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Unique Rafi Songs

This article is written by Mr. H.V.Guru Murthy

Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman

Mohd Rafi with S.D.Burman

Any vocal song whether Western or Indian will always have associated Orchestral / Instrumental music whether it is a filmy song or a classical. Even a classical Indian music concert will have Tambura, Tabla, Violin, Harmonium, Mridanga, etc. as accompanying musical instruments. When it comes to film music it is much more elaborate with pieces like Guitar, Accordian, Saxophone, Drums, Sitar, Piano, Jaltarang, Mouth Organ, etc. added. More the number of pieces, greater the attraction, for example the recent Sonu Nigam show at Royal Albert Hall had 75 piece Orchestra. Of course, with the advent of technology, it has become much more sophisticated but simple.

We are so used to the accompanying musical instruments that even in our real life, a Singer feels comfortable with the accompanying musical instruments and finds it some times difficult to sing without them because the song without the back-ground music some times appears dis-jointed. The Karaoke music system has helped to a large extent in this direction when a singer can sing a film song along with back-ground music.

Earlier the film songs were recorded in one ‘go’, and the Singers and the accompanying Instrument players had to be very careful and perfect, otherwise they had to re-do from the beginning. The interlude music between the Antaras helped the Singers for breathers. In fact, in one of the Interviews, Mannada has explained how the mother of all qawalis “Na To Caravan Ki Talash Hai” from BARSAAT KI RAAT was picturised in two parts each of six minutes duration and the Singers Rafi, Mannnada, etc. had to sing for six minutes continuously.

We hardly have examples of film music without accompanying instrumental music. Only two songs which can be readily recalled are from the film PYAASA music by SD Burman. The first one is “Tang Aa Chuke Hain” and the second is “Gum Is Qadar Bade“. Especially the first song is a full fledged song with four stanzas but no distinct Mukhda and antara as such, as in a conventional song. The second one is just like a couplet.

Mohd Rafi with Naushad

Mohd Rafi with Naushad

In “Tang Aachuke“, the Shayar (Guru Dutt) having been discarded by his old classmate, sings this particular song in one of the Alumni meet where his former lover (Mala Sinha) as well as her husband (Rehmaan) are present. The Poet expresses his disgust with life in general as he faces disappointment every where (Tang Aa Chuke Hain Kashmakashe Zindagise Hum, Thukarana De Jahan Ko Kahin Berukhise Hum). Apart from his love failure, he is also deprived of recognition for his poetic talents. Even though the occasion is a happy one of old friends meeting and in spite of one Alumni expressing the same openly, still the Poet expresses why he is singing a sad song as he wants to give back whatever he has got from life and says from where else he can get a happy song (Hum Gamsada Hain Laye Kahannse Khushi Ke Geet, Denge Wahi Jo Payenge Is Zindagise Hum), he has been put down by miseries of life (Ubharenge Ek Baar Abhi Dilke Valvale, Maana Ke Dab Gaye Hain Game Zindagise Hum). The first two antaras are at normal pitch but the third one is at a much higher pitch where the poet declares that he has given up all expectations and he will not worry about any thing else (Lo Aaj Humne Tod Diya Rishta-E-Ummeed, Lo Ab Kabhi Gila Na Karenge Kisise Hum). Beautiful lyrics by Sahir Ludhyanvi.

The song can be watched at

The song was unique that SDB used only the Singer Rafi and did away with all his usual Orchestra, still the song is so appealing and expressive, perhaps picturisation-wise more natural with Guru Dutt just standing with a mike and singing and the audience sitting in front and expressing their different opinions on their faces. Rafi Saab’s voice clearly brings out the disappointment, disgust, a sort of resignation of the Poet and perhaps only Rafiji could have sung this song with so much pathos.

Similarly the other two songs in the same movie PYAASA, the couplet “Ye Hanste Huye Phool” and the hugely popular song “Jinhe Naaz Hai” also had very minimum music except the voice of the singer.

Another surprising Rafi-Asha romantic duet in this category was “Raat Yun Khoyi Huyi Dilme Teri” from JANWAR music by Shankar Jaikishan ( with hardly any music except the voice of Rafi and Asha, almost in whispers. The whole song is picturised on a Boat with Shammi Kapoor and Rajashree as compared to these days when one line is in Switzerland and the next line in Bangkok. There used to be plenty of scope for Actors to express the song through eyes and face as they used to have lot of close up views. Also the Singers of yore used to express the feelings while singing each line. But these days most of the songs are long shots and have fast moving scenes, not allowing the actors to emote through eyes and face.

Even the title song of MERE MEHABOOB has only two instruments with very minimum interlude music but Rafiji’s voice throughout. The song and the picturisation do not need any explanation as such songs are mile-stones in the history of Hindi Film Music. It seems the Director of the movie, H.S.Rawail was nervous when he saw only two instruments with Rafi and Naushad in the Recording Studio when the song was getting recorded, but would have been totally elated after the release of the movie, as the film as well as the songs became huge hits.

Incidentally, all the above songs had Rafi as the main Singer. Rafiji had the capacity to carry any song with or without back-ground score on his broad shoulders. Most of Rafiji’s stage shows in those days used to have minimum Orchestra with just Harmonium and the Tabla to assist the Song.

Of course, now-a-days, the instrumental music is much more predominant in any song as compared to the actual Singer. Latajis’ comment that earlier the interlude music was to give rest to the Singers where as now-a-days the Singers are used as interlude for giving rest to Orchestra, is quite meaningful.

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26 Blog Comments to “Unique Rafi Songs”

  1. Teijin says:

    Look, listen, and explore music and musical instruments that aren’t part of the mainstream. Showcasing unusual musical creations and sounds of unique artists and artisans from around the globe. From gourd music to electronic odysseys, harp guitars to industrial insects, from beautiful, to bizarre, to just plain wacky. New, unique innovations, along with heavily modified hybrids of instruments once formally known as guitars, basses, keyboards, drums, wind and stringed instruments.

  2. Imtiyaz A. Sharif says:

    Dear Sikandar Sahab,
    You may get this Karaoke Track in

  3. sikandar wali says:


  4. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    I do not know how I missed two Rafi gems while discussing the above topic, “Na Kisiski Aankh Ka Noor Hun” and “Lagta Nahin Hai Dil Mera”, two songs with almost nil back ground music where Rafi has excelled.

  5. murti sir, thank u for having informed the names of the filims that i had requested.i had downlord the pyara, pyara song.the other one not found in the searach from google.

  6. PRAKASH SHAH says:


    1…A song of AARZOO by rafi “Aji humse bachkar kaha jaee aa ga ” MD SJ and on screen Rajendra kumar
    2…Another of SJ/RAfiji of gunha o ka devta ” Hum ko to barbaad kiya hai ”
    3…MANa mere hasin…of Adventure of Robinhood by Rafi MD Robin chatterji.
    4… Zindagi hai kyaa….of salil choudhari.and many more are the songs of rafiji where his vocal power we feels in lowtone of orchesta.

  7. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Muhsina Begumji,

    The name of the movie of the third song is “Humse Badkar Kaun”.

  8. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Muhsina Begumji,

    I do not know about the fisrt song. The second song is from the movie “Kalpana” starring Ashok KUmar and Padmini, music by OP Nayyar. The third song is from Mithun Chakravarty starrer, name of the film I am not getting at the moment.

  9. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Infact I have missed one important song in the article. “Na Kisiski Aankh Ka Noor Hun”, hardly any music but so beautifully rendered by Rafiji.

  10. Abhishek Taparia says:

    great article guru murthy sir; another song that comes to my mind is ‘mere jeevan mein tum aayi’ from ‘heer ranjha’ the entire song is in whispers and with very little music.

    one more song wud be ‘tumse kahon ek baat’ from ‘dastak’ although thers a bit more of music in this song its not crowding the song.

  11. dear song lovers, all the songs i had mentioned before was sung by mohamed rafi .the first two were very old ones.those who know about it, write about it in this forum

  12. dear ones,who can help me in mentioning the names of the filims and its mds of the following songs; 1.” usuko malik ne bi rahmat ka sahara milgaya…islaamu zinda hogaya…”(it may be a non filim devotioal song)2. “pyara pyara ae sama …” a rafi asha duet. 3 . “deva ho deva ganapathy deva thum se badkar khon ,,swamy thumse badker khon..”

  13. dear guruji ,mr.anil raj is correct .i had heard the qawali begining with rafi saab’s little speech.i had the cassete of hum kisi se kam nahi with me 20years back.i don’t know whethe rishi kapoor’s speaking qawali also availble.

  14. Imran Rustam says:

    Dear Mr. H.V.Guru Murthy Jee,

    As usual you choose a unique topic. Uniqueness is the one of Rafi Sb’s quality which made him a distinguish singer. Mr. H.V.Guru Murthy Jee, you explained some of great gems of Raf Sb like “Tang Aa Chuke Hein Hum” & “Mere Mehboob” which are self explanatory. When Rafi Sb sings we forget about music instruments and lost in his enchanting voice. I think his voice do not require any music instrument.

    Long Live Rafi Sb


  15. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Anil Rajaji,

    Was it not Rishi Kapoor who spoke at the beginning of the song?

  16. gurumurthy sab,in the filim hum kisi ke kam nahi ,before begining of the qawali there is a speech for about 2 minutes then begins the qawali ae agar dushman….this was done by rafi saheb without the support of musical instruments.

  17. Dr. Khaja Aliuddin says:

    Janab Guru Murthy Saheb, As usual great article on unique topic. I would like to add one more song from movie “mehandi”, Ravi is the MD and lyrics by Kaamil Rasheed.
    Vo aaj apani mehfil me aaye huve hain.
    With regards to all Rafi lovers,
    Long live rafi sahab,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  18. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Shri. Tangal Saab,

    Thank you very much for additional information on the topic. The songs of Lal Qila and Upkar had minimum back ground music. Of course, I admit I have not listened the other two songs you have mentioned.

  19. pmc thangal says:

    dear gurumurthy, ur articlle is fantastic one.rafi saab had sung more than a dozen of such type of songs with out the ‘help’ of music instruments.i don’t know whether you had heard the song sabak sab ro hazare…karbala wale..karbalawale(filim shehne e hathim md ar quraishi -better known as allah rakh) .another one a ramzaan song in the filim aalam aara (kahthahai ek rabi..ramzan ki maheenai this song also ar quraishi used music instruments very little) similarly in the filim upkar rafi sab sung a beautiful song without the support of music instuments.( md kalyanji andji ) then the songs in the filim lal quilla as a.s murty and some rafi fans noted earlier.

  20. Mohammed Irfan says:

    Respected Gurumurthy Sir

    A really thoughful article on one of the most important characters of film music .i.e the orchestra. It is a known fact that Naushad saab was the first superstar composer who brought home to the film industry what a composer can do for the success of a film, to Naushad saab belongs the honor of defining what film music can be.He could compose with a 100-man orchestra as he did in Aan (1952) and could go Western if the situation demanded it (Jadoo (1951)). Naushadsaab was one of the first to introduce sound mixing and the separate recording of voice and music tracks in playback singing. He was the first to combine the flute and the clarinet, the sitar and mandolin. He also introduced the accordion to Hindi film music and was among the first to concentrate on background music to extend characters’ moods and dialogues through music.

    But perhaps his greatest contribution was to bring Indian classical music into the film medium. But that is a different topic and as I feel i am swaying away from the topic I would like to mention the fantastic ‘heer’ from Mera Naam Joker ,music by SJ (with Rafi saab as the main source of melody).It is certainly the best Heer song ever sung. ‘Sadke heer tujhpe’ .

    Mohammed Irfan

  21. biman baruah says:

    respected guru murthy ji

    again congratulations for nice & wonderful topic. The combination of Rafi – Naushad and Rafi-SD Burman are great & notable for creation of some rare & exceptional songs of Hindi Film Music which are having everlasting melody. The Rafi under their composition are unique and outstanding.

    It is absolutely right that in present era singers are used to give rest to Orchestra and therefore no evergreen / everlasting song came out from today’s films.
    awaiting for your next article

    with best wishes & warm regards

  22. Raghunaath says:

    You are really Guruji, for knowing Rafisaab and his unique contributions to Music world. In fact your article is indeed very informative and eye opening to know Rafisaab closely…..Now-a days music with interlude instruments is noisy and monotonous unlike olden music with interlude instruments where each instrument sings along with the singers, particularly flute by SDB, Hormonium and Guitar by OPN and Sitar/Tabla by Shankar Jaikishan so on ……Endless appreciation for music of those days particularly songs rendered by Rafisaab….


  23. kprem says:

    Thanks alot to update Rafi Sahab bio graphy.

    Indeed he is stil a unique singer in the world.


  24. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:


    Sitar prelude in “Nainon Me Badara” remiinds me of an article I read recently regarding Madan Mohan and Rais Khan. Rais Khan was the Sitar player for all MM gems and MM used Sitar very prominently in many of his songs. But due to some misunderstanding, MM dropped Rais Khan from his team and later songs of MM did not have Sitar at all. And the loser, we music lovers because the use of Sitar in MM songs was, as you rightly said “heavenly”.

  25. Nagesh Sidhanti says:


    That was an informative write up on orchestration in Hindi cinema. As you say
    the original intent of interlude music was to give a break to the singers and nowadays it is the otherway in most cases.

    I was just listening to ‘naino main bhadra chaaye’ and the prelude score of sitar and jaltarang is so heavenly, it has so much value addition to the song by setting up the mood. And to sing without or with min background score, takes the guts and skills of the likes of Rafi sab alone like he has done in
    ‘ na kisiki aankh ka noor hun’.

    thanks n regards

    Nagesh Sidhanti

  26. A S MURTY says:

    gurumurthyji once again you have come up with an excellent article on some of the songs with least instrumental support. the article reminded me of the two songs from ‘lal quila’ – “lagta nahi hai dil mera ujade dayar mein” and “na kisi ki ankh ka noor hun” both of which had almost negligible instrumental interludes or support and for most of the time it the voice of rafi sahab that is heard throughout. good artilcle once again which will bring to fore many such songs.

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