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Rafi Saab versus Lataji

Author : Binay Bhushan
Credits : This article was further filtered with the help of Mr. Rajinder Bhatia.

Mr. Binay BhushanSometime back I went through some mails that were about the topic that who was the sufferer- Rafi Saab or Lataji due to their rift in 60s . That propelled me to write this article. Here I am going to discuss some of the songs of that dark period of our film music world. As usual, my discussion will be concentrated on Rafi Saab and I will try to justify that it was Rafi saab who was the first choice of almost every music directors for duet songs during that period.

Here I have listed 60 songs. That too when I have excluded the duet songs of two music directors – Ravi and O P Nayyar as I think there is no need for that. Almost every duet songs of these two MDs were sung by Rafi – Asha combination.

Some of the songs may not belong to that period but they surely reflect that when it came to choose between Rafi Saab and Lataji, most of the MDS went for Rafi Saab.

(a) Shanker – Jaikishan

This duo were no doubt at the top during that period. They were least bothered about their duet songs – Rafi Saab was their natural choice for male voice. Look at these songs:

1. Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche…. – Rafi – Suman – Brahmchari
2. Tumne pukara aur ham chale aayee…..- Rafi – Suman – Rajkumar
3. Aajhun na aayee balma sawan beeta….- Rafi – Suman – Saanjh aur Savera
4. Agar teri jalwa numai na hoti……..- Rafi – Suman – Beti – Bete
5. Itna hai tumse pyar mujhe mere…….- Rafi – Suman – Suraj
6. Gori chalo na hans ki chaal……….- Rafi – Asha – Beti – Bete
7. Kaise samjhaun badi naasamajh ho…..- Rafi – Asha – Suraj
8. Jaane chaman shola badan pahlu…….- Rafi – Sharda – Gumnaam
9. Mujh ko apne gale lagaa lo………..- Rafi – Mubarak – Hamrahi
10. Tujhe pyar karte hain karte rahenge…- Rafi – Suman – April Fool
11. Tujhe dekha tujhe chaha………….- Rafi – Suman – Choti Si Mulaqaat
12. Yahi hai o saanjh aur savera……..- Rafi – Asha – Saanjh Aur Savera
13. Raat ke hamsafar thak ke ghar ko….- Rafi – Asha – An Evening In Paris
14. Tan mein agni man mein chubhan……- Rafi – Asha – Laat sahab
15. Aye chaand jara chup ja………….- Rafi – Asha – Laat Sahab
16. Dilruba dil pe tu yeh sitam kiye ja..- Rafi – Asha – Raajkumar
17. Kah do kah do jahan se kah do……..- Rafi – Suman – April Fool
18. Jane wale kabhi nahin aate………..- Rafi – Suman – Dil Ek Mandir

(b) Madan Mohan

Surprised! See, how he preferred Rafi over Lata:

1. Baad muddat ke yeh ghari aayee…- Rafi – Suman – Jahanaara
2. Mujhe yeh fool na de………….- Rafi – Suman – Ghazal
3. Tere paas aake mere waqt guzar…- Rafi – Asha – Neela Aakash
4. Aapko pyar jatane ki buri aadat..- Rafi – Asha – Neela Aakash
5. Kabhi tera daaman na chodenge …- Rafi – Asha – Need hamari khwaab tumhare

(c) Roshan

1. Aakhir to hum insaan hai farishta… – Rafi – Suman – Bheegi Raat
2. Khanake to kahanke qyon khanke…….- Rafi – Asha – Wallah Kya Baat Hai
3. Hun Intazaar karenge……………..- Rafi – Asha – Bahu Begam
4. Chand Takta hai idhar…………….- Rafi – Suman – Dooj Ka Chand
5. Cha gaye badal nil gagan pe……….- Rafi – Asha – Chitralekha
6. Aap jab se kareeb aye hain………..- Rafi – Asha – Noorjahan

(d) Chitragupt

1. Jab se hum tum baharon mein…..- Rafi – Suman – Main Shaadi Karne Chala
2. Bahut haseen hain tumhari aankhe…- Rafi- Suman – Aadhi Raat Ke Baad
3. Ek tum ho ek main hoon……….- Rafi – Suman – Rocket Girl

(e) Khayaam

1. Parwatoon ke peron par shaam ka…..- Rafi – Suman – Shagun
2. Thahariye hosh mein aa loon ……..- Rafi – Suman – Muhhabat Isko Kahte Hain

(f) Naushad

1. Saawan aayee ya na yaaee…………- Rafi – Asha – Dil Diya Dard Liya
2. Dile betaab ko seene se lagana hoga… – Rafi – Suman – Paalki

(g) Kalyanji Anandji

1. Na na karte pyar tumhi se kar…….- Rafi – Suman – Jab Jab Phool Khile
2. Aye jaane tamanna aye jane bahara…- Rafi – Suman – Jee Chahata Hai

(h) Hemant Kumar

1. Saara mora kajra chudaya ..- Rafi – Aarti Mukherji – Do Dil

(i) Salil Chowdhari

Big surprise! But he did prefer Rafi over Lata for this song:

1. Tumhen dil se chaha tumhen dil diya hai… Rafi- Suman – Chand Aur Suraj

(j) O P Nayar

There is no use to list the duet songs of this superb music director. His almost every duet songs were sung by Rafi – Asha.

(k) Ravi

Once again no need no count duet songs of this brilliant MD too. Rafi – Asha were but his natural choice.

(l) Shardul Khwatra

1. Tumheen ne dil mera chhin ke mujhko…..- Rafi – Suman – Air Mail

(m) C. Arjun

1. In pyaar ki rahoon mein tera hi……- Rafi – Asha – Punarmilan

(n) Laxmikant – Pyarelaal

Yes. They preferred Lata for their duet songs. But their this preference was due to somewhat another reason. Lata at that time was not on good terms with SJ and LP were trying at that time to compete with them.Nevertheless here I list their two duet songs without Lataji, although these two songs ,I think, came around 1969:

1. Dahl Gaya din ho gayee shaam jane do…..- Rafi – Asha – Humjoli
2. Tumse o haseena mujhe mohabbat na karnee thi..- Rafi – Suman – Farz

(o) S D Burman

1. Champa kali dekho jhuk gai re……- Rafi – Asha – Jiddi
2. Kissi ki mohabbat mein sab kuch bhula ke..- Rafi-Asha – Kaise Kahoon

(p) R D Burman

The three songs of Teesri Manzil:

1. Aaja Aaja main hu pyar tera…….. – Rafi – Asha
2. O haseena zulfon wali zaane zahan…- Rafi – Asha
3. O mere sona re sona re…………..- Rafi – Asha

we can exclude these songs because anyway RD would have preferred Asha over Lata for these songs.

(q) Iqbaal Quereshi

1. Ek chameli ke mande tale…………- Rafi – Asha – Cha Cha Cha
2. Mano mano na mujhe tumse pyar ho….- Rafi – Asha – Cha Cha Cha
3. Phir aane laga yaad wahi pyar……- Rafi – Usha Khanna – Yeh Dil Kisko Doon
4. Kitni Haseen Kitni haseen………..- Rafi – Asha – Yeh Dil Kisko Doon
5. Jab tak duniya rahi rahega tera naam…- Rafi – Asha – Yeh Dil Kisko Doon

(r) Lachi Ram

1. Dhalti jaye raat kahle dil ki baat…- Rafi – Asha – Razia Sultaan(old)
2. Tu shokh kali main mast pawan……..- Rafi – Asha – Main Suhagan Hoon
3. Gori tore nain nainwa kajar bin …..- Rafi – Asha – Main Suhagan Hoon

(s) N. Dutta

1. Aankhe hamari hon sapne tumhare hon…- Rafi – Asha – Mere Armaan Mere Sapne

(t) Sardaar Malik

1. Tere ham o sanam tu kahan main kahan…- Rafi – Suman – Bachpan
2. Neeli-neeli ankhiyon mein doobi-doobi..- Rafi – Suman – Naag Mohini

If the duet songs Of the two MDs – Ravi and O P Nayar are also included then the list will definitely cross 100. And mind you, these are the songs which I can recall; all of you can definitely add to the list from your database. So the total count will really be a substantial one. That clearly demonstrates the fact that most of the MDs opted for Rafi Saab (and not Lataji) for their duet
songs when these two legendary singers were not on speaking terms ( Remember that it was Lataji’s decision not to sing with Rafi Saab. Definitely she was the looser which forced her to tie up the relation with Rafi Saab once again).

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Author : Binay Bhushan
Credits : This article was further filtered with the help of Mr. Rajinder Bhatia.

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68 Blog Comments to “Rafi Saab versus Lataji”

  1. Anonymous says:


  2. Sara says:

    Vasudevan sir, I totally agree with you that even though Lata maybe the best amongst the female singers, she is no way even close to Mohd Rafi with her singing abilities. Mohd Rafi is on a level beyond anyones reach, and quite rightly all other singers can and should do is take inspiration from him, because competing with him is impossible. I recently saw adverts promoting the singer Shaan’s tour and I was so angry at the way he had tried to sing some of the old classics that the late Mohd Rafi and Kishore Kumar had made famous. PLease LEAVE those songs alone, especially if you can’t do them any justice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. P.A.Vasudevan says:

    With due respects to Lataji, she may be the best among the female singers.But when compared to Rafi sahib, I doubt whether she is anywhere near Rafi sahib.Take these songs for eg.Dil Jo Na keh saka(Bheegi rath),Teri aankhon(Chirag), Ye San tera hoga(Junglee),Aaj kal me(Beti Bete),Zindagi bhar(Barsat ki raat)etc. Rafi sahib’s expressions,feelings,and modulations makes him distant and un parallel. Lataji can never dream of singing like Rafi sahib. the

  4. Neeraj Anand says:

    And as for the comparison between Rafi sahab and Lata ji, Lata ji doubtless is nearest to him than any other singer- male or female, old or new , and it is also true that she is the only singer in the annals of the film industry whose name can be mentioned in the same breath as Rafi sahab. Still, she is behind, if not far behind, Rafi sahab.
    The Almighty has made one and only one MOHAMMED RAFI !

  5. Neeraj Anand says:

    I do agree with you. In the Golden Era of film music, Rafi was the first choice of everyone – composers as well as actors. In that era even Lata ji could not take him for granted. But when the golden era was gone, Rafi sahab was taken on (professionally, though) by a far lesser artist Kishor da in collusion with R D Burman. But he re- emerged with a “HUM KISI SE KAM NAHI” vengeance in the very recording studio of RDB. When he breathed his last he had already regained the ground in the industry.

  6. Sunny says:

    swar samraat to ek hi rahega jab tak ye chaand sitare hai tab tak aur woh hai sirf aur sirf RAFI SAHAB, Doston unhe SWAR SAMRAAT kaha jata hai SWAR SAMRAAT ka matlab hai jiski awaaj ke sammne sangeet ke saton sur sajda karte ho. Phir use BHARAT RATNA ki kya zaroorat.
    SWAR SAMRAAT hi kafi hai.
    Aur haan LATAJI ko unki kala ke liye BHARAT RATNA diya hai, ek accha insaan hone ke liye nahi aur accha kalakaar hone se jyada important hai ki aap achhe insaan ho. Jo sirf RAFI SAHAB hi the.
    thats all
    Sunny Abhange 08552939577 (pune)

  7. Alok Rajavat says:

    Lataji cannot be compared with any singer. She is a gifted voice. In many songs like “yamma yamma” rafi voice sounds so awkward.

  8. Mohd Mohsin Khan says:

    Of course, Rafi sahab is greatest singer of Hindi cinem.
    Lata needs to take several births to compare herself with him.

  9. I admit with the author Rafi Sahib is Greatest singer all time , after 1970 there was group formed who prefer Kishore kumar than Md Rafi, but mds r when tune a hard tune, they were bound bound 2 call Rafi sahab. like nafrat ke duniya (Hati Mere sathi. keya huha tere wada (hum Kisise kom nehi0
    L.P said after deth of Md rafis saheb iw “we tune a classic tune, there none 2 sing the tune .
    The great singer also good human being also, what wwas the comment of bare gulam ali about the greatest singer!

  10. vikash says:

    to mr santosh ,
    who are you to compare them and lata is always a great singer and no body is ahead of her . she will be everlasting queen of melody and classical as well
    it seems that some of them commenting in this topic have extra “aukaad ” of judging lata’s and rafi’s songs on the basis of sur . as much i know on the basis of giving live performance no one is ahead of the queeen !!!!!!!!!she was betterly known for her continuity for her hold on her sur and taal as well.many of you still don,t know about sur taal and raag so dont again tell something like that .


    There are many songs which have a female n a male version. If you compare such songs sung by Rafi sahab n Lataji, you’ll see that the songs sung by Rafi are the more popular ones. I actually was hearing the Lata version of certain songs for the first time. This may put to rest the eternal question- who’s better? Rafi or Lata? Here’s the list (alphabetically)
    1-Aaj Kal Mein Dhal Gaya 2. Agar Bewafa Tujhko 3-Akele Hai Chale Aao 4-Dil Bekarar Sa Hai 5-Dil Jo Na Keh Saka 6- Ehsaan Tera Hoga 7-Gar Tum Bhula Na Doge 8-Jab Jab Bahaar Aayi 9-Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai 10-Mere Mehboob Tujhe 11-Pardesiyon Se Na 12-Taqdeer Ka Fasana 13-Teri Aankhon Ke Siwa 14-Tum Mujhe Yun Bhula Na Paoge 15-Wadiyan Mera Daaman 16-Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhulegi. There must be plenty more I must have missed.

  12. Anand Shankar says:

    According to Lata ji Rafi sahab had given her a letter of apology. She has come up with this statement 32 years after the great Rafi sahab passed away and when he can not defend himself. We would like her to show that ‘letter of apology’, so that we can believe in what she is saying now.

  13. Anand Shankar says:

    Rafi sahab and Lata ji are the best male and female singers of India. So far voice quality is concerned, both had got the devine voice. But if we talk about ‘sur’ and expression, Rafi Sahab was ahead of Lata ji. I realised this when listened to the same songs sung by these two greats, such as- Mere mehboob tujhe, Ehsan tera hoga mujhpe, Aji hum se bachkar and Pardeshiyon se na ankhiyan milana. Even in duets like Teri dunyan se dur, Do ghadi wo jo paas aa baithe and Jo waada kiya, Rafi Sahab looks slightly better than Lata ji. Rafi Sahab was more verstile than Lata ji. Rafi sahab could sing any type of songs. He was better than Lata ji in classical based songs, Qawalis, Romantic songs, Bhajan and fast numbers. Raf Sahab’s duets with Lata ji are the best duets of Hindi cinema.

  14. Muzakir Khan says:

    Md. Rafi Saheb, The Legendary Singer.. Hez an Idol, None can replace him.. Also if you compare Md. Rafi Saheb and Kishore, Md. Rafi is outstanding coz, Initially Few songs were given to Kishore but he failed to sing it in a required manner, and it was successfully completed by Md.Rafi Saheb..
    Agar aaj Rafi Saheb hote toh bollywood aasmaan choo leta..

  15. Naseer Mushtaq says:

    M. Rafi had reached at that place in our hearts which none other can’t think of reaching……………..Love U Mohammmad Rafi (May God Bless U & 4give all ur sins) Allah Tumhe Jannat Bakhshay…………….Aameen.
    I also have great respect 4 lata Ji also May Allah Give her Hidayat before her death……… Bcoz i want 2 see that great jodi together before Allah……….Aameen

  16. post 51 – santoshji,

    i get your message loud and clear.

    i do not know if bharat ratna has a price tag and that the authroities are expecting someone or some body to pay up to confer it on some one.

    i think its disgusting – the avataar’s simplicity was his undoing – humility in some quarters does not work out.

    anyway i know i am talking to no one – as everbody is just plain happy praising rafi sahab.

    ramesh narain kurpad

  17. Shilpa says:

    shama, entire songs of kishore which he sang, if you call them songs, would occupy 25 to 30 cds.

  18. santosh says:

    who cares about lata bai, in comparison with great rafi.
    oh i am sorry she is bharat ratna.

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