You're browsing: Home / Meri awaaz suno / Recalling Our Mohd Rafi through Naushad Sahib

Recalling Our Mohd Rafi through Naushad Sahib

An unpublished interview of Naushad Sahib by Mehtab-Ud-Din

I had an interview of Naushad Sahib, the Great Music Composer of the Bollywood. I wanted to publish it in my book about all time Great our Mohd. Rafi Sahib. But my dream couldn’t be a reality only due to some unavoidable circumstances in my family. But, now I want to share my feelings about our Rafi Sahib & Naushad Sahib after 10½ years, as I am still not able to publish such a book. I hope, the fans of Rafi Sahib and the readers of Mohd ’ll surely forgive me for the delay in presenting the precious information.

Naushad Sahib with Mehtab-Ud-Din

Naushad Sahib with Mehtab-Ud-Din

It was an occasion of the annual Mohd. Rafi Award Function of Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society, Chandigarh (Regd.).  The day was 12th November, 2000.  Naushad Sahib, the foremost music composer of the Bollywood & the Chief Guest for the Award Function had come in Chandigarh on 11th Nov.  Then, I was working as News-Editor in a Punjabi Daily ‘Desh Sewak’ (Chandigarh) & I managed to meet Naushad Sahib especially alongwith Mr. Sardul Singh Abravan, my colleague and the Cultural Representative of the vernacular daily.  We reached the Room No. 319, 3rd Floor, U. T. Guest House, Sector-6; where Naushad Sahib was officially staying.

Only a couple of other Journalists including Mr. Anup Kumar of ‘Dainik Tribune’, were present there, means, I was free to talk about Rafi Sahib with my all time favourite Music Copmoser.  We waited for a while outside the room.  There, Mr. B. D. Kalia (+91-98147 31112) of Yaadgar-e-Rafi Society told us that Naushad Sahib had gone for dinner with an acquaintance previous night.  He returned at 1:30 am and the lift of the Guest House was out of order.  That is why, Naushad Sahib had to come at 3rd Floor through the stairs.  He had undergone Byepass Surgery twice and that is why, he felt unwell.  Mr. Kalia asked us not to talk with Naushad Sahib more than 10 or 15 minutes.  We were called in at 12:20 pm.  Naushad Sahib was laying in the bed as he was preparing himself for the Awards’ event, which was going to be held at 6:00 pm. 

We wished him and he went in half-lying position after seeing us.  He was looking extraordinarily peaceful.  He seemed me like an angel.  I did not believe that I had been before real Naushad Sahib.  We all sat near the bed and I was the closest of all.  …..And then none knew when one and a half hour had gone.  Naushad Sahib shared a lot of his memoies about our Rafi Sahib.  I remember that while talking with us, he touched me many times and I feel his touch even today.  I asked him the questions only about Rafi Sahib.  Naushad Sahib stated that he had remembered a lot about Mohd. Rafi.  “When the marriage of the daughter of Rafi Sahib was going to be solemnized.  I also got the Wedding Card.  The marriage ceremony was going to be held at the Hotel Horizon, Bombay.  I inquired and the Personal Secretary of Rafi Sahib i.e. Mr. Zahir, who was the real brother-in-law of Rafi, confirmed that Mr. Mohd. Rafi himself had planned the wedding programme at the Hotel.  Then I met Rafi Sahib and asked him if his daughter was born in a hotel.  I suggested him that the daughter must be bidden farewell from the house, where she had born.  Rafi Sahib was so sensitive that he instantaneously changed the whole programme of the wedding of his daughter.  His daughter was bidden farewell from Rafi Mansion, Bandra.”  Naushad Sahib further stated,”When Rafi met me first time, he had a letter of my father, which he got from Lucknow.  I asked him to sing for a short while.  He sang very well.  I told him that ‘At present, I have no singing work for you.  Well, if you want, you may perform in a chorus song “Hindustan ke hum hain hindustan hamara” for Film ‘Pehle Aap’. Various people are singing the chorus and you ’ll get only a single line to sing.’ He got ready to perform in a chorus.

Naushad Sahib, in conversation with Mehtab-Ud-Din (with dark red trousers and close to Naushad Sahib), Sardool Singh Abravan and Anoop Kumar.

Naushad Sahib, in conversation with Mehtab-Ud-Din (with dark red trousers and close to Naushad Sahib), Sardool Singh Abravan and Anoop Kumar.

I didn’t remember the exact year, but it was the time of the 2nd World War, perhaps 1944.  The sounds of the heavy shoes of the soldiers were needed for the song as it was to be shot upon the soldiers but then, there was not any facility for the sound-mixing available.  The heavy military-shoes were bought from the ‘Chor Bazar’ (Thieves’ Market) of Bombay (now Mumbai) and they were given to wear by all the singers of the chorus of ‘Pehle Aap’.  The singers, including Rafi Sahib, were singing during rehearsal as well as they were striking their feet with the sounds of ‘thud’.  The idea was only to record the sounds of the heavy shoes with the song simultaneously.  But there were sores upon the soles of Rafi Sahib even during the rehearsal.  The song was recorded and became hit.  Mohd. Rafi got Rupees 10/- as remuneration and he was very happy.  Here, I would also like to share another memorable utterance with you, but please don’t publish it.  After the recording, I asked all the young singers to go to Mir Sahib at Hotel Minerva.  They all went except Rafi.  I asked the reason.  He told that he had not any money even for bus-fare.  I gave him some money for the fare.”  Really, it was the greatness of Naushad sahib as even after 55-56 years, he forbade the media persons  to publish it.  But, I have written it only for the lovers/fans of Rafi Sahib and for the new generation, so that they can get inspiration. Perhaps, such type of struggles had made Rafi Sahib a great person.

Naushad Sahib said again recalling about the untarnished, transparent and distinctive personality of Rafi Sahib,“Rafi came to Bombay after duly learning the music.  He didn’t think to become a singer only after hearing some songs, just like the so-called modern singers are doing.  He was taught music by Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib’s younger brother.  Rafi never had wine, pan, cigarette or bidi.  To help others, was his religion.  Once, Rafi asked me before going to USA for a stage show, what should he bring from that country, which might be helpful for the public.  I suggested him to bring a Dialysis machine from USA. A Dialysis machine is used to purify/change the blood of the patients, mainly suffering from cancer and some other serious maladies.  Rafi sahib did the same. He brought the Dialysis Machine and donated it to a local hospital. He never donated himself but only through others, so that people might not know that Rafi donated something.  He always believed in anonymous charity.  He was so religious that he always donated through his brother-in-law and his secretary Mr. Mohd. Zahir. Once, he donated 300 mats for the Muslim devotees, which were supposed to be used during Namaz-e-Eid in the Danda Ground, Mumbai.  Rafi Sahib wished that the the Namaz-e-Eid of the year 1980 might be performed upon the same mats.  But it was the destiny that Rafi Sahib died on 16th or 17th Roza i.e. Fast and the prayer of his funeral (Namaz-e-Janaza) was performed upon the same 300 mats.”

Naushad Sahib with Mehtab-Ud-Din

Naushad Sahib with Mehtab-Ud-Din

Naushad sahib was really sentimental during his recall about Rafi Sahib.  I was sitting the nearest to his bed and he was touching me again and again during the interview, and I was feeling very much honoured/proud by his Midas Touch.  Naushad sahib went to his down memory lanes and said,“It was rainy season, when Rafi died. There was a  great multitude with his funeral inspite of heavy rain.  The people of every sect, religion, class, race and sphere of life were present there.  The graveyard was at some distance.  The dead body of Rafi Sahib had been placed upon an open truck, so that all the people might see his face for the last time.  The truck covered only a little distance, when some youth came forth and offered that they would take the funeral of Rafi Sahib upon their own shoulders to the graveyard.  All had gone emotional to see the public-love towards Rafi Sahib.  Bollywood Stars like Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Amjad Khan, BR Chopra, Yash Chopra and Rajendra Kumar were also present.  Everyone felt that it was the wisdom of Rafi Sahib, which forced the laymen to come during the funeral of their favourite Rafi Sahib even during heavy rains.  Some ladies, youth and veterans were weeping.  People were throwing flowers upon the funeral from the roof-tops/balconies of their houses.  Actually, Rafi was a crownless King of the popular Bollywood Music.  He was and still lives in the hearts of the millions.  The graveyard was too short for such a huge mob.  The keepers of the graveyard urged that the mob must be stopped, so that there must not be any disrespect to any other grave.  But how could such a mob be controlled?  Then, the doors of the graveyard were shut, but the people then started to jump over the walls of the graveyard.  They didn’t even care of the pieces of glasses and the barbed fences.  So, in the process, numerous people were wounded but they didn’t heed.  I didn’t forget so touchy scenes even today.  Those moments will be remembered for ever.”

Naushad Sahib continued,“Rafi Sahib helped everyone.  He never thought the Artist/Director is newcomer or old.  Any new Producer/Director would say ‘Rafi Sahib, a song has been prepared only for your good-self, but we have a low budget…. We can’t afford your price.’  Then Rafi Sahib would ask,‘How much will you afford?’  The Producer/Director were mostly mute before him. Then Rafi Sahib would say,“You may give me Rs. 500/- only for a song.” And the deal used to get struck, Zaheer would note the date of recording.  After the recording, Rafi Sahib often returned those Rs. 500/- to the same Producer/Director and would say,‘Your children ’ll use the money for sweets.’”

Naushad Sahib criticized the so-called Pop Music and said,“If Daler Mehndi would sing without the semi-nude women, he might seem good in singing.”  Naushad Sahib was disheartened and worried by the ‘clumsy’ Pop Music.  He said that such songs can never have long life.  He again recalled,“Once I called Rafi Sahib to sing a Ghazal “Jis Raat Ko Khaab Aye, Un Khaabon Ki Raat Aayi.” for the film ‘Habba Khatoon’ I had composed the Ghazal in Raga Patdeep.  When Rafi Sahib heard the whole Ghazal and the composition, he began to weep. He said,“Where such music has gone?  Today, we are often being forced to scream like dogs or cats.”  I asked a question that how much reality in a claim that Sahir Ludhianvi wrote the song “Ae Mohabbat Zindabad” (Mughal-e-Azam) for Shakeel Badayuni.  The background of such an awkward question was that a senior Urdu/Punjabi writer Mr. Mushtaq Warsi of Malerkotla (Punjab) had told me that ‘A lyricist of Bollywood, Prem Varbartani (film ‘Ek Din Ka Badshah’ fame, which has the song of Rafi Sahib “Bulbul ko gul pasand hai, teri pasand kya hai, yeh mujh ko khabar nahin.”) told that Shakeel Sahib was a romantic lyricist and the song of ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ was a revolutionary one and which was the field of Sahir Sahib.  Prem Varbartani even claimed that Shakeel was unable to create such revolutionary tone in his lyrics.’  Naushad Sahib replied that the a lyricist always writes the same as he/she is directed.  “Shakeel never touched alcohol, yet he wrote the song ‘Mujhe Duniya Walo, Sharabi Na Samjho’ for the film ‘Leader’ and it became the Superhit number of Rafi Sahib.  Sahir Ludhianvi had written a Ghazal “Ik Shahnshah Ne Banva Ke Hasin Taj Mahal, Hum Gharibon Ki Mohabbat Ka Urraya Hai Mazak, Meri Mehboob Kahin Aur Mila Kar Mujhse”, but we thought that Taj Mahal is such a huge monument and one of the seven wonders of the world, why should we not reply Sahir Sahib’s Ghazal?  Then, Shakeel Sahib wrote for the same Film ‘Leader’ i.e. “Ik Shahnshah Ne Banva Ke Hasin Taj Mahal, Sari Duniya Ko Mohabbat Ki Nishani Di Hai.”  Rafi Sahib & Lata Mangeshkar again made it eternal and everlasting.”

Naushad Sahib had some grievance against the Union Govt. also as his proposal to make a TV Serial ‘Sangeet Samrat Tansen’ for Doordarshan was not given weight as it should be.  Doordarshan had been agreed to pay only Rs. 2.5 Lakh per episode.  But Naushad Sahib told the scribes that he met Mr. Ajit Kumar Panja, the then Union Minister for Information, but in vain. He told Mr. Panja that Rs. 2.5 Lakh will be enough only for a single shot of an episode, because “all the Ragas are to be transformed into the visual shots.  We want to show, how a Raga has its effects upon the environment.  Such scenes are really difficult to shoot.  I have the full script and ’ll make my dream true at the right time.”

Mehtab Masih


We were getting such rare & precious information about our Rafi Sahib and Naushad Sahib himself.  Our conversation might be a little bit more long, if Mr. B. D. Kalia had not reminded Naushad Sahib about the lunch time.  The interview was really memorable one.

Managing Editor, Hamdard Weekly (Canada, USA)
Chandigarh (Mobile :  +91-98157-03226)
E-Mail :

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.

30 Blog Comments to “Recalling Our Mohd Rafi through Naushad Sahib”

  1. Uma Maheswar Nakka says:

    Good Afternoon Mehtab ji

    Very fortunate you are to be with Naushad ji, interviewing the Legend.
    Thanks for this interesting article. Regards

  2. sardul singh abrawan says:

    Mr. Mehtab explained beautifully. Thanks



  4. Rounak says:

    Very Nice

  5. yunas samuel says:

    Dr. mehtab ji

    Naushad saab aur Mohd. Rafi ka choli daman ka saath reha hai, Naushad saab ke sabhi geet super hit hue hai, jab un geeton mein Mohd Rafi ki aawaz ka jadu chalta hai tau un geeton ki goonj aur dhoom saari duniya sunti hai, Dr. Mehab Ji mein Jesus Christ se yehi dua karta hoon ki jis tran Mohd Rafi ke gaye geet sari duniya mein goonj rehe hain, usi traan Dr. Mehtab Ji ka Naam bhi sari duniya mein chhaya rehe Khuda Aapko Lambhi Umar De, isi ummid ke saath Yunas Samuel, pinjore, Disstt. Panchkula, Haryana

  6. Salim says:

    Rafi Saab when singing songs for Naushad Saab always had that special quality. Thank you for sharing your meeting with Naushad Saab.

  7. Narayan says:

    Mehtab bhai,
    Thanks for sharing this unique trivia of Rafi sahab in the interview with Naushad saab
    Long live both the legends

    Baar Baar Rafi Fan Club

  8. Samuel Shahbab says:

    This is a historical moments. Mohd. Rafi mere manpasand singer hai. Jab bhi Noushad ke gane par Rafi ki aawaj ka jadu bikhrata hai to sari tenseness door ho jati hai. Thanks

  9. phoolasinghsindhi says:

    Aziz mehtab ji aadab,
    Mere manpsand gaayak Mohd. rafi saheb ji diyan yaadan jo tusan Naushad Saheb naal saanjhiyan keetiyan,una nu parh ke bahut hi anand aaya.Is behadd khoobsoorat jaankaari nu sunan te parhan walean tak puhchaaun da bahut bahut shukria ate wadhaai….God bless you.

    Phoola Singh Sindhi 148023.(Punjab)

  10. Thank you sir for sharing this valuable information on our beloved rafi saheb.
    rafi saheb was a farishta himself and great human being also. I grew up listing his songs and this love will continue till my end. but his songs will be listened till the world exist.
    Birendra Singh

  11. jaipal khurana says:

    Aadaab Mehtab ji

    Aap Ne ” NAUSHAD SAHIB” se jo interview kee hai usse Aam “Awaam” ko Khas karke “RAFI SAHIB” ke fans ke liye yeh ik “BESH-KEEMITI” tohfa hai,is”GUFTGU” ko parh ke asa lagta hai ki hum log bhi aap ki iss ” BAT-CHEET” mein shamil the, is “LAJWAAB- PESHKASH” ke liye bhaut-2 shukhria .



  12. Dr Anwar Iqbal says:

    Congratulations and thanks for sharing sweet memories with rafi lovers

  13. Zafar Ahmad says:

    It was the God voice. Very cute, verstile voice and dominate other singers

  14. Atif Amin Ahmad says:

    One of the greatet verstile singer of the world.

  15. rlarora says:

    Rafi Sahib aaj hamare beech nahin hain lakin hum unhe roz yaad karte hain. Rafi Sahib is not physical with us but he is always in my heart. Simply the best singer and a noble person.

  16. Zafar Ahmad says:

    One the greatest singer in world wide according to Americal survey.

  17. Naushad says:

    this is very informative and rich in lovely thoughts to our one and only rafi sahab .Thx for publishing.

  18. Thank you Mehtab ji for this interview of legend of Indian music. It was pleasure to know spirit of Naushad ji.

  19. Ahamed Kutty says:

    Dear mehtabji,
    to meet great people like rafi saab and naushad saab is
    very lucky and the chance to have talk with these giants
    are something very very lucky.very good information about
    our beloved rafi saab. it is a fact he is just like a rose
    flower which can produce honey. such personalities are
    rarest of rare in this world. it is hard to believe they did
    not get what they deserve but we the millions keep them
    in our hearts.

  20. Ali says:

    I don’t know about music,I am looking for help to help a kk fan who asked
    10mark Says:
    December 21st, 2010 at 7:28 pm
    Hi everybody

    I am a tremendous fan of Kishoreda. I completely go with you all that KK was a versatile singer. Recently I read in this site someone mentioning that KK didnot sing the tan sargam part of Pag Ghungroo Bandh Meera Nachi thi song and some pandit sang that part of the song for him. Now this fact quite baffled me because where KK has sung so many semi-classical songs with different tan sargam e.g. Log kahte hain main sharabi hoon, Kabhi bekasi ne mara etc. why in the world he could not sing that pa ni sa dha pa ni sa dha part of that song I really do not understand. Please can you clarify what had actually happened. LONG LIVE KISHOREDA THE ACE PLAYBACK SINGER OF ALL TIMES.

  21. ANEES says:

    Naushad had shaped the careers of a number of singing legends in the country including Saigal, but his association with Mohammad Rafi had marked the most golden combination which galvanised the outstanding music composed during the golden age in Indian music, the 50s and 60s. His composition in the film Dulari, 1947, for Mohammad Rafi titled “suhani raat dhal chuki” makes a music lover addicted and it has an appeal even after 60 years of its composition. 50s, 60s. Rafi’s archive should contain Naushad’s compositions, because his career was given the right direction by legendary creations of the versatile genius.

  22. Nasreen says:

    Dear Mehtab Sb.

    Thank you so much for sharing this extremely precious, once-in-a-lifetime experience. All the llittle snippets of information that the great Naushad Sahab gave about Rafi Sahab were so interesting to read. These were great people – genuine, talented, and above all good and pure.

    You have brought that out in your article – thank you again for sharing and making us feel part of the experience through the rare pictures as well.


  23. Abhishek says:

    This is indeed a good article. Live discussions with musical stalwarts bring out true facts about singers which will be a source of joy to the music lovers.

    Naushad ji belonged to the reputed clan of music directors and as widely believed was a man of strict discipline when it came to music compositions. The above article confirms that fact. Very few talented people can be found in such category.

  24. Wow, very grateful to you to sharing such a nice information.

  25. kuldeep says:

    I read Mehtab sahab’s article on ‘Hamare Rafi Sahab’ when I was reading this article I was feeling that I am also included in Rafi Sahab’s funeral, thanks Mehtab sahab. JAB TAK SURAJ CHAND RAHEGA ‘RAFI’ TERA NAAM RAHEGA.

  26. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Mehtab Saab,

    I am pleased to congratulate you for bringing out the valuable information about Rafi Saab and Naushad Saab through this unpublished interview.

    Thanks a million.

    Really a great effort indeed.

    Thanks & regards

    H.A.K. Walijah

  27. Nagesh Sidhanti says:

    Dear Mehtab-ud-din ji,

    Million thanks for sharing this interview with the great Naushad sab.
    Yet again we read all about the generous and good natured soul that
    he was and his magnanimity when it came to encouraging new-comers.

    Rafi radio is playing humdum mere maan bhi jao and no better way
    to begin the week. An absorbing first hand account on Rafi sab, coupled
    with his cheerful romantic cadence.

    Aadaab Rafi !

  28. Khaja Aliuddin, MD says:

    ASA, Janab Mehtab-ud-din Sahab,
    Thanks for sharing this “NAYAB INTERVIEW” with Sangeet Samrat, Naushad Sahab, about our beloved Rafi sahab. Bahut khoob.
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin


  30. mohamedparvez says:

    asalamu alaikum ,mehtab-ud-din saab,thanx for sharing,rare interview of naushad saab,on rafi saab,keep it up,take care,allah khafiz

Post your Comment on Facebook

Receive updates in your inbox. Enter your email address:

Other Writeups

Social Collaboration