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Mohammed Rafi – Kishore Kumar : Great Legends : Greatest Friends – “Bane Chahe Dushman Zamana Hamara Salamat Rahe Dostana Hamara”

By D.P.Bijoor

Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar

Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar

The Hindi Film Industry of musical entertainment since its inception over 7 decades, has undoubtedly given music lovers especially in India and in general, all over the world the pleasure of listening to lilting and soulful melodies composed by eminent lyricisits of the byegone era and embellished by the golden voice of Immortal singers whose memories can never be erased with the passage of time.

Friends, from among the handful of most precious pearls unearthed from the depths of the Ocean as it were, – two musical GENIUSES come readily to mind both of whom   have created a niche for themselves in the industry and in the minds & hearts of their   innumerable fans & admirers as “GREAT LEGENDS”. Yes, I definitely mean two of the “GREATEST FRIENDS” – Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi to be very precise, both of whom are alas, no more with us today.

As is commonly known, Mohammad Rafi & Kishore Kumar were born on 24th December 1924 and 4th August 1929 respectively. During their relatively short life, the two friends were associated in almost 59 songs approximately of which, 33 songs have been recorded as  duets and the balance 26 songs can be categorized as multiple voiced songs  comprising of 2 or more singers. Rafi Sahab started his career in the year 1944 with the Punjabi film “Gulbaloch” whereas Kishore Da started his career in the year 1948 with the film “Ziddi” with the song “Marne kee duwayen kyoon mange” picturized on Dev Anand with music scored by Dada Burman.

In my (very earlier years when I was   young ) younger days I always carried a (very wrong impression) misconception that since Rafi Sahab has sung for Kishoreda, he automatically was the greatest of the two, however when I had the opportunity of personally meeting these 2 legends I became aware of my misplaced views.(the exact situation) In the year 1958 in the film “Raagini” the lovely song “Mana mora bawara nisadin gaaye geet Milan ke” was the first song which Rafi Sahab had sung for Kishoreda. The erroneous belief (wrong impression) created for this song was since it was a classical based note it was offered to Rafi Sahaab, but the unknown fact behind this move was that initially the hero of this film “Raagini” was Bharat Bhushan and accordingly this song was recorded in Rafi’s voice to suit the actor mainly considering the stupendous success of Baiju Bawara. Subsequently the lead role was enacted by Kishore Kumar and to save on the expenses of re-recording the song all over again in Kishoreda’s voice it was decided to retain the earlier version sung by Rafi Sahab in this film. The other songs sung by Rafi for Kishore were “Ajab hai dastaan teree hai zindagi” from the film Shararat in the year 1959, “Hume koyee gam hai” & “Masiha banke bimaronke chale ho kahan karke jee bekarar” from the film Bhagam Bhag in the year 1956. Friends the main reason for Rafi Sahab singing these songs for Kishore is believed to be family unrest prevailing in Kishoreda’s house in those days which were so genuine that Rafi Sahab  used to be present unfailingly (come running ) for the scheduled recordings of his close friend Kishoreda.

Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar

Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar

Such lovely incidents never created any professional envy or misunderstanding between these 2 gentlemen but in-fact immensely helped in further bonding their friendship & relationship to grow stronger!!

I would like to quote an incidence to prove my point of view –

After the stupendous success of “Aradhana” – Kishore da became immensely popular and this led to organizing various “Kishore Nite “ programs in full swing. During a similar program scheduled in Kolhapur, a large group of Kishoreda’s fans & admirers had gathered at the hotel to meet him and to obtain his autograph. One of his admirers had carried a transistor in which Rafi Sahab’s song was being played and seeing Kishoreda in front; the said admirer immediately switched off  the transistor which Kishoreda minutely noticed and requested the admirer to again switch on the radio and quietly listened to Rafi Sahab’s song being played. Kishoreda remarked that it gives immense pleasure to hear Rafi’s songs and he further exclaimed “In our film industry will you ever find a sweet voice like Rafi Sahab’s?

This gesture on the part of Kishoreda indeed proves the great respect for each other.

Rafi Sahab & Kishoreda came together in many duets beginning with the film “Malkeen” in the year 1953 which was produced by the popular comedian of that era Gope. The music for this file was scored by Late Roshan and the lovely duet was “Kahee se oonchee kahee se nich sadak jamane kee sambhal ke chalna babuji”and this song was pictured on Gope & Yakub.

Other popular duets:

Aadhi tum khalo aadhi hum khale Fifty Fifty Madan Mohan 1956
Chal shooroo ho ja Humjoli Laxmikant Pyarelal 1970
Halka halka sa rang gulabee Khoj Usha Khanna 1971
Yoon na sharma faila de apnee Parwana Madan Mohan 1971
Yaadon kee baarat nikali hai Yaadonkee Baarat R D Burman 1973
Saa Re Ga Ma pa dha nee sa Chupke Chupke S D Burman 1975
Tera jalwa toba hai tera jalwa Aap ke Diwane Rajesh Roshan 1980
Tumko khush dekhkar main bahot Aap ke Diwane Rajesh Roshan 1980
Ek raasta aha aha do rahee aha aha Ram Balram Laxmikant Pyarelal 1980

Friends, when Rafi Sahab left us for his heavenly abode on that devastating night of July 31, 1980 it was Kishoreda who was seated at the feet of Rafi Sahab for hours together weeping & crying inconsolably like a child.!!  Was this the mark of the great bonded relationship OR Enmity?

Indeed, both were GREAT LEGENDS of their times & Of course, DEAREST FRIENDS !!! How true then, that they had together, rendered the popular number in their inimitable voice………..

Bane Chahe Dushman Zamana Hamara Salamat Rahe Dostana Hamara

This small article has been penned by Mr D P Bijoor but would not have been possible without the help & able guidance from Mr Mohan S Murdeshwar.

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112 Blog Comments to “Mohammed Rafi – Kishore Kumar : Great Legends : Greatest Friends – “Bane Chahe Dushman Zamana Hamara Salamat Rahe Dostana Hamara””

  1. Tariq Ali says:

    This is what we mean the truth of our stars comes out after they pass on.

    The media create mischief our industry should read this it shows homu much respected rafi Saab.

    In fact I read some where that Rafi himself classically trained stated that he was a lesser of a singer than kishoreda.

    He said kishoreda without any training was voice from the almighty.

    Just shows they were brothers and cared for each other, these two angels will always live on they are gifts from the above for us to share.

  2. Umakant Dhande says:

    It was a golden era of Indian Cinema and Indian music. Mohd. Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lataji, Mukeshji, Ahaji and other singers, music Director, Lyricsis of their time have contributed to the Film industry. Really it is memorable could not be forgotten.

  3. Sarwat Baig says:

    Simply put there was only respect, admiration, generosity, envy, and professionalism among the singing gentlemen of that wonderful era. Didi’s malice was intended not only for rival female singers but also for her own sisters. The damage that was inflicted on the music industry by Mr. Dev Anand (with no ulterior motives I am sure) when he tried to impose Kishore Sahib on those who weren’t inclined towards the singer reached torturous heights when that brilliant actor with a vile heart seemed to be possessed by some demon inside him. His diabolism drove him to a frenzy when he used his star power to oust Mohd Rafi sahib from the industry. Mohd Rafi Sahib was a man with a heart full of contentment and pride till he breathed his last due to the love showered on him by the Almighty, his family, colleagues, and his fans. He left for his heavenly abode still trying to fulfil his commitments because he never tried to snatch a morsel from someone else’s mouth. But the first super star, Mr. Rajesh Khanna…? Need I say more? I strongly feel that Kishore Sahib is completely innocent in all matters except that he should have struck ‘singer’ off his list of ‘When I grow up I will become a …’.

  4. Binu Nair says:

    Rafi with 41 years of Singing beginning with Lahore AIR and then to Bombay Studios – is miles ahead.

    No singer can come near to Mohd Rafi – in any aspect of a Song . Or as a Humble and God fearing Person who was always a Giver.

    He attributed his Success to God – Allah for him.

    From Rafi Foundation Trust.

  5. Oh! please do not dish out wrong information, nowhere Lataji pronounced Kishore Kumar is greater than great Md Rafi sahab, she held KK very highly, that’s true, but she never said KK is ahead of Md Rafi sahab. Rather, in 2009, in leading new paper Hindusthan Times,she wrote in a short article that Md Rafi sahab is the greatest singer of India in the realm of modern singing. She further mention, ” me, Mannada, Asha, or Kishoreda, neither had the terrific range that Md Rafi sahab had. Please remember what Sonu Nigam said in a recorded interview, the one, which is always available in youtube, and any music lover can listen to it, where he said without any ambiguity that ‘ those who say KK was great in his own way, Manna Da was also great if he is given to sing to his strength, so Mukeshji or Hemant Kumar had their unique qualities which none can touch upon, DO NOT UNDERSTAND A B C D OF MUSIC, since in the realm of Male singing Md Rafi is the greatest, since none has the divine, memerizing timbre that he possessed, and none could encompass the broad spectrum and variety, that Md Rafi was capable of singing. In all recent polls, conducted by CNN IBM or ‘Times of India’ Md Rafi has emerged to be the most popular singer of Bollywood till date. Thanx

  6. Ganesh says:

    Lata’s description of these two singers are a bit confusing…on the one hand, she talks about rafi being the greatest ever and has described his various singing abilities at length, his versatility,voice quality and modulation, his vocal range etc. With Kishore, she taks about him being the best all-round talent (acting/music director/singer etc), funny guy who makes everyone laugh during recordings, and mentions that he sang ALL his songs really well…and that Rafi sang “most” his songs really well. Not sure if this is true…even if it is, the same would apply to Lata and Asha, with Asha doing the Kishore bit. Kishore tried his best to avoid songs that did not suit him even if the actor or music director tried to shove them down his throat with extensive special accomodation rehearsals. He wasn’t even approached to sing most of these tough songs. Rafi did not have an option here due to whatever reasons (humility/ability to accept challenges/inability to say no/professionalism etc).

  7. Ganesh says:

    At the end of the day, both were playback singers…the overall ability was pretty much a requirement for a playback singer to get to the top in the 50’s and the 60’s. These rules relaxed drastically in the 70’s and diminished in the 80’s.

  8. Jay Subramanyam says:

    I for one feel that if you consider playback singing alone to the exclusion of all other parameters, Kishore was the best as he always had that cutting edge over the others .. however, if the overall ability as a singer is the qualifying benchmark, then Rafi would be my choice.. this is strictly a personal opinion please..

  9. P S PRASAD says:




  10. neeeraj anand says:

    the way kishore kumar slapped a fan of his own when he allegedly congratulated him for lowering rafi s market, the way kk would sing in his concerts songs like man re tu kahe na dheer dhare type to pay tribute to the dead rafi , the way kk was sad and gloomy in rafi s funeral, the way he objected to anil biswas and lata mangeshkar s maliciously pronouncing him as better than rafi ,the way kk accepted rafi as his layback singer in raagini and shararat speak too much of what rafi was for kishore.on the other hand rafi having been moved to tears after listening to kk s duet with shamshad begum ,rafi singing a song for kk s film taking just a rupee that too as a token speak volumes of what kk stood for compare them is futile.kk himself considered himself a fan of rafi.if we believe manna de, if a list of singers is to be made,then first ten postions will go to rafi and then any other singer s position will come.manna on more then one occasion has openly described rafi in superlative degree and confessed to have learnt from rafi s art .this is notably the same manna who was not ready to sing ek chatur nar for padosan as kk s voice would defeat his in the film.manna is senior to rafi in age as well as in career.but he openly accepted that he has been a fan of rafi whose throw of voice and modulation could be emulated by no artist.

  11. Ali says:

    Post 99 and 100 !!!!!!!!??

  12. A Rakesh says:

    post 98 & 99,
    fully agree with your idea of ‘law of nature’. i have just two points to make – first is persentage of good songs, sung by a singer, matters. this was very high in case of rafi saab, in fact many a times, ordinary songs were taken to different hights. second is – all male and female singers were very best and were expert in specific catagories of songs. rafi saab was, in my opinion, was the only singer (to date), who was expert in all catagries, you name them, the list is almost endless – bhajan, gazal, fun song, qawali, flirt song, philosophical, sad, happy etc. etc., practically with no limitations. More over he used to catch exact mood and emotions, needed. He used to work on such detailings that it made us wonder. I want to mention a song ‘mere dushman tu meri’ from ‘aaye din bahar ke’. i wonder if there is any other song, sung by any singer, of communicating similar sentiments, it was quite complicated, i feel.
    – thanks

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