Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Yet another 31st of July, the day on which the legendary Indian singer, Mohamed Rafi, left us 31 years ago, had come and gone. This year also the day was spent by me mostly by listening to those immortal Rafi songs on my record player and roaming nostalgically in the memories of that golden era of Indian film music.

Some of the best ever bhajans of Hindi films were rendered by Mohd.Rafi and the way he sang them, the emotion and the devotional feeling he imparted have all enthralled listeners always. Two of his greatest bhajans are from film 'Baiju Bawra' with music by Naushad and lyrics by Shakeeel Badayuni. The first is the highly acclaimed,'O Duniya ke Rakhwale' which brings out the best from the singer with the song ending with his singing the word 'Rakhwale' thrice, each time increasing the power as only Rafi could do. This is one song always sung by Rafi in his stage programs and I still remember him singing it at a program when the word 'Rakhwale' was repeated a fourth time leaving the listeners amazed at his range and lung power. The other bhajan from the film is,'Man tarpat Hari darshan ko aaj' an all time classic. These two songs along with the,'Mam re too kahe na dheer ' from film Chitraleka with Roshan's music rank among the best ever bhajans of Hindi films along with the likes of Lata's 'Alla Tero naam' from Hum Dono, Vani Jairam's 'Bole re papihara' and 'Hum ko man ki sakthi dena' from film Guddi, Lata's 'Kuhu kuhu bole koyalia' from Suvarna Sundari' and 'Jyothi kalash' from film Babhi ke Chudiyan. This also took me to another of Naushad's composition from film Amar, viz.,' Insaf ka mandir hai' and N.Dutta's composition 'Ishwar Allah Tere Naam' from film Naya Raasta'.

There are a few other Rafi Bhajans like' Radhike too ne bansuri bajayi' from film Bete Bete with Shankar Jaikishen's music and two compositions of music director Ravi, viz., 'Badi der bhai nandalala' from film Khandan and the title song from the film 'Ganga Teri Paani Amrit.' How can we forget the 'Sukh se sub saathi' from film Gopi (Music:kalyanji Aanandji) and the highly popular and, apparently, easily 'singable' 'Brindavan ka Krishna Kanhaiya' from film Miss Mary with music by Hemant Kumar?

Get hold of a copy of the LP Album titled 'Mohd.Rafi-Bhajans from films'. You can get twelve of Rafi's outstanding Bhajans including most of the ones I mentioned above.

I also listened to a couple of other Rafi Albums . One is the "Lingering memories-Mohd.Rafi'. which gives a few of Rafi's less celebrated but still outstanding songs from films including the 'O door ke musafir' from film 'Uran khatola' (Naushad), the famous 'Basti basti parbat parbat' from film Railway Platform (Madan Mohan), Maine chaand aur sitaron ki tamanna ki thi' from film Chandrakanta (N.Dutta) and so on. It has also in it the soul stirring 'Na kisi ki ankh ka noor hoon' from film 'LalQuilla'(Music.S.N.Tripathi).Listening to this song is a great musical experience as Rafi exhibits why he is considered as one of the greatest ever in the field of playback singing.

It is a fact that Mohd. Rafi was always at his best when he sang playback for the great Dilip Kumar especially under music director Naushad. The combination of these three has given us many wonderful songs and one of the foremost among them being the semi-classical number 'Madhuban me radhika nache re' from film Kohinoor. Rafi, who had no formal training in classical music, was selected to sing this song by Naushad indicating his tremendous faith in the singer and Rafi did not disappoint the music director or the listeners or the actor Dilip Kumar on whom the song was picturised. The story goes that Dilip kumar had taken months of training to play Sitar so that he can do justice to the scene and the song. The dedicated efforts of the singer, composer and the actor, no wonder, made the song immortal.There are several such gems from the trio and two of the earliests are,'Muhabat ki rahon mein' from film Uran Khatola and 'Yeh zindagi ki mele' from film Mela. The magic is visible in several other songs like 'Koi sagar dilko bahalata nahin' from film Dil Diya Dard Liya and 'Aaj purani rahon mein' from film Admi. Again in film Ram aur Shyam we can see Rafi at his best again along with Dilip and Naushad in the song,'Aaj ki raat mere dil ki salami lele'. The depth and power of Rafi's voice take the listener to a differnt world. One or two folk based numbers also came to my mind,viz., 'Mere pairon mein Ghungharoo' from film Sanghursh and 'Nain lad jaihen to manwa' from film Ganga Jamuna'. The tipsy number 'Mujhe duniyawalon' from film Leader is another hit from the trio.

EMI had come out with several LPs titled ENCHANTING HOUR WITH...........' various artistes and there is one featuring Rafi also in which most of the songs mentioned by me above are included and it is a 'must possess' record for Rafi-Dilip kumar- Naushad fans. That again reminds me of another successful trio,Viz., Rafi, Shammi Kapur and Shankar Jaikishen, about them, probably, some other time!

In any homage to Rafi or while remembering Rafi there are three songs which I cannot omit and these are the songs which I listened to my heart's content on the last 31st July; the 1960 Filmfare award winning song, 'Chaudwin ka chand ho' from film Chaudwin ka Chaand'(Music-Ravi), 'theNo.1 song of Binaca Geetmala in 1961 'Teri pyari pyari ' from film Sasural and the No.1 song of Binaca Geetmala in 1966,viz.,'Baharo phool barsao' from film Suraj. The last two songs were composed by Shankar Jaikishen. These are songs which we have grown up listening to and listening even now. Yes, what a singer! Can we get another like him?

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