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

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

It is a tune in Madan Mohan’s unique style and has been sung with great emotions by Muhammad Rafi. Even today after so many years of creation of these songs, music lovers still yearn to listen to them. It has been reported that ten songs recorded remained unreleased, as the films stopped midway and the songs remained unheard, until they were located on Madan Mohan’s master spools. Some of these were released on 1980 on a Long Play record while seven of these were released on the album titled ‘Tere Bagair’ – Mohan in 2009, which also featured songs by other singing greats. Three of these were never released except on Mohan’s website very recently. For the first time, all these 10 songs by Rafi have been compiled on a single CD titled ‘Kaise Kategi Zindagi’, a refrain of his countless fans and the mukhra of the pathos-laden opening track of this CD indicating Mohan’s versatility; emotional, romantic, spiritual, dance songs and lilting duets. This CD is released by Yash Raj music, the same label that earlier released Tere Bagair and of course, ‘Veer Zaara’, the memorable Yash Chopra directed film that had Mohan’s unused tunes recreated to form the much-appreciated soundtrack.
Lastly I must mention about the story about the movie ‘Jahan Ara’. Writer/director Vinod Kumar was insistent upon using the vocals of Rafi while its composer Madan Mohan wanted Talat Mahmood to sing “Phir wohi shaam”, “Teri aankh kei ansu pee jaoon” and “Main teri nazar ka saroor hoon” (All these songs became hit songs in Talat Mahmood’s voice despite movie’s commercial failure). There was a deadlock and the director threatened to change the adamant composer in favour of music composer Roshan. Ironically, Mohan spent a hefty amount on the recording of Mahmood from his own pocket. 
Association with OP Nayyar: Rafi’s association with music composer OP Nayyar needs special mention, especially for the magic they created together in 1950s and 1960s. The team created many songs for the movies such as ‘Naya Daur’ (1957), ‘Tumsa Nahin Dekha’ (1957) and ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’ (1964). Nayyar admitted in his life time that had there been no Rafi, there would have been no Nayyar. It is irony that Rafi sang as background voice for Kishore Kumar (who was later prepared to oust Rafi by the latter’s adversaries) the song “Mun mora banwara” for the film ‘Ragini’. Rafi sang for Kishore Kumar in movies such as ‘Baaghi’, ‘Shehzaada’ and ‘Shararat’ also. 
Nayyar used Rafi and Asha Bhosle for most of his songs. My memories go back to the movie ‘Mr. and Mrs. Fifty Five’ in which Rafi gave memorable songs for Guru Dutt and Johny Walker. The highlight of this movie were its songs; Geeta Dutt and Rafi’s “Janey kahan mera jiger gaya ji”, “Udher tum haseen ho idher dil jawan hei”, “Chal diye bandanawaz” and Rafi’s solo “Aji dil peh huwa aisa jaadoo”. The 1954 movie ‘Aar Paar’ was again a movie full of entertainment. Rafi’s “Muhabbat kar lo jee bhar lo” and another one, a duet with Geeta Dutt’s “Sun sun sun zalima” have been outstandingly popular songs. The 1964 directed Shakti Samatha movie ‘Kashmir Ki Kali’ has lovely Rafi-Asha’s duets “Diwana hua badal” and “Isharon isharon mein” and Rafi’s solos such as “Kisi na kisi koi kabhi na kabhi”, “Tareef karun kaya us ki jis nei tumhain banaya” and “Hei duniya usi ki zamana usi ka”.
If Rafi made to suit his voice for all the leading heroes of his time, singing for hero Biswajeet was no exception. Biswajeet driving and singing “Pukarta chala gaya hun main” in a car whereas Asha Parekh walks in front, was a lovely melody. Rafi did the same for Dharmendra who sings for Rajshree in the movie ‘Muhabbat Zindigi Hei’, the song “Na jane kyun hamare dil ko”. Music lovers must have noticed that OP had the knack for using catchy rhythms, eastern instruments such as sarangi, sitar and santoor for interval pieces with rare use of violins (as a bar piece) like in this song. 
Another Rafi’s solo from this movie is “Tumhari mulaqat se”. A heart throbbing melody is “Aap ke haseen rukh pe aaj naya noor” from Dharmendra-Tanuja 1965 movie ‘Baharain Phir Bhi Aayein Gi’. It is beautiful melody in a steady medium-slow beat. Another duet with Asha from this movie is “Suno suno Miss Chatterjee”. 
Rafi sang a total of 197 numbers (56 solo) for Nayyar. The song “Jawaniyan yei mast mast” and the title song “Yun to humne lakh haseen daikhe hain” were for the 1957 Nasir Hussain film ‘Tumsa Nahin Dekha’. Amita removing cap of Shami Kapoor’s head and singing and running after him in the song “Daikho qasam se” with typical dholak beat in the antara and western beat in the interludes is a catchy duet by Rafi and Asha. Continued

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