You're browsing: Home / Meri awaaz suno / Singers inspired by Rafisaab

Singers inspired by Rafisaab

This article is written by Mr. Abhishek Taparia

28 years since his death the maestro continues to enthrall and inspire people. Rafisaab could indeed take the credit of inspiring the most number of singers.Some of them good some of them bad but nevertheless everyone succeeded to some extent. Here are the few singers who made the most out of their inspiration

Mahendra Kapoor

Mahendra Kapoor

Mahendra Kapoor

Rating 3.5

It has to start with the self-confessed ‘chela’ of Rafisaab. Mahendra Kapoor’s voice was so similar to Rafisaab that many a time listeners had to listen very carefully to distinguish the two voices. Both hailed from punjab, had similar pitch and a similar kind of voice and sang some great songs. But the same voice would become the bane for Mahendra kapoor although he sang some great songs he could never quite come out of the shadow of Rafisaab. The main difference between the two was Rafisaab had total control over the ‘surs’ n ‘taals’ n would never go off key whereas Mahendra Kapoor could go off key at times. But nonetheless he was one of the legends of HFM and would always be remembered as a great.


Anwar Hussain

Anwar Hussain

Rating 2

Anwar came into prominence in the 70s when Rafisaab was having a slight rough time. Anwar I feel did sing some of the songs which could have been pocketed by Rafisaab (like the song ‘hamsa ka bhool hui‘ from Janta hawaldar, ‘mohabat ab tizarat ban gayi hain‘ from arpan) but once rafisaab came back into fore Anwar lost his ground. Anwar voice was in a way similar to Rafisaab but more hoarser than any other Rafi follower. I read somewhere that Anwar was related to the legendary film maker Nasir Hussain but it didn’t help him much.

Shailendra Singh

Shailendra Singh

Shailendra Singh

Rating 2.5

Shailendra singh idolized Rafisaab but the best thing about him was his voice was completely different from Rafisaab and he never tried to copy Rafisaabs style. Shailendra was one of those singers who had very limited capabilities. He came as the voice of Rishi Kapoor and thanks to Rishi Kapoors chocolate boy image he got to sing a lot of good romantic songs for Rishi Kapoor. The pitch and range of Shailendra were very limited and he was not the one who could express all the emotions with his voice. But shailendra did sing quite a few good songs (like ‘hoga tumse pyar kaun‘ from ‘zamane ko dikhana hain’ and ‘jaane do na‘ from sagar).

Mohd Aziz

Mohd Aziz

Mohd Aziz

Rating 2

He shared his name with Rafisaab and tried to sound like Rafisaab but did not measure up all that well. He came into the picture after the demise of Rafisaab and sang quite a few songs in the worst era of HFM the 80s. He had more range and emotions than both Anwar and Shailendra but as he tried to emulate Rafisaab. He became more of a clone like Anwar. He did sing some good songs for Govinda, Rishi Kapoor etc but unfortunately the era was marred by some really poor music.

Shabbir Kumar

Shabbir Kumar

Shabbir Kumar

Rating 1.5

He just like Mohd Aziz tried to emulate Rafisaab and was another in the clone category. Again like Aziz he tried to bring in emotions into a song by changing his voice unlike Rafisaab who would not change his voice to express some emotion but would change his mood as was required for the song. Shabbir’s main problem which I feel was his unclear voice he would eat half the words while singing. Also his pitch was not that high thus singing at the same pitch throughout his career. The highlight of his career were the songs of Betaab and a supposed tiff between Big B/RDB(im not sure) and Kishore Kumar allowed him to sing a few songs for the big B in movies like Mard, Coolie.

Udit Narayan

Udit Narayan

Udit Narayan

Rating 3

Udit Narayan as confessed by him comes from Rafisaabs school of singing. The best about Udit Narayan is his sweet, happy voice which became his USP. Udit Narayan never tried to copy the maestro and thus became the no 1 singer in the mid 90s by replacing Kumar Sanu. Udit has sung a large number of songs and is still very active. He became the voice of Aamir Khan and SRK for most of the music directors. Udit as others has limited range (has hardly sung sad songs) and pitch. He is very good in romantic and happy songs.

Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam

Sonu Nigam

Rating 4

Now I come to the guy who I feel is the number one successor of Rafisaab. Sonu started off as a clone of Rafisaab and would sing for those low budget T-series remakes of old songs but he had potential. The best part about Sonu is he is highly learned and thus like Rafisaab would never go off key and has number of variations and ‘harketeins’ in his kitty. The main problem with Sonu is his shrill which does not allow him to go full on as it would crack at higher pitches. Although he has a lot of Rafisaab singing qualities, Rafisaabs humanly qualities are missing in him the main being humility. The Rafi resurrected tour was a bit overboard and he could easily have interfered and named it Rafi Revisited. But anyways for me he is the best singer who got inspired by Rafisaab.

There are a few more singers who derived inspiration from Rafisaab but i cant recollect their names if anyone would want to add the singers i have missed they are welcome.

P.S. The ratings are my sole opinion and readers view might differ.

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.

101 Blog Comments to “Singers inspired by Rafisaab”

  1. Salil says:

    Most of the singers mentioned here have a original voice. Udit Narayan has original voice and so does Mahendra Kapoor, but they resemble RAFI in their rendering style; which gives them similar sweetness and voice quality that RAFI had. With regards to Udit, yes he is a great singer with a unique sweet voice; but it is a FACT that he lacks versatility, range and pitch. You would hardly find variety in his songs but he best for his range of happy and romantic songs. Even same case with Kumar Sanu but he has a little more variety than Udit (even though I like Udit more). 90s was generally a time when melody has returned from the horrible 80s but less variety of songs were being composed (started from the 70s) as composers were playing it safe with mostly happy soft romantic tunes. The voice of 90s singers was DISTINCT but rendering style was so similar and they didn’t have to be COMPLETE SINGERS like RAFI was.

  2. Salil says:

    Anil Bajpai is very overrated, I have heard him live and he doesn’t resemble RAFI even 10%. He has a very weak, jarring, shaky, nasalish voice because he always tried to over-copy RAFI and as a result his renditions aren’t ever natural; he overdoes it every-time. Not a fan of Anil Bajpai at all.

  3. Amitav chakraborty says:

    Vipin sachdeva is also good

  4. shammi says:

    A few artists have managed to sound a little like Mohd Rafi a in a few songs. However, Mohd Rafi could sing so many genres of music and there is no way in the world that any of the mentioned artists would be able to come close to Mohd Rafi in this. Mohd Rafi should NOT be compared to any other singer because there is no comparisin he was, is and will always remain the best in the world. THE LEGEND OF ALL LEGENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    There is no one from the list in this article as most of singers have there own voice. Mahendra Kapoor Udit Narayan Sonu Nigam have there own voice . No one is near to Rafi Sahib
    . Mohd was good in his tenure as he was only close to Rafi Sahib. But if you ask me today who is close to Rafi Sahib then I give full marks to one who is rebirth of Rafi Saheb then After
    Rafi Saheb it is one and only one Mr. ANIL BAJPAI. Pl
    Listen to his song of 1963 Begana Movie song Phir wo bhuli si yaad aayee he. Night in London song Nazar na lag jaye kisi ki rahen me in.
    God bless this buy . He gives same feeling which Rafi Saheb gives while singing.

  6. Alok Desai says:

    I am sorry but I do not agree at all with your analysis on Udit Narayan. Sure he is inspired from Rafi sahab, but nowhere does mean to emulate his voice or style. Infact, I have never seen a more original voice than his.

    I also don’t agree with your point that Udit Narayan has limited pitch and range. Have you heard songs like “meri saanson main basa hain”, “udja kaale kawa” or “jaadu bhari aankhon wali”. There are sections in these songs, where Udit has sung very high notes without compromising on his voice quality or throw. He is such a versatile singer. He has sung many fast numbers in 90s as well and keeps singing a variety of songs till date.

    After Rafi sahab, Kishore sahab and other great singers, Udit Narayan’s name should go parallely as a legend with all respect to his 24karat golden, unique and unmatchable voice.

  7. Wasim Akhtar says:

    The one and only Rafi sahab
    No one close to rafi sahab

  8. RAFI says:

    Agreed Anwar is so close to Rafi, the rest is copy closing and please stop, Sonu is far from Anwar to Rafi. If you in Sonu camp, do not comments on other clons of Rafi. Shame

  9. Hasan says:

    bollywood singers who imitated Rafi Saab’s voice perfectly were…

    Mohd. Aziz
    Shabbir Kumar
    Vipin Sachdeva
    Mukul Agarwal
    Mangal Singh
    Debasish Dasgupta

    and many more….

  10. Shahid says:

    whoever wrote this , he must be a fan of Sonu Nigam not Rafi Sahab..the person dont even know about the variation, bass and voice of rafi sahab and here he is comparing Sonu to rafi sahab..
    bohat dukh hota hai jab aise log blog likhte hain jinhe kuch ata-pata hi nhi saying sonu is the number 1 ..LOL u must be kidding..
    for you Shabbir kumar , Anwar and mohd aziz are not real devotees but sonu is..
    STOP WRITING THIS TYPE PATHETIC THINGS DUDE..HERE YOU FAVORING SONU WHO JUST SING SONGS OF EVERY SINGERS, Sonu had sung every singers song in mid 90s , even altaf raza and Milan singhs’s songs too he sang..
    after listening those songs you will say SONU NIGAM IS CLONE OF ALTAF RAZA AND MILAN SINGH AND PANKAJ UDHAAS..

  11. Rafi sahib fans says:

    We are fans of mohammed rafi sahib the greatest singer of all the time no other will take his place talking about voice near to rafi sahib we think is rafi muna a leeds uk singer who has a wounderfull rafi’s voice sings rafi sahib songs

  12. Khadym Meer says:

    As u stated Udit Narayanl was inspired by Mohd Rafi but the fact is that he still used to copy Mohd Aziz style but not the Rafi style.
    U can guess it from his eary songs like: koyal si teri boli.
    Like me:
    I can totally copy Sonu Nigam
    But My inspiration is Mohd. Rafi….
    And if someone thinks he can totally copy Mohd Rafi than he doesnt mean that..coz u can copy Rafi sahibs frequency of voice and his style but not that ‘sur’ and ‘taal’ coz he was a miracle and miracles dont happen again and again…

  13. hadi of iran says:

    or song…amrit movie….doniya me kitna gham he…mera gham kitna kam he…full aavaz….technical

  14. hadi of iran says:

    ae mere dost lote ke aaja….tu mery zindigi aduri he..swarg…. movie…leasen please?

  15. hadi of iran says:

    voices m.aziz with m.rafi…nice…very…very

  16. hadi of iran says:

    voice aziz….unlimited…and anuradha…only…only…only

  17. Saqeeb Ahmed says:

    Rafi Sahab,
    You are always in our heart.
    I love & missed your sweet voice.

  18. minhaj says:

    only Anwar voice is similar to Md. Rafi… one time listen Anwar songs

  19. Nobody up to last day of this world can sing like the GREATEST MUHAMMAD RAFI , he is the only and only one for ever.

  20. Rajiv says:

    Excellent and very informative article. Could you also give a similar list for kishore? What abt singers inspired from other legends like talat, kl saigal, mukesh, manna dey or hemant da.

  21. Tanvir says:

    Debashish Dasgupta is a most similar singer to Rafi Saab.
    Listen the song Dard e Muhabbat by given link.

  22. In my opinion udit Narayan is first clone of mohd Rafi saahab.

  23. hadi razmyar says:

    mohd.aziz best of the time music at india all history beacause he voice very very openness than rafi sahab and other singers …aziz king of melody my voice similar rafi and aziz … 09392125195 i have clinical psychlogist.

  24. Adil Khan says:

    Sonu nigam for sure he is technicaly better den shabir kumar , muhammad aziz he have a diverse vocal range and ahve sang in many genre be it classical ghazal qawali rock pop hi pitch (abhi mujh main kahin) or low picth sad romantic just like rafi sahab he is a true successor of rafi sahab


    I think rafi saheb is one the best mail singar of india because his voice is so sweet. Yet ha has no proud . His all songs are so meledy . His songs learn us how to face the challenge of life


    I think rafi saheb is one the best mail singar of india because his voice is so sweet. Yet ha has no proud . His all songs are so meledy . His songs learn our how to face the challenge of life

  27. hadi razmyar says:

    1-mohd.aziz 2- mohd.rafi 1-anuradha paodwal 2-sherya ghoshl 1-mithun 2-amithab 1-madhuri and seri devi best of india…myvoice like aziz and rafi…my country iran…from children leasen songs hindi and exercise singers ….only m.aziz have nice voice after he m.rafi and udit narayan…you did leasen songs rab ne tu bas banaya ta{kaise kaise reshteh} ….ae mere dost loteke aaja.{sowrg}…namaze farzehe sabse bari ebadathe.{islami ghwalya}…doniya me gitna ghamhe {amrit}…?…please leasen you after said to me which voices better …aziz?…rafi?…others singer of india? only..only..very very very very..nice mohammad aziz-on-nabi…

  28. hadi razmyar says:

    i love m.aziz he best singer of hindi…better from m.rafi and other singers india….beacause voice heater and stronger and ….every one even rafi unable sins similar m.aziz 09392125195

  29. Rohinton Mistry says:

    Mohd Aziz and Anwar are ‘sur ka pucca singers and are perhaps the only two worthwhile successoras of Rafi. Mohd Aziz tasted success and went on to become the number singer and has a wonderful solid voice and sang many a times for Amitabh.
    Anwar is another example of a classy voice and sometimes one cannot make out if it is Rafi aur Anwar singing. Anwar is as good as Rafi in some songs. People say he was moody and proud and so lost out on many songs. But a terrific singer nonetheless and can give any singer a run for their money.

    Sonu Nigam has a childish voice. No depth at all.
    Udit is fantastic. The less said about the others the better.

    Rohinton Mistry

  30. Sarfaraz bhaai Shabbir kumar ki Original aazaaz ik baar bolne me sunna phir aapko pata lagega ki wo Rafi saahab ko kitna copy karte hai. Ik singer ki aawaaz uske bolne se pataa lag jati hai. Aur unki aawaaz bolne me aur gaane me bahut differ nikalti hai

  31. Andrea Correa says:

    Please listen to Anil Bajpai Live ……….No one can come near him

    for rafi saaheb songs.

  32. Ye sab Rafi saahad ke copy clone hai inke alaava sonu nigam aur udit narayan aur naajaane kitne hi Rafi saahad se inspired hai. Aur to aur kishor kumar ne bhi na jaane kitni harkat Rafi saahad jaisi li hai.

  33. 1.Anwar husain 2.Mahendra kapoor 3.Mohd Aziz 4. Shabbir Kuman 5.vicky mehta 6.Vipin Sachdeva

  34. Raja Sarfraz says:

    Dear All

    Ratings are not correct
    Shabir Kumar is best singer of the world

  35. Mo Ally says:


    Well I don’t agree with you on all your points but it is your own personal opinion your expressing which you’re entitled too…..

    ….. It would have been nice for you to have dedicated a page titled “Who inspired Rafi”…

    Indeed it was one of his Greatest Ustaads. The Great Bade Ghulaam Ali Khan.

    Every great singer has certain great qualities. Because some singers, after Rafi, sounded like him doesn’t mean that they should be belittled in any way because of this. They were born with that sounding voice. Singers who have been inspired by Moh’d Rafi also have Respect fo Moh’d Rafi. Just the way Moh’d rafi was inspired by his Ustaad’s but had Respect for them too.

    I’m sure you are genuine lover and follower of Music and would urge you to emulate those dire music enthusiasts that have left this world and those who still remain here with us today!


  36. amir hamza says:

    kishore kumar called rafi saab his guru and was a fan of rafi saab. He wanted to sing like rafisaab but could not. It is evident kishore wanted to sing na kisi ki ankh ka noor hoon but could not. he was quoted as saying rafi saab could sing a song in hundred ways but he in one way. in a way Kishore Kumar could be considered a student of Rafi saab.

  37. Debajyoti says:

    Rafi sahab is absolutely irreplaceble. Anwar was the closest to Rafi sahab. Listen to songs like ‘zindagi imtihan leti hai’, ‘haaton ki chand lakeeron ka’. He is deceptively close to Rafi. Sonu Nigam is definitely well versed in singing but that doesn’t mean the others are ‘bad’.

    Only one singer can compete with Rafi and that is the great Manna dey (well even Rafi is an equally good singer).

  38. Binu Nair says:

    i am glad Post 62 for the ‘ correction ‘ done to my post of number 60.

    i appreciate your ‘eagle eyed’ observation just like one has for the nuances of great songs of rafi saaaheb.

    pls do comment on songs of rafi saaheb which are used for advertisement. Just to mention herein that the economics times recently published a half page article about the heiniken advertisement and the song :

    “jaan pehchaan ho “.

    I have preserved the copy and laminated it.


    binu nair

  39. Sudhir Kumar says:

    Kind attn. post 59, Mr. Nair. The ad is for Nissan Micra and the song in the background is ‘chakke me chakka, from Brahmachari

  40. Binu Nair says:

    forget bharat ratna Post 60 mr jayesh….

    the govt has not even cared to give the second highest award to mohd rafi saaheb.

    the punjab govt has so far ‘not even’ considered mohd rafi as a son of their soil and initiated an award in the name of legend mohd rafi.

    when, the fact remains mohd rafi was groomed by a sadhu who used to sing and visited the rafi household. the young rafi would follow the sadhu and remain in the fields ( in Punjab ) the whole day – mesmerised by the sadhu.

    in the evening, he used to get some amount of beatings from his dad, its said. but, rafi would be lost in the songs of this sadhu.

    rest being history known to all.

    jayesh ji : be assured that the deaf and blind governments will do nothing to hail our legends and decorate them. most of them today are involved in cornering national resources – in their or their kins names.

    they have come with “zero” means – but acquired crores of rupees of wealth according to various govt sources.

    who ever said “these” men and women work for the they work for themselves.

    therefore , in the fitness of things mohd rafi lovers have duly crowned mohd rafi as : Bharat Ka Ratna………..

    the rafi foundation….

  41. jayesh says:

    I agree with the views expressed by Shri Binu Nair saheb. In fact, Rafi Saheb should be conferred with Bharat Ratna for enormous contribution given by him to the Indian music industry. It is unfortunate that persons having low calibre in their respective fields have been given this award, but Rafi saheb, who truly deserves it is still not conferred with this award. It is shame on the Indian Political system who gives such awards based on political influence and not on merits.

  42. Binu Nair says:

    but, the music composers of repute brought in mohd rafi for rishi kapoor and there was magic once again.

    just like some of the shammi kapoor songs.

    the only singer to sing for three generations of actors is mohd rafi saaheb.

    he sang for Prithviraj Kapoor / raj kapoor-shashi kapoor-shammi kapoor and raj kapoors son rishi kapoor.

    a friend said to me : if rafi saaheb was alive, then would have sung for ranbir kapoor.

    no, my friend. mohd rafi by this time if alive would have taken a gracious retirement unlike his contemporary who have lost the ‘sur’ and ‘voice’ but still says ” I will never stop from singing “.

    in the lighter vein and – for the time being “hence” ranbir kapoor is using mohd rafi’s eternal voice for the hundayi advt with the song……….

    ” savera waali gaadi se chale jaayenge ” playing in the background.

  43. Ahamed Kutty says:

    the healthy discussions about the singers will give very good
    informations about them.i think when the fans of kk come to
    know more about him and rafi saab,the result was the complete
    stoppage of the website of kk.

    we should think very seriously to promote more about rafi saab
    and his everlasting songs and thereby to clear the misunderstandings
    if any.

  44. Ahamed Kutty says:

    it is not that much tough to copy a singer but when these
    singers starting to sing their own songs we will see the
    voice difference.nobody can sing like rafi saab.

    when these new singers appear for them there is a sky.
    that was rafi saab but when rafi saab started his carrier
    there was no sky for him to look at.he created his own
    sky and entirely changed the film music of indian cinema.
    ofcourse there wa good mds to create good music.
    like yesudasji told rafi saab is the cause of livelyhood
    for thousands around the world.

  45. PANKAJ MUKESH says:


  46. sudika says:

    I think your assessment of Udit Narayan is unfair. He has sung sad songs. In the 90s, Nadeem Shravan dominated the scene and used Kumar Sanu too much, not giving Udit the platform he deserved. He really has a very versatile range and pitch and is very educated classically. He proved himself in Dil Se, Taal, Lagaan in terms of classical music. There is no song he can’t sing just wasn’t given the opportunities. And the best thing of all, he used his own voice, even if it meant him waiting ten yrs from Unness Bees to QSQT to make it in Bollywood. And to rate a legend like Mahendra Kapoor is downright disrespectful and disgusting.

  47. IPS Yadav says:

    I remember another Mohd Rafian singer called Debashish Dasgupta -kya hua tera wada fame. I know him personally. pl be added. thanks.

  48. guru says:




  49. Nikhat says:

    Dear sir,
    Pls watch 21 yr old Hamid Khan Tareen’s inspiration.

    To understand Rafi sab’s voice itself is not an easy task. Singing like Rafi saab at that age is only Almighty’s blessing. pls include his name in your article

    Singing like Rafi saab is not my cup of tea, but I am proudly fortunate that I can atleast understand what he is singing. Unki awaaz to bas Khudrat ka ek karishma hai.

    link to Hamid’s songs:

  50. Revert4All says:

    Hi All,
    Mr. Abhishek ka aritcle aur itne sare comments padhne ke baad mai Asan lafzo me kuch khulasa karna chahunga. Har koi wahi likhta hai, wahi kehta hai aur wahi karta hai jo use( Khud ko) acha lagta hai. all 5 fingers are not same magar hume har kisi ko madhe nazar rakhte huwe aur sach baat karni chahiye. Har kisi ke lehaz se sochenge to ye baat saaf hai RAFI SAHAB jaisa koi singer nahi. Aur kisi dusre singer ko naam bhi nahi rakhna chahiye q ke agar kisi ko naam rakhte hai to phir kam se kam ek khami (lack of singing talent) to har singer me hai. Fir likhne wale aur kehne wale kya un jaisa ga sakte hai jiski burai karte hai. nahi na? to wo bhi apni jagah pe bilkul sahi hai. wo apne mukaddar se apni rozi kama rahe hai. Haa kuch politics to chalti hi rehti hai jo kabhi kabhi mukaddar ke aade bhi aati hai. par wo uparwale ki taraf se ek azmayish hoti hai. khair mai itna kehna chahunga ke Anwar ki actual kya problem thi jo unhe chance nahi mil paya ye log nahi jaante but media ke hisab se chalte hai. Shabbir kumar aur mohammed aziz jaisi gane ki taaqat to aur kashish to bahot kam singers me hai. sonu nigam aur udit ki bhi to zamane ko zarurat thi. shailendra aur mahendra kapoor to rafi sahab ke zamane se hi the, shailendra is mixture of rafi group & kishore & mukesh group also. dont mind but it is fact. he has also his own talent which like by people. bus meri sabse yehi guzarish hai ke koi kisi ki jagah nahi le sakta. Anwar, shabbir & aziz ki aisi aawazein hai jinse log khiche jate hai, bahot kashish hai unki awaz me. sab apni jagah thik hai. iska clarification b de sakta hu par ye comment bahot lamba ho gaya hai. padhnewale zarur padhenge q ki sach hai aur har kisi ko madhe nazar rakhte huwe likha hai. bus kisi ka dil na dukhe meri in bato ki wajah se yehi request hai.
    U can send me mail on
    I have a lot of knowledge in most of fields which life taught me.

Post your Comment on Facebook

Receive updates in your inbox. Enter your email address:

Other Writeups

Social Collaboration