Muhammad Rafi — full throat, tuneful, versatile singer — Part XI

Muhammad Rafi — full throat, tuneful, versatile singer — Part XI

The song is superbly enacted by Asha Sachdev also. Asha Sachdev is a noted Bollywood character actor of the 1970s. Though she acted in a few early films as a lead actress, including the hit spy film ‘Agent Vinod’ (1977), she won the Filmfare for Best Supporting Actress for ‘Priyatama’ in 1978. This song’s lyrics are beautiful and written by none else than Sahir Ludhyanvi. The train effects are wonderfully depicted through the orchestra. This was a multi-starrer movie comprising Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Parveen Babi, Simi Garewal, Vinod Khanna, Vinod Mehra and was commercially, a hit picture. “Pehli nazar main hum ne” was another Asha-Rafi duet from this movie. 
Speaking of qawwalis, Rafi sang another beautiful number “Hei agar dushman zamana” for the movie ‘Hum Kisi Sei Kum Nahin’. In 1971, RD used Rafi for his songs in the movies ‘Carvaan’ (“Kitna pyara wada hei” – duet with Lata, “Goriyan kahan tera dais hei” – a duet with Lata, Charhti Jawani Meri – a duet with Lata), ‘Adhikaar’ (“Jao jao tum bhi ho”), ‘Maila’ (“Aik baar rakh dei qadam” (solo), “Gori kei haath main” and “Rut hei milan ki” (duets) and ‘Pyar Ki Kahani’ “Aik pate ki baat bata dun” and “Koi aur duniya main” (duets). CS Srinivasan comments that RD always looked for popularity and would try means to outdo others. He used Rafi’s voice in different styles and sometimes even attempted to emulate SJ (popular duo composers of that era). Examples can be quoted as “Diwana mujhsa nahin is amber kei neeche” from ‘Teesri Manzil’, “Zamane nei mare” from ‘Baharon Kei Sapne’, “Wadian mera daman” from ‘Abhilasha’, “Rekha O Rekha” from ‘Adhikaar’, “Aik bechara” from ‘Waris’, “Aei jan-e-wafa” from ‘Chalia’ and “Jao tum bhi jao” from ‘Dil Ka Raja’. The art of RD must be appreciated that these songs left an identity of their own. The hallmark of Rafi-RD combination was songs carved for the dancing hero Shammi Kapoor for the movie ‘Teesri Manzil’. These were “Tum nei mujh ko dekha ho”, ‘O mere sona re sona re” (with Asha), “O haseena zulfon waali” (with Asha), “Aaja aaja main hun pyar tera” and “Daikhiye sahiban woh koi aur thi” (with Asha). 
It was noticed by music connoisseurs that in 1970, RD had deviated from use of Rafi to Kishore Kumar from the movie ‘Kati Patang’ onwards. However Rajesh Khanna had to picture Rafi’s vocals for the song “Gulabi Ankhain” the same year. He also used Rafi with Asha in the duet “Aaj tere naina” in the movie ‘Ehsaan’. The hero was Joy Mukerjee. Three of Rafi’s songs were recorded by RD for the movie ‘Raaton Ka Raja’, one of, which was “Mere liye aati hei shaam”. The period 1978-1980 witnessed a clear cut tilt towards Kishore Kumar by RD. Still there are worth mentioning songs that he gave to Muhammad Rafi during this period also like “Jab kisi kaza sei guzro” from the 1978 movie ‘Devta’, “Pyar main ajji kaya” from the 1978 movie ‘Phandebaaz’ and “Main nei poocha chand se” from 1980 film ‘Abdullah’, “Poocho na yaar kaya hua” from the 1981 movie ‘Zamane Ko Dikhana Hei’ and a beautiful melody “Dukh sukh ki har ik mala” from ‘Qudrat’ as already mentioned elsewhere. The last three songs were good. Though the year 1973 can boast of producer Nasir Hussain using Rafi for “Yadon ki barat”, the period 1974-76 also went in favour of Kishore Kumar for Shakti Samantha, Gulzar, Dev Anand and Rishikesh Mukerjee movies. 
Association with Ravi: Let us now come to Rafi’s association with music composer Ravi. The most notable happening is Rafi getting his first Filmfare award for Ravi’s composition “Chaudhavin ka chaand ho ya” in 1960 from a movie with the same name starring Guru Dutt, Waheeda Rehman and Rehman. The happy style was captured on Johnny Walker on Rafi singing “Mera yaar bana hei dulha”. Ravi’s compositions used to be simple and melodious like the emotional song “Babul ki duaein laiti jaa” that brought tears in his voice while rendering from the movie ‘Neel Kamal’ in 1968. He said so in his BBC interview in 1977. It brought Rafi National Award. My choice for Rafi-Ravi combination is his ghazals for the movie ‘Kajal’ (1965). Rafi rendered Ludhianvi’s ghazal “Choo lainey do nazuk honton ko” in the movie ‘Kajal’ in his silky and rich voice on which Raj Kumar gave an excellent performance. Another of Rafi’s songs is “Yeh zulf agar khul kei bikher jaey”, again a Sahir’s penned number. The movie ‘Do Badan’ (1966) had very melodious songs sung by Rafi; “Bhari duniya mein akhir dil ko” a Piano number using full range of the singer. I have mentioned in my book Melody Makers ‘I must mention that the combination of Ravi and Rafi was memorable. In films like ‘China Town’, 1962, Ravi produced the rock and roll number for Shammi Kapoor in the song “Baar baar dekho”. 


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