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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”

  1. Binu Nair says:

    Shradanjali to Laxmikant on his 14th death anniversary.

    the family has put and advert in times on india on page 10 today 25th may and remembered the composer.

    “Though you may reside in a silent abode, your enchanting smile and melodious music will continue to ‘live’ in the minds and hearts of people – forever”.

    Tumse oh haseena kabi mohabbat na karni thi, sung by mohd rafi and suman kalyanpur is a typical L and P composition made for jumping jack jeetu bhai for farz.

    i do not know whether the composers made the singers play cross bat or not – but the song lingers on for the masti mood it creates.

    a lovable and different song which we took in the mohd rafi concert recently.

  2. P. Haldar says:

    I don’t know why I’m using cricket lingo so often. Maybe it’s because my team has gone to the finals! Anyway, I was talking about cross bat, so let me expand upon that idea. These are just my thoughts and some of you may consider them to be stupid. That’s fine with me.

    Let’s talk test cricket because 20-20 is a different game altogether. Which singer reminds of you copybook batting? It’s Lata for me; just like Gavaskar, she will play copybook cricket, leaving us awestruck with her beautiful drives through cover and mid-on. And, like Gavaskar, she will give very few chances.

    Now who reminds you of cross bat? Most probably, Mukesh. But Rafi could play both copybook and cross bat, and could be as ruthless as Viv Richards.

    Growing up in Calcutta, far from his parents, this emotionally disturbed young boy would make odd sounds like Lahilla… Hoo. Haah… It may have been music to his own ears, but it was noise to others. Thank God that his dad was not around; otherwise, he would have boxed his son’s ears. Years later, the same boy would ask him, “Rafisaab, aap hamarey liye yeh gaana gayenge?” and Rafi would oblige. The song in question is a fast-paced, over-pitched delivery that no mainstream singer would dare touch, unless he or she had a huge insurance on his or her voice. Purists would frown upon the song, but it looked so good on Jumping Jack Jeetu. What an opening stroke! Lahilla… followed by yaaara yaarah… yaha yahya… aaaah…. ooooh ooooh. Cross batting at its finest! As the adage goes, when you know the rules of the game, you can break them.

    To be continued…

  3. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Haldar ji (Post 96):

    For rock & roll genre of songs, my opinion is that Manna Dey’s name too deserved a mention. He may have sung lesser songs (in terms of numbers) in this category but whenever he did (Aao twist karen…. for example), he has proved his mettle. It is matter of opinion, but I would put him ahead of Pancham.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  4. P. Haldar says:

    Anees saab,

    Please don’t go overboard in your praise of Pancham. This is the first time in my life I am hearing that Pancham composed “aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai”, and I’ve been following Hindi film music for over 40 years. There are several anecdotes on this song, including the one narrated by Dev Anand. RD is nowhere in the picture. What the Pancham crowd is trying to spread now is that Pancham had composed “Gata rahe mera dil”.

    During his tenure from 1947 to 1975, Dada never flopped. My friends here tell me that Pancham had 29 consecutive flops. What happened to his creative genius when facing a liliput like Boppi da?

  5. P. Haldar says:

    post 85:

    Dear Walijah saab,

    Excellent post. You should try to expand and develop it into a full-length article. If you’ve read some of my earlier posts that finally saw the light of day, I have attributed rock ‘n roll music in Hindi films to N. Datta, C. Ramchandra, O. P. Nayyar and SJ. They were the pioneers and others followed suit.

    There is no doubt that RD took rock ‘n roll to a new level in Teesri Manzil. And without any bias, I will tell you it’d have not been possible without Rafi’s vocals. A year before that, SJ had composed “Jaan pehchan ho” for Gumnam. A year after Teesri Manzil — maybe in response to that — he composed the mega hit “Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche” for Brahmachari. To match “Aaja aaja main hoon pyar tera” is an almost impossible act — in fact, RD himself couldn’t match it — but one has to marvel at how beautifully SJ responded. My only wish is that he had used Asha instead of Suman. If Rafi is the king of rock, she is the queen and Kishore is the prince. And if I have to pick a fourth singer in this genre, it is Pancham.

    In the same year Brahmachari was released, SJ composed the Rafi-Asha duet “Chhoti si mulaqat pyar ban gayi”. And then they used the same pair in Ramesh Sippy’s debut film Andaz: “Dil use do jo jaan de de”. I consider Rafi and Asha to be the most explosive pair; they can easily do the vocal pyrotechnics that are so critical in rock ‘n roll. Kishore’s voice has the same kind of mischief as the other two, but he cannot cross-bat that well. When Sehwag square cuts for a six, Sachin watches from the other end and in the very next over, he reproduces that shot. Rafi and Asha rock like no one else.

    The smart operator that he was, Pancham was aware of Kishore’s limitations when it came to playing cross-bat. After Teesri Manzil, he reserved most of the songs of this genre to himself. Consider “piya tu ab to aaja”; the only singer he could have used other than himself was Rafi.

    Pancham was not only a brilliant musician, but he was also a master strategist. He used every trick in the book to keep Rafi out, but the irony is that whenever Rafi got the chance, he produced a hit for Pancham.

    To be continued…

  6. PARESH DUBEY says:

    Thank u very much for detailed article from mr.H.A.K-Walijah.Enjoyed writting
    but many rock and role songs are NOT mentioned,I m sorry to say that I can mention here some songs only bcoz I m far away from my home where my collection of songs and books are lying.C.ramchandras´song frm ROOTHA NA KARO sung by RAFISAAB and asha,Aapka chehra mashaallah.N.dutta also gave some unforgottable rock n roll songs sung by rafisaab,like laal laalgaal
    …frm MR.X.beta dar mat dar mat..from bhai bahen.OP nayyer in humsab chor hain gave duet of RAFISAAB and Kishore,humko hanste dekh zamana jalta hai…..etc.etc.

  7. Man Mouji says:

    Dear Walijah Sahab,

    Your post 85 has beatifully drawn a sketch on rock n roll songs of 50’s.

    Thanks a lot for such a nice essay.

    Best regards

    Man Mouji

  8. Sudhir Kumar says:

    RD Burman paid rich tributes to Rafi sahab an interview with Ameen Sayani on ?Geetmala…(unfortunately i cant locate the upload now)
    where he credits Rafi sahab with taking this song……….….. to an entirely different level…so much so that RD couldnt believe it was his owncomposition. What a mesmerising rendition by the greatest Rafi sahab

  9. sunil kumar says:

    I would still rate Pancham da as a great M.D despite his ignoring rafi saheb many times. that thing will always play at the back of my mind . Kishore da needed pancham to shine I don’t know what would have h append had pancham not given those songs to kishore kumar. He would have remained in the oblivion. Rafi saheb was a self shining star never needed any one else’s light .
    Look at those who went away from him . lata had a spat with him it proved to be lata’s loss. Look at O P Nayyar the moment he left Rafi he was finished.
    Anyway with Pancham giving a lease of life to kishore. Kishore shined for a while nut every great man had to face ups and downs in life. Even Bhagwan Rama had to take 14 yrs exile. These things make great people more motivated and Rafi saheb came back and what a come back it was even Pancham had to come back to him. We salute you and can l never forget you sir. Rafi saheb ka ek chota sa bhakt .

  10. RAJA says:

    The duet ” Nagma Hamara Gaayega ye jahan” in the vocals of Rafi Saab and Lata Ji, one of heavenly songs composed by RDB.

  11. Man Mouji says:

    I don’t think that there are many of Panchamda’s self-vocalized tunes, but however some of them became popular.

    o Tum Kya Jano from Hum kisise kum nahi (1977)
    o dilbar diljaani from Hum Hain Lajawab (1984)
    o Samundar Mein Nahaake Aur Bhi – Pukaar – 1983
    o Golmaal Hai Bhai Sab Golmaal Hai – Golmaal – 1979 –
    o Jaan-e-Jigar Duniya Mein Tu – Pukaar – 1983
    o Aa dekhen zara, kis main kitna hai dum – Rocky 1980
    o Yamma, yamma – Shaan 1980

    With one of from Romance (1983). I guess he’s better known for singing faster tracks, but this song shows that he could shine in even more serious fare. Yeh Zindagi Kuch Bhi Sahi

    A good one from The Train (1970), a duet with Asha where the trademark gravelly voice is born!
    O Meri Jaan Maine Kaha

    Here is another song by Pancham and Asha
    “Sapna Mera Tooth Gaya” I personally feel this song was one of the most beautiful song sung by the talented couple. Both are literally at their best here…….really nice song…..

    Can anyone make sure the song Ajuba Ajuba from Hifazat ……

    Also one of last RD’s Duets with Lata – Kya Bura Hai Kya Bhala
    from Libaas

    Kisne dekha hai from Heeralal Pannalal

    Na to ab main raha nikamma from Gunehgaar
    both pancham-asha duet I think

    And the evergreen Mehbooba Mehbooba from Sholay for which he received his sole Filmfare Award nomination for playback singing.

    Here is “ Nachoon Mein, Gaao Tum” Movie: Jurmana, Duet: Pancham/Asha

    And those two songs each from Carvan ” Piya tu ab to aaja” and “Duniya main”… from Apna Desh.

  12. Ahamed Kutty says:

    it is pathetic that a legend like kk does not have
    platform like this to discuss about him as the
    platform for him supposd to be is just like a
    ‘sahara dessert’

  13. ANEES says:

    First when I heard RDB’s melodies in 1971 movie ‘Amar Prem’. Its song ‘Raina Beeti Jayeye’ by Lata Mangeshkar still haunts me. The change of melody in the song, though difficult to render, sounds so easy when listened to. Kishore Kumar songs were tailor made for his voice suiting actor Rajesh Khanna like ‘Chingari Koi Bharkey’, ‘Yeh Kaya Hua’ and ‘Kutch To Log Kahein Gey’. It is rumoured that there was a lobby to oust Muhammad Rafi who had remained the undeclared king of Indian cinema since long and wonderful tunes were made for Kishore Kumar instead, first in the movie ‘Aradhna’. Ironically both father SD Burman and son RD Burman had given excellent melodies to Muhammad Rafi earlier, for example in SD Burman’s ‘Pyasa’ and ‘Guide’ and by RD Burman in ‘Teesri Manzil’. The movie “Teesri Manzil” had marked a major milestone in RD Burman’s career and Muhammad Rafi’s songs pictured on Shammi Kapoor were a major reason in launching RD Burman’s career. Initially Rahul Dev Burman composed in his father’s style and composed songs for his father also like the one for the movie ‘Guide’ in Lata’s voice, ‘Aaj Phir Jeeney Ki Tamana Hei’ (although the credit went to his father), disclosed actor, filmmaker and RD’s senior colleague, Shammi Kapoor in his interview for the video ‘Pancham Unmixed’ He further said that the movie ‘Teesri Manzil’ was RD’s first big movie and the success of the songs was partly due to Rafi’s voice. When RD sang the tune of ‘Diwana Tujh Sa Nahin’ in front of him, Shammi completed the second line as taken from probably a Bengali song. RD ran away from Shammi’s office saying that he would not compose for him as he was a devil (Shammi Kapoor). ‘RD was totally devastated’ disclosed Sheilender Singh, singer and friend. ‘I would either have gone for Shankar Jaikishen or OP Nayyar but for the recommendations of some friends’ Shammi added. ‘Then I heard him at Nasir Hussain’s place for the first time. He sat down with his percussion man Marooti. He went on to sing ‘Sona Re Sona’ and ‘Aja Aja Mein Hun Pyar Tera’, ‘O Haseena Zulfon Wali’ and so on. He was brilliant.’ elaborated Shammi of his first interaction with RD Burman.

    Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma observed that many of SD’s songs were composed by RD and Shammi added that RD did so especially when SD was unwell. These songs were brilliant and matched up with his father’s standards of music like ‘Kora Kaghaz Tha Mun Mera’ in the movie ‘Aradhna’ pictured on Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tegore. Later RD introduced his own style like making yodelling type voices (and making rhythmic sounds with his breath; in some of his songs and meanwhile gave wonderful music for the movies ‘Geeta Aur Seeta’, ‘Hum Kisi Sei Kum Nahin’ and ‘Yaadon Ki Baraat’. Asha Bhonsle, RD’s second wife stated that sometimes RD’s father made the Asthai and sometimes Antara and vice versa. RD used to do some of his work as well and feel that assisting his father was a matter of pride for him. In order to get out of his father’s trudge, this is how RD found a way out and introduced his own style. At that time however, it was at least difficult for me to absorb the ‘Hoo Ha’ thing.

    RD’s professional career took off in 1958 when he began assisting his father on films such as ‘Solva Saal’ (1958) in which he played mouth organ in Hement Kumar’s song ‘Hei Apna Dil To Awara’, ‘Chalti Ka Naaam Gaari’ (1958) and ‘Kaaghaz Kei Phool’ (1957) with famous song ‘Daikhi Zamaney Ki Yaari’, ‘Bandani’ (1963), ‘Teen Deviyaan’ (1965), ‘Guide’ (1965), ‘Jewel Thief’ (1967) and ‘Talash’ (1969). His first film as music director was Guru Dutt’s film ‘Raaz’ (1959) in which he had used the voices of Shamshad Begum, Geeta Dutt and Asha Bhonsle. This Guru Dutt-Waheeda Rehman film was unfortunately shelved in the middle of the project.

  14. RAJA says:

    How about “Bol Baby Bol Rock n Roll” a dance song from action movie Meri Jung (1985) picturised on Jaaved Jaffri, one of the finest compositons by LP and super vocals by Kishore Kumar.

  15. P. Haldar says:

    Some of my earlier comments have appeared now; please read post 50 and some of my later posts.

  16. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Dear Haldar Saab,

    I refer to your posts 52, 61, 75 and 80 which were mainly related with Rock N Roll. I am honored indeed to write something on Rock N Roll songs of HFM.

    In 1940s and 50s, Bollywood music drew mainly from folk music of India as well as from Hindustani classical music. Moreover, western music also began to be used in Bollywood music. C. Ramchandra was one of the music directors who used western music extensively in his music.

    O P Nayyar, who began ruling the roost in Bollywood music in 1950s, was known mainly for his Punjabi folk music based compositions. But here in this song from “Bhaagambhag”, he used western music. and it sounds so nice to listen to.

    Song-Ye hai zamaana tera (Bhaagam bhaag) (1956) Lyrics-Majrooh Sultanpuri, MD-O P Nayyar. This song is sung by Rafi and Kishore. It must be one of the earliest cases of Rafi and Kishore Kumar singing a song together. This tune is apparently a lift from a western tune( Mambo Italiano by Dean Martin).

    In the second half of 1950s, Hindi movies saw the influence of rock and roll music. The music of these songs was influenced by Rock and roll in the western countries. The most influential of all these songs was obviously “Eena Meena Deeka” from “Asha” (1957). This song influenced lots and lots of imitators.

    Here is another song from “Mausi” (1958) song-Ae bambu bam bolo, which is clearly inspired by “Eena Meena Deeka” kind of westen music based song. This song is sung by Asha Bhonsle.

    Here there is another song -Tumse nazar mili dil ko khabar mili (Jaagir) (1959) Singer-Geeta Dutt, Lyrics-Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, MD-Madan Mohan. This song is a lively western music based song which is sung by Geeta Dutt. The opening music of the song is reminiscent of other similar songs of those days, viz “Mera Naam chin Chin Choo” etc. The music sounds O P Nayyarish, but in reality the music is composed by Madan Mohan. Those were the days when it was not uncommon for a few Madan Mohan compositions to sound like the music of other composers, and this song is an example. In fact, in think that all these western music songs of those days were inspired from rock and roll music of western countries.

    Here is this song that must be the rarest of rare. Song-Lo aaye jhoom ke pilpili (Pilpili Saaheb) (1954). The song is sung by Rafi and Meena Mangeshkar. Rafi is a prolific singer, but Meena Mangeshkar sang very few songs and this must be one of the very rare duets that Meena Mangeshkar sang with Rafi.

    The lyrics of this song are quite funny. They are written by Hasrat Jaipuri, and he must have enjoyed writing this song, consisting of nonsensical rhyming words viz “pilpili, Silbili” etc. This movie “Pilpili Saheb” (1954) had actors like Agha, Shyama, Sundar, Pran, Mehmood, Lailta Kumari, Kuldeep etc. From these names, one can guess that the movie was a B grade light hearted movie. The movie has been forgotten, along with its songs, but what a song it is! Just listen to it. If you are like me, you will be spell bound! Music is composed by Sardul Kwatra, and the music, which is clearly influenced by rock and roll, really rocks. The music is awesome, as is the singing, and indeed are the lyrics.

    One normally associates Hemant Kumar’s voice and music with soft romantic/sentimental songs. But that does not mean that he could not sing /compose other kind of songs.

    Here is an untypical Hemant Kumar composition. This is a duet from “Police” (1958). This song is sung by Hemant Kumar and Geeta Dutt. It is picturised on Pradeep Kumar and Madhubala. The Hinglish song is written by Majrooh Sultanpuri. The western rock and roll kind of music, that was quite popular in Hindi movies those days, is composed by Hemant Kumar. Here is this fast and racy song from “Police” (1958). Song-O o o o baby (Police) (1958) Singers-Hemant Kumar,Geeta Dutt,Lyrics-Majrooh Sultanpuri,MD-Hemant Kumar.

    Though most Hindi movie songs draw their inspirations from indigenous sources (classical music, folk music etc) there are songs that are inspired from western music. In late 1950s, rock and roll music had caught up in Hindi movies in a big way and there were quite a few such songs in Hindi movies those days. Music directors like C Ramchandra, to mention a few, were composing quite a few rock and roll kind of songs those days.

    Here is one such song from “O Tera Kyaa Kehna” (1959). Rafi and Manna Dey are the singers of this song. Shore Niyazi is the lyricist. Kalyanji is the music director. song-Haay boot polish haay haay re boot polish (O Tera Kya Kehna) 1959.

    A year before to “Teesri Manzil” came “Gumnaam” which is of course full of great songs; possibly the best known in India—but there is. “Jaan Pehchaan Ho”, and it is possibly one of the most mesmerizing songs ever performed onscreen anywhere. It is famously featured in the 2003 Hollywood film “Ghost World” as a backdrop to the opening credits.

    The music is written by Shankar Jaikishan, it is sung inimitably by Rafi Saab and picturized on choreographer Herman Benjamin. Ironically, Herman did not actually choreograph THIS—that spectacular job was done by Surya Kumar (also known as Robert Master), and it was Surya who fortuitously picked Herman to do the lip-synching as the “singer.” Herman’s considerable charisma is just perfect for this— Of course the central focus in this song is the beautiful and talented Laxmi Chhaya. the song leaves me breathlessly speechless.

    Song-Ham kaalaa tum white (Ek Sholaa) (1958) Singers-Rafi, Geeta Dutt, Lyrics- Majrooh Sultanpuri,MD-Madan Mohan. This is one song that must be as rare a song as they come. Listen to this song and try to judge the people involved in the creation of the song. It is easy to notice that the song is picturised on Dhumal and Tuntun. One can also notice that the song is sung by Rafi and Geeta Dutt.

    As for the music, the music is rock and roll and the dance in western with Goan touch. I thought that the first song with Goan influence was in “Bobby” (1973), but I can see that this song and this music director beat Laxmikant Pyarelal by 15 years in making use of Goan folk dance and music.

    Among the major contributors in the development of bollywood movie music, C Ramchandra’s name will always figure very prominently. The kind of music that he came up with is simply mind boggling. On the one hand he composed songs based on classical music as well as Indian folk music, and on the other hand he also composed songs based on western music. Many of his songs be the based on Indian music or western music, have gone on to become iconic songs.

    song-Main hoon ek khalaasi (Sargam) (1950) Singers-C Ramchandra, Lata, Lyrics-P L Santoshi, MD- C Ramchandra. It is a western music based song that was created by C Ramchandra. This song “main hoon ek khalaasi” is a wonderful rock and roll number that sounds so nice, fresh and timeless even today, after the passage of 60 years.

    The song is sung by C Ramchandra himself and it is picturised on raj Kapoor, It is nice to see a young and slim Raj Kapoor letting his hair down in this song. P L santoshi is the lyricist of this light hearted song. As mentioned earlier, C Ramchandra has composed many iconic songs. This song is right up there with his other iconic songs.

  17. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Finally my post has come out. Presently it is appearing at Sl. No. 65, but you can not be sure about the post no. as after clearing of ‘under moseration’ posts, the Sl. Nos. get changed. Anyway… as after that many posts have appeared without going under moderation, the post might get missed. I would like to draw attention of esteemed readers to that post.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  18. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Haldar ji,

    Even my comment posted last night (about 14 hours back) is blocked. It appears to be under moderation. I would like all friends to read that post, if and when it comes out. After that post 13 comments have appeared here but my post continues to be ‘under moderation’. This selective ‘blocking’ or ‘keeping under moderation’ is becoming inconsistent nowadays on this site. I am not sure what fate this post is destined to meet.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  19. sunil kumar says:

    Sir, I have been reading comments of all our distinguished members . I am a rafi fan , Bhakt wahtever u may like tp call me. But I used to like R D burman in my Younger days a great fan of his music also during 70’s. But I too have a feeling that R D Burman on whose shoulders he rose to fame and started his career, But after “Aradhana” became a hit started using kishore more and even for those heroes for whom Rafi has been the established singer. That way there is no denying the fact . For example for Dharmendra , Jeetendra Rafi saheb has always given he playback and many-2 hit songs I don’t need to list them here all of you know. But for DO Chor, Phandebaaz , Parichay , khusboo all movies he used kishore. whereas to the credit of Laxmikant pyarelal they contd. to use Rafi saheb for Dhramendra and jitendra . Dharamveer , Asha, Apnapan etc. Even for his last song Rafisaheb was to sing for Dharamendra in AAs PAs for laxmikant pyarelal.

  20. Man Mouji says:

    post 65 – Santoshi ji

    I think you did not read post # 19, if you read that one you would not have written your not so civilized comment on this website and about the writer. I suggest you to read that comment before you say something.

  21. P. Haldar says:

    The music director to introduce Rock ‘n roll to Hindi film music is N. Datta, way back in 1957. The song is “Laal laal gaal” and the film is Mr. X. The other md’s who used rock ‘n roll music are C. Ramchandra, Shankar-Jaikishan and O. P. Nayyar. The main three singers were Rafi, Asha and Kishore. One of the most popular rock ‘n roll numbers is Ravi’s “Baar baar dekho, hazaar baar dekho” from China Town. The song that has become very popular in the West is SJ’s “Jaan Pehchan Ho” from Gumnaam, which was released one year before Teesri Manzil. The song was played last year in a Heineken TV commercial last year during football games in the US and elsewhere. There’s no question that Teesri Manzil broke new ground — it created a kind of sound rarely heard before.

  22. P. Haldar says:

    The Bengali music director that Mirza Baig saab has referred to in his post is Shyamal Mitra, who had come to rehearse Rafi saab for Puja songs on that fateful day. The man who had hummed his first words in Punjabi sang his last words in Bengali. I had seen him perform live only five months before, in front of a crowd of 12,000. In that concert, he had sung several Bengali Puja songs from the previous two years. The last song was “Aaja aaja main hoon pyaar tera”. I also remember him singing a new RD composition, which had not been released till then.

  23. P. Haldar says:

    I’ve figured it out; if I mention someone’s name, my comment is being blocked. Let’s try Monica darling and see if it gets through.

  24. P. Haldar says:

    The moderator must be using an intelligent filter to block comments; some of them are going through while others aren’t. I think this one will.

  25. P. Haldar says:

    Pancham was definitely not the first music director to use rock ‘n’ roll. dada’s assistant, n. dutta, introduced rock ‘n’ roll way back in 1957, in a film called mr. x. the song “lal lal gaal” was sung beautifully by rafi. many music directors, most notably c. ramchandra, o. p. nayyar and sj used rock ‘n’ roll very effectively. one of the most popular rock ‘n’ rolls was composed by our dear composer, the late ravi saab: “baar baar dekho”. but the song that has taken the western world by storm and is now being played in heineken ads on tv is the one composed by sj, “jaan pehchan ho”, for gumnam, which was released one year before teesri manzil. no one can scale the heights that sj did in rock ‘n’ roll; even in classical songs, i rate them among the top three. that’s how good they were! in my opinion, the top three singers in rock ‘n’ roll are rafi, asha and kishore.

  26. P. Haldar says:

    I’m posting this again:

    all the three md’s — ka, lp and rd — were immensely talented. when they came in, the field was defined by giants like naushad, sj and sd. at that level of the game, when you are competing with such giants, you cannot succeed unless you have lots of talent. so each of this junior md’s was talented in his own way. if you look at their output in the 60s, you’ll find ka with a slight edge, followed by lp and rd. but if you had asked me to put my money on one these md’s around 1969, i’d have put it on lp. remember that they were mostly working for b-grade films prior to that, but their quality was really top-notch. ka was following sj’s style and, to a lesser extent, rd was doing the same though he always had the dada touch. but it was lp who came up with a tune that was totally burmanesque — “hui sham unka khayal aa gaya”. what a song! and, then in 1969, they came up with another gem: “jo unki tamanna hai barbad ho ja”.

    if i have to list the top 5 rafi solos from the 70s, i’d definitely include khayyam’s “kahin ek masoom nazuk si ladki ” from 1977. listen to the song carefully and you’ll find khayyam had modelled the tune on lp’s masterful creation. this is the ultimate compliment from khayyam. the common factor, of course, is rafi.

    as the new decade began, rafi is in full bloom in ka’s geet.

    rafi is still on top, post-aradhana. actually his output in 1970 is absolutely top-class. but ka scores two major hits with sachcha jhutha and safar. then comes rd’s twin blasts in the form of amar prem and kati patang. the two bluff masters start running away faster from rafi than rd; but they don’t get the blame because they are not bengalis. lp start fighting with their backs to the wall. and sd, never to give up, sometimes sounds like his son, sometimes like ka and sometimes like lp. rd has elevated his game much higher and the heat is on.

    to be continued…

  27. P. Haldar says:

    Dear Mirza Baig Saab:

    Thank you for your kind words. Really glad to see a rafifan like you back on this forum after such a long time. I consider every Rafi lover my friend, so even if they say a thing or two against Bengalis, it doesn’t bother me. Unlike you, most of these people have not spent any time in Bengal, so they don’t what kind of following Rafi saab has in Bengal. I have attended so many concerts of his; if only they had seen the fervour of his Bengali fans!

    By the way, the moderator has started blocking my comments, so you may not see this comment of mine.

    P. Haldar

  28. andrea correa says:

    amar rafi saaheb was loved by the world……….

    he is the bharat ka ratan……

    salil choudhary and c. ramchandra – under the spell of a lady singer did not use rafi much earlier and they realised their folly much later when the lady dumped them tooooo.

    rdb’s torrid personal life is known to all to make a mention here.

    the govt should now declare the legendary singer as bharat ka ratan and create a national musical site to honour music legends of our country.

    if the govt cant do it, the rafi lovers will do it.

    many politicians and diabolical people will put claims for the bharat ratna if rafi saabs name is ‘even’ considered……………charan singh wanted a ratna, chandrasekhar wanted it and also maya vati – wanted for her party president kanshi ram. morarji desai wanted it and 2 morrow our Narendra modi and karnatakas yedura appa suporters will ask for it.

    actually, the punjab govt must take the lead and institute the mohd rafi award to begin with.

    bengalis, keralites, gujrathis, punjabis and communities in remote villages of tamil nadu where hindi language is unknown and unheard – love rafi saaheb.

    bengalees and gujrathis ‘are’ emotional people and they love rafi saaaheb a little more.

    rdb, salil and others – do not matter much as far as rafi is concerned.

  29. SANTOSH says:

    With all due respects, this article is trying to put dust into our eyes.First of all the article revolves around rd rather than the relationships, situations etc that caused rd to go for rafi saab , even though he did not want it.The writer is oblivious to the fact that it is due to Nasir Hussain the producer of 90% of films in which rd choose rafi saab,So let us forget that it was rd’s interest to go for rafi saab.It was due to Nasir Hussain Saab.So Mr,.Writer pl dont mislead us

  30. Jae-Bee says:

    In my personal opinion, I don’t think it was the bengali cartel against rafi sahab, but a chain of events for his absence for a couple of years.
    1) Rajesh khanna becoming a superstar after aradhna and thinking it was because of kk singing the songs the movie became a hit. – I think it was rk who made kk.
    2) Rafi sahab on tours, moving to England and avoiding singing after haj. thus being available for many md’s. Let’s face it time is money, so md ka could not wait and gave the song of upkar to mahendraji and the rest is history.
    3) Raj Kapoor instisting on fresh voice for rishi in Bobby. Until after laila majnu rafi sahab became the voice of rishi.
    4) Untimely deaths of md’s jaikishen, sdn and mm
    Going back to my opening sentence, if it was true than sdb and rdb would have avoided rafi. salil chowdhry would have never used him. and above all hemantda and great singer himself would not have used rafi sahab specially for biswajeet after giving play back for him in his first two movies. Also, dadamooni who sand his own songs, after listening to rafi sahab okayed for him to playback. I have also seen a photos of rafi-ashok-kishore together and nothing but good vibes comes out of these pictures.

  31. salim k says:

    The essay was about Rafi Sahab and Pancham but it is going now in all directions. Please guys and gals…take a deep breadth and listen to Rafi Sahab songs.

    We cannot change the past but learn from it and for sure now the onus is on the Indian government to acknowledhe the fact that rafi sahab is a more than a Bharat Ratan so declaring him as a BharatRatan is the right thing to do not that it matters as we all know that if there was ever a bharat ratan it would be Rafi sahab.

    Post 53 and 54……hard and bold comments but when did truth ever taste sweet.

  32. salim k says:

    The essay was about Rafi Sahab and Pancham but it is going now in all directions. Please guys and gals…take a deep breadth and listen to Rafi Sahab songs.

    We cannot change the past but learn from it and for sure now the onus is on the Indian government to acknowledhe the fact that rafi sahab is a more than a Bharat Ratan so declaring him as a BharatRatan is the right thing to do not that it matters as we all know that if there was ever a bharat ratan it would be Rafi sahab.

    Post 53 and 54……hard and bold comments but when did sweet ever taste sweet.

  33. snehal desai says:

    Mirza ji, relax

    Please read carefully, I said clearly that i am not generalising and we have no issues with bengalis or anyone. We were discussing here the facts and even bengalis would accept that with grace.

  34. Mirza Irfan Baig says:

    Mr. Desai (post 54) and Ms. Correa (post 57),

    We all love Mohd. Rafi and have the opinion that he was the best playback singer our country has ever produced. Most of us also think that he did not get what he deserved and was discriminated by some in the filmdom. We feel hurt and express our feelings when we observe this. But let us be a little careful. In our enthusiasm let us not hurt someone else’s feelings.

    It is true that some of those who discriminated against our beloved singer were Bengalis. However, it is also true that those who love him and have high regards for him also happen to be Bengalis. Had it not been true then why do you think that so many music directors from Bengal would have asked Rafi Sahab to sing their composition? Examples are Nazrul Geeti, bhajans, and film songs. As a matter of fact during the last year of his life he had a music director form Bengal come to Bombay to record some songs in his voice.

    What I want to convey is that there were many Bengalis who absolutely adored Mohammad Rafi. I will swear to it – during the late 60’s and early 70’s I spent five years at Kharagpur and many of my Bengali friends were diehard Rafi fans.

    At this forum there are several Bengali admirers of Rafi Sahab. Mr. P. Haldar’s devotion to Rafi Sahab is second to none. When we post our comments please refrain from using the language that may be deemed offensive to any group of people. They may not have meant it in their above mentioned posts but it sounded as if they were judging an entire community based on the crime of a few.

    On behalf of the entire Rafi fans, I would like to offer my apologies to our Bengali brethren if they felt hurt by the above posts.

  35. P. Haldar says:

    All the three md’s — ka, lp and rd — were immensely talented. When they came in, the field was defined by giants like Naushad, SJ and SD. At that level of the game, when you are competing with such giants, you cannot succeed unless you have lots of talent. So each of this junior md’s was talented in his own way. If you look at their output in the 60s, you’ll find KA with a slight edge, followed by LP and RD. But if you had asked me to put my money on one these md’s around 1969, I’d have put it on LP. Remember that they were mostly working for B-grade films prior to that, but their quality was really top-notch. KA was following SJ’s style and, to a lesser extent, RD was doing the same though he always had the Dada touch. But it was LP who came up with a tune that was totally Burmanesque — “hui sham unka khayal aa gaya”. What a song! And, then in 1969, they came up with another gem: “jo unki tamanna hai barbad ho ja”.

    If I have to list the top 5 Rafi solos from the 70s, I’d definitely include Khayyam’s “kahin ek masoom nazuk si ladki ” from 1977. Listen to the song carefully and you’ll find Khayyam had modelled the tune on LP’s masterful creation. This is the ultimate compliment from Khayyam. The common factor, of course, is Rafi.

    As the new decade began, Rafi is in full bloom in KA’s Geet.

    Rafi is still on top, post-Aradhana. Actually his output in 1970 is absolutely top-class. But KA scores two major hits with Sachcha Jhutha and Safar. Then comes RD’s twin blasts in the form of Amar Prem and Kati Patang. The two bluff masters start running away faster from Rafi than RD; but they don’t get the blame because they are not Bengalis. LP start fighting with their backs to the wall. And SD, never to give up, sometimes sounds like his son, sometimes like KA and sometimes like LP. RD has elevated his game much higher and the heat is on.

    To be continued…

  36. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    I humbly request all friends not to make it a ‘Bengali vs. non-Bengali’ discussion even though there might be some element of truth in it. But that happens with almost all communities. Certain amount of this aspect is OK. I call it ‘positive regionalism’. It enables the local culture and heritage to grow. The wonderful Rabindra Sageet, richness of Carnatic music, Gujarat’s Dandia, Punjab’s fun and frolic filled bhangra are some of the shining examples of this positive regionalism.

    Who can forget S.D. Burman’s songs sung by Rafi saab? The fact is that Rafi saab excelled in all possible shades of music under the music directors of different kinds and of various regions. That is a fact that underlines his genius.

    R.D. Burman may be one of the reasons for Rafi’s partial eclipse during early 70s, but he was not the sole reason. It is my assessment that more than that Rajesh Khanna had a bigger clout and his insistence (and perhaps tantrums) for Kishore Kumar ensured that Rafi was sidelined. I read it somewhere that while Rajesh Khanna had no personal grudge against Rafi saab, it is just that he wanted to prove a point to Rajinder Kumars, Shammi Kapoors, Dharmendras etc. by being different. Once he attained that super stardom and had his way, then it was kind of ‘bhed chaal’ by others. One often misses out example of the movie ‘Thodi si Bewafai’ which had music by Khayyam. He is a proven Rafian. But even he had to go for Kishore for the songs of this movie. I am sure song like ‘Hazar raahen mud ke dekhi…’ would have sounded heavenly in Rafi’s voice.

    Let us also not forget certain royalty-struck singer(s) who took the full advantage of the situation. Can anyone with right senses conceive that at certain point of time uttering Rafi saab’s name was a taboo in recording studios- those recording studios which only a couple of years back were blessed with Rafi saab’s voice, whose (leave aside people present there), even walls and doors (dar-o-deewar) would have felt proud to witness Rafi saab live to shape some of the finest melodies by the his divine voice. In a recent interview Asha Bhonsle while fondly remembering the golden era of film music and recalling the singers of that time, started with Lata, then Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, Geeta Dutt, Talat etc.. then as an after-thought added Rafi. For any right thinking person Rafi’s name should have been uttered first.

    So it will not be proper to blame R.D. Burman alone (or any Bengali lobby, if at all one existed) for that early 70s partial eclipse of Rafi saab. Neither Khayyam nor Rajesh Khanna nor those royalty-struck singer(s) are Bengalis.

    On the other hand all genuine music lovers feel that avoiding Rafi proved to be the reason for R.D.B’s downfall. Perhaps ditto for Rajesh Khanna. This only strengthens the belief that Rafi saab’s voice alone was the sure guarantee for long term success for actors.

    I personally know many Bengalis who have soft corner for Kishore Kumar but when specifically asked about the best singer in their opinion, they will at once reply ‘Rofi’. There may be misguided ‘some’ who would think that Kishore scored over Rafi. Let us keep those out of this.

    Lastly this forum too has many illustrious Rafi-fans (like P. Haldar, Souvik Chatterji, Priya Sanyal etc.) who are Bengalis, who have enriched this august forum with their lovely comments.

    Hope my post is taken in the right spirits.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  37. Man Mouji says:

    If compare the music composed by RDB during 70’s and that of 80’s finds a lot differene in quality wise, which can not be matched to his genius musical compositions of 70’s.

    By 90’s he was completely lost the touch but of few excepttions.

  38. Ahamed Kutty says:

    refer post 53 dear jkb ji,
    istead of giving an award in the name of rdb this filmfare
    personnel should have helped rdb financially in his struggling

  39. andrea correa says:

    some one has said about had rafi been a bengali…………

    v. true. then mohd rafi would have been bigger than rabindra nath tagore for this world.

    he would have got the bharat ratna award in the seventies before lata mangeshkar did.

    there would ‘not’ have been a singer called kishore kumar…..

    the whole of north, west and south composers would have taken his service s along with the bengalee music composers…….

    but, rafi was a ‘one man army” who had very strong and broad shoulders. even today he is being remembered every single day and people go to his santacruz resting place in large numbers on July 31st and pay homage.

    after 32 years or 50 years how many peopole will remember a man mohan singh or sachin tendulkar……

  40. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Zaheen, you wrote that rd was “the first music director who added a pinch of rock ‘n’ roll to lilting hindi tunes.”

    calling rd the first music director to use rock ‘n’ roll is not right. dada’s assistant, n. dutta, introduced rock ‘n’ roll way back in 1957, in a film called mr. x. the song “lal lal gaal” was sung beautifully by rafi. many music directors, most notably c. ramchandra, o. p. nayyar and sj used rock ‘n’ roll very effectively. one of the most popular rock ‘n’ rolls was composed by our dear composer, the late ravi saab: “baar baar dekho”. but the song that has taken the western world by storm and is now being played in heineken ads on tv is the one composed by sj, “jaan pehchan ho” for gumnam, which was released one year before teesri manzil. no one can scale the heights that sj did in rock ‘n’ roll; even in classical songs, i rate them among the top three. that’s how good they were! in my opinion, the top three singers in rock ‘n’ roll are rafi, asha and kishore (in that order).

  41. P. Haldar says:

    post 53:

    Bhagchandani ji,

    I am in complete agreement with you.

    P. Haldar

  42. Ali says:

    If they made a film on rd the first name as singer be mohd rafi and last name be mohd rafi because when rd got his first film he asked mohd rafi to sing for him and his last song with mohd rafi he sang it by himself.
    If we speak about top music directors if am not wrong in 1940’s Anil baswas ji1950’s Nausand ji in 1960 there was many but I think sj was at top and in 1970’s lp..
    Today when we speak about old music our mind go to 1950″s to 1970″s not in to1980″s that call god gift to mohd rafi who will never be replace.
    When they said to music director ram laxman that you are using lata ji voice to make your songs hit and his answer was no I used many singers and names many but when mohd rafi name came he said I feel proud that mohd rafi sang under my music…
    Best singer for Naushad ,Ravi, opn, sj, madan mohan, sd and many more was mohd rafi…..

  43. snehal desai says:

    Post 53, excellent observations well done. There was a planned and diligent effort to sideline Rafi in 70’s but it did not work. The gang mentality prevailed in the 70’s and Rafi was never a part of any faction or group, he was a one man force.

    If this faction had backed even me, i would have become a so called legend. If Mohammed Rafi was called Ganguly or a Burman, it would not happen. The Bengalis (no generalisation whatsoever) believe singing and music is their right. See around how zero talented singers like Sanu, Anhijeet and others are overrated because they are bengalis. Rafi was looked down by Salil Chaudhry because he was not a Bengali and the media does not give Rafi his due because he is not a Bengali.

  44. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Haldar ji,

    It was apt of you to take a dig at R.D. Burman’s fans (Post 51). I would say ‘ditto’ for Kishore fans.

    You pointed out one curious thing (about the movie you mentioned- which was made as a tribute to R.D. Burman and had no song of Rafi saab). This is one thing I too had noticed. Consider one more important happening. Filmfare gives one award in its annual ritual to an upcoming music director, and that award is named as ‘R.D. Burman award’. This implies that R.D. Burman is considered on higher pedestal than Naushad, O.P. Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishan, S.D. Burman, Madan Mohan, Roshan etc. I find it utterly laughable. No prize for guessing who ‘sponsors’ such awards.

    When R.D. Burman composed ‘Mere naina saawan bhadon…’ (Mehbooba), Kishore Kumar told him that he would not be able to sing such a complicated composition. R.D.B. insisted for him and gave him 3 days to practice and come back, otherwise he would give the song to Rafi saab. Kishore came back after 3 days and sang reasonably well. The bottom line is that in the back of his mind R.D. Burman knew that such difficult song was only Rafi saab’s cup of tea. Internally he had Rafi saab’s (imagined) rendering as ‘benchmark’ for that song. It was just that ‘he wanted’ Kishore to sing that. I am sure in the process minor modification/ dilution of the composition must have been done to accommodate Kishore’e range. Had R.D.Burman’s commitment been more on musical merits than to an individual, his overall portfolio would have been far more impressive. Had this song been given to Rafi saab, he would have taken it to an absolutely different level.

    I for one am a great admirer of R.D. Burman’s talent. But unfortunately he did not do justice to his own capabilities.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  45. Zaheendanish says:

    Haldar Saab,

    Rafi Sahab pioneered a new trend of globe- trotting for performance of his live shows, besides performing in Indian cities including the one at Calcutta in February 1980. It is said that no less than 25 times did he give such performances on the stages around the world. As Pyarelal (of the Laxmi-Pyare duo) informs us, Rafi Sahaab was the first singer to go on foreign tours regularly every year – first with his small orchestra and later with a bigger group. In fact this trend began in 1968 when he performed live at Mauritius and where he also sang in the Creole language which is spoken in the areas of the Carribeans, north and east coast of South American, western Africa and the Indian Ocean. According to one report, Rafi Sahaab went to Trinidad at the height of his popularity in 1966. He had a great audience. There in the Request Segment he was so kind and unassuming that he said “If it were even one line he would sing for the person requesting the song.” The audience remembers him not only as the extraordinary singers but also as “Truly a great man.”

  46. Ali Rashid says:


    With regards to pancham-rafi, when all is said and done, rafi sang many of pancham’s best compositions, and was an integral part of his musical wheel (whether pancham fans or rafians want to accept it or not).

    the pancham-kishore combo was excellent, however they only went up to a point. furthermore, as salim-ji pointed out, pancham’s favourite bengali tune was “modhumash jaye”, which he gave to rafi.

    with regards to “tum bin jaun kahan”, here is the sad piano-based version sung by rafi:

  47. P. Haldar says:

    post 37:

    Mr. Zaheen, you wrote: “as noted above, by the late sixties and early seventies rafi sahaab began his globe-trotting and live performances right upto 1980.”

    This statement is factually incorrect. Rafi saab has been globe-trotting since much before that; by 1977, he had made his 29th world tour. Look at his output in the 1960s and you’ll find that his globe-trotting, if anything, had a positive effect on his popularity. Many songs like “Chaudhvin ka chand” became popular even before the film had been released. If you care to do some research, you’ll find Rafi saab and Geeta di in concert in London around 1961.

    The standard procedure for any producer to do was to give Zaheer bhai a call and Rafi saab would accommodate him as best as he could. Take, for instance, what he did for LP, who needed five songs recorded the very day Rafi saab was leaving for an overseas tour. He went to the recording studio and delivered five songs with a live orchestra, just hours before he left the shores. That is Rafi saab for you!

  48. P. Haldar says:

    More than Pancham, I find the behavior of his fans amusing. Some of them find Rafi’s voice tired; others too thin! One of them made a film on Pancham’s life called “Jhankar Beats”. Guess how many Rafi songs were there in that film? Yes, you guessed it right: Sunya, Zilch, Nada. Our friends here keep talking about his breakthrough in Teesri Manzil, but his fans ignore that fact. Any casual listener would have known that the top 3 songs in HKKN were Chand Mera Dil, Kya Huwa Tera Wada and Hai agar dushman (you can select them in any order you like), but his fans don’t think so; they’d play songs like Bachna aye haseeno and Mil gaya round the clock.

  49. P. Haldar says:

    Mr. Zaheen Danish,

    You wrote: “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. ”

    Calling RD the first music director to use Rock ‘n’ Roll is not right. Dada’s assistant, N. Dutta, introduced Rock ‘n’ Roll way back in 1957, in a film called Mr. X. The song “Lal Lal Gaal” was sung beautifully by Rafi. Many music directors, most notably C. Ramchandra, O. P. Nayyar and SJ used rock ‘n’ roll very effectively. One of the most popular rock ‘n’ rolls was composed by our dear composer, the late Ravi saab: “Baar baar dekho”. But the song that has taken the western world by storm and is now being played in Heineken ads on TV is the one composed by SJ, “Jaan pehchan ho” for Gumnam, which was released one year before Teesri Manzil. No one can scale the heights that SJ did in Rock ‘n’ Roll or Jazz; even in classical songs, I rate them among the top three. That’s how good they were! In my opinion, the top three singers in rock ‘n’ roll are Rafi, Asha and Kishore (in that order).

  50. andrea correa says:

    Kishore had limitations in many songs and he had a “bit” enough heart . he used to say to composers : yeh geet aap ke singer ko do..meaning rafi.

    if rdb was not cornered by the two woman of his life – he would have played a longer and better musical innings. why he left out asha bhosle in 1942 a love story – is indeed a big mystery which has not been told by rdb supporters.

    rdb had two marriages -and both did’t work according to tributes and one wonders if asha’s statements these days are for loyalty or for r o y a l t y….

    neverthless, rdb produced some great music with lata, rafi, bhupinder, kishore and some with asha bhosle.

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