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Rafi Saab – Kerala’s Own Singer

By Ahamed Kutty (Member BBR Fan Club, Bangalore)

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Eventhough Rafi Saab did not sing a single song in Malayalam Language, he is Kerala’s own singer. It is a wonder how a person born and brought up in an entirely different region and language became a state’s favourite singer without singing a single song in that state’s language. It is a fact that hardly 5% of the population of Kerala familiar with Hindi or Urdu. The reason is they like the voice as well as the wonderful personality of Rafi Saab.

Rafi Saab’s fans include the Kerala’s “Gandharva Gayak” Yesudasji. In a recent interview Yesudasji clearly stated Rafi Saab is his “Manasik Guru“and what he achieved in his career is because of the blessings of Rafi Saab and by following his ways. Other singers who are die hard fans of Rafi Saab are Jaya Chandran, Unni Menon, Venu Gopal, Afsal, Vidhu Pradhap etc.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Rafi Saab had performed live programmes even in small towns of Kerala such as Talassery, Changanassery in addition to big cities like Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhicode and Kochi.

Once Sreekumaran Thampi the writer director cum lyricist of yesteryear of Malayalam cinema, told Rafi Saab even defeated the “Gandharvas of ancient India”. After thirty years of his heavenly abode, still Rafi Saab’s songs are flowing all over India. Malayalam actor Jagadish once told Rafi Saab is having die hard fans in Kozhicode than in Lucknow. One porter in Alappuzha Kunjippokku is conducting Rafi Night every 31st July with his hard earned money and by borrowing from others. Another fan from Kozhicode Koya who is now known as “Radio Koya” chosen radio repair as his profession only to hear songs of Rafi Saab from Radio Cylon and Vividha Bharathi. Ahamed Bhai from Kozhicode is the intimate friend of Rafi Saab and the only documentary made on Rafi Saab is in a regional language is a Malayalee N.P.Abu Saab.

These are all few examples of the love and affection Rafi Saab is getting from his Kerala fans. Rafi Nights are conducting for special occassions such as marriage parties etc.Recently I have visited a small town “Ponnani” near Malappuram and there I have seen in a small barber shop a big potrait of Rafi Saab!

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33 Blog Comments to “Rafi Saab – Kerala’s Own Singer”

  1. There is certainly a great deal to find out about this subject.
    I love all of the points you have made.

  2. Sreejith says:

    Keralites have a special affection to the maestro and we as keralites are proud of it and we will continue to love Rafi sahab as long as we exist, not only as a divine singer but also as an extraordinary human being

  3. Narayan says:

    Ahmed Kutty saare…..
    Abhinandanagal…… Mubarak…. Salutations… to a simple, humble and Dilse article on Rafi sahab and the you have expresses n echoed the sentiments of all Keralite truly…
    Yes myself being a Malayali born in kerala , brought up in Mumbai and settled in Bangalore have come across many Rafi Lovers in all the cities but in Kerala it comes out distinctly due to various tribute programs of Rafi Sahab in auditorium, maidans and in tv channels..being held there through out the year…
    You missed to write about Mohd Pevez saab who as a devout bakt has done yeoman services to all Rafi fans across the world..
    Also you missed to write about you receivng letter from the Farishta..
    Anyway superb effort and congrats..

  4. mohamedparvez says:

    refrence to post 23, santosh ji visited rafi saab”s bunglow, i would like to inform every body i have posted around 200 pictures of inside rafi saab”s bunglow,shared by rafi saab”s fans,from all over world, i have posted in rafi saab”s blog,kindly visit each and every page,of rafi saab”s blog,kindly visit this link,take care

  5. santosh says:

    Namaste to all,

    Nasreendidi, I have been a follower of since long.I have been reading ur comments and I wondered how u r a true lover of rafi saab’s godly voice.And also ur name is same as that of rafi saab’s daughter.U r so priviliged.May god bless u. Where r u from .I am from Ahmedabad and a mutual friend of mr,Narayanan, Mr.Sanjeev Dixit ,Rameshji kurpad etc.would be great to know another rafi saab bhakt.Do write

  6. Nasreen says:

    Lovely to read the article and comments – it becomes apparent that love for Rafi Sb keeps growing. Every comment is full of love and has gladdened my heart – and the song playing on the site “akela hoon main humsafar dhoondta too” is so …I don’t know what to say ….just such a mellifluous voice, well it’s bringing tears

    No more to say. Love to you all

  7. Utthara says:

    Ahamed Kuttyji, lovely to read about God and God’s own country. Such a refreshing article. It is truly wonderful that Kerala is fida over Rafi saab’s singing. So much information. Enjoyed reading it.



  8. P.M.JABIR says:

    Rafi saheb did not sing a single song in malayalam language but, he sung two Hindi songs in a malayalam film which is “Thaliritta Kinakkal” and it was very hit in 1978. lot of hindi songs belong to Rafi saheb have been remixed in malayalam films by including great Noushad Ali saheb by film “Dwani” as well as “Jeevitha samaram” etc. lot of “Mappila songs” (Muslim treditional songs)have copied by Rafi saheb’s old songs. myself is a die hard fan of Rafi saheb and even I visited “Rafi mansion” on 1983 and I met Shahid Rafi sahed when he visited Dubai for the stage performence. Rafi saheb not only a bollywood singer but also, he was a universal singer for ever. after three decades also his songs are still selling morethan new songs. “Rafi saheb amar rahe……………………

  9. mohamedparvez says:

    dear friends ,to know more about rafi saab,do visit each and every pages of rafi saab”s blog,do visit over 500 pages,over 3000,postings,you will find rare pictures,articles,interviews,tributes,stage proagrams,and many more, kindly visit this link,take care

  10. post 20 – binuji,

    thanx for the remenesceses and the memory of non a/c theatre tickets at rs.1.50.

    i feel i have to dedicate an entire day with you to remember our childhood days in mumbai and all the other delicacies of school days.

    probably my visit and meeting you may happen end of this year as i see my engagements.

    i look forward to meeting you fondly binuji.

    ramesh narain kurpad

  11. santosh says:

    Great article.

    In terms of freshness this article must rank 1st.Also the documentry posted by Mr.pervez from cochin is great and rare.I thank u sir from the bottom of my heart for the article.The interview of yesudasji is rare and shows the immense respect for rafi saab in his heart.I am a lucky person because I had the chance to go to rafi saab’s house on 30th last month.I met Pervezbhai son in law of rafi saab and his daughter nasreendidi.I was touched by the warmth they showed on a stranger like me.I can only imagine how pious rafi saab might have been.Also I touched nasreendidi’s hand and i felt as if i am touching rafi saab’s hand.I had tears in my eyes.Now I am in constant touch with pervezbhai and i also spoke to shahidji.I consider my self privileged to be in touch with these great human beings.It is a blessing of rafi saab that they have accepted me.Thank u rafi saab

  12. Ahamed Kutty says:

    dear rafians ashish pradhanji,birendra singhji,and rijeshji,

    thank you very much for your impressive comments and

    rijeshji,as far as keralites fluency in hindi ordu is
    concerned, it is very poor.people are studying
    hindi in school level and college level.i am a graduate and even for degree level
    second languages should be hindi only for of calicut university when i was studying.
    from my experience that did not help me to
    understand the above languages.i was in
    mumbai for few years and that helped
    me to be familiar with these languages.
    my humble request not to treat this
    as a correction.

    With kindest regards,

    ahamed kutty

  13. Rijesh says:

    A well informed article, congrats Ahamed Kuttyji….
    This is indeed very surprising fact that Mohd Rafi is being loved so much in a Malayalam speaking region. But i have reservation against your remark regarding the knowledge of Hindi by an average malayali. Even though people hardly speak Hindi, they do understand it. Hindi is a compulsory subject till 10th & lots of people, especially belonging to Malabar region carry on with Hindi as a second language at college level. Also, apart from Malayalam & tamil films, people do enjoy Hindi movies screened throughout the states. In this regard, it is little harsh to say that only 5 % of malayali knows Hindi!!!. Certainly Hindi is not a foreign language….. Having said that, i have to confess that the love & affection the Kerala people have towards rafi saab songs is beyond the boundary of language. May be it is the expression and feel that they get from his enchanting voice. Those who have the familiar with Hindi & Urdu have the additional benefit of understanding the nuances of these gems…

  14. Binu Nair says:

    post 17 ramesh ji…whenever we see the st. thomas school and the ground from the train, we remember ‘that’ beautiful evening when rafi saab came over and enchanted us.
    more important for me was that i was taking two rafi lovers along with me on tickets bought from my salary – working with b.a.r.c.

    the rafi lover with me was my mother who used to tell me about great songs of rafi saaheb. the second persons was my sister who during the seventies kishore wave had told me – rafi is a better singer and to hear his songs.
    these are pristine moments of my childhood life which i am sharing with you.

    yes – in the concert there were two rafi lovers too whom you will know. your bbr member and r f activist and rafi lover – mr narayan. the other one is mr nari ahuja who sings rafi songs in music events from mumbai.

    for a bombaite nay mumbaite, busybee behram contractor’s daily dose of humour, mohd rafi’s soulful songs and film theatres without a/c where you could get a cinema ticket for rs.1.50 – were the baskets of joy day after day.

  15. Dear Kutty Saheb,

    It is feeling good to know that a large no of rafi fans come from kerala where hindi is spoken a little. It is rafi saheb’s charismatic voice only that bounds the hole country in a single thread. I personally believes if a survey can be done on hindi singers in the entire country most of the fans would be rafi fans.
    There is no match with this god gifted voice. rafi saheb and his voice are imortal. I also salute to that porter brother from Alappuzha kunjippokku for his great affection to rafi saheb. rafi saheb amar rahen. Thank you sir. Birendra Singh

  16. dear Mr. Ahmed Kutty saab,
    It does not surprise me at all as one the best singers and legends of south India S.P. Balasubramanium has also mentioned that Rafi saab is his guru and the only reason why he started singing. He was his inspiration to take up this field of music. So it is clear as crystal that there is none other playback singer who is so popular not only in the entire country but also all over the globe…..Wow!!!!!!!!!!!! Rafi saab …. we are proud to be born in the same land.. Rafi saab zindaabaad……….

  17. binuji,

    i am an ex student of st.thomas high school – goregaon – and have played a lot on that ground as a toddler in the late 50’s – switched over to st.marys – kalina after class four – shifted to kalina.

    ramesh narain kurpad

  18. Binu Nair says:

    According to Raju naushad son of naushad ali saaheb, kerala state has the maximum mohd rafi fans.

    then comes west bengal. and then all others. yes. kerala has traditionally large number of rafi fans. one example i wish to state and that’s : at the age of 12 i heard rafi saabs english songs, two of them on a LP record – in a remote kerala village. this was some 40 years back.

    in any social function in kerala, 99% songs taken in hindi are songs of rafi saaheb.

    but, lets not be regional or parochial and say that all rafi lovers are same wherever they belong to. we all belong to one extended family of rafi lovers.

    yes lt.col javed sayyad saaheb. i am from kerala and settled in mumbai the cultural capital of india and the karma bhoomi of rafi saaheb. i had the fortune to see and hear rafi saaheb live in 79 at goregoan’s st thomas school grounds along with rafi lovers who are active in this forum. and, also at shanmukhananda the mecca for music lovers.

    the impressions of rafi saab entering the green room after carefully watching us fans from his blue fiat car in a three piece attire and a rado watch on his left hand resting on the door window and thereafter the ‘magical concert’ are impressions and memories – which will never fade away – any time.
    that was the eternal magic of immortal rafi saaheb.

  19. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Dear rafians walijah ssab,murthy saab,remesh saab,parvez
    saab,khaja aliudhin saab,saifullah saab,shakil saab,sanjiv saab,
    binu saab and lt.col javed saab,

    thank you very much for your valuable comments and i have mentioned in my earlier blogs,
    i believe i am one of the luckiest keralite to have rafi
    saab’s autographed photograph from him on 8th april 1980
    just three months before his death and i am still keeping as
    a precious gift.ours was a very remote village at that time
    and there is no electricity and road facilty for us.i did not
    hope that i could get a letter from rafi saab to such a place.
    i showed my gratitude by putting his name to my son like
    any other kerala rafian used to.for me his songs are giving
    such a satisfaction that while hearing his songs his divine
    sound goes through my heart as it gives a happiness which
    i cannot explain.

    we are all rafians but above us some extra ordinary rafians
    are there and one among them is mohamed parvez saab.
    may the almighty help you to keep it parvez saab.when i
    come to cochin next time i will come and meet you.
    dixit saab,my mobile 09480336921

    thank you once again all of you.

    ahamed kutty

  20. Lt Col Javed Sayyed(Veteran) says:

    Nice refreshing article-dear Ahamed Kutty sahab. The rawness of the flow of words adds to the charm of the author. Many congrats. Keep up the good work-all Rafians. Lets keep doing our bit. Keralities are traditional lovers of music & dance. Hence, its no surprise they take to music so smoothly & passionately & predictably-the Emperor of melody & playback singing-Rafi sahab has the pride of place. I believe the author of Rafis biography is also from south-TamilNadu? One of the biggest names in the list of rafians- Binu Nair-a Keralite!!!
    Congrats once again.

  21. mohamedparvez says:

    dear friends i would like to inform every body ,i have posted documentry on rafi saab,total around 28 minutes, produced by n.p aboo saab, legendry singer,yesudas ji paying tribute to rafi saab,kindly visit this link to watch this video,in full version, i would like to say thanx to mr a.s .murty sir,and mr sanjeev kumar dixit ji,and all my well wishes for supporting me,take care,

  22. Sanjeev Dixit says:

    Resp. Murty sir: Ref. post 10
    I am totally agree with you.who can forget mohd parvez sahab, who is dedicated for him by “tan-man-dhan”. I salute to mohd. parvez bhai’s dedicatrion for our beloved rafi sahab.
    “jai rafi sahab, jai bharat, jai hind”

  23. Binu Nair says:

    Ahmed Kutty : Congrats for your Maiden article on I believe you are a keralite living outside of Kerala and also a great rafi lover.
    like you, i am a malayali living in mumbai and connnected to the rafi foundation.

    rafi saaheb was supposed to sing the malayalam number Neel Kadale.. (blue sea) which was ultimately sung by talat saab. the producer of the film and song is mr n.p. abu who made the only documentary on mohd rafi saaheb.

    well done ahmed kutty – a great rafi lover.

    cell : 9833 250 701, mumbai

  24. A S MURTY says:

    mohd. parvezbhai is known throughout the length and breadth of this country and also abroad for the 24 x 7 work that he is doing on propagating Rafi Sahab through his wonderful blog. I never missed his activities even for a single day.

  25. Sanjeev Dixit says:

    Respected Ahmed kutty sir,
    Thanks for writing about rafi sahab on this totallt different subject. I got too many very rare information about rafi sahab’s fans in kerla, from this article.
    this was the magic of rafi sahab’s sweet voice that one who doesn’t understand the language they also love rafi sahab because of his great character and melodious & innocent voice. I think music is a international language which may understood by the heart & no alphabets are required for that.
    The magic of this divine voice is still remain after 30 yrs. and will remain till the end of the universe.
    Sir, Many thanks again to you. Pls give your contact no. if you don’t mind.
    -Sanjeev Dixit

  26. Hi,
    Rafi sahab ke bare main kuch kahna yane samandar ko ik katra paani deekhlane ke barabar hai,
    Jab tak samandar main lehren machalti rahegi,zameen par jab talak pahadon ka wajood hai tab talak Rafi saheb ki awaan dunya main qayam rahegi.
    PLs visit to my live singing video. you tube,

    Rafi ki yadein live singershakil 0091 8806344555.

  27. Saifullah says:

    A very timely article by Mr Ahmed Kutty. What you have said is extremely true. Rafi Saab has a huge fan following in Kerala. I know Mr Ahmed Bhai from Calicut personally. He is a personal friend of Rafi Saab. We have together ( along with many others), been involved in getting the Corporation authorities at Calicut to get a roundabout or an important junction within the city to be named after Rafi Saab. In fact, we have also planned to open up a digital library of Rafi Saab where music lovers and Rafi fans can come and listen to his songs. The discussions on these lines are at a very nascent stage and it will take a lot of effort from us to get these dreams materialised. Binu Nair of Bombay has visited Mr Ahmed Bhai at Calicut and he will vouch for these facts. We ( the Rafi Foundation , Kozhikode Chapter ), do conduct musical nites every year on the 31st of July and the 24th of December to remember Rafi Saab. In fact, I also come to know that such musical nites are common throughout kerala, especially in places like Kochi, thalassery, Kasaragod, Alappuzha, etc. In a state like Kerala you hear Rafi Saab songs being played at almost all improtant functions like marrriages, public functions, etc. It is amazing to note the way Rafi Saab has enthralled the nation. Hats off to him and his voice. It is all with the blessings of The Almighty that he has become such an icon in the indian music industry. Long live Rafi Saab.

  28. Khaja Aliuddin, MD says:

    Janab Ahmed Kutti Sahab, ASA,
    You are right. Lot of Keralites, who work with me as doctors, nurses and Respiratory therapists in my Hospitals, where I practice Medicine, surprised to see that every body listens to Rafi sahab’s songs. They always talk about Rafi Sahab. It is amazing. Bahut khoob Ahmed Kutti Sahab.
    Walijah Sahab, thanks for sharing this beautiful and meaningful doha of Kabir Das.
    Long live Rafi Sahab,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  29. mohamedparvez says:

    asalamu alaikum ahamed kutty saab, you forgot to add my name in your list,i am from kochi, and iam die hard fan of rafi saab,since child hood iam his biggest fan, i have created a blog dedicated to rafi saab,you will find rare pictures,articles,interviews,and many more,total over 500 pages are there,to go to next page,kindly click older posts,you will find bottom of every page,please dont miss any page,kindly visit this links,take care every body

  30. ahamad kutty sahab,

    thank you very much for your most refreshing article on this ” malayalee ( Keralaites love ) touch ” to rafi sahab.

    mr.narayan padmanabhan of bbr club can vouch more on this kerala connection, as from our experiences he has visited kerala several times in connection with rafi sahab connected programmes.

    welcome to baar baar rafi club – as i too am an old member of bbr club and an old resident of the garden city of bengaluru ( my native ).

    i have a lot of frinds from kerala and i can quickly relate to what you have expressed as i for one do know that rafi sahab is truely liked for his great and divine singing.

    congratulations on this simple but most important article which is quite refreshing and different from the run of the mill kind.

    adaab rafi,

    ramesh narain kurpad

  31. A S MURTY says:

    walijah sahab. behad achha doha hai kabirdas ka. kaafi saalon ke baad phir se padha aur bachpan ke padhaai ke din yaad aa gaye.

  32. A S MURTY says:

    aHAMAED KUTTYBHAI. This is one subject that had amazed me for a long time. just as you say, i was always wondering how in a distant land like kerala, we find so many hardcore followers of rafi sahab. perhaps kerala is one state where programmes on rafi sahab are held not just in auditiria, but also on tv channels and mehfils with regularity. many of rafi sahab’s fans from kerala are doing yeomen’s service too to further propagate rafi sahab’s golden songs. thanks to you for posting such a fine article.

  33. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Ahmad Kutti Sahab,

    When I read this artricle instantly I remember Sant Kabir Das doha:

    Aisee Vani Boliye, Mun Ka Aapa Khoye
    Apna Tan Sheetal Kare, Auran Ko Sukh Hoye

    Speak such words, sans ego’s ploy
    Body remains composed, giving the listener joy

    Thus, Kabir, in this doha crystallizes the power of the spoken word. He teaches us to speak in such a manner that keeps us harmonious and composed thereby making the listener feel a sense of joy in the communication.

    Experiment yourself and rediscover the power of the spoken word.

    I think Rafi Sahab followed this doha all along his life and talked sweet and moreover sang so sweet that even now we remember him for his everlasting songs.

    Long live Rafi Sahab

    – h.a.k. Walijah

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