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Rafi’s soft numbers composed by Shankar Jaikishan

Written by Mr. Souvik Chatterji

Rafi with Shankar of SJ fame

Rafi with Shankar of SJ fame

Mohammad Rafi was the virtual ruler of world of playback singing in the 60s. As far as his combination with Shankar Jaikishan is concerned, generally the loud numbers gather popularity due to the pomp and grandeur of those songs.

For example Rafi’s song “chahe koi mujhe jungle kahen” in Junglee, picturised on Shammi Kapoor, “kaun hai jo sapno me aya” in Jhuk Gaya Aasman picturised on Rajender Kumar, “jiya ho jiya ho jiya kuch bol do” in Jab Par Kisi Se Hota Hai, picturised on Dev Anand, “Japan, Love in Tokyo”, in Love in Tokyo, picturised on Joy Mukherjee, “april fool banaya, in April Fool picturised on Biswajeet , etc., were the most popular songs of those films. Shankar Jaikishan’s innovative orchestrations were involved with all these songs.

But if SJ’s softer numbers are looked at they provided gems for Rafi during the 50s and 60s. In Shammi Kapoor’s Junglee, “ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar” was a masterpiece where Rafi’s romantic presentation can take anyone to a different world. In Rajender Kumar’s Humrahi, “mujhko aapne gale lagalo” was a brilliant song where Rafi’s andaz was as outstanding as that of Mubarak Begum. Aye Milan Ki Bela had evergreen gems embedded in them. All the soft numbers of Rafi like “tum khamseen ho”, “to bura maan gaye”, “o sanam tere ho gaye hum” created everlasting appeal in the minds of the youth of the 60s.

SJ matured into the country’s most glamourous western composers by mid-60s. Rafi’s brilliant voice was complimented by superlative utilization of western instruments in most of the songs of SJ during that period. In Biswajeet’s April Fool Rafi’s presentation of “aa gale lag ja” showed him to be a Hollywood singer whose rendition had Western andaz.  In Joy Mukherjee’s Love In Tokyo, Rafi presented the seductive andaz in the song “aaja re aa zara aa” which can put anyone to sleep. Rafi’s ghazal andaz in the same film “o mere shahe khuba” had equally everlasting appeal.

In Rajender Kumar’s Zindagi, “pehele milethe sapno me” showed Rafi’s effortlessness in rendering romantic songs. All the songs of Rajender Kumar’s Aman were brilliant. Especially “surahidar garden koel si hi awaz”, and “aaj ki raat” had Rafi’s powerful level of intonation to back up SJ’s romantic andaz. Besides the orchestration had Japanese flavor.

Rafi with Lata and Jaikishan

Rafi with Lata and Jaikishan

In Shammi Kapoor’s Professor, “awaz deke hume tum bulayo” created the tempo for the film. All the duets in that film created sensation including “mai chali mai chali”. Rafi complimented Lata in most of the duets backed by SJ’s effective use of sexaphone. In Shammi Kapoor’s An Evening in Paris, Rafi’s measured number in the duet song “raat ke humsafar” probably had the most intoxicating appeal in the entire film as against the loud numbers like “aasmaan se aya farishta”.

Rajender Kumar’s musical blockbuster Aarzoo, probably had Rafi at his best. If “aye nargisi mastana” showed Rafi’s effortlessness, “aji hum se bachkar” showed Rafi’s classical control, where as “chalke tere aankho sharab aur ziada” showed Rafi’s brilliant ghazal andaz. Rafi was at his best in Rajender Kumar’s Suraj as well. All the songs in the film had grand appeal. Probably the songs “kaise samjhayun” and “baharon phool barsayo” received the viewers’ attention. But “gustaqi maaf” and “itna hai tujhse pyar mujhe” were more melodious.

Shammi Kapoor’s Brahmchari had the theme music “mai gayun tum so jayo”. The song had been played a number of times by Shankar Jaikishan once too slowly while the other at a faster pace. Rafi was equally romantic in both the songs. Besides “dil ke jharoke me” was an experiment of SJ asking Rafi to sing at a high note which he did in style. In Shammi Kapoor’s Raj Kumar “tumne kisi ki jaan ko jate hue dekha hai” and “yeh rangbirangee duniya me” Rafi’s romantic rendition appealed to the masses.

In Dharmender’s Pyar Hi Pyar, Rafi showed the ghazal andaz in the song “dekha hai teri aankho me pyar hi pyar beshumar”. In Jeetender’s Mere Huzoor, Rafi’s song “rukh se zara naqab, uta do mere huzur” expressed the shy delivery of the hero. In Raj Kumar’s Lal Patthar “unke khayal aye to” showed Rafi’s royal andaz or probably the badshahi andaz in delivering as the characters were related to Indian history of kings.

In Dev Anand’s Pyar Muhobbat, “dil ki awaz khuda khair Karen” had an enchanting appeal. Again Rafi’s seductive andaz in Manoj Kumar’s Gumnaam in “jane chaman shola badan” entertained the viewers and listeners. Rafi presented the songs in Uttam Kumar’s Choti Si Mulakat also with stylish westernized manner.  Viewers can also cherish Rafi’s song “tum hi tum ho” in Raj Kapoor’s Ek Dil Sau Afsane picturised on Raj Kapoor. “Khuda bhi aasman se” in Rajender Kumar’s Dharti is still unforgettable even today. The list of SJ’s soft numbers for Rafi can go on.

Some way or the other SJ’s relationship with Rafi never got predominance due to erroneous interpretation of Shankar Jaikishan over the years by the media. Just because SJ were associated with Showman Raj Kapoor in almost 20 films, so the entire focus went to Mukesh and Manna Dey’s songs composed by SJ. But if the rest of SJ’s creations in almost 170 films are analysed it will be seen that Rafi had sung almost 800 songs for SJ, which include more than 20 films of Shammi Kapoor, 10 films of Rajender Kumar, 7 films of Dev Anand, 3 films of Dilip Kumar, to name a few. The films and the songs should be revisited.

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14 Blog Comments to “Rafi’s soft numbers composed by Shankar Jaikishan”

  1. Souvik Chatterji says:

    Dear Ghulamji, Binuji, Shashankji, and others, happy makar sankranti. Rafi had developed his stylish intonations in bollywood music mainly due to association with Shankar Jaikishan. The songs “ae mere shahekhuba” and “aaja re aa zara aa” in Joy Mukherjee’s Love in Tokyo, “surahidar gardan” and “hiroshima” in Rajender Kumar’s Aman, “aa gale lag ja” in Biswajeet’s April Fool, “janam janam ka saath hai” in Shammi Kapoor’s Tum Se Accha Kaun Hai are some examples of the romantic andaz of Rafi.

    Some of the instruments used by SJ faded away from film music in the 70s like Sexaphone, Accordian, string instruments after the reign of SJ. The Rafi SJ combination should be revisited for more innumerable treasure of bollywood music which had influenced the innovative music of other composers like LP, Ravi, etc.

    Souvik Chatterji.

  2. vijay shah adv. says:

    if the said songs can be played for listening then it can be a great pleasure…i dont know if the same is possible …or at least mention a site where i can enjoy rafi rare songs…thanks …regards…v.r.shah

  3. BINU NAIR says:

    SOUVIK JI : Pranam…. and good morning…..

    IN RECENT TIMES, WE HAVE SEEN THAT SHANKAR – JAIKISHAN’s CONTRIBUTION TO h.f.m is sought to be undermined by vested interests.
    they were the trend setters of the times of golden hindi music. they made “amar” music along with op nayyar, madan mohon, s.d. burman and other great composers – during those heady musical years..

    visit any live music concert……….. their songs are played maximum. these “works of art” has withstood the test of time.

    keep writing, we all enjoy it sauvik dada…

    binu nair
    rafi foundation : 9833 250 701

  4. JAWAID NASEEM says:

    rafi saaheb ki nazr>>>>

    teri aawaz ki jaadugari se
    na jaane kis jahan mein kho gaya hoon
    kahan guum ho gaya hoon

    usi aawaz se jaaga tha lekin
    usi aawaz mein phir kho gaya hoon
    kahan guum ho gaya hoon

    jawaid naseem

  5. N K V RANGARAO says:

    Very informative and you have touched all good songs in the combination of SJ and RAFI SAAB,there were lot of good numbers from them in 70’s than at any time.there are some more i would like to add”o sanam tere ho gaye hum” from ayye milan ki bela,”yaad na jaye beete dinon ki” from dil ek mandir .

  6. Ghulam Mujtaba says:

    Dear Souvikji,

    Thanks alot for refreshing us by this nice article which is more inormative, comb. level of these three legends have unlimited highest Rafi Sahib have won many national awards like “Baharo phool Barsau” Film Suraj, “Dil ki Jharoko mein” film Barhamchari etc others gems were nominated for National Awards like Hum Ko tu jan say” film Naina, “Ajhun Ayee Balma Sawan Bitajai” Film Sanj Aur Sawara, Meri Mohabat Jawan Rehi Hai” film Janwar, But a unique song “Tu Bemisal hay teri tarif kiya Karun” from Barhamchari but major think is why this beautiful song was excluded from Barhamchari ?? the anwer is awaited. Next from Film Janwar all songs are extra ordinary sung by Rafi ji and composed by SJ ji wounderful “Deikhu ab tu tum ko nahi hey khabar” western style of music and sweetest voice will never come again. No doubt the list if songs are very long but some unforgetable gems could not come into nomination for national rewards like “Jab Mohabbat Jawan hoti hey” film Jawan Mohabat, Hein no bolo bolo “Film Andaz” “Jab behee Yeh Dil Udas ho ta hey” film Seema, Mery Mehboob terey Dam say ” from Bhai Bhai” Kon hey jo sapno mein Ayia film Jhuk Gia Asman. But we want to know why above song “Tu bey misal hey teri tarif kia karun mastana chal hey teri tarif kia karu” was excluded from Film Barhamchari ?? May any one could resolve this question. Anxiously awaiting the reply. Article is wounderful as well as valued comments of viewers are much informative. Thanks & Regards.

    Ghulam Mujtaba / Lahore Chapter. (Old Home Town of Mohammad Rafi Sahib)

  7. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Very good, informative write-up Souvikji. You have chosen a very interesting topic. In the sixties for every ‘yahoo’ song for Shammi Kapoor, there always was an ‘Ehsaan tera hoga mujh par’ kind of soft song in each film. One more example of this is ‘Dil tera Dewwana’ (title song), the same film also had some soft numbers like ‘Nazar bachaa kar chale gaye woh…’ and ‘Mujhe kitna pyaar hai tumse..’ In fifties too there were some excellent soft songs by Rafi-SJ combination. Aaja ki intezaar mein…. (Halaku), Kahaan jaa raha hai tu ae jaaane wale….. (Seema) etc. are some examples.

  8. shashank says:


    Nice and informative article of shankar jaikishan and rafisahab.

  9. Ali says:

    I think Shankar Jaikishan is the best who made music in bollywood and there be no other Shankar Jaikishan as there be no Mohd Rafi as I think and Media was and is so unfair with them and with Mohd rafi ….
    I think Shankar Jaikishan the only music director who gave great songs to all singers,i think Mukesh had his best with Shankar Jaikishan and also Kk and Mohd Rafi……there are my great music director like Naushad ji,Madan Mohan Ji,OP Nayar,SD Burman,LP but media used other name which are even to be 10% of Shankar Jaikishan…
    Shankar Jaikishan with Shamm Ji made a magic which show other to do the same and Made Shamm Ji Yahoo star as we all know that word of Yahoo not sang by Mohd rafi….offousre as said by shammi kapoor that if there was no Mohd rafi there is no Shammi……..
    I think the real music born by Anil Baswas ji in 1940’s and have level in 1950’s and be child in 1950’s by Naushad Ji,Shankar Jaikishan made music young and after Mohd rafi sang less and died of Jaikishan in 1970’s music be old….and after Mohd rafi died in 1980 the misic died with mohd rafi…..
    Shankar Jaikishan you are the best as I think and there on other great but no one speak about him and he is Ravi who gave great music

  10. Musharraf says:

    I think, “Yeh mera prem patra padh kar” of the film “Sangam” can also be mentioned as one of the most outstanding romantic songs sung by Rafi under the music direction of SJ.

  11. Souvik daa is as fresh as ever. The List of such songs by SJ+Rafi combo is very long and it can cover the area from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. During the lean phase of Shammi Kapoor SJ gave very touching tune, Jab Muhabbat Jawaan Hoti hai………..Listen when Rafi sahab says ‘hai’ -the ambience is mesmerizing. In his interview Rafi’s son (available in a documentary on Rafi by Films Division) has rightly said that SJ utilised every range of Rafi Sahab to the fullest.


  12. Jayant Sanyal says:

    Dear Mr. Chatterjee,

    A wonderful article that can transport us all to that golden era of film music which is known for its emphasis on melody and poetry. each of the song that you have discussed is a gem in its own right, and one can almost feel the pleasure, the ecstacy associated with getting an opportunity to listen to such songs. Hasrat Jaipiri, Shailendra were two of the lyricts who combined wonderfully well with Shankar Jaikishen on more occassions than not to create masterpieces which only Rafi Sahab could render. To add to your list, I would like to mention two more songs:

    Meri Muhabbat Khaak Muhabbat : Film: April Fool,Actor: Bisawjeet
    Meri Muhabbat Jawan Rahegi: Film: Jaanwar, Actor: Shammi Kapoor

    May The era of melody return! Thanks!

  13. Gautam Banerjee says:

    True, but you have not mentioned some of other best songs, like “Dil tu bhiga- Hamrahi”, “Chheda mere dil- Aslo Nakli”, “Dekho aab to- Janwar” “Chakka me chakka-Brahmachari” etc.

    Gautam Banerjee.

  14. anil nakra says:

    dear chatterjee
    article was good and informative as always , referashing the memory . please write on jaidev and rafi sahib , songs are not too much but very good and memorable

    anil nakra

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