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Who Could Have Sung These Songs?

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

Mohd Rafi with Shrikant ThackreyA big debate is going on in various web sites of Rafiji, KK and others regarding who was a better singer. In fact, this sort of discussion was always going on even in our days when we used to heatedly argue as to who was better.

No doubt, all these great Singers, whether it was Rafi or KK or Mukesh or Hemant or Talat or Mannadey or Mahendra, gave us wonderful songs which we remember even now after so many years. Mukesh was very good in songs filled with pathos, uncomplicated songs without much high or low, soft, simple songs. Some of his songs especially for Raj Kapoor were superb. Hemant Kumar with a heavy voice, was also good in all these respects as Mukesh was and his songs had a touch of the Bengal culture and Rabindra Sangeet. Talat was King of Gazals, soft, velvety voice used especially well by Madan Mohan and he was the main Singer for Dilip Kumar before Rafi took over.

KK perhaps was much more talented than these above mentioned singers and could carry any song effortlessly. Though he had been giving hummable songs even in fiftees and sixtees, his main period was in seventies. He became main Singer for almost all the heroes in the seventies. Mahendra’s forte was the effortless ease with which he could raise his voice (remember ‘Na Muh Chupake Jiyo’ from “Hamraaj”). He was also lucky that he gave voice regularly to heroes like Manoj Kumar and B.R.Chopra always wanted MK in his movies and also when OPN did not go along with Rafi for a brief period, Mahendra got all OPN songs during the period.

But all these above Singers had their shortcoming in singing classical songs and qawalis. Of course, here classical means not just Indian ragas, which any how any Indian song will have as its basis, but including raag, taal, alaap, etc., typical songs being ‘Duniya Ke Rakhawale’, ‘Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya’, etc. A typical qawali can be ‘Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai Ishq Ishq’. Mukesh, Talat and Hemant also were not adept at singing at high pitches. Though MK has sung some classical stuff, his effort looked pedestrian. The so called qawalis of KK in the seventies are strictly not qawalis but more of ordinary songs.

Mohd Rafi and Talat Mehmood
Talat Mehmood, Mohd Rafi

The best among all these Singers was Mannadey, talent-wise on par with Rafi but the only difference being the voice, Rafis’ voice was that much more soft, steady, with pure diction and more melodious. In fact, in one of the recent programs at Bangalore, Mannada while talking about Madan Mohan and his Gazals admitted that MM gave so many wonderful gazals sung by Lata and Rafi and howsoever he tried, he could not sing like them. What humility?

All these talks of comparing Rafi with other Singers is not worth discussing as all these Singers as well as their Music Directors have admitted on various occasions that Rafi was the best. His diction, hold on classical ragas, effortless ease with which he used to raise and lower his voice, his throw of words, his way of putting feelings and meaning into each and every word was matchless. It appeared that where others just sang songs, Rafiji felt and lived those songs. However, the topic of comparison raises an interesting debate every time and each Music lover is entitled to his opinion. My opinion is that all were good singers but over all talent-wise, Rafi was the best. Who could have sung the following songs so wonderfully other than Rafi. Can we even imagine the following songs in any other voice. I have restricted the list to just twelve songs and I am sure fellow Rafi lovers can list out many more songs.

“Ishq Ki Garmiye” (Gazal) is a beautiful Rafi Gazal about which we already have a beautiful article in the web site published few months back. Of course, Talat could have sung this Gazal, but what about the lines “Pesh Karun” after each of the three antaras, when Rafiji repeats second time. Rafiji sang the particular two words “Pesh Karun” differently both the times, whether Talat could have achieved the same effect?

“Tumse Kahun Ek Baat” (Dastak) was sung by Rafiji in whispers so sensuously. How many similar songs we have from other singers?

“Ae Watan Ae Watan” (Shaheed) especially the line “Manao Jab Azad Bharat Ka Din, Tum Hame Bhool Jana Nahi”, the pathos, disappointment, every thing comes out in the voice of Rafiji. How many could have given the same effect, perhaps Mannadey to certain extent.

“Kuhu Kuhu Bole Koyaliya” (Suvarna Sundari) was a pure Carnatic classical song sung so beautifully by Rafi and Lata. Which other singer could have sung this classical number especially in the Carnatic style.

“Yeh Ishq Ishq Hai Ishq Ishq” was a qawali made memorable by Rafiji and Mannada. No other singer could have even attempted this song. In fact, all other qawalis sung by others including the so called qawalis sung by KK in the seventies pale in comparison to Rafi and Manna’s qawalis.

The following songs were sung at such a high pitch that probably only Mannada or Mahendra could have tried, but MK could not have made it so memorable.

“O Duniyake Rakhwale” (Baiju Bawra), especially the last line “Rakhawale” raising three times, each higher than the previous one (and on stage fourth time).

“Yeh Mehlo Yeh Takhto” (Pyaasa), one can call this a revolutionary song, the Poet clearly showing his disgust at the Matlabi Society, each stanza sung at a low voice and the tempo raises and the last stanza – “Jalado Jalado” clearly showing his hatred for the Society. Except Rafi, no body else could have justified this song, and that is perhaps the reason SDB chose Rafi for this song.

“Subaha Na Aayi” (Cha Cha Cha) was another song where Rafiji goes high in the end, “Aajao, Aajao, Aajao”, the climax.

In “Jaagi Jaagi Ankhiyon Ke” (Biwi Aur Makan), the breath control is breath-taking.

Mohd Rafi, Kishore Da, Manna Da
Mohd Rafi, Kishore Da, Manna Da

“Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari” (Kagaz Ke Phool) was another wonderful song for Guru Dutt, again singing very slowly and at low voice in the beginning, slowly raising the voice while singing “Pal Bhar Ki Khushiyan Hai Saari” and suddenly bringing down the pitch, just wonderful. Rafiji goes higher in the second part “Udja Udja Pyaase Bhanvare” and again comes down to the initial low pitch, so effortlessly.

“Apni Aazadi Ko Hum Hargiz” (Leader), especially the lines “Jo Sabak Baapune Sikhlaya Bhula Sakte Nahin, Sar Kata Sakte Hain Lekin Sar Jhuka Sakte Nahin”, who could have raised the voice so effortlessly but still retaining the steady voice. Who said that Rafi needed breath-control.

“Zindabad Zindabad” (Mughal E Azam) already a high pitch song, Rafiji still raises it further while singing the last Antara and the way he brings down the voice from the highest pitch to lower pitch so smoothly after singing “Vo Pathar Hai Insaan Kahan, Insaan Kahan … ”.

In the recent “Voice of India” contest, an up-coming good singer sang a KK qawali when all the Participants were asked to sing qawalis. This particular Singer appeared to be a fan of KK as majority of his songs especially of older generation were of KK. The judge pointed out that the qawali selection was not correct. Later the same singer sang the qawali from “Hum Kisise Kum Nahin” and also admitted that after the earlier episode, he wanted to show that he could also sing qawalis. In fact, the Judges also appreciated his efforts. No doubt, in qawalis, Rafi and Manna are the last words.

Well, Rafiji in his long career of 35 years has sung so many songs. Many of them are such that only Rafi could have done justice to those songs. In fact, even while using other Singers, the MDs reserved certain songs only for Rafi or Manna as they always knew that other Singers would not be able to do justice to those songs.

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95 Blog Comments to “Who Could Have Sung These Songs?”

  1. Hyder Ali says:

    I first heard Rafiji’s songs when I was 18. One of the first songs I hear was Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki from Dulari and I simply loved his voice. So graceful, so sincere and filled with emotions, then I heard the ultimate O Duniya Ke Rakhwale, that is simply an amazing song, my eyes were filled with tears after I heard that, the way Rafi Saab raises his voice is awesome, could not imagine any other singer even try to attepmt that with the same tune and steadiness in the voice.


  3. AHAMED KUTTY Pazhayannur says:

    Dear Shashankji,

    there is no duet song of Yesudasji with Rafi saab.It is informed in an
    interview with yesudasji that he was lucky to had a rehersal with
    rafi saab under the music of raveendra jain but the recording did not
    take place.

  4. shashank says:

    Can anybdy tell us yesudas and rafisahab have sang any duet song.

  5. Dhani Ram says:

    One of the finest songs ever sung is from Manoj starrer shaheed:sarfroshi ki tamanna ab hamare dil mein hai.this duet of rafi and manna de conclusively evidences rafi’s supremacy as a singer.just listen to this song and you will be convinced of manna de’s repeated asservation that no other singer could even remotely match rafi’s stature as a singer.beginning with alaap rafi goes through his paces in a superlative manner.manna de is barely able to carry his is not for nothing that in a recent interview manna de said that he used to listen to rafi in amazement.

  6. Nice article gurumurthyji, i want to tell tht Mohdrafi and kishorekumar sang many duets with themselves in many films, but both are great singers in their approach. Just listen this song “Zindabad Zindabad” (Mughal E Azam) can any singer sings the way rafisahab sang, the song starts from high and ends it in high alap. wht a genius singer he was, remarkable.

  7. Binu Nair says:

    post 26 : dhani ram ji: in a concert at shanmukhananda hall mumbai after rafi saaheb finished a song, in walked yesudas and said : whatever i am today it’s because of mohd rafi and took his ashirwad/blesings.
    readers will be delighted to know that yesudas dad translated the song oh duniya ke rakhwale in to malayalam with the same tunes and prepared yesudas – for a music career.

    this carnatic music wizard also recently wrote a letter from the aircraft to the rafi foundation and handed it over to purser/rafi lover sanjiv makhija and sang a few lines of “oh duniya ke rakhwale” in the aircraft itself. the letter is about extending his support to rafi foundation and telling about his entire family being rafi lovers.

    binu nair. rafi foundation…

  8. Binu Nair says:

    post 26 : dhani ram ji: in a concert at shanmukhananda hall mumbai after rafi saaheb finished a song, in walked yesudas and said : whatever i am today it’s because of mohd rafi and took his ashirwad/blesings.
    readers will be delighted to know that yesudas dad translated the song oh duniya ke rakhwale in to malayalam with the same tunes and prepared yesudas – for a music career.

    this carnatic music wizard also recently wrote a letter from the aircraft to the rafi foundation and handed it over to purser/rafi lover sanjiv makhija and sang a few lines of “oh duniya ke rakhwale” in the aircraft itself. the letter is about extending his support to rafi foundation and telling about his entire family being rafi lovers.

    binu nair. rafi foundation…

  9. Dhani Ram says:

    to the endless list of gems which are not so well known but which only rafi could have sung i may add the following:

    1.Is rang badalti duniya mein insaan ki neeyat theek naheen nikla na karo tum sajh dhaj ke bhagwan ki neeyat theek naheen

    2. dil mein ik jaane tamanna ne jagah payee hai aaj gulshan mein naheen ghar mein bahar aayee hai

    3.yeh raat yeh phizaayen phir aayen ki na aayen aao shama bujha ke hum aaj dil jalayen ( a duet with asha)

    Meanwhile,In a report carried on July 1 by Jallandhar based Hindi daily,Punjab Kesari,well-known ghazal singer Peenaz Masani has stated that ghazal has a lasting impact while pop music is ephemeral.Ghazal is for the ear while pop is for the sight.She praises Begum Akhtar for holding her own in primarily a male bastion.

    I expected her to mention some great ghazal singer as her favourite singer.But lo and behold!Her favourite singer is the greatest singer ever in any genre:Mohammed Rafi.

  10. A S MURTY says:

    ref post 32 Anil Cherianji, thanks for reproducing excerpts of the interview of yesudas and what great words ‘ he is a musical university…..’. it gives us all a great feeling to read stuff like that. also dhani ramji, your comments are so well crafted and you have wide knowledge too. i also admired krishnarafianji’s comments (post 30). to say “rafi sahab was the greatest” is simply an understatement. kudos to all for their lively comments on a worthy article by gurumurthyji.

  11. Dhaniramji,

    I fully agree with you. Rafiji had everything a Singer should have. Yesudoss has observed that God was partial to Rafi in that he gave all KHOOBIS of a Singer to Rafi.

  12. Dhani Ram says:

    shri gurumurthyji
    It is always a deiight to read your articles and views.when i think of rafi’s songs i find so many that have been sung with absolute perfection.most of them were quite popular when they were released but were seldom heard thereafter.the following used to be broadcast regularly on radio ceylon and vividh bharti and other radio stations in the sixties and are very lovely indeed.I can’t imagine anybody else,including the great Lata Mangeshkar,even attempting this one:

    zulf lehrai teri aur meri taqdeer bani (from the film yeh raaste hain piar ke)

    the song composed in raag bhairavi,opens with a touch of heer and is sung at a slow pace in a deep voice.among other singers only mukesh had such deep bass (evident in nain dwar se man mein voh aa ke tan mein aag lagaye) but he was incapable of the kind of modulations required for the opening piece.

    then begins the antra with koi mujhse pooche ki tum meire kya hai.rafi goes through it with great ease,melody and mastery.and then the song reaches a crescendo at a high pitch.raif shows the great reach of his voice in this song.

    sometime in sixties hmv released a set of two cassettes containing the best songs of the of them never heard these days is the qawwali: aakhon mein tumharei jalwe hain hothon pe tumhare afsaane,betabie dil se tang aa kar pohunche hai yahan tak deewane.

    this song again is a superb amalgam of pitch,pace,bass,melody etc beyond the singing capacities of any other singer.the great qawwal nusrat himself couldn’t have done it as he didn’t have rafi’s volume and range (no disrespect meant to the great maestro who has been the best in the field of qawwali)

    Then there was this one : raaze dil un se chhupaya na gaya,a song never heard these days.very few songs have been sung with such other singer could have sung each word with such command and emotion.

    rafi had in his voice range,grace,sweetness,melody,delicacy,volume,throw,feeling,pathos and technical skill denied to any other singer of any genre.what do you think sir?

  13. K.J.Ravi says:

    Rafi sahab is undoubtedly God’s gift to the music world. I am sure no other singer could have dared to attempt the phenomenal patriotic song Ab koi gulshan na ujde, ab watan azzad hai (Mujhe Jeene Do, 1963, music Jaidev and lyrics Sahir). Each stanza is unique in itself, but the second stanza (mandiron mein shankh baaje masjidon mein hon azaaan) leaves the listener spellbound. The manner in which Rafi Sahab’s voice soars to a very high range and dips spectacularly is something out of this world. Where can we find another Rafi??

  14. Anil Cherian says:

    Would like to mention some songs of the ’70s (a decade considered to belong to another singer).
    #1. Kahi ek masoom nazuk si ladki….. – what great singing, caressing each words rather than throwing them, he paints a beautiful picture of the ‘ bohat khoobsoorat’ girl for the listeners.
    #2. Dheere chal zaraa….- so soft (yet so masculine) and haunting.. can anyone sing like this
    #3. Parda hai parda…- Just listen to Rafisahab rendering ‘nahi hain…’ (in the line ‘Akbar mera naam nahi hain). He punches it and lets his voice taper down, like a ripple in a pond. This line is also sung by the popular singer of the period and one simply has to compare it to understand the difference in class…

  15. shashank says:

    Nice article by Gurumurthyji, i like to read such types of articles. Now as a contributor in ths sites there is some prblm going on where there is no response from them. We request tht plz. give us the reply when we write a mail to ur side. Its nice to read some articles whch has been written by many fans of the sites.

  16. Dear Bangaloreans,

    “Baar Baar Rafi” a group of Rafi fans at Bangalore is organising a musical evening at Chowdiah Memorial Hall at Malleswaram, Bangalore on Sunday, 17.08.08. Orchestra by the famed “Keep Alive” Group of Mumbai with voice of Rafi, Mr. Srikanth as the lead Singer with 15 piece Orchestra accompanied by Co-Singers. Ticket denominations Rs. 1000, Rs. 500, Rs. 300, Rs. 200. For tickets please contact Mr. Narayanan (9886779557), or Mr. Ashok Dalmia or Mr Krishnan of WIPRO or Mr. Guru Murthy (9880777890).

  17. Dhani Ramji,

    I fully agree with you that “Jaane Bahar” from “Preet Na Jaane Reet” picturised on Shammi Kapoor is also a song which only Rafi could have sung especially the lines “Kiranon Ko Bhi Na Chunena Doonga Tera Badan”, sung at a high pitch and suddenly bringing to lower pitch.

    In one of the recent TV interview in Kannada Channel, SPB was asked who was his favourite singer. SPB replied that till he entered Film Industry, it was Ghantasala and after entry, it became Rafi because he came to know the versatility of Rafi. Well I am not belittling Ghantasala, who has also sung so many wonderful songs in the South Indian languages.

  18. Dhani Ram says:

    Let me add two more of Rafi’s less known songs which sound so beautiful in his voice.Nobody could have rendered them with such feeling.

    1.Gore hathon par na zulm karo,hazir hai yeh banda hukam karo

    2.Jaane bahar husn tera bemisal hai,allah kamal hai are wallah kamal hai

    Moreover who could have sung supernal songs like Jinhen naaz hai hind par voh kahaan hain,main yeh soch kar us ke dar se chala tha,main nigaahen tere chehare se hataon kaise,mujhe le chalo aaj phir us gali mein etc.the list is endless. rafi’s great quality is that he infuses each word with the emotion that the song is striving to convey.No other singer does that.Manna Dey had great virtuosity but also had a dry voice.Moreover his voice didn’t have the same volume as rafi’s.Leave aside a handful of his songs,he looks so banal in all others.Mahendra Kapoor had solidity of voice but not exapansiveness.rafi was his mentor right from his days as a learner.In an interview on Radio World Space he was asked if he would have liked to sing some of rafi’s songs,his reply was:Main unko ga kar bigaarta hi ( i would have only made a mess of them ).

    talat was good with huge limitations.At every step his voice gets muffled up.Once at a concert in delhi talat sang his choicest ghazals but when rafi rendered his na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon all that talat had sung paled into insignificance.the purpose is not to
    belittle the other singers but to state a reality.just see what happens when mukesh raises his pitch.the song is butchered.

  19. Anil Cherian says:

    Ref: Post 29.
    Agree with you totally. None else could/can create the same magic… And “Babul ki duayeen…” is another wonderful example..
    Post: 26
    Would like to reproduce an excerpt from K J Yesudas sir’s interview (given recently to a Malayalam fortnightly):
    Q: Thousands love to hear you day in and day out. Who do you like to listen to?
    A: There are several singers I like listening to. But there is one special to me- he is Mohd. Rafi sahab. He could sing any song, there were others who excelled in certain types of songs, But Rafisahab could sing anything very well. He is a musical university and I have always tried to imitate his qualities, though I never tried to copy him as such.

  20. MEHTAB says:

    Respected Rafi Sahib’s fans,
    The good articles of Mr. H.V.Guru Murthy, S. Anmol Singh, Mr. Binu Nair, Mr. P. Narayanan at this Main Rafi Site are need of the hour. We really owe to these pioneers, who are always hoisting the flag of Rafi sahib at the top of the world. I have a long cherished desire that the NRI fans of Rafi sahib should announce to launch a Rafi TV Channel. Would my wish become a reality? The efforts of the above-mentioned pioneers ‘ll always be remembered. I salute these people.
    — MEHTAB, +91-98157 03226, E-Mail :

  21. krishnarafian says:

    Dear Mr.Guru Murthy,

    Undoubtedly, RAFI SAAB is numero uno.. Comparisons not required at all. If people say otherwise. No problems its their limitations to understand our Rafi Saab.. Every quality singer has accepted Rafi Saab as the greatest. SPB, Yesudas etc.,. Some time back, I was listening to a programme of Pankaj Udhas where the RJ asked him to chose between Rafi and Kishore. His answer was obviously RAFI.. NO FURTHER DISCUSSIONS ON THIS to prove what Rafi saab is. He is Diamond, Gold, next to God.. above all religions, heart touching.. words are not enough as tears are rolling out of emotions. See you on Aug 17 at Chowdaiah..

  22. rafifan says:

    Re: Post 14
    Mr. Jai: I agree with you that some of the songs that Rafi Saheb sang could have been sung by others. However, I totally disagree that a song like “sunno sunno miss cahtterji” in kk’s voice would have been as good. Had kk sang this song your mind’s ‘eye’ will see kk not jhonny walker delivering this song. In fact I have this problem with all of kk’s song -be it delivered by rajesh khanna or amitabh bachchan – it is always kk who jumps out of the song instead of the actor who delivered it. It may be beacuse that we had seen kk on the screen several times and always associated his personality with the song. This was not the case with our favourite singer mohammad rafi. He was not a screen personality and that in a way helped him mold his song to the actors who delivered them. Also, I love Manna Dey’s songs. He is my second most favourite singer. His classical based songs are great. But I was compiling a list of songs based on the ragaa’s and when I started ranking them with my likings – invariably Rafi sahab;s songs came on the top. Raag Darbari – ‘O duniya ke rakhvaale’ and ‘toote huye khwabon ne”. Hameer – “Madhuban me Radhika”. Malkauns – “Man Tarpat Hari Darshan ko aaj”, etc.
    I think that for the classical songs Rafi Sahab is second to none.

    Mr. Gurumurthyji: great article. Although you missed my favourite “baabul ki dovayn leteei ja”. I challange that no other singer can fill the song with the emotions that rafi sahab was able to do. Then again, I do not think that none of the songs that Rafi sahab has delivered could have been delivered as beautifully by any other singer.

  23. Jai says:

    Mr Binu Nair wrote: “rafi saaheb once sang “Meri sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu” in front of kishore and the crowd jubilantly swayed at the renowned shanmukhananda hall and asking the music company to cut a disc in rafi’s vocals. also present were kalyanji and anandji and it was a live concert………..”

    Fascinating. Where did you hear this? Do you have more details? When did this take place?

  24. Dhani Ram says:

    Nobody could have sung any of the great songs of rafi.the list of such songs is endless.i must mention only one of the less known to buttress my earlier post that even the less known songs of rafi are better than the better known songs of other singers.The song is :

    Parvar digare alam tera hi hai sahara,tere sive jahan mein koi nahin hamaara.

  25. Dhani Ram says:

    Anil cherianji
    You are right on the spot.When yesudas gave his first concert in Bombay,rafi was present in the audience.Yesudas was a budding singer in those days and was not yet known to north indian audiences.rafi was at the peak of his career and what a peak it was.and yet rafi was able to size up the talent of the young singer.after the concert,rafi complimented yesudas.since then each came to admire the other.yesudas with his tremendous classical background drew rafi’s attention while yesudas acknowledged the uniqueness of rafi’s melodious voice and singing the recorded history of indian music,only yesudas deserves to be bracketed with rafi and since yesudas himself concedes rafi’s superiority,let us just honour his view.

  26. Sheikh Hussein says:

    nice article, songs mentioned are just extra ordinary, only Rafi Saheb could do justice to such songs.

  27. Jawad Rana says:

    Its a very good article, but MR greatness cannot be fully captured by words, and comparing him with other singers is bit insulting, as he had no comparison, he was gift by god to humanity, and as music has no relegion (Thank God) and there by had no relegious barriers which curse our society.
    Waiting fo that day when common sense will pervail and religious prejudice overcome and he be declared as King (as Elvis is), but this is not possible till the Pundits and Mullahs influnce our society.

  28. AHAMED KUTTY says:

    Dear Gurumoorthyji,

    excellent topic and study.

    In terms of music, mohammed rafi saab is a “super market” since
    he could sing all types of songs there by he could satisfy all type
    of music lovers.For me the most astonishing thing as far as
    his sound is concerned is the songs he sung for johny walker.In
    such things we cannot imagine other singers such perfection of
    sound which is matching the actor’s sound.

    also the way he is playing with the words no singer in india to do
    the same way how he is pronouncing. examples of words:
    Khushboo,mehabooba,shaam,mohabbat,fiza,rangeen,aasmaan etc.
    that iswhy he became “ustaadom ke ustaad” and still nobody to
    compare with him even they have good sound.

  29. I fully agree Cherianji, The song from Love In Tokyo – Aajare Aajara is a unique song. Rafiji sang this song in a shivering voice without raising the voice bringing out the impetuous love of the hero for the heroine. The music by SJ was great. Another song which Rafji sang with a shivering voice was the title song of Tumse Acha Kaun hai, which incidenatlly I was listening today morning while driving to the Office. Well, one can notice something special in almost all Rafi songs.

  30. Dhani Ram says:

    Shri Gurumurthy
    Where is the comparison,Sir.Compared to the colossus called Rafi,all other singers are mere pigmies.Look at the following:

    Rafi :good to very good songs: 5000

    Mukesh: good to very good songs : 125

    Kishore : good to very good songs : 75

    Others : good to very good songs : 50 each

  31. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Nice article, songs mentioned in the article are superb. No one is even near to Rafi Saheb.

  32. Khalid Rashid says:


    The song Aaja Re Aa Zaraa Aa is really mind blowing, listen to it while you have headphones/earphones on and you will notice never will there ever be another Rafi.
    How on earth does he sing this song the way he has I will never know but I am so so glad he has as what magic this song is,voice which is out of this world.
    Completely disagree when you say it is mles ahead of Roop Tera Mastana, I would say it is GALAXIES ahead of roop tera mastana.

    Khalid Rashid

  33. Binu Nair says:

    i heard recently the gem from anu malik’s first rafi song : mohaabbat rang laayegi, aahista aahista,,, its a duet with chandrani mukherji….

    see the softness of the song and according to anu, rafi improvised the song and it’s one of the beauties with average lyrics…. now , we know why anu said : rafi would increase the song quality ten fold. present singer’s can’.
    and thats why we have “noise” passing on as “music”. but this also will pass and i am confident of a new dawn in music.
    yeh subah kabhie to aayegi……………….

    binu nair, rafi foundation, mumbai… cell : 9833 250 701….

  34. Binu Nair says:

    Post 14 : rafi saaheb once sang “Meri sapnon ki raani kab aayegi tu” in front of kishore and the crowd jubilantly swayed at the renowned shanmukhananda hall and asking the music company to cut a disc in rafi’s vocals.
    also present were kalyanji and anandji and it was a live concert………..

    the song should also have been recorded in rafi’s voice for music lovers to relish, we strongly feel.

    binu nair, rafi foundation, mumbai,

  35. Anil Cherian says:

    Wonderful article (as always) from Gurumurthy sir.
    Would like to add on a few more songs to the list of inimitable songs. One is “kehna ek deewana..” from Laila majnu… to me it’s perfection in male play back singing. Rafisahab sounds exactly like the abandoned lover wandering about in the desert. Another one is ‘aaja re aa zaraa…’ from Love in Tokyo. I always ask myself ‘how on earth can anyone sing like this?’ whenever I listen to/watch the song.. with a quivering and ‘charged-up’ voice he creates magic in this song and personally I rate this one miles ahead of the much heralded ‘roop thera mastana…’. Then there is ‘hai duniya usiki…’ from Kashmir ki kali (?).. Can an observer ever say it’s not Shammi Kapoor who’s actually singing the song? Infact one can go on and on and finally generalise that Rafisahab is indeed the ultimate and no one else would’ve been able to render those songs as brilliantly as he did.
    The only singer (IMO) who could be compared to Rafisahab in terms of all round brilliance is K J Yesudas sir (a huge Rafi-bhakt) and I suppose if Rafisahab were alive today he would have said something like ‘he reminds me a lot of myself’ (what Pele remarked about Maradona in 1986) about Yesudas sir.

  36. unknow says:

    Dearest Jai,
    op nayyar was great witout Lata ji the great singer and op nayyar was who made Asha Ji but op nayyar without Mohd Rafi said by op nayyar keeping Mohd rafi out of recording rooms was my biggest mistake in life,kk had great songs with op Nayyar but not same class of Mohd Rafi.
    O P Nayyar was great without Lata Ji and Naushand was great without KK but who can give me great music director without Mohd Rafi.
    when RR asked why you don’t give the good music as you gave in 1970’s and answer was give me singer like Mohd rafi I will give you good music..

  37. Jai says:

    naushad fostered a starting rafi. op’s best came with rafi but rafi was transitioned to the #1 spot with greatest effort from op nayyar. who made who is as difficult as determining whether the leg is is more important than the arm. both benefited and enjoyed each other’s company very much.

    notice that *both* kishore kumar and mohammed rafi sang *some* light, playful songs for sd burman and each did great justice to those compositions. just like me, op nayyar was a biased rafi fan. he intinsically preferred rafi’s voice and art. indeed there are a lot of op songs that rafi was best suited for. however, purely as food for thought, couldn’t kishore kumar sing the peppy songs of op nayyar just as well as rafi? i think he could. not all of op’s songs were “aana hai to aa” or “man mawra bawra”. kishore was very peppy himself and could easily sing songs like “suno suno mrs chatterjee” or “mujhe akhiyon pe apni yakeen hai”. of course, a diehard rafi fan like me would still prefer rafi’s rendering but the masses and other fans (and even rafi fans) would be happy with kishore’s rendition. additionally, as we’d see later, kishore made a great pair with asha. so i wouldn’t say that op relied entirely on rafi. he entirely liked rafi but a man who could succeed without lata – could succeed with any decent singer. imo it was more of a coincidence that op’s downfull happened just as his rift with rafi. mahendra kapoor was great for devotional and patriotic songs but for peppy or romantic songs – i’d easily take either rafi or kishore. i wonder what would have happened if kishore kumar was willing and op opted for him instead of mahendra kapoor. of course, i was speaking only on musical terms. i did not consider factors like op nayyar and rafi have excellent chemistry and understanding each other exactly and being comfortable with one another. the same would not always happen for op with other singers.

    the only singer in hindi films that regularly sang classical and i liked – was mannade. rafi’s ability to sing classical songs is definitely NOT what set him apart from the rest. it was unique, velvet, sweet voice. his enormous success in all genres (romantic, thoughtful, devotional, playful etc) of film music. his voice suiting the heroes very well. these are what made rafi great. i’m in the minority but rafi is not my preference for classical songs and to me that’s not a big deal. so what – rafi is my choice for just about any other genre.

  38. DR. HABIB GILANI says:

    rafi is the best . no word other than this

  39. jasbir singh zando says:

    In fact after the arrival of Great Rafisaab in the late forties in the playback singing,all the music directors n film producers were so much impressed with his magical n golden voice which could turn any song whether it is love song,ghazal,sad,religious,patriotic,quawali,classical,romantic,slow n fast,background songs conveying film message most affectively he proved hero..rafisaab hit sixer everytime he rendered any song…song became gold with his magnetic voice…Hemantda returned to bengali industry,ghazal king Talat Mehmood lied low, then Saigalsaab died in 1948.Mukesh sang mostly sad songs,Kishore was busy with his yodlee.but Manna Dey gave us classical as well as he cosang quawalis with rafisaab .so Mohd Rafisaab replaced practically all with his rare talent.There r so many songs which can be sung with full justice to lyrics,tune,character,emotions of words,right diction of any language even english pop …could/ can be by rafisaab only.Great Manna Dey once said,” rafi saab is the gharana of music”…how true it is…rafisaab voice is real mardana voice it remained same at low as well as high pitch…his voice was so flexbile n matchable to the hero on screen it appeared hero is singing with his voice…so were the feelings n impressions the fans enjoyed…..every singer has his own style n limitation within which he could do justice,every song of Mahender kapoor(who look upon rafisaab as his guru) if sung by rafisaab could have been even better(claimed by Ravi(HIT music director)….but RAFISAAB hit everytime sixer when he recorded any song…everybody used to shower him bundle of praises…he being very humble said while rasing hands above towards is His blessings….that proves his greatness….so RAFISAAB WAS.IS AND WILL BE GREATEST VOICE OF ALL TIME….

  40. Santoshji, what a significant observation. when Rafi raised his voice it became more broader where as others voice became thin. Well it always became shrill. Rafiji’s voice was steady even at higher pitches. Perhaps only Mahendra Kapoor used to be steady at higher pitches apart from Rafi.

  41. Binu Nair says:

    the day when op nayyar decided to keep rafi saaheb out of the recording rooms , opn was out of the industry…. that’s rafi greatness.

    both agreed to work again but the magic was out from the composer. the legends were truly great and opn said : keeping out rafi was my biggest mistake in life. mahendra kapoor and opn never could work the “magic” and this is also rafi greatness.

    binu nair, mumbai,….

  42. santosh says:

    Gurumurthy sir,

    Very good article.There is no match for rafisaab’s voice quality.

    I am no expert and I do not know how to post any article on our dear rafi saab on this site. But I would like to point out one greatness in rafi saab’s voice.I always felt that the greatness and uniqness of his voice was that when the pitch was raised the voice became broad, whereas other singers , the voice thins down when the pitch is raised.

    Pl shed some light on this aspect of rafi saab’s voice which I feel has been left out till now in all our respected members articles and comments

  43. Imran Rustam Ali says:

    Great article about comparison of Rafi Sb. with others. No doubt he is the greatest singer of all time.

  44. Dr. Khaja Aliuddin says:

    Janab Guru Murthy Sahab, Adab Araz Hai,
    Congratulations: As usual great aticle. You made my day. Guru Murthy Sahab, it is always pleasure and interesting to read anything on Rafi Sahab, written by you.
    With regards to all Rafi lovers,
    Long live rafi sahab,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  45. ashish kapoor says:

    bindas arcticle guru murthy sahab, when ever it came to potray a song with “true life” in it , music directors could not think of any-body else other than our rafi sa’ab.
    there is another die-hard fan of rafi sa’ab in chandigarh. his name is mr b.d sharma. he has a society called as “yaadgaar-e-rafi society. every year he conducts programmes of rafi sa’ab.
    he invites personalities from the film industry as chief guests in every programme. he has already hosted rafi sahab’s wife bilkis rafi,shahid rafi,o.p nayyar, biswajeet [twice] , usha khanna, naushad sa’ab, mala sinha, rajinder kumar, hasrat jaipuri, majrooh sultanpuri, ravi, kalyan ji-anand ji, lakshmi kant- pyare lal, anwar and also suman kalyanpur.
    he is among a rare breed of rafi fans who goes to bombay every year and requests a personality to grace the occassion.
    this year the rafi foundation, delhi chapter, is organising a programme of rafi sa’ab on 30’th of july. ashish kapoor; 09810087414, 09212587414,;

  46. Anmol Singh says:

    The songs mentioned in the above article are all extra ordinary, which can be rendered by Rafi. A complete voice.

    But I would also like to compliment all the contemporaries of Rafi Sahab for singing some of the finest melodies of all times.

  47. Shahbaz says:

    What a true article!

    It is said, Muhammad Rafi Sahib’s voice was the voice of God. Muhammad Rafi’s voice was as natural as crystal clear water.

    One day when Madam Noor Jahan, Pakistani Player Back singer was giving interview, she said when the music of film “Koyal” was preparing, MD Khursheed Anwer asked me for singing the song “Sagar Roye Lehrain Shor Machayen”. I could not understand the music at the first time, but after reharsal i could understand. Nevertheless Madam Noor Jahan was the best playback singer of Pakistani Film Industry and she had sung a song with Muhammad Rafi Sahib “Yahan Badla Wafa Ka” from film “Jugnu”.

    When Muhammad Rafi was interview, he said that i sang almost most for all MDs and i did not feel any difficulty.

    This is the true telant.

    I would like 2 only say that OP nayyar had said that “Agar Muhammad Rafi na hota to O P Nayyar bhi na hota.

  48. Siva says:

    Excellent–Mr Gurumurthy- each and every word in your article reflects the thoughts of millions of Rafi fans. Your line–“It appeared that where others just sang songs, Rafiji felt and lived those songs” sums up the essence about Rafi sahab’s songs. The soul in Rafi sahab’s songs directly reaches your heart and hence these are evergreen and one always gets so much peace by listening to his songs.
    May be for another 100 years and even after mankind shall remember this greatest singer-may his soul always rest in peace.

  49. mohanflora says:

    Good analysis, Gurumurty. Thanks! Rafisaab was the peerless complete singer-master of all genres occidental or oriental.

    Breaking news!!!!!!!!
    Films Division documentary on Mohammed Rafi
    – Basant Kumar Mohanty

    New Delhi, Jun 22 (PTI) The magical voice of versatile singer Mohammed Rafi has captivated generations of music lovers but not many know the struggle he had to go through in his formative years.
    It is that phase of the life of the playback singer, born in a poor family in Amritsar, which will be the focus of a docu-film being made by the Films Division, the premier documentary producer of the country, this year.
    To commemorate the diamond jubilee of the organisation, Films Division has started making a film on the legendary singer that would give a comprehensive view of Rafi’s life, struggle and accomplishments.

    “The film will project Rafi’s early days, his penchant for singing, struggle in Lahore and then in Bombay and his ascent to fame,” its chief producer Kuldeep Sinha told PTI.

    The film will be of 40 to 50 minutes duration and will be directed by Sinha himself.

    “It will be unique work in the sense that we will highlight the troubles and difficulties that came in the making of Rafi. We will also show his major works,” he said.

    Rafi, born at Kotla Sultanpur in unidivided Punjab in 1924, had started singing by imitating chants of a ‘fakir’ at his village. His family later shifted to Lahore, where Rafi learnt Hindustani classical music.

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