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Rafi’s Qawalis

This article is written by Mr. H.V.Guru Murthy

Mohd RafiHas any body listened to a good qawali from KK or Mukesh or Talat or Hemantha or even Saigal. Well all these singers were top class in their own way and had their own plus points. Talat was outstanding in Ghazals, Mukesh and Saigal in soulful songs, Hemantha in songs based on Rabeendra Sangeeth and simple Bengali tunes. KK was much more versatile than these singers and could carry any songs but he had his own limitations in classical songs as well as qawalis. We just cannot imagine any of the above singers singing a qawali (Mukesh in spite of “Daag Na Lag Jaye” in MERA NAAM JOKER with Asha and KK even if one considers “Haal Kya Hai Dilon Ka” from ANOKHI ADA and “Waqt Ki Hera Pheri Hai” from HERA PHERI with Mahendra as qawalis). I do not think even Lata Mangeshkar has sung any solo quality qawali.

What is so special about qawalis? In fact, what is a QAWALI? Though I cannot give the theoretical definition of a qawali, with my limited knowledge of music, I think that to sing a good qawali the singer should have a good diction, should be able to sing at a high pitch, should be able to sing fast paced songs, should have rhythm, should be able to hold breath for a longer time as well as should have the capacity to match the co-singer. Picturisation of qawali is also very important to sustain audience interest. If not tuned or sung or picturised properly, any qawali can easily become very pedestrian.

I personally feel, Mannadey and Asha Bhonsle were good filmy qawali singers. Mahendra was also good sometimes. Asha Bhonsle’s “Nigahen Milane Ko Jee Chahata Hai” from DIL HI TO HAI and Mannadey’s “Kisne Chilman Se Maara” from BAAT EK RAAT KI, “Humne Jalwa Dikhaya To” from DILNE PHIR YAAD KIYA with Asha, “Yaari Hai Imaan Mera” from ZANZEER apart from the hilarious qawali from HUMRAAHI with Mahendra immediately come to our mind.

But Mohammed Rafi scored over all others. He has sung umpteen number of qawalis. Especially the JODI of Rafi and Mannadey was great. The following qawalis of Rafiji became big hits and remain unsurpassed even to this day in quality.

Mohd Rafi
Mohd Rafi

  • “Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai Ishq Ishq” with Mannadey from BARSAAT KI RAAT.
  • “Na To Caravan Ki Talaash Hai” with Mannadey.
  • “Qawali Ki Raat” from QAWALI KI RAAT.
  • “Meri Tasveer Lekar Kya Karoge Tum”.
  • “Toone Soorat Chupayi” from MAHAL, beautifully pitcurised on Dev Anand.
  • “Parda Hai Parda” and “Shirdiwale” from AMAR AKBAR ANTONY on Rishi Kapoor directed by MMD.
  • “Hum Kisise Kum Nahin” from HUM KISISE KUM NAHIN with Asha picturised on Rishi and Zeenat by Nazir Hussain.
  • “Yeh Mana Meri Jaan” from HANSTE ZAKHM with Bhupinder.
  • “Ab Ja Balabahun Shiddate” and “Wakif Hu Khoob” from BAHU BEGUM with Mannadey.
  • “Bhari Mehafil Me Cheda” from PALKI with Asha and Mannadey.
  • “Main Tera Gunahagar Hun” and “Raaj Ki Baat Kehdun To” from DHARMA with Asha on Pran and Bindu. Incidentally the film became hit only because of these qawalis.
  • “Jeena To Hai Usika” from ADHIKAR.
  • “Ek Shok Hasina Se” from CHAANDI SONA with Mannadey.
  • “Iran Humne Dekha” from EK MUSAFIR EK HASINA with Asha.
  • “Ye Dawa Aaj” from LAILA MAJNU.
  • “Aese Me Tuzhko Doondake Laun Kahan Se Mai”.
  • “Na To Caravan Ki Talash Hai”.
  • “Kya Kya Na Sahe Humne Sitam” with Lata in MERE HUZOOR.
  • “Phir Tumhari Yaad Aayi Ae Sanam” with G L Durrani and Mannadey.
  • “Pal Do Pal Ka Saath Hamara” with Asha in THE BURNING TRAIN.

We hardly get any filmy qawalis these days, perhaps due to the fact that Roshan and Rafi are no more, Mannadey and Mahendra have retired, Asha has become more or less a pop singer advertising RDB’s known / unknown / unheard of talents and the present generation of Singers incapable of singing qawalis. But we still have the treasure of good and quality qawalis of yesteryears, which we can always enjoy.

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75 Blog Comments to “Rafi’s Qawalis”

  1. Yogesh Chandna says:

    Every time I sit to check my mails, my mind first goes to Rafi sahib’s soulful numbers and I tune them on while working. This goes without fail. No match for Rafi sahib – be it in romatic songs, kawwalis, ghazals, bhajans – the list is endless. His range, his versatility, his sweet melody straight goes through the heart. No match ever. I salute this greatest music maestro.

  2. Tariq Mahmood Khan says:

    Infact, Rafi was a great singer, he was jack of all trade. his qawwalies, naats, songs, bhajans, ghazals, raags, sad songs, romantic songs, can not be copied. he can do any thing in singing. he had full control on his voice when it should drop when it should loud. at the end i have no suitable words for which i tribute him. although he is not live now. but his voice will remain live for ever.

  3. I think he was a king of QAWALI. Md RAFI was a multi talent singer.Really he was great.I love him.

  4. Sardar Iftikhar says:

    i love M.rafi

  5. mohammed rafi says:

    I am looking for Rakh aur chingari 1982 (vinod mehra) Song include (yeah Anjaan Rahian) film.

    There is no where i can purchase if anybody no where i can get it please i will be a very happy man.

    Thank you

  6. Kamal Chauhan says:

    Everybody knows about Mohd. Rafi, was a versatile singer but it doesnt mean that nobody can sing Qawwali. U r pointing out on Lata’s singing. U have mentioned that lata had never sung any solo Qawwali, I think u did not listen Aaja Re ye mera dil ghabraye…. from the movie Hina.

  7. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Rafi Saheb has sung many qawwalis and it is not possible here to mention his best qawwali, he was just superb in each and every song he had sung.

  8. parveen says:

    can anyone send me first song of rafi ?ajj dil ho qabu main and qawwali composed by lion of punjan op.
    aseer sahab, do not use these words against nusrat fateh ali ,he was shenshah of qawwali.he was not playback singer mainly.

  9. Barejiya Ajaz says:

    First of all, there is no trace of doubt that rafi saab has been ruling the indian music industry. i love rafi saab for what he has had in terms of singing. Rafi saab is numero uno so far as singing is concerned. No one has been able to show the charisma rafi saab had and probably no one will ever be able to create the same majic. Rafi saab were good in any kind of song, be it qawwali, fast one, sad song or anything u can think of. I am a die hard rafian. My contact No. is +919898644583.
    I am pursuing my MBA

  10. Anwar-ul-Haque says:

    Reply to post number 65.
    The starting lines of that qawwali are:
    Ayoub ki ye shaan-e-tewekkel hai dekhiye.
    Kis derja meetha sebr ka ye phel hai dekhiye.
    I have this qawwali in a cassette of tape recorder. I think you can search this qawwali from shops and it would be available alongwith other non-filmi qawwalis of Rafi Sahab.

  11. Shahid says:

    I have collections of Rafi. What a wonderful singer and personality? In his field of music, no one will be able to beat him. He is a legend.
    I am looking for a “Na’at” Rafi sang in the memory of “Prophet Ayub (Job) elahis’salaam” patience and was very popular among the muslims in 50’s and 60’s. Please can you tell its starting words and where I can get it from. Please send the info on my e-mail address as written above. Thanks.

  12. Ref: Post 61
    This song is from “Ek Baar Muskura do”

    Shirish Kulkarni
    098204 52562

  13. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Yashwant Singhji & Vikas Sharmaji,

    True, “Zamane Ki Aankhon Ne” is a beautiful song sung by Rafi Saab at a very high pitch from the movie “Ek Baar Muskurado”. All other songs of this movie were sung by KK and Mukesh and this was the only song sung by Rafiji in this movie, a clear indication that all the MDs preferred Rafiji when it came to singing difficult songs.

  14. vikas sharma says:

    ya yashwant sir,

    i appreciate ur taste of music coz the qawali ur are discussing about
    ” zamane ki ankho ne dekha hai yaaro” is also one of my favourites.
    It is an amazing qawali with really good wording indeed containing the reality of life.

  15. Hi everybody,
    making such collection of rafi saheb’s qawwalies in the shape of an article is really a remarkable job by Guru Murty Sir. i am very thankful to you. but, i want to know that why did not you include a beautyful qawwali of rafi saheb’s “Zamane ki aankhon se dekha hai yaaro, sada apni duniyan mein aisa nazara”. this qawwali was composed by great O.P.Naiyer sa’ab. i don’t know exectly name of it’s film but i hope that you all might have heard this qawwali in the voice of legendry king “Mohammed Rafi”.

  16. vikas sharma says:


  17. vikas sharma says:

    Respected hv guru murthy sir,

    i m just 26 yrs old but a huge fan of rafi sahib and kishore da from my early childhood,i really appreciate ur article about rafi sahib’s qawalis .U have done a splendid job sir, i bow to u.

  18. vikas sharma says:

    My dear friends and all the rafiaans,
    currently my internet speed is not quiet good and i m having a lot of problems in downloading and uploading procedures due to that i will not be able to fullfill ur request soon but i m trying to sort all the problems with my net connection and than i will send u the song

    “saranga tere yaad main ” by rafi sahib

    i will try my best .I hope u all will understand my problem.

  19. Imtiyaz A. Sharif says:

    Dear Vikasji,
    I would like to make a small correction of your post 53. The word “paigambr” is not the correct word. It should be “Payambar”. The meaning of Paigambar is totally different. I think, this word is used by Naushad sahab or Gulzar sahab and they wrote Payambar, not paigambar.

  20. Imtiyaz A. Sharif says:

    Dear Mr. Vikas,
    I will be very much obliged if you could able to send me that song which you have mentioned in your post # 48. I will be eagerly waiting for that song.
    My e-mail ID is as under:

    Thanks you very much for your favour.



  21. ssmakkar says:

    i would only add here that while we may not go in for himesh reshammiya’s style of singing, he has gone on record saying that his all time favourite singer is rafi saab. i have a copy of his print interview.he has music sense.

  22. vikas sharma says:

    Dear H.V.GURU MURTHY sir,

    i will try to send u the song as soon as possible thanx for giving ur email id.

  23. vikas sharma says:

    the gugs who go for comparision of paigambr-e-mosikey with anyone else has not respect for his mother and father and secondly he is not an indian

    and least but not the last he has no sense of music and is a huge fan of himesh reshmaiya( main be naak paar cellotape laga kar ga sakta hu).

  24. Anil Cherian says:

    Ref: Post 48
    Dear Vikas ji:
    Would you send the song? My id is Kindly inform the title of the film, so that I can also get Mukeshji’s version.

  25. Aseer says:

    one very well known qawali is missing i think and its ye mana meri jaan muhabbat saza hai…………this is a simply great qawali….

    and who the hell is nusrat and others in front of Rafi sahab, with all his classical base and and all that thing he cudnt sing a shammi number( calibre hi nahi hai yaara unme) nor he can sing aapke haseen rukhpe (is gane k muqable k liye Allah ko ek aur Rafi sahab banana padega jo shayad wo nahi karenge) …….ye gana sunne se lagta hai yaar awaz se shahad tapak raha hai……dhire ustaad , sunnewale ki jaan lenge kya?

    and in laila majnu, altho i dont count ye dawa is a perfect qawali(i m not saying perfect song,mind it) but it is one of the toughest song of Rafi sahab….koi aur gaa ke to dikhaye,, dam ghutke mar jayega, especially jab screen pe rishi kapoor sar patane lagta hai to Rafi sahab breathlessly gate hain, the one and only breathless song of hindi film industry……..

    regards to all but plz dont compare Rafi sahab with anyone else, Rafi sahab is supreme and only a village idiot can think of even claiming someone is greater than Rafi sahab…..

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