The first album I listened to is HMV's Homage to the Immortal voice of Mohd, Rafi.Dec,24,1924 - July 31, 1980.' with a nostalgic black and white photo of Rafi in front and, on the reverse side, a rare photo of Rafi with his family.The album contained twelve songs including the immortal ones like 'Yahan badla wafa ka'(Jugnu), 'Bapuki amar kahani','Man tarpat hari darshan'(Baiju Bawra),Ab kya misal hoon'(Aarti),O door ke musafir'(Uran Khatola), 'Yeh zindagi ke mele'(Mela) and,yes, 'Chaudwin ka Chaand', from the film with the same title, one of my top ten favourite songs. Rafi had immortalised this song by his warm, brilliant singing.The album is a true homage to Rafi.
Another album I did listen to was,'Ghazals from Films- Mohd.Rafi'.It has a few of the gems from Rafi, like 'Dil men chupake'(Deedar), Husna wale tera jawab'(Gharana-Ravi), 'Hum ko tumhare(Ek Musafir ek haseena- O.P.Nayyar),'Zindagi bhar nahim'(Barsat ke raat-Roshan) and the evergreen,'Tere pyare pyare (Sasural- Shankar Jaikishan),the last two being the number one songs in Binaca Geet Mala for the years 1960 and 1961 respectively.
The album,'An Evening with Mohd. Rafi',is another exclusive album containing some of his celebrated songs like,'Diljo na kah saka'(Bheegi Raat),'Khoya Khoya Chaand'(kala Bazar),'Kahan jaa raha hai'(Seema) and the most popular song of 1962 in Binaca Geetmala,viz., 'Ehsan tera hoga mujhpar'(Junglee). Besides these, there is,of course, the song.'Man re tu kahe na dheer dhare' penned by Sahir Ludhianvi and composed by Roshan for film,'Chitralekha'. In 2007, the OUTLOOK magazine had conducted an elaborate survey to select the best ever 20 songs of Hindi films. The survey was done by an expert panel of 30 eminently suitable persons on the basis of well defined terms. The song,'Man re' was adjudged the top of the 20 songs so selected!! Yes, it is Rafi at his soulful best.
Another album,'Top Film Hits from Mohd .Rafi', has in it songs from films like 'Mere Husoor', 'Tum sa nahin dekha',Dosti, Guide, Brahmachari, Laat Saheb,etc.The cover shows the photo of Rafi proudly posing in front of the innumerable trophies and awards he had won.
The album, 'Forever Yours' is special as it is presented by Rafi himself to his fans with a letter signed by him. Released by Polydor, it contained 8 songs of live recordings in stereophonic sound. The songs are, Suhani Raat, Tere Mere Sapne, Choudwin ka chand,O Duniya ke rekhwale,Ye Duniyaaa Mere kaamki Nahin, Baharo Phool Barsao(No.1. in Binaca Geet Mala for the year 1966), Madhuban me Raadhika and Kya hua tera wada. All these great songs in one LP makes it a valuable collectors' item. The back cover also shows several tributes from his collegues .The most poignant of them came from none other than Naushad thus: "He helped me to enhance my reputation by singing many of my songs in a manner only he could sing. Of the seven notes in music one is no more."
There was also an album of two LPs titled,'Mohd.Rafi.We Remember' containing 24 popular songs, of different music directors, including 'Tasveer Banaata hoon'(Diwana-Naushad) and 'Wadiyan Mera Daaman (Abhilasha- R.D.Burman)An excellent photo of Rafi is a bonus.
Polydor in their tribute said:"Life is limited. Death eternal life.Rafi lives through his golden,immortal voice incomparable, unsurpassed, inimitable. The voice that stirred millions the world over, will continue to do so till the end of time".
P.S. Please click on the photos to zoom them to see clearly.
Tail piece: A news item in Indian Express two years back is reproduced.