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

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

I remember having watched the movie ’Arzoo’ while in UK in late sixties with petit Sadhna singing Lata’s marvellous song “Bedardi baalma tujh ko mera mun” in bewitching wilderness backdrop. It has Muhammad Rafi’s melodies like “Aei phoolon ki rani baharon”, “Tera muskurana ghazab” and “Aji hum sei bicher kar”. Then another black and white cinema scope movie ‘Raat Aur Din’ is remembered for Rafi’s songs along with Lata and Mukesh. This movie had “Awara Aei Mere Dil” penned by Shailinder, by Lata in both happy and sad moods, the song “Raat aur din diya jale” by Lata was penned by Hasrat Jaipuri picturised on Nargis followed by Pardeep Kumar in a jungle; a haunting number. The song “Phool sa chehra” was penned by Hasrat Jaipuri and sung by Rafi, a ghazal composed in geet/qawwali style picturised on Pardeep Kumar with Nargis getting embarrassed. Nargis played double role, one of a debauch character with her singing Lata’s “Na chairo gham kei afsaney” while singing and drinking in a nightclub. The other songs are “Jeena hamko raas na aaya” by Shailendra and “Dil ki girah khol do” by Shailendra. The latter song is picturised on Nargis while in Feroze Khan’s arms in a nightclub. The male part is sung by Manna Dey. Why have I gone into details of this film’s music is because of the lovely rich but simple melodies composed by SJ for this movie. I have written in my book Melody Makers that in this movie Nargis’s dual role both in a good and negative character role is mesmerizing. In this movie, Pratap meets a young woman named Varuna. He falls in love with her and soon they get married. He later finds out Varuna at midnight in a nightclub, where she sings, dances and gets drunk. When he demands an explanation on Varuna’s part, she denies ever doing such things. Then Pratap meets a young man Dilip, who claims to be Varuna’s lover, and states that she is actually his girlfriend Peggy. It is later discovered that Varuna has a multiple personality disorder. Nargis bagged National award for best actress. This was one of last of black and white cinemascope movies and I love all its songs.
Even in Mukesh’s hey days, Rafi could not be ignored in Raj Kapoor’s movies and he sang “Naiya teri manjhdaar hoshiar” in the famous movie ‘Awara’, “Sawa lakh ki lottery” in the movie ‘Chori Chori’ and “Sadqe heer tujh pei” in ‘Mera Naam Joker’. Rafi’s versatility is shown in a fast number “Jaane kahan gai” from the movie ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai’ and in the song “Jaan pehchan ho gai ho gi” from the movie ‘Gumnaam’. The movie ‘Andaz’ had a lovely song by Rafi despite Rajesh Khanna starring in it who used to patronise Kishore Kumar. This song was “Hai na bolo bolo” (with children). Two songs from the movie ‘Zindigi’ by Rafi were “Pehle mile thei sapnon mein” and “Hamne jafa na seekhi”. Dilip Kumar’s movie ‘Yehudi’ is famous for Mukesh’s “Yei mera diwanapan hei” but it too had Rafi’s number “Yeh duniya yei”. As mentioned above, out of six Filmfare awards, Rafi won three for Shankar Jaikishen songs, which were “Teri pyari pyari soorat ko”, “Baharon phool barsao” and “Dil ke jharokhe mein”. The song “Yahoo!” from the movie ‘Jungli’ was sung by Rafi, only to be matched with fast-paced orchestra and composition by Shankar Jaikishan and loud acting by Shammi Kapoor. SJ made Rafi give playback for Kishore Kumar in the film ‘Shararat’ (“Ajab hai daastan”). Those were the days when Kishore was struggling as an actor and was not established as a singer. Rafi sang a total of 341 numbers (216 solo) for SJ duo. Among the films of this combination are ‘Basant Bahar’, ‘Professor’, ‘Junglee’, ‘Suraj’, ‘Brahamchari’, ‘An Evening in Paris’, ‘Dil Tera Deewana’, ‘Yaqeen’, ‘Prince’, ‘Love in Tokyo’, ‘Beti Bete’, ‘Dil Aik Mandir’, ‘Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai’, ‘Gaban’ and ‘Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai’.

Association with Naushad Ali: It is now time to talk about Rafi’s association with music composer Naushad Ali. Whatever is the history of this association that we shall also go through in detail subsequently, my initial memories are stuck with the movie ‘Dulari’ song “Suhani raat dhal chuki”. This was Shakeel Bidayuni’s penned song from this 1949 movie. Many consider this song as the first mega hit of Rafi (so do I). One would notice that tabla or dholak is missing in this song with dummy mandolin played by the hero Suresh. The line “Khazan ka aa chala hei mausam-e-bahar” is difficult to be rendered in the second stanza but Rafi has rendered it with ease. Continuing with the playlist of Naushad/Rafi combination, the song “Mil mil ke gaein” with Lata and Madhubala dancing to Suresh’s mandolin from the movie ‘Dulari’ is also a captivating song. Continued

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