Mohammed Rafi Through Eyes of A Fan Who Prefers Quality Over Quantity

By  | 

Naushad Ali the famous music composer who ruled Hindi film music for nearly 30 yrs when asked the question about Mohd Rafi, he said Rafi was his most favorite singer. When the press reporter asked him the reason Naushad said for a playback singer 7 essential qualities are necessary and Rafi possessed an 8th quality too which was rare for a playback singer. Then the press reporter eagerly asked Naushad what are the 7 qualities and which is the 8th quality that Rafi had. Naushad answered.

For a playback singer the 7 qualities are.

1. Good Voice
2. Classical training.
3. Diction.
4. Expression.
5. Voice modulation
6. Clarity in Base voice.
7. Sur.

He added apart from all these qualities Rafi had an 8th quality and that was he Is a very good person. He never had any ego or anything against anyone. He concentrated more on Riyaz and his work was everything for him.

Today let’s talk abt 4 songs. First 2 Songs have a similar theme In which Rafi does not a single “LINE” but still dominates the entire song. Wow that’s indeed a very rare case. In this first song Rafi hums the entire tune and still maintains the synchronisation perfectly with Shamshad Begum.

The song is “Thodasa Dil Laga Ke Dekh” from Musafirkhana. Rafi is singing for Johnny Walker and Shamshad Begum is singing for Shammi. The “pakad” which Rafi has maintained in the entire song is absolutely amazing which only he could do. Shamshad Begum starts the song with Thodasa Dil Laga ke dekh. Then in the next line we expect some instruments or Shamshad Begum to continue further or Rafi sing a line. But here Rafi sings Ta Rum Pum. He is actually humming the tune and the most important part is to maintain the sur. Which Rafi has done perfectly. Then the Diction comes in the picture and Rafi has great breadth control and the voice modulation for Johnny Walker simply out of the world. To go hand-in-hand with Shamshad Begum is very difficult and Rafi has done it perfectly. This song is a peppy duet and in those days Op Nayyar gave all types of songs to Rafi and Rafi delivered it perfectly. Without singing a single word and still humming the entire rhythm beautifully. Aha. That was Rafi. Listen this song and you will surely agree with me. It’s a waltz rhythm which Op Nayyar has used and it’s very similar to Tari Aari from Dastan.




The second song Is “Ho Gaye Gentleman”. We can actually call it a duet. In the entire song Rafi sings just 7 words. He just sings ” Hai Hai”. The song starts with a whistling sound which also has been played by Rafi himself. I heard from many Rafi fans that if any whistling part is there in any particular song Rafi himself does it. The biggest example is Maang Ke Saath Tumhara in which the whistling part at the end of the song has been played by Rafi himself. Asha Bhosle has sung the song very well but Rafi has made a lot of difference in the song with just those 6 words. These are minute things that makes a big difference in a song. The first time when Rafi says Hai he says it with a striking sound and the next time he leaves it with a soft sound in bade voice with voice modulation in each antra. This song has been composed by Sardar Malik from Taxi no 555. See how with just 6 words Rafi saheb ne song Mein ek jaan daal di hai.



Now few songs in which Rafi Saheb is singing just few lines but still gaining control over the song very beautifully in his unique style.

In this the first song is from the wonderful soundtrack CID (1956) and the song is “Aankhon hi aankhon mein ishaara ho gaya”. The speciality of the song is that Rafi is singing “only” the mukhda and still the way he has rendered it is simply out of the world. He starts the song with a small alaap and then sings ‘Aankhon hi aankhon mein ishaara ho gaya baithe baithe jeene ka sahara ho gaya’. Then Geeta Dutt sings the antra and again Rafi sings the mukhda. Wonderful voice modulation by Rafi Saheb for the evergreen Dev Anand. Excellent composition by Op Nayyar and great words penned by Jan Nisar Akhtar.

Based on Raag Pahadi this song remains one of the best song ever composed. If we listen carefully Rafi Saheb pronounces the word ‘Ishaara’ in many different ways each time. Such songs are created only once in a lifetime. Geeta Dutt has taken the song to another level and she sings the mukhda after the last antra at the end of the song. Till that time Rafi sings only the mukhda during the entire song and Geeta ji sings only the antras but the effect of the song remains inside us for a very long time. That is Rafi, Geeta Dutt, Op Nayyar and Jan Nisar Akhtar for you.

Here is the song.



The next song Is “Dil Ka Na Karna Aitbaar Koi” from Halaku. Rafi starts the song with a alaap and then Lata continues singing. In the entire song Rafi just sings 3 lines. In the first antra he sings ‘Jaan ke dhokhe mein aaya deewana’. In the second antra ‘Kehdo kisi se dard liya tha’. In the 3rd antra ‘Phir na milenge dil ke sahare’. Rafi just sings these 3 lines in the entire song and Lata sings rest everything. But the part Rafi sings is the most difficult part of the song because he has to express what Lata sings in high notes. As soon as Lata sings in low notes Rafi sings the same line in high note and then repeats the same line but during the 2nd time he stresses the 3 most important words of the song- Deewana, Dard and Sahara more emotionally. This is how Rafi takes over the song and his contribution is even more higher though his rendition is less. Great composition by Shankar Jaikishan and wonderful lyrics by Shailendra.

Here is the song.


From these 4 songs of Rafi Saheb, I can conclude QUALITY MATTERS MORE THAN QUANTITY. Though he has sung less but his contribution to the song is higher. This is my personal observation abt these 4 songs. And my humble tribute to Mohd Rafi saheb.



Nikhil Iyer

Nikhil Iyer

A die hard Rafi fan

Leave a Reply

Share via