Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Remembering Mohammad Rafi on his birthday.

Remembering Mohammad Rafi on his birthday.

The listeners of quality music in India and all over the world remember Mohammad Rafi on his birthday on 24th December, 2008. He had died in 1980 and 28 years passed after his death. Yet he had created an everlasting appeal during his 35 years illustrious career which has not faded away at all.

Whenever his reference comes music-lovers imagine about “suhani raat dhal chuki” composed by Naushad, “ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar” composed by Shankar Jaikishan, “zindagi bhar nahi bhulenge woh barsaat ki raat” composed by Roshan, “chaudavi ka chaand” composed by Ravi, “abhi na jao chor kar” composed by Jaidev, “chahunga mai tujhe saanz sawere” composed by Laxmikant Pyarellal, “mai pyar ka rahi hoon” composed by OP Nayyar, to name a few.

Very significantly he was associated with all the leading actors of bollywood industry in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, which starts with Bharat Bhushan, Pradeep Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Rajender Kumar, Raj Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee, Biswajeet, Guru Dutt, and extends upto Big B, Rishi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, etc. Even comedians like Johnny Walker, Mehmood were indebted to the maestro for his modification of the voice in favour of them which entertained the audience to a big extent.

Articles after articles have been devoted to the legend of legends Rafi, and if we look back at what he had left for us we will realize that he had created a tradition which was difficult to follow but which has enhanced the singing standard of many singers of later generations. Singers like Anwar, Shabbir Kumar, Mohammad Aziz, struggled to maintain the singing gharana of Rafi and were categorized as clones of Rafi.

But Sonu Nigam, the best singer of the country, had idolized Rafi and carried his legacy forward. He had created his own style of singing and had been the idol of the younger generation for the last 10 years. But whenever any musical concert like “Rafi resurrected” is organized abroad (UK), the first name that comes in the minds of the organizers include Sonu Nigam.

Rafi had sung 26,000 songs in 35 years and that covered the creations and compositions of the most talented composers and lyricists of India. Hardly any singer can be compared or equated with the giant singer. Audience of the modern generation try to equate Kishore Kumar, or Mukesh with the legend, but their comments does not create any scratch on the stardom of the legend, because he had adequate classical training that is required to sing ghazals, thumris, qawallis, mujras, etc., which the contemporary singers did not have. The only two singers who had the depth of voice and classical control who were equated with Rafi in the 50s, 60s, include Lata Mangeshkar and Manna Dey. If reference relating to any other singer comes into picture it addresses the concerns of the non-musical crowds.

Regarding Sonu Nigam, after lending his voice in westernized creations and traditional classical songs which includes songs like “saathiya” composed by AR Rehman, “piyu bole” composed by Shantonu Moitra, “sandese ate hai” composed by Anu Malik, “tenu le” composed by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy, are compared, it can be said that he could have entered in the list of legends of any generation. In fact had he entered the film arena in the 80s, the shuffling of singers from Shabbir Kumar to Anwar and others would not have taken place. Rafi would have been proud himself to hear Sonu Nigam these days, whose legacy is followed by upcoming singers like Imon Chatterji, Rahul Vaidya and others.

Rafi’s admirers expect the media to highlight the greatness of the legend as those who interacted with the giant had said he was a greater human being than a singer. Sonu Nigam’s challenge will be to carry forward the human qualities of Mohamad Rafi. Rafi’s creations should be restored, preserved and the ones which did not get publicity should be unearthed. The listeners pay their respect and regard for the departed soul on his birthday.


Souvik-indrajalik said...

Mohammad Rafi still has a number of ghazals and bhajans which are in the form of private albums which require publicity. Those listeners of film music had not listened to them and they should be enlightend with those songs.
Souvik Chatterji.

Raj said...


Can you help me with Mohd. Rafi's first song (the audio) - the punjabi song from the movie Gul Baloch (1944)..

many thanks