Mohd Rafi - The Indian Bollywood Singer - Some Award Winning Songs

The Eversmiling Legend
The Eversmiling Legend | Source

Insight Into Rafi's Early Life


Mohammed Rafi or Rafi - the very name conjures up a picture of an ever smiling gentle faced human being with a heart of gold.

Born in 1924, in village Kotla Sultanpur, in district Amritsar of Punjab, now in Pakistan, Mohd Rafi ruled the Bollywood playback singing arena, for over 35 years, till the time of his sudden death in July 1980. A day earlier he recorded his last song whose lyrics ironically were, 'tu kahin aas paas hai dost' for the film "Aas Paas", meaning you are somewhere near about my friend.


Mohd Rafi's nickname was 'pheeko'. According to Rafi, he was so very impressed with the singing of a fakir who sang while begging for alms in his village, that he used to follow him and hum his song. Seeds were sown of a future genius who was to scale unparalled heights in playback singing, in later years.

The story of Rafi's first performance is no less amazing. At a public performance the famous singer, Kundan Lal Sehgal was supposed to sing. But due to a power failure, K.L.Sehgal refused to sing. Seeing the crowd getting restless, Rafi's elder brother who incidentally had gone with Rafi to watch Sehgal sing, requested the organisers to let Rafi sing till the power came on. The 15 year old Rafi was a revelation to K.L.Sehgal who listened to him and predicted that Rafi was destined for bigger things. (Incidentally, the prophecy later proved true when Rafi became the most sought after singer of Indian playback singing fraternity.)

In the audience, was present Shyam Sunder, the great music composer, who had come to listen to K.L.Saigal. When he heard Rafi sing, he instinctively realised the latent talent in the young rafi and in 1944 at the age of 20 years Rafi sang his first song for the film 'Gul Baloch' under the music direction of Shyam Sunder.

He then shifted base to Bombay in 1944, was introduced to a few of the known music directors. He sang for Shyam Sunder again and for Naushad but his first hit song was for the film 'Jugnu" in 1947. He never looked back and went from strength to strength.

According to Rafi himself, he has sung about 25000 to 26000 songs during his singing career, as he reveals in an interview.


Rafi is and will remain the greatest Indian Bollywood singer of all times. Such was his mastery over music and language that his diction was perfect and he was at ease singing all types of songs which is aptly borne out by the sheer variety of songs he sang in his long career. He was an innovator in that he molded his voice to suit the hero for whom he was giving playback in the film.

He was the first playback singer to have innovated the voice moulding, not modulation, to suit the actor he was singing for and he mastered this art.

While he was flamboyant in his singing style for the extrovert Shammi Kapoor he became a restrained singer for the serious actor, Dilip Kumar.

From the comic singing for the great comedian, Johny Walker to the lisped singing for a character which Mehmood played in the movie 'Chote Nawab" Rafi was at equal ease.

Stories are galore and you can watch actor Jeetendra in one of the videos below saying that, Rafi even sang free for hundreds of poor producers which speak volumes about this man who it seems belonged to some ethereal world and not this planet.

Whenever he was praised for an exceptionally well sung song, he immediately pointed his finger up to the heavens to say it was His benevolence that the song turned out to be so.

Rafi was very much a family man. As he reveals, he loved to play badminton and play carrom with his children.

His son, Shahid reveals that his father rafi spoke so softly that it seemed almost a whisper and they had to concentrate hard to listen to what he was saying. He was so child like that when he was praised for a song he would come home and relate all this at home with child like innocence and happiness. Such was the character of this super gentleman. You can listen to all this in Shahid's interview in the video below.

Listen to the awards winning songs of Rafi in the video below.

Mohammed Rafi Award Winning Songs

Classical song from movie 'Baiju Bawra'

One of the numerous classical songs by rafi. Here he playbacks for another singing legend - Kishore Kumar

Song from movie ' An Evening In Paris' for the flamboyant Shammi Kapoor

A comic song for comedian johny walker

A sad song for actor Mehmood

A very restrained singing for Dilip Kumar

Rafi adapted his singing style to the changing music styles of different decades. From the classical renditions for music director Naushad, in the fifties, to the folk melody based songs of music director S.D.Burman, in the sixties and seventies, from the foot tapping numbers of O.P.Nayyar to the musical scores of Shankar Jaikishan and so many others, he sang all songs with equal elan.

Such was his mastery, command and impact in the field of hindi playback singing that it would not be out of context to see what other stalwarts in the field of music have to say about Rafi's singing.

Given below are just two of the numerous real life anecdotes by people who were touched by his humility and simplicity.

Below are 2 videos of Shahid Rafi, son of Mohd. Rafi where he talks about his father.

Story of how Mohammed Rafi & Muhammad Ali- the 2 greats met

A superb tribute to the male playback singing legend Mohd Rafi by the famous lyricist, Javed Akhtar

Javed Akhtar - A Tribute To Rafi


Awards

Honorary

· 1948 - Rafi received a silver medal from the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, on the first anniversary of the Indian Independence Day.

· 1967 - Honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.

· 1974 - Film World magazine Best Singer Award for the song "Teree Galiyon Mein Na Rakhenge Qadam Aaj Ke Baad" (Hawas, 1974).

· 2001 - Rafi was honored with the "Best Singer of the Millennium" by Hero Honda and Stardust magazine.. Rafi won with 70% of the votes.

Source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohd_Rafi

source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohd_Rafi

 
 
 
 
 
 
National Film Awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year
Song
Film
Music director
Lyricist
Result
1977
Kya Hua Tera Wada
Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin
Rahul Dev Burman
Majrooh Sultanpuri
Won
 
 
 
 
 
 
Filmfare Awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year
Song
Film
Music director
Lyricist
Result
1960
Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho
Chaudhvin Ka Chand
Bombay Ravi
Shakeel Badayuni
Won
1961
Teri Pyaari Pyaari Surat Ko
Sasural
Shankar Jaikishan
Shailendra
Won
1961
Husnwale Tera Jawab Nahin
Gharana
Bombay Ravi
Shakeel Badayuni
Nominated
1962
Aye Gulbadan Aye Gulbadan
Professor
Shankar Jaikishan
Shailendra
Nominated
1963
Mere Mehboob Tujhe
Mere Mehboob
Naushad
Shakeel Badayuni
Nominated
1964
Chahunga Main Tujhe
Dosti
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Majrooh Sultanpuri
Won
1965
Chhoo Lene Do Nazuk Hothon Ko
Kaajal
Bombay Ravi
Sahir Ludhianvi
Nominated
1966
Baharo Phool Barsao
Suraj
Shankar Jaikishan
Shailendra
Won
1968
Dil Ke Jharoke Mein
Brahmachari
Shankar Jaikishan
Shailendra
Won
1968
Mein Gaaon Tum Sojaao
Brahmachari
Shankar Jaikishan
Shailendra
Nominated
1969
Badi Mastani Hai
Jeene Ki Raah
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi
Nominated
1970
Khilona Jaan Kar
Khilona
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi
Nominated
1973
Hum Ko To Jaan Se Pyaari
Naina
Shankar Jaikishan
Hasrat Jaipuri
Nominated
1974
Achha Hi Huva Dil Toot Gaya
Maa Bahen Aur Biwi
Sharda
Qamar Jalalabadi, Vedpal Varma
Nominated
1977
Kya Hua Tera Wada
Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin
Rahul Dev Burman
Majrooh Sultanpuri
Won
1977
Pardah Hai Pardah
Amar Akbar Anthony
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi
Nominated
1978
Aadmi Musaafir Hai
Apnapan
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi
Nominated
1979
Chalo Re Doli Uthao Kahaar
Jaani Dushman
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Varma Malik
Nominated
1980
Mere Dost Kissa Yeh
Dostana
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi
Nominated
1980
Dard-e-dil Dard-e-jigar
Karz
Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi
Nominated
1980
Maine Poocha Chand Se
Abdullah
Rahul Dev Burman
Anand Bakshi
Nominated
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year
Film
Music director
Lyricist
Result
 
1957
Tumsa Nahin Dekha
O. P. Nayyar
Majrooh Sultanpuri
Won
 
1965
Dosti
Laxmikant Pyarelal
Majrooh Sultanpuri
Won
 
1966
Arzoo
Shankar Jaikishan
Hasrat Jaipuri
Won
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sur Sringar Award
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Year
Film
Music director
Lyricist
Result
 
source
 
 
 
 
 
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohd_Rafi
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Mohd. Rafi being interviewed.

You will love the simplicity of this great man. His replies are so down to earth

The song below is a tribute song for the veteran singer sung by my brother, Aminderpal Singh.

A Tribute To The Great Human Being - Mohd. Rafi

Rafi was a devout muslim, never smoke or drank alcohol. A family man, his daily routine would be from home to the recording studio and back to the studio again the next morning.
Musical parties were a no-no for him while the early morning hours daily were spent in musical practice.

He loved playing badminton, flying kites and playing carrom with his children.

Today, more than 30 years after his death, Rafi still lives very much in the hearts of his fans through the innumerable songs that he has immortalised. You will find the younger generation today who still rever this gentleman singer for having revolutionised playback singing.
Singers will come and go but there cannot be another Mohd Rafi. As Lata Mangeshkar, Bollywood female singing legend once said, 'singers like Rafi are born once in a lifetime'.
One doesn't find the combination of humility and greatness in one singer anymore.

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© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

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Comments 22 comments

iamaudraleigh 4 years ago

I just got into the Bollywood genre after seeing "Om Shanti Om"! You hub was really good!


Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Hi Rajan! As usual, whenever I read a hub of yours, I learn something. You have an outstanding gift!

I had never heard of Rafi and now my interest is certainly heightened. What a tremendous talent! Thanks for educating me on him.

Voted up, up and away!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ iamaudraleigh, Thank you very much.

@ Dexter. I'm glad this hub has been informational. I had been toying with the idea of writing on the legend since quite some time as God doesn't make the likes of Rafi anymore. To be extremely popular and have one's feet firmly rooted the ground is well nigh impossible. Rafi was an exception all his life.

Thanks for the read, votes and appreciation.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

I love Bollywood musicals and had not heard of this guy, but that's no surprise, since the language is not accessible to me and it doesn't look like he did a lot of the modern musicals with a ton of dancing. Thanks for the video introductions. Voting this Up and Interesting.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 4 years ago from Nepal

Hindi movies and music are very popular in Nepal. I grew up listening to Mohammed Rafi's song. This is wonderful tribute.


Lady_E profile image

Lady_E 4 years ago from London, UK

Great Tribute - I love Bollywood films. I haven't seen one with Mohammed Rafi. Thanks for the videos.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

@ alocsin. Mohd. rafi died long before these modern day musicals with the dance came on the scene. Modern day music derives its strength from stalwarts like him.

thanks for appreciating and voting.

@ Vinaya. Thanks for reading and appreciating.

@ Lady_E. Mohd rafi was a singer and performed many shows abroad especially in the UK, apart from his work of giving playback singing in the Hindi film industry.

Thanks for giving this hub a read and I appreciate your valuable input.


Ruchira profile image

Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

Hello Rajan,

You have made a wonderful and a beautiful tribute to late Rafijee.

He sure was a gem of India. His songs are still hummed by many of us :)

Thank you for this priceless hub! Am fwding it to my Rafi fans/friends.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Ruchira, you as an Indian are surely aware of the contribution of Rafi saab to the Indian film industry. I wanted to share with our foreign readers some facets of his personal and professional life. Just a glimpse of one aspect of our musical heritage you could say.

Thanks for sharing it and I appreciate you nice comments.


Millionaire Tips profile image

Millionaire Tips 4 years ago from USA

This is great information on an important actor. He was one of my father's favorites. I have learned a great deal about him through your hub.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

I am pleasantly surprised about Mohd Rafi being one of your father's favorites. I never expected someone from the US would have heard of him though he did travel on music shows abroad when he could take time off from his playback singing.

Thanks for this info and I'm glad my article added to your information about the legend.

Thanks for the read.


taazakhabar profile image

taazakhabar 4 years ago from New Delhi, India

There is, was and will always be one Mohd Rafi... None of the present lot of playback singers can recreate the jadu of Rafi. Very useful information and well researched. My compliments


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Absolutely right, taazakhabar. Rafi was unique in every way.

Thanks for reading and complimenting.


rajan singh 3 years ago

of course rafi was the greatest singer which our industry ever produced....


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Rajan, mere hamnaam!


shaheen 3 years ago

No one can come close to Rafi A complete and well compiled article on this great man who brought happiness to us by his voice and singing

one misunderstanding I would like to clear that Rafi was the one who introduced yodelling in IFmusic. Congats buddy for the well composed article thanks a lot


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Thanks Shaheen!


anagham profile image

anagham 3 years ago from Hubli, karnataka

I always loved music and my father once bought a cd which had a collection of md rafi saab's songs and since then I have been a fan of this legendary man... The one song from the movie "aar par"- sun sun zalima is my ever favourite..great info and voted up!


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA. Author

Rafi is my favorite singer. Thanks for reading than voting.


i.b 2 years ago

Very interesting article. The voice of Rafi is just amazing!!

It brings joy peace emotions and you enjoy every word he sings so superbly!!


dr. D 2 years ago

Great effort by Rajan Jolly!!!

I enjoyed reading and wish to know more about the amazing voice of Rafi saheb the greatest of all


Zafar Ahmad 2 years ago

No voice can be near to Rafi Sahib in male and female. I and all family listening wonderful voice since 1960. His voice sehar is still increasing day by day.

3nlifemed@gmail.com

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