|Born||December 24, 1924|
Kotla Sultan Singh, Punjab, British India
|Died||July 31, 1980(1980-07-31) (aged 55)|
Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
|Genres||Indian classical, ghazal, playback singing|
|Occupations||Hindi and regional playback singer|
Mohammed Rafi (Hindi: मोहम्मद रफ़ी, Urdu: محمد رفیع; December 24, 1924 – July 31, 1980), was an Indian playback singer whose career spanned four decades. He won 5 National Awards and 6 Filmfare Awards. In 1967, he was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of In
In a career spanning about 40 years, Rafi sang over 26,000 film songs. His songs ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans, and from slow melancholic tunes to fast fun filled songs. He had a strong command of Hindi and Urdu and a powerful range that could accommodate this variety. He sang in many Indian languages including Hindi, Konkani, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Oriya Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Sindhi, Kannada, Gujarati, Telugu, Maghi, Maithili and Assamese. He also recorded a few English, Persian, Spanish and Dutch songs.
An article in Times of India, published on July 24, 2010 sums up his voice as, "If there are 101 ways of saying "I love you" in a song, Mohammed Rafi knew them all. The awkwardness of puppy love, the friskiness of teen romance, the philosophy of unrequited love and the anguish of heartbreak - he could explore every crevice of ardour. It wasn't just love, his voice could capture the navras of life - a failed poet's melancholy, a fiery unionist's vim, a debt-ridden farmer's despair, really anybody at all. Rafi, whose career spanned nearly four decades, was a singer for every season and every reason."
Early years and background
Mohammed Rafi was born the second youngest of six sons of Hajji Ali Mohammad at Kotla Sultan Singh, a village near Amritsar in Punja (British India). Rafi, whose nickname was Pheeko, started singing by imitating chants of a fakir in his village. Rafi's father moved to Lahore in the Nineteen Twenties and owned a men's salon in Noor Mohalla in Bhatti Gate Lahore. It was his elder brother (Mohammad Deen's) friend Abdul Hameed who later became his brother in law, who spotted the talent in Rafi in Lahore and encouraged him to sing. Abdul Hameed later convinced the family elders to let him move to Bombay and he accompanied Mohammad Rafi to Bombay in 1944. Rafi learnt classical music from Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Jiwanlal Matto and Firoze Nizami.
Rafi's first public performance came at the age of 13, when he was allowed to sing at a concert in Lahore featuring K. L. Saigal. In 1941, Rafi, under Shyam Sunder, made his debut in Lahore as a playback singer in the duet "Soniye nee, Heeriye nee" with Zeenat Begum in the Punjabi film Gul Baloch (the film was released in 1944). In that same year, Rafi was invited by All India Radio Lahore station to sing for them. He made his professional debut in the Shyam Sunder-directed 1941 film Gul Baloch and the Bombay film, Gaon Ki Gauri, the following year.
Rafi also did brief roles in movies like Laila-Majnu (1945) and Jugnu. In Laila-Majnu, he was seen singing ‘tera jalwa’ as a part of the chorus.
Advent in Bombay
In 1948, after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the team of Husanlal Bhagatram-Rajendra Krishan-Rafi had overnight created the song ‘Suno suno ae duniyawalon, Bapuji ki amar kahani…’. He was invited by the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to sing at the latter's house. In 1948, Rafi received a silver medal from Nehru on the Indian Independence Day. In 1949, Rafi was given solo songs by music directors such as Naushad, (Chandni Raat, Dillagi and Dulari) Shyam Sunder (Bazaar) and Husnalal Bhagatram (Meena Bazaar).
Rafi's first song with Naushad was "Hindustan ke hum hain" with Shyam Kumar, Alauddin and others, from A. R. Kardar's Pehle Aap (1944). Around the same time, Rafi recorded another song for the 1945 film Gaon ki Gori, "Aji dil ho kaaboo mein". He considered this song his first Hindi language song.Rafi also appeared in two movies. In 1945, Rafi appeared on the screen for the song "Tera Jalwa Jis Ne Dekha" in the film Laila Majnu. He sang a number of songs for Naushad as part of the chorus, including "Mere sapnon ki rani, Roohi Roohi" with K. L. Saigal from the film Shahjahan (1946). Rafi sang "Tera Khilona Toota alak" from Mehboob Khan's Anmol Ghadi (1946) and a duet with Noor Jehan in the 1947 film Jugnu, "Yahan Badla Wafa Ka". Following the Partition of India, Rafi decided to stay in India and had his family flown to Bombay. Whereas Noor Jahan migrated to Pakistan and made a pair with playback singer Ahmed Rushdi.
Rafi was highly influence by the singers of that time like K. L Saigal, Talat Mehmood and, most notably, by G. M. Durrani - on whose style he based his singing. He sung with his idol in some of the songs such as "Humko Hanste Dekh Zamana Jalta Hai (Hum Sab Chor Hain, 1956) and "Khabar Kisi ko Nahiin, woh kidhar Dekhte (Beqasoor, 1950), etc.
Recording careerHe associated with many music directors of his time, most notably Naushad. In the late 1950s and 1960s, Rafi worked with other composers of the era such as O. P. Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishan and S.D. Burman.
Association with Naushad
In 1949 when "Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki".
Rafi's association with Naushad helped the former establish himself as one of the most prominent playback singers in Hindi Cinema. Songs from Baiju Bawra (1952) like "O duniya ke rakhwale" and "Man tarpat Hari darshan ko aaj" furthered Rafi's credentials. Rafi ended up singing a total of 149 songs (81 of them solo) for Naushad.
Association with S D BurmanS. D. Burman patronized Rafi as the singing voice of Dev Anand and Guru Dutt. Rafi worked with Burman in movies like Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Tere Ghar ke Saamne (1962), Guide (1965), Aradhana (1969), and Abhimaan (1973). S. D. Burman was also another music director besides Naushad who used Rafi prolifically to sing for most of his songs.
Association with Shankar-JaikishanRafi and Shankar Jaikishan was a partnership in the Hindi film industry. Under Shankar-Jaikishan, Rafi produced some of his songs for actors like Shammi Kapoor and Rajendra Kumar. Out of six Filmfare awards, Rafi won three for S-J songs, viz., "Teri pyari pyari soorat ko", "Baharon phool barsao", and "Dil ke jharokhe mein". The song "Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe" was sung by Rafi, only to be matched a fast-paced orchestra and a composition by Shankar Jaikishan. S-J made Rafi give playback for Kishore Kumar in the film Shararat ("Ajab hai daastan teri yeh zindagi"). Rafi sang a total of 341 numbers (216 solo) for Shankar-Jaikishan. Among the films of this combination, are Basant Bahar, Professor, Junglee, Suraj, Brahmachari, An Evening in Paris, Dil Tera Deewana, Yakeen, Prince, Love in Tokyo, Beti Bete, Dil Ek Mandir, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, Gaban and Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai.
Association with Ravi
Rafi got his first Filmfare Award for the title song of Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), composed by Ravi. He got National Award for the song "Babul KiDuaen Leti Ja" from the film Neel Kamal (1968), also composed by Ravi. Rafi actually wept during the recording of this song. He, himself, admitted this in his interview to BBC in 1977.
Ravi and Rafi produced several other songs, in the films China Tow (1962), Kaajal (1965), and Do Badan(1966).
Association with Madan MohanMadan Mohan was another composer whose favorite singer was Rafi. Rafi's first solo with Madan Mohan in Ankhen (1950), "Hum ishq mein barbad hain barbad rahenge". They teamed up to produce many songs including "Teri Aankhon ke Siva", "Rang aur noor ki baraat", "Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil" and "Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho".
Association with O. P. NayyarRafi and O. P. Nayyar created music in the 1950s and 1960s. O. P. Nayyar was once quoted as saying "If there had been no Mohd. Rafi, there would have been no O. P. Nayyar".He and Rafi created many songs together including "Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan". He got Rafi to sing for singer-actor Kishore Kumar – "Man mora baawara" for the movie Raagini. Later, Rafi sang for Kishore Kumar in movies such as Baaghi, Shehzaada and Shararat. O. P. Nayyar used Rafi and Asha Bhosle for most of his songs. The team created many songs in early 1950s and 1960s for movies such as Naya Daur (1957), Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), and Kashmir Ki Kali(1964). Rafi sang a total of 197 numbers (56 solo) for Nayyar. The song "Jawaaniyan yeh mast mast" and the title song "Yun to humne lakh hansee dekhe hain, tumsa nahin dekha" of the film Tumsa Nahin Dekha. They were followed by songs like "Taareef karoon kya uski jisne tumhe banaya" from Kashmir ki Kali.
Association with Laxmikant-PyarelalThe composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal (L-P) also patronized Rafi as one of their singers, right from their very first film, Parasmani (1963). Both Rafi and L-P won the Filmfare Awards for the song "Chahoonga main tujhe saanjh savere" from Dosti (1964). Rafi sang a total of 369 numbers (186 solo) for L-P.
Between 1950 and 1970, Rafi was the most sought after singers in Bollywood. He sang for many male stars in Hindi films.In 1965, he was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Sri award. Rafi recorded two Hindi songs in English on 7" release in 1968. He also sang a song in Creole while on his visit to Mauritius in the late 1960s. Rafi recorded two English albums as well. One of them is Pop Hits. In Bollywood, yodeling is generally associated with Kishore Kumar but Rafi introduced yodeling in Indian film as playback singing. Rafi yodeled in some of his old songs, such as "Hello sweety seventeen" (duet with Asha Bhosle), "O Chale ho kaha", "Dilke Aine main", and "Unse Rippy Tippy Ho gayee" (duet with Geeta Dutt).
Royalty issueLata Mangeshkar, recognising Rafi's position by 1962-1963, had wanted this singer to back her in demanding a half-share from the 5 percent song royalty that the film's producer conceded to select composers. Lata's contention was that, there was no way producers and music directors could deny this singing duo, one-half share in that 5 percent song royalty to the composer. Rafi's stated that his claim on the film's maker ended with his being paid his agreed fee for the song. After that, if the film proved a hit, good luck to the movie's maker, he was welcome to keep the Gramco (HMV) royalty he earned from it.
If the song failed to be successful, argued Rafi, he had already been paid his fee for rendering it, so that the film's maker and he were quits. Rafi said, "We playback artistes don't create the song, we merely re-create it on the screen, as guided by the music director. We sing, they pay, so there the commitment of both sides ends."
Lata viewed his stand as a stumbling block on the royalty issue. Lata said she would no longer sing with Rafi, whereupon Rafi, observed that he, from thereon, was only so keen to sing with Lata as she was with him.Later, at the insistence of S. D. Burman, the two decided to reconcile and sing duets.
Guiness World RecordsDuring his last years, Rafi was involved in a controversy over Lata Mangeshkar's introduction in to the Guinness Book of World Records. In a letter dated June 11, 1977 to the Guinness Book of World Records, Rafi had challenged the claim that Lata Mangeshkar has recorded the maximum number of songs ("not less than 25,000" according to Guinness). After receiving a reply from Guinness, in a letter dated November 20, 1979, he wrote: "I am disappointed that my request for a reassessment vis-a-vis Ms Mangeshkar's reported world record has gone unheeded.".
In an interview to BBC recorded in Nov 1977, Rafi claimed to have sung 25,000 to 26,000 songs till then.
After Rafi's death, in its 1984 edition, the Guinness Book of Word Records gave Lata Mangeshkar's name for the "Most Recordings" but also stated: "Mohammad Rafi (d 1 Aug 1980) [sic] claimed to have recorded 28,000 songs in 11 Indian languages between 1944 and April 1980.".
According to the available figures, Rafi has sung 4,516 Hindi film songs, 112 non-Hindi film songs, and 328 private (non-film) songs from 1945 to 1980. The Guinness Book entries for both Rafi and Lata were later removed in 1991.
In early 1970s, Rafi fell ill and recorded fewer songs.
At the same period Kishore Kumar's popularity increased due to the songs he sang, controversially, for the film Aradhana in Mohd Rafi`s absence during Rafi's Hajj pilgrimage in 1969. The music for Aradhana was composed by S. D. Burman, and he had used Rafi as the male playback voice for the first two recorded duets, "Baaghon Mein Bahaar Hai" and "Gunguna Rahen Hain Bhanwre". After these two recordings, S. D. Burman fell ill and his son and assistant, R. D. Burman, took over the recordings. R. D. Burman got Kishore Kumar to sing the solos "Roop Tera Mastana" and "Mere Sapnon Ki Rani".
During 1971-1973, Rafi's musical output decreased; however, he did sing several songs.Some of Rafi's songs of the early 1970s were with music directors like Laxmikant Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, R. D. Burman and S. D. Burman. These include "Tum mujhe Yun Bhula na Paoge" (a signature song of Rafi in 1971) from Pagla Kahin Ka, "Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil" from Heer Ranjha (1970), "Jhilmil Sitaron ka" from Jeevan Mrityu (a duet with Lata Mangeshkar, 1970), "Gulabi Aankhen" from The Train (1970), "Yeh Jo Chilman Hain" and "Itna to Yaad Hain Mujhe" from Mehboob Ki Mehndi (1971), "Mera mann tera pyasa" Gambler, "Chalo Dildar Chalo" from 1972 released Pakeezah, "Chura Liya Hai Tumne" from Yaadon Ki Baarat (a duet with Asha Bhosle, 1973), "Na tu Zameen Ke liye" from 1973 released Dilip Kumar movie Dastan, "Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho" from Hanste Zakhm (1973), "teri bindiya re", from Abhimaan(1973) and "Aaj mausam bada beimaan hai" from Loafer (1973).
Later yearsRafi made a comeback as a leading singer in the mid-1970s. In 1974, he won the Film World magazine Best Singer Award for the song "Teree Galiyon Mein Na Rakhenge Qadam Aaj Ke Baad" (Hawas, 1974) composed by Usha Khanna.
In 1977, he won both Filmfare Award and the National Award for the song "Kya Hua Tera Wada" from the movie Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, composed by R. D. Burman. Rafi sang for Rishi Kapoor in films like Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Sargam (1979) and Karz (1980). The qawwali "Pardah Hai Pardah" from Amar Akbar Anthoy (1977) was a superhit. Rafi's notable renderings in the late 1970s and early 80s include Laila Majnu (1976), Apnapan (1978), Qurbani, Dostana (1980), The Burning Train (1980), Naseeb (1981), Abdullah (1980), Shaan (1980), and Asha (1980).
DeathOn Thursday, July 31, 1980, Rafi died at 10:50 p.m., following a heart attack. His last song was "Shaam phir kyun udaas hai dost" (Aas Paas), which he had recorded with Laxmikant-Pyarelal few hours before his death.Rafi was buried at the Juhu Muslim cemetery.It was one of the biggest funeral processions Mumbai had ever witnessed, with over 10,000 people attending.
In 2010, his tomb was demolished to make space for new bodies. Fans of Mohammed Rafi who arrive twice a year at his tomb, on December 24 and July 31, to mark his birth and death anniversary, use the coconut tree nearest to his grave as a marker.
Once, when composer Nisar Bazmi (who had migrated to Pakistan) didn’t have enough money to pay him, Rafi charged a fee of one rupee and sang for him. He also helped producers financially. As Laxmikant (of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo) once observed – “He always gave without thinking of the returns”.
LegacyThe government of India announced a two-day public holiday on his death, honouring him.
Rafi's song from the film Gumnaam (1965), "Jaan Pehechan Ho", was used on the soundtrack of Ghost World (2001). The film opens with the lead character dancing around in her bedroom to a video of Gumnaam.
His "Aaj Mausam Bada Beiman Hai" is featured in the 2001 film Monsoon Wedding.
His song "Mera Man Tera Pyasa" (Gambler, 1970) has been used as one of the soundtracks in the Jim Carrey-Kate Winslet starrer Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). This song is played in the background in Kate Winslet's character's home while the lead pair are having a drink - at approx 00.11.14 runtime.
Several of Rafi's unreleased songs will be used for an upcoming film titled Sorry Madam.
A documentary about Rafi’s life is under production by The Films Division of India.
In the summer of 2008, the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra released a double CD entitled Rafi Resurrected comprising 16 songs by Rafi. Bollywood playback singer Sonu Nigam provided the vocals for this project and toured with the CBSO in July 2008 at venues including the English National Opera in London, Manchester's Apollo Theatre and Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
The Padma Shri Mohammed Rafi Chowk in the Bandra suburb of Mumbai and Pune (extending MG Road) is named after Rafi.
In June 2010, Rafi was voted the most popular playback singer in the OUTLOOK Music Poll, conducted by Outlook Magazine, along with Lata Mangeshkar. The same Poll voted "Man re, tu kahe na Dheer Dhare" (Chitralekha, 1964), sung by Rafi as the #1 song. Three songs tied up for the #2 place and two of them were sung by Rafi. The songs were "Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang Hain" (Guide, 1965) and "Din Dhal Jaye, hai raat na jaye" (Guide, 1965).
This poll was published in Outlook Magazine, the jury of which included many people in the Indian music industry; Abhijeet, Adesh Srivastava, Alisha Chinai, Anu Malik, Ehsaan, Gulzar, Hariharan, Himesh Reshammiya, Jatin, Javed Akhtar, Kailash Kher, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Khayyam, Kumar Sanu, Lalit, Loy, Mahalaxmi Iyer, Mahendra Kapoor, Manna Dey, Prasoon Joshi, Rajesh Roshan, Sadhna Sargam, Sameer, Sandesh Shandilya, Shaan, Shankar, Shantanu Moitra, Shreya Ghoshal, Sonu Nigam and Talat Aziz.
In an article in Times of India, Rafi is described as "a versatile singer, who could render classical, rock and roll, indeed any kind of song with ease, he was Hindi film's favourite male voice through the 1950s and 1960s". Music director Rajesh Roshan, who composed some of the songs with Rafi, remembers him as "a warm-hearted simple person with no ego".
Music lovers[who?] have appealed to the Government of India to honour the singer, posthumously, with Bharat Ratna (India's Highest Civilian Award)
Classical and playback singer Manna Dey, who was also a contemporary of Rafi, credits Rafi as "the best singer of them all". He said, "Rafi and I could sing everything, and he was such a gentleman. He was a better singer than me, and I will say this - that no one came even close to him! He deserved everything he got! We had a great understanding and it was never about one-upmanship".
Veteran actor Shammi Kapoor said, "I am incomplete without Mohammad Rafi. I used to often go for the recoding of my song, which was sung by Mohammad Rafi, only because I used to like telling him how I would perform on this song on screen so that he can sing it that way. Even he liked my involvement".
On September 22, 2007, a shrine to Rafi designed by artist Tasawar Bashir was unveiled on Fazeley Street, Birmingham, UK. Bashir is hoping that Rafi will attain sainthood as a result.
Singers like Masood Rana, Shabbir Kumar, Akhlaq Ahmed, Mohammed Aziz and, more recently, Sonu Nigam, who made a name by adopting his style, perhaps owe their entire careers to Rafi.
After his death, seven Hindi movies have been dedicated to Mohd Rafi; Allah Rakha, Mard, Coolie, Desh-Premee, Naseeb, Aas-Paas and Heeralal-Pannalal.
Personal lifeRafi and Abdul Hameed married two sisters in Bombay in late forties. Rafi had an earlier marriage with her cousin that took place in his ancestral village that could not be continued due to the migration of his in laws and wife to Lahore Pakistan after partition. Rafi had one son from his earlier marraige and three sons and three daughters from his second marriage with Bilquis in Bombay. He was a teetotaller, a religious and humble person. He was very much a family man, following a recording-room to home to recording-room itenerary. He never attended filmy parties, did not smoke or drink. He used to perform his riyaz (musical practise) from 3 AM to 7 AM without fail. His only indulgences were playing carom and badminton and flying kites. The youngest of Rafi's brother Mohammad Saddique is still alive and lives in the family house in Lahore Pakistan
|Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (December 2010)|
- Rafi's nickname was Pheeko.
- Rafi's first public performance came at the age of 13, when he was allowed to sing at a concert featuring playback singer K. L. Saigal.
- In the 1960 film Mughal-E-Azam, Mohammed Rafi sang the song "Ae Mohabbat Zindabad" with a chorus of 100 singers.
- Rafi has rendered the maximum number of songs for the music director duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal—a total of 369 numbers, 186 of them being solos.
- He has sung the maximum number of duets with Asha Bhonsle (female),Manna Dey (male) and Lata Mangeshkar (female).
- Rafi has a record number of Filmfare Award nominations (23). He won it six times.
- In 1948, Rafi sang "Sun Suno Aye Duniya Walon Bapuji Ki Amar Kahani", written by Rajendra Krishan, which became a huge hit. He was invited by the Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to sing at the latter's house.
- For the song “Man mora bawra” in the film Ragini, Kishore Kumar requested Rafi to sing this song for him because this song was a semi classical and Kishore Kumar said that "Rafi Sahab can sing this song better than me". Rafi sang the song.
- The song “Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh Meri” was first given to Kishore Kumar to sing and he sung the first half of antara but in the second half, he faced some trouble and after many retakes, he was unable to give the effect that Shankar Jaikishan wanted, and finally the song was given to Rafi to sing.
- In the song "Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyaar Kya Karein" (Amar, Akbar, Anthony), Mohd Rafi sang with Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh - all in one song. This was probably the only time that all of them rendered their voices for one song.
- A man, sentenced to be hanged, was asked what his last wish was. The man asks that he be allowed to listen to “O duniya ke rakhwale, sun dard bare mere naale; jeewan apna wapas lele, jeewan dene wale“.
- During a concert in Raipur with Shankar-Jaikishan, the audience kept on demanding "once more".. Even the musicians in the orchestra were tired. Finally, Rafi sang five songs with just a harmonium as a musical instrument. Then, he sang the Indian National Anthem
- In the earlier years, Filmare used to have only one Best Singer Award (no distinction between a male or female singer). Rafi won it six times.
- 1948 - Rafi received a silver medal from the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, on the first anniversary of the Indian Independence Day.
- 1967 - Honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
- 1974 - Film World magazine Best Singer Award for the song "Teree Galiyon Mein Na Rakhenge Qadam Aaj Ke Baad" (Hawas, 1974).
- 2001 - Rafi was honored with the "best singer of the millennium" by Hero Honda and Stardust magazine in Mumbai on Jan 7, 2001. Rafi won with 70% of the votes.
- National Film Awards
- Filmfare Awards
|1960||"Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho"||Chaudhvin Ka Chand||Bombay Ravi||Shakeel Badayuni|
|1961||"Teri Pyaari Pyaari Surat Ko"||Sasural||Shankar Jaikishan||Shailendra|
|1964||"Chahunga Main Tujhe"||Dosti||Laxmikant-Pyarelal||Majrooh Sultanpuri|
|1966||"Baharo Phool Barsao"||Suraj||Shankar Jaikishan||Shailendra|
|1968||"Dil Ke Jharoke Mein"||Brahmachari||Shankar Jaikishan||Shailendra|
|1977||"Kya Hua Tera Wada"||Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin||Rahul Dev Burman||Majrooh Sultanpui|
- Source : Wikipedia