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The filmfare award for best male singer should be renamed as Mohammad Rafi award

By Souvik Chatterji

Dr. K.K.Aggarwal being given the Mohd. Rafi Award For Excellence for the year 2008

Dr. K.K.Aggarwal being given the Mohd. Rafi Award For Excellence for the year 2008

The nation remembers Mohammad Rafi on his death anniversary on 31st july, 2010. It was a very painful experience for most of the music lovers of India and abroad to recollect the experience of 31st July, 1980. 30 years had passed since his death and yet time could not heal the wound inflicted in the hearts of numerous music lovers of the country.

He is still alive in the hearts of millions of Indians with his 26000 songs. He had given expression to almost all the leading stars of bollywood and also the poets and composers of the golden age. He had created such an invaluable treasure of songs most of which can be termed as masterpieces, that the listeners can cherish his work for ever.

Rafi admirers all across the world feel that the filmfare award for the best playback singer can be renamed as Mohammad Rafi award. The reason is that he received the filmfare award for the best male playback singer 6 times, and also his songs helped the legendary composers to win the filmfare award many times. The awards ceremony looked incomplete without Rafi’s association in them during the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Rafi’s awards and nominations are hereby listed as follows.

Government Awards

1948 – Rafi received a silver medal from the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, on the first anniversary of the Indian Independence Day.

1965 – Rafi was honoured with the Padmashri by the Government of India.
National Film Awards Winner

1977 – National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for Kya Hua Tera Wada song in the film Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin), composed by RD Burman, lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri.

Filmfare Awards Winner

1960 – Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho song in the film Chaudhvin Ka Chand

1961 – Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for Teri Pyaari Pyaari Surat Ko song in the film Sasural

1964 – Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for Chahunga Mein Tujhe song in the film Dosti

1966 – Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for Baharon Phool Barsao song in the film Suraj

1968 – Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for Dil Ke Jharoke Mein song in the film Brahmachari

1977 – Filmfare Best Male Playback Award for Kya Hua Tera Vaada song in the film Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin


1961 – Husnwale Tera Jawaab Nahin song in the film Gharana
1962 – Aye Gulbadan Aye Gulbadan song in the film Professor
1963 – Mere Mehboob Tujhe song in the film Mere Mehboob
1965 – Choo Lene Do Nazuk Hothon Ko song in the film Kaajal
1968 – Mein Gaaon Tum Sojaao song in the film Brahmachari
1968 – Babul Ki Duayein Leti Ja song in the film Neel Kamal
1969 – Badi Mastani Hai song in the film Jeene Ki Raah
1970 – Khilona Jaan Kar song in the film Khilona
1973 – Hum Ko To Jaan Se Pyaari song in the film Naina
1974 – Achha Hi Huva Dil Toot Gaya song in the film Maa Behen Aur Biwi
1977 – Pardah Hai Pardah song in the film Amar Akbar Anthony
1978 – Aadmi Musaafir Hai song in the film Apnapan
1979 – Chalo Re Doli Uthao Kahaar song in the film Jani Dushman
1980 – Mere Dost Kissa Yeh song in the film Dostana
1980 – Dard-e-dil Dard-e-jigar song in the film Karz
1980 – Maine Poocha Chand Se song in the film Abdullah

Bengal Film Journalists’ Association Awards Winner

1965 – Best Male Playback Singer for Dosti
1966 – Best Male Playback Singer for Arzoo

Very significantly, Rafi’s immortal presence contributed to the composers’ awards won in the respective years. In 1953, Naushad won the filmfare award for the best music director for his contribution in the film Baiju Bawra. Rafi’s songs “tu ganga ki mauj”, “O duniyake rakhwale”, “man tarapat hari darshan” were the backbone of Naushad’s legendary creation.

Dr. K.K.Aggarwal being given the Mohd. Rafi Award For Excellence for the year 2008

Dr. K.K.Aggarwal being given the Mohd. Rafi Award For Excellence for the year 2008

OP Nayyar won the filmfare award for the best music director for his contribution in the film Naya Daur in 1958. Rafi’s songs like “ure jab jab zulfen teri”, “saathi haath barana”, “mai bambai ka babu” glorified OP Nayyar’s melodious creations.

Salil Choudhury won the filmfare award for the best music director for his contribution in the film Madhumati in 1959. Rafi sang two landmark songs in varying moods including “jangal me mor nacha kisi ne na dekha” and “tute hue khwabon ne”.

Ravi won the filmfare award for the best music director for his contribution in the film Gharana in 1962. Rafi sang the landmark songs in the film including “husnwale tera jawab nahi” and “jab se tujhe dekha hai”.

Shankar Jaikishan won the filmfare award for the best music director for his contribution in the film Professor in 1963. Rafi was instrumental in most of the westernized songs like “awaz deke hume tum bulayo”, “ay gulbadan, ay gulbadan”, etc.

Roshan won the filmfare award for the best music director for his contribution in the film Taj Mahal in 1964. Rafi’s songs “payon chulene do phoolon ko inayat hogi”, “jo wada kiya hai”, “jo baat tujhme hai” had emerged as timeless classic and made Roshan immortal through Rafi’s brilliance.

Shankar Jaikishan won the filmfare award for the best music director again in the years 1966, 1968. In 1966, SJ’s efforts in the film Suraj was given adequate expression by Rafi. All the songs were super hit including “baharon phool barsao”, “gustaqi maaf”, “itna hai tujhse pyar mujhe”, “kaise samjhayun bari na samajh ho”, to name a few. In 1968, SJ won it for Brahmachari, where Rafi’s songs “mai gayun tum so jayo” “chakke pe chakka”, “dil ke jharoke mai”, “aajkal tere mere pyar ke charche” had made the viewers and listeners spell bound.

In the late 70s, when Laxmikant Pyarellal won filmfare award for best music director back to back in the 4 years, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, Rafi’s contribution was immense. In the film Amar Akbar Anthony, the film for which LP won the filmfare in 1978 Rafi sang landmark songs like “parda hai parda”, “shirdiwali saibaba”, “humko tumse ho gaya hai pyar kya Karen”. In the film Sargam, LP’s songs sung by  Rafi including “dafliwale dafli baja”, “ramjiki nikli sawari”, “koel boli”, etc., stormed bollywood in the late 70s. LP won the filmfare once again in 1980, for Karz where Rafi’s song “darde dil darde jigar” created everlasting impact in the minds of youngstars for generations after generations.

There are no words to pay homage to the noble soul Mohammad Rafi, whom Raj Kapoor used to call Sufisahab. Neither awards can judge Rafi’s worth, nor praises can describe the godliness, of the giant singer whose down to earth nature had swept the world of music with peace, romance, love and friendship.

The listeners should revisit the songs of Rafi and restore the creations to pay homage to the noble soul who departed the music -lovers 30 years ago.

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

Souvik Chatterji, the author of this article

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23 Blog Comments to “The filmfare award for best male singer should be renamed as Mohammad Rafi award”

  1. Asif says:

    Hum tumhe bhula na payenge, farishte jaisi awaaz

  2. Rintu Biswas says:

    Mohd. Rafi is one of the favorite singer of all time. His voice is so melodious, so beautiful. He is the legend of Indian music history. He was, is & will be immortal for ever. I like chu lene do nazuk hotoon ko, kya hua tera wada, chalo re doli, Tum mujhe yu bhula na paoge, khush rahe tu sada and many more songs. Truely He is a legend…!!!

  3. Harvinder says:

    Prashant ji,
    It is a fact that Kishore da won 8 filmfare awards. Can you please have a look at the history of awards and the criteria ? You will know as to who was more popular from 50’s through 70. At Kishore da’s peak i.e 70-75 era, Mukesh Saheb won more in terms of awards – Does that make Mukesh ji a more popular singer than Kishore da. I doubt it.


  4. Sudhir Kumar says:

    Sorry kk fan-no hard feelings. Salutes to the KING!!

  5. Nasreen says:

    Re Prashant’s posts16 & 17, he may or may not come back here but I do feel compelled to say that yes, on reading my post again, it was quite an outburst and I am not happy about that. Sometimes, i do surprise myself. What can I do, Rafi Sahab is someone I feel passionate about not just because of the singing but because of the man he was. So pious and unassuming with no airs and graces – unlike most other artists.

    However, Prashant, there is no need to have any argument or criticism at all. It will always be a matter of opinion as to who is the ‘king of singing’. People are different from each other and they like or dislike different things. And nothing should be imposed on anyone.
    I am also sorry if I hurt your feelings with my ‘vitriol’.

  6. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    I appreciate the feelings behind your suggestions. But as Binuji rightly pointed out, most of the awards are rigged. Let us not associate a good man like Rafiji with such awards. Instead, an award can be instituted in the name of Rafi Saab to the BEST Rafi songs singer every year, to be selected by all the Rafi foundations / Fan Clubs, etc. In fact, the newly formed Rafi Academy can take the lead in this direction.

  7. Prashant Sharma says:

    You are however right about one thing. I don’t belong on this website. I just stumbled on to this message board while browsing yoodleyee their sister site for KK. Over there none of us denigrate Rafi by the way, and he is praised highly. Something which one doesnt see here.
    Anyway I am taking your suggestion and I am logging off. This is not my world and never will be.
    But before I go, let me say that Rafi was a great singer. I am a big fan. Neither did I intend to hurt any Rafi fan’s feeling nor have I disrespected this superb singer in any way.
    Off to Kishore world for me…..not coming back to this never land…

  8. Prashant Sharma says:

    @ nasreen post 13
    Quite a vitriolic post. Not surprising at all. Anyway, Kishore Kumar was a singer, actor, director, scriptwriter all rolled into one. That is why Rafi and Manna Dey sang for him a couple of time. It is not a reflection on Kishore’s singing talent which was of a definitely higher quality than the other two exalted singers.
    Kishore never ‘worshipped’ Rafi. He respected Rafi a lot as his senior. It is a very good quality in a superior junior artiste. Kishore only worshipped KL Saigal.
    An untrained singer, who never learnt sa re ga ma pa, reached the pinnacle of music industry just because of his sheer talent and God’ gift.
    I identify with your passion for Rafi. After all I have the same passion for Kishore along with millions others. But when somebody denigrates KK like Sudhir Kumar has done, one is left with no choice but to respond.
    Who can convince a Rafi fan that KK was a superior singer? No one. And no one can convince a Kishore fan that ANYONE was better than him.
    I respect the both of them and disrespect NONE.

    @ Lt Col Javed
    ” to those few who make Rafi their second favourite”. Surely you are joking. There are millions out there who worship Kishore Kumar. Please understand that our likings are our own, they dont define the universe. So much for bing ‘Myopic’.

  9. Lt Col Javed Sayyed says:

    Dear Friends,
    After all analysis, discussions, personal biases, likes & dislikes, pros & cons, lets take a pragmatic view of renaming the best male playback filmfare award as Mohd Rafi award. If there is an RD Burman award for whatever category, sooner or later, the awards will get the names of icons in the near future. In such a case, lets not miss out on the renaming to the one who deserves the most. On all counts, it has to be Rafi sahab-a legend in his art, melody, personal conduct, an epitome of humility, kind heartedness, unblemished image, ever kind & helpful to one & all. No other personality can be compared with this noblest of souls. The greatness of a personality, apart from other scores of factors like talent, genius etc is also dependent on his personal conduct for an award category to be named after him/her. Rafi sahab is incomparable on all counts & even the recipient, whatever his talent & genius, will always be proud to get the award with rafi sahabs name!! It will add the much needed credibility to the award, set benchmark & stds & hopefully will influence the jury to take an unbiased, uninfluenced view in nominating singers & eventually selecting the best one.
    There is no need in this forum to belittle any singer/talent. And to those few, making rafi sahab as their second fav, let it be their choice. By the way, rafians are proud of the legend the world calls as Mohd Rafi & do not believe in kk bashing, unless provoked to that point by myopic fans. Let all greats find their level of stature in the music industry. Let rafi sahab rule supreme.

  10. Nasreen says:

    Post 11

    Are you a bit myopic? Where do you see rafi fans discussing kk? You seem llike one of those people rolling up their sleeves to fight about this matter. No one here needs your defence of kk. We also appreciate the songs of kishore that you mentioned. It is up to you if you like him more. Perhaps you should be on his site rather than here. It makes no difference to the glory of Rafi Sahab whether he is your second favourite or not. But in order to know what Rafi Sahab’s glory is all about and why he occupies an exalted position (yes, even over kk can you believe it??!!) one has to have a deeper understanding of beauty, romance, pathos, language, melody, nuance, depth, aesthetics, etc (I could go on and on but will just shorten it and say one needs to have a deeper understanding of life in general period). Rafi sang for kishore not vice versa. Kishore almost worshipped rafi and had the intelligence to know who was superior in fact, incomparable. So Please…!

  11. Sudhir Kumar says:

    Dear Prashant Sharma,
    You have missed the context of my post. I myself do no agree with the suggestion/recommendation of Mr. Souvik Chatterji. Yes, I dare you to prove how/why KK is the KING OF SINGING!! This is absolutely hilarious. I find it impossible, in anyones wildest imagination to justify the inclusion of the the two numbers that i have mentioned in any kind kind of ‘Best Playback Singer” category. Take a break…

  12. Sachin Sharma says:

    Good to hear that Best male play back singer award is renamed to Great Mohd. Rafi award . HE will remain in our hearts till this earth exists.

  13. Prashant Sharma says:

    Dear Sudhir Kumar
    ‘A singer like kk’? You dared to use such language for the greatest playback singer that India has seen? This article is very funny. It suggests that award should be called ‘Rafi Award’ when Kishore Kumar has won it 8 times! How ironic. I have nothing against Rafi. He is my second favourite. But the King of singing is and shall remain the inimitable Kishore Kumar. Who can forget ‘Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi’ and who can forget ‘Chingari Koi Bhadke’? There are so many gems and I dont want to clutter the board.
    Learn to give respect to great singers & specially to Kishore Kumar. That will be true homage to your favourite Rafi Sahab. Dont Insult geniuses like KK. they are beyond your disrespect. I have never said a word against Rafi and I never will.
    And by the way, you Rafi fans spend most of your time on this website discussing Kishore. Isnt it ironic?

  14. BINU NAIR says:

    pran returned his award for zanzeer when pakeezah s composer was not given the award the same year….. that year the award went to BE-imaan.
    shame on such jury.
    PLS DONT LAMENT ABOUT the death of such awards.

  15. Drupatie says:

    I want to say what a great great man, he has a place in many of our hearts and a solid place in history

  16. pvksraju, says:

    Indeed, a very good suggestion. Filmfare Best Male Playback singer Award must be renamed as Mohd Rafi Award and Best Female Playback Singer as Lata Award. Both were contemporaries of each other and benchmark in the field of singing. There will never be a Rafi and Lata again on Indian Film Music World……that’s for sure…..

  17. achal rangaswamy says:

    it is a great suggestion souvikji

    in fact it would be more apt to create an umbrella award covering the entire musical aspect of films (music direction, lyrics, playback singing, perhaps barring background music) since Rafi Saab had the tremendous ability to lift an ordinary film and ordinary acting to make a film memorable just because of the songs.
    music has become such an integral part of a film that instituting a separate and higher quality award would be befitting Rafi Saab’s stature.

  18. Sudhir Kumar says:

    There is great Sentiment but little logic in your recommendation. Filmfare awards are notorious for being rigged year after year. The jury has mostly been biased against Rafi Sahab, especially after 1970. Look at the body of work and worship we all celebrate on this website, it is purely derogatory to award someone as crappy as Reshammiya in the name of Rafi Sahab, and then think about it, a singer like KK has won more Filmfare awards….for songs as mediocre as ‘Khaike paan banaras wala’ and Pag ghunghroo bandh meera naachi thi” and won more nominations as well. Manna Dey has no best Male playback award from filmfare!! Alka Yagnik has more awards than Lata Mangeshkar!!!What kind of credibility do these awards carry. Its like considering Binaca Geet Mala countdowns as the gold standard of yesteryear’s songs worthiness and popularity! It best that Rafi Sahabs name not be associated permanently with this or any other award for that matter as they cater to the commercial and whimsical personal interests of their organizers and jury members.

  19. Nafisa Momin says:

    Yes. definitely. Really how clearly Mr. Sanyal has described how Rafi is the very est playback singer of all times.

    Rafi is truly a legend and deserves that Best Playback singer award (male) to be named after him. But realistically speaking, it is not likely to happen. I thought of this the day i saw the R. D. Burman award forbest new musical talent award at filmfare.

    More than any government honors, the ever present voice of Rafi, conscious or subconscious minds of his fans, deserves an award to be named after him. Not the best playback singer award but something on the lines of life time achivement in music film or otherwise. The reason being the art of playback as was prevalent during the Golden era of hindi film music is not longer relevant today.

    As far as film fare is concerned, it has not acknowledged the contribution of Rafi Sahab to the industry, as easily evident from the list of nomination, which is very poor, and even more pathetic awards. He deserved many more nominations and definitely, more awards. Just goes to show, how quality conscious these awards are. There r no nominations for any S. D. Burman or Madan Mohan or O. P. Nayyar Songs . I am shocked by this. Maybe shankar jaikishan had better P. R. or whatever.


  20. Jayant Sanyal says:

    Dear Mr. Chatterjee,

    Yes, indeed The Filmfare Award for Best Male PLayback singer should be renamed as Mohd Rafi Award for best playback singer (Male). It was Rafi saahab’s voice which made the onscreen acting of actors whether the heroes or the supporting actors easier by emoting on the microphone. His voice moulded into their style and mannerisms and seemed as if they are singing on screen!

    Excellent write up. My Congratulations!

    Jayant Sanyal
    New Delhi

  21. SHASHANK says:

    I agree what you say souvikji. One thing there should be a separate away like Phalke award and this award should be given to the yesteryears musicians where they played their instruments to this legend days. that will be most beneficial thing to do as an respect to this genius legend.

  22. A S MURTY says:

    Souvikji this is a very great suggestion and a demand. Yes, the filmfare award should be renamed after our Rafi Sahab and let us all request the management of the Times of India group to this effect. Besides his own filmfare awards, Rafi Sahab was instrumental for several mds winning the filmfare awards in the best song category.

  23. Ali says:

    I agree that but I feel it is so cheap The filmfare award for best male singer should be renamed as Mohammad Rafi award because he is only singer in the world famous as before his fans day by days come more and more …..There is RD Burman award who is even not best of 10 music director in Bollywood…so how these people can give name of Mohd rafi on a cheap award I think this award is so cheap to put the greatest singer mohd rafi

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