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Mrs. Mohd Rafi talks about Rafi Sahab

This article was posted by Saj1974@HF.

Saj1974 says he had this article for alomost 14 years. Probably it was published on Stardust or Star and Style in the year 1988. This article portrays the simple nature of Rafi Sahab. Mr. Ashok Parekh laments that it is a matter of regret that Mrs. Bilquis Rafi’s thoughts were published after 8 years of Rafi Sahab’s passing away and it reached to us after the next 16 years.

We see confusion in the date of birth of Rafi Sahab. As indicated in this article, Mrs. Rafi said Rafi Sahab would be turning 54 years old in 1980. That makes us believe that Rafi was born in 1926 rather than the popular number year 1924.

Also one Mr. Abdul Amin as Rafi Sahab’s brother has been mentioned in this article. We all know that the man behind the success is Mr. Hameed Sahab. One possibility that we can think here is that the author probably did not take down the name correctly. The author heard the name Abdul Amin, while she mentioned Abdul Hameed. Amin v/s Hameed – we do not find any drastic and distinct pattern in the pronounciation here. This happens to be our speculation. No hard facts are based here.

For much clarity and vivid roles of Rafi Sahab, the article has been broken down into certain segments. Lets enjoy the article.

“Akele akele kahan jaa rahe ho” the voice was deep, husky, sexy.
“Suhani raat dhal chuki” the tome turned sad, sombre.
“Chalkaye jaam” the slur of a drunkard. Intoxicating.
“Yahoo. Chahe mujhe koi junglee kahen!” Exciting. Vivacious. The voice had adopted a dare-devil attitude.

Behind all these moods lay one man – Mohammad Rafi.

Professionally acclaimed, personally Mr. Rafi preferred to be an unknown. He hid his name and family from the eyes of the industry and the public. Today, eight years after his death, Mrs. Rafi resurrects the man behind the singer; the father behind the professional and the husband behind the Rafi saab that we all knew and loved.


I did not have a father only my mother and an elder brother. But from as far back as I can remember, Rafi saab was a household name. My sister had married his elder brother, and it was she who brought the proposal home. I was doing my sixth standard examinations and had just returned from school, when my sister told me, tomorrow you are getting married. I was 13 years old and Rafi Saab was 19. I didn’t know the meaning of the word shaadi, but did exactly as I was advised.

I don’t want to elaborate on the marriage, because I was probably too young to understand what was happening to me.

Who will do the house work?

Rafi saab had been singing from the age of 10. So when we got married, he was well into singing ghazals (which were a rage at that time), and film songs.

But since I came from a very conservative upbringing, I didn’t quite like music, it didn’t matter so much to me. Even when we were married, Rafi saab didn’t encourage me to listen to his songs. He’d always smilingly look at me and joke – “If you only paid attention to my singing, who will do the house work?” We would share a good laugh about it.


We lived in a chawl at Dongri in the beginning of our marriage. I never felt anything, because I knew my young husband would be great one day. A little later, we shifted to a chawl in Bhendi Bazar, but Rafi saab didn’t quite like the area. So by the grace of Allah and fate, we soon took up an ownership flat at Colaba.

I never interfered in my husband’s work, but I realised that things were looking up for us. Even though Rafi saab never showed it – he remained a simple man throughout his fame. In 1954, we shifted to our home in Bandra and have remained here ever since. It was here that we had six of our seven children – four sons and three daughters.


Rafi saab was a very simple human being. His life revolved around his children. In fact, I’d say unki zindagi bachche the. I can’t recall a single moment when he never asked about them. His was a routine: a home-to-recording-and-back-home schedule. After which, he’d promptly ask me if the children wanted anything. There was nothing he wouldn’t give them. Only the Almighty above knows how they didn’t grow up spoilt. They adored their father and were very proud of him.

The only thing the children disliked about their abba was that he didn’t encourage taking them to recordings, functions or movies. In fact, they hated going to the movies with their father, because it was always the case of, “Let’s enter after the film begins and we’ll leave before it ends.” The kids always complained that they didn’t know what the start and end was!


All this stemmed from the fact that Rafi saab disliked publicity of any kind. It was funny, because even if we were attending a marriage, he’d promptly tell the driver to wait near the gate. He’d enter, go straight to the bridal couple and after wishing them warmly, he’d walk back to the car and we’d drive home. It was quite a joke really.

Even the interviews he had to give, weren’t clone by him. The previous night, he would sit with his elder brother Abdul Amin and he’d explain to him how to answer. All Rafi saab’s interviews were done by his elder brother. Infact, he treated Abdul saab like a father – the man literally caught my husband’s finger and taught him to walk. Abdul saab figures very prominently in making my husband the celebrity he finally became.


Rafi saab as far back as I remember, would wake up every day at 3am and do his ‘riyaaz’. After about two-and-a-half-hours of that, he’d go and play a game of badminton. Yes, the only funny habit he did have, was to fly kites. Even if he had a half-hour break between one recording and another, he would rush home, run up to the terrace and start flying his kites. He was like a child when it came to his kite flying. And he’d sulk like a baby if his kites were cut. This habit was his only love till the end.

Family Man

I think his greatness lay in his humble attitude towards people. He was very religious and never forgot to thank Allah for what he had become and achieved. The whole world around him had progressed, people had changed, but Rafi saab knew nothing of it – his ways never changed according to the times. For him, it was the togetherness of his family which mattered. I think he was at his best when he would call all of our relatives over, ask me to cook a lovely meal and sit and chat. The unity of our whole family, is what Rafi saab was very sentimental about.


My husband didn’t have any favourite singers. For any song that was sung well, he’d praise the singer. And even if he did like someone more than another, it was never mentioned – even to us. He always felt that if he took sides, he’d be hurting so many others in the bargain.

If anyone came and said, “Rafi saab, you sang so well that that movie is a hit and the hero has become big”, he’d answer, “if it wasn’t for the music director or that hero, I wouldn’t be singing that song. Inki vajay se mujhe kaam mila”.


Every music director that he worked with was treated with equal respect. For example: when Rafi saab was already an established singer, Laxmikant-Pyarelal were violinists in Shankar-Jaikishen’s group. Yet, when Laxmi-Pyare became big, never once did Rafi saab consider them as mere violinists. He’d always say, “Mere ustaad hain, I will learn more by singing for him”.

Favourite Songs

I know he loved his song from Dulari under Naushad saab’s music – “suhani raat dhal chuki, na jaane tum kab aaogee”.

But there were quite a few of his own songs which he liked. I knew it, because after his recording, he’d gather the children, bring out the harmonium and sing the song. He’d do this quite often when he was in a happy mood. What Rafi saab did quite enjoy, was when he had sung a song with a star like with Nanda in Jab Jab Phool Khile or with Saira in Aman.

He always told us excitedly, “Today I sang with so-and-so”.

Favourite Films

God knows what he liked about it, but he saw Sholay thrice. He attended many trials, but I don’t remember him mentioning any film in particular.

Favourite Actors

As far as actors were concerned, Rafi saab did have a special liking for Sammiji and Dharamji. Shammiji, almost at every recording, would listen to Rafi saab and literally act out how he’d do a particular line, or make an expression with a particular word.

Dharamji was another actor who always openly showered his love on Rafi saab. Bada pyar tha in dono actoron ke liye. In fact, I am proud to say that I don’t think there is any film industry person who didn’t love my husband. And personally, he never spoke a word against anyone.

The End

I spent the most wonderful 35 years of my life with Rafi saab – before he passed away on July 31, 1980. He was going to be 54. I remember it even today. He had been requested to do a Bengali recording for their Kaali pooja album. The day before that, he told me “I’m tired, I don’t think I’ll be able to sing this Bengali song”. So I told him to tell the people to take somebody else. “No, no they’re coming all the way from Calcutta in the hope that I will agree. I’ll do it this year, but next year I’ll say no”.

The next day, he sat for rehearsal from 9:30am and was in pain, but he refused to tell us anything till 12:30 in the afternoon. We scoulded him about it, but he told us, “Those who come to the Rafi residence, should never return empty-handed”. These were his last words.

He was in a lot of pain and was sweating profusely. It was also in the month of Ramzan, so he was hungry. His hands and feet were yellow. The doctors asked us to shift him to a hospital, explaining that Rafi saab had suffered a very major heart attack. The end came soon after that.

Today, when I look back I am grateful for the children we have borne. They have been wonderful sons and daughters, and have been my strength for the last eight years, after his passing away. But yet there are moments when I wish I was 13 years old and Rafi saab was 19. There are times when I wish he’d come to me like he would nearly every evening, sit beside me and ask me, “What is troubling you? Tell me your troubles and they’ll all go away”.

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68 Blog Comments to “Mrs. Mohd Rafi talks about Rafi Sahab”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Mohamed Rafi was an extraordinary human being. My late father knew nothing about music or songs but he loved Rafi Saab’s songs, especially his songs of the 1960s. A prominent Singapore music lover once told me that Mohamed Rafi was God’s gift not only to India but the whole world. He could sing the most difficult song easily without even moving his body one bit. A versatile singer, I began to love his songs since I was a teenager. I am now 67 and still miss Rafi’s velvet voice. He continues to live in his songs. God bless his soul and bless his family and fans. Mohamed Jaffar (Singapore)

  2. Suneeta shah says:

    Mohd Rafi was God in flesh. Nobody can be compared to him. Nobody’s voice can come to his. Those who new him are the lucky souls. As I said he was God in flesh. We will never forget him as a person or his melodious voice.

  3. From my childhood my favourite is Rafi Saab.i remember the days when I went for my office and gathering a place where co bus pick up us ,there listen that Rafi Saab no more. At the moment return home i have one big binding photograph of Rafi Saab used flower Mala Dhoop and without meal pray for him, listening his favourite song day long.last 6 months ago my son present me the various song of Rafi Saab from 1950 to latest till his death No singer born like voice of Rafi Saab.i pray to God for keep happy his wife and all children because they are the part of one international figure late Rafi Saab. Thanks

  4. Paramjit Singh says:

    Rafi sahib was not only great singer but great human being in the world. He is not only guide in music but also guide to us how to live life for humanity. All celeberities must take lesson from his life. Thank you for sharing his life moments.

  5. Kutty KN says:

    I was an ardent worshipper of Rafi Saab. In 1974 at the age of 50 I scribbled my most liked Hindu film songs (one or two lines each) and sent to him by post. He promptly replied to me with an autographed photo. I am humbled by this gesture of a great human being.

    I used to his songs in some private gatherings in NY office in 1969-70.

    I am happy to mention here that one of his sons, who were working in Thomas-cook had a friend who is my friend also; his name is Jayakumar from Chembur.

    I pray to my GOD to look after all his children and grandchildren very well.

  6. Muhamed Ali S.V.P says:

    Rafi never dies in the heart of the people

  7. mdnoor shariff says:

    To me, the spirit of bollywood was arwah mohd rafi.
    After his untimely demise, bollywood (hindustani films/songs) lost a star and never the same again (at least to me personally).
    Alfatehah to mohd rafi.

  8. q d s hussain says:

    Hum ne tansein ko nahin dekha aur na suna lekin rafi sahab ko dekha aur suna. mere khayal mein tansein afsana hain to rafi sahab haquiquat hain. main bahut khush quismat hoon jo un ki hayat mein unko letter ke zariye mubarsk bad dene ka mauqa mila aur unhon ne reply de kar is maquye ko mri zindagi ke liye yadgar bana diya. may allah rest him in jannat-ul-firdaus. aameen

  9. jis ko khuda ne e kadar nawaza ki us bande ke liye duniya ke koi bhi medal najarano ki jarurt nahi es se kya fark padta he unhe kya mila kya nahi .

  10. sabd bhi nahi milte jab khud rab aawaz ban kar suro me bahata dariya ban jaye

  11. AHMED MEKKI says:

    mohd rafi is in our blood

  12. shammi says:

    The Indian Government should be asked to explain their reasons to why Mohd Rafi has not been awarded the highest award in India when his long succesful career spanned across many decades and he was unbeatable right until he breathed his last breathe. Even if Kishore Kumar had some success over one decade let’s not forget how many decades was dominated by Mohd Rafi. I don’t agree with those who say that Kishore was more popular towards the end as the songs in the films that Mohd Rafi did sing in the late 70’s and early 80’s were a lot more successful and quality surely beats quantity. All those that were writing him off realised soon after his death that his loss was so huge and it wasn’t long before clones were brought into the film industry to try to replace him but everyone knows how short thinking that was because trying to sound like the great man is not enough. No one can sing the songs he did effortlessly and sing the wide range of songs and hit the notes like Mohd Rafi there truly is no comparison. Those responsible for making decisions on the awards should be ashamed of themselves and listen to the public. The awards should be given for recognition of hard work and popularity and not who you know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. amrinder says:

    Vo jab yaad aye bahut yaaad ayer..I love mohd rafi sahab

  14. i am a hindu… and according to hindu dharma, bhagwan ram had incarnated in this soil thousand years ago…. but i think allah had incarnated in this soil in form of RAFI SAHAB…. we wish to request indian government to honour him with BHARAT RATNA….. If there is God somewhere… he takes a form of human being… once he took the form of human in in form of RAFI….. jab jab krishn ki bansi baaje, nikli radha saj ke… (ki rafi aa gaya hai)…

  15. bharat ratna to rafi is inevitable..let us keep on trying, one day it will happen, cnn-ibn poll clearly depicts rafi is the greatest and best !

  16. Rahul says:

    Congrats! Mohammad Rafi Saheb wins Greatest Ever Voice (across all male and female singers) of Hindi Cinema poll conducted by CNN-IBN on August 15th. This is another very significant victory for the greatest singer!

  17. Rahul says:

    Mohammad Rafi Saheb wins Greatest Voice (male of female) of Hindi Cinema poll conducted by CNN-IBN. This is another very significant victory for the greatest singer!

  18. SUHAS PURANIK says:


    MOBILE NO. 9893966087

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