiya aas niras bhayee, Gham diye mustakil Kitna nazuk hai dil. Later on Mukesh had a voice which could convey pathos very well and many of his songs like Dil jalta Hain, Saaranga Teri Yaad Mein etc. are the finest examples. Mukesh had the pathos. Talat Mehmood had the delicate tremor. Kishore Kumar had zany songs as well as gravitas. Rafi had all of the above plus an extra something.

The 50s and 60s are rightly considered to the golden era of Hindi film music. Each song was packaged admirably. One could not take out to a single word or note without destroying the song. The music, lyrics and the singer’s voice all jelled together. The focus used to be on the essential components of the song experience — the mind, the soul and the heart. The soul of the song was of course the voice. Each voice was honed to perfection by long years of classical riyaaz and love for originality. For them satisfying their latent and creative urge was what mattered the most. As long as these great masters remained at the helm of affairs, the Hindi film music retained its excellence and grandeur. Each of them gave his class music a mass touch with their distinct creative touch.  However, the untimely death of Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore and Talat created a void, which the successor singers could not fill up.  In those days film music was divine. It is hard to believe that — at such a distance in time ago-almost half a century there were so many wonderfully gifted people who left behind an inexhaustible treasure of perpetual joy in their music.

The sad songs of Rafi Sahab had the irresistible appeal of the sentiment of love and tender pathos. The inimitable Mohammad Rafi dominated film music for over three decades.  His deep husky voice resplendent in pathos is probably one of the radiant rays in the firmament of music. The heart-rending songs sung by Rafi Sahab touches the deepest chords of pathos expressing deep emotions used to bring tears in the eyes of the listeners and moreover the mellowness, sweetness and pathos in his voice set him apart from all the other singers.  Rafi Sahab had three solos in Guide: Din dhal jaye, Tere mere sapne, and Kya se kya ho gaya. It is interesting to note that S D Burman chose Rafi for three pivotal songs in the movie, which have a heavy dose of pathos and drama.  Listen to Rafi as he matches Mukesh’s pathos in Gham-e-hasti from Vallah Kya Baat Hai and Jinhe naaz hai from Pyaasa.  Just a cursory glance at Rafi’s repertoire shows us his mind-boggling versatility as who else could have sung songs of the patriotic (Kar chale hum fida, Haqeeqat), romantic (Aye husn zara jaag, Mere Mehboob), bidaai (Babul ki duwaein, Neel Kamal), melancholic (Yaad na jaaye, Dil Ek Mandir), philosophical (Yeh mahlon yeh takhton yeh tajon ki duniya, Pyaasa), devotional (Duniya na bhaye, Basant Bahar), classical (Nache mann mora, Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen), and qawwali (Na to carvaan ki talash, Barsaat Ki Raat) genres with so much fervour and effortless ease? Mukesh has given umpteen number of soul searching numbers in Hindi Music. I must say that his range was not as wide as Mohd. Rafi, but in the limited range that he sung, he was every man’s favorite. His songs like “Aansoon Bhari Hai Yeh Jeevan Ke Raahein” (Parvarish) – Is it the saddest song one can ever think of? In my opinion yes…. There is not much of music of wordings that make the song memorable… rather the typical sad tone of Mukesh the second one being “ Dil Jalta Hai To Jalne De”  (Pehli Nazar) – this song that put Mukesh on a fast track in Hindi filmdom. Till date this gem remains as a Mukesh Vintage Favorite and the last but not the least “Zindaa Hoon Is Tarah Ke” (Aag) – The movie that saw the greatest actor-singer combo coming to Bollywood, but this song remains as immortal.

The shade of sadness characterized Rafi’s songs; few could do it better than he, if at all they could do it. Hear the sadly lilting “Koi saghar dil ko behlata nahi / bekhudi mein bhi qarar aata nahi”. Or there is the heart-breaking “Toote hue khwabon ne / hum ko ye sikhaya hai / dil ne jise chaha tha ankhon ne ganwaya hai. In Main zindagi ka saath nibhata chala gaya / har fikr ko dhuen mein urhata chala gaya, or even the  old-fashioned pathos — that rises out of the depths when you recall Mohammad Rafi in “Yaad na jaaye beete dino ki / jaa ke na aaye jo din / dil kyun bulaye unhen”. Yet in another song wherein depicts the attachment between man and the beast “Nafrat ki duniya ko chhod ke pyar ki duniya mein” reminds us the melancholy & pathos vividly expressed because only Mohd. Rafi could have sung into such emotional tone. In “Main tooti huyi ik naiyya hun mujhe chahe jidhar le jaao” yet another specimen from the film Aadmi explicitly audible the pain and suffering of helplessness of the character.  The sadness of the song is evidently exposed by this great singer who has rendered it from his heart. “Aaj Purani Rahon Se koi mujhe awaz na de” from the movie ‘Aadmi’ literally takes you on a tour of the Mysore Brindavan Gardens even as you visualize Dilip Kumar on a wheelchair. I think Rafi is the only singer who has done justice to the lyrics penned by Neeraj – “Subah Na Ayi, Sham Na Ayi” from the  movie Cha Cha Cha and “Nayi Umar Ki Nayi Fasal” – “Swapna jhadde phool se, Meet chhubhe shool se….”. The title song of “Patthar Ke Sanam” remains another favourite. Listening to these songs by Rafi –these are filled with so much pathos that it really touches a chord in your heart – to name a few – “Na tuh zameen ke liye, hai na asman ke liye”, “Nazar athi nahin manzil, tadapne se bhi kya haasil”. There are lots more. The repertoire does not end, not here, not anywhere.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Rafi Saab never seen not smiling.  A truly divine soul. From where did he borrow tears for these amazing songs! Good humans may have more insight into the human plight, as they say! It is very difficult to select the sad songs from thousands of songs sung by Rafi Sahab, but anyhow the below list shows the songs mainly based on melancholic mood are the best popular numbers and also all are my favorites.  I did not mention the name of the movie and year against each song as most of the Rafi fans are well aware of these popular songs and I am sure they know it by heart.

  1. Apna hai tu begana nahin
  2. Aap ke pehlu main
  3. Aag hai lagi huyee
  4. Aaj purani raahon se
  5. Aaj kal main dhal gaya
  6. Aja tujh ko pukare
  7. Akele hain chale aao
  8. Apni aankhon main basa kar
  9. Aaye bahar ban ke lubha kar
  10. Babul ki duayen leti jaa
  11. Barbad e mohabbat ki dua
  12. Bhari duniya main aakhir dil
  13. Chahoonga main tujhe
  14. Chal ud ja re panchchi
  15. Chalo re doli uthao kahar
  16. Dekhi zamane ki yaari
  17. Dil jo na keh saka
  18. Dil ke jharokhe main
  19. Dil ki aawaz bhi sun
  20. Dil ka soona saaz
  21. Dil ne phir yaad kiya hai
  22. Din dhal jaaye haaye
  23. Dono ne kiya tha pyar magar
  24. Doston main koyee baat
  25. Duniya na bhaye mujhe
  26. Gham uthane ke liye
  27. Hum tum se juda ho kar
  28. Huye hum jinke leiye barbaad
  29. Huyee sham un ka khayal
  30. Humne jafa na seekhi
  31. Hum intezar karenge
  32. Hum to chale pardes
  33. Hum bekhudi main tum ko
  34. Is bhari duniya main
  35. Jaane walon zaraa
  36. Jo unki tamanna hai barbaad
  37. Kabhi khud pe kabhi haalat
  38. Kabhi na kabhi kahin na kahin
  39. Kahan tera insaaf hai
  40. Kar chale hum fida jaan o tan
  41. Keh do koi na kare yahan
  42. Khilona jaan kart um
  43. Khush rahe tu sada
  44. Khushboo hoon main phool
  45. Kya hua tera wada
  46. Kya se kya ho gaya
  47. Koi sagar dil ko behlata
  48. Koi sone ke dil wala
  49. Kuch log yahan par aise
  50. Man tarpat hari darshan ko
  51. Main tere dar pe aaya hoon
  52. Main wohi wohi raat
  53. Maine chand aur sitaron ki
  54. Maine rakha hai mohabbat
  55. Man re tu kahe na
  56. Mera to job hi kadam hai
  57. Mere dost kissa ye kya
  58. Mere dushman tu meri
  59. Mere mehboob tujhe meri
  60. Mere mitwa mere meet re
  61. Meri hasraton ki duniya
  62. Mile na phool to kanton se
  63. Mujhe mat roko mujhe gaane
  64. Na aadmi ka koi bharosa
  65. Na tu zameen ke liye
  66. Naseeb main jis ke jo likha
  67. Nazar aati nahin manzil
  68. O door ke musafir
  69. O duniya ke rakhwale
  70. Pardesiyon se na aankiyan
  71. Pathar ke sanam tujhe
  72. Phir woh bhooli se yaad
  73. Raahi manwa dukh ki chinta
  74. Raat bhar ka mehman andhera
  75. Raha gardishon main har dam
  76. Rang aur noor ki baraat
  77. Sab ke rehte lagta hai aise
  78. Saathi na koi manzil
  79. Sau baar janam lengey
  80. Suhani raat dhal chuki
  81. Such ke sab saathi
  82. Toote huye khawabon ne
  83. Teri galiyon main
  84. Teri zulf se judai to nahin
  85. Tujeh kya sunaoon main dilruba
  86. Tujh ko pukare mera pyar
  87. Tukde hain mere dil ke
  88. Tum bin jaon kahan
  89. Tum mujhe yoon bhula na
  90. Tumhari  zulf ke saye main
  91. Tumhi ne dard diya hai
  92. Waqt se din aur raat
  93. Woh woh na rahe jin ke liye
  94. Woh jab yaad aaye
  95. Yaad na jaye bite dinon ki
  96. Yahan main ajnabi hoon
  97. Yeh aansoo mere dil ki zuban
  98. Yeh duniya nahin jaagir kisi ki
  99. Yeh duniya yeh mehfil
  100. Yeh zindagi ke mele
  101. Zindagi to bewafa hai ek din
  102. Zindagi teri yaadon main khoyi
  103. Zindagi zinda dili ka naam

I agree, the lyrics and melody in those years was better. And one appreciates Rafi more now listening to him. I think the seriousness with which he was considered however no one could take away from that fantastic voice. In this list itself, there are some super haunting numbers!

– Din Dhal Jaaye Haaye
– Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Halat
– Ham Bekhudi Mein Tum Ko
– Maine Chand Aur Sitaron Ki
– Raat Bhar Ka Hai Mehmaan
– Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki

This also reminds me of another superb performance of Rafi in the film “Sehra”. “Taqdir ka fasana, jaker kisko sunayen, is dil mein jal rahe hain, armano ki chitayen.”

More sad numbers of Rafi Saab –

–Akela hoon main, is duniya main – Jaal,
-Aaj ki raat mere – Ram aur Shyam,
-Keh do koi na karen yahan pyar – Gunj uthi Shenai,
-Dekhi zamane ki yarri bichade sabhi barri barri – Kagaz ke phool.

I can still say one thing ……..he is the best even in sad songs, look at these songs:

–  Ye duniya, ye mehfil
–  Nafrat ke duniya ko chodke
–  Chalo re doli uthao
–  Ab tumhare havale

An amazing and superb songs from Deedar (1951) by Rafi Saheb, Dilip Saheb’s performance along with Nargis in this movie was much appreciated in those days. All the songs from this movie were just too good. Excellent music by Naushad Saab and fantastic lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni Sahab. The three solo classic lamentation songs still considered to be as the priceless gems which are ~

– Huye hum jin ke liye barbaad
– Naseeb dar pe tere aazmana
– Meri kahani bhulne wale tera jahan

A very sad romantic song by Rafi Saheb singing for Dilip Kumar under Naushad Saab great music.though this movie Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966) was not a blockbuster hit, but all the songs composed by Naushad Sahab created lots of magic in the heart of the audience…enjoy these solos by Rafi Saheb.

– Guzre Hain Aaj Ishq Mein
– Koi Sagar Dil ko Behlata nahin

Likewise in Uran Khatola “O Door ke Musafir “an unforgettable melody composed by Naushad Saab.

One of the best songs from Madhumati sung by Rafi Sahab….only he could have given justice to this wonderful song under the composition of Salil Choudhary… Toote Huye Khwabon Ne as well as in “Maya” – Koi sone ke dilwala, koi chandi ke dilwala……..

I am sure everyone would come out with his own list rather than restricting to the above mentioned songs. I bet all have their own favorites to contribute, let us explore all great pathos-laden songs sung by Rafi Sahab that I have missed, neglected or most probably forgot to mention.

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53 Blog Comments to “Mohammad Rafi’s Pathos-Laden Songs”

  1. gautam banerjee says:

    Pleasr don’t bring K.L.Saigal into this. He was the Pioneer, trend setter.

  2. Prem Kumar says:

    Dear Walijah sahab,

    For so long there is no fresh post from you sir, Hope to grace nice post to rafi forum.

    In anticipation of good hopes.

    Prem Kumar

  3. ANEES says:

    My second post about Talat Mehmood Sahab.

    Talat Saab played the lead in ten films some of which were big hits. In Nitin Bose’s Waris the debonair and romantic Talat co-starred with the other singing-star of the era, Suraiya. He played the son of a zamindar who’s disinherited by his father after he marries a commoner. The role brought Talat saab a wealth of appreciation both as singer and actor. Talat Saab’s last acting excursion was in Shaheed Latif’s ‘Sone ki Chidiya’ where he played the slightly negative part of a journalist who jilts Nutan when he cannot have her ancestral wealth. Some movie critics of the time felt the movie failed because audiences couldn’t accept Talat Mahmood as anything but a perfect gentleman.

    In his songs as well as in person Talat Saab was a thoroughly refined human being. His early years in Lucknow had instilled a sense of aesthetic propriety in his personality. In his short career as a playback singer in Mumbai, Talat Saab never sang a word that was improper or rude. Decent lyrics were his prerequisite for singing a song. He never compromised on that score even if it meant losing out on assignments. Although he sang relatively fewer numbers than his illustrious contemporaries, Mohd.Rafi, Manna Dey and Hemant Kumar almost every number that Talat Saab sang possessed a distinguished timbre and an abiding grace. Even when he was cajoled into crooning the tipsy number ‘Sun bhai humnein pi’ for Dev Anand in ‘Roop ki Rani Choron ka Raja’ Talat Saab brought an exquisite elan into the rendition. By the late 60s, the regal-throated recluse, found himself unable to empathize with changing trends. Barring the lilting duet with Lataji in ‘Woh din yaad karo’ Talat Saab preferred to concentrate from the 70s onwards on live concerts and on non- film recordings.

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