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Rafi Sahab and Pancham, the combination that was adored by all alike classes to masses

This article is written by: Zaheen Danish

Rafi Sahab with RD Burman

Rafi Sahab with RD Burman

When we talk about the combination of Rafi Sahab and R.D. Burman and about their partnership,  some of the finest songs that were composed by RDB trying to resurface on the thin layer of memory instantly  such as – “Tum bin jaoun kahan”, “Ni sultana re pyar ka mausam aya”  “ kitna pyara wada” , “Arrey ho goriyan kahan tera desh re”,  “Chura liya hai tumne jo dilko”, “Yeh ladka hai alla kaisa hai diwana”,  “Hai agar dushman zamana gham nahi”, “Kya hua tera wada”,  “Chand mera dil”, “Pal do pal ka saath hamaara” and Maine poocha chand se. RD Burman started his journey with Chote Nawab in 1962 with the help of the man with the golden voice, Mohammad Rafi.

Major songs in the film was sung by Rafi and RD Burman commanded respect in the musical community of that period, who were still mesmerised with the classical compositions of Naushad, folk songs of SD Burman, western effects of Shankar Jaikishan, OP Nayyar, Salil Chowdhury, Ghazals of Roshan, Madan mohan. RD Burman had other skills like playing the mouth organ, tabla and other related instruments and he showed his skill while playing the mouth organ for Laxmikant Pyarellal in the film Dosti, 1964 where Rafi had galvanised the silver screen with his tragic andaz.

RDB created western composition in “Ao Twist Karen” for Manna Dey in Bhoot Bangla. But he received the maximum appreciation from music lovers with his compositions in the film Teesri Manzil, 1966. All the songs were sung by Mohammad Rafi. All the songs were superhits, including “O haseena zulfonwali”, “Aja aja”, “Dewaana mujhsa nahin”, “ janeman janeja, tumne muhhe dekha hoker meherban”, “O mere sona re sona re sona re.” However, let us not forget that RDB used Rafi extensively during late sixties as his main playback singer right from the first movie. He gave hit music with Rafi in Teesri Manzil, Chhote Nawaab, Caravan, Pyaar ka Mausam, Chandan ka Palna, The Train, Abhilasha, Adhikar, etc. Later during late seventies he returned to Rafi and gave hits like Shaan, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, Abdullah, Zamane ko Dikhana Hai, etc.

Today when people remember RDB, they remember him as a great musician and a greater human being.   It is a curious thing that R D Burman also goes by the name of Pancham. Story goes that when veteran Ashok Kumar saw Sachin Dev Burman’s newborn uttering the syllable ‘Pa‘ repeatedly, he nicknamed him Pancham. And the name stuck. To many, he’s still Pancham Da. The man who added his unique dash of pep and verve into Hindi film music starting with the 60s. The first music director who added a pinch of Rock ‘n’ Roll to lilting Hindi tunes. And created a brand of music so distinctly his own, that even his father, the older Burman came to be proud of his son’s unconventional music.  Tublu!! That’s what RDB was called when he was born. If you see his early pictures, he quite did justice to this name.

Mehmood Saab had gone to sign Sachinda for his first production but it is said that Sachinda was not convinced about working with a new production house and Mehmood Saab signed RDB for his aptly titled debut, Chhote Nawab! When Chhote Nawab was released, 1961, Sachinda was one of the biggest names in the industry. Already a legend, with a huge fan following and a queue of producers waiting to sign him for their next venture. Amidst all this, Rahul Dev Burman made his quiet entry into films. Not many would have noticed this film and its music and those who did, may not have realized that this album and this man, will be discussed for ages to come.

Rafi Sahab with RD Burman

Rafi Sahab with RD Burman

Starting independent music composing in 1961 with Chhote Nawaab, he did 331 Films and 4 Non-Film Albums. Before coming onto his own, he assisted his father S.D. Burman for long. Out of his 331 released movies 292 were in Hindi, 31 in Bangla, 3 in Telugu, 2 each in Tamil & Oriya and 1 in Marathi. RD also composed for 5 TV Serials in Hindi and Marathi. He also scored a large number of non-film songs in Bangla ((also known as Pooja songs or modern songs), which are available in different albums. He did a song for a small documentary film called Maa Ki Pukaar too, in 1975.  R.D. Burman made his acting debut in Mehmood’s ‘Bhoot Bangla‘. Later in ‘Pyar Ka Mausam‘ too he gave a hilarious performance as Mr. Popat Lal. RDB was appreciated, loved, respected & adored by all alike Classes to Masses.


  • Pancham introduced the twin track effect in ‘Baharon Ke Sapne‘. which he later used to create the mesmerizing ‘qatra qatra miltee hai‘ (Ijaazat) and a few more songs.
  • He also pioneered the use of electronic organ in Indian Films with the song ‘O mere Sona re‘ (Teesri Manzil).
  • RD was, as Gulzar says, as good a craftsman as he was a musician. He picked the sounds for his songs from very indigenous sources.
  • In ‘Chura liya‘ he used the sound of a spoon hitting a glass.
  • For the Kitaab song ‘Master jee kee aa gayee chitthee‘ he brought some desks from a classroom in the studio while recording and used them as percussion.
  • In Abdullah he used the sound of a bamboo whistle with a balloon tied to it for a song.
  • Once to get the sound of raindrops, he spent a whole rainy night in his house’s balcony recording the sound he wanted.
  • In the song ‘O Manjhi Re‘ from the movie ‘Khushboo‘, R.D. Burman used bottles with water filled at different levels and created a hollow sound by blowing into them and this sound effect was used with the orchestra.
  • During the recording of ‘Hum donon do premee‘ (Ajnabee) the musicians were on strike. So he improvised the song with emptied-out musical interludes and just listen the song!
  • The mouth organ played in the song ‘Hai Apna Dil To Awara‘ sung by Hemant Kumar in the film ‘Solva Saal‘ is played by R.D. Burman himself.
  • R.D. Burman played the mouth organ for his friends Laxmikant-Pyarelal in a song in ‘Dosti‘ and also in a movie for Kalyanji-Anandji.
  • Dada Burman used Pancham’s tune ‘ai meree topee palat ke aa‘ in ‘Fantoosh‘. Pancham was only 9 when he composed the tune.
  • Again next year, for Pyaasa, SD used his son’s ‘Sar Jo Tera Chakraaye‘, which became a big hit.
  • Both Lata and Bhupinder won a National award for the song ‘Beeti Na Bitaayee Raina‘ from ‘Parichay‘, and this song was composed in a hotel room in no time.
  • Aarti Mukherjee won a National award for the song ‘Do Naina Ek Kahaani‘ from ‘Masoom‘.
  • Gulzar (best lyricist), Asha Bhosle (best female singer) won National awards for the song ‘Mera Kuchh Samaan‘ from Ijaazat.
  • RDB was the first to introduce the Brazilian bossa nova rhythm in Hindi film music – the song was “Maar dalega dard-e-jigar“, sung by Asha, in “Pati Patni“. That rhythm has since been endlessly used for film music.
  • R.D. Burman won the Filmfare Award only 3 times (Sanam Teri Kasam, Masoom, 1942-A Love Story) while being nominated 16 times for the award.
  • Amit Kumar, Abhijeet & Shabbir Kumar were given their first breaks by Pancham.
  • Jatin of Jatin-Lalit used to be in Pancham’s children’s choir.
  • Nasir Hussain, for the first time after Teesri Manzil, did not sign R.D. Burman, in ‘Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak‘.

R.D.B did give Rafi Sahab best numbers that are still fondly remembered. One song which basically can be philosophy to many people is Pal do Pal ka saath hamara. I’ve noticed, be it any program that is a tribute to Rafi Sahab, it either ends with Tum Mujeh Yun Bhula Na Paavoge or Pal Do Pal Ka Saath Hamaara.

Some unforgettable Solos of Rafi with RDB:

  • Tumne Mujhe Dekha, Hokar Meherbaan – Teesri Manzil (1966)
  • Zamane ne Mare Jawaa Kaise-Kaise – Baharon ke Sapne ( 1967)
  • Tumhe Dekha hai Maine Gulsitaoon Mein – Chandan ka Palna (1967)
  • Wadiyaan Mera Daman – Abilasha (1968)
  • Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan – Pyar ka Mausam (1969)
  • CheKhush Nazare,chekhush Nazare – Pyar ka Mausam (1969)
  • Mere Liye Aati Hai sham – Raton ka Raja (1970)
  • Gulabi Aakheen Jo Teri dekhi – The Train (1970)
  • Rekha O Rekha, Jab se tumhe Dekha – Adhikar (1971)
  • Koi Aur Duniya Mein tumsa hasin hai – Pyar ki Kahani (1971)
  • Ae Jaanewafa Aisa bhi kya tum to khaafa – Chhalia (1973)
  • Jab ek kaaja se gujro to ek aur kaaja mil jaati hai – Devta (1978)
  • Jaag devta, naag devta  – Shalimar (1978)
  • Aa gaye yaaro Jeene Ke din – Phir Wohi Raat (1980)
  • Aate Jaate hue main sab pe nazar  – Shaan (1980)
  • Maine Poocha Chand Se  – Abdullah (1980)
  • Kaun Kisi ko Bandh saaka  – Kaalia (1981)
  • Dukh Sukh ki har ek Mala Kudrat hi piroti ha – Kudrat (1981)

Some unforgettable duets of Rafi and Lata with RDB:

  • Matwaalee aankhon waale – Chhote Nawaab (1961)
  • Nagma Hamara Gaayegaa Ye Zamana – Bundalbaaz (1976)
  • Kitnaa Pyaaraa Waadaa Hai – Caravan (1971)
  • Kahe Ko Bulaya – Humshakal (1974)
  • Gori Ke Haath Mei Jaise Ye Chhallaa – Mela (1974)
  • Rut Hai Milan Ki Saathi Mere Aa Re – Mela (1974)
  • Mohabbat Mein Ajii Kyaa Apnaa Imtihaan Denge – Phandebaaz (1978)
  • Ni Sultana Re Pyar Ka Mausam Aayaa – Pyar Ka Mausam (1969)
  • Mujhse Bhalaa Ye Kaajal Teraa Nain Base Din Rain – The Train (1970)
  • Lehra Ke Aayaa Hai Jhonka Bahaar Ka – Waris (1969)
  • Kabhi Kabhi Aisa Bhi To Hota Hai – Waris (1969)

Some unforgettable duets of Rafi and Asha with RDB:

  • Aaja Aaja Main Hu – Teesri Manzil (1966)
  • Haseena Zulfon Wali – Teesri Manzil
  • Mere Sona Re  – Teesri Manzil
  • Chura Liya Hain Tumne – Yadon ki Barat (1974)
  • Hai Allah yek ladka – Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (1978)
  • Hai Agar Dushman Zamana – Hum Kisise Kum Nahin
  • Pal do Pal ka Saath – The Burning Train (1979)
  • Aa raat jaati hai chupke se mil jaaye dono – Benaam (1974)
  • Rakkassa Mera Naam,Ae Sahib sabko salaam – The Great Gambler (1978)
  • Pucho na yaar kya hua – Zamane ko Dikha Hai (1981)

The only duet RDB sang with Rafi Sahab was “Yamma Yamma” from Shaan.

Mohammed Rafi received the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the song Kya Hua Tera Wada from Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin (1977), composed by RD Burman.

For all the glory he had earned, RDB was an introvert when it came to self-publicity. This resulted in his losing out on many prestigious ventures. Directors who dropped him without any tangible reason included greats like Ramesh Sippy and Shekhar Kapoor. Subhash Ghai had once assured him that they would work together. In reality, he never did. Yash Copra dropped him even after the grand success of Deewar. Manmohan Desai, having used RD for Aa Gale Lag Jaa, his best musical by a mile, never said a word in RD’s favour in the future. But these were not isolated incidents. RD was in reality an inarticulate dipsomaniac whose world revolved around his music and his close circuit of friends. Even when he got cheated, he had no real clout in the Bombay film circle to voice his opinion, let alone bloat it. His last years were rooted in disappointments that were directed at various levels, mainly at the way the music industry promoted non-talents for reasons other than music. Like every superstar, RDB needed to be constantly reminded of his greatness, the lack of which forced him into a self-appointed seclusion. Sachin Bhowmick, his chum and confidante, summed it up as, “It was loneliness which killed him. Loneliness which is supposed to be the critical foe of heart patients.”

1994 had finally arrived. The New Year had begun with a big bang. High hopes, high spirits and great expectations for happiness, peace and prosperity. There was no place left for sadness or gloom. And yet, it found its insidious way into our hearts on that unfortunate winter morning.   January 4,1994, 3:45 am R.D.Burman, one of the greatest music directors of all times passed away after suffering two heart attacks, one after the other. Indian cinema had lost another genius.

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148 Blog Comments to “Rafi Sahab and Pancham, the combination that was adored by all alike classes to masses”

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  1. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Zaheen Danish,

    From you writing, it appears that you are much younger than me. Please do not take anything I write personally. I do not intend to be harsh on anyone but at the same time, I do not want anyone to propagate inaccurate statements, or views that are not commonly held.

    Writing about a relationship of an individual with Rafi is a tricky affair for anyone, but especially for those who did not experience the Rafi phenomenon first hand. People like me sometimes make statements but we are from that era and we try our best to ground our theories in facts, not in what some joker at Filmfare or Stardust writes or in what Mrs. Hope propagates. In short, we do not let the Pancham-obsessed media influence our views.

    I will give a point-by-point response to some of your comments, but before I do that, I’d request you and everyone else never to put Rafi and RD on the same pedestal. We consider Rafi to be the greatest phenomenon to have graced the subcontinent, the man who not only gave voice to a new nation but showed the goodness inherent in every human being. A man whom Saigal blessed, whom Raichand Boral admired, whom K. C. Dey adored. A man whom Manna Dey called an institution and graciously acknowledged as having towered above all of them. A man whose songs are heard every second all over the world.

    And yet, in the RD-infatuated media and FM channels of our country — promoted by Asha and other lackeys — there appears to be only four superstars in the music world: Pancham, Kishore, Lata and Asha (employees of Bengal Nagpur Railways). The worst song from HKKN, “Bachna aye haseeno”, which nobody cared to listen during our time, has become a rage on FM channels. Is that what someone would call a good song?

    Now let me get into the specifics. In your title, you wrote that Rafi Sahab and Pancham is a combination that was adored by all alike, classes to masses. Honestly, Pancham is not even in my top 8 MD list for Rafi. When Rafians consider class, they usually think of MD’s like Naushad, Madan Mohan, S. D. Burman and Roshan. Naushad and S. D. Burman also catered to the masses, but if you want a prime example of class+mass, there’s nothing better than Shankar & Jaikishan. How come no one talks about them, despite the fact that they ruled the music industry for over 20 years? What is Pancham’s contriubtion to Rafiana compared to SJ? Except for a Tumne Mujhe Dekha here and a Ni Sultana there, he has given most of his prize compositions to Kishore, and we are supposed to promote him on this site? As of today, Rafi’s “Likhe jo khat tujhe” on youtube has over 5 million hits. Jai Shankar, Jai Kishan!

    RD didn’t do any favours to Rafi by letting him sing in Teesri Manzil. One negative word from Rafi and Nasir Hussain would have dropped Pancham like a hot brick. And it was Jai’s magnanimity that he encouraged Nasir to use Pancham in Teesri Manzil. There’s not a single singer in the country — male or female, north or south — who would be able to reach 70% of Rafi’s level in that song, even after 100 tries. An accomplished musician like Pancham would have known that but we know what he did — promoted Kishore at all costs and tried his best to keep Rafi out of the recording room. The man became too big for his own boots. A four-pronged attack from the BNR employees, along with four employees of the Punjab Railways (Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, B. R. Chopra and Yash Chopra), couldn’t prevent Rafi from regaining the top spot in the late 70s. The momentum was on his side and with LP finding their pitri-saman Rafi at the top, it would have taken at most a year or two for Rafi to dominate the scene once again. At the rate at which he was signing new songs, RD was forced to frequent Rafi villa during that period. Otherwise, he would have been dumped by producers like Ramesh Sippy, just as he was dumped earlier by Manmohan Desai.

    (To be continued… )

  2. salim k says:

    Post 40

    Raja ji can you please explain on what factors is kk version better than Rafi Sahabs. I am sorry to say no fan of Rafi Sahab or anyone that has some sense of hearing and music will say such a thing.

    First, both these versions are different, the orchestra is different and so are the situation. One is flowing with the heart of a lover, that Rafi sahab sang for Shashi and other a love for his family, KK singing for Bharat Bhushan.

    From a playback perspective when Shashi sings the songs it feels it is he who is singing, that is called voice modulation which no singer has to date (except Rafi sahab), do you understand voice modulation.? The other song, KK’s voice does not suit Bharat Bhushan.

    Also Kishore recorded the song only after Rafi Sahab recorded his and the tune was changed to accomodate the range of kishore that was far lesser than that of Rafi sahab.

    have a nive day.

  3. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Rafi Saheb’s version of Tum bin jaoon kahan… was more melodious than the version of KK… If you listen to KKs version properly, you will notice KK sang it as if he was weeping…

  4. Ali says:

    If I am not wrong Rashed gave us list of around 130 films list for who rd gave music and ask to gave only find only 10 hit songs from these films but there was no answer….any one got the list?

  5. mehboob says:

    post 40 Raja,
    You need your ears cleaning if you think that kk version is better than rafi’s.

  6. Ahamed Kutty says:

    refer comment 40
    this had been written by one mr.fazal ahamed who is
    a fan of is these peoples dream that rafians will
    admit kk’s version is far better than rafi saab’s version.
    as i mentioned in my comment 36 that even hearing the
    starting humming of kk itself we will stop that song.

  7. Man Mouji says:

    Kutty Sahab and Mr. Raja

    in 1969 Pancham came up with a tune that rocked the world…Rafi’s super romantic singing won all hearts….and is still winning as it’s been played around the globe…Tum Bin Jaun Kahan– it’s a pleasure to listen to it over and over and over. Rafi Sahab’s powerful and soul touching singing brought Pancham-da’s tune to life.

  8. Ali says:

    Mohd rafi was a God gift ,rd , Rajesh khanna and mr bachchan when ever they got mohd rafi voice the song was hit that is history , rd back to mohd rafi in film shaan, …….

  9. Ahamed Kutty says:

    dear premkumarji,
    please reply for the comment 40 also.

  10. Poorna says:

    Anyone who is keen to know more about RDB, his music, his association with KK, his relationship with Asha bhonsle (Ashaji had totally neglected the man in the last few years before his death), his lonliness, his inability to come to terms with the Bappi lahiri and noisy eighties, ditching by some of his favourite producers and many more happennings in his life, i request you to read the book imentioned in my post (post 1) above. Thoroughly researched and with lot of depth, this should be read by all music lovers. Unfortunately, i also found that twenty pages were missing from new book around page number 260. be careful to check this when you buy.

  11. RAJA says:

    One story I have read is that when SD Burman took ill after composing the two Rafi duets of Aradhana, RD Burman took charge, and while Rafi was away on a tour abroad, instead of waiting for his return, he got his favourite buddy Kishore Kumar record the solos. As if to answer this charge, RD Burman got both Kishore Kumar and Rafi sing the same solo in a film – Tum bin jaoon kahan in Pyar Ka Mausam, and even an inveterate Rafi fan would have to admit Kishore Kumar’s version is far superior. Later, RD Burman used the two in conjunction to sing the title song in Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973), Kishore Kumar singing for one brother and Rafi for another. By this time there was no doubt who was the leader and who the follower. RD Burman-Kishore Kumar became a byword for the musical style of the seventies.

  12. Prem Kumar says:

    Dear Ahamed Kutty Ji,

    It is not nice to ignite the Rafi-Kishore fued on this thread, as there was no such comparison been done for the song tum bin……. your negative comment is unwanted here, even the reference of salame ishq song too, please keep your comments topic related that would be much better and knowledgeable.

    I being an ardent Rafi fan do not like to demean Kishore Da who equally share the respect among the music lovers.

    This is just for your information.

    With Musical Regards

    Prem Kumar

  13. Man Mouji says:

    It is commonly noted that Manmohan Desai the phenomenon bollywood director who was very much helped Rafi Sahab to regain his glory during 70’s (in movies like Dharam Veer, Chacha Bhatija, Parvarish etc.) but still I wonder how come Manmohan Desai did not have even a single song in his movie Aa gale lag ja though music was composed by RDB.

    The second example Mela was released in 1971, although it had two duets songs of Rafi – Lata namely Rut hai Milan ki and Gori ke haat main” I wonder why RDB did not use Kishore for this movie.

    Even in Manoranjan which was produced by Shammi Kapoor, a staunch loyalist of Rafi Saab, we find no Rafi Saab for even a single song which is surprising.

  14. Zaheendanish says:

    Before talking about the relationship between Pancham and Kishore Da, one has to know the flashback prior to 1969 and the scenario thereafter.

    The 1960’s were not kind to Kishore Kumar. Most of the movies he starred in flopped at the box office, his marriage to his first wife ended in divorce and his songs were just not getting the airplay they had been when he first broke into the business. While he had the odd hit in ‘Padosan’ & ‘Jewel Thief’, for the most part it seemed that Bollywood had grown tired of Kishore and his career seemed over. He remarried in 1960 to the luminous Madhubala but the marriage was doomed from the start. Madhubala passed away in 1969 while in Kishore’s arms – Yet that year would prove a watershed year in Kishore’s life both personally and professionally.

    Kishore Da was ready to pack up in 1965 and return to his native Khandwa after the “Padosan” (released 1968) song, kehna hai kehna hai. R.D. Burman who had always nurtured a soft corner for him advised him not to do so. With Teesri Manzil in 1966 RDB became a name to reckon with. But even he had to wait till 1971 for giving his favorite a restart. S.D. Burman had already started recording the songs for ‘Aradhana’ and used Rafi’s voice for the first two but became very ill shortly thereafter and had to be hospitalized. The responsibility for finishing the soundtrack fell on his son, Rahul Dev Burman; he had always been enamored with Kishore’s voice. The younger Burman broke tradition and recorded the remainder of the songs with Kishore, convinced that Kishoreda would be able to hit the nuances of the songs. ‘Aradhana’ became a blockbuster hit and that one movie changed the entire landscape of Bollywood for years to come. Further Rajesh Khanna became the biggest movie star of the day and no one, not Raj Kapoor before him or Amitabh Bachchan after, could match the way he owned the silver screen for the next five years. This was one among the many other factors that gave an immense boost to the sagging career of Kishore Kumar. Kishore fared even better, after the success of ‘Aradhana’ he became the most sought after singer in Bollywood until he passed away.

    Kishore Kumar was simply unstoppable after the blockbuster success of ‘Aradhana’ – every music producer wanted him for their songs and each leading man of the day wanted to be associated with his voice. Indeed, the Rajesh/Kishore pairing became legendary in Bollywood and soon more leading men became associated with his voice – Shashi Kapoor, Jeetendra, Dharmendra (just to name a few) and audiences simply could not get enough.

    As noted above, by the late Sixties and early Seventies Rafi Sahaab began his globe-trotting and live performances right upto 1980.

    A very important fact that has also to be taken into consideration is that the Bombay Film Industry was and is still notorious for borrowing huge sums of money from loan sharks who charge exorbitant rate of interests. (It’s only now that the Corporates have stepped in). Therefore, when Rafi Saab had shifted to London or was not available for recording, the producers could not wait forever and therefore music directors had to take whoever was available. Kishore Kumar fitted the bill very nicely what with the rise of R.D. Burman and the phenomena Rajesh Khanna whose golden jubilee hits of Aradhna and Do Raaste in 1969 worked wonders for Kishore Kumar. Then there were so many releases of Dev Anand (who, again, had always preferred Kishore Kumar) starrers right from Mahal (1970) to Des Pardes (1978) and even later movies including Lootmaar (1980). However, once Rafi Sahab got over his “reluctance” and tried making himself available, the restoration process had begun with the needed fillip of Madan Mohan.

  15. Ahamed Kutty says:

    it is foolishness to compare the rafi saab version of ‘tum bin
    jaoon kahaam’ with the version of kk.the smooth sound of
    rafi saab is the kk version the starting humming
    itself give us is the same way kk is singing in the
    song ‘salaami ishque meri jaa’ with lataji in ‘muqaddar ka
    sikander’.sorry for the negetive comment.

  16. P. Haldar says:

    Several years ago, I had posted a negative comment on Pancham for the way he treated Rafi in “tum bin jaoon kahan”. In reaction to that comment, one of our friends wrote an article on the RD-Kishore vs. RD-Rafi combo which gathered over 2000 comments. Suffice it to say that there was a lot of acrimony and heated debate that consumed the energies of the visitors of this site. I sincerely hope that this post does not generate that kind of negative attention.

    Rafians are an emotive lot. You’d rarely find a fan of any other singer who is more diehard than a Rafian. Do not mistake the Rafians’ love for LP, MM, Ravi or Chitragupta as misguided. By the same token, their dislike for Pancham — not of his music — is not unfounded. I am not sure which age group Mr. Zaheen belongs to, but it’s difficult to discuss the RD-Rafi relationship in its entirety unless you’ve lived through those times. I have. And I concede that those were some of the most painful years of my life. Musicians like the late Mr. Sandeep Nadkarni have confirmed our worst fears about Pancham.

    It is possible to be a fan of both Rafi and Pancham, but it is important that we separate the facts from fiction. Someone who says that Pancham didn’t have a bias against Rafi clearly doesn’t have the facts straight. This is the same person who stole the songs his dad had composed for Rafi and gave them over to Kishore. And after the incredible way Rafi delivered Ni Sultan Re for Sashi, gave all the songs of “Aa Gale Lag Ja” to Kishore. I was so happy that Manmohan Desai dumped him. A man of conviction, just like Nasir Hussain, Madan Mohan, Shammi Kapoor, Ravi, Laxmikant and Rajendra Kumar. May their souls rest in peace.

    Citing a few films from 1971 and 1972 doesn’t prove anything. The twin blasts came in the form of Amar Prem and Kati Patang, and after that the rising Pancham didn’t spare a thought for the singer who brought him into the big league. All those “Chura liyas” and “Kya huwas” happened because of Nasir Hussain, not because of Pancham. In the late 70s, Pancham was forced to use Rafi not out affection, but out of necessity.

    I love Pancham’s music but as a diehard Rafian, I don’t appreciate how he treated Rafi. I have pointed out many times before that Kishore and Pancham were made for one another. In my opinion, no one has used Kishore better than Pancham, not even his dad. And much as it difficult for me to concede, he is the only music director in film music whose output with Kishore I rate better than that with Rafi (not only quantity-wise but also quality-wise). There’s no point in speculating what could have happened if Pancham had done this, done that, etc. etc. Kishore did some outstanding work with Pancham, and as music lovers, we should acknowledge that.

  17. P. Haldar says:

    bada natkhat hai re pancham bhaiya
    ka kare meera maaiya…

  18. snehal desai says:

    post 31

    Asha Bhonsle was the key reason of downfall of RD. She treated RD’s mother very badly and even drove her out of the house.

    Amit kumar – well if was not a son of Kishore Kumar would not be allowed to sing chorus.

    RD Burman is very over-rated and his so called good songs are plagerised. I am happy Rafi did not sing many songs for him.

    Kishore was forced on us by RD Burman – thats the bottom line just like Kumar Sanu was forced on us by Nadeem Sharavan.

    Rafi is a shinning star and RD was lucky that his ear jarring music was blessed by Rafi’s voice.

  19. andrea correa says:

    it was surprising that the wife of rdb – asha bhosle did not sing any songs in the musical 1942 a love story. neither did amit kumar.

    any clues – friends…..

  20. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Dear Friends,

    I can understand the sentiments of some Rafians who feel that Pancham was the major reason behind Rafi saab’s partial eclipse during early 1970s. But looking dispassionately, I think that more that Pancham it was Rajesh Khanna who had tremendous clout and he always insisted on Kishore’s voice for all his songs.. and film Industry is what it is.. it was kind of ‘bhed chaal’. Let us not forget the negative role of some fellow singer(s) whose went out of their way in promoting Kishore Kumar is discussed time and again. It may be because of jealousy factor…because almost always Rafi saab would outsing them qualitatively in duets and ‘do pehlu’ songs. Singing with Kishore would establish them superior to him which was not the case in case of Rafi saab.

    All said and done, R.D. Burman was a simple soul, he simply practiced loyalty for his buddy K.K. though it must be admitted that in the process he under-used his immense talent leading to his own downfall.

    Post 10 of Mr. Prem Kumar is bit curious. He considers RDB’s output in years 1970 to 1975 as his best (conveniently forgetting earlier period when he gave Teesri Manzil, Pyar Ka Mausam, The Train, Baharon Ke sapne etc.). During pre-Kishore period his output was varied and innovative. In Kishore’s time in the initial 4-5 years he almost ‘fully’ utilized him. After that it restricted his creativity. That would not have been the case had he maintained a balance between Rafi and Kishore.

    I fully concur with the posts of Man Mouji and Binu Nair.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  21. RAJA says:

    The mid 1980’s were a very hard time for R.D. Burman, both personally as well as professionally. The general perception was that he had lost his touch. The songs that he did, generally failed to make a major impact on the public. Where R.D. Burman had made a career from Western “inspired” songs, he found that he was repeatedly being outdone by Bappi Lahiri’s Western “inspired” disco. But his career limped into the 1990’s with very lackluster commercial success. There were a few exceptions to the public’s rejection of his music, most notably “1942: A Love Story”. In the audio-visual (AV) presented at the function, filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra made a revelation. Chopra said that when he signed Pancham for his “1942: A Love Story” in 1993, the music company he had first approached refused to buy the music rights of the film unless he replaced him with a new generation music director. “But Mr. Chopra stuck to his stand and the results are there for all to see,”

  22. Ahamed Kutty says:

    dear zahinsaab,
    excellent write up.the association of panchamda with kk
    than rafi saab is the main cause of his bad story of his
    last days since the limitations of kk as a singer affected
    him a i mentioned in my previous comments once
    md anu malik had seen rdb who was desperately asking
    for a work.this will be a ‘black mark of hfm’ for ever.

  23. Man Mouji says:

    My all-time favourite RD Burman song is Tumne mujhe dekha, ho kar meherbaan from Teesri Manzil. I am romantically, musically and creatively attached to the tune even today. This is also my favourite Mohd. Rafi song. I must mention that Panchamda was a superb orchestra conductor too.

    RD Burman was so much in tune with his time that he could compose Piya tu ab tu aaja from Caravan to Chingari jo bhadke from Amar Prem with equal ease. His range varied from the catchy Aaja aaja main hun pya tera from Teesri Manzil, to the soulful thumri Hame tumse pyar kitna, ye hum nahin jaante by Parveen Sultana in Kudrat and the melodious Tere bina zindagi se koi, shikwa to nahin from Aandhi. He could do so because he was classically trained and at the same time, he kept abreast with modern musical trends all over the world.

  24. A. Almas says:

    RDB was part of the politics which went on during that era against Rafi saab….
    It is good that Nasir Hussain and Man Mohan Desai the loyalists of Rafi Saab had given fitting reply and bring back Rafi Saab to mainstream platform, since then there was no looking back.

  25. Zaheendanish says:

    Dear Friends and Rafians,

    I wrote yesterday quite a lenghty post to reveal my perspective on Rafi Sahab and RDB, but to my surprise the post went into moderation since yesterday, please wait until the post is free from moderation.

    I hope moderator ji should take care of my post and release it ASAP.

    Thanks to you all.

    Zaheen Danish

  26. andrea correa says:

    mohd rafi lovers will always have reservations about rdb – cause he gave too many songs to kishore for heroes of the times on whom rafi voice would sit like the letter t in capitals.

    rdb used kishore for shashi kapoor, dharmendra, sanjeev kumar to name a few. most of the songs were spoiled. he further tried manna dey for a song on sanjeev kumar – a duet in seeta aur geeta. most of the songs are forgotten along with rdb ‘s wifes ashas numbers. its said rdb gave straight ‘flops’ for 25 movies and the industry moved ‘away’ from him.

    post 1975 there was ‘no’ sachin dev burman to guide the maestro. his wife stayed seperately .he became a loner lost in the beverages its said.

    its really tragic to see such an accomplished composer losing steam – so suddenly.

    on hindight we think rdb should have used rafi for more of his songs and also female singers like kalyanji anandji did in their days of glory.

    During the rdb wave its also alleged that the binaca geet mala was rigged. many announcers even today talk about how composers and music directors used to send ‘money covers’ to them for playing their songs on vivid bharati.

    but quality wise, rafi songs stand out having a longer, bigger and eternal shelf life.

    rdb failed to realise the value of rafi singing for him mainly due to his advisers and false pride. rdb paid for it.

    it pains the heart as its said that rdb was a great and nice individual by his colleagues.

    1942 was too late in the day. Kishores son amit kumar also did’nt sing for it. the songs went to the nasal singer.

    there is a small story to it – as well.

  27. salim k says:

    and a friend just called me and asked me to comment on “tum bin jaoon kahan”

    From a playback perspective I feel Rafi Sahab version is far superior as one feels Shashi is singing it. Bharat Bhushan and kishore, simply dont match.

    In terms of singing, I think both songs are nearly equal although, Rafi Sahab brings out the emotions out of a young lover more beautifully.

    Bottom line, both great songs.

  28. salim k says:

    Ihave to congratulate Zaheen bhai on his brave effort. I could not have written on this subject as i could have not gone beyond 3 incredible songs:

    1. Zamane ne mare jawaan kaise kaise
    2. Tum ne mujhe dekha hokar meherbaaan
    3. Ilahi to sun le hamari dua

    If Pancham had only given these 3 songs to us, i would have considered him a MD of quality.

    What transpired after that was simple, Pamcham was fond of Kishore as a friend and a singer.He made that choice and there were consequences of that choice.

    There is a difference between “good” and “everlasting”, quantity is not a measure of quality.

    So is Pancham overrated? The answer is Yes and no.

    Yes when people link him with those songs that hardly can give any true music lover a goose bump and No when you hear songs I mentioned above.
    Panchams best songs are with Rafi Sahab in my opinion. Kishore did justice to majority of his compositions but for purists, they look for excellence and I fall in that category and hence no singer gives me more goose bumps than the king himslef, Rai sahab.

    Zaheen bhai, well done and its not a criticism, the article needed some editing.

  29. A. Almas says:

    My comment has just disappeared under hi-tech moderation of this site for more than 8 hours, moderator ji, are you listening to me?????

  30. Lt Col Javed Sayyed(Veteran) says:

    Dear Mr Zaheen,
    nice article, though bordering more on rdb. rafians in their comments above (Ms Poorna, Ajay Poundarik, lightmusiclover have rightly brought out the facts of life-rdbs overtly preference of kk over rafi & using him only on insistence of the md/producer of film!!. but sdb was a little different-he gave rafi gems that only he could do justice even the entire songs were to be sung by kk!! Thats the major difference between the sdb & rdb.
    After rafis coming back to take his pole position in late 70s, rdb started realising what he had lost in music & had, around rafi sahabs demise- remarked that he should have worked more with rafi sahab!!! Melody had only one name-rafi. Rest are just songs sung by singers!!
    The sad version of tum bin jaon kahan is just superb. By every look & angle-rafis voice melts into the original voice of the younger hero-Shashi kapoor!!
    as for the two versions of this song-there is no place for debate. rafi sahab is rafi sahab!!!

  31. lightmusiclover says:

    Dear Prem Kumarji,
    The two songs you mentioned- ‘fiza (or is it khiza) ke phool..’ and ‘mere mehboob qayamat..’- are my personal favourite LP-Kishore scores as well. I don’t understand why these two songs are not being talked about, even among the hard core Kishore fans, the way some of the RDB-Kishore scores are. Superb songs and superb singing. How deftly Kishore negotiates the ‘naseebs….’ and ‘pyars….’ at the beginning of the first song.

  32. Zaheendanish says:

    Dear Friends,

    Thanks a lot for your pro and anti views commented on RDB when it comes to Rafi Saab combination. I appreciate all those rafians and music lovers in general that their viewpoint is correct for some extent when they expressed so. But I have my own perspective to present.

    All music lovers acknowledge the fact that Mohammad Rafi was the`Tansen’ of Indian film music in general and Hindi film music in particular. His rich deep voice with surprisingly elaborate range is unparalleled and has enthralled the music loving audience all over the world for more than three decades and continues to do so even today.

    In 1970 onwards, Rafi Sahaab was engrossed in religious duties such as performance of Haj whereafter he voluntarily cut down his recording sessions and even shifted to London. Naturally this fuelled the myth of his “decline”. Naushad Saab chastised Rafi Sahaab saying, `Is there any male singer today, who’s even a fraction as good as you are? You still have the ability to beat the daylights out of all of them’. At the peak of the Kishore wave in the seventies O.P. Nayyar was quoted as saying. ‘How I wish I had just one film in hand to settle all this nonsense, they’re talking about Rafi. Always remember one thing. That if there had been no Rafi, there would have been no Nayyar’. The Thespian Dilip Kumar has gone on record to say that Rafi Sahaab was not at all insecure during those days. Lata Mangeshkar herself recently stated that it was wrong to say that Kishore Kumar had overtaken Rafi Bhaiya who, according to her, was the greatest playback singer and a wonderful person.

    “Otherwise, too, the mammoth myth of Rafi Sahaab’s lean phase was amply exposed by a prestigious Indian weekly magazine named SCREEN in one of their publications: “The reduction in Rafi’s visit to the recording studios did not necessarily imply that Rafi was down. And ironically it was the high quantum of Rafi’s song in the pre-Aradhana phase that helped to fuel this myth. In actual fact it was during 1971-76 period that Rafi’s standing almost paralleled Mukesh’s. For Rafi had greater than ever percentage of hits…” The weekly goes on to emphatically state how Rafi Sahaab’s impact gave a permanent place in Bollywood musicals to even smaller composers during that period. ‘Rafi and down? Haven’t we heard that titans go down only in history!’

    I don’t know much about music but I think RD best film as music was teesri manzil where all songs went to mohd Rafi….RD last film with Mohd rafi was Shaan and he used mohd rafi more than any other singer…. I know many ‘may not agree’ with me, but I find on the male side, pancham gave great songs to both kishore and rafi. kishore has the amar prem, aandhi, khushboo etc. and rafi scores with teesri manzil, caravan, baharon ke sapne etc..

    I agree that pancham did favour kishore over others many a times, but I was not referring to the politics that took place. Regardless of if pancham played politics or not, his rafi output is wonderful. He gave rafi diverse compositions ranging from a “aye jaan-e-wafa” to a “rut hai milan ki” and so forth. As you also pointed out along similar lines, pancham needed rafi, and it was the greatest singer who gave success to pancham at various points throughout his career.

    Also noted that he ignored Rafi in the early to mid 70s. Agreed Rafi Saab could not sing many of those numbers during that period. But who was the loser? Definitely not Rafi Saab, who had showed his class in so many songs over a period of 30 years. It was only Pancham who lost out. Even some claim that pancham did give step-motherly treatment to rafi-saab at some points in their association. However having said that, rafi still has a strong presence in pancham’s output, which is the point i have been making all along. when we talk about the best of rdb, rafi’s name will pop up whether one likes it or not. rafi-saab was a singer who always made his presence felt no matter what the situation or circumstances, because he was a god-gifted talent. I agree, rafi would have done wonders to other pancham creations, but those who sang them, sang them well in the end.

    R.D.Burman never failed to recognize and use Rafi’s sonorous voice whenever he felt the situation in the film demanded till the latter’s untimely death in 1980. `Rekha O rekha’ and `Jeena to hai’ (Adhikar, 1971), ‘Jao jao tum bhi jao'(Dil Ka Raja, 1972), `Pyar Ka samay (Rampur Ka Lakshman, 1972), `Sason me kabhi’ (Parchaiyan, 1972), `Ek sa chehra subko'(Sanjog, 1972), `Ai jane wafa’ (Chalia, 1973), ` Yadon Ki Baraat’ and `Churaliya hai tumne’ (Yaadon Ki Baarat, 1973), `Kya huwa tera wada’, `Chand mera dil’ and `Ye ladka hai allah’ (Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, 1977), `Maine poocha chand se’ (Abdulla, 1980), `Botal se ik baat chali hai'(Ghar1978), `Yamma yamma’ (with R.D.), `Aate jaate huwe’ and `Janu meri jaan’ (Shaan, 1980), `Pal do pal ka sath hamara’ (The Burning Train, 1980), `Poocho na yaar kya huwa'(Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, 1981), `Kaun kisiko baandh saka'(Kaalia, 1981), and `Kya taqalluf hai wallah'(Jail Yatra, 1981).

    In 1966, Pancham’s super hit film Teesri Manzil was released which had six trend setting songs all sung by Rafi- `Aja aja mai hun pyar tera’, `O haseena zulfowali’, `O mere sonare’ and `Dekhiye sahibo'(all with Asha) and `Deewana mujhsa nahin’ and ` Tumne mujhe’ being solos. This was followed by Baharon ki Sapne in 1967 which had the solo `Zamane ne maare’ by Rafi and Abhilasha in 1968 which had `Wadiyan mera daman'(solo) and `Ek janib shamme mehfil’ (with Manna Dey). Pyar ka mausam and Waris released in 1969 too had songs in Rafi’s voice – `Nisultana re'(with Lata), `Chekush nazare'(solo) and `Tum bin'(solo as a competitor with Kishore’s solo of the same song) in Pyar ka Mausam and `Ek bechara pyar ka maara'(solo) and `Kabhi kabhi aisa bhi to’ (with Lata) in Waris. If R.D.Burman had favored Kishore Kumar as some people say he did as his father’s associate in Aradhana(1969), he would not have given these songs to Rafi in his own films released in the same year-1969.

    Looking at the remarkable cavalcade of scintillating numbers- solos, duets and qawwalis- given by Pancham to Rafi sahab as mentioned above, one cannot miss the vital connection between these two great personalities that produced songs expressing a plethora of human emotions such as- pathos, joy, romance and comedy’ in that melodious musical era! Although it is true that Pancham has given more songs to Kishore than Rafi, he never ignored Rafi and quality-wise, has given equally great or perhaps greater quality songs to Mohammad Rafi till his passing away in 1980.

  33. A. Almas says:

    As far as RDB is concerned, on reverse Rafi sahab gave him recognition to be established as a elite music director when Rdb was just struggling…Abhilasha, teesri manjil is an example only. It was Rafi sahab who again and again proved his master nature.

    The 1972 song, chura liya…is such a song u give to a singer like Rafi sahab, just a line that too in last, but even in just few lines in last, rafi sahab made his presence so strong that it became rafi sahab`s song.

    In second half of 70s, Rd burman had very bad times all major producer director turned their face away from him, even the one with whom he made aradhana, Rdb was in shock and very low in his own heart!

    Rafi sahab was once again emerging as a superpower of singing, with his songs like teri galiyon me, laila majnu…and sensational amar akbar anthony where, he surpassed even Amitabh -kishore rap, my name is anthony gonjavlis..with his three songs, tayabali, shirdi wale, parda hai parda etc..

  34. Binu Nair says:

    Post 1 : Poorna…..few more points.

    the song “tum bin jaaaoo kahan” was recorded first in rafi’s voice and then in Kishores. but, i doubt whether rdb had so much reach and say – regarding the characters singing songs as per his wishes in a nazir hussein movie.

    rdb had improvised the song and gave it to kishore. few music lovers – including me strongly believe that both kishore and mohd rafi has sung their versions – beautifully and its only the fans who take sides and say their favourite singer has sung it better and the other worse. it continues.

    during the rajesh khanna wave, mainly from 72 to 75 there was a drought of mohd rafi songs and fans (millions of them) were un happy to see the best playback singer not in the reckoning. this was due to many reasons like rafi taking the haj pilgrimage, not being available for the aradhana recordings on account of a foreign tour commitment and other matters.

    yesudas also had made his appearance during these times but, could not hold on in the industry for long due to his malayalam hindi and due to his preoccupations as numero uno singer of the south.

    Post 1977 mohd rafi songs were once againg on top of the charts aided by composers : usha khanna, madan mohan, l p, sonik omi and few others.

  35. Raj says:

    Thanks for the article. the article correctly points out RD + Raffi saab gave us some memorable music. However RD could have have improved his overall range of songs had he worked with Raffi saab more. KK had limitations in what he could sing. KK was a good singer for light romantic songs, however the range and versatility offered by Raffis saab was incomparable and I believe RD lost out on that. There are many songs that Raffi saab would have done lot better justice than KK ever could do.

  36. RAJA says:

    Hi Zaheen,

    Very nice of you to post this wonderful article on the combo of Rafi Sahab and Pancham (RDB). I read some of the rafians are not pleased with your side of RDB, perhaps RDB is your favourite MD, I guess so……….

    Anyway in my view, Rafi Saab has his share of such songs in pancham’s output which are excellent in its own weight (such as “zamane ne maare”, “pyar hai ik nishan qadmon ka” etc.). A friend of mine rightly pointed out a while back, that pancham’s lifetime best compositions are those such as “wadiyan mera daman”, “tumne mujhe dekha”, “tumhein dekha hai maine”, “ni sultana re” etc. where no other singer would have done justice to. Also remember that pancham himself referred to the rafi ghazal from chandan ka palna as his “prize composition”.

    Indeed, the team of nasir hussain, pancham, rafi-saab, and majrooh sultanpuri are one of the best associations to have graced cinema. It is a fact that pancham reserved his very best for nasir hussain, and along with rafi gave us amazing gems. From 1966 (teesri manzil) until 1981 (zamane ko dikhana hai), they set trends, and re-defined popular music, along with providing classy gems as well.

    I actually prefer the rafi sad version of “tum bin jaun kahan” to all other versions. It is an awesome piano-based composition, and shows the highs the rafi-rd team could reach.

  37. RAJNISH says:

    asa danish sahab aapne rdb ke baare mein bahut kuch likha rdb was a gr8 md par bhai rafi sahab bahut upar hain rafisahab ko sahi maine kisine gawaya toh woh hai OP NAYYAR SAHAB baki sab ka apna apn zaika hai style par yahaan baat RAFI SAHAB KI HO RAHI

  38. Prem Kumar says:

    Dear Zaheen Ji,

    I would like to congratulate you for posting this nice post about the legends Rafi Sahab and Pancham Da. Keep up the good work. Thanks a lot dude.

    To post # 3

    When you judge a singer or MD, you’ll have to judge him by his best output. RDB’s best output music in the 1970-75 period like : Kati Patang, The Train, Amar Prem, Buddha Mil Gaya, Caravan, HRHK, Apna Desh, Jawani Diwani, Mere Jeevan Saathi, Seeta aur Geeta, Aap ki Kasam, Yaadon ki Barat, Aa Gale Lag Jaa, Aandhi, Khushboo and Sholay. Show me any MD in that period that had that kind of output (both in terms of quality and popularity). Kishore and RD were made for one another, as was the case with Rafi and Naushad. They produced some of the most memorable songs in the 50’s & 60’s. RDB could have extended his horizons a lot more with Rafi and moreover whenever we listen to a Rafi song composed by RDB, it almost inevitably sounds good. But there is something for LP-lovers, The two best songs composed by LP for Kishore were in the sixties: Mere Mehboob Qayamat Hogi and Fiza ke phool. Did they make any dent on Rafi’s popularity?

  39. Kabeer Aman says:

    Most of the Rafi Lovers do not hate RDB because he preferred KK but they are angry with him and the reason for this is that RDB used Rafisaab for his initial breaks You have given the list (RDB He was talented; no doubt about that and the songs were great too but then without Rafi would that had seem so easy) but we all know that preferring KK over Rafi was a loss for himself and later from 76 till Rafisaabs death. He used Rafi Saab. May be ’74 might have been an eye-opener for him when 80% of his songs were a flop show. One can easily handpick songs by the 2 (deewana mujhsa nahi,tumne mujhe dekha,wadiyan mera daaman,tum bin jau kaha,gulabi aankhein,chand mera dil,kya hua tera waada,maine pocha chand se) And anyone knows that quality wise they are much higher than those that KK have sung for RDB. What LP did from 71-75 was that although they used KK they also used Rafi Saab. Just to keep floated. Once they knew Rafi Saab was back they didn’t give second thoughts about who will sing for their films. This is the reason why Rafians prefer LP over RDB.

  40. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Dear Zaheen Saab,

    A very intelligent write-up same as your name. I congratulate you for giving us the nice article.

    Also I guess, as soon as I read, this would invitite a lot of people (having apathy towards RDB) to pour their sentiments or feelings, but overall a nice and informative piece of writing.

    Best of luck and regards

    H.A.K. Walijah

  41. SalRafi says:

    Poorna has said it right and I agree with his/her comments completely. “rd burman was to large extent responsible for promoting kishore at the cost of Rafi Saab” and I think that Bengali groupism worked there hard. And the truth is RD initially was made his name mainly because of Rafi’s skills. Rafi Saab being a divine soul never got into any grouping or played any politics, his talent and human qualities were enough to stand against anything as he had proved.

    As Ajay Poundarik mentioned Rafi Saab was there even during KK’s peak to prove that he is the best. I am sure you don’t need me to name those songs. LP was very supportive of Rafi and there is a reason to it. Dosti tracks of LP, then an upcoming music director, were mainly composed with Rafi Saabs help.
    For all of you here it is unfair to compare the divine legend Rafi Saab to any other singers be it Kishore or Lata, simply because he is “Incomparable”.

    Nevertheless nice article Zaheen it is very informative and well written, keep up the good work.

  42. Man Mouji says:

    Dear Mr. Ajay Poundarik, [ post # 3]

    As for as the article is concerned the writer, Mr. Zaheen Danish has given ample information about the legends, you need not, perhaps should not create uproar, what can be very much evident in your post. The writer is an ardent fan of Rafi Saab, I personally have been observing his posts for the last one year. Do not create an unhealthy atmosphere on this serene website writing unwanted comments. The topic is Rafi Sahab and Pancham combo for which the writer has done at his best giving best examples of the songs of Rafi Saab solos and duets. It is also evident that he may be a great fan of RDB too, that does not deviate from the topic he chosen.

    Here is my reply to your post which will give you more answers to your queries that you put further in your post.

    “Post Laila Majnu (1976), many music-directors sought out Rafi Sahaab. The old faithfuls, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, had continued with Rafi Sahaab all along and were amply rewarded for their trust. R.D. Burman came back to Rafi Sahaab in a big way with such movies as Balika Badhu, Chor Ho To Aisa, Hum Kisise Kam Nahin, Chandi Sona, Ghar, Devta, Shalimar, Phandebaaz, Kasme Vaade, Mukti, Naya Daur, Naukar, Abdullah, Shaan, Bulandi, Takkar, Phir Wohi Raat, Jal Mahal, The Burning Train, Heeralal Pannalal, Kaalia, Gehra Zakhm, Harjai, Jail Yatra, Daulat Ke Dushman, Ganga Meri Maa, Chameli Memsaab, Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai, Biwi O Biwi, Aan Aur Shaan, Jaane Jaan (Nikamma), Shiva ka Insaaf, and Faisla. Rafi Sahaab’s KYA HUA TERA WAADA from Hum Kisise Kam Nahin won him the Filmfare Award as well as his second National Award in 1977.

    “Thereafter there was no turning back and we have mentioned before all those nominations of Filmfare Awards that this extraordinary singer was cited for. In 1980 three of his songs were nominated for the said Award. These songs were easily the best of the lot. In 1980, the weekly Binaca Geet Mala programmes too reflected Rafi Sahaab’s increasing popularity. For example, in the programme dated May 28, 1980 we had ten songs of Rafi Sahaab compared to the two of Kishore Kumar out of the total sixteen songs. Rafi Sahaab was all set to revive the glory of the early Sixties. Rafi Sahaab gradually began over-taking Kishore Kumar and by 1980 he had clearly outstripped him in matters of sheer numbers and popularity. According to an interview given by Nitin Mukesh sometimes after the Legend Rafi Sahaab had passed away, music directors were pursuing Rafi Sahaab to such an extent that at least the singers like Nitin could have been out of job for a number of years. But it was the icy hand of death that snatched Rafi Sahaab away from our midst halting his triumphant march!”

    “Once Rafi Sahaab was persuaded by his own family members, he came back with a bang. From 1970-1976, Rafi’s output was less, but he sang many hit songs during this period. Some of his hit songs in early 1970s were with music directors like L-P, Madan Mohan, R. D. Burman and S. D. Burman. Some of Rafi’s popular songs from this period include Gulabi Aankhen from The Train; Jhilmil Sitaron ka from Jeevan Mrityu; Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil from Heer Ranjha (1970), Chura Liya Hain Tumne from Yaadon Ki Baarat, Yeh Jo Chilman Hai and Itna to Yaad Hai Mujhe from Mehboob Ki Mehndi, Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho from Hanste Zakhm; Aaj Mausam bada Beimaan hai from Loafer (1973). In 1974, he won the Film World magazine Best Singer Award for the song Teree Galiyon Mein Na Rakhenge Qadam (Hawas), composed by Usha Khanna.

  43. Rajagopalan says:

    RD had used the “glass and spoon” effect very nicely in the song”o haseena zulfonwali” from the film Teesri manzil.

    But somehow all die hard rafi fans would have definitely felt “jilted” with RD’s attitude towardas Rafi sahib in 70s when kishore rode the wave of success.I remember in one year Binaca geet mala sartaj geets compilation had Rafi singing one line”papp ko mummy se” from the film Andaz. I remembering weeping uncontrollably.


  44. jyoti mohanty says:

    Dear sir,thanks for the article .However, rdb,as everyone knows was never really fond of rafisaab, ;You may recall that, rdb, made it to the bigleague through the voice of rafisaab in Teesri manzil and a host of other films at the beginning of his carrier,but once he arrieved,he started promoting kishore at the expense of just everything.undoubtedly, he was versatile,innovative and proved to be a trendsetter;it helped kishore also to reach the top of his carrier.
    the reason why there is always a comparison between rafi-kishore is because of rdb and his trendsetting music of 70s!!rdb even went on record to openly admire kishore as a singer over rafi.the fact that,rafi’s partial eclipse as a top playback singer in the early 70s is because of this.But again as i put it,its a question of personal choice.Rafisaab was mainstay for almost all mds barring a couple .arrival and rule of rdb, really made a difference in the early 70s.talking of rafisaab’s association with rdb,well,it was always under compulsion that rdb was forced to use it not!rdb’s sequence of selecting a singer is kk first.if anything left it was ought to be bhupinder,manna dey,shailendra singh or anyone else.But certainly not rafisaab!the reason that, rafisaab, sang 100 odd songs with him is mainly —majority of them to built his carrier in late 60s!!Remaining was under compulsion,no matter how big hits it were!

  45. jayarajt says:

    I agree with Ajay that the article gave much importance to RD than RAfi.I liked the trivia .I enjoyed the write up.

  46. lightmusiclover says:

    I would like to define the father-son duo’s relationship with Rafi in one word- ‘exploitation’. They made Rafi sing songs which only he could plus the left overs. When it came to songs that were designed to be popular, they preferred their favourite singer.

  47. Khaja Aliuddin, MD says:

    ASA, Janab Zaheen Danish Sahab,
    Bahut khoob, Congratulations for writing this comprehensive and interesting article.

    With regards to all rafi lovers,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  48. Ajay Poundarik says:

    I think writer Zaheen Danish is more emphasising on music director RD Burman than that of songs of Rafi with R D Burman. Already media has over-hyped RD Burman, we don’t want it here, at least in Mohammad Rafi’s web site. I don’t know how the moderator of this site allowed posting unwanted information.

    Secondly, R D Burman never gave a sing song to Rafi in the year 1972 and 1973 when RD was at it’s peak. WHY ?

    It was only music directors Laxmikant-Pyarelal who were maintaining no -1 position throughout seventies, regularly used Mohammd Rafi’s voice during the peak wave of Kishore Kumar. Songs of “Khilona”, “Uphaar”, “Mehaboob Ki Mehandi”, “Loafer”, “Humjoli” , “Dastaan”, “Suhana Safar” , “Pratigya”, “Dharmveer”, “Amar Akbar Anthony”, “Sargam”..and many more…In fact Laxmikant-Pyarelal were un-biased in terms of singer selection for the male voice and maintained balancing equation between Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar. Rafi/LP 368 songs, the highest number of the songs of Mohammad Rafi with any music director. KK/LP 399 songs, second highest number of songs of Kishore Kumar ( after RD/KK combo). This data shows how LP were truly unbiased and professional.

    “Do Raaste” 1969, All songs to Mohammad Rafi…( one beautiful melody to Kishore ‘mere naseeb main’)

    “Aan Milo Sajana” 1970.( Two songs to KK + rest to Rafi )

    “Haathi Mere Saathi” 1971,( All songs to KK but one melodious song to Rafi.’Nafarat Ki Duniya Ko’ )

    “Aap Aaye Bahar Aayi” 1971 ( Two songs each to KK and Rafi )

    “Mehaboob Ki Mehandi” ..1971 ( all songs to Rafi + one GEM of song to KK..’mere deewane pan ki’ )

    “Roop Tera Mastana” ( all songs to Rafi + beautiful duet to KK-Lata..’dil ki bate dil hi jane’)

    “Amar Akbar Anthoy” 1977 ( all songs to Rafi + one solo to KK ‘my name is Anthony Gonsalvis’)

    “Karz” 1980..( all songs to Kishore + one GEM of song to Rafi..’Dard-E-Dil’ )

    There are many of such examples of Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s use of Mohamamd Rafi in peak wave of Kishore Kumar..THIS WAS NOT DONE BY RD BURMAN..

    LP could date to tell producers and directors on taking Mohammad Rafi’s voice for Rajesh Khanna.

    Some of the best song of LP/Rafi combo came during the peak wave of RD-KK.

    It was Laxmikant-Pyarelal brought back the glory of Mohammad Rafi, through the songs of “Dharmveer” 1977 and “ Amar Akbar Anthony” 1977 and “Sargam” 1979..

    FINALLY::: R D Burman never gave break to Shabbir Kumar…Shabbir Kumar sang one song in the Chorus under Usha Khanna in “Tajurba”,,but went un-noticed. It was Laxmikant-Pyarelal gave Shabbir Kumar a break in Manmohan Desai’s ( a Mohammad Rafi fan ) “COOLIE”, the song was ‘Mubarq Ho Tum Sab Ko Haz Ka Mahina’ ….

    Enjoy Music…

    Ajay Poundarik ( Nigeria )

  49. Man Mouji says:

    Dear Zaheen Danish Sahab,

    I wish to congratulate you for writing this wonderful article, I am very happy that you did not left an ounce of information regarding Rafi Sahab and Pancham.

    I would like to say a lot about this combo Rafi Sahab and Pancham. But I will come back later. Meanwhile I am enjoying to the fullest extent this mazedaar article. Thanks once again…………..

    Best regards

    Man Mouji

  50. Poorna says:

    There is no doubt that RD Burman is one of our great composers and a creative genius.

    However when it comes to Rafi saab, there is no doubt that RD Burman was to large extent responsible for promoting Kishore at the cost of Rafi saab. Though Rafi saab gave some of the best songs under RD like in Teesri Manzil, Caravan, Hum Kisese Kam Nahin etc, RD was more close to Kishore and hence promoted him. Also Rajesh Khanna phenomenon between 1970 -73 ensured that only Kishore sang for him under RD. The difference can be seen the way Laxmikant Pyarelal made Rafi RK’s voice whenever they got a chance to score for RK’s films – Aan Milo Sajna, Hathi Mera Sathi, Do Raste, Mehbooob Kie Mehndi.

    In fact, there is an interesting story of how RD made sure that the song “Tum bin jaoon kahan” in Pyar Ka MAusam sung by Kishore was forced on producers of the movie for repeats in the movie though Rafi had sung the same song so nicely. (I read this story in the excellent biography on RD by Anirudha Bhattacharya and Balaji Vittal). I quote from the book.

    “Mohammed Rafi might have been right to feel that history had dealt unfairly with him by chronicling the purported Rafi v/s Kishore duel as the highlight of the film. “Tum bin jaoon kahan” was used five times in the film. Initially all five instances was to be in Rafi’s voice till Pancham and his musicians coaxed Nasir Hussain into giving the all versions to be picturised on hero’s father Bharat Bhushan to Kishore kumar” (Page 80, above book)

    This clearly shows that RD used Rafi saab whenever he wanted and got best out him but never gave him the same opportunity like the way he gave to Kishore. Rafi saab being a gentlemen and humble to the core, never fought with RD for this injustice. That is the greatness of Rafi saab.

    As the above authors rightly say “Rafi’s presence in Pancham’s compositions was that an esteemed guest – infrequent but fondly remembered”.

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