Remembering Rafi on his death anniversary

I would like to start with Naushad's quote on Rafi's death

कहता है कोई दिल गया, दिलबर चला गया

साहिल पुकारता है, समंदर चला गया

लेकिन जो बात सच है वो कोई कहता नही

दुनिया से मौसीक़ी का पायांबर चला गया

Had he been alive, he would have been 90 years old now. I could keep on writing endlessly about Rafi but that would kill the point. I am not going to quantify how many songs he sang, or how good were his vocals or how humble he was as a person. Every Rafi fan, everyone knows everything about the greatness of the man. I am just jolting down 5 songs that were remarkable in establishing Rafi at the helm of singing. At the pinnacle of music

5) Soniye ni heeriye ni, teri yaad ni aan sataya

This was Rafi sahab's first song. Music was composed by legendary Shyam Sundar ji and the movie was Gul Baloch - 1944. It was a punjabi song and Rafi sahab was sharing the mic with Zeenat Begum in this duet. Rafi was initially spotted by Feroze Nizami in Lahore who also got him a job with Radio Lahore for some time. Shyam Sundar was aware of Rafi's potential and gave him 7 songs in his next film - Bazaar. However Rafi was still lurking behind in the shadows of Talat and Saigal till now

4) Yahan badla wafa ka
Rafi got his first break in hindi movies with the movie Gaon ki Gori, but he pretty much went unnoticed there. In came Anmol Ghadi and Jugnu. Anmol Ghadi was the moment that was going to shape the music industry for the coming decades. Although Naushad had recognised Rafi's talent much before and their coming together happened in 1944 with the film, Pehle Aap and the song `Hindustan ke hum ham hindustan hamara’. Naushad was the first music maestro responsible for showcasing and presenting Rafi’s awesome repertoire. Anmol Ghadi got Rafi the attention of the music fraternity while the song 'yahan badla wafa ka' from Jugnu made sure Rafi was not going to get lost in the new breed of singers that were coming up during the independence days. The music for the song was composed by Feroze Nazmi and the song garnered enough attention with Yusuf being the face of the song. The duet also had Noor Jahan singing with Rafi

3) Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki
I tried to resist the urge of not putting the live version of Naushad orchestrating and Rafi singing this song, but its next to impossible. The magic of this song has become a popcultural symbol. There have been stories about this song even being national anthem of some Caribbean island country for some time. Whether the myths, the folks attached with the song are true or not still remains clouded in mystery, but whats crystal clear is that this song is pure bliss. Naushad and Rafi carried their magical combination for years before and after this song. The duo hit their highest point in 1952 with Baiju Bawra, but Suhani Raat would always be the song that made Rafi the face of Indian music. Barsaat in 1949 was the most succesful music album and took Mukesh to great fame but Rafi with one single song had the song of the year

4) Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho
Had they had the category for best male playback singer in Filmfare Awards in 1950s, Rafi would have done a clean sweep. It almost becomes unthinkable to compare him with any other male playback singer in 50s. His combination with SD Burman, Naushad, Ravi, Madan Mohan, Shankar Jaikishan and C ramchandra delivered pure gold during the decade. Despite missing out on the inaugral award to Mukesh for Anari, Rafi got his hands on it next year with this classic number from the film of the same name. The Guru Dutt- SD relationship had ended after Kagaz ke Phool and in came the masterful Ravi who delivered a peach of an album with Rafi again bringing the golden touch in the songs. The album was critically acclaimed with Rafi claiming 5 solo songs

5) Kya Hua Tera Wada
If Filmfare were missed in 50s, then national Awards were even more delayed in entering the frame. Rafi surprisingly received only 1 national award during his life but thats more due to the fact that the awards started in 1967 and by that time Rafi had peaked multiple times already and was on a gradual decline with rise of Kishore Kumar and entry of RD Burman in the scene. However it was RD's music which finally got Rafi the award (believed by many including me, to be just a gesture to the brightest star in the galaxy with kind of a consolation. Not a great Rafi song by any stretch of imagination). From the movie Hum Kisi se Kam Nahi in 1977, this song in a way provided closure to Rafi's long, illustrious and succesful career. 

It was not long after that, when Naushad called Manna Day to inform him that Rafi had passed away. Manna was trembling after that. Lata could not get a proper sleep for some nights and the whole of India was in shock

Finally a song to remember Rafi in his entirety 


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