You're browsing: Home / Meri awaaz suno / Rahul Dev Burman’s immense respect for Mohammad Rafi

Rahul Dev Burman’s immense respect for Mohammad Rafi

By: Souvik Chatterji
Master of Law from Warwick University, Coventry,UK
Master of Law from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

R.D.BurmanRahul Dev Burman, the son of eminent singer and composer Sachin Dev Burman, is one of the most popular composers of the last decade whose tunes are used by many modern composers in their own compositions. Being the son of the legendary Music Director, SD Burman, RD had a great challenge to match the sheer brilliance of his father. It happens with the son or daughter of all the famous personalities.

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, Madanmohan. 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 andaz1.

R.D.Burman with Javed AkhtarThe bigger challenge of RD Burman was to create a gharana which was different from SD Burman, which was very difficult. He created western composition in “Ayo 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 muhjhe dekha hoker meherban”, “O mere sona re sona re sona re”. The rock and roll flavour of Shammi Kapoor, which was started by Shankar Jaikishan in films like Junglee, 1961, songs like “Asman se aya farishta” in An Evening in Paris, 1967, “Aj kal tere mere pyar ke charche har zaban par” in Brahmchari, 1967, was matched by RD Burman in Teesri Manzil, 1966, and he gave the message to the Indian audience that he had arrived in the musical arena and was going to be a leading composer in future.

The relationship of RD Burman with Rafi continued in films like Pyar ka Mausam, 1969, where the songs like “Tum bin javun kahan”, “Ni sultana re pyar ka mausam aya” were major hits. RD Burman developed a beat of his own which marked his identity in the 1970s. The biggest success came in 1970, with the film Karwa, where the songs “ kitna pyara wada” “are ho goriyan kahan tera desh re” were superhits, and Rafi’s voice balanced the choreographic skills of Jeetender for whom the maximum number of songs were sung by Rafi. For a short period RD Burman composed songs for Kishorekumar in films like Amar Prem, Kati Patang, but that was due to the fact it matched with the voice of Rajesh Khanna.

Mohd Rafi with Asha Bhonsle, R.D.Burman
Mohd Rafi with Asha Bhonsle, R.D.Burman

Whenever RD Burman reverted back to Rafi, the songs were successful as ever, like “Yaadon ki Baarat,” “Chura liya hai tumne jo dilko”, in the film Yaadon ki Baarat, 1973, “Yeh ladka hai alla kaisa hai diwana”, in Hum kisi se kum nahi, 1977. In fact Rafi’s outstanding combination with Rishi Kapoor compelled RD Burman to provide the successful qawalli “Hai agar dushman zamana gham nahi ghan nahi”, in Hum Kisi se kum Nahi, which Rafi only could sing. The same film provided Rafi with the National award in 1977 with the song “Kya hua tera wada”. Further the musical competition in the film had Rafi and Kishore singing songs, including “chand mera dil”, etc.

The combination of RD Burman with Rafi continued in Rishi Kapoor’s film, “Zamane ko dikhana hai” where “Sochenge pyar kya hua” with Asha Bhosle, was a major hit. Further in the film Burning Train, 1980, the biggest hit was the qawalli sung by Rafi and Asha, titled “pal do pal ka saath hamaara”. The action of Dharmender and Vinod Khanna was balanced by the excellent choreography of Jeetender in the song “Pal do Pal”, and superlative performance of Rafi.

People have a wrong conception of the fact that RD Burman underestimated Rafi, which is not true. He had tremendous respect for the man with the golden voice. The only lacuna was that R.D.BurmanRD Burman had a lot of inherent classical skill which he did not get any scope of showing due to the demand of popular music except in the films of Gulzar. In Kinara, 1977, “Naam Gum Jayega”, “Meethe Bol Bole” sung by Bhupinder Singh, shows RD Burman’s gharana. Had Rafi survived for a longer period of time and had RD Burman got more opportunities to blend eastern and western music, the combination could have provided everlasting creations for future generations to cherish. Rafi’s archive should also contain the compositions of RD Burman which are admired by the modern generation and should be restored for music lovers of different ages.

1 My father Ex chief Public Prosecutor, Bankshall Court, (Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court, Kolkata) had interviewed Manobendra Mukherjee, a versatile classical singer having immortal records on bhajans, kirtans, nazrulgeeti, modern bengali songs, film songs and asked him to sing his first Bengali Modern Song “Naichondon Lekha, sriradhar chokhe, nai nai shemorai” before the crowd in a function held in Paikpara, Kolkata where Manobendra said it was his beginning of his musical journey and a song which was a blank verse without musical instruments. If that song could be heard minutely it can be realized that modern music is almost bankrupt. Aroti Mukherjee, the famous Bengali singer, also my father’s witness in a case instituted in Bankshall Court, in the anurodher asor, in all in Radio, said that her teenage was shaken up by Manobendra with the song “Naichondon Lekha” in 1953. In the same interview Manobendra Mukherjee told my father, the real starting point of compositions is classical background. He said the more RD Burman tried to move away from SD Burman in composing western tunes, the more he landed back with SD Burman’s classical gharana in Kinara, 1977, Parichay, 1972, Masoom,1982, where he was appreciated the most by musical pandits where the classical songs were sung by Bhupinder Singh and Lata Mangeshkar..

Souvik Chatterji - the author along with his wife, Rumi Chatterji
Souvik Chatterji – the author along with his wife, Rumi Chatterji

Other articles by Mr. Souvik Chatterji

Proclaim your love for Rafi Sahab on twitter

Post your Comment on this Blog

If your comments hit the moderation queue, comments will be moderated within 7 days.

77 Blog Comments to “Rahul Dev Burman’s immense respect for Mohammad Rafi”

  1. Ref: Post 45
    Dear Haldar Sahab,
    This is with response to you writing about “Jaag dil-e- diwana”
    There can be no epitaph for a singer who has sung:
    1) Jaag dil-e diwana, rut jagi
    2) Aapni to har aah eek toofan hai
    3) Mujhe dard-d dil ka pata na tha
    4) aap ke haseen rukh pe aaj naya noor hai
    5) Khoya khoya chand
    6) Aaye bahar ban ke
    7) Saaz ho tum awaz hu main
    8) aana hai to aa
    9) Rang aur noor ki baraat
    10) Humne zafa na seekhi, unho wafa na aaya

    These are only a fraction of what Rafi Sahab has sung. Other better known songs are public knowledge. It is indeed our misfortune that we have to prove to people Rafi Sahab’s worth. It is all the more painful to do it with reference ro RDB. He used Rafi Sahab to reach the pinnacle, but conveniently forgot him later. But he to retrace and sought Rafi Sahab’s vocals in HKKN & other movies. But by that time, damage had been done. It will remain an aberration in history. It is a loss to music loving fraternity & sorority.

    Shirish Kulkarni

  2. Dr. Sanjay Sahab,
    Your comment on Binu Nair Sahab was personal and uncharitable. On one hand you want Rafi Sahab lovers to be fair and balance minded. When it comes to self, you are against all norms. I think Haldar Sahab has given you a fitting reply. Without the familiar yoedling, ‘Tum bin jauo kahan” would have been bland to say rthe least. I hope you have heard the song from O.P Nayyar Sahab’s composition, “Do akalmand…”. The difference between the two voices is so apparene. One flows out of a cave, another springs out or terra firma. Ab kisko kya pasand hai, woh pasand ki baat hai.”
    Shirish Kulkarni

  3. binus2000 says:

    Dr. Sanjay: Post 39
    Please do not arrive at conclusions about my music knowledge
    I am not blinded by rafi saab s unbeatable competence but was
    talking about rdb’s ways in sidelining and humiliating a legend.
    I again say that r.d. burman never really cared for rafis proven
    skills in “voice modulation”.
    Rafi had already sung for all types of characters for over 20 years
    with distinction. From johny walker to jagdeep and from dilip saab
    to biswajit and gulshan bawra, rafi produced a different voice
    suitable to their acting style.
    rdb did’nt care for this most essential skill required for a playback
    singer. this was his greatest “professional error”.
    Hence, after a certain peak in his carreer his pictures bombed along
    with the music. Producers lost money and deserted him including
    dev anand. U cant change facts and question my music knowledge.
    Doctor ji, we call a spade a spade which u have not been able to
    take may be due to your very very special attachment to rdb.
    for your info: the rafi foundation and sargam magazine will respect
    and carry articles on all the “great” music makers and singers from
    the golden era of hindi film music. No one will be excluded I assure
    But, we will continue to expose the backroom methods employed by
    a section of the media, music companies and composers – who
    announced hastily to the world in the seventies : “rafi era has ended”

    I request you not to wear dark glasses while contributing comments
    in this section.

    Binu Nair the rafi foundation sargam magazine

  4. N.G.RAMASWAMY says: 42

    The song “yeh raat hai pyaasi pyaasi” is from the film Choti Bahu and not from Maryada. The actor is Rajesh Khanna.

  5. binus2000 says:

    Post 42:

    Can some one send me rafi saab songs of Maryaada. It had
    raaj kumar, malasinha, rajesh khanna in the lead with music by
    Kalyanji Anandji.. Its a haunting number and I request
    Mohd Parvez again for these songs..

    Binu Nair.

  6. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 41:

    Mr. Banypersad, you are absolutely right that every md has the right to select the singer of his choice. Most of the folks here are objecting to the mistaken notion that rd had “immense respect” for rafi. In words and in deeds, rd had shown time and again that he didn’t care much for rafi. He may have said a few good things here and there but overall his treatment of rafi is pathetic. The “tum bin jawoon kahan” song is a prime example. Adorn yodleee…yehyeheeee Kishore’s part with yodeling and replace that with mandolin for Rafi’s part. I’ll be the first one to admit that it is difficult to beat Kishore in that type of song and in the bam chika chika bam bam type of songs. But so what? Even if Kishore sang it better than Rafi in that particular song–please note that there are many who disagree with even that–does that make him a greater singer than Rafi for classical, ghazal, geet, bhajan, qawaali and every other kind of song. Why did RD and his chelas keep spreading such false propaganda? Did rafi ever speak badly of anyone? Did he ever say that he surpassed such and such singer on some song or the other?

    You are correct about RD’s talent in orchestration, but your statement on his ability to match the singer with the actor is not right. Don’t tell me Manna Dey suited Amitabh in Sholay. In fact, rd didn’t care about matching at all. I can’t even remember if he used Rafi on Dharmendra during the 1970-76 period. Don’t tell me that Kishore suited Dharmendra better than Rafi! And who said that Kishore suited Rishi Kapoor better? Listen to the Laila Majnu songs, it’s hard to believe that it’s Rafi singing and not Rishi. Do I need to remind you of the qawaalis in HKKN and AAA?

    You are also wrong about Teesri Manzil. There are only two male voices that could have delivered “Aaja aaja…”: rafi and rd. Without rafi, those songs in teesri manzil would have been just ok songs; it’s rafi who takes them to a different level. I am surprised that the rdent fanatics don’t even recognise their guru’s first major breakthrough; if someone sees “jhankar beats”, he wouldn’t even realise that a singer called rafi sang some of his most popular songs.

    In an earlier post in this thread, I’ve mentioned seven songs of Rafi’s. Let me know if you find anyone who thinks Kishore could have sung those better. In the larger scheme of things, a giant like Rafi doesn’t need someone like rd. Take out all the 122 songs he sang for rd, it wouldn’t make a difference. Just came back from dinner at a friend’s place; he and his wife, both Bengalis, started singing “Jaag dil-e-diwana” and then said, “erokom gala ki hoyechhe?” (Has there ever been a voice like this?).

    This matlabi industry tried to write rafi’s obituary time and again, but it never succeeded. It never will. Because rafi shines through his songs. He doesn’t need any publicity. Take out all the instruments your rd can think of and ask rafi to sing “suhani raat dhal chuki” or “hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye” and see how many people will throng to listen to that voice. The voice that comes from the heart and makes other hearts resonate.

  7. mohamed parvez says:

    dear binu nair ji ye raat hai pyaasi pyaasi is from choti bahu it was picturised on rajesh khanna

  8. Another song sung by rafisahab was “Gulabi Aankee”, what a wonderful song it is & of course duets with Kishorekumar the songs was Yaadon Ki Baarat, Jaanu meri Jaan & some other songs. How rafisahab sang the song with R.D.Burman in Shaan, the song Yamma Yamma, we should hear this songs.

  9. binus2000 says:

    Post 30 :
    I think the song : Yeh raat hai pyaasi pyaasi is a gem from the
    movie “Maryada” tuned by K & A , shot on raaj kumar, of course
    sung by the legend.
    Mohd Parvez can send this song to rafi lovers I think and this is
    a request.

    binu nair.

  10. Dr. Sanjay Banypersad says:

    I think Mohd Rafi is an all round more accomplished singer than Kishore and that OP Nayyar, Salil Choudhary, Jaidev, etc were all great musicians. I just think that RD Burman and Kishore, Manna Dey, etc all have their place.

    What makes RD Burman so great is not choice of singer. It’s the type of instrument, its arrangements, the tune and its feel, as well as the actor on screen which is the predeterminant behind every musicians choice of singer. Kishore was seldom chosen for Shammi Kapoor or Rajendra Kumar (once), although some of the tunes would have been rendered quite well by Kishore e.g. Teesri Manzil.

    Similarly, Kishore’s tracks for Rajesh Khanna/Rishi Kapoor etc. suited Kishore better on screen, even though Rafi no doubt would have sung them beautifully. Changing trends in music in the 70s also played a part. Rafi could sing all types, but 70s music did seem to suit Kishore better. I disagree with the chap that said Kishore as chosen for Amar Prem because it was Rajesh Khanna as Kishore was chosen by RD Burman for many other actors (including ones that Rafi had also sung for) undoubtedly because of the feel that Kishore can create, quite different from the (equally great) emotion that Rafi creates.

    Criticising revered and accomplished musicians because they did not choose the singers we THINK they should have chosen is absolutely ridiculous.

    Might I also remind everyone that RDB was the only person to put Rafi and Kishore to the test in a sense with Tum bin jaoun kahan… Except perhaps for Shankar-Jaikishen with Zindagi ek safar in Andaaz, which to be honest will be remembered around the world for ages to come as Kishore’s song.

  11. Dr. Sanjay Banypersad says:

    … And in case it wasn’t clear, I think Mohd Rafi is an all round more accomplished singer than Kishore and that OP Nayyar, Salil Choudhary, Jaidev, etc were all great musicians. I just think that RD Burman and Kishore, Manna Dey, etc all have their place.

  12. Dr. Sanjay Banyoersad says:

    I think Binu Nair of the Rafi foundation clearly has little understanding of musicians. It seems the Rafi fervour has clouded any sense of logic. What makes RD Burman so great is not choice of singer. It’s the type of instrument, its arrangements, the tune and its feel, as well as the actor on screen which is the predeterminant behind every musicians choice of singer. Kishore was seldom chosen for Shammi Kapoor or Rajendra Kumar (once), although some of the tunes would have been rendered quite well by Kishore e.g. Teesri Manzil.

    Similarly, Kishore’s tracks for Rajesh Khanna/Rishi Kapoor etc. suited Kishore better on screen, even though Rafi no doubt would have sung them beautifully. Changing trends in music in the 70s also played a part. Rafi could sing all types, but 70s music did seem to suit Kishore better. I disagree with the chap that said Kishore as chosen for Amar Prem because it was Rajesh Khanna as Kishore was chosen by RD Burman for many other actors (including ones that Rafi had also sung for) undoubtedly because of the feel that Kishore can create, quite different from the (equally great) emotion that Rafi creates.

    Criticising revered and accomplished musicians because they did not choose the singers we THINK they should have chosen is absolutely ridiculous.

    Might I also remind everyone that RDB was the only person to put Rafi and Kishore to the test in a sense with Tum bin jaoun kahan… Except perhaps for Shankar-Jaikishen with Zindagi ek safar in Andaaz, which to be honest will be remembered around the world for ages to come as Kishore’s song.

  13. P. Haldar says:

    let me complete the third branch of the sd gharana. This assistant composed “main ne chand aur sitaaron ki tamanna ki thi”, which became the motivating force for many singers who wanted to reach the moon, touch the stars. But soon they started saying, “tujhe main chand samjha tha magar us mein bhi daag hai”.

    Ans: the md in question is n. dutta.

  14. parveen says:

    rafian,post no 31
    hmmmmmmm.amazing.what the hell u are saying? op was king of kings,who ruled with out using lata.that shows the immense talent of the lion of punjab.
    salute to op…

  15. Anil Cherian says:

    Dear Halder Sir:
    This is too tough a test for me. You know, I’m just into my thirties and from the south. I started listening to Rafi Sir, some 5-6 years after his departure from this world. I fully agree that when we speak about the quality of songs as well as the variety, 60s was miles ahead of the 70s wrt Rafi sir. However I feel his singing, as a rule, as well as his voice retained the majesty and charm even in the 70s and he created some gems out of whatever he got in this period. I wouldn’t dare to list my sexy seven but would like to add that I immensly like Barbad-e-mohabbat, Tere dar pe aaya hoon, tum jo mil gaye ho, tere galiyon mein, Yeh jo chilman hain, nafrat ke duniya ko chodkar, mera man tera pyaasa, mere dost kissa, khilona and several other solos as well as a lot of duets of the 70s.
    My question about Rafi sir’s voice was based on your comments in several posts which seemed to imply that it was not at its best during ’71-’76 but regained some of its lustre post ’76.

  16. P.Narayanan says:

    Post 19..
    Haldar da ,
    I had the Rafi- Voice of Stars till 1983 but after that lending to another music lover lead to the loss of the copy….
    We should try to contact the Filmfare TOI group who should help us in Mumbai

  17. Raju Korti says:

    this is a snippet that i must share with you all, now that the rdb-rafi debate is raging on. sdb’s wife meera (now leading a lonely life. for sometime she was lodged in a home for the aged in mumbai before the tripura government found it wise to honour the widow of the great composer) and rdb were instrumental in composing some rafi thrillers. tough to believe, but true. one is the evergreen tere ghar ke saamne hit dil ka bhanwar kare pukar. rdb and his mother happened to be at the beach when the constant drone of a mosquito at their ears got catapulted into this hypnotising tune. that’s how the “oo oo oo..” part comes after the line “pyaar ka raag suno re..”. the word bhanwar was made into an able replacement for the mosquito. if you have watched the movie, you’ll see dev anand crooning this sweet everything in nutan’s ears. so let’s give rdb credit where it is due. if only he had done it often…

  18. binus2000 says:

    One can write more lucidly and vividly on the subject : r.d.burman’s
    immense “dis-respect” for mohd rafi saab.
    r.d. burman was a maverick composer with flashes of brilliance.
    He went against his fathers wishes many a times. His music sense
    was alien to s.d.burman’s – one of hindi films greatest composers.
    He went ahead and married a twice married lady who today proclaims
    that her husband is the biggest music director of hindi cinema. she has
    also forgotten o.p. nayyar saheb – one who mentored and flowered her
    playback singing career. she also has forgotten rafi saheb.
    r.d.burman was the one man institution who tried to pull down
    rafi saab.
    rafi fans and music loving people will never forgive r.d.burman
    for this. rafi saab is a singer born in many many centuries; one may
    see many many r.d. burmans time and again.
    r.d.burman wanted to change the music space in KK’s favour but
    he himself got vanquished .
    Kindly tell the facts as it is souvik ji.

    binu nair… the rafi foundation

  19. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 15:

    Mr. Cherian, instead of answering your question directly, I’d like to give a short quiz. Please try to answer the questions in a given paragraph before proceeding to the next paragraph.

    Let us consider two time periods separated by 10 years (1963-66 and 1973-76). Let us also consider two gharanas rooted on two sides of the Ballygunge Lakes in Calcutta. The person on the east side is a supporter of East Bengal, while the person on the west loves the green and maroon colours of Mohun Bagan (West Bengal). One is a famous exponent of Nazrul geeti and the other one of the best singers of Rabindra sangeet. One develops a strong association with a famous Hindi Film star; one of this star’s films in the 1960’s has some scenes from the lakes mentioned above. The other starts playbacking for this star but loses out to another Bengali singer, but he does a superb job in fixing his voice on Bengal’s greatest film star.

    If you haven’t figured out the gharanas, let me provide the answers: Sachin Dev Burman and Hemant Kumar.

    Sachin Dev Burman has two of the most talented assistants, one from the north and another from the east. Hemant Kumar also has two talented assistants, one from the north and the other from the west. The one from the west teams up with his brother to form a popular duo. This duo in turn has another duo has assistants. These assistants are extremely talented musicians who have also arranged music for S. D. Burman and his son.

    1. Let’s start with the sd gharana; here’s one of his compositions from tere ghar ke samne (tu kahan yeh bata). It’s rumoured that the son had actually composed the song.

    2. But there is no doubt who composed this song, which is based on a Nepali folk tune (deewana mujhsa nahin)

    3. SD’s other assistant composes a gem written by Sahir in mujhe jeene do (ab koi gulshan na ujde):

    4. Now let’s visit the other gharana, the Hemant Kumar gharana. In one of his compositions penned by Kaifi, he doesn’t sing himself though he has sung for this actor many times. The song is from Do Dil (tera husn rahe mera ishq rahe).

    5. Hemant’s assistant from the north develops a strong association with Sahir and composes this solo in Aaj aur Kal (itni haseen itni jawan raat kya karen).

    6. Hemant’s other assistant, who had played the claviolin in nagin, teams up with his brother, to deliver this solo in jab jab phool khile (yahan main ajnabee hoon).

    7. Their assistants, who are itching to make it big, finally delivers in dosti with majrooh’s lyrics (jaanewalo zara mudke dekho mujhe). Because this thread is devoted to pancham, we’ll let him play the mouth organ.

    Here are the md’s for the songs: 2. R. D. Burman 3. Jaidev 5. Ravi 6. Kalyanji Anandji 7. Laxmikant Pyarelal.

    But now you will have to come up with seven Rafi solos from the 1973-76 that match the ones given above. Your answer or lack of it will answer your original question.

    Since you asked a question on Rafi’s voice, let me ask you, which voice are you talking about? Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Biswajit, Sunil Dutt, or Shashi Kapoor? Or his own (in Mujhe Jeene Do and Dosti)?

    Finally, I’d like to throw an open challenge. Take the stanza below from song number 5 and give it to any singer; ask him/her to practise it for seven days and then deliver it. You’ll then see why Manna Dey, who has seen it all, said: “Rafi is an institution. He towered over all of us.” Every word that Sahir wrote in this song was converted to gold by sheer voice quality, control and throw. Rafi never had to match any singer: Bengali, Malayali, Tamil or Telugu. Other singers try to reach his level.

    Saanson mein ghul rahi hai kissi saans ki mahek – 2
    Daaman ko chhoo raha hai koyi haath kya kare – 2
    Itni haseen itni jawaan raat kya kare

  20. Rafian says:

    I am not sure why do we need to have so many so called evidences to prove that rafi was the greatest or rdb liked rafi.

    even assuming that rdb did not like rafi to a great extent (which is not true anyways), does it make Rafi any less ? if OP Nayyar did not use Lataji, that is OP Nayyar’s fault not Lataji’s.It is rdb who could not exploit rafi to the best unlike all other great musicians of that era who literally revered rafi.

  21. myk says:

    Alright, I know the thread is about Pancham-Rafi, but I would like to add something here about K-A. I am analyzing (in brief) singer wise KA vs RDB:

    Rafi: Although I absolutely love and adore RDB’s songs for Rafi, I think they’re awesome, I am getting the feeling that K-A produced better solos for “Saatwan Sur”. You choose a sampling, but here are some of my picks:

    Yeh Raat Hai Pyaasi Pyaasi – Chhoti Bahu
    Sukh Ke Sab Saathi – Gopi
    Akele Hain Chale Aao – Raaz
    Pardesiyon Sena Akhiyan – JJPK
    Nain Milakar Chain Churana – Aamne Samne
    Tere Jaisa Kaun Hai – Tamanna
    Chale The Saath Milke – HMJ
    Dil Beqarar Sa Hai – Ishara
    Mohabbat Ke Suhane Din – Maryada
    Humne Dekhi Hai – Ji Chahta Hai

    These are just ten KA/Rafi solos. Look at the variety in that list, from romantic, to western, to sad, to classical based and a bhajan. I would like members to point out a similar list of RD/Rafi. I know the RD/Rafi team also has songs in those genres but for the sake of sampling it would be interesting.

    In regards to duets, again I place K-A a notch higher. A very under-rated aspect about K-A are their Rafi-Asha duets which I feel are as good as Pancham’s songs with the same singers. Then we have Rafi-Lata and I think K-A stand alone on their own pedestal in this department, Pancham or no Pancham. The only area of Rafi where Pancham beats K-A is qawwali’s. What do you guys think ?.

    Mukesh: Besides SJ, try finding other composers who have composed as much soul-stirring songs for Mukesh than K-A. True, Roshan, Salil, LP etc. all have their classics but SJ and KA are ahead for me. For Pancham, Mukesh hardly mattered.

    Manna: Again, K-A’s songs for Manna rank ahead of Pancham’s songs for Manna (in my view).

    MK: He was virtually a non-entity for Pancham but look at the way K-A used him.

    Lata: Here is where we get interesting. I find Lata’s songs for K-A to be no less than her songs for Pancham. If Pancham had the edge in the Lata classical category, K-A was a step ahead in those sweet romantic ballads. In terms of dard songs, both are equal for me.

    Which brings me to two singers that covered a lot of territory in Pancham land.

    Asha: Definitely RDB wins in this department, they formed a team in the early 70’s and created trends, but K-A also have their winners with Asha and didn’t only restrict her to what she was known for, those trendy vamp type songs.

    Kishore: RDB may have had more songs and more hits for KK, but the greatness of each KK hit for K-A made up for that. So in this aspect, I wouldn’t put K-A very far behind.

    So Pancham only wins with Kishore and Asha (as expected) where for the others, I would put K-A ahead, and as ‘even’ on Lata ground. In general, K-A have a better distribution singer-wise and their songs are amongst the best in those singers repetoires.

    They both have modern trendy albums to traditional musical scores. Pancham would probably win in the classical department, his partnership with Gulzar brought out a Kinara, Parichay, Aandhi etc. However, try finding a Pancham album with the flavour of a Sarawatichandra, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Safar or Upkar ?. To add to that these albums also contain a classical touch as well, and K-A also have a good number of classical-flavoured songs to their credit too.

    All three Pancham, K & A were very talented composers.

    Everyone’s comments are most welcome.

  22. myk says:

    Hello P. Haldar,

    Great to see you back here. I have the SDB Raju Bharatan article in which SDB talks about his ‘serves’ and says that Rafi and Lata are our two best singers (sometime around 1975). I also have the galaxy of stars article, got it from a friend a few years ago. A lot of Raju Bharatan articles in the past as everyone knows were against Rafi even though he has many that also praise Rafi. I will send you those articles soon.

    I don’t think Pancham had any bad feelings towards Rafi, its just that he preferred Kishore. It is true, he may have had the most classical knowledge compared to his contemporaries but that doesn’t mean he may have been more talented. In recent times (as you know) I was studying Rajesh Roshan’s music and now have switched to probably the most under-rated composers of all time, K-A. Popular belief is that RDB was a better MD than K-A, but I don’t agree. K-A continued to produce amazing songs, from traditional to cut of the edge modern and don’t get the credit they deserve. If Pancham had his own modern style with Maruti Keer, K-A matched it with their own modern touch courtesy the rhythm master Babla.

    I will write more about them later but I have a query. Did Manohari Singh play the saxophone for K-A regularly ?. Who was K-A’s regular saxophone player ?. There is a haunting saxophone piece in Rafi’s sad version of “Raju ek khwab hai” from Raja Saab which is why I’m asking.

  23. P. Haldar says:

    I watched Asha perform live earlier this year after a gap of 7 years. Her voice is gone — what can you expect at the age of 75 — but she has taken to dancing in a big way. I wonder why she never used to dance before. Anyway, she did sing “Ayye meherbaan” from Howrah Bridge as a shraddhanjali to O. P. Nayyar. I’ve attended many of her shows over the years; this is the first time I heard her sing an op number! I’ve her sing Madanmohan’s composition and even Hemant Kumar’s own song. Great woman! But this time I noticed something else; she kept referring to Burman saab and I was wondering why she was doing that, given that she always used to refer to sd as burman da. I realised soon that she was talking about rd, whom till very recently, she used to refer to as pancham. I also heard her on a tv show recently telling the interviewer that in her opinion, burman saab is the best music director of all time. I then understood the full import of the word “saab”.

    Five weeks back, I attended an Amit Kumar & Sumit Kumar concert in Kolkata. Don’t ask my why I do these things — I just happen to have a curious mind. The concert was being held as a tribute to the two Burmans. Shakeel Ansari (whom someone had earlier mentioned on this forum) was compering the show. Amit Kumar put up a pretty good show and managed to do a caricature of everyone including SD, RD (whom he kept referring to as “pnachu”) and some of the lyricists. Anyway, here’s the interesting part. Somewhere in the middle, he dropped this bombshell: “Everyone knows that the 70s was the golden period in film music.” He also said that it is good that the 70s would never come back. What I was witnessing before my eyes was a comedy better than any Kishore comedy I have seen, but I did feel bad for the orkut babes and not-so-babes in the audience. You can’t blame them for their knowledge level; they are being constantly bombarded by all kinds of propaganda from all sides.

  24. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 15:

    Mr. Cherian, I haven’t forgotten your question. As you can understand, I am a little hesitant in answering your question, but I’ll try my best to give you my views (which, by the way, are shared by some old-timers on this forum).

  25. Ruhi Khan says:

    Dear Rafians, and Rafi lovers,

    Today is indeed a landmark day for us. Rafi saab was one of the fortunate souls who was recalled by The Creator, on the 22nd Ramzan. Incidently today is the 22nd Roza ( Fasting by Muslims in the Holy Month of Ramzan )
    On this day, it would be appropriate if a silent prayer is made for him in rememberance.

    Ruhi Khan
    Rafi Lovers Circle

  26. Anmol Singh says:

    Ref to post 21.

    This was what happen to RD in 80s. With no Rafi and KK at his side, he couldn’t create any thing new. His majority compositions were repeatative and got mixed with that of Bhappi Lahiri. Plus RD’s success with new singers of 80s and 90s is was not satisfactory. His over dependency on KK took a very severe toll of him in the later years.

    In the case of LP it was exactly the vice versa. With no Rafi and not much contribution from KK, they sustained the entire 80s successfully.

  27. Raju Korti says:

    yes, mr ramakrishna, i do remember you. you arrived in mumbai from hyderabad after spending a sleepless night in the train. your eyes were red and you looked tired, yet you landed up straight at rafisaab’s mazaar. that is what dedication is all about. in my chequered life i have seen many heroes — national and international — who were admired, liked and respected. but i never am failed to be amazed at how madly people love rafi. yes he was not only an unpararrelled performer (whom time produces but only once), but a great father, great husband, a great colleague and a great learner. epitome of all virtues. one day i will come to hyderabad and gift you a wonderful cassette of some unique and rare rafi songs that you’ll cherish forever

  28. binus2000 says:

    I have seen various websites and its my view that
    leads – by far in quantity as well as quality.
    and, it has no bias and rough language. I am trying to say that
    the farishtas qualities are mirrored in these pages.
    Keep it up that way… rafi saab lovers..

    Binu Nair the rafi foundation

  29. binus2000 says:

    Haldar saab: Post 19

    I will have to visit the toi office for the same and if it is there
    I will surely get hold of it.
    The sargam mag. is out and I am posting it to you..

    Thanks for remembering.

    Binu Nair

  30. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    RD was a good MD. Of course he preferred KK over Rafi in so many films whose songs could have become much bigger hits if only Rafi had sung those songs. But let us not forget that RD has given wonderful music in films like Ghar, Kinara, Parichay, Amar Prem, etc. that too without Rafi. Let us acknowledge that if Rafi were the Singer, half of the job for the Music Directors are completed as Rafi could make the song good even with poor lyrics, music, etc. If some body can give good music even without Rafi, then he should be complimented. The only problem with RD was that he was not at all consistent and in between brilliant compositions, he gave very mediocre and poor music for many films. Also he took his KK favouritism to ridiculous extent for certain songs which a Rafi could have always lifted to higher pedestal.

  31. RAMAKRISHNA says:

    mr Raju korti nice to see you here after a gap of more than three months indeed.

    By the way do you remember me Mr Raju, we met at the mazhar of rafi sahab on 31st July? we had a long talk about rafi sahab where in you were telling it was very difficult to take Rafi sahab;s interview for he was not looking eye in eye & all his answers were ‘ yes’ or ‘ no ‘

    raju jee I tell you this is the quality of a saint only.


  32. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 16:

    binuji, have you been able to trace the Filmfare cover story “The Voice of Stars” with rafi saab’s picture in the middle surrounded by a galaxy of stars? I am also desperately looking for two more articles by Raju Bharatan: i) S. D. Burman: The Best in Film Music (Filmfare, most probably Nov 1975) ii) Forty years of Naushad (cover story, Illustrated Weekly of India, circa 1976). I used to have all these articles but I misplaced them after I moved.

  33. Harvinder says:

    I agree with Mr Vijay and Mr Haldar. RD only rode on Rafi’s talent to his own self and later only at the behest of producers. Otherwise he openely supported Kishore – We can not fault him for that, as that was the wave and actors had started acting to kishores voice rather than playback singer emulating singers voice. Times and priorities had changed.

    Mrs RD, aka Asha bhonsle is the person who is glorifieng rd ahead of much greater md’s like SJ,LP,MM. I was listning to Lata’s interview and there was no mention of RD when asked about good MD’s. She listed MM, SJ and Salil Chauwdrey.

  34. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 11:

    Souvik, I’ll have to agree with Vijay on this issue. Clearly, you don’t know a whole lot about the RD-Rafi relationship. His “immense respect for Rafi” or whatever other terms you concoct only amounted to paying lip service and using him when he needed him badly, or when he was forced to by people like Nasir Hussain. If anyone showed utter disrespect towards Rafi in terms of actual actions, it was RD. His wife is following the same pattern now. Her autobiography will be out soon; let’s see what she has to say there. But despite everything she says, I still admire her. I draw a line between her nature and her talent. I was listening to yehi woh jagah hai, aankhon se jo utri and puchho na hamein hum un ke liye (all vintage op compositions) yesterday in my car and was exclaiming “wah wah”.

    As Vijay has rightly pointed out, you are speaking to hardcore rafians and there is no need to unnecessarily distort facts about which you don’t know a whole lot about. Please comment on rd-rafi’s music, we can all accept that.

  35. binus2000 says:

    Post 13 : K.S. Ramchandran ji:

    great words indeed for the legend with the velvety voice and deeds.
    I am strongly attached to his noble deeds and conduct apart from his
    pristine voice.
    In the morning I pray to the gods and then to rafi saab. this gives me
    quite a moral strength for the day. I have also met many learned
    people who say “Rafi is my God”.
    truly, the legend inspires large group of men and women around the
    universe and this is “incomparable” & “unsurpassable”.
    binu nair..

  36. Anil Cherian says:

    Dear Halder Sir:
    I see you have ventured to comment about some of the Rafi songs in the 70’s. However you haven’t answered my querry in the other post. I’m waiting anxiously.

  37. Raju Korti says:

    just for the record, binuji. i am misspelt. it should be raju korti. thanks for acknowleding me. more than anything else, we all love rafi and that should be enough.

  38. K.S. Ramachandran says:

    Is there any singer who can better this song than this singer, in the years bygone, or even in the years to come???

    I am so much drawn towards this song by Rafi Shab. I must have heard it a million times, but good heavens..what voice, what smoothness and what melody and above all, one becomes so emotionally touched by the legends expressions. If one is true to his life, heart and mind, he/she cannot escape controlling tears from the eyes..I am pretty confident of it.

    I am sure all of us have equally listened to it but I am amazed by the richness and quality of music of 60’s and 70’s. What seamless integration of the lyrics, music and the singing…

    Mere Kyalse.. Is bari duniyaamehn aur eise kalaakar – ab tak paida nahi hua hai ya paida ho sakta hai.

    I keep saluting this man whenever I get up in the morning for his gifted voice.

    K.S. Ramachandran
    Residence: “Amritha”, 2nd Floor, E58A, 21st Cross Street, Besant Nagar, Chennai 600 090, India. Res Tel: 044-2446 8896 /044-2446 1790; Mobile: 98410-71388 email:;

  39. binus2000 says:

    An addition to post 7:

    I have not mentioned the names of Nanji Bahadur & rafu korti who
    are the pillars of the rafi foundation in mumbai, inadvertently.
    binu nair. sargam magazine

  40. vijay says:

    I am sorry to say but this is a very superficial analysis of RD and Rafi relationship! You are writing an article to be read by hardcore fans of hindi film music. It is an open fact that RD was never a fan of Rafi.

    On what basis does the author state that “people have a wrong misconception about RD and Rafi………. Has he personally interviewed either of them?

    Whereas there are umpteen references in the literature most notably from Raju Bharatan’s articles about the rather cold relationship between these two stalwarts! After all RD orchestrated the seeming downfall of Rafi in 1969 with Aradhana in favour of his favourite singer KK, all that without actually lending his name too!

  41. Raju Korti says:

    mr haldar, i can believe you, knowing what sdb thought of rafi. i know for sure that the scion of tripura’s royal family once told kk point blank: i love you a lot, but you will never sing like he does. his index finger pointed at rafi who had just come out, having recorded “tere mere sapne” for guide while kk was rehearsing for “gaata rahe mera dil”. and to think of it, guide failed to get an award — it actually went to shankar-jaikishen for suraj (1966) that year. whenever dev anand speaks to me, he keeps lamenting that guide failed to get sdb his rightful due. but then that’s the way things happen in the fickle film industry.

  42. unknow1 says:

    Offourse Rd was great but I don’t think was more great than Naushand,SJ madan Mohan,LP,SD,OP Nayyar,Ravi and few more but media made him great with help of Lata ji and Asha ji.
    Look the God gift to Mohd rafi 90% of songs singed by Mohd Rafi for Rd and Rajesh Khanna are super hit….where was RD after 1980 and how many hit flim like Teesri Manzil Rd had affter 1966?!!!!!!!who can give me ten RD flims was hit as music offourse without Mohd Rafi songs?

  43. P. Haldar says:

    ref post 5:

    mr. korti, let me share an interesting snippet about sd’s admiration for rafi. I read this in a Bengali magazine. Nirmalendu Chowdhury, considered to be the all-time greatest folk singer that Bengal has produced, had approached s. d. burman to see if he could get a chance in Hindi films. Here’s what I recall about what SD said in his native East Bengali dialect. I am a ghoti from West Bengal, so there could be some mistakes in the bangal language that I’m quoting:

    SD: “Rafi’r naam sunchhos?” (Have you heard of Rafi?)
    NC: “Ona’r naam ke na sunechhe!” (Who hasn’t heard of him?)
    SD: “Rafi’r moton gaan gaao, tuma’r pishoneyo lok-ey shutba.” (Sing like Rafi, then people will also run after you.)

    Sorry, if I’ve murdered the bangal language.

  44. binus2000 says:

    Dear rafi lovers:

    The sargam launch and the musical evening was a “lilting”
    On Oct.2nd : there was a sort of a musical revolution and a
    music revealition : the love for rafi saab was on full display.
    Veteran singers like ashok khare, mubarak begum, fahad,
    a.narayan and aparna – virtually set the stage on fire with their
    Mohd Hanif – the mohd rafi of south india (manglore) based specially
    flew down to mumbai : to wish the show a success.
    He belted out few numbers in in great style.
    my special thanks to, rafi lovers, my colleagues
    like mr.narayan,(banglore) dr.ram, kakaji j.p., kaushik kothari,
    students of Fatimadevi english high school(Malad), sargam contribu-
    tors, dr.Kirit Patel , dr. suresh desai, ardent rafi lover bharat dave
    shirish kulkarni, ravi nair, mukund dravid, deepak, subhash chawda
    and my supporters and well wishers.
    A full article and pictures of the show follows.

    thanks rafi saab lovers once again..

    Binu Nair editor: sargam magazine the rafi foundation mumbai.

  45. K.S. Ramachandran says:

    Dear Rafians,
    I apologise for my inability to upload my audio recordings of the rafi songs rendered by me in my previous note as there seemed to have been some uploading and file formatting issues.
    However I am giving below the link to my audio recording performances of two Rafi Sahab’s songs – Phalakpe Jitne Sitaarehn Hain from Mere Huzoor and Aaj Puraani Rahonse from Aadmi.
    Hope you all can listen to my audio recordings sung by me.

    Would appreciate your valuable comments as usual.
    Thanks and regards
    Chandan (KS Ramachandran), Chennai – Mobile 09841071388

  46. Raju Korti says:

    mr haldar is bang on target. it was sdb and not naushad. the mistake was by sheer oversight. but i must own it up gracefully. in case of rdb and rafi, it is crystal clear that the composer used him as second fiddle to kishore. it is rafi’s immense magnanimity that he never complained. even sdb would chide rdb against too much of so called modern experimentation in music. he is also once reputed to have said that rafi was only one of his kind and no one should even dare think that there could be another rafi. the only point to be underscored here is rdb climbed onto the rafi bandwagon in his earlier scores like teesri manzil, chhote nawab etc because he couldn’t have done anything else.

  47. Ruhi Khan says:

    There is no doubt that RDB was a multi talented composer who gradually rose to the top with some superb Rafi hits from early films from Teesri Manzil to The Train. It is also a fact that powerplay and politics of a certain coterie in the 70’s era, who joined hands to promote Kishore Kumar at the cost of a humble, soft spoken and god fearing Rafi, who would not even dream to be aggressive, or lobby for songs. He in fact contemplated quitting the ungrateful industry, but was persuaded by some of his wellwishers like Naushad saab and others not to. Whatever said and done, Rafi Lovers will find it difficult to forgive such people who caused so much grief and pain to a noble soul, and also deprived the Hindi Film Music so many songs which deserved to be Rafi’s.

  48. P. Haldar says:

    Souvik, good try but let me warn you that you are treading into rough waters. A dispassionate analysis of RD’s music is not possible on this forum. On the RD forum it is even worse; those fanatics don’t even realise that a singer called rafi existed.

    Among all the comments on the rd-rafi topic that I have seen on this forum during the last few years, the one by mr. raju korti (post no 1) is the most accurate (my opinion) and reflects my own view. The only mistake in his post is about Sagina; Naushad didn’t have anything to do with the movie, it was SD who was the music director. It has been reported that it was Rafi who had declined to sing for Dilip; I don’t know for sure if that’s true or not. If not, had Dilip insisted, there is no reason why Tapan Sinha and SD wouldn’t have used Rafi.

    As pointed out by mr. korti, rd was immensely talented, but as he rightly observes, his “immense respect” for Rafi didn’t translate to action in the 70s. The 70s songs that you mention in your article were mostly in Nasir Hussain’s films or in films released after rafi had staged a complete comeback. It had nothing to do with rd’s liking for rafi. I have nothing against rd using kishore as his main weapon; they perfectly complemented one another. But there are many songs where he could have used rafi. As mr. korti points out, rd and his mother were the brains behind some of dada’s major hits for rafi. rd ghost composed “sar jo tera chakraye” when he was in his teens. And there are many other sd songs (for rafi, kishore and asha) where rd made major contributions.

    You are right about rd’s classical talent. Among all his contemporaries (people who entered the scene in the 60s and 70s), he was by far the best in classical music. (If knowledgable people on this forum want to have a debate on this, I’m ready to cite 10 songs). But consider his folksy compositions. Take “Ni sultana re”; what a beautiful Rafi-Lata duet! You never get tired of listening to such songs. Listen to “Puchho na yaar kya hua”, based on a Nepali folk tune, where Rafi varies his voice so beautifully (throws it in “tumne” and retracts it in “pyaar se”). And those two qawaalis in HKKN and Burning Train would easily qualify among the five best qawaalis of the 70s.

    When Amin Sayani interviewed rd after rafi saab passed away, he said he approached rafi saab apprehensively to sing “yamma yamma”, because that song had to be sung in a different scale (rd’s comfort zone). He also said that every singer — lata, kishore, asha — has a range, but “rafi saab ka range kamaal hai”. Had tragedy not struck all of us on July 31, 1980, you’d have seen what the rd-rafi combo would have produced. But that was not to be!

  49. Anmol Singh says:

    “in the films of Gulzar. In Kinara, 1977, “Naam Gum Jayega”, “Meethe Bol Bole” sung by Bhupinder Singh, shows RD Burman’s gharana.”

    Possibly can be looked upon as a blunder on part of RDB for not using Rafi Saab here. RDB missed many such apportunities. One more such case is the film “Aandhi”, where he had tremendous scope of exploiting the Rafi-Lata combo in classical style.

    “Had Rafi survived for a longer period of time and had RD Burman got more opportunities to blend eastern and western music, the combination could have provided everlasting creations for future generations to cherish.”

    RDB could have never faced any down fall in the 80s. Plus Bhappi Lahri could have never been so successfull in the 80s. RDB could have been on par with LP. Yes KK could have been less successfull compare to the early 70s.

    Even after Rafi death in the 80s it was primarily a Rafi era due to which his cloes viz. Shabbir, Anwar, Munna Aziz came into lime light and continued till the early 90s. Just put Rafi’s voice in all the song sung by them and one can imagine the effect.

  50. Raju Korti says:

    Without doubt, RDB gave hit after hit with akmighty Rafi giving his versatile vocals. But the fact remains that although RDB sang paens to Rafi, he hadn’t much care for him. It was only when he realised that his tune could be crooned by Rafi and no one else that he went to the peerless singer. I remember in one of the Faujibhai ki Jaimala on Viidh Bharti, RDB went gaga over Rafi saying he and only he could bring a compelling sense of expression to his conception from Chandan Ka Palna: Tumhe dekha hai maine gulsita mein.. The song was sung gorgeously as usual by Rafi and picturised beautifully on Dharmendra. With Kishore starting to go places in a big way in the wake of Aradhana-Rajesh wave in 1969, RDB suddenly found his baton waving to Kishore. RDB’s father, the more illustrious Sachin Dev Burman had always maintained that Rafi was the last word in playback singing. He was believed to be not to happy with his son’s penchamt with what the latter prided as modern-day music. RDB finally got a dose of his own medicine when lesser composers made short work of him towards the end. Just see how Rafi got a raw deal in the later stages of RDB’s career. His entire musical mindset worked with Kishore in mind. Rafi, on whose powerful shoulders, RDB hung on to launch himself in the initial stages of his career, suddenly realised RDB had shifted gears in support of Kishore, And therefore rightly upset. Not that Rafi had anything against Kishore on whom he actually doted. But for Rafi, a simple, godfearing man, this was a discordant note.
    We can’t blame RDB. He just pandered to commercial requirements, a pity considering he was really talented. Not many would know that it was RDB’s brain (and to an extent SDB’s wife Meera’s) behind some of the Rafi masterpieces composed by Dada Burman in the early sixties.
    Even Rafi’s proclaimed mentor Naushad did this to Rafi when all of a sudden a hardcore loyalist like Dilip Kumar opted for Kishore to sing “Saala Main to Sahab Ban Gaya…” That perhaps distanced Rafi from Dilip in the period thereafter. How ironic! The greatest and the incomparable legend helped innumerable people to establish toehold in music industry while there were many who tried to ditch him when he needed them most.

Post your Comment on Facebook

Receive updates in your inbox. Enter your email address:

Other Writeups

Social Collaboration