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Mohd Rafi’s Relevance to the Filmfare Awards

By Jagat Kant Choudhary



The Filmfare Awards, since its inception in 1953 has been one of the most coveted awards in the Hindi Film Industry. It was at the Regal Theatre in South Mumbai (then Bombay) on March 21, 1954, that the first awards were handed over to the winners. Hollywood star Gregory Peck, who was the guest of honour at the inaugural Awards ceremony, was delayed on a flight from Colombo and could only attend the banquet at Willingdon Sports Club later on.

Incidentally the Awards were called Clare Awards in the beginning, named after Clare Mendionca, the well known film critic of the Times of India in the 1940s and 50s. A couple of years down the line, however, the Awards began to be known as Filmfare Awards instead.

1st Filmfare Awards 1953: In its inaugural year, Filmfare had to offer just 5 awards and the Best Music Director was one of them. Cinematically it was the year of Bimal Roy with DO Bigha Zameen fetching the best film and best director awards. The Best Music Director award went to Naushad for Baiju Bawra, with Meena Kumari also bagging the best actress award for the same film. If Naushad was already the maestro of the baton by that time, it was the young Mohd Rafi who createted waves with landmark solo songs like,

Mohd Rafi and Naushad Ali

Mohd Rafi and Naushad Ali

Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj” (based on Raga Malkauns),
O Duniya Ke Rakhwale” (based on Raga Darbari),
Insaan Bano”, and delightful duets like
Tu Ganga Ki Mouj” (based on Raga Bhairavi) and
Jhoole Mein Pawan Ki Aayi Bahar” (based on Raga Pilu) (with Lata Mangeshkar).

It was indeed a landmark for Mohd Rafi to have sung for the lead character Baiju Bawara, and alongside renowned classical vocalists like Ustad Amir Khan and Pt D V Paluskar.(Aaj Gawat Man Mero)

2nd Filmfare Awards 1954:

Mohd Rafi and S.D.Burman

Mohd Rafi and S.D.Burman

The second Filmfare award for best music director went to SD Burman for Taxi Driver. One of the outstanding songs of the film was “Jayen to jayen kahan” by Talat Mahmood, the singer and actor, having already hit the popularity chart with his film and non film songs like “Tasveer teri dil mera behela na sakegi“.

3rd Filmfare Awards 1955: Bimal Roy scored a hat trick by bagging his third consecutive Best Director Award for “Biraj Bahu”. The music honours went to Hemant Kumar for “Nagin” beating C Ramchandra’s Azad which had the unforgettable “Kitna Hasin hai Mausam”. Also nominated that year was Naushad’s Udan Khatola which had Mohd Rafi’s hits like “Chale Aaj Tum Jahan se”and “Mohabbat Ki Rahon Mein” besides ” Na Toofan Se Khelo”.

4th Filmfare Awards 1956: O.P.Nayyar was nominated for C.I.D which had the memorable Mohd Rafi –Geeta Dutt duet “Aankhon hi ankhon mein Ishara ho gaya” and also “Leke pehla pehla pyar” with Asha Bhonsle and Shamshad Begum”. It was, however, Shankar Jaikishan’s hugely popular songs in “ Chori Chori”, that fetched them the first of the 9 Filmfare Awards of their career.

Interestingly, the same year Vyajayantimala refused to accept ‘Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award’ for ‘Devdas‘, insisting that she was the lead actress in the film and not Suchitra Sen.

5th Filmfare Awards 1957:

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

The year definitely belonged to “Mother India” but “Naya Daur” became a trend setter as well. An undeterred O.P.Nayyar again staked his claim as Best Music Director for “Naya Daur”, against C.Ramchandra’s “Asha”. Dilip Kumar bagged the best actor award while O.P. came winner as the best music director for such fabulous songs by Mohd Rafi as “Yeh desh hai veer jawaano ka“, “Maang ke saath tumhara“, “Ude jab jab zulfein teri“, “Saathi haath badhana saathi re“, “Main bombay ka babu“, and “Aana hai to aaa

6th Filmfare Awards 1958: This was a historic year for Filmfare Awards in the sense that it witnessed the introduction of the category of Best Playback Singer Award (common for Male and Female). The number of awards category had gone up to 15. Cinematically and musically as well, this was the “Madhumati” year and quite naturally Lata Mangeshkar became the first recipient of the Best Playback Singer award for “Aaja re pardesi” and Salil Choudhary the best Music Director for the same film.

7th Filmfare Awards 1959 : The Raj Kapoor, Shailendra, Shankar Jaikishan, Mukesh team was weaving magic by this time. It was Mukesh’s turn for the honours now and he won it for “Sab kuchh seekha hamne” for the film “Anari” which also won the Best Actor for Raj Kapoor, best music director for S/J and best lyricist for Shailendra. Incidentally, Mukesh had already sung a few songs with Mohd Rafi by this time, the most memorable being “Ramaiya vasta vaiya“ from the film “Shri 420” in the year 1955.

8th Filmfare Awards 1960: The year 1960 is the landmark year for millions of Rafi fans all over the world as the year gave Rafi his first Filmfare Award for the title song “Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho”. The music was scored by the extremely talented and critically acclaimed Ravi. The film, a love triangle, was a huge commercial success after the miserable box-office performance of Kaagaz Ke Phool, from Guru Dutt.



Fifteen years since his debut with the 1945 film Gaon ki Gori, “Aji dil ho kaaboo mein, Mohd Rafi had to his credit many other beautiful songs in this award winning film such as “Mili Khak Mein Mohabbat”, “Yeh Luckhnow ki Sar-Zameen” and “Mera Yaar Bana Hai Dulha”. Rafi had scored over two Lata nominations that year for “Mughal-e-Azam” and “Dil Apna aur preet parayee

Shankar Jaikishan, however, pipped Ravi and Naushad (Mughal-e-Azam) for the best Music Director award for “Dil Apna aur preet parayee” which was a predominantly Lata show and Rafi chipped in with “Jaane kahan gayee

1960 also marked the emergence of box office extravaganza in the form of Mughal-e-Azam in which Naushad once again tested Rafi’s reach to the crescendo with a hundred strong chorus behind him in the song “Aye Mohabbat Zindabad”. Despite the opulence of Mughal-e-Azam, Bimal Roy demonstrated as to why he was such a respectable name in the Industry by scoring his second hat trick of Best Director Award (Madhumati, Sujata and now Parakh).

9th Filmfare Awards 1961: This was the year of blockbusters “Ganga Jamuna” and “Jis Desh mein Ganga behti hai” the latter beating the former as the Best Film of the year. The music awards were keenly

Rafi Sahab

Rafi Sahab

contested between Naushad (Ganga Jamuna) and S/J (Jis Desh mein Ganga behti hai) but it was Ravi who made up for the loss in the preceding year by clinching the award for “Gharana

For the best singer category, Mohd Rafi had two nominations in the form of “Husn wale tera jawab nahin” (Gharana) and “Teri Pyari pyari surat ko” (Sasural by S/J) while Mukesh staked a strong claim once again with “Hothon pe sachai rahti hai” (S/J).

For the second consecutive year it was Mohd Rafi who emerged the winner of the Best Singer Award for his song “Teri Pyari pyari surat ko” and S/J’s loss was hugely compensated.

10th Filmfare Awards 1962: By this time the competition was getting tougher even as the award categories had expanded to 15 (including the critics’ awards). The nominations for the Best Playback Singer award were Lata for “Aap ki nazron ne samjha” (Anpadh) & “Kahin deep jale kahin dil” (bees saal baad) and Mohd Rafi for “Aye Gulbadan Aye Gulbadan” (Professor). In the best Music Director Category, the contenders were Hemant Kumar (Bees saal Baad), Shankar Jaikishan (Professor) and Madan Mohan (Anpadh).

The best playback singer award for 1962 went to Lata for “Kahin deep jale kahin dil” but Hemant missed it. On the other hand, while Rafi missed out on the Professor Song to Lata, S/J were the proud winners for the same film (Professor), taking their Filmfare tally to 4.

11th Filmfare Awards 1963: There was an element of irony in the Filmfare awards for the year 1963 so far as Rafi and millions of his fans were concerned. This was a time when Rafi was belting one hit after the other and his popularity was sky high so much so, that the year’s nominations for the Best Music Award were for films all of which had Rafi hits in it. Naushad’s Mere Mehboob had the super duper hit “Mere

Rafi Sahab

Rafi Sahab

Mehboob Tujhe” picturised on the handsome Rajendra Kumar who seemed to possess a golden touch in those days. There were other hits also like “Aye Husn Jara Jaag” and “Tumse Izhar – E -Haal Kar Baithe” done beautifully under the craftsman Naushad.

The other nomination was Roshan for Tajmahal which again had a plush Rafi collection ranging from the solo “Jo Baat Tujh Mein Hai” to unforgettable duets like “Jo Wada Kiya Wo“, “Paaon Chhoo Lene Do” and “Chandi Ka Badan“. Not to be left behind Shankar Jaikishan ensured their nomination for “ Dil Ek Mandir” in which Rafi left his perennial stamp in the form of “Yaad na jaye beete dinon ki” besides the title song and “Tum Sabko Chor Kar”. Effectively it was a Mohd Rafi year as far as the male playback singer was concerned.

Naturally, the nominations for the best playback singer had Rafi confidently placed with “Mere mehboob tujhe meri” and Lata for the beautifully rendered “ Jo vada kiya “. The spot light, however, was meant for Mahendra Kapoor for “ Chalo ek bar phir se”, (Gumrah) the music being scored by Ravi. Indeed it was a well deserved moment of glory for Mahendra Kapoor to have stood the competition from none other than Mohd Rafi, who by his own admission was a Guru to him and with whom he had had endless Riyaz sessions. Despite the fact that he had reverence for Rafi, Mahendra Kapoor did not allow himself to be in his shadows and grew from strength to strength on his own merit. To that extent it was a matter of satisfaction for the large hearted Rafi as well, to witness the rise of a fellow singer whom he had almost nurtured and helped in no small measure to stand on his own in an extremely competitive world of playback singing.

12th Filmfare Awards 1964: The year 1964 was one of the most difficult years in so far as the decision making on musical awards was concerned. What do you do when in a single year you have such terrific music based films like Dosti, Sangam and Woh kaun thi, which could draw packed houses on the strength of the music alone? The Best Music Director nominations were Madan Mohan (Woh Kaun thi), Shankar Jaikishan (Sangam) and Laxmikant Pyarelal (Dosti)

Lata Mangeshkar was a strong contender for the Best Playback singer award for having run a riot of awesome songs, each one of which was worth an award or two. On one hand there was the haunting melody “Nainaa Barase Rimjhim Rimjhim” and on the other hand the plain inviting number “Lag Jaa Gale Ki Phir Ye Haseen Raat Ho Na Ho” which can easily be considered her best ever with Madan Mohan, not to forget the beautiful ghazal “Jo Hamne Daastaan Apnee Sunaaee Aap Kyoon Roye” from the same film. Contrast this to the teaser “Main kya karun ram mujhe budhha mil gaya” from Sangam and it became difficult to deny her a strong ticket to the finals. Lata was, however, nominated for “jyot se jyot jagate chalo” (sant Gyaneshwar).

Multiple nominations from the formidable team of S/J, Shailendra and Mukesh was already a regular affair at Filmfare Awards by now and so Mukesh’s nomination for “Dost dost na raha” was obvious although the male version of “jyot se jyot jagate chalo” from Mukesh was as popular as the female version of it.

But then fate had other ideas, it was going to smile on a duo that had started very young in the industry and had played music for almost every music director of the time with the exception of S/J and O.P.Nayyar. Laxmikant Pyarelal graduated to full scale music director from being assistants to Kalyanji Anandji, with the mythological film “Parasmani”. Mohd Rafi figured in the first released film of the LP duo with the pleasant number “Raushan tumhi se duniya” and another lovely duet with Lata “Woh jab yaad aaye”. LP, however, hit it big time with the Rajshri Production “Dosti” and Rafi’s association with the film is legendary. That the songs were originally meant to be sung in female voice and that Rafi was so impressed with the presentation of the songs at his house that he offered to sing these songs for a token one rupee, is almost folklore to the Rafi fans.

This low budget film with virtually no female in the lead role is best remembered for a string of poignant songs from Rafi picturised beautifully on two newcomers, drawing full houses in theatres everywhere. “Chahoonga Main Tujhe Saanj Savere”, “Mera To Jo Bhi Kadam Hai”, “Jaane Walon Zara”, “Rahi Manwa Dukh Ki Chinta”, “Meri Dosti Mera Pyar” each one was worth an award or two and nobody could differ in Filmfare as well. The film won Rafi his third Filmfare Best Singer Award for the song “Chahoonga Main Tujhe Saanj Savere. Mohd Rafi also bagged the year’s National Award for the same song. While the film DOSTI won the best film award for the year, LP made their Filmfare debut as the Best Music Director, an award for which they would win a whopping 25 nominations and win it on 7 occasions. Majrooh also went on to win the best Lyricist award for the same song “Chahoonga Main Tujhe Saanj Savere”.

13th Filmfare Awards 1965: The Best Music Director nominations for 1965 were Ravi( Khandaan), Kalyanji Anandji (Himalaya Ki God Mein) and Shankar Jaikishan ( Arzoo).

Ravi was riding high on his career wave by this time. In the year 1965 he had two more blockbusters to his credit in Waqt and Kaajal apart from the pathos laden Khandaan. While Waqt had Rafi making the title statement with “waqt ke din aur raat”, Kaajal had two outstanding Rafi solos in “Chhoo Lene Do Naazuk Hothon Ko” and “Yeh Zulf Agar Khulke Bikhar Jaaye

Khandaan had a good number of Rafi solos too like “Badi Der Bhai Nandlala”, Main Sunata Hoon Tujhe”,and the memorable “Kal Chaman Tha Aaj Ek Sehraa”. Besides, there was the peppy duet Aa Dance Karen Thoda”, the rain prayer Neel Gagan Par Udte Baadaland the rustic number “O Ballo Soch Ke Mele” all with Asha Bhosle.

A nomination for Rafi was obvious and he got it for “Chhoo Lene Do Naazuk Hothon Ko”. Not to be left behind, however, was Lata Mangeshkar once again, with two nominations “Tumhi Mere Mandir Tumhi Meri Pooja” (Khandaan) and “Ek tu na mila” (Himalay ki God mein) and she clinched it for the former, it being the third Filmfare Best Singer Award of her career.

Ravi won it for Khandaan and Mohd Rafi once again had contributed heavily to the climb of a Music Director on the award podium. Later of course, Rafi won the Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards for “Arzoo”.

14th Filmfare Awards 1966: The best singer Award nominations for 1966 was a repeat of the previous year, Lata Mangeshkar had two versus one of Mohd Rafi. If S.D.Burman’s Guide was the most talked about film of the year (and most awarded) and both the ace singers had made significant contributions to the same. Rafi had the pensive “Din Dhal Jaye” & “Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya” to his credit besides the hugely popular “tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain”. On the other hand Lata was at her exuberant best in “kaanton

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

se kheech ke ye aanchal” not to forget Piya Tose Naina Laage Re and Saiyaan Beimaan. There was no surprise that “kaanton se…” won her a hot nomination for the year.

Ravi was knocking again with “Do Badan”, having won it last year for Khandaan and Rafi as usual had an awesome lineup in the film – “Bhari Duniya Mein Akhir Dil”, “Raha Gardishon Mein Har Dum” and “Naseeb Mein Jisko Jo likha tha”. Lata incidentally had just one song in the film “Lo Aa Gayi Unki Yaad” which won her the second nomination against Asha Bhosale’s cool and fresh “Jab Chali Thandi Hawa”.

But in the race were Shankar Jaikishan with their eighth consecutive nomination for the Best Music Director Award and this time for SURAJ, with Rafi’s stamp all over it. The entire nation was crooning “Baharon phool barsao” and there was this extremely romantic number “chehre pe giri zulfein” along with some delectable duets.

Rafi won his fourth Best Playback Singer Award for “Baharon phool barsao” and S/J their 5th for Suraj.

15th Filmfare Awards 1967: This was another landmark year for Filmfare for splitting the Best Playback Singer Award into male and female categories. Nutan bagged the best actress award for “Milan” and Dilip Kumar was entertainment at its best in “Ram aur Shyam”, but the year clearly belonged to Manoj Kumar’s “Upkar” wherein he made his debut as the patriot Bharat, an image that would endure for the rest of his career. This heavily nominated and awarded film had the spot light all for itself and Mahendra Kapoor emerged as the new voice of Manoj Kumar with a strong nomination for the patriotic song “Mere Desh Ki Dharti“.

Ravi scored a hat trick of nomination for “Humraz” where he had switched to Mahendra Kapoor and the latter had done full justice to the big opportunity that came his way and earned himself the second nomination for the year for the song “Neele gagan ke tale”. Mukesh was the other singer to win nomination for the very memorable “Sawan ka mahina”. Kalyan ji Anand Ji and LP were the other nominations for Upkar and Milan respectively.

The honours went to Mahendra Kapoor for “Mere Desh Ki Dharti” giving consolation to KA for missing it out to LP’s Milan for the Best Music Director Award. In the overall Filmfare Awards affairs that year Rafi probably had just a duet with Asha Bhosle in the form of “Gulabi Raat Gulabi” in Upkar. Asha Bhosle incidentally made her Filmfare Best Female Singer Award debut with “Garibon ki suno” from “Dus Lakh”

16th Filmfare Awards 1968: Shankar Jaikishan had drawn a blank in the previous year so they bounced back in style. They had two nominations in the form of “Brahmachari” and “Diwana” and had a musical hit like “An Evening in Paris” in the “reserve”. The other nominee was Ravi once again, for “Aankhen”.

S/J had two nominations in a year for the second time in their career, the earlier being in 1959 for “Anari” and “Chhoti Behen”. This was, however, a year of delight for the fans of Rafi. He was outstanding in the title song “Us Mulk Ki Sarhad Ko” of “Aankhen” and apart from the nominated song in “Neelkamal”, there was the haunting beauty “tujhko pukare mera pyar”.

Mohd Rafi achieved an extraordinary feat claiming all the three nominations for the Best Male Playback Singer for the year for “Dil Ke Jharoke Mein“, “Main Gaaun Tum Sojaao” (both Brahmacharai) and “Babul Ki Duayen leti ja” (Neelkamal), Rafi won the award for “Dil Ke Jharoke Mein” a song that registered itself as the trademark Rafi song for ever. Shankar Jaikishan also won the Best Music Director Award for the film “Brahmachari”.

17th Filmfare Awards 1969: The “Aradhana” wave swept the music industry and catapulted Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna to top of the charts. Rafi had two lovely duets with Lata and Asha in the film, “Baaghon mein bahaar hai” and “Gunguna rahe hain”. Kishore Kumar won his first Filmfare Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song “Roop tera mastana”.

It was, however, another song from “Jeene Ki Raah” that ensured that the Rafi saga would carry on to the next decade, awards or no awards. The song “Badi mastani hai meri mehbooba” is a landmark ode to nature that has outlived several other similar songs through ages and sounds just as fresh even today. ” It kept Rafi nominated for the year. Equally charming was “Ek banjara gaye”, and the two songs indeed played a big role in the selection of LP as the Best Music Director ahead of SD Burman (Aradhana) and SJ (Chanda aur Bijli). Manna Dey was the other nominee for “Kal ka pahiya” from Chanda aur Bijli.

18th Filmfare Awards 1970: Carrying the baton from the last year’s Filmfare show, LP, SD Burman and S/J kept the game all to themselves. The three repeat nominees had plenty to boast that year and an energized LP made a claim with “Do Raaste” which is most memorable for its Rafi-Lata duets. As for the solos, Rafi’s “yeh Reshmi zulfein” was pitched against Kishore’s “Mere naseeb mein aiy dost”.

SD Burman having missed it despite the success of “Aradhana” made yet another claim with “Talassh” which had two beautiful Rafi-Lata duets “Aaj Ki Junili Raat Ma” and “Palkon Ke Peechhe Se” besides some outstanding Lata numbers. S/J who had a rather lackluster year before staked their claim with Pehchan with Rafi chipping in with “paise ki pehchan” in what was a predominantly Mukesh affair all the way. S/J won their 7th Best Music Director Award.

After remaining in the woods for sometime and fresh from the success of “Saraswatichandra”, Mukesh emerged with two nominations “sabse bada nadaan” and “bas yehi apradh” both from “Pehchan”. Mohd Rafi once again was a strong contender for the Best Singer award for “Khilona jaan kart tum to” from the film “Khilona”. If the intense “Khilona” winning the best film award that year was not surprising , the Rafi lovers were particularly surprised that Rafi went without an award that year. Mukesh ofcourse won the Best Male Playback Singer Award for the song “sabse bada nadaan” and this was the beginning of an extremely rewarding decade for him as he would win 4 Filmfare Awards for an astonishing 7 nominations.

19th Filmfare Awards 1971: Shankar Jaikishan let loose a barrage of melodies and there was no way that Filmfare could ignore them, in fact they won two nominations again in the year 1971 for the films “Andaz” and “Mera Naam Joker”. R.D.Burman offered them a strong challenge with his first nomination in “Caravan” which had three Rafi-Lata duets “Chadhti Jawani Meri”, “Goria Kahan Tera Desh” and “Kitna Pyara Wada Hai”. Caravan, however, could not stand the SJ onslaught but it did give Asha Bhosale her second Best Female Playback singer Award for one of the best cabaret songs ever “Piya tu ab to aaja”.

SJ increased their tally of Awards with “Mera naam joker” although one believed that they would have faced more challenge against RD’s “Kati Patang”. Kishore Kumar, however, rode on the popularity of the film and won his first nomination for “yeh jo mohabbat hai”, the second being “Zindgi ek safar hai suhana” (Andaz). It was Manna Dey’s turn, however, to go up the podium and claim the award for the very popular “Eh Bhai jara dekh ke chalo” (Mera naam joker), his very first Filmfare Best Playback Singer Award.

20th Filmfare Awards 1972: The Best Male Playback Singer nominations for 1972 were Kishore Kumar (Chingaree koi bhadkeAmar Prem) and Mukesh (Jai Bolo Beimaan kiBeimaan & Ek pyar ka nagma haiShor) and Mukesh won it for Beimaan.

In the Music Director category, S/J and LP were competing against Gulam Mohammed’s Pakeezah. The only song of Rafi to figure that year “Chalo dildar chalo” with Lata compensated for the lack of numbers and is an essential collection of Rafi’s gems. The S/J effect on Filmfare was unabated as they claimed the trophy once again, for Beimaan this time.

21st Filmfare Awards 1973: The Music Awards section became wider from this year as the number of nominations in the Music Director and Singer Category went up from 3 to 5, taking competition to a higher level.

Mohd Rafi with Lata Mangeshkar

Mohd Rafi with Lata Mangeshkar

It was a year of several super hit musicals like Abhiman, Daag, Yadon Ki Baraat and ofcourse Bobby. The nominations for Best Music Director were S.D. BurmanAbhimaan, Kalyanji AnandjiZanjeer, Laxmikant PyarelalBobby, Laxmikant PyarelalDaag, R.D. BurmanYadon Ki Baraat. It was a hot contest between popularity of “Yaadon ki Baraat” of the younger Burman against the sheer quality of Abhimaan from the senior Burman and the latter ultimately took it on the strength of some beautiful Rafi, Kishore and Lata numbers. Both the films benefited from some marvelous Rafi songs which are very popular till this day.
Rafi was once again in very strong reckoning for the Best Singer Award for “Ham ko to jaan se pyari” (Naina), pitched against Kishore, Manna Dey and Shailendra Singh (Bobby). The surge of the young love in the form of Bobby, however, created many upsets and the award for Best Male Playback Singer went to Chanchal for “Beshak Mandir masjid todo

22nd Filmfare Awards 1974: Rafi had developed a very strong relationship with Mahendra Kapoor right from the days when the latter would sit with Rafi for long sessions of Riyaz at Rafi’s place. Rafi, who had played a vital role in the development of Mahendra Kapoor as a playback singer, however, had made it clear to him that the two would never sing together because they had a similar voice and because they shared a relationship in which there was no room for competition. This was one of the reasons why Rafi and BR Chopra fell apart later on.

Fate, however, put Rafi and Mahendra Kapoor in competition against one another for the second time after 1963 for the same award. Rafi was nominated for “Achha hi hua dil toot gaya” (Ma behen aur biwi) and Mahendra Kapoor for “Aur nahin bas aur nahin” (Roti kapda aur makaan). Also ranking high in popularity were two KK nominations “Gadi bula rahi hai” and “mera jeevan kora kagaz” besides Mukesh’s “Main na bhoolunga” (Roti kapda…). For the second time in succession, Mahendra Kapoor made it to the podium despite Rafi.

Kalyanji Anandji, after a long wait registered their presence with a nomination and subsequently their only Best Music Director Award for “Kora Kagaz”, Besides “Kora Kagaz”, Kishore Kumar had a huge presence this year in the form of RD’s “Aap ki kasam” and “Premnagar”. A country hit with sky high inflation, however, lapped up the appropriate theme of “Roti Kapda aur Makan” and Mahendra Kapoor matched it well with his strong vocals.

23rd Filmfare Awards 1975: By winning three nominations this year, Kishore Kumar had repeated Rafi’s feat in 1968, the difference being that now the number of nominations had gone upto five. Manna Dey and RD Burman were the other two nominations but the odds were definitely in the favour of KK who was instrumental in RD Burman’s two nominations besides the award winning Julie from Rajesh Roshan. Nobody was therefore surprised when Kishore walked away with the black beauty for his song “Dil aisa kisi ne” (Amanush).

24th Filmfare Awards 1976: This was the year of great loss for the Music Industry. Mukesh passed away on August 27, 1976 while on a concert in the US. He had, however, created an enduring magic that year

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

and anything associated with him had to go places. So did “Kabhie Kabhie”. Mukesh who was having a fantastic decade until death suddenly took him away from us, did what Kishore had done last year, winning three nominations for “Ek din bik jayega” (Dharam Karam), “Main pal do pal ka shayar” and “Kabhie Kabhie Mere dil “ (both Kabhie Kabhie). Mahendra Kapoor once again was loud and clear in “Sun ke teri pukar” (Fakira) and Yesudas figured for the first time thanks to the off beat “Chitchor”. Sahir’s Lyrics and Khayyam’s music ensured that Mukesh signed off with aplomb singing “Kabhie Kabhie mere dil mein”.

After a brief lull Rafi was back in form as was evident from his youthful self in song after song in “Bairaag” for Dilip Kumar, crediting KA with their second Filmfare nomination. On the other hand Rafi did a wonderful job for Sanjeev Kumar in a more mature role in the playback of “Chhadi re chhadi “. It indeed signaled that a giant like Rafi could only be down for a while, out NO WAY!

25th Filmfare Awards 1977: Rafi stormed the nation, as if to prove a point. First with “Parda hai parda” (Amar Akbar Anthony), a quawwali that ranks highest in popularity till today and second with the sensational “Kya hua tera vaada” (Hum Kisise kam nhin) that shattered all records and smashed many a charts. Kishore Kumar (Aap ke anurodh par), Mukesh (Suhani chandni raatein) and Yesudas (Aye na baalam) staked their claims too but the margin was too big this year. No body came anywhere close to the hysterical mass appeal of the Rafi songs and “Kya hua tera vaada” gave Rafi his sixth and last Filmfare Best Male Playback singer award. More importantly, it signified the longevity and acceptance of a singing star through generations that witnessed such a drastic change in taste of music.

This year was also significant for the fact that the veteran Music Director Jaidev won his first nomination for the Best Music Director Award (Alaap). Mohd Rafi’s association with Jaidev is unforgettable for the songs in the film Hum Dono (1961).

Amitabh Bachchan who had already gained the stature of a super star by this time won his first Best Actor Award at the Filmfare.

26th Filmfare Awards 1978: The Amitabh Bachchan-Kishore Kumar combination was doing too well around this time and the two were helping each other in a fashion similar to the Kishore-Rajesh Khanna saga. Don was a massive hit this year and the songs were high on popularity chart. Kishore Kumar did a repeat with three nominations “khaike paan” (Don), “O saathi re” (Muqaddar ka sikandar) and “Hum bewafa hargiz na the” (Shalimar). The Mukesh charm lingered even after his death and he was nominated for “Chanchal sheetal nirmal” (Satyam Shivam Sundram).

Rafi once again came up with an appealing number in “Aadmi musafir hai” (Apnapan) and was the third nomination for that year. At the end, however, the mass appeal of Don left no doubt that the best song (khaike paan banarsi) had to come from this film. LP won their second successive award for the best music director (Satyam…)

27th Filmfare Awards 1979: This was truly a confidence building year for Rafi. The sheer number of hits that he gave in a single year signaled that he was as much in demand as any body else in front of the microphone. Rafi’s passionate expression in Sargam added a new dimension to the acting abilities of Rishi Kapoor. “Ham to chale pardes”, “kahan tera insaaf hai”, “mujhe mat roko” and “Ramji ki nikli sawari” earned LP their 3rd successive Best Music Director Award.

Jaani Dushman”, best remembered till today for Rafi’s “Chalo re doli” had brightened LP’s chances as the second nomination.and it also put Rafi on the contest with a very strong nomination.
Amitabh Bachchan had acquired Midas touch and no wonder his playful rendering of “Mere paas aao” earned him a nomination in a different territory as well. Kishore Kumar remained a strong challenge with “Ek raasta hai zindagi” (kala paththar). Creating upsets this time, however, was Yesudas for “Dada”- “Dil ke tukde tukde

28th Filmfare Awards 1980: 1980, the year that snatched Rafi from millions of his fans. The untimely death of the greatest playback singer of all times and a human being par excellence came at a time when the clock looked like having made a full circle. An award winning year of 1977, the tremendous build up in 1978 and the awesome comeback through 1979 to 1980 looked like as if the old times were here once again.

1980 was a time when once again nobody could afford to ignore Mohd Rafi, specially if it was a big budget film. Rafi was prominent in RD Burman’s “Shaan” where “Yamma Yamma” and “Jaanu meri jaan” became extremely popular. Once again Rafi proved that he can make star out of an actor playing an unglamorous role like Mazhar Khan did in Shaan. The song “Naam Abdul hai mera” gave Mazhar Khan overnight recognition in Bollywood.

Another blockbuster of the year Karz had the young Rishi lip-syncing Raft’s “Dard-e-dil” to such effect that it rallied with the much more powerful and pulsating Om shanti om of Kishore Kumar. And when our very own cow-boy Firoze Khan chose to woo his heroine with “kya dekhte ho” in the swanky “Qurbani”, it was Rafi who gave him the voice.

Then there was another musical super hit “Aasha” from LP again which had Rafi written all over it. Jeetendra regained his magic with “Jaane Hum Sadak Ke Logon se” and “Aashaon Ke Sawan Mein” brought back to life the old world charm of Rafi-Lata duets. To top it all Rafi’s “Tune Mujhey Bulaya Sherawaliye” along with Chanchal, virtually became the signature song for the goddess stationed on the top of the hills and created the same religious fever that LP and Rafi had done with “Shirdi wale Sai Baba” in Amar Akbar Anthony, a couple of years earlier on. Without doubt, Rafi was instrumental in the nomination of Music Directors LP (Karz and Aasha) and RD (Shaan) that year for the Best Music Director Award.

Rafi Sahab

Rafi Sahab

That Rafi was back in the reckoning at the very top was evident from the fact that he won 3 nominations for Best Male Playback singer (Dard-e-dil-Karz, Maine poochha chand se-Abdullah and Mere dost kissa-Dostana) against 2 of Kishore Kumar who ultimately won it for “Hazar rahen mud ke dekhi” (Thodi si bewafaii).

And just at a time when millions of his fans started looking at the Filmfare Awards more eagerly than ever before and praying that Rafi carried the seventh one to his home in Bandra, no body believed that Dard –e- dil would actually claim him from all of us. What a sign-off from the Maestro!!

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31 Blog Comments to “Mohd Rafi’s Relevance to the Filmfare Awards”

  1. a r modak says:

    35 years after his demise, the songs of the maestro still sound as fresh as ever.
    Rafisaab was lucky in that he has top lyricists in the industry who gave him the licence to give his best.
    Shakeeel, Sahir< Majrooh, Shaukendra and Hasrat-the best in the business

    Towards his end, Rafis popularity waned——–there was the Lata spat, then RD taking over dad's baton, ————and Kishore Kumar, courtesy of Kaka

  2. sunil kumar says:

    I agree and I am great fan of Rafi saheb & R D Burman both, though R D burman developed a chemistry with Kishore Kumar it was most unfortunate that bot these greats did not work together in between but It was R D Burman under whose music Rafi got National award “Kya Hua Tera Wada”. It is just to say that what happened no body knows but R D Burman is one Music director who was good at both clasical as well as western songs. Rafi songs under R D were Great “Gulabi aankhen, O Haseena Zulfon wali “, Tumne mujhe Dekha”, Zamane ne Mare Jawaa kaise , Kahe ko Bulaya “. But Why Blame R D every one replaced Rafi with Kishore. R D & Rafi sang together Yamma – Yamma and it would have been great had these two together worked more often.

  3. […] tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam”. As a matter of fact this song was nominated for Rafi Sahab as Filmfare Best Male Playback singer award in 1963. Rajendra Kumar and Mohd […]

  4. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Wishing all music lovers a very Happy and colourful Holi.

    Let us recall some greatest Holi songs of Hindi films. My list of 5 top Holi songs is:

    (1) Tan rang lo ji aaj man rang lo… (Kohinoor)
    (2) Hori khelat nandlal brij mein….. (Godaan)
    (3) Hori aye re kanhai rang…. (Motherindia)
    (4) Piya tose naina lage re… (Guide)
    (5) Aaj na chhodenge bas hamjoli… (Kati Patang)

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  5. ZTEK_7 says:

    I just cannot understand why Rafi’s x3 1980 nominations (the year of his death) the award was given to Kishore? What was the jury thinking at the time?????
    Rafi saab should have deserved to receive that award that year especially! It would have been a filmfare tribute and honor to this great legend. Unfortunately filmfare had let Rafi’s legacy down especially for millions of his fans world over!

    At the end of the day Rafi saab is far superior than any award. His legacy itself is an award to his memory and the fantastic following he left behind. Till this day there has never been a singer that has matched to Rafi saab’s level of excellent.

  6. Sachin Sharma says:

    Dear Chaudhari ji

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.
    You are very very right that RAFI sahab has done very great numbers in 1950’s but due to non inclusion of Male Playback singer category, RAFI sahab got less number of Film Fare.
    It is true that 1950’s and 1960’s was RAFI sahab’s golden years in his total carrier. Even 1975 to 1980 was also very best period for HIM. During that period RAFI sahab voice has been so much polished that even the songs related to low budget films and unrealeased films were also very good to hear.
    Once again thanks for sharing the whole article.

  7. Ravi says:

    Dear Choudhary ji,

    Beautiful article which required lot of research and you shared wealth of information.
    I agree with the point had there been male and female awards (for playback) and no politics Rafi sahab would have won more awards.

    One more take home through this article is with out the golden voice most of the music compositions would have been incomplete as rafi sahabs voice contributed immensely in success of most of the music directors who won the awards for different years.

    Bottom line,irrespective of the awards won by rafi sahab,film music remains incomplete without him.

    Thanks for publishing such a great article please keep up the good work.

  8. Rafi ka Deewana says:

    Sorry i have not read article fully bcoz i am busy but i’ll read it later

    THANK YOU sir for this article
    And some rare pictures which i have not seen earliar
    Thanks alot

  9. A Rakesh says:

    I fully agree with Zaheedanish ji @ 21. Hindi film music started losing its important place in bollywood movies since second half of seventies. Hindi film music enjoyed its youthful days during 50s & 60s, when there was an end less list of great music directors, with a solid classical music back ground and were having team singers like Rafi , lata, with practically no singing limitations. In fact presence of these singers promted them to make musical hits like – hum dono, taj mahal, baiju bawra, guide, aarti, kashmir ki kali, chudhvin ka chand, sngam, kohinoor, shola aur shabnam, professor, dosti, wo kaun thi, haqeeqat etc., the volcanic musical flow was almost coninuous and endless. even small and low budget movies like parasmani, shabnam, aya toofaan, laal bungla, batwaara etc. had great music.
    durind 70s, things were never the same, all this became the part of history, even the hit programme like ‘binaca geet mala’ was finding it difficult to maintain their audience. quality of music started going down, people started losing intrest in current hindi film songs. people started listening to film songs of 50s & 60s, a new terminology ‘old hindi film songs’ emerged. almost in all cities there were a few cinema halls which screened old hindi films only and they went packed, this was also happening non-hindi speaking areas.
    rafi saab ruled the film industry during 50s and 60s, and we love him for his huge contribution mainly prior to 70s.
    ok, its getting too long..

  10. Ali says:

    Naushand, OP Nyar, Usha Khaana, Ravi, Chtitragupta, Mana Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, Shankar Jailkishen, Madan Mohan, Rajesh Roshan, Roshan, SD Burman, Ananad Bakshi, Sonik Omi….the list is endless including Kishore Kumar, if ine reads what they have to say of Rafi, one could not only write a book but realise that singing starts and finishes at one point, the one and only Rafi.

  11. Zaheendanish says:

    post 19 – Ali Sahab,

    Please read the post 16 of Rajesh K Ranga ji wrote very clearly because hits are two types: musical hits and box office hits. If you are talking about musical hits then ignore my posts 13 & 14 which should not be taken into consideration when talk about musical hits.

    on the other hand if you are taking about box office hits then sholay and deewar must be considred as super duper hits.

    Moreover the 70’s era is not much of musical in anyway unlike 60’s where Barsat kit Raat and Taj Mahal like music oriented movies were made. The 60’s decade was music oriented whereas the 70’s must have been action oriented where there were less chances for music to accommodate in action movies. What I have listed the moves are hits and semi hits box office wise, then for musical hits RDB should have been kneeled down to Rafi in every manner – like the Burning Train, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, Abdullah, Shaan, etc.

    RDB compositions are catchy, simple and melodious which mostly suited to Kishore Kumar voice that is the reason Kishore Kumar was for ahead among his contemporaries during the decade of 70’s.

  12. Binu Nair says:

    a beautiful piece of research and facts as ‘they are’. let’s all publish articles to this range – for the love of music, melody and mohd rafi.

  13. Ali says:

    Dear Zaheendanish ,I think you should know what I you think that SHOLAY was hit because of the music or music became hit because the film was hit?these list of films which you gave me all from superstars actors of there time, warrant music cant be compare with Dev M Rafi and SD team and warrant became hit because legs of actress not because of music. DEEWAR is one of the films people speak about Mr Bachachan not the music,the list of the films which you gave us no one speak about the music of these films only we speaks about the films without say anything about music.
    I dont mean that Rd is not good but to compare with Anil Biswas ji Nausand ji, SD,OPN,RAVI,LP,SJ,KA and many more he is even not be 50% of them what I feel sorry if any mind, In media said That mohd rafi came back in the song Kya hua tera vaada but that was RD who came back not Mohd Rafi and RD back to Mohd Rafi again and his last film with Mohd Rafi was Shaan where he used Mohd rafi more…..

  14. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Dear Chaudhry Sahab,

    Great research work and a beautiful article. Many congratulations to you for this very nice of piece of work.

    Thanks and best regards.


  15. biman baruah says:

    choudhary sahab
    pleseant reading of Filmfare Awards with relevance of Mohd. Rafi Sahab. A very well reseach article and expecting more from you in future.
    with best regards
    biman baruah


  17. SalRafi says:

    Filmfare used to be only private award function without competition earlier. So it was considered a prestige to win one, not because its great impartial or any other quality. And lately its been even worse with all the drama and prediction with nomination of the same crap of films over and over again. Like our govt awards non in the country at present worth mentioning or winning.

  18. zaheendanish says:

    contd. to post 13

    including two more films of RDB

    + SHOLAY

    + DEEWAR

  19. Zaheendanish says:

    post 12 – Ali sahab,

    The hit films of RDB without Rafi Sahab:

    + Padosan
    + kati patang,
    + amar prem,
    + apna desh,
    + jawani diwani,
    + Seeta aur Geeta,
    + bombay to goa,
    + aap ki kasam,
    + warrant,

  20. Ali says:

    Filmfare giving award in the name of RD Burman!!!!!!!!!!!!?is because he tried his best to ignore mohd rafi or rd was better music director to compare Anil Biswas ji, Naushand ji,SJ,Madan mohan ji,LP,Ravi and many more!?
    Any one can give me one hit film as music by rd without mohd rafi?

  21. Binu Nair says:

    JKB SAAB…Post 10. Even editors were ruled over by the managements.
    see how an rdb award is initiated by filmfare and you can guess whose handiwork it is.

    to get an award or initiate an award, the moneybags will do anything. one thing one must never miss is that – newspapers and magazines are printed for commercial reasons and not for ‘art’ purposes.

    do you know the ‘real’ stories about filmfare awards : dosti vs sangam ?

    and the story of one director who apologised to naushad saaheb for beating him at an award by ‘unfair methods’…

    do you know that film people used to buy filmfare issues in ‘bulk’ to fill up their favourite composers songs and names for the best music award for voting purposes.

    in my life i have at various junctures met and befriended industry people who gave lot of info about the (mal) practices in film land .

    in his voluminous book of music, musicologist manek premchand has thrown some light on the awards.
    he says as soon as singer sharada descended on the singing horizon, lata mangeshkar understood which way the awards would swing. she retired then and there from the filmfare awards…. and then titli udhi girl bagged the filmfare award.

    to conclude let me mention that many in the industry won the awards by their perspiration and hard work. some did’nt deserve the awards but still got it.

    mohd rafi won six filmfare awards . if it was a straight forward impartial jury, rafi would have won 12 filmfare awards.

    and therefore for me the count of filmfare awards for rafi is : twelve. (12) not six. whatever the records may state.

  22. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Binu ji,

    Recently in one of your posts (in reply to my post on the subject of conferring Bharat Ratna) you had rightly pointed out that awards like Padma Shri had tremendous value in the past, but now the same has lost credibility due to politicizing of such civilian awards. The observation, I feel, holds good for Filmfare awards also. In that respect, your post (No. 6) in this thread is great. Not for nothing Aamir Khan has boycotted all such award functions.

    Filmfare’s earlier editors were men of tremendous sensitivity, knowledge and understanding of finer points of films (playback singing one of them) and always gave reasonable coverage to such finer points. I am not sure if that thing exists any longer. Its ealier articles had tremendous archival value. I remember when Uttam Kumar and Rafi saab left this world in a space of 5-6 days in July 1980, filmfare brought out an issue having Uttam Kumar and Rafi saab on the cover. It had given extensive and in-depth coverage to both the stalwarts.

    There were many articles in earlier days which will delight many even today. It will not be bad idea if the magazines carries a series of such old articles reproducing at least one in each issue from their archives.

    Coming to this article, it is tremendous effort from Shri Jagat Kant Choudhary. I extend my appreciation and admiration for this great write-up.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani


  24. Dear sir,
    How everybody forgets SHIRDI KE SAIBABA ? is this movie not considered a mainstream movie ? Rafisaab has done miracles with this movie …music was of Pandurang Dixit..pls do not ignore gems like these….

  25. Ali says:

    I agree with sir Binu Nair

  26. Binu Nair says:

    A great essay on filmfare awards – vividly described. If there would have been a non-partial jury and ‘no’ play of monies – rafi saaheb would have won many more.

    film fare’s real coloours were revealed in 1980 when a class rafi song was denied any honours in the year rafi finally left all of us.

    i hope some one write the ‘other’ side of filmfare award stories – floating abundantly with industry journos.

    thanks for the great efforts – j.k.choudhary ji..

  27. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Choudhary Sahab,

    Please accept my greetings for this well written and all encompassed article.

    Talking about Bollywood, Filmfare Awards find a special mention. The annual felicitation ceremony of the cine artists and technical geniuses is one of the oldest events in the country. Introduced in 1954, the Filmfare Awards were launched by the Times Group. The Filmfare is equivalent to the Oscars for India. The National Awards too were launched in the same year. Yet, the two felicitation ceremonies had distinct features.

    The ‘Lady in Black’, as the award if lovingly addressed as, has been a reason for many artists proud of owing her. Rafi Sahab won it for six times in his lifetime.

    Unfortunately, Filmfare has lost its importance of late. With a number of other award ceremonies being held annually, the gleam of the Filmfare has been overshadowed by its counterparts. Indian cinema is now on the threshold of completing 100 years. This remarkable feat will highlight the transformation of Indian cinema, giving Bollywood a special place in world cinema. Whether or not the ‘Lady in Black’ is still the best yardstick to assess successes and failures is something to ponder over.

    Best regards,

    H.A.K. Walijah

  28. Nagesh Sidhanti says:

    Dear Chaudhary ji,

    That was everything I ever wanted to know about Rafi sab and his
    temporal destiny with Filmfare awards.

    Although it was in our knowledge that Rafi sab had a hand( or is it throat?)
    in most FilmFare musical awards during his melodious career, you have
    given such detailed evidence, year by year.

    Congratulations !!

    Nagesh Sidhanti

  29. jayarajt says:

    A nice down memory lane.Brought back nice memories of eagerly anticipating the nominatins first and the awards later.I am a SJ fan.Of course a Raffian.Lost track of the awards when I left to USA in ’73.Well done Choudary saab!

  30. A S MURTY says:

    very comprehensive and well written article. it gives almost all the information on the coveted filmfare awards. thanks very much for giving us so much to read and cherish.

  31. Sarah Modi says:

    Very well written and researched Article. If there had been separate categories for Best PlayBack Singer male and female, right from the start of the Filmfare awards, Rafi saab would have won many more Filmfares! But I am sure he has won many more hearts than all the other singers combined. Excellent write up!

    Sarah Modi

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