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Mohammed Rafi and Manoj Kumar: Rafi harmonic for Mr. Bharat

This article is written by Mr. Biman Baruah, Assam.

Mohd Rafi with Manoj Kumar and Sai Baba

Mohd Rafi with Manoj Kumar and Sai Baba

Mohammed Rafi was a universal voice and he was mostly associated with all the stars of his time. Mukesh was considered the soul of Raj Kapoor & Manoj Kumar and Mahendra Kapoor was the other voice for Manoj Kumar. But Rafi Saheb was not an unfamiliar person for Manoj Kumar. The universal voice had a good vocal innings for Mr. Bharat (Bharat is the Sanskrit & Hindi term for INDIA) in the films: Shaheed(1965), Gumnaam(1965), Do Badan(1966), Sawan Ki Ghata(1966), Patther Ke Sanam(1967), Saajan(1969), Amaanat(1977), etc.  

Manoj Kumar was born as Harikishen Goswami in Abbottabad, currently in Pakistan and when he was 10, his Hindu family shifted to India due to Partition. He decided to name himself as Manoj Kumar after seeing his idol Dilip Kumar’s character in SHABNAM (1949), who made his unnoticed film debut in FASHION (1957). Then he did small role in Panchayat, before rising as a hero in Honeymoon, Suhag Sindor, Reshmi Roomal, Piya Milan Ki Aas, Kaanch Ki Gudiya, but these unsuccessful films did nothing for him. He was established as an actor with Vijay Bhatt’s musical hit Hariyali Aur Raasta & Himalay Ki God Mein and Raj Khosla’s thriller Woh Kaun Thi. In the film Himalay Ki God Mein, Rafi Saheb lent his voice for Manoj Kumar in a duet, “Tu Raat Khadi Thi Chhat Pe, Ni Main Samja Ki Chand Nikla” by Rafi, Usha Timothy & Chorus in Punjabi style.         

Manoj Kumar’s image as a patriotic hero was started with film SHAHEED, which was based on martyr Bhagat Singh of India’s Freedom Movement. The film was a huge hit due to musical score by Prem Dhawan with some memorable patriotic songs sung by Mohammed Rafi. The songs from the film, “Aye Watan Aye Watan Hum Ko Teri Kasam” & “O Mera Rang De Basanti Chola” were picturised on Manoj Kumar. The success of Shaheed is a turning point in the career of Manoj Kumar which inspired him in later stag to act and direct the films like Upkar (1967), Purab Aur Paschim (1970), Roti Kapda Aur Makaan (1974) and Kranti (1981) with patriotic themes.       

Raja Nawathe’s suspense thriller Gumnaam start with opening song, “Jan Pahechan Ho” sung by Mohammed Rafi which was picturised on Laxmi Chhya & Herman Benjamin. In the film, Rafi Saheb lent his voice for Manoj Kumar in the solo “Ek Ladki Hai Jisne Jeena Mushkil Kar Diya” & in the duet by Rafi & Sharda “Jane Chaman Shola Badan, Pehlu Main Aa Jayo” which were picturised on Manoj Kumar & Nanda. Another popular comic Rafi tune from the film, “Hum Kaale Hai Tu Kiya Huwa Dilwaale Hai” was beautifully picturised on Mehmood & Helen.     

Do Badan is another hit film of this combination, produced by Huda Bihari and directed by Raj Khosla starring Manoj, Asha Parekh and Simi Garewal. In the film Manoj Kumar played the role of distressed lover and Rafi Saheb soulfully harmonic for him in the songs: “Naseeb Mein Jike Jo Lika Tha, Woh Teri Mehfil Mein Kaam Aaya“, “Bhari Duniya Mein Aakhir Dil Ko Samjane Kaha Jayee“, and “Raha Gardishon Mein Hardam, Mere Ishq Ka Sitara“. All the Rafi solos from the film are everlasting and the film had also three Filmfare nominations in the field of Music: Best Music Director- Ravi, Best Lyricist-Shakeel Badayuni for the song “Naseeb Mein Jike Jo Lika Tha” and Best Playback Singer-Lata Mageshkar for the song “Loo Aa Gayi Unki Yaad“. 

Mohd Rafi with Manoj Kumar and Satya Sai Baba

Mohd Rafi with Manoj Kumar and Satya Sai Baba

In Shakti Samanta’s Sawan Ki Ghata starring Manoj Kumar, Sharmila Tagore and Mumtaz, Rafi Saheb had sung the romantic solo, “Zulfon Ko Hatale Chehre Se, Thoda Sa Ujjala Hone De” & duet with Asha Bhonsle “Hothon Pe Hansi Aankhon Pe Nasha” for Manoj Kumar in the signature tune of O.P. Nayyar.  

In Raja Nawathe’s Patther Ke Sanam, initially both the heroine Mumtaz and Waheeda Rehman decided to laugh at hero Manoj Kumar and make him believe that both are in love with him. He finds out and imagines that he has fallen in love with both, as a result both the girl ends up falling in love with him. In highlighting the situation, Rafi Saheb had sung his best solo, “Pathar Ke Sanam, Tujhe Hamne Mohabbat Ka Khuda Jana, Badi Bhool Hui Aarey Hamne Kiya Jana” for Manoj Kumar sitting in the piano. The song depicts the triangular relationship between Manoj Kumar, Waheeda Rehman and Mumtaz. The other popular songs from the film, “Toba Yeh Matwali Chaal” & “Mehboob Mere, Mehboob Mere Tu Hai Duniya Bhi Haseen Hai” were sung by Mukesh Saheb for Manoj Kumar.           

The romantic Rafi numbers from Mohan Segal’s murder mystery SAAJAN, “Saajan Saajan Pukaru Galiyon Mein, Kabhi Phoolon Main Dhundu, Kabhi Kaaliyon Main” & “Resham Ki Dori” was picturised on Manoj Kumar and Asha Parekh. The songs are still popular.

The topical Rafi pearl, “Paise Ki Pehchan Yehan, Insan Ki Kimat Koyi Nahin, Bas Ke Nikal Ja Ish Basti Mein Karta Mohabbat Koyi Nahin” from Sohan Lal Kanwar’s PEHCHAN (1970) was also picturised on Manoj Kumar, but it was in background and composed by Shankar Jaikishan. The song started in the climax of the film when Manoj Kumar was thrown out by miscreants from the “Red Light Area” while he went there to put away a prostitute. Rafi Saheb was so heart-touching in the song and audiences started crying in the Cinema Halls while the song was played in the background.         

Shatrujit Paul’s Ammanat staring Manoj Kumar and Sadhana is the last film of this singer-actor combination and the Rafi songs from the film “Matlab Nikal Gaya Hai To, Pehchan Te Nahin” and “Door Rahekar” was so popular in late 1970s. 

A list of Rafi gems picturised on Manoj Kumar

SL No. Year Film Song Music Lyrics
1 1965 Shaheed Aye Watan Aye Watan Humko Teri Kasam Prem Dhawan Prem Dhawan
2 1965 Gumnaam Ek Ladki Hai Jisne Jina Muskil Kar Diya Shankar Jaikishan Hasarat Jaipuri
3 1965 Himalay Ki God Mein Ai Tu Raat Khadi Thi Chhat Pe Kalyanji Anandji Anand Bakshi
4 1966 Do Badan Naseeb Mein Jike Jo Lika Tha Ravi Shakeel Badayuni
5 1966 Sawan Ki Ghata Zulfon Ko Hatale Chehre Se O.P.Nayyar Shamsul Huda Behari
6 1967 Patthar Ke Sanam Patthar Ke Sanam Tujhe Hamne Mohabbat Ka Khuda Jana Laxmikant Pyarelal Majrooh Sultanpuri
7 1969 Saajan Sajan Sajan Pukaru Galiyon Mein Laxmikant Pyarelal Anand Bakshi
8 1977 Ammanat Matlab Nikal Gaya Hai To Ravi Anand Bakshi


In addition to playback singing, Manoj Kumar also had a complementary association with golden voice of Rafi Saheb. Rafi Saheb was the voice of the theme song, “Gulabi Raat Gulabi” from Manoj Kumar’s directional debut & masterpiece, UPKAR (1967). The song was a duet by Rafi-Asha Bhosle composed by Kalyanji Anandji in the lyrics of Indeewar. The first two popular songs from the film SHIRDI KE SAI BABA(1977) written by Manoj Kumar, “Sai Baba Bolo” and “Sainath Tere Hazaaron Haath” were sung by Mohammed Rafi under composition of Pandurang Dikshit. The film was also written and presented by Manoj Kumar.

Lastly, Rafi Saheb was the voice of Manoj Kumar’s idol thespian Dilip Kumar in the popular multi-singer song, “Chana Jor Garam Babu Mein Layee Mazedar” from KRANTI (1981). The song was sung by Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Nitin Mukesh & Chorus under composition of Laxmikant Pyarelal in the lyrics of Santosh Anand. Rafi Sahab beautifully sung the lines “Mera Chana Hai Apni Marzi Ka, Yeh Dusman Hai Khudgarzi Ka” for Dilip Kumar and it was the last song by Rafi Saheb for Dilip Sahab. Kranti was the last notable & successful film in the career of Manoj Kumar, after Karnti his career began to decline as all his films: PAINTER BABU (1983), KALYUG AUR RAMAYAN (1987), DESHWASI (1989), SANTOSH (1989), CLERK (1989), MAIDAN-E-JUNG (1995) and JAI HIND (1999) failed at the box office. In the mean time he was awarded the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989 before turning out of limelight.                           

Though Manoj Kumar’s practical association was not enough with Rafi Saheb, he was a great admirer of Rafi Saheb. Sometimes, Manoj Kumar remarked “Mohammed Rafi is incomparable; no one can be better than him“.

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17 Blog Comments to “Mohammed Rafi and Manoj Kumar: Rafi harmonic for Mr. Bharat”

  1. S Srinivasan says:

    Rafi indispensable in Indian cinema
    And beyond compare. He is unmatched
    As singer and person.

  2. Anmol Singh says:

    Hello Bharuah Ji,

    Thanks for sharing you knowledge on the Rafi – Manoj Kumar association. In fact your acticle provided me with valuable inputs on many Rafi songs picturized on Manoj Kumar which I wasn’t aware.

    Please keep writing such incredible articles.

  3. N.MURTY says:

    Dear fellow Rafians, I am sorry for this late entry.I am an ardent fan of Mohd.Rafi saheb and visiting this website regularly for a long time.Re:post 12 by pvks raju/Manojkumar introducing rafi saheb to Satya Saibaba,took place at Manojkumars residence in Sep-Oct,1975.This incident was narrated by Ms.Deviyani Chaubal in Oct,75 edition of Star&Style.When Satya Saibaba visited Bombay, Manojkumar arranged a gathering of Saibaba devotees at his place to be addressed by Satya Saibaba.At the appointed time Satya Saibaba came and addressed the gathering including Mohd. Rafi ,Mukesh and Kishorekumar.After the talk,Devi and others thought that Satya Saibaba would vanish into thin air like god himself but instead he had started walking out and suddenly turned back and went straight to Mohd Rafi and blessed him! Earlier Rafi rendered a Bhajan on Satya Saibaba upon his arrival. This was inSep-Oct,75 and Rafi saheb started his fightback through Laila-Majnu in Nov,76.Rafisaheb, the greatest playback singer India produced is well respected and liked by people from all walks of life and religions. He is the most secular voice of India.

  4. Imran Rustam says:

    Very Informative write up by Mr. Biman Baruah, Assam, I want to congrats him for this article.

    As Manoj Kumar remarked “Mohammed Rafi is incomparable; no one can be better than him“ and this is reality.


  5. unknow says:

    If am not wrong Raj Kapoor and Manoj Kumar they mostly used Mukesh as singer but both of them almost said that Mohd Rafi is the best singer…As Mukesh son said that his father was himself was Mohd Rafi fan and his father said him that I will sing my songs and you should sing Mohd Rafi songs in his stage programms ………..

  6. pvks raju says:

    Very nice article. Indeed the photograph showing Mr Manoj Kumar introducing Rafi Saheb to Bhagawan Satya Sai Baba is a memorable pic. Was it during the release of Shirdi Ke Sai Baba in 1977/78? Were was the pic taken at one of Bhagwan’s visit to Mumbai nagari or at puttaparti, the abode of the Baba? Rafi Saheb though a devout musalmaan pays humble respects to Bhagwan Satya Sai……. that was the greatness of Rafi Saheb. Frankly, Mahendra kapurji was simply inspired by Rafi Saheb school of singing. This can be noticed in all his songs…. pitch, mood, expression and range. Mahendraji had immense admiration for Rafi Saheb and it showed in his songs. Manoj ji would have wanted a voice slightly different but in the mould of RafiSaheb to suit his image and Mahendraji fitted well. Manoj ji had scripted his films very well. All of them were instant musical hits and registered very excellent box office collections in those days and which made all Indians proud. Kudos to Manoj kumar ji and his movie themes.

  7. Naveen Zalpuri says:

    Great article,

    One more masterpiece from Reshmi Rumal (I think or could be Naqli Nawab)

    Tum Poochte Ho Ishq Bhala Hae Ki Nahin Hae,
    Kya Jano Tumhe Khaufe Khuda Hae Ki Nahin Hae,


  8. shashank says:

    Grt8 article Bimanji abt rafisahab with manoj kumarji. ok. I want to know how I will get the DVD of Mohdrafisahab’s documentary recently produced by Kuldeepji.

  9. Narayan says:

    Dear Bimmanji, Adaab Rafi!
    Lovely article on a lovely combination of Rafi sahab and Manojji

  10. Dr. Khaja Aliuddin says:

    Janab Biman Baruah Saheb,
    Congratulation for an excellant writing. I will add three more diamonds of Rafi-Manoj Combo.
    1.Ham to pahle hi nazar me dil de chuke hain tumhen-Apna Banake Dekho
    2.Raaz-e-dil unse chhupaya na gaya, pyar ki aag khch aisi bhadki-Apna Banake Dekho. For both songs MD Ravi and lyricist Asad Bhopali
    3.Ab mohabbath jo pahle thi vo taseer nahi- Banarasi Thug. MD is Iqbal Qureshi and lyrics by Akhtar Waarsi
    With regards to all rafi lovers,
    Long live Rafi Sahab
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  11. binu nair says:

    Post 5……

    in mohd rafi’s absence, other singers got some great songs. apart from upkar, the songs of aradhana (all of them) were to be sung by mohd rafi.

    I had met shakti samanta a year back and had specifically asked him about the aradhana songs. said he : i wanted my film to complete and mohd rafi was unavailable. hence , i requested sd b. to take kishore kumar who has worked with sdb.
    two top songs – solos sung by kk created a wave and rajesh khanna and kishore kumar saw unparelleled success.

    binu nair

  12. MOHAMED PARVEZ says:


  13. Utthara says:

    Bimanji, your article is like a valuable guide. You have given us a very comprehensive article. Though Mukesh and later Mahendra Kapoor became the voice of Manoj, it was Rafi’s voice which suited him very well. Actually during Upkar time, Manoj was to record Mere desh ki dharti in Rafi’s voice. Since Rafi was at that time abroad and Manoj wanted to finish the recording, he took Mahendra Kapoor. And Maherdra Kapoor won awards for this song.



  14. Dear Mr. Biman baruah Ji,
    Thanks For writing the article on Bharat or Manoj Kumar with Legendary Mohd. Rafi Sahib. I think that manoj kumar home production film Shaheed, Upkar, Kranti, Roti Kapda Or Makaan or Sai Nath Tere Hazaron Haath in all the
    movie bharat utilize the voice of rafi sahib he is always successful.
    Bharat think that mahehdra kapoor become his voice but whenever you use the rafi sahib voice in the patriotic songs bharat gets the good response from the audience. In the back ground song of UPKAAR Rafi sahib GULABI RAAT KI HAR BAAT GULABI is the main song which present the story of the whole picture by this song. Sai Nath Tere Hazarib Haath all the religious bhajan sung by legendary rafi sahib, SAI BABA BOLON rafi sahib used the very softly voice for that song. In the words of Mr. Manoj Kumar ” RAFI SAHIB IS INCOMPARABLE; NO ONE CAN BE BETTER THAN HIM. WHY Mr. Bharat forget these words? why Mr. Bharat totally depends on the Mahendra Kapoor?
    Thanks & Regards,
    Suresh Chauhan
    ( Ludhiana )

  15. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    Small corrections. “Mera Rangde Basanti” was sung by Mahendra and not Rafi. In fact, in this movie ‘SHAHEED’, Rafi sang two more numbers “Sarfaroshi Ki Tamanna” along with Mannada and “Pagdi Sambhal Gacha”.

    Rafi saab also sang for MK in movies like Naqli Nawab (Jidar Jo Main Dekhun), Gruhasti, Poonam KI Raat (Dil Tadape Tadapaye), Bedaag (Zindagi Ke Mod Par, Maine Ae Jaane Wafa and Ae Bedaag in back-ground), etc.

  16. Gan Sharma says:

    Dear Baruah saab,

    Thank you for a very, very informative article. I didn’t know that the Manoj Kumar / Rafi combination was this wide…thanks for pointing it out with so many facts.

  17. A S MURTY says:

    Biman baruahji many thanks for this full scale article on manoj kumar-rafi sahab combination and you have provided with all the inputs, leaving in fact nothing for anyone else to contribute. i was actually waiting for such an article on this lovely combination and it came sooner than expected. the song from shaheed – jalte bhi rahe mitate bhi rahe azaadi ke parwane (aye watan aye watan hum ko teri kasam) – is a milestone in the life of manoj kumar and the patriotic fervor that the song generates is seen till today during our independence day, republic day celebrations and in many other similar functions. the song comes in phases in the film upto the time the three martyrs are marched towards the gallows. it is a pity that manoj kumar did not use the services of rafi sahab for patriotic songs more and depended on mahendra kapoor after the immensely successful ‘upkar’. on the whole, a complete and a compact article. keep it up.

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