An emotional tribute to Mohammed Rafi on his 38th death anniversary 

It’s three decades down the unforgettable golden memory lane, time and again reminiscent of his everlasting crooning glory tinged with incidents and anecdotes galore.

author_img Shaheen Raaj Published :  01st August 2018 01:54 PM   |   Published :   |  01st August 2018 01:54 PM
Mohammed Rafi photo Indulge

Mohammed Rafi

(4th December 1924 – 31st July 1980)

‘Woh jab yaad aaye, bahut yaad aaye’. Yes indeed and this year 31st July 2018 heralded the 38th death anniversary of Mohammed Rafi, Rafi Sahab for one and all, who incidentally was born on 4th Dec, 1924. So by now it’s 3 decades down the unforgettable golden memory lane, time and again reminiscent of his everlasting crooning glory tinged with incidents and anecdotes galore, since his soul had departed for the heavenly abode on 31st July, 1980 and more so when it is the case of an eminent and a legendary singing personality like him. Not to forget that he was truly known as “Aawaz Ki Duniya Ka Shahenshah” a phrase which was coined by none other than Ameen Sayani, India’s first ever Radio Jockey, on Radio Ceylon during his most popular broadcasting days of the Binaca Geetmala series.    
The Beginning
Since his early childhood, Rafi Sahab had an undyingly passionate penchant for singing. But his strictest disciplinarian and a bit orthodox father was dead against his choice. Yet, later on, it was his uncle who on realizing his ardent desire started imparting the most essential vocal as well as instrumental musical training to him. Once the training session ended his uncle personally introduced him to Feroz Nizami the then managing director of Radio Lahore. The groundwork was laid and soon enough after a brief stint out here the millions “Chahita Fankaar” {beloved singer} got his first ever playback singing break in a made in Lahore Punjabi film titled Gul Baloch. And the year was 1944.
Journey from Lahore to Bombay
The year was the same, 1944. Gul Baloch numbers had hit the roof in the chart bursting track record on Radio Lahore. Rafi Sahab had then confidently packed up his bag, baggage and his Radio Lahore job and landed up straight in the “Jadunagri of Bambai ki filmi duniya” as it was more popularly known then. No doubt the Lahore success had preceded him and he instantly got his first ever Hindi film playback singing break in a film titled Pehle Aap with no other competitive new or old crooner then to pose a serious threat of the “Lucknowi” tradition of “Pehle aap, pehle aap”. The next thing one knew was that he had shot into instant limelight, his very first starry brush with stardom was with the memorable number Yahan Badla Wafaa Ka from a runaway hit film titled Jugnu. And then the rest, as they say, was a melodious history written in golden words in the annals of the history of Indian Cinema in general and Hindi Cinema in particular.
Turning point anecdote
Camp business in the entire filmic arena was prevalent even then. So in spite of gaining instant recognition with Jugnu Rafi Sahab had to wait for his time to enter the big time musical league. And soon enough such an opportunity did come his way. In his heydays, his major breakthrough was courtesy a strange incident that had insinuated his foray into the musical giant Naushad Sahab’s music room at Mehboob Studio. It so happened that during the recording of Babul, another eminent singer Talat Mehmood had ended up infuriating him by daring to smoke in his presence. And due to the stringent contract system Talat Mehmood did end up singing all the songs of Babul much to his chagrin. But of course Naushad Sahab had vowed that he would never repeat Talat Mehmood in any of his film. So when he scored the music for his next film Baiju Bawra it was Rafi Sahab who got a laid out on a platter golden opportunity to sing all its songs including the very symbolic, heart touching and scintillatingly naughty number Maan Mera Ehsaan Arre Nadaan Ke Maine Tuhse Kiya Hai Pyaar from Mehboob Khan’s film Aan.
His unique style his forte
In this regard it was the then Rafi Sahab’s arch rival the Late Kishore Kumar, who in spite of being a versatile and prolific crooner in his own right had to borrow his playback for one of his own acting role in a film titled Raagini, who had gone on record speaking volumes about his vocal virtuosity, It sounds unbelievable yet true that all of a sudden Mohammed Rafi’s volcanic talent had emerged like a “Towering Inferno” on the Hindi based Indian musical scene from the 50’s phase onwards. His main forte was his stylish slurring, his mast murki’s, the feel and the tease in his voice in Toto with his excellent ability to mould his voice differently to match all the actor’s voices of their times. Then, of course, his perfect knowledge and understanding of every nuances pertaining to Urdu words in league with the Persian poetry too. While the added bonanza was his unmatched, unparalleled and flawless diction which he often used to infuse with an immeasurable yearning to bring out the exuberant light heartedness in his extremely popular Shammi Kapoor style of songs. 
His captivatingly intoxicating numbers
To attempt the chronological enlisting of Rafi Sahab’s endless number of hit songs would be strictly unfair as millions, billions, trillions and zillions of his fans hum them all over and all the time even to this day! Yet there is no one on par with him as far as the crooning of the captivatingly intoxicated numbers were concerned, like Choo Lene Do Naazook Hoton Ko, Chalkaye Jaam Aaiye Aapki Aankhon Ke Naam, Maine Pi Sharab Tumne Kya Piya, Yeh Duniya Usiki, Jo Unki Tamanna Hai, Mujhe Duniya Walon Sharabi Na Samjo, Mujhko Yaaro Maaf Karna Main Nashemain Hoon et al.
His heartwarmingly sad numbers
No doubt the ever-smiling Rafi Sahab was equally versatile while crooning the pathos-ridden melancholic numbers, like Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil, Babul Ki Duaen Leti Jaa, Mile Na Phool To Katon Se Dosti Karli, Aaj Purani Rahon Se Koi Mujhe Aawaz Na De, Yaad Na Jaaye Beete Dino Ki, Hum Ne Wafaa Na Sikhi et al.
His lively and peppy numbers
Indeed how can one forget his lively, peppy and outstandingly foot tapping numbers, like Tareef Karoon Kya Uski Jisne Tumhe Banaya, Badan Pe Sitare Lapete Hue, Jiya Ho Jiya Ho Jiya Kuch Bol Do, Jaan Pehchaan Hai, Na Rootho, Rootho Na Rootho Meri Jaan, Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe….Yahoooooo, Uff Yu Maa, Uff O Khuda et al.
His evergreen romantic numbers
In this arena he was aptly titled as the “King of Romance” by Indian Cinema historians like the late Firoze Rangoonwalaa, the Late Bunny Reuben, Rajiv Vijaykar, Ritu Nanda et al albeit in their musical references making a special mention of Rafi Sahab and his evergreen romantic numbers, like Nisultana Re, Chehre Pe Giri Zulfein, Baharaon Phool Barsao, Teri Pyaari Pyaari Soorat Ko, Yeh Mera Prem Patr Padkar, Mere Mehboob Tujhe Meri Mohabbat Ki Kasam, Bekhudi Mein Sanam Uth Gaye Jo Kadam, Aankhon Hi Ankhon Mein Ishara Ho Gaya et al. Well! The list is never ending and even reams and reams and endless reams of papier-mâché would be in suffice to enlist them all.
In conclusion
And then finally the voice that had enthralled and entertained the global music lovers was silenced forever on 31st July 1980. Yet his diehard fans all over feel, “Mohammed Rafi Sahab is not lost, only his physical presence is missing, but his heart, his soul and his voice still belongs to all of us.” Yes his was the most recorded voice of the bygone era and even now not a single day passes by without a Rafi number being aired on either Radio or Television. Indeed Rafi Sahab, who did face a declining lean phase, a slow and steady easing out phase in between, still remained the unchallenged musical supremo from the year 1960 to the year 1969. Besides he never gave up his riyaz, never compromised and never ever changed his outlook. While as per his son Shahid Rafi, “There can never be another Mohammed Rafi. Yes clones are galore including me in the earlier phase but Mohammed Rafi was Mohammed Rafi. By the way Baba has sung thousands or rather unlimited, uncountable songs in Hindi as well as varied other languages but till his last days his favorite personal choice were only two songs, like Ek Haseen Shaam Ko Dil Mera Kho Gaya Pehle Apna Hua Kartha Tha Ab Kisika Ho Gaya and Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya, Har Fikr Ko Dhuaen Mei Udata Chala Gaya. Which he did! Indeed!”
The grand final salute
Comes from his contemporary colleague Mohammed Aziz aka Munna Aziz’s song, which he croons in all his globetrotting and Indian musical concerts galore till this date which will keep on reverberating everlastingly thereby refreshing his memory till “Qayamat” {eternity}, Na Insaan Tujhsa Tere Baad Aaya, Na Fankaar Aisa Tere Baad Aaya, Mohammed Rafi Tu Bahut Yaad Aaya.Aameen!



    dont hear rafi songs but follpw hos songs and voice you will come to know the difference between rafisab and other sings whether it is male singer or female singer rafi is one to ten others come after ten he is greatest of greats
    4 years ago reply