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Sharab & Saagar

The article is penned down by Mr. Mohan S Murdeshwar and Mr. Nitin D Dhareshwar

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Koyee Sagar Dil Ko Behelata Nahee, Bekhudi Mein Bhee Karaar Ata Nahee

Any music buff especially close to old Hindi film songs would have heard many times over and enjoyed the evergreen number Saawan ke mahine mein ek aag see seene mein lagti hai tho pee leta hoon dho char ghadi jee leta hoon (from the film Sharabi” under the music composition of Madan Mohan) so poignantly rendered by the legendary Mohammed Rafi in his mellifluous voice over half a century ago and continues to haunt every troubled soul seeking a desperate liberation from worldly miseries.

The simple words of “SAAGAR” and “SHARAB” indeed have some equation with the Melody King – who in his life time remained a strict and most disciplined teetotaler despite being an inseparable part of the film fraternity, well known for hosting late night parties at the drop of a hat. To think that Rafi Sahab could so effectively induce such deep rooted pathos in equal measure into the hearts of those who had a weakness for wine as also those who shunned it – is a huge tribute to his golden voice and his aversion to be a party man !! What a superlative quality indeed!!!  To be so close and yet miles away as it were, from the irrepressible attraction of gulping down a peg or two. Yes- it is said in the back rooms of our film industry that the “SHARABI” numbers which have an overwhelming effect of intoxication could come only from the voice of the one and only Mohammed Rafi.

A most humble  gentle and  simplest of human beings, Rafi Sahab  was indeed an ANGEL for all his innumerable fans across  the world and it is our singular good fortune that he was  specially gifted to our country  by GOD probably because music has been a  quintessential  part of Indian culture down the ages – loved, understood and appreciated by an  Emperor as well as  a pauper.

Naushad Sahab in his tribute to this great human being has so aptly stated – Amironke Mehelonme Goonjthee hai Teree Awaaz, Garibonke jhopadonme thu basta hai, Koyee keheta hai ke Dil chala gaya Dilbhar chala gaya, par koyee ye nahi keheta ke  Duniya se Mausikee ka Paigambhar Chala Gaya

I had the rare privilege of viewing one of his live interviews wherein the interviewer asked Rafi Sahab a true but a very simple question “Aaj aap kaunsa geet Sunwayenge” and his ever agile & quick reply was Aap kaho tho sabhee geet sunayengeSo simple was he at words and in his thoughts and yet so rich and pure at heart!! It would seem so incredible when one hears the magical effect of the highly popular song hummed for the thespian Dilip Kumar in the film “Leader” written by Shaqueel Badayuni and set to tune  by one of the greatest composers Naushad Sahab namely Mujhe duniya walon sharabi na samjho main peeta nahin hoon pilayee gayee hai, jahan bekhudee mein kadam ladkhadaye wohee raah mujhako dikhayee gayee haiand virtually took the music lovers by storm. Just try and visualize another equally popular number penned again, by Shaqueel Badayuni with music composed by Naushad Sahab  from the film “Dil Diya Dard Liya” – namelyKoyee Sagar Dil Ko Behelata Nahee, Bekhudi Mein Bhee Karaar Ata Naheewhich is a testimony to the  incomparable “Genius” called Mohammed Rafi and  places him automatically on  the highest pedestal ahead of  every other singer of his time. Can we remember any other singer of his generation who has left behind such an indelible mark in the minds of his fans?  The immortal K.L.Saigal though, belonged to another era and provided the greatest inspiration to every singer including Mohammed Rafi. Both had their unique style of singing and a voice that could melt down the heart of an unrelenting despot!!!

Mohd Rafi Sahab in an recording

Mohd Rafi Sahab in an recording

The versatility of Mohammed Rafi was undoubtedly unquestionable since any & every song he rendered was a joy to behold and a class apart!! He never sought any publicity of any kind and consciously avoided film functions, parties & gossip mongers and yet occupied centre stage with his resplendent voice in the background of all such events. No function or party could ever be celebrated or enjoyed without listening to his songs which is true even to this day.

– Just recall the exhilarating effect of this number Chalkaye Jaam aayeeye aapkee aankhon ke naam, hotonke naamfrom the film “Mere Humdum Mere Dost”. The contrast in mood is almost unmistakable when one hears  another distinctly ‘sharabi’ song Huee Shaam Unka, Khayal aah gayaboth, runaway successes and one can  instantly relate to the hero of the film Dharmendra – thanks to  some splendid lyrics contributed by Majrooh Sultanpuri Sahab and lilting music composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal. The sudden swing in the mood of the central character of the other filmPratigyafull of vigour and vitalilty which seems to be oozing out of every muscle of the HE – MAN of Hindi films -Dharmendra dancing belligerently in the song – “Main Jat Yamala Pagala Diwana with matching lyrics by Anand Bakshi –dashingly sung by Rafi Sahab both on screen and on stage whenever he performed during stage shows is there for everybody to rejoice and perhaps think of wearing his dancing shoes.

Now every lover of old hindi songs would be familiar with the classic songSawan ke mahine mein ek aag see seene meinfrom the old film Sharabi so aptly conceived to lend credence to the situation in the film and put into words by Rajinder Kishen one of the finest lyricists of his time and musically embellished by Madan Mohan ji a very beautifully woven soft rendition exclusively and craftily picturised for the ever green Dev Anand.

We slowly go down memory lane to the romantic era of the film industry and stumble upon the file ”KAAJALand you are sure to be treated to  this  eternally sensitive  poetry of love written by Sahir Ludhianvi  so sweetly tuned by   Music Director Ravi ji with and enacted on the silver screen by  the ‘aristocrat’ among actors — Raaj Kumar. And Pronto!! you can’t miss this timeless and classy song Choo lene doh nazuk hotonko kuch aur nahee jaam hai ye, Kudrat ne jo humko baksha hai woh sabse haseen inaam hai yeAnd then, you have one more melancholic number from the same lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi in “Kabhi Khud pe, Kabhi Halaat pe rona aaya” from the film “HUM DONO – this time set to tune by the grossly under rated music composer Jaidev who has brought the Best out of Rafi Sahab for generations of music lovers to remember!

As we go down into the mid-sixties, can we afford to overlook the immortal songs from the film “Guide” which became a rage among film lovers? Apart from the masterly direction of Vijay Anand, the film was a classic in several other fields as well and especially for its outstanding music and song like “Tere Mere Sapne ab ek rang hai and Din Dhal jaye hai, raat na jaaye can surely be rated among the best ever songs sung by Mohammed Rafi under the music direction of the “Dada” of film music Sachin Dev Burman. It is certainly a feather in the cap for Shailendra, rightly called as the Poet of Romance!!

Yet another hit film which produced songs that has left its viewers rocking to its music even to this day, was ”Kashmir ki Kali which took the young cinema goers by storm as it were. The rich and enchantic flavor of its  lyrics  written by one of the  renowned lyricist S.H.Bihari probably enthused  music director O.P.Nayyar to churn out the most memorable tunes of all times in “Yeh Duniya Usiki, Zamana usika,,, and  Taareef karoonkya uski jisne tumhe banaya . But the former caught up with the listener’s fancy instantly  due to its exquisite share of Saxophone played by the  legendary Manori Singh (Manori da) while the latter continued to regale every young lad smitten by love at first sight !! These two songs have become a rule rather than an exception at every music program held in memory of Rafi Sahab in any corner of the world and command the highest accolades.

A few years down the line, one can hardly lose sight of another memorable number Main kaun hoon main kahan hoon mujhe yeh hosh naheefrom the film Main Chup Rahoongee with unfathomable emotions pouring out of the pen of Rajender Kishen set to tune by that ‘Master of Melodious Music’ Chitragupta ji –yet again in the immensely soothing voice of Mohammed Rafi . And when one thinks of Johnny Walker, the Comedy King of yester years dancing with gay abandon, Jungle mein mor nacha kisine na dekha hai- hum jo thodisee peeke   zara jhume hai re sabne dekhafrom the film Madhumati – it would most certainly captivate our mind and remind us over and over again that none else than Mohammed Rafi would have done so much justice to it. Shailendra ji with his trademark lyrics and Salil da (Chowdhary) as the music composer have both made this  feet tapping song so memorable and enjoyable both  for those young in age and at heart !!!

Much has been said & written on the legend known by the name of Mohammed Rafi and one wonders how many sterling and hitherto unknown qualities this ‘gentle genius’ possessed.

Rafi Sahab ne apnee puree zindagee mein sharab jaisee cheej ko kabhi chooa tak nahi balke kabhi dekha tak nahi, par apne beshumar khubsoorat geetonme use dhal kar sharab jaisee cheej ko bhi amar banaya. How well then, this breezy song says it all Peete peete kabhi kabhi yoon jaam badaljate hai – jaam badal jate hai logonke naam tak badal jaate hai

Yes – a virtuous and priceless human being to the core, he  lived a down to earth life full of humility and steadfast devotion to his family, his profession, his innumerable fans all over the world whose  thundering performance behind the microphone belied  his gentle and sensitive personality !! How many of us dear friends – can today vouch to adopt at-least a few of his many good qualities of mind and heart which Rafi Sahab had proudly treasured over so many years?

In his relatively short life of a little under 56 years, Rafi Sahab left an indelible mark with his humane qualities which are indeed as rare a phenomenon that he was known to b both in public and private life. .  Can we, as his avid fans steal a leaf from his book by vowing to keep away from the ill effects of Sharab? It would be such a great and wonderful tribute to the memory of this LEGEND if only we could emulate his highly inspiring life in some ways and make life more meaningful both for us and our loved ones.

Friends! By doing so, I feel that all of us  can take justifiable pride in calling ourselves as his true fans and respecting all the good things that he stood for and followed religiously all along his eventful life.!!


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17 Blog Comments to “Sharab & Saagar”

  1. Ajinkya Sapkal says:

    Rafi saab u r real king of music

  2. Tere Awaz Ki Main Kya Mishal Don, teri Awaz Sunkar Hito Main Jee Leta Hoon Ghari Do Ghari ke liye mera Waqt Gujar Jata Hai

  3. MILIND M BIJOOR says:

    Dears Mohan & Nitin,
    What an article!!! Really excellent. Sharab & Rafi Saab’s voice have one thing in common. Both are intoxicating, taking you to a world of your own where you forget all your problems and just relax & enjoy. Woh kuch pal hamein bas kisi doosri duniyan mein le jate hain.

    And the most endearing thing about Rafi Saab’s intoxicating voice is that it’s Naasha is not at all harmful to your health and your wealth, unlike Sharab. So friends just put on the music, listen to Rafi Saab’s intoxicating voice and let the Rafi Naasha (if i may say so) take full control of you. Aur Phir dekhna it’s just you and your world.

    Rafi Saab Aap Amar Ho!!!!!

  4. P. Haldar says:

    Mohan saab and Nitin saab,

    Wonderful article on the “sharab” subject. Nitin saab, you have met musicians from the hfm industry. Do you happen to know who the handsome musician on the right side of the picture is? I’ve seen other pictures of him with Rafi saab.

    P. Haldar

  5. Binu Nair says:

    the songs of sharaabi lip synched by dev anand, tuned by madan mohan are excellent.
    in fact we are taking the songs in our next mohd rafi special if final editing does’nt happen…..

    Post 11..of mr suhas…. on the dot making full sense.

    just adding that the selection of songs are great and needs to be preserved by rafi saab lovers.
    cell ;9833 250 701.

  6. sam says:

    great article ! that person who has critiscised it so harshly –why???
    if you dont like it dont read it !–

  7. Mr Suhas Sarpotdar says:

    When one starts writing an article or an memorial on a legend of the caliber of Mohammed Rafi Sahab, the language in which he or she writes should be equally of a very high class & quality and exactly this piece by Mohanjee & Nitinjee in itself is a class apart
    Please accept my hearty compliments for presenting such a wonderful article both of you friends. Friends this also took me down the memory lane in the older days when stalwarts of the caliber of I V Mahbubani and Anthony Paraklal used to write in various newspapers with their pens always proved to be mightier than the swords. Yes such is the class with which both of you have presented this article.
    You both have come up with very few such pieces earlier but each one of them has been a masterpiece and has proved to be greater than the earlier. Of late this site is probably experiencing an acute shortage of such great writers of your caliber and hence it is my earnest appeal & request to both of you to continue enthralling all of us with many many more of such articulate articles in the near future.
    Friends great articles should always be appreciated with equally great views & comments from each one of us, but probably the busy life in which we all are living today hardly gives us ample to time for such matters.
    I have personally also come across that the response / comments for such beautiful articles from the admirers of Rafi Sahab in this site is slowly diminishing probably may be on account of the busy schedule of each one of us.
    But if at all we all expect great articles & lovely pieces of the caliber of Sagar & Sharab we definitely will have to devote a few of our busy moments to put forth our views & comments which definitely will enable authors like Mohanjee & Nitinjee to come forward with many more of such readable articles
    I sincerely hope & thrust that a better sense of responsibility will prevail amongst the erstwhile admirers of Rafi Sahab to enable retain such great writers / authors of the caliber of Mohanjee & Nitinjee.
    Thanks & Regards
    Mr Suhas Sarpotdar

  8. Gaurang G Vaishnav says:

    Very interesting and well researched article- thank you. I would like to add one more song to this genre-

    Film: Goonj Uthi Shahnai, 1959
    Lyrics: Bharat Vyas
    Music: Vasant Desai
    Song: Maine Peena Seekh liya, Maine Peena Seekh liya; Paap kaho ya punya kaho, maine peena seekh liya.

    Picturised on Rajendra Kumar.

  9. The article is well written and the songs have been selected after carrying a thorough research . such articles make our belief strong that rafi should be conferred with “bharat ratna”. incidentally and not very much out of context, i am reproducing my letter published in filmfare issue dated april 27, 2011 –page no 141 , reproduced as follows for rafi fans.
    “every year mohammad rafi fans all over the world look forward to the conferring of bharat ratna on him and get disappointed by the apathy of the government in this regard.he is a legend of indian cinema. his pronunciation of hindi, urdu and other regional languages including sanskrit was flawless.his pitch and alaap were the stuff of legends”.

  10. BINU NAIR says:

    An inspiring article neverthless but a bit repetitive in parts.

    mohd rafi scored in ‘ every ‘ type of songs and the voice modulated sharabi songs were all great hits then and now.

    rafi could take any songs to his logical conclusion of out living any time or space zones. most of his songs have classical touches and a seperate and sizable ‘book’ could be penned on this subject too.

    these ‘songs’ discussed herein are always a hit with audiences when taken up in any mehfils.

    the ‘second last paragraph’ is a master stroke and sums up the life led by rafi saaheb – as the writers implore : Can we take a leaf out of the book of the master by vowing to keep away from sharaab and its ill effects….

    further :

    “if only we could emulate ‘some’ of the high virtues and inspiring life of rafi saaheb, our lives will be more meaningful “.

    very true mohan and nitin duo. i have seen many rafi lovers following the foot steps of the singing legend.
    it definitely gives much needed ‘inner peace’ which is the need of the day.

    kudos to the writing duo. keep writing on the various facets of the immortal singer whom the gods took away – too early and suddenly.

    the rafi foundation, mumbai
    cell : 9833 250 701

  11. Anirudhha Ravishankar Rao says:

    Great article. For someone who enjoys Sharaab and Rafi Sahab’s wonderful voice equally…sometimes it is hard to decide which is the one I might be able to live without.

    But when that question arises…I simply pour another glass of rum and enjoy another rafi sahab special! Hopefully there will be many more such years where I shall enjoy the jugalbandi of sharab and the songs of the maestro rafi sahaab!

    Cheers to all of you!

  12. Narayan says:

    Hearty Congrats to the inimitable duo of Mohan and Nitin for an excellent thought provoking write up which brought the genious n magic of Rafi sahab so poignantly..
    This article is fit to come in the neswpaper as retro journalism lack lot of insights nowadays..

  13. Zaheendanish says:

    This article is so boring and redundant. I request hon. writers to come up next time with some untouched topic leaving aside verbose, superfluous and artificial language. It does not look natural. I am really sorry to comment harshly which I may guess hurt you.

    Such topic like intoxication (Sharab, Nasha, Qumar, Sa’gar etc.) has been already discussed in recently published article by A.S.Murthy which was far better and concise.

    I am simply disappointed!!!!

  14. Mr D P Bijoor says:

    Yes Compliments are due to both my buddies for a wonderful article on a totally new subject in which our beloved king of melody rafi sahab was never ever interested. But the way he used to perform in front of the mike specially in such intoxicating numbers was spellbounding and very special.
    Yes you both have to pull on with such lovely & lively articles and ensure that you continue writing in this lovely site inspite of all the odds that may be in favor or otherwise.
    Friends this is the true love and respect to the immortal legend

  15. Dear Mohan and Nitin Sir very good article. Raif saheb ki kya baat hai. Unke jaisa mahan fankar hajaron saal mein ek baar iss duniya mein aata hai. Jab dubara aisa fankar iss duniya mein aayega to voh sirf rafi saheb hi honge.
    Rafi Saheb amar rahen.
    Regards, Birendra Singh

  16. Sudhir Kumar says:

    Congratulations to the authors for this wholesome article. Very nice reading! Rafi sahab is truly a master of this genre and has set unsurpassable standards in playback singing. By chance, i was watching ‘Chhu lene do’ just before i read your article…It is a fact that most actors could not match the depth and feelings in Rafi Sahabs songs with their on screen expressions/acting/antics. ‘Koi sagar’ is so filled with pathos and angst……..So called tragedy king made a mockery of Rafi Sahabs efforts time and again with his overstylized but decidedly hypothyroid enactments.

  17. A S MURTY says:

    Mohan S Murdeshwarji and Nitin D Dhareshwarji, what a wonderful write up and a lovely subject on which not many articles had sprung up. In fact, only weeks back I had myself written a smaller article on this same subject where I had left out some of the more popular Sharabi songs to highlight the lesser known ones.

    Naushad sahab had said : GOONJTE HAIN TERE NAGMON SE AMEERON KE BHI MAHA, JHOPDON MEI BHI TERI AWAZ KA JADOO HAI. FAKR HOTA HAI SABHI KO APNI MOUSIQUI PAR, PAR MERE DOST AAJ MOUSIQUI KO TUJHPAR FAKR HAI. The other passage that you have quoted : “koi kehta hai dilbar gaya…….” is absolutely right and is a different verse from the first one above. Nevertheless, in his book “AATHVAAN SUR”, Naushad sahab has extensively penned his thoughts on Rafi Sahab’s persona, his singing prowess, his godliness and his humble nature.

    Once again many congratulations for giving us such a wonderful article on some of the most intoxicating songs ever from the hfm rendered in his inimitable style by Rafi Sahab.

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