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Rafi sings in ‘Navarasas’

By: H.A.K. Walijah

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

John Keats once wrote: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”, today I can pretty much say “A song of Rafi is a joy forever”.  Even 30 years after his death – I am sure Rafi’s popularity did not go into oblivion. Millions of million Rafi lovers pay their respects and tributes everyday which alone is the strongest proof that Rafi still rules and his chair did not occupied yet, no replacement so far!!!. Could anybody ask for a grander memorial than that?  Rafi Saab’s voice has given us a song for every emotion and mood. Rafi’s voice will always be with us, and considering how popular he still is.  As for Rafi’s memorial being his voice, that was exactly why I thought versatility of character that makes him so special. Mohammad Rafi was a superb vocal actor and could bring a range of emotions into the limited time (usually about 3 minutes, back then) a song allowed him. From romantic to sensual, angry to soothing, loving to despairing, or outright joy and laughter, there isn’t a single emotion that his wonderfully fluid voice did not express, and express beautifully.

Classical performing arts in India are traditionally made up of the navrasa 9 rasas or 9 major basic emotions/expressions.  The idea of life without “emotions” is just inanimate. We often use words to express emotions. We paint words so beautifully, yet sometimes fail to express the right emotion. Art is a means of expressing emotions to the fullest. One element that is common among all performing arts is their ability to express the emotions which make up different slices of life. Emotions characterize life as well as art. Music is one such language of emotion. Music without emotions is lifeless and an emotion without music is inadequate.  Emotions in music need not be associated with the phrases and the words that make up the song. Pure music i.e., music without words (instrumental, aalaapana or swara kalpana) can bring out emotions too. To site a good example, the tone of a person on the other end of the phone can make us get a feel of his/her mood.  If Raga is the soul of music, rasa or bhava is its emotional quality. Good quality rendering can arise intense emotional feelings in both the person rendering the music and the person listening. Nine types of rasas (basic emotions) are identified predominantly in music or dance.

Navarasa means Nine Emotions in which Nava signifies nine and Rasa signifies Emotions. The nine emotions included in Navarasa are Shringara (love), Hasya(laughter), Karuna (kind-heartedness or compassion), Raudra (anger), Veera ( courage), Bhayanaka (terror), Bheebhatsya (disgust), Adbutha (surprise), and Shantha (peace or tranquility). These are the emotions that human shows according to the situations.  Navarasa is mainly used in classical dance forms. Indian classical dance forms like Bharathanatyam, Kathak, Kuchipudi, Odissi, Manipuri, Kudiyattam, Kathakali and others include Navarasa. Emotions can be called as the basic factor for all dance forms in India.  Life is the true testing ground. Emotions are as large as life and twice as natural. Indian cinema, since it is based on nava rasas, has always something to offer the viewer.  Although the concept of rasa is fundamental to many forms of Indian art including dance, music, musical theatre, cinema and literature.  Now let us analyze how Rafi Saab did rendered his songs in various emotions and moods one by one.

1.  Shringara Rasa

Love is an indispensable part of life. It encompasses every relationship and influences all actions.”Shringara rasa represents love and beauty; any element of beauty evokes love. This emotion can be used to paint love for any person, be it specifically sweetheart or anybody else. Rafi certainly was a master at expressing romance and the sheer number of his great romantic songs is a testament to that. Just listen to these haunting romantic numbers.

  • Sau baar janam lenge (Ustadon Ke Ustad, 1963)
  • Kaajal wale nain (Devar).
  • Abhi Na Jao Chodke (Hum Dono)
  • aap ke hasiin rukh pe aaj naya noor hai (Baharen phir bhi aayengi)
  • aaj ki raat badi shokh badi natkhat hai (Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal).
  • Ek Haseen Shaam Ko Dil Mera Kho Gaya
  • Mere Mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat (Mere Mehboob)
  • Aaj ki raat yeh kaisi raat ke hum ko (Aman)

2.  Hasya Rasa

The ability to express amusement or laughter is one thing that separates the human species from animals. Teasing and laughing with a friend is one face of “Hasya rasa”. Much has been said about Rafi and Johnny Walker  and their superb comedic partnership. But Rafi did great comedy for others too  like Mehmood and Om Prakash.

  • Chhuri ban kaanta ban (Jaali Note, 1960)
  • Tere poojan ko bhagwan (Shaadi 1962)
  • Sar jo tera chakraye ya dil ( Pyasa )
  • Ye Duniya gol hai (Chaudvin ka chand)
  • Hamein kale hain to kya hua (Gumnaam)
  • Membooba Mehbooba bana lo mujhe dulha (Mastana)

3.  Roudhra Rasa

When love is not reciprocated, the definite feeling would be anger. This brings us to Roudhra rasa, anger, Rafi was especially adept at expressing anger, his voice could slip into the high notes and quick enunciation of the angry man, with extraordinary control and with such great effect. The songs depicting anger where Rafi excelled in this emotion.

  • Ya meri manzil bata (Rakhi, 1962)
  • O Duniya ke rakhwaale (Baiju Bawra)
  • Mere dushman tu meri dosti ko tarse (Aye din bahar ke)
  • Yeh mahalon yeh takthon yeh taajon ki duniya (Pyasa)
  • Yeh Duniya ye mehfil mere kaam ki nahin (Heer Ranjha)

4. Karuna Rasa

The next essence is the feeling of compassion. The sympathy and fellow-feeling that sorrow generates is Karuna rasa. A compassionate understanding of human troubles coats Rafi’s voice as it once again effortlessly brings forth the emotions demanded of it.

  • Kahan ja raha hai (Seema, 1955)
  • Hume Bhi De Do Sahara (Seema, 1955)
  • Chahunga main tujhe (Dosti)
  • Na tu Zameen ke liye (Dastaan)

5.  Bibhatsya Rasa

The fifth emotion is Bibhatsya rasa” Disgust. This emotion is evoked by anything that is a symbol of repugnance, nausea  Rafi at its best to render  this rasa more effective  if one can listen to the song of Pyasa “ Yeh Duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya ho”  Let the song speak for itself, and for a poet’s disgust with a worthless materialistic world.

  • Yeh Duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai (Pyasa)
  • Meri Dushman tu meri (Aaye din bahar ke).
  • Kya miliye aise logon se (Izzat)
  • Woh woh na rahe jin ke liye (Badaltey Rishtey)

6.  Bhayanakam Rasa

The sixth emotion being the Bhayanakam rasa horror/terror. Rafi Saab brings this rasa effortlessly in the following songs which shows sheer disgust and antipathy towards the atrocities of the society.

  • Sab ke rehte lagta hai aise (Samjhota)
  • Hum Bekhudi main tum ko (Dil Diya Dard Liya)
  • Dono ne kiya tha pyar magar (Mahua)
  • Mili khaak main mohabbat (Chaudvin ka Chand)
  • Zamane ne mare jawan kaise kaise
  • Guzre hain aaj ishq main us maqam se (Dil Diya Dard liya)

7.  Veera Rasa

To fight disgust, one needs  Veera rasa Valor. To /become a hero doesn’t need shining weapons. Heroism should be in body and soul. Any person who has courage to take a stand exhibits veera rasa. I love how Rafi’s voice quickens with the strength of his emotions and how heroic and sad the high notes sound in veer rasa.

  • Kar chale hum fida jan-o-tan saathiyo (Haqeeqat)
  • Apni Azaadi ko hum hargiz mita sakte nahin (Leader)
  • Zindabad aye Mohabbat zindabad (Mughal-E-Azam)
  • Mere desh premiyo aapas main prem karo (Desh Premi)

8. Adbhuta Rasa

As soon as a child is born, the awe that it feels while coming across every new act, every new incident is something that is felt for the first time and is a matter to wonder and ponder about. Adbhutha rasa is the curiosity of man, the astonishment caused by something not imagined earlier or felt.  While most if us are lost in the wonder of his voice, Rafi could be vocally lost in the wonder of discovery in other ways –

  • Tumne mujhe dekha (Teesri Manzil, 1966)
  • Nav Kalpana Nav roop se (Mrigtrishna)
  • Chaudvin ka chand ho (Chaudvin ka chand)
  • Maine poocha chand se (Abdullah)
  • Wadiyan mera daaman, raaste meri bahaen (Abhilasha)
Rafi Sahab with Anand Bakshi

Rafi Sahab with Anand Bakshi

9.  Shaanta Rasa

Beyond all these emotions lies the emotion of peace and serenity.Shantha Rasa represents complete harmony among mind, body and the universe. This is a state where the mind is in rest, a state of tranquility. After struggling a lot, when there remains no hassels, calmness prevails.

  • Basti basti parvat parvat (Railway Platform, 1955)
  • Main Zindagi ka saath Nibhata (Hum Dono)
  • Meri dosti mera pyar (Dosti)

In addition to the nine Rasas, two more appeared later:

  • V?tsalya – Parental Love
  • Bhakti – Spiritual Devotion

10.   Vatsalya Rasa

Parental love is usually the province of women in Bollywood. So while you can find a ton of mother-child songs in Hindi films, coming up with one sung by the male of the species is rather rare. Naturally, rare or not, Rafi has his share of parental-love songs! The most famous is, of course, Babul ki duaayein leti ja – a quintessential bidai song.

  • Babul ki duaayein leti ja (Neel Kamal)
  • O Nanhe se farishtey (Ek Phool Do Maali)

11.  Bhakti Rasa

As usual, there is a lot of material to choose from. Rafi has some superb bhajans, Like all classical-based songs, it starts out slow with a short alaap and a slow tempo that quickens pretty soon. The best part is, of course, Rafi’s voice.

  • Duniya na bhaaye (Basant Bahar, 1956)
  • Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj (Baiju Bawra)
  • Insaaf ka Mandir hai yeh (Amar)

I bet all have their own favorites to contribute to each of the eleven rasas – that’s the beauty of Rafi, there is so much to choose from! So, let us explore all great songs that I’ve missed or neglected to mention. When I was thinking up this write-up, I had initially toyed with the idea of doing a navrasas post, but gave it up – I just couldn’t figure out songs for each of the rasas which way to go, then again I tried it out because of my sheer enthusiasm and interest that I have on   Rafi Saab. As I always want to write something different or atleast the unexplored facets of Rafi saab singing prowess.  I do not know how far I am successful in my endeavour, it is upto the readers’ choice to evaluate my work and pass on the verdict.

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142 Blog Comments to “Rafi sings in ‘Navarasas’”

  1. Prasad says:

    Beautiful musical debates going on, its very nice to read all these posts by eminent music lovers / scholars.

    Anil Cherian ji and Bhushan ji thanks a lot for sharing such musical knowledge on this beautiful website. For general music lovers, it is more fotune to have your presence.

  2. Bhushan says:

    Anil ji,

    I am with you on many points, however on few issues again I think I have to differ, rather clarify to be more clear. The kaisiki nishada i.e. the Ni note in the final octave as you mentioned, is clearly sustained by ghantasala in siva sankari song in the end (raag darbari kannad), so your point of not touching the note by any male singer is not agreeable (in syamala dandakam, he goes even higher, the final note sa in the final octave is sustained) So again, the point male vs female voice renditions in high pitch, the points differ. Zindabad song of rafi starts from middle octave and then goes to higher octave, so if you sing the song actually from the lower octave, the song would land only at the medium octave and not beyond that. The song actually is composed in a two octave range. The approach of the song has made it appear as high pitch and if you go by the notes range, it is really not a high pitch composition i.e. if you start the song from the lower octave, you will know where it finally lands. Take the song o duniya ke rakhwale – actually this song is much wider in terms of rendition as compared to the song zindabad, the baiju bawra song is not so easy to execute except otherwise by a gifted singer. As you rightly said, in the end rafi comes close to dhaivata note i.e dha in the final octave, if you carefully hear. that is why I had said one should count the number of notes in which the song is composed – that really determines the litmus test for a high pitch song.

    I am fully agreeable with you otherwise on other points in your post, nice points sharing.

  3. Anil Cherian says:

    Nice to debate with you.
    The highest note in the ‘aa ab laut chale’ is bflat5, ie ‘kaisiki nishadha’ in the last octave of the harmonium if we translate to Indian classical music and from a male voice perspective (I just checked it with my keyboard). This note has rarely been touched by any Indian male light singers; I believe Rafi sahab has come close in the final part of ‘mohabbat zinda rehti hai’ and some other songs. However as you rightly mentioned, when Lataji sings her duets along with male singers with good high notes command her voice is the one that shows greater strain. This happens because in a duet a female voice can’t do something that it is capable of doing in a solo- that is transition of voice from chest voice to head voice. If someone does it, it will clearly show up. So in her duets, Lataji had to belt out all those high ‘ma’s and ‘pa’s in her chest voice and when she had to sustain them, her voice did strain sometimes. If you listen to the song ‘dil tera deewana hain sanam’ song her voice is all over the place towards the end of the song although the song is not all that high-pitched. The sustained singing at the ‘tharasthayi’ is what did it for her in this song.
    But in a solo and especially in a ‘alaap’, a female voice can go (much) further up than a male voice. A male voice can do it if properly trained (in Western classicals), but it is completely different kind of singing (something you will find in operas).
    I am linking here some clips of some English female popular singers reaching very high notes in head voices and one wouldn’t be able to make out the difference (in voice properties) from singing in the ‘modal’ (chest) range.

  4. Vitthal says:

    Bhushan ji

    I never thought you had such musical knowledge.

  5. Bhushan says:

    Anil cherian ji,

    contd…. forgot to mention one point.

    There was a interview with SPB, in which this discussion on octaves was interesting and SPB categorically stated that there are limitations to human voice, all the octaves (as present in keyboard) cannot be easily rendered, even by ghantasala (this he repeated because the discussion was on higher octave renditions by ghantasala comfortably) – only a fewer higher notes those legends can cover than us and even those legends cannot do justice if the octaves are increased, and in general the peak is 3 octaves for a human voice to cover i.e. 21 notes. Very Exceptional cases may be there such as balamuralikrishna etc. going upto a maximum of 24-25 notes and not beyond that.

  6. Bhushan says:

    Anil cherian ji,

    Thanks for your post – I understand what you mean to say and I find absolutely no reasons to oppose what you have said with regard to the octave ranges for a Keyboard.

    Now, regarding lata ji’s range, what I requested was a song of her which is composed in continuous 28 notes – This has not been clarified yet. What i mean is that in high pitch songs, one has to see the number of notes one’s voice is able to cover – that determines the range of voice. And I may not agree with your point that male voices do not reach that peak – no. There is a song by lata mangeshkar in telugu, where in she touches a high note – it is strained, the same song is also sung by ghantasala , who comfortably touches/sustains that similar note, quite comfortably than lata mangeshkar. So, keeping this in view, I do not take your view that female voices are more capable of taking high pitches. And regarding your view of touching low pa and high pa can be taken as touching only 15 notes – where is the question of 28 notes here ?

    Aaj phir jine ke thamanna hai – song of lata you might have heard -when she sings the high notes in this song, you will note the strain and thinning of voice.

    Female voices are generally built in a way which is fit for singing in a octave higher than the male voices, to be more clear, whatever notes the male voice is fit to cover in its natural built lower octaves for singing, the same thing female voice is able to cover in its natural built higher octaves, which is higher in nature. This is different from rendering in higher octaves or covering more notes. In such case, female voice cannot capture the octave strength in lower style, in which the male voices are built – on the whole the essence is that it should be seen how many clear notes the voice is able to cover ultimately – that is the basis on which the wider range is decided.

    And to be more clear, what I mean is that from low to high, continuous 28 notes in succession, I do not think any human voice can cover the notes in succession. And I would like to hear such miraculous rendering, if rendered by anybody by gift, for my interest and research, anil ji.

  7. Anil Cherian says:

    Dear Bhushanji,
    The number of octaves are deemed infinite; Although one will find only 3 octaves in a harmonium, there are other musical instruments (keyboard for instance) that have more number of octaves. When Naushad saab speaks about c3-c5 range, what he means is that Lataji can sing in a range from ‘sa’ in the 2nd octave of the harmonium to the ‘sa’ in the 4th octave (typically the last piece of a harmonium). You will also have to consider the fact that the female voice is naturally higher-pitched, so this range would correspond to a range covering the 1st ‘sa’ of the harmonium to the 3rd ‘sa’ (1st note of the ‘tharasthayi’) for a male singer. The g of the alto range corresponds to the ‘pa’ of the ‘madhyasthayi’ (or the ‘mandhrasthayi’ if we look at it from a male voice perspective).
    From what I know, Lataji’s voice can be classified as a ‘contralto’ voice, if we are to speak about vocal range. She can touch a low ‘pa’ (as Naushad saab points out) comfortably and on the upper side a high ‘pa’ with a full (chest voice). However the female voice can go much further up with what is called a ‘head’ voice (Male voices can also do it, but not as high and not as convincingly). When Lataji sings that alaap in the ‘aa ab laut chale’ song, she reaches a very high note; I am not sure whether it is a b6 (as Hridaynathji says it is) but it is very high and she sings it in her head voice. This is a territory not treaded by any male voice in HFM.

  8. Rajan Iyer says:

    post 74 Wallajah saab
    Hridynath is that Bhai who will act as bhai ho tho aisa.. beyond his beloved siter Lata he cannot think of any one and that bias is very clear to all music lover..
    Kindly post one song of Lata in 4 octaves as desired by Bhushan saab and many music lovers laymen like me … please…
    Rajan Iyer

  9. Andrea Correa says:

    I will request radio jockeys and just passed out graduates from the media industry before joining the media industry – to listen to our golden era songs and occassionally the mohd rafi radio to know about our rich musical cultures and traditions……

    please listen to various eras of music and form your opinions than following a singer with vested interests – who try to be everywhere telling how great her husband was in singing and composing.

  10. nafisa says:

    Post No. 65 :

    I found another yoodling and doing much more duet sung by kishore n rafi, composed by OPN’s. A quaint little gem of the black n white era. Listen to the lyrics carefully, if they dont follow the pattern of event to unfold later on.

    with regards.

  11. Binu Nair says:

    LISTENING TO SOME great rafi saab songs while penning comments on ‘rafi radio’. — always ahead and one step forward.

    thank you.

    binu nair : the rafi foundation : cell : 9833 250 701

  12. Utthara says:

    Zaheendanishji, I am a late entry. Sorry for that. Here are some more songs which both rafi and Lata have sung.
    1. Oh mere shahe khuba
    2. Gar tum bhulana doge
    3. Sajan sajan pukaroon galiyon mein
    4. Aaja tujhko pukare mere geet re
    5. Aji rooth kar ab/aji hamse bachkar
    6. Teri ankhon ke siva
    7. Tum mujhe yun bhulana paoge
    8. Dil bekarar sa hai(my favourite song)
    9. Wadiyan mera daman
    10. Pardesiyonse na akhiyan milana

    Will include more in the lsit which others have not listed.


  13. Utthara says:

    Walijah sab, bas, kya kehne! Your topic is truly hatke. There are only nav rasas. But Rafi saab has sung in countless rasas and many genres effortlessly. Thank you for posting such a fantastic article.



  14. Man Mouji says:

    to post – 86

    Some of the best duets of Rafi Sahab and Lata ji during 50’s and 60’s

    1. raat ke musafir – Miss Mary (1957)
    2. Jeevan main piya tera saath – Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959)
    3. Dheere Dheere Chal – Love Marriage (1959)
    4. Tu Ganga ki mauj – Baiju Bawra (1952)
    5. Ajaa ke Intezar main – Halaku (1956)
    6. Do ghadi who jo paas – Gateway of India (1957)
    7. Do Sitaron ka zameen par – Kohinoor (1960)
    8. Sau saal pehle – Jab pyar kisise hota hai (1961)
    9. Tasveer teri dil main – Maya (1961)
    10. Teri Duniya se Door – Zabak (1961)
    11. Aapne Yaad dilaya – Aarti (1962)
    12. Tujhe jeevan ki dor se – Asli Naqli (1962)
    13. Dil tera diwana hai sanam – Dil tera diwana (1962)
    14. Dil todne wale tujhe dil – Son of India (1962)
    15. Husn chala kuch aisi chaal – Bluff Master (1963)
    16. Yaad main teri jaag – Mere Mehboob (1963)
    17. Woh jab yaad aaye – Parasmani (1963)
    18. Tum to pyar ho sajna – Sehra (1963)
    19. Jo waada kiya woh – Taj mahal (1963)
    20. Ek shahenshah ne banwa ke – Leader (1964)
    21. Tumhari nazar kyon khafa – Do Kaliyan (1968)
    22. Yeh dil tum bin kahin – Izzat (1968)
    23. Kya kya na sahe – Mere Huzoor (1968)
    24. Rimjhim ke geet sawan – Anjana (1969)
    25. Saathiya nahin jaana – Aaya sawan jhoom ke (1969)
    26. Palkon ke piche se – Talash (1969)
    27. Ni sultana re pyar ka mausam – Pyar ka mausam (1969)
    28. Ek tera saath hum ko – Wapas (1969)

  15. Shabana says:

    can anybody post the duets of Rafi Sahab and Lata ji of 50’s and 60’s

  16. Shabana says:

    Lata ji duets with Rafi Sahab having the highest number compare to other singers, the second being Kishore Kumar and third Mukesh ji.

    The duets of Rafi Sahab and Lata ji specially during 60’s were feast to the ears and food to the soul. Really, Really unforgettable gems.

  17. Zaheendanish says:

    In Haath ki Safia – Waada kar le saajna – a fantastic duet sung by Rafi Sahab and Lata Ji, where one can find the high-pitch vocalized female part sung by Lata ji is far better than the male part sung by Rafi Saab. It does not mean that Rafi Sahab sung not well. But when listen it very carefully one can find the difference crystal clear, Lata ji voice more clear and vibrant than counterpart voice sung by Rafi Saab. I just observe while listening this song.

  18. Ahamed Kutty says:

    dear rafian kabeer amanji,(refer comment 82)
    when lataji is singing a song,she has to sing according
    to the mood of the song or happy song.
    she did not give any style for any of the actress.hence
    as far as versality is concerned lataji is far behind rafi saab.

  19. Kabeer Aman says:

    I have grown to believe that Rafi Sahab carried more versatility than Lata ji. Infact Lata ji in one of her interviews did admit that she considered it her great honour to have sung alongside Rafi Saahab in numerous duets also disclosing the fact that as she considered him her greatest rival she would always come prepared before hand and would always hold back something special for Rafi Sahab to throw during the song and surprise him. I am a great fan of Rafi Saahab; yet I still strongly do feel Rafi Sahab carried more variety than Lata Ji.

  20. Prasad says:

    With regard to the Twin songs, I recall one best remembered song from Sehra,

    [*] Taqdeer ka Fasana

    performed by both Rafi Sahab and Lata ji.
    When I listened both versions, I felt both are well sung, but the Rafi Sahab version seems to be more powerfully vocalized song than Lata ji. Also in the same movie there was one duet sung by both legends

    Tum to pyar ho sajna – a mesmerized duet in high-pitched song, even in this song the male part is more powerfully vocalized than female part of the song.

    The music was superbly composed by Ramlal ji for this move Sahra. Almost all the songs tuned melodiously. I really enjoyed

  21. bhushan says:

    Dear friends,

    Thanks a lot for your views. I would like to make the point completely clear. What I meant was the 4 octave range – means 28 notes to be covered in a single song and to be sung by a singer – no such song or composition ever exists and no body will compose that as ordinarily so far known

    I just wanted to make clear regarding octaves as per music rules.

    The songs which have been mentioned in above posts are high pitch songs and just fall within the 3 octave range, covering around 14-16 notes (o duniya ke rakhwale, mohabbat zindabada etc. of rafi) and nothing beyond that. Even the siva sankari song of ghantasala which was discussed is around 17-18 notes (slightly higher than above rafi numbers) , no song can be composed in 28 notes. Generallly, the 3rd octave itself is termed as the highest octave in music. I do not know what is meant by 4th octave – there are three sthayis – mandhara sthayi (lower octave covering 7 notes sa to ni note ) Madhya sthayi (middle octave again convering sa to ni – 7 notes ) and tara sthayi (the higher octave again covering 7 notes sa to ni) thus making the total to 21 notes – and 21 notes are present on musical instruments. Songs may be composed in different octaves – for instance if a song is composed in lower and middle octave – the total song cannot exceed 14 notes (2 into 7 ) similarly, if it is composed in 3 octaves, it cannot exceed 21 notes

    A song composed in 7 notes is composed in single octave
    A song composed in 14 notes is composed in 2 octaves
    Similarly, a song composed in 21 notes is said to be composed in 3 octaves. Thus, for a song to be composed in 3 octave should contain more than 14 notes in succession in the composition.

    Bade ghulam ali khan, the great hindusthani musician, had a voice range which could comfortably take 3 octaves i.e 21-22 notes, balamuralikrishna was believed to have taken 24 notes (just a bit about 3 octave range) k J yesudas, ghantasala the southern singers had a range of 3 octave renditions, which generally and ordinarily humans are gifted with. Rafi and lata too fall within the same category, going by the high pitches they have rendered, but as per my observation rafi’s high pitch is more attractive than lata – I am still confused about the statement that lata could take four octave, which I strictly believe is not correct, Any knowledgable musician can please correct me if I am wrong.

    With that intention, i had requested for hearing the song of great lata mangeshkar ji, just for my interest and see such miraculous rendering, which in my view is not possible i.e 4 octave range. I hope I had made the things clear.

  22. Kabeer Aman says:

    to post – 75

    Some of Rafi Sahab high-pitched songs

    _ O duniya ke rakhwale (Baiju Bawra)
    _ Aye Mohabbat Zindabad (Mughal E Azam)
    _ Gham Uthane ke liye (Mere Huzaoor)
    _ Kah do koi na kare pyar (Goonj Uthi Shenai)
    _ Nafrat ki Duniya ko ( Haathi Mere Saathi)

    Can you tell me those songs fall under which octave category

  23. Man Mouji says:

    To post 74 … Walijah Sahab
    I agree with you

    To post: 75 … Bhushan ji
    I can remember some of Lata ji high-pitched songs – I do not know these songs falls under octave 4 range or else, since I am not music expert, I am just like you, a layman and music lover.

    Listen these songs and tell me what you think –

    ++ Rasik Balma (Chori Chori) – SJ
    ++ Mohabbat ki Jhooti kahani (Mughal-E-Azam) – Naushad Saab
    ++ Aji rooth kar ab Kahaan jaiega (Aarzoo)- SJ
    ++ Aa ab laut chalen from Jis Desh Me Ganga Behti hai – SJ

    It is also believed that Roshan Saab was very particular on this aspect! While Shankar (SJ) especially was ”obsessive” for this…..Sajjad Hussein Sahab too was very much fond of this…..Ghulam Mohd too had some high-pitched songs…..

  24. Zaheendanish says:

    Dear Rafi Fans

    I am more than happy to express my gratitude for your kind help to find out the twin songs (male & female versions) sung by Rafi Sahab and Lat Ji ad various other great artists.

    Thanks a million for Man Mouji Sahab and Nafisa Ji.

    My Best regards

  25. nafisa says:

    Post 66,

    Further to my post no. 70, 71 & 72 –
    1. Aji rooth kar ab kahan jayeega (Lata) Aji hum se bach kar kahan (Rafi) (happy n sad – 2 versions) – Film – Arzoo.

    2. O mere shah-e-khubaan , tum mere pass hote ho (Rafi – Lata ) Film : Love in Tokyo.

    3. mohabbat chume jinke haath (Film – Aan) (Rafi – Surraiya)

    4. Duniya mien aisa kahan sab ka naseed hai (Film – Devar) (Mukesh-Lata)

  26. Bhushan says:

    74 – Walijah ji,

    My point has not been understood clearly, I had just requested for the song of lata ji in “four octave range” (composed simultaneously in 28 notes) for my hearing – just that and nothing beyond that.

    To my knowledge, rafi’s high pitch reaching is clearly more than lata’s – even I have not heard any music director mentioning 4 octave range for rafi or any other playback singer (even classical greats balamuralikrishna or bade ghulam ali khan are believed to have 3 octave ranges – not 4 octave) , so with that view I had requested for a song of lata in the four octave range for my hearing, to brush up my knowledge.

  27. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    to post: 69 – Dear Mr. Bhushan

    I can cite for your reference here two such anecdotes for your query regarding Lataji four octave singing. One from her brother Hridayanath Mangeshkar and second from Mushiqar Azam Naushad Saab

    1) Few singers can sing in four octaves as Didi can. In Hindustani music, the octaves are kharaj (low), the middle, upper and uppermost, a range of twenty-eight notes. Didi can sing the entire range of twenty-eight notes. the only other singer I know of who had this same gift was Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. His voice sounded good even at high pitch. In the Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai song, ‘Aa ab laut chalen,’ Didi touches the seventh note in the fourth octave – the highest a human voice can reach. In the song, you hear her holding the note and not sounding shrill.

    – Hridaynath Mangeshkar on Lata Mangeshkar

    the second being Naushad saab praising the Melody Queen – Lataji

    2) Her singing range is across a full octave from C3 to C5 and she can reach as low as G in the alto range. She can sing half notes too, and through time, has increased the range of her voice and sings from one octave to one and a half octaves effortlessly. Have you heard ‘Bekas pe karam ki jiye’ from Mughal-e-Azam? In the naat, she reaches F natural and sings an even higher pitch.

    – Naushad on Lata Mangeshkar

    Best regards

    H.A.K. Walijah

  28. Lt Col Javed Sayyed(Veteran) says:

    Dear Mr H.A.K. Walijah,
    Grt writeup. Grtness lies in not only inspiring someone, but to catapult them into the path intended. Congrats for such a unique writeup. The discussion it has generated in listing out songs, sharing of info on various aspects of rafi sahab is proof of it. Keep up the good work.
    For rafi fans-do not get dejected. Lets keep up the tempo. The govt will relent one day & give our farishta his due recognition. all & sundry are being bestowed the Padma shri these days!! pl read the list!!. what an irony. we should erase this award from rafi sahabs books. lets keep it clean till he gets the highest award from the govt. anyway, the award is just an issue of awarding his due-nothing else!! but it is all the same mandatory. for the zillions of fans-he is world ratna!!
    Rafi fans-pl vote-multiple votes in again-this is just to keep the flag flying high. lets not let others jump the number game. Pl vote. spread the msg to friends, family etc. zillions of fans-yet very few daily votes-just about 150-200!! it had incr to >300 few mths back. lets make it to much beyond…>5000 min per day. lets do our bit. thats the min we can do on our part.
    regards to all rafians. do well.

  29. nafisa says:

    zindagi ek safar hai suhaana, (andaaz) (Rafi – kishore – Asha)

  30. nafisa says:

    jiya ho jiya kuch bol do (Jab pyar kisise hota hai) (Rafi – Asha)
    Tum bin jaaoo’n kaha’n (Pyar ka mausam) (Rafi-kishore – lata ?) I couldnt find the lata version on youtube.
    Pardesiyon se na ankhiyan milana (Jab jab phool khile) (Rafi – lata)

  31. nafisa says:

    Tum muzhe yun bhula na paao gey(Pagla Kahin Ka) (Rafi Version-lata version)
    zindagi bhar nahin bhulegi woh barsaat ki raat (Barsaat ki raat) (Rafi- lata)
    Rng aur noor ki baraat kise pesh karun (Ghazal) (Rafi – lata)
    Hum intezar karenge tera qayamat tak (Bahu Begum) (Rafi – Lata)
    woh jab yaad aaye bahut yaad aaye ( Parasmani) (Rafi-Lata)


  32. Bhushan says:

    Post 68

    Could you kindly cite an example of a song from lata in the “four octave” range, which you were mentioning, it will be interesting to hear such song, as in my experience, I have never come across any playback singer singing in such range.

  33. Man Mouji says:

    Reply to post: 62

    Dear Zaheendanish,

    In all these songs the male version caught the popular fancy. It is said that male voice is endowed by nature with much wider range. However, this can not be a valid reason in case of Lata Mangeshkar, who was known to sing in perfect tune in all the four octaves. She got the ultimate compliment a singer can hope for when Bade Ghulam Ali Khan said about her after a concert, Kambakht kabhi besuri nahi hoti. No other singer has dominated Hindi film music for so long and in such a comprehensive manner.

    Rafi – Lata
    1. Ehsan tera hoga mujh par Rafi Junglee (1962) Shankar Jaikishan
    2. Taqdeer ka fasana Rafi Sehra (1963) Ramlal
    3. Mere mehboob tujhe Rafi Mere Mehboob (1963) Naushad
    4. Aaj kal mein dhal gaya Rafi Beti Bete (1964) Shankar Jaikishan
    5. Dil jo na kah sakaa Rafi Bhigi Raat (1965) Roshan
    6. Jab jab bahaar ayee Rafi Taqdeer (1967) Laxmikant Pyarelal

    If you strain your memory, you might recall all these songs had a twin version sung by a female singer:

    1. Ae mere dil kahin aur chal Talat Mahmood Daag (1952) Lata Mangeshkar
    2. Na ye chand hoga Hemant Kumar Shart (1954) Geeta Dutt
    3. Jayen to jayen kahan Talat Mahmood Taxi Driver (1954) Lata Mangeshkar
    4. Kaise koi jiye Hemant Kumar Badbaan (1954) Geeta Dutt
    5. Ae ghame dil kya karun Talat Mahmood Thokar (1954) Asha Bhosle
    6. Jeevan ke safar mein rahi Kishore Kumar Munimji (1955) Lata Mangeshkar
    7. Aa laut ke aja mere meet Mukesh Rani Rupmati (1957) Lata Mangeshkar
    8. Mujhko is raat ki tanhai mein Mukesh Dil bhi tera hum bhi tere (1960) Lata Mangeshkar
    9. Na tum hamen jano Hemant Kumar Baat ek Raat Ki (1962) Suman Kalyanpur
    10. Ehsan tera hoga mujh par Rafi Junglee (1962) Lata Mangeshkar
    11. Taqdeer ka fasana Rafi Sehra (1963) Lata Mangeshkar
    12. Mere mehboob tujhe Rafi Mere Mehboob (1963) Lata Mangeshkar
    13. Aaj kal mein dhal gaya Rafi Beti Bete (1964) Lata Mangeshkar
    14. Dil laga kar hum ye samjhe Mahendra Kapur Zindagi aur maut (1964) Asha Bhosle
    15. Jis dil mein basa tha pyar tera Mukesh Saheli (1965) Lata Mangeshkar
    16. Dil jo na kah sakaa Rafi Bhigi Raat (1965) Lata Mangeshkar
    17. Meri jaan tum pe sadke Mahendra Kapur Sawan Ki Ghata (1966) Asha Bhosle
    18. Raat aur din diya jale Mukesh Raat Aur Din (1967) Lata Mangeshkar
    19. Jab jab bahaar ayee Rafi Taqdeer (1967) Lata Mangeshkar
    20. Chandan sa badan Mukesh Saraswatichandra (1968) Lata Mangeshkar

    This is for time being, if I explore some more will be posted for your purpose.

    Best regards

    Man Mouji

  34. Man Mouji says:

    Dear Zaheendanish,

    Have patience, I am preparing the list of your request, I will post it soon.

    It is an honor to help rafi saab fans to know more about this legend.

    Long live Rafi Saab

  35. Zaheendanish says:

    Yet there is no response from rafi lovers to my request, please some body do help me.

  36. Binu Nair says:

    Post 64… many thanks Nafisa ji… It was a great pleasure to recive the song. R there any more songs in yodelling of mohd rafi saab….

    our neighbouring site friends ‘must’ also listen to this song. no comments then.

    binu nair :the rafi foundation… mumbai. mail :

  37. Nafisa says:

    Post No. 63:

    The yoodling song you mention is :

    Link :,

    I found another melody recorded in 1947 which is a bidaai song :



  38. Binu Nair... says:

    Man Mouji ji : lets discuss some good and rare songs of mohd rafi saaheb. if u can give me your mail i.d., will send u some rare gems which u probably must not have heard.
    on last sunday, a rafi saab fan had come home. i showed him the ‘yoodling’ song of asha-rafi……on video . this was recorded in the fifties it seems. he was shocked and said : ‘ he wil not sleep that day as he has never seen such a rafi saab video.”
    can my friends send me the yoodling songs of mohd rafi saab on my mail or cd please.

    at : Cell : 9833 250 701

    the rafi foundation, mumbai …..where melody and mohd rafi fans meet.

  39. Zaheendanish says:

    I happened to be listen some songs having both male and female versions, some have sung by Rafi – Lata and some have Lata – Kishore. When I hear both versions I feel male version songs sung by Rafi Saab sound more melodious than those sung by Lata ji in female version, with the exception of Mere Mehboob, here both versions are equal. But the rest of the songs female voice may not be equivalent to male voice which sung by Rafi Saab. I have quite few songs listened so far. Could anybody post me the list of male and female versions songs. I want to gather such songs in my music library.

  40. binu nair says:

    Man Mouji – Ji.. See . we are the public. I know you as a Rafi Saab fan . let it remain that way as its from a Rafi Parivar man.

    Even in this vast family of mohd rafi lovers there will be differences. So lets talk of rafi saab and music and the positives which has made a ‘difference’ to our lives.

    we should never open a can of worms as many people get offended. and, never about, never about the politicians – the miserable lot as it will prove to be disastrous in the long run. thanks man mouji ji…

  41. Man Mouji says:

    Ref. post – 59

    Respected Binu nair ji

    You are absolutely right, this is no place to discuss either rotten politics or the politicians as this site is dedicated to Rafi Saab, I know it; but any how rafi fans have a right to know how these dubious government machinery devoid of honoring Rafi Saab his due honor which is long pending since Lataji had achieved this prestigious award. As a true fan of Rafi Saab I just put the views on the air which not necessarily be acceptable nor have a valid reason to reject it. Well this is a public forum, there is no need to react with such vehemence as explicitly visible in your post. Moreover we are nobody to remark on the doings of those who once held on highest position of the country. I hope you picked up my intention.

  42. Binu Nair says:

    Post 55…Man Mouji ji….

    i wuld disagree with u on two counts. 1.. Pls dont make a field for political discussions and viewpoints. there are many sites to discuss the rotten politicians but only one great site to discuss about ‘one’ great singer – Mohd Rafi Saab.

    2… When Atal Behari Vajpayee was the prime minister, hundreds of people were massacred, burnt alive in gujarat by his own comrades.

    one word, just one action from atal b. vajpayee would have sent the clear message …to stop the mindless killing.

    his party was routed in the general elections and even today the party is wondering – what hit them.

    is he still eligible for the b r sir. I strongly feel lets not bring politics here-in.

  43. Shabana says:

    to post – 56

    after reading this news, the hopes became thinner and now in doubt that Mohd. Rafi Sahab may not get this award this year. But still I crossed my fingures and pray Mohd. Rafi Sahab should be awarded this delayed honour this year itself.

  44. Prasad says:

    ref. post 56

    Thank you for sharing the update news on Bharat Ratna.



  45. Man Mouji says:

    THIS YEAR too, Bharat Ratna has not been conferred on anybody. Please read this update news on B/R, click this link to connect :

  46. Man Mouji says:

    to post (51) – Kabeer Sahab,

    If the political system of India does not want to confer Bharat Ratna to Mohd. Rafi Sahab, then Atal ji is the next immediate candidate to get this honour.

    Shri Atal Behari Vajpayeeji should be decorated with Bharat Ratna. He is not a political leader of just a political party. He is a STATESMAN of international stature and acceptance. He is a leader in true democratic tradition. One could disagree with him without any fear of backlash. He was a visionary as a leader. History / posterity, I hope, will judge him for his true worth. His contribution to Indian polity as a leading light in opposition was, many times, invisible but unmistakable. He preceded the era / age of publicizing the smallest contribution being glorified. He was a man of modesty and his oratory was based on the principle of \” Issue based poltics \” . He always had the discipline of never personalizing his differences with any individual ever. That is a huge and striking achievement in today\’s no-holds-barred methods of projecting one\’s right / wrong view points.

    AB Vajpayeeji deserves to be decorated with Bharat Ratna more than Sachin Tendulkar. Very few people in Indian polity have deserved it as much as him.

  47. Prasad says:

    I would like to add a few patriotic songs which come under Veer Rasa sung by Rafi saab. which are matchless and prideful to the nation.

    ** Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai…. (Shaheed), ‘
    ** Ab koi gulshan na ujde ab watan azad hai… (Mujhe Jeene do), ‘
    ** Kar chale hum fidaa jano tan sathiyo… (Haqeeqat)
    ** Watan pe jo fidaa hoga, amar wo naujawan hoga…. (Phool Bane angarey)
    ** Apni azaadi ko hum hargiz mita sakte nahin……. (Leader)
    ** Ye desh hai veer jawanon ka albelon ka mastanon ka….. (Naya Daur)

  48. Prasad says:

    I would like to share some of the most romantic love songs of Rafi Saab which are now regarded as classics in its genre :

    _ Aaja re aa jara aa – ( Love in Tokyo )
    _ Aise to na Dekho – (Teen Devian)
    _ Choo lene do nazuk hontho ko – (Kaajal)
    _ Aap ke haseen rukh pe – (Baharen Phir bhi ayengi)
    _ Aa gale lag ja – (Night in London)
    _ Hum aur tum aur yeh sama – (Dil De ke Dekho)

  49. Prasad says:

    Some of the best bhajans rendered by Rafi Saab are given below to enjoy in Bhakti Ras

    Baiju Bawra
    Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj

    Baiju Bawra
    O Duniya Ke Rakhwale Sun Dard Bharee Mere Nalee

    Mujhe Apni Sharan Mein Le Lo Ram Chitragupta G.S. Nepali

    Insaf Ka Mandir Hai Naushad Shakeel Badayuni

    Basant Bahar
    Duniya Na Bhaye Shankar Jaikishan Shailendra

    Naya Daur
    Aana Hai To Aa i

    Miss Mary
    Brindaban Ka Krishan Kanahaiya

    Jai Raghunandan

    Man Re Tu Kahe Na

    Badi Der Bhai Nandlala

    Naya Raasta
    Ishwar Allah Tere Naam

    Sukh Ke Sab Saathi Dukh Mein Na Koyee

  50. Kabeer Aman says:

    Even the politico folks are in a state of doubt or uncetainty to whom Bharat Ratna should be conferred upon, Sushma ji and LK Advani requested Prime Minister to confer this civilian award to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpee ji, since Sachin seems to be too younger to receive this award

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