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Top 10 Mohammed Rafi Songs – 30 Years AD
Submitted by Reena Daruwalla on Mon, 02/08/2010 - 14:48

31 July 2010 marked the 30th death anniversary of one of the all time greats – one of the giants of Hindi film music – matchless Mohammad Rafi. I must have been in KG class, but I do still have a recollection of that day 30 years ago, when Mohammed Rafi passed away – I was doing a day spend with my best friend /cousin at the time and some news over the radio suddenly had her mother, my Bua in floods of tears. She was quickly on the phone with her brother – my youngest kaka and they both proceeded to commiserate with one another about the passing of a legend.

My Bua, kaka and large sections of my extended family were far from the only people who personally and profoundly mourned the passing of Mohammad Rafi, arguably one of the finest, most versatile and most gifted male singers ever. To this day he is enshrined as a minor deity in my extended family and no Sangeet preceding a family wedding is ever complete without a lusty belting out of Khoya Khoya Chand and a more somnolent rendition of the duet raat ke humsafar.

The entire country mourned the end of a musical era on that day. If there was someone who could equal Lata Mangeshkar in terms of pitch, voice modulation, and sheer singing ability, it was him. Even the more classically inclined Manna Dey’s songs paled in comparison to Rafi’s magical ability and sheer prodigious output.

Rafi was well known for altering and modulating his style of singing to suit the actor that he sang playback for.  Witness how some of this most energetic, even manic songs were sung for Shammi Kapoor, how he infused other songs with a gut wrenching pathos and how he invested bhajans with the kind of soulful piety that could easily bring tears to the eyes.

 I am going to attempt a difficult and challenging task to narrow down and pick my top 10 Mohammad Rafi songs here:

  1. Baar Baar Dekho (China Town)– a swinging, melodious, beautifully rendered track
  2. Kar Chale Hum Fida  (Haqeekat) – the song never fails to bring up the tears (it is the male equivalent of Aye mere watan ke logon in my view)
  3. Yeh chand sa Raushan Chehra (Kashmir ki kali) his vocal acrobatic acrobatics, match, move for move, Shammi Kapoor gyrating all over and finally falling out of his Shikara.
  4. Na kisi ki aankh ka nor(Lal Qila) the sound of his voice matches the desolation of the words
  5. Khoya Khoya Chand (Kala Bazaar) a happy lighthearted song of yearning matching Dev Anand and his ragdoll impersonation
  6. Chhoo le ne do naazuk hoton ko (Kaajal) An innocent eroticism – superbly melodious rendition
  7. Any song from Junglee (I could not choose) from the frenzied Chahi koi mujhe jungle kahe to the heartfelt Ehesaan tera hoga mujhpar
  8. Kaun hai jo sapno mein aya (Jhuk gaya asmaan) for once it is the original Marguerita by Elvis Presley that seems the weak imitation.
  9. Dekhi Zamaney Ki Yaari (Kagaz Ke Phool) – Disillusionment and resignation on Guru Dutt's face matched by the pathos in Rafi’s voice
  10. Man tadapat (Hari Om Bhajan from Baiju Bawra) – classical perfection in Raag Malkauns – one of the best bhajans ever to be composed for a Hindi film
Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)
 

6 Comments

Guest wrote Great post. The body of work at 12:47:48 PM on August 4, 2010

Rockstar2010's picture

Great post. The body of work that Rafi has left behind is simply incredible. No wonder that Rafi is widely regarded as the greatest ever playback singer from the Indian subcontinent, and even the great Lata says so in her personal tribute to Rafi on his 30th death anniversary:

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article528270.ece

Some excerpts:

"Rafi bhaiya was not only India's greatest playback singer but also a wonderful person. I am yet to come across another artist so modest, dignified and unassuming. The blessings of Goddess Saraswati were with him and this was responsible to a great extent for his iconic success and he believed in true sadhna."

"He was one singer whose vocal range could outclass any other singer, whether it was me, Asha, Mannada or Kishore bhaiya."

"It is very wrong to say that Kishore Kumar overtook Rafi bhaiya in the early 1970s.Kishore was no doubt at his peak, but Rafi bhaiya was equally effective with Tere naam ka diwana, Gulabi aankhen, Yeh duniya yeh mehfil and Tum jo mil gaye ho. Even Kishore bhaiya never felt he was ahead of Rafi."

Guest wrote Great post. The body of work at 12:48:33 PM on August 4, 2010

Rockstar2010's picture

Great post. The body of work that Rafi has left behind is simply incredible. No wonder that Rafi is widely regarded as the greatest ever playback singer from the Indian subcontinent, and even the great Lata says so in her personal tribute to Rafi on his 30th death anniversary:

http://www.thehindu.com/arts/music/article528270.ece

Some excerpts:

"Rafi bhaiya was not only India's greatest playback singer but also a wonderful person. I am yet to come across another artist so modest, dignified and unassuming. The blessings of Goddess Saraswati were with him and this was responsible to a great extent for his iconic success and he believed in true sadhna."

"He was one singer whose vocal range could outclass any other singer, whether it was me, Asha, Mannada or Kishore bhaiya."

"It is very wrong to say that Kishore Kumar overtook Rafi bhaiya in the early 1970s.Kishore was no doubt at his peak, but Rafi bhaiya was equally effective with Tere naam ka diwana, Gulabi aankhen, Yeh duniya yeh mehfil and Tum jo mil gaye ho. Even Kishore bhaiya never felt he was ahead of Rafi."

Guest wrote Mohammad Rafi at 11:47:51 AM on December 25, 2010

Pepe Chareetur's picture

I find it very hard to pick 10 of M.Rafi's best songs because he has sung so many beautiful songs one as beautiful as the other.
Being a Shammi Kapoor fan, I think Rafi Saab sang very well for Shammiji as well as for Dharmendar,Biswajeet,Joy Mukherjee, Sunil Dutt,Sanjeev Kumar,Rajesh Khanna,Dilip Kumar,Manoj Kumar,Bharat Bhushan,Raaj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor and the list goes on.
I consider Mohammad Rafi to be the world's ( East & West combined) greatest singer.
I have a huge collection of Indian GoldenOldies songs (Rafi, Lata, Kishore, Asha, Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor, Talat Mahmood etc.,etc.) I love all of them.

Guest wrote Mohammad Rafi Sahab at 01:15:19 PM on April 9, 2012

Kamal Sharma's picture

Mohammad Rafi Sahab se uper koi bhi singer nahi hai aur na hoga . wo lata ji se bhi jyada feeling se gate the. or har point mein lata ji se ache the. but lata ji or asha ji unke mukable kishore da ko jyada acha batate hain jo kaphi nirashajanak hai . kishore da bhi thik thak the par mohammad rafi se kaphi niche the. or han lata ji besak na kahe pr wo bhi janti hai ki wo kya cheez the.

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