Story, script, music, lyrics and characters. He weaved all this in his magical voice. A gentle human being, ever smiling, peace loving, good looking, did not drink alcohol or smoke. All these qualities in one single person? Yes, God put all these in one person and we call him Mohammed Rafi!! Add more to it, he was also generous and loved doing charity. He surely belonged to a rare species. From singing classical tunes to touching the wild notes of an exhilarating song, he did it all with ease and perfection. The range of his voice was fantastic. Though he reached sensational height of success, he was thoroughly grounded. He did not like to get into quarrels. A simple warm hearted person with no ego.
Without Rafi, Dilip Kumar would not have gotten the expressions to sing Toote Hue Khwabo Ne, without him, Shammi Kapoor would not have wooed his heroine from atop a helicopter with Aasman Se Aaya Farishta or Guru Dutt wouldn’t have sounded as patriotic as he did in Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par or Dev Anand would not have resonated romantically O Ho Ho Khoya Khoya Chaand and Johny Walker would not have sounded as adorable as he did in Sar Jo Tera Chakraaye. We cannot associate Rafi’s voice with a single actor. Throughout his career, Rafi is known to lend his voice to the actors, known-unknown. Not only did he sing for lesser known actors who played the protagonists in few films but also to some totally unknown actors who were shown on screen as beggars, street singers, qawwali singers, vendors etc. He made it sound so simple that audiences associated with that character immediately. Remember the song which brought him to fame? It was picturised on an unknown actor. Tera Khilona Toota Balak from Anmol Ghadi (1946).
He had superb control over his voice and was a perfect playback singer!! A voice which was apex of technical skill and eloquence of expressions. A glance at few such songs of this glorious singer which were picturised on unknown artists.
1. Aakhri Dao (1958) – A beautiful song by Madan Mohan, picturised on Nutan and Shekhar.
2. Mr and Mrs 55 (1955) – A helpless Guru Dutt wandering on the streets, anxious of losing his love Madhubala, comes across some street singers who are enjoying singing this beautiful number. The song is lip synced by an actor called Agha Haroon. Music by OPN.
3. Dil Apna Preet Parayi (1960) – Lip synced by Raj Kishore, it also has Raaj Kumar in the frame. The film has some lovely scores by Shankar Jaikishan.
4. Mughal-E-Azam (1960) – A perfect song of despair, from this epic film. Lip synced by a lesser known actor M. Kumar. The magnum opus had all top of the list songs, which are popular till date.
5. Kaun Apna Kaun Paraya (1963) – A film which was produced by Johny Walker’s brother Tony Walker, who also played the lead actor’s role under the screen name Vijay Kumar. A song picturised on Vijay Kumar and Waheeda Rehman.
6. Gumnaam (1965) – A lively dance number by Mohammed Rafi, foot tapping music by Shankar Jaikishan. The song is lip synced by none other than the choreographer Herman Benjamin.
7. Nai Umar Ki Nai Fasal (1965) – A fantastic sound track by Roshan, it had Tanuja, starring an actor called Rajeev, who is also a nephew of Bharat Bhushan.
8. Adhikar (1971) – Another film which had all nice songs but didn’t do well. This flirty number by Rafi, is sure a delight for everyone. Lip synced by actor called Bramhachari who is all set to woo Tabassum.
9. Thokar (1974) – A soft romantic number picturised on a dull couple, Baldev Khosa and Alka. Music by Shamji Ghanshamji.
10. Uphaar (1971) – A film based on Tagore’s story Samapti, from the house of Rajshri Production. It had Jaya Bhaduri starring opposite Swarup Dutt.