I started this post on 31st, as I was listening to Rafi marathon on Vividh Bharati but with such lovely songs playing I couldn’t concentrate on the post. I had listed the songs even before that, but still it took me so long to complete it. I kept getting lost in the songs in between that I forgot I had to come back here and finish this :-)
After an extremely hectic week, the best thing I could ask for is a day full of Rafi saab’s songs. Not that I didn’t listen to his songs the rest of the week. Not even a single day of mine passes without listening to him. Thanks to Vividh Bharati for that. The first thing I do every morning after I get up is to put the radio on. And they play a minimum of one Rafi song in every program of theirs. Then my collection of hundreds of his songs in my cell phone which I listen to everyday on my way to work. Other people get frustrated with the traffic and I feel good about it. The longer it takes me to reach office, the more number of songs I get to listen to and I reach office more refreshed. And when I am not in meetings and am not reading something, I continue listening to music in office as well. A big thank you to Nasir and Venkat for sharing all those rare gems…you guys have introduced me to so many songs that I had never thought even existed. And a big big thank you to entire team of Vividh Bharati – Kamal Sharma, Renu Bansal, Mamta Singh, Nimmi Mishra, Yunus Khan, Amarkant Dubey, Rajendra Tripathi, Shehnaz Akhtari and to everybody else. Had it not been for you all I wouldn’t have known even half of these songs! I owe my filmi and musical knowledge to you all!
I missed out the programs on Vividh Bharti in the morning on 31st as I got up late. But ever since I got up I was been hooked to it. They played non-stop Rafi songs. And do I even need to say that each song of his is songs is a masterpiece!
So much is written about Rafi (1924-1980) that I don’t quite know where to begin and what new to say really. Rafi was one of the most versatile singers…From the doleful Jugnu to the patriotic Shaheed to the classical Baiju Bawra to the effervescent Mr. and Mrs. 55 to the regal Raj Hath to the poetic Pyaasa to the meltingly romantic Barsaat Ki Raat - phew! the list is endless—Rafi sang them all. And more.
The whole week I’ve been thinking of something special to post as a tribute to this legend. It’s just impossible to list out my 10 favourite Rafi songs. I’m in love with every song that he has sung. But at the same time I couldn’t even sit without doing a post. After sifting through numerous options like – listing down some songs of Rafi alphabetically, listing out human emotions and associating a song against each emotion, defining the 7 stages of human life through his songs….but I realized that I just couldn’t move beyond the first letter.
I started thinking of his songs that start with ‘A’ and the list was so long that I could break it into 2-3 separate posts. Then I tried with the emotions. Within no time I realized that there were too many of them for instance Anger, Anxiety, Anguish, Astonishment, Attraction, Amusement, Affection, Agony. And this is just the beginning. Next I shifted to the stages of human life. I opened Shakespear’s poem and started mapping Rafi’s songs against each of the stages. But 7 were too few and then realized that I would end up counting almost everyday as a different stage! So that wasn’t much help either.
So I came up with this rule for this post…I would include -
1. Not very popular songs of Rafi as in, not the songs that would feature in every top 10 or top 20. I’m promoting some rare gems of this mastreo.
2. One song per actor and preferrably picturised on a lesser known actor (at least I’ll try avoiding the supserstars as much as possible). There are bound to be few exceptions though. But don’t be surprised if you don’t see even a single Shammi kapoor song here! (As I am doing a series of Rafi sings for Shammi, I’m trying to leave out Shammi Kapoor songs so that other songs would get a chance).
3. For a change I’m including songs from movies that I haven’t seen as well.
A : Abhi na jao chhod kar (Hum Dono, 1961) – Absolutely awesome romantic duet, superbly rendered by Rafi & Asha and so convincingly picturised on Dev Anand and Sadhna. The charming couple, the excellent rendition, Jaidev’s superb music, Sahir Ludhyanvi’s thoughtful and yet so simple lyrics and the beautiful depiction of two lovers unwilling to separate leave you wanting to fall in love – this is without doubt one of the best romantic song ever recorded. When I hear this song I feel like I am in another world, the feeling of the song is simply awesome. What a treat this is! And for once I wished ‘A’ was the last letter of English Alphabet. Putting this song at the end would have made much more sense.
A : Ankhinyan milake zara baat karo ji (Pardes, 1950) : Striking the earlier song as I couldn’t think of any other song starting from ‘F’ other than Falsafa pyaar ka tum kya jano, picturised on Dev Anand. In his earlier years, before he had fully come into his own, Rafi sang for Ghulam Mohammed (Naushad’s protégé) a lovely duet with Lata. This one is picturised on Rehman and Madhubala and I love this for lots of reasons: Madhubala’s striking beauty, Rafi’s deep, powerful rendition, peppy music and young and dashing Rehman!
B : Bahut haseen hai tumhari aankhen (Aadhi Raat Ke Baad, 1965) : Very cute song…not very popular but sweet and very romantic nevertheless. Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur come together in this lovely track picturised on Sailesh Kumar and Ragini who playfully flirt and tease each other. Chitragupt’s music is soothing and pleasant.
C : Chhupa kar meri aankhon ko (Bhabhi, 1957) : My initial choice was Chal ud jaa re panchhi but couldn’t find the Balraj Sahni version of it on youtube. I had once heard in an interview that Balraj was so sad after shooting the song. He felt he could have done it much better! It’s such a divine song. But guess I’ll go with the flow – romance and move ahead with this infectiously romantic duet featuring Jawahar Kaul and Shyama. Rafi teams up with Lata here and the rendition is magical. This is one of my all time favourite Lata-Rafi duets. I had first heard this song on Vividh Bharati years ago and always felt that it must be picturised on Meena Kumari. I somehow related the feel of the song and the name of the movie itself to Meena Kumari. But was pleasantly surprised to discover Shyama in it. I saw this film just because of it’s songs. Not a movie I am very fond of, but give me its music anyday and I would be more than happy. It has a variety of songs – Chal ud ja re panchhi, Chali chali re patang meri chali re, Chhupa kar meri aankhon ko, Jawaan ho ya budiya, Kaa re kaa re baajra…Coming back to this song, Chitragupt’s music, Rajender Krishan’s lyrics, Lata and Rafi’s rendition is truly amazing. And check out Shyama’s expressions, esp when she lip-synchs “tumhari is adaa par bhi hamare dil ko pyaar aaye“. Haye…I just love this song!
D : Dil ki tamanna (Ghyarah Hazar Ladkiyan, 1962) : It’s Vividh Bharati again where I first heard this song. And the first thing I did after the song was over is to rush to search for it on google/youtube. Initially, I could just find the audio version of it, Rafi’s solo. And I have listened to it continuously for days, non-stop. What an intoxicating voice and there’s so much feel to it. I didn’t even know who it was picturised on then but just wished whoever it was - may his dil ki tamanna come true! I’ve been looking for the cd/dvd of this movie ever since but with no luck. Rafi and Asha sing Majrooh Sultanpoori’s lyrics for Bharat Bhushan and Mala Sinha, under the music direction of N. Dutta. It’s a classic composition.
D : Dil mein chhupa ke pyaar ka ( Aan, 1952) : Striking Dil ki tamanna because I just confirmed that Ghar se toh cut chuka patta is picturised on Bharat Bhushan, though it doesn’t have a video, I don’t want to break my rule.. Here’s another lovely Rafi number featuring two actors whom I like a lot – Dilip Kumar and Nadira. Shakil Badayuni penned the lyrics for this lovely song and Naushad Ali composed the music. Rafi is heavenly and so is Dilip Kumar. There’s a color version of this video. But I find the B&W version more enchanting.
E : Ek tera saath hum ko (Waapas, 1969) : Exteremely romantic song. Music is by Laxmikant Pyarelal and lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri. It is a duet sung by Rafi and Lata picturised on a newly married couple (Alka and Shekhar Purohit? Ajay?) pledging undying love and devotion to each other. I feel the essence is somehow missing in the picturisation, but just listen to it and it’s magical, such a treat to the ears!
F : Falsafaa pyaar ka tum kya jano (Duniya, 1968) : A terrific song by Rafi, composed by Shankar-Jaikishan and picturised on Dev Anand and Vyjayanthimala. “How would you grasp the philosophy of loving when you have never fallen in love before” – for once I kind of like the translation of the mukhda. I almost played around with Phoolon se dosti kaanton se yaari (Foolon se) but when I had a song starting with ‘F’, I thought I would rather go with it. Though Dev Anand looks wierd with that hair-cut and this song has the flavours of Badan pe sitare lapete hue, I still love this number…it’s so intoxicating. This is what I call a quintessential Rafi song!
G : Ghar se toh cut chuka apna patta (Kal Hamara Hai, 1959) : I heard this song on radio last week and instantly fell in love with it. Unfortunately I couldn’t find the video. Though imdb lists Bharat Bhushan as the lead in this film, I somehow don’t feel this song is picturised on him. It sounds so much like a Johnny Walker kind of a song and I sincerely hope that it is. Something very catchy and lively about this song. Music is once again by Chitragupt. (P.S : I just confirmed that it is indeed picturised on Bharat Bhushan, so much for my guess work).
H : Hum toh hai tum par (Bewaqoof, 1960) - This is one very cute song rendered superbly by Rafi for I.S Johar. This movie was written and directed by I.S Johar himself. Majrooh’s lyrics and S.D Burman’s composition is beautiful. And it was R.D Burman on the Mouth Organ. The modulations in Rafi’s voice match I.S Johar’s antics so perfectly. There’s something very Shammi-sque quality to this song.
I : Itni badi duniya jahan itna bada mela (Toofan Mein Pyar Kahan ,1966) : Rafi sings this for Ashok Kumar. It’s so tender and so beautiful. There’s a softness to Rafi’s voice here which is just brilliant. “Versatile Rafi commendably modulates his voice to suit the great natural actor, Ashok Kumar, while singing on the pangs of loneliness” (Thanks Nasir for describing the song so beautifully). Check out the picturisation for Guzre dino ka dhundla nishaan hai baanki, dil toh bujha kab se hai abh dhuaan baanki - the smoky effect is so amazing. Prem Dhawan’s melancholy lyrics, Chitragupt’s excellent music, Rafi’s magical rendition and Ashok Kumar’s brilliant performance – this couldn’t have got any better. My initial choice for a song beginning with ‘I’ was Itna haseen saathi itni haseen manzil from Aatma Aur Parmatma but couldn’t find a video to it. So settled for this one – another favourite of mine. Though not as romantic as I would have liked it to be, it’s a very beautiful song.
J : Jo baat tujh mein hai (Taj Mahal, 1963) : A timeless gem…one of my favourite songs. This one’s picturised on Pradeep Kumar. The lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi, music by Roshan and Rafi’s velvety voice is beyond this world – truly sublime! I so very badly wanted to post Jab se hum tum baharon mein from Main Shadi Karne Chala but it’s such an irony that we don’t have videos of such lovely melodies on youtube yet. And since the basic filter criteria here is one song per actor, I don’t want to go on posting just the audios. Hopefully, somebody will upload the video soon.
K : Kahin ek masoom nazuk si ladki (Shankar Hussain, 1977) : For once, I am not relating a song to Vividh Bharati. I first heard this bollywoodondemand.com, an online radio station couple of years ago. Back then AIR, Vividh Bharati didn’t have online sites. I accidentally came across bollywoodondemand.com and I used to listen to it very regularly at work. One fine day, I heard this song and googled for it but couldn’t find it. Then, I came across the audio version of it after few months and finally found the video last year. I was rather surprised to discover Kanwaljit in it. Used to watch him in serials during my school days, Family No. 1 on Sony used to be quite popular then. Kamal Amrohi’s lyrics, Khhayyam’s music and Rafi’s rendition – it’s all so heavenly. Something very dreamy, fairy-tale like about this song. But the video somehow spoilt this for me. I love the song, can’t help not loving such a magnificient number but the picturisation is a spoiler. Chalo khat likhe jee mein aata toh hoga, magar ungliyan kap kapati toh hongi, kalam haath se chhut jaata toh hoga, umange kalam phir uthathi toh hongi, mera naam apni kitaabon pe likh kar, woh daanton mein ungli dabati toh hogi….kabhi subah ko shaam kehti toh hogi, kabhi raat ko din batati toh hogi…what an imagination! It’s so beautifully written!! I used to imagine this scene while listening to this song, but the video didn’t have any of it! Audio version didn’t have the last antarra. I heard it for the first time when I saw the video on youtube. And it took me some time to figure out what Palate is …Palate kabhi toot jaati toh hogi….
L : Le chala jidhar yeh dil chal pade (Miss Bombay, 1957) : This is Rafi singing for Ajit. in the good old days before he turned into a villian on screen. Bombay—that teeming metropolis, teeming then in the 1950s just as it is teeming today—the land of opportunities, sapno ka shehar—was masterfully captured by lyricist Prem Dhawan to composer Hansraj Behl’s tune. I had only heard this song on Bhoole Bisre geet on Vividh Bharati. Saw the video for the first time today. Half the time I kept imagining Ajit saying “Mona Darling” in between the song. :-) Ajit was quite a handsome man and smart too…he realized early in his career that it’s more fun being the villian than a hero!
M : Main toh tere haseen khayalon mein kho gaya (Sangram, 1965) : My my my dear from Nagina was my first choice. I didn’t want to list Mujhe dard-e-dil ka pata na tha and Madhuban mein radhika nache re. Though I love both these songs, they have already featured many times in this blog. And thanks to Richard for including all these songs in his list. I’m not feeling guilty about skipping them. So here I come with this lovely track from Sangram picturized on Randhawa (Dara Singh’s brother) and Swarna Kumari. I am so glad I decided to do songs from the movies that I haven’t watched. I had heard this song so many times on radio but it’s for the first time I am seeing it’s video and am so happy to discover Randhawa in it! Lala Asar Sattar music is very melodious and Rafi is fantastic in it!
N : Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon (Laal Quila, 1960) : I almost included Nu tu hindu banega na musalmaan banega but realized I had this song in one of my earlier posts. And this divine composition by S.N Tripathi in Laal Quila came to my mind. It’s a timeless classic, a stunning nazm. Such deeply moving lyrics! Rafi’s booming voice magnificiently amplifies the poignancy and grief expressed by Bahadurshah Zafar. Truly unforgettable!
O : O phirki wali (Raja Aur Runk, 1968) : This song takes me back to my school days. We had a cassette, Best of Mohd. Rafi volume 2 which had this song. And there was a time when I was in 9-10th when I used to listen to this song at least 2-3 times a day. It’s such a masti-bhara song that it fills my heart with happiness when I listen to it. I somehow had always imagined it to be picturised on Shammi Kapoor or Dharmendra, mainly due to the fun quotient. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sanjeev Kumar singing it to Nazima. I was listening to this after so long today and I still remember each and every word of it. I’m so pleased with myself. That’s Rafi’s magic! Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s foot-tapping music, Anand Bakshi’s fun-filled lyrics and Rafi’s flirtatious rendition topped with Sanjeev Kumar’s awesome performance makes this song immortal. I love the way Rafi sings Jubaan se and Jarra beimaan si“
P : Phir milogi kabhi (Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi, 1966) : Biswajeet was one lucky actor when it came to songs. He got to feature in some of the best songs ever. I am not fond of him as an actor, but his songs, each one is a masterpiece! Rafi and Asha are singing for Biswajeet and Sharmila in this 1966 thriller. O.P Nayyar’s music, S.H Bihari’s lyrics and Asha-Rafi rendition, it’s picturization…everything about this song is mesmerizing. I feel captivated everytime I listen to this and never want it to end.
Q : Quismat ke likhe ko hum mita na sake (Duniya, 1949) : This is a lovely Rafi-Surraiya duet composed by C. Ramachandra. It has Surraiya, Karan Dewan, Yakum, Shakeela in the leading role. I don’t know who it’s actually picturised on. I have only heard this song on Radio and couldn’t find a video as well. Listen to Rafi’s young voice…it’s so gentle and soft. Amazing song!!!
R : Roshan tumhi se duniya (Parasmani, 1963) : This time it’s Rafi singing for Mahipal in Parasmani, which marks the debut of Laxmikant-Pyarelal as Music Directors. Rafi at one of his romantic bests, extremely melodious number penned by Ashad Bhopali. Such an apt song in praise of a princess! What awesome lyrics, equally amazing music and Rafi’s voice is subhan-allah!!! One can feel the emotion and depth in his voice…the way he sings “Haye”, the aalap in between and the accompanying tabla and sitar is just mindblowing. Even Mahipal and Geetanjali have expressed well. One more speciality about this film is that it’s partially color. The first half is in Black&White and the second half (if you remember, Hansta hua noorani chehra) is in color. Movie is total bakwaas but it has lovely songs.
S : Sau baar banakar maalik ne (Ek Raat, 1967) : I don’t know who this song is picturized on. Spent quite sometime searching for the video but couldn’t find. There’s hardly anything about this movie available. But I love this song so much that I just couldn’t leave it out. I was addicted to it when I heard it for the first time. Have been searching for the video for quite sometime now. It usually happens that the songs that I so desparately want to see are not as good as expected. So for the time being I am content just listening to it. Yogesh’s lyrics, Usha Khanna’s music and Rafi’s divine rendition…I get so lost in this song. Till I heard this song, I thought Chaudhvai ka chaand, Roshan tumhi se duniya, Tareef karun kya uski etc were the ultimatum when it came to praising the girl’s beauty. But now, there’s one more to the list.
T : Tum toh pyar ho (Sehra, 1963) : Ideal song on Rafi’s death anniversary would have been Tum mujhe yun bhoola na paaoge but that’s too popular and has already been discussed in this blog before. Then I thought of Tum akele toh kabhi baag mein jaaya na karo from Aao Pyaar Karein. But again, even that doesn’t have a video available. So the next I could think of was this lovely duet by Lata and Rafi picturised on Sandhya and Prashanth. Hasrat jaipuri’s lyrics tuned beautifully by Ramlal, this is a gem of a song. And the depth in Rafi’s and Lata’s voice has taken it to a different level altogether! What a romantic duet it is!
U : Unse rippy tippy ho gayi (Agra Road, 1957) : I discovered this song few months ago and fell in love it it. It’s such a cute and fun filled number sung by Rafi and Geeta Dutt. I was actually planning to include this is Geeta Dutt special post but I reached 10 before this could come up then. So here it goes! Picturised on Vijay Anand (this is his debut film as a hero) and Shakeela. He does resemble Dev Anand a bit, esp when he’s sulking. Yoddling is a quality that we generally associate with Kishore da. Felt good to hear Rafi yoddling for a change! There are few lines in Gujarati and few in Punjabi in between. Geeta and Rafi yoddling away to Roshan’s music and Prem Dhawan’s lyrics is very delightful.
V : Vo jo chahane wale hain tere (Duniya Rang Rangili, 1957) : I couldn’t figure out who was singing this song on screen…but who cares, as long as it’s sung by Rafi in real. It’s sweet number written by Jan Nisar Akhtar and composed by O.P Nayyar. Check out Rajendra Kumar, he looks so young and handsome. Is the girl Chaand Usmaani?
W : Woh hum na the woh tum na the (Cha Cha Cha, 1964) : Rafi here sings for Chandrashekhar. He is so dull, doughy and expresssionless. I don’t like him, every time I see him I keep wondering how he became an actor. Hence I am putting Helen’s picture below. Lets forget about the movie and the actor…coming to the song, it’s an excellent track. Penned by Neeraj and composed by Iqbal Quereshi, this is a touching song brilliantly rendered by Rafi.
X : Phir aane laga yaad wohi (Yeh Dil Kisko Doon, 1963) : Ok, so this song doesnt begin with “X” – but then, how many songs do? I will just use this letter to insert another lovely song. And this song is specially dedicated to Nasir and Richard. We had a long discussion about this song sometime back. But due to my usual restriction of not including songs from the movies that I haven’t seen, I had left this one out in Shashi Kapoor special post. But since that’s not the case this time, here it goes to you both for reminding me of this song. Shashi Kapoor’s image below is for bollyviewer. This is one of the most melodious song, beautifully picturised. Ragini’s moves are so graceful and elegant. Shashi is a darling. Rafi is magical, Qamar Jalalabadi’s lyrics and Iqbal Qureshi’s composition is so mystical with Usha Khanna chanting those simple syllables Pyaar ka aalam, it infuses so much feel to the song.
Y : Yeh teri saadgi yeh tera baankpan (Shabnam, 1964) : This post has been one hell of a revelation to me! I never knew Rafi had sung this song for Mehmood! Usha Khanna’s composition and Javed Anwar’s lyrics are simple and sweet. And Rafi as usual is outstanding! He could convincingly slip under the skin of characters that were poles apart: he sang for the brooding Dilip Kumar in Deedar with the same ease with which he lent his voice to a frolicking Johnny Walker in C.I.D. And it is so difficult for the listener to decide where Rafi excels more and who his voice suits the best!
Z : Zara ruk jaa (Sitaron Se Aaghe, 1958) : I was feeling sad that I couldn’t include a song picturised on Johnny Walker so far. So am more than happy now for being able to do so. Apart from Rafi, I remember this song for Johnny Bhai’s cycle stunt and his friends going around puncturing everybody else’s cycle tyres. Rafi and Johnny share an amazing chemistry. Each song of this combo is special and tailor-made for them – the sync between Rafi’s voice and Johnny’s acting is always so perfect! I have a broad smile on my face everytime I see Johnny perched on a tree (he looks so comfortable there) and jumping down singing Zara ruk ja…
Rafi saab was the most versatile and probably had the most mellifluous voice. His voice reflected the great energy and smartness of youth and exuded great skill and craftiness. He could sing slow, fast , semi classical, Bhajans, Qawalis, taranas, Geet, romantic numbers, sad songs – just about anything with equal zest and gusto.
Also, when I began listening to songs of Rafi, I realized one thing - he enriched the compoistions that he sang for. Now this is quite exceptional and rare because he did not require a great composition to create a a great song.
I feel like Kahin bekhayal hokar choo liya kisi ne when I listen to his songs. This is one song that I really missed putting up here along with Jo unki tamanna ho, Woh din yaad karo, Yeh jhuke jhuke naina and many more!!! Be it any song of his, even if I am listening to it for the very first time, I feel a sense of familiarity towards it.
I came across this blog while searching for few songs and since what was written there exactly described the songs and how I felt about them, I couldn’t help copying them. And I must admit that it did save a lot of time. Writing up about these songs do take a lot of time. And it gets quite distracting as well – I search for one song on youtube, see some other song on related link section and that leads to another song and so on (as it’s too much of a temptation to resist). So when I find few lines already written up about the song, it’s god-sent! :-) A big thank you to Cinema Corridor and all other fellow bloggers for all your contributions and wikipedia for providing me with so much of information always! I had acknowledged everybody in my earlier post on Shammi Kapoor but somehow I forgot about this one. Could be because it took me couple of days to finish this post and by the time I reached the end, I was just happy that I had completed the post and was in a hurry to publish it.
Love you Rafi saab!!! May your soul rest in peace.
Kishore Da’s songs coming up next. I should have done that today, but first things first. And that reminds me I still have my Mukesh special post pending!