Remembering Rafi


Mohammad Rafi’s death anniversary falls on July 31.

Watch any of the singing competitions on TV, no episode passes without a Rafi song. Current generation singers look up to him and want to mimic him. Close your eyes and think of five old Hindi songs you like the most. At least one will be a Mohammad Rafi song. Without this talented singer, history of Hindi music industry would have had a gaping hole in its history.

Rafi is romance personified. Most of my favorite Rafi songs are romantic songs. Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar, Choolene do naazuk honthon ko, Abhi na jao chodkar, Aapke Haseen Rukh Pe, Deewana Hua Baadal are some of the songs which I have listened to and fantasized. Rafi could modulate his voice so well to suit the mood of the song. The sensuality in Choolene do, little naughtiness in Abhi na jao chodkar, innocence in Yeh Mera Prem Patra Padhkar shows the excellent command Rafi had over his voice.

The next category of songs where Rafi has left his indelible mark is the sad songs. The emptiness in the hero’s life is so evident in Din Dhal Jaaye, Haaye Shaam Na Jaaye. Kya Hua Tera Wada, Man Re Tu Kahe Na Dheer Dhare, Chahunga Mein Tujhe Saanjh Savere, Hum Tum Se Juda Hoke are some of the songs which highlight Rafi’s handling of melancholic mood. The best, of course, is Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari and O Duniya Ke Rakhwale. The irony of life in the former song and the extreme longing in the latter could not have better expressed. In fact, these two are few of the songs which I think only Rafi can do justice to. Even though Kishore Kumar is my favorite, I don’t think he would have come close to Rafi in these songs.

Rafi’s songs like Yeh Mausum Bada Beimaan Hai, Mein Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya, Wadiyan Mera Daaman, Pukarta Chala Hoon Mein celebrate life. One immediately starts feeling good about the things around after listening to these songs. Nain Lad Jain Hain, Mein Jat Yamla Pagla Deewana, Sar Jo Tera Chakraye put Rafi in a different league. With these songs, he proved that he is not far behind Kishore in singing humorous and light-hearted songs.

Rafi has a range of ‘haaye’. One is used in romantic songs, a ‘haaye’ that the hero utters clutching his heart, mesmerized by his lady love. Another one is where the hero remembers his lost love, takes a gulp from his glass and utters a ‘haaye’. Rafi gives such a distinct ‘haaye’ in every genre of song, the hero need not emote at all! All the emotion needed is right there in Rafi’s voice.

Apart from giving us the unforgettable songs, probably the best contribution of Rafi’s is providing playback for Shammi Kapoor. The hero who had a totally different style of acting and dancing, no singer could have lived up to this madness. There is a passion in Rafi’s voice that suits Shammi Kapoor’s eccentricity.

With Rafi’s demise on July 31 1980, Hindi music industry has lost its dearest singer and is on a lookout for a replacement. Any new singer on the block is looked at and wondered if he can be the next Rafi. Sonu Nigam, who has a style of his own, confessed that he tries to bring in Rafi’s magic in his songs. He is constantly compared with Rafi and Sonu Nigam does justice to this comparison. If anybody can replace Rafi, it has to be Sonu Nigam.

18 thoughts on “Remembering Rafi

  1. Baber Yasin says:

    He is live with our songs and no any altrative of Rafi.
    He is the such singer they sing all type of song nicely and

    He was the lagend
    And he is the Lagend with him songs

    Rafi Was Great Singer of the world.

  2. I just ended up on this website searching for something.. and I must say you are doing some really good job specially with all your “Remebering” posts…

    One thing, nobody can replace Rafi not even Sonu Nigam. Rafi is and will be the king of playback.

  3. Thanks Vishal. It feels so good to know someone appreciates the “Remembering” posts than the reviews of OSO.

    Hmmm… I agree with you, Rafi is irreplaceable, but if we can find a substitute for him, it has to be Sonu Nigam.

  4. OSO Reviews 😉 Leave that to IndiaFM and Rediff… They are good at that crap.

    Reg. Sonu Nigam; I know he is very good and I like him very much as well… but its just that somehow recently he seems to have lost his golden touch.. I am not sure if you ever got a chance, but listen to the Rafi songs he recorded “Kal Aaj Aur Kal Rafi” recently to make a record… and that is such junk. No songs seems to even match the melody Rafi had..

  5. In the list of current male playback singers, Sonu Nigam appears quite high on my charts. I love his voice and his harkatein. I actually think the other way around. When I listen to Sonu’s earlier songs, I can see a marked difference. I feel he has matured as a singer and he is at his peak now.

    Kal Aaj Aur Kal Rafi: I haven’t listened to it. Is it the same album he created with a non-Indian jazz group? If it is, then no surprise the album is not impressive. I read in an interview of his that the songs where chosen by the band members and Sonu didn’t have any say.

  6. Anaamica… You seem to be an ardent fan of Sonu…Don’t take it personally but I too love Sonu Nigam for what he has achieved today. Now my side of the story….

    “I read in an interview of his that the songs where chosen by the band members and Sonu didn’t have any say.” – Not really sure if somebody of Sonu Nigam’s calibre has NO say in that… Also the songs of Kal Aaj aur Kal are awesome, but the singing was BAD… It seemed like he rushed into the songs…

    Sonu Nigam’s first hit song was “Acha Sila Diya” from Aaja meri jaan which released in 1993, but the album was out in 1990… He has been struggling way before that where he sang so many Rafi Revival albums for T-Series.

    His another hit song which brought him into Bollywood limelight was from Pardes “Yeh Dil” was released in 1997 and today after 10 years he has established himself into the Industry…

    Now imagine somebody who has 17 years to his credit… “I feel he has matured as a singer and he is at his peak now.”

    Today I think KK is awesome… He started with his album Pal released in 1999 in which his songs Pal and Yaaron were amazing.. He has as well matured as a Singer and today when you hear “Ajab Si” from OSO you truly believe that he has emerged as a wonderful singer.. All his recent songs have something different to his voice and I am sure if you give him 8-9 more years and he will be equally good as Sonu 😉

  7. “Anaamica… You seem to be an ardent fan of Sonu…”

    Yes, I am. There is something in his singing which touches my heart. I feel depressed when I listen to his ‘Tanhayee’ from DCH or ‘Soona man ka aangan’ from Parineeta. He makes singing look so easy.

    That said, KK is definitely one of the best singers we have. I think he is already as good as Sonu 🙂 Apart from Sonu and KK, I like Kunal Ganjawala, Sukhwinder Singh just to name a few. There are certain kind of songs which only Kunal can sing and make justice to.

  8. Looks like now we are talking on the same wavelength… Yup… Kunal and Sukhwinder are amazing… Nobody can sing “Nasha Hi Nasha hain” except Sukhwinder…

  9. Dipak says:

    I was going through your articles about music and should say really nice piece of work. You definitely have a good taste of music. I noticed the Singers discussion here.
    Vishal and you both are kind of trying to come up with some top liners here…and so I just wanted to add another feather to the cap…..
    “Ankhon Main Sapne Liye…Ghar Se Hum Chal to Diye….Tanha Dil Tanha Safar” To
    “Chand Sifarish”…

    does that ring the bell?

  10. Dipak.. Aap bhi na… Shaan is now a legend… I loved his “Take me to your heart” from his last album Tishnagi…Amazing work with the Hinglish

    Anaamica.. thanks for the comments on the blog… I love Nusrat’s Sawaariya as well

  11. Wow! that was beautiful… hearing anything about Rafi sahab is so soothing for the heart, and his songs even more. Each and everyone touches you. Thank you for the writeup! Wish he was still with us…

  12. iris says:

    Rafi is the greatest playback singer India has produced. Without him Indian film songs would have been tastless and barren.

  13. punya says:

    gud going Anaamica..
    it ws a delite to read on Rafi Sahab.. though I wish u included his duets, in the discussion here, jst as well… no writing on Rafi sahab is complete without his immortal duets with Geeta Dutt & Asha Bhonsle…

    Jst listen to Rafi & Asha in “achhaji main haari…” or Rafi – Geeta Dutt in “Chal diye banda nawaaz…” & “jane kahan mera jigar gaya ji…”
    lovely duets!!! Rafi & Geeta r not merely singing the lyrics.. they r conversating with each other thru these lyrics… what a combo!!!

    though Asha- Kishore duets are very popular among the golden classics.. bt I think.. its Rafi-Geeta pair that wins hands down in Peppy/romantic numbers..


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s