You're browsing: Home / Meri awaaz suno / The Man for All Seasons Mohd Rafi Sahab

The Man for All Seasons- Mohd Rafi Sahab

By Achal Rangaswamy

The Man for All Seasons- Mohd Rafi Sahab

Dev Saab sang these words in a movie called ASLI NAQLI.  The lines were Pyaar Ka Saaz Bhi Hai….Dil ki Aawaaz bhi hai……And I actually thought that it was that tall, not so dark but very  handsome and charming young man in a dark suit with a champagne glass in his hand, smiling and flirting away as he sang these lines to further say Chheda mere dil ne taraane tere pyaar ka in the film Asli Naqli.

I didn’t know at that time that the man who actually put his heart and soul into that song was a not very tall, not very fair and not your chocolate boy hero looking young man. He was, as I was to discover through some photographs in Filmfare, a stout, smiling but charming gentleman, whose eyes twinkled merrily in every picture that I saw of his. He stood next to his car, he held a badminton racket in his hand in another picture. He lovingly sat talking to little kids in another picture. But in each picture one thing emerged clearly. He was a kind man. He was a gentle man. He was a gentleman.

Mohd Rafi with Badminton in Hand standing next to a car

No wonder then, I concluded, that his voice was so clear, so clean so godly and so loving.

At times I would wonder why he needed the help of so many musical instruments to assist him. Because, as I wrote in the title of this article itself, pyaar ka saaz literally flowed from his throat as the voice echoed what the heart said. Even if he just hummed, or yodeled, or lisped, it would still be sheer music.

So many people who have sung alongside him, so many who have written songs for him to sing, so many who composed those magical numbers for him to mouth, and of course millions who have heard him have one common thing to say.

Woh dil se gaatey they”. Asha Bhosle has said this. So has Pyarelal Sharma said this. And so has even comedian Jagdeep said this. In fact he went on to add, “Woh dil ka baadshaah tha….uski awaaz dil se goonjti thi”.

But of course, the greatest tribute came from the big filmmaker Manmohan Desai who said without an iota of doubt that if God had a voice, it must have been Rafi Sahab’s. “Khuda ki aawaaz”, the showman filmmaker declared with finality. And Rishi Kapoor was testimony to that declaration.

Mohd Rafi and Rishi Kapoor

No wonder then, I confess, that his songs will always have that special place in people’s hearts, just as they have in mine.

It is over 41 years that he left his body to join the heavenly stars up there, but why is it that each of his songs comes across as so fresh, so powerfully credible and so superior to many decent songs composed in recent times only to be forgotten in less than a year?

The answer lies in the sincerity, the integrity and the sheer labour of love that we in today’s times call Mindful Consciousness.

Yes, spirituality oozes from Rafi Sahab’s songs. Each one of them. whether it is a patriotic number as Woh Bharat Desh Hai Mera, a children’s marvel as Nanhe Munne Bachhe teri mutthi main kya hai, a lover’s plaint as Tere Mere Sapne ab ek rang hain, or even a father’s sad song as Babul ki duvaayen leti jaa. Each song exemplifies that one single aspect of an artiste’s contribution.

Let me call it Imaandari. Let me call it total devotion. Let me call it total surrender to God’s gift that Rafi Sahab would always say that he had been bestowed with. I agree it was God’s gift. But how many of us keep that gift with us with all sincerity and devotion? How many of us just fritter it away or just ignore it or don’t even recognize it?

Rafi Sahab accepted that gift with humility, nurtured it with great care and love and presented it to his numerous fans as a sharing of God’s Gift. He was literally sharing with us the Prasad of all the worship, all the devotion and all the goodness God had showered on him. Not for a minute did he hesitate to give of his best, whether he was ruling as the Baadshah of playback singing or whether he had been sidelined by small-minded composers and other artistes. He continued to share his gifts, partake of the same with no jealousy, no greed and no avarice.

Which is exactly why his last song sounded as fresh as his first.

The proof?  Listen to him in Shaan, Abdullah and Dostana, even his swan song for Dev Saab in Manpasand. The song Logon ka dil agar Jeetna tumko hai toh, bus meetha meetha bolo…. all movies of the late 70s and early 1980, and you will get your answer. Rafi Sahab was on the rise when God called him up there to entertain the celestial audience.

Mohd Rafi Shraddhanjali

Anything I may want to write about him (I can do that for a 100- pages or for months on end) can be simply put in that one single song of his.

Main Kab Gaata Mere Swar Mein Pyaar Kisika Gaata Hai

Yaad kisiki jab aati ek naya geet ban jaata hai.

Long live Rafi Sahab. May you continue to share your gifts with us and future generations.

We shall never ever forget you, we just can’t. You remain as fresh as ever.

Which is why you perhaps always said- Khushboo hoon main phool nahin hoon jo murjhaaongaJab jab mausam leharayega main aa jaoonga.

The man for all seasons. Rafi Sahab.

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.

3 Blog Comments to “The Man for All Seasons- Mohd Rafi Sahab”

  1. N.G.Ramaswamy says:

    Excellent write up Achal ji. Yes spirituality oozes from his songs. Greatest singer & a Greatest human. Who can bet on this? Khudaa ki Aawaaz, Khudaa needed him back in heaven. Koti Pranams to the Farishta.

  2. Jagdish K. Bhagchandani says:

    Excellent narrative Achal ji. 41 years after his demise, Rafi saab remains the tallest among all great playback singers. It will not be an exaggeration to say that but for his vocals, many actors’ career would not have gone the distance that it actually did. Rafi saab not only integrated actor’s style and mannerisms to augment their screen image and stature but also gave a distinct persona to their disposition through his songs.

    For most singers of all generations next to him, the musical silo that he has left behind is a source of inspiration, of motivation, a foundation of learning.

    As rightly said: He is the man of all seasons.

  3. Uma says:

    Good Morning,

    Excellent article.
    Rafi saab is a legend and immortal.

    We all have to die oneday or other, but Rafi saab voice remains live for ever and ever and, generations to generations.


Post your Comment on Facebook

Receive updates in your inbox. Enter your email address:

Other Writeups

Social Collaboration