Sur Sangat: Mohammed Rafi (December 24, 1924 - July 31, 1980) - Sur Sangat

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Mohammed Rafi (December 24, 1924 - July 31, 1980) Mohammed Rafi- Versatile and Immortal voice

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 03:41 PM

Mohammed Rafi (December 24, 1924 - July 31, 1980) is arguably the greatest Hindi/Urdu playback singer in HFM. Such is the impact of his unmatched , versatile and immortal voice that he continues to mesmerize music fans all over the world and inspire current and aspiring singes . He set up such high standards in playback singing that it is now recognized as a benchmark in HFM.

His songs ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawaalis to ghazals and bhajans, and from slow melancholic tunes to fast fun-filled songs. The greatness of his personal character is also reflected in his unique singing skills that remains unparallel and incompara
Rafi sang many duets with Lata, but he has also sung a large number of songs with Geeta Dutt and Lata's sister Asha Bhosle as well.

His songs ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawaalis to ghazals and bhajans, and from slow melancholic tunes to fast fun-filled songs.

He sung for Rajendra Kumar and Jeetendra, the tragedy heroes Dilip Kumar and Bharat Bhushan, comedian Johnny Walker, and many more. His voice personified the rebellious image of the star Shammi Kapoor and also gave expression to smaller and younger heroes like Biswajit and Joy Mukherjee. Rafi has also sung for singer-actor Kishore Kumar in a few movies like Raagini, Baaghi Shehzaada, and Shararat.

Early years
Rafi was born at Kotla Sultan Singh Village near Amritsar in Punjab, to a middle class Muslim family. His family shifted to Lahore when he was still a baby. Every day, a "fakir" used to come to their locality in Lahore and sing. The young Rafi was so fascinated by him, that he used to follow him around. His elder brother Hameed was aware of Rafi's love for music and encouraged it. In Lahore, Rafi started taking music lessons from Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan and he also learned Indian classical music from Ghulam Ali Khan. One day Rafi and his brother Hameed went to attend a performance by K. L. Saigal. But the legendary singer refused to sing because there was a power failure at the venue. Hamed went up to the organiser to ask whether his brother could sing to keep the audience quiet. That was Rafi's first public performnce at the age of 13. Among the audience sat noted composer Shyam Sunder, who invited Rafi to Bombay.

Rafi's first song was in Punjabi for the film Gul Baloch - it was a duet with the singer Zeenat Begum. The song was Soniye nee, Heeriye nee, composed by Shyam Sunder. Shyam Sunder was impressed with his voice and gave Rafi seven songs in another film Bazaar. Also, in 1944, Rafi decided to move to Bombay, where Naushad gave him a break in Pehle Aap (1944). Rafi made his mark with "Tera Khilona Toota Balak" in Anmol Ghadi (1946). Rafi's first hit song was Yahan Badla Wafa Ka with legendary songstress Noor Jehan, composed by Feroz Nizami. It earned Rafi fame. Producer of film Amar Raj, J B Wadia went looking for him because he wanted only Rafi to sing songs for his film.

Rafi also had brief roles in movies like Laila-Majnu (1945) and Jugnu (1947). In Laila-Majnu, he was seen singing Tera Jalwa as a part of the chorus. Most famous film being Neel Kamal 1968.

Rise to Fame
Rafi's big time came when he met the composer Naushad in Bombay. Rafi's first song for Naushad was Hindustan ke hum hain (We belong to Hindustan) for the film Pehle Aap in 1944. Rafi and Naushad struck a chord. The first hit for the duo was the soundtrack of the superhit movie Anmol Ghadi (1946). Before Rafi, Naushad's favorite singer was Talat Mahmood. Once Naushad found Talat smoking during a recording. He was annoyed and hired Rafi to sing all the songs of the movie Baiju Bawra. After the Partition of India, Rafi and Naushad decided to remain in India. Whenever Naushad required a male voice in the songs composed by him, he would approach Rafi and nobody else. This attitude of Naushad was criticized by many people, but he continued his patronage of Rafi. Naushad used Rafi's voice for almost all actors of that time including Bharat Bhushan and Dilip Kumar.

Soon, Rafi became the favorite singer of other composers too, notably O. P. Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishan and Sachin Dev Burman. Rafi became the voice of Dev Anand with soul-stirring songs composed by S. D. Burman. Rafi sang songs of all moods for S. D. Burman, picturized on Dev Anand - the romantic dil ka bhanwar, the drunk hum bekhudi mein, the free-spirited khoya khoya chaand. Rafi and S. D. Burman teamed up with Dev Anand's Navketan production house to produce hit tracks in many movies - Kala Bazar, Tere Ghar Ke Saamne, Guide among others. S. D. Burman also got Rafi to sing for Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana and Amitabh Bachchan in Abhimaan. Rafi and S. D. Burman also produced soulful songs for Guru Dutt's Pyaasa, C.I.D. and Kaagaz ke Phool.

O. P. Nayyar used Rafi and Asha Bhosle for most of his songs. Together they 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 the famous Yeh hai Bombay meri jaan. O P Nayyar was so impressed with Rafi that he got Rafi to sing for singer-actor Kishore Kumar - Man mora baawara for the movie Raagini. The team will be particularly remembered for the songs picturized on Shammi Kapoor. The song Jawaaniyan yeh mast mast and the title song Yun to humne lakh hansee dekhe hain, tumsa nahin dekha (Although I have seen a lakh beauties, but never saw one like you) of the film Tumsa Nahin Dekha became instant hits. They were followed by hits like Taareef karoon kya uski jisne tumhe banaya (How should I praise the one who created you) from Kashmir ki Kali.

Shammi Kapoor himself gives a large credit for his success to Rafi. Shammi's image of the young, rebellious, carefree man can be attributed to the famous song Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe, kehne do ji (Let people call me wild, I don't care) sung by Rafi and composed by Shankar Jaikishan. Shanker-Jaikishan also created beautiful songs with Rafi. The team will be remembered for the ones picturized on Rajendra Kumar - Baharon phool barsaao and others.

Rafi was also composer Ravi's first choice for playback singing. He got Rafi to sing the famous Rock-n-Roll number from the movie China Town Baar Baar Dekho, picturized on Shammi Kapoor.

Madan Mohan was another composer whose favorite singer was Rafi. They teamed up to produce many ghazals including teri aankhon ke siva duniya mein rakha kya hai (There's nothing in the world except your eyes), the sad Yeh duniya yeh mehfil mere kaam ki nahin (This world, with all its things, is not of any use to me) and the romantic tum jo mil gaye ho. Madan Mohan used Rafi's voice in many films like Chirag and Laila Majnu.

The famous composer duo Laxmikant Pyarelal ("L-P") also used Rafi as their male voice in 1960s and 70s. When L-P were new in the industry, Rafi sang for them, although he was the numero uno singer in Bollywood at that time. They got Rafi to sing for their first hit film Paarasmani. Both Rafi and L-P won the Filmfare Awards for the song Chahoonga main tujhe shaam savere from the superhit movie Dosti. The song was to be sung by L-P's favorite singer Lata Mangeshkar, but then producer of the film decided to hand over the song to Rafi. L-P weren't amused with the idea. But when the recording was finished, Rafi also became their favorite singer.

In 1965, Rafi was honoured by the Government of India with the Padma Sri award.

In the year 1969, Bollywood witnessed the rise of a new superstar, Rajesh Khanna in the movie Aradhana. Aradhana was the beginning of the era of another great singer Kishore Kumar. Many stories afloat that Rafi was overshadowed by Kishore. But Rafi delivered many hit songs during that time like "Aaj Mausam bada Beimaan he"(Loafer 1973) and many more. He came back with a bang with memorable songs from Sargam, Hum Kisise Kam Nahin and Amar,Akbar,Anthony which put Rafi right back on the top.

Last years
His song Kya hua tera waada from the movie Hum Kisise Kum Nahin fetched him the national award and Filmfare Award for the year 1977. His songs from the films sung towards the late 1970's Laila Majnu, Amar Akbar Anthony and Sargam, became hits. Laxmikant-Pyarelal the famous music director began to churn out hit after hit from Rafi during the late 1970s. His dard-e-dil, dard-e-jigar, composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and filmed on Rishi Kapoor, in the movie Karz, became a rage amongst the youngsters.

On July 31, 1980 after composing a song for the movie Aas Paas, Shaam phir kyun udaas hai dost with L-P, Rafi asked "Should I leave?". L-P were surprised because Rafi had never said anything like this before. While leaving, Rafi said once again "OK. I will leave." Rafi died at 7.30 PM on the same day due to a massive heart attack.

Personal Life
Rafi married Bilquis and had four sons and three daughters. He was a teetotaller, a religious and extremely humble person. He was a devout Muslim. Once, when a lesser-known composer, Nisar Bazmi (who migrated to Pakistan in early 1960s), didn't have enough money to pay him, Rafi charged a fee of one rupee and sang for him. He even helped producers financially. As Laxmikant (of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal duo) once observed - "He always gave without thinking of the returns". Rafi was also famous for his various humanitarian efforts. Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar had a major debate over the issue of royalties in 1960s. Rafi believed that once a recording was over and a singer has been paid, he or she should not ask for more. Lata, on the other hand said that singers should be paid royalties for their works, over and above the amount given for the singing. This led to a fall out between them. They refused to sing songs together. At the insistence of Nargis, Sanjay Dutt's mother, they finally made up at a stage concert and sang Dil Pukare from the film Jewel thief, composed by S D Burman.

Filmfare Nominations and Awards

1960 Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho (Film: Chaudhvin Ka Chand) - WON
1961 Husnwale Tera Jawaab Nahin (Film: Gharana)
1961 Teri Pyaari Pyaari Surat Ko (Film: Sasural) - WON
1962 Aye Gulbadan Aye Gulbadan (Film: Professor)
1963 Mere Mehboob Tujhe (Film: Mere Mehboob)
1964 Chahunga Mein Tujhe (Film: Dosti) - WON
1965 Choo Lene Do Nazuk Hothon Ko (Film: Kaajal)
1966 Baharon Phool Barasao (Film: Suraj) - WON
1968 Mein Gaaon Tum Sojaao (Film: Brahmachari)
1968 Babul Ki Duayein Leti Ja (Film: Neel Kamal)
1968 Dil Ke Jharoke Mein (Film: Brahmachari) - WON
1969 Badi Mastani Hai (Film: Jeene Ki Raah)
1970 Khilona Jaan Kar (Film: Khilona)
1973 Hum Ko To Jaan Se Pyaari (Film: Naina)
1974 Achha Hi Huva Dil Toot Gaya (Film: Maa Behen Aur Biwi)
1977 Parda Hai Parda (Film: Amar Akbar Anthony)
1977 Kya Hua Tera Vaada (Film: Hum Kisise Kum Nahin) - WON
1978 Aadmi Musaafir Hai (Film: Apnapan)
1979 Chalo Re Doli Uthao Kahaar (Film: Jani Dushman)
1980 Dard-e-dil Dard-e-jigar (Film: Karz)
1980 Maine Poocha Chand Se (Film: Abdullah)
1980 Mere Dost Kissa Yeh (Film: Dostana)
Playback Provided For

Hindi Actors
Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jeetendra, Manoj Kumar, Dilip Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Guru Dutt, Ashok Kumar, Joy Mukherjee, Biswajit, Kishore Kumar, Balraj Sahni, Raaj Kumar, Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Randhir Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor,Bharat Bhushan, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna, Johnny Walker, Sanjay Khan, Feroz Khan, Pradeep Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, Pran, Parikshit Sahni, Vinod Mehra, Vinod Khanna, Mehmood, I.S. Johar, Jagdeep, Gulshan Bawra

Other languages
N T Ramarao (for Telugu films Bhale Thammudu, Aradhana), Akkineni Nageswara Rao(for Hindi Suvarna Sundari)

Categorized Songs Listing
Songs in Marathi
Shodisi Maanava (Non-filmi)
He mana aaj koni (Non-filmi)
Ha chhand jivala lavi pise (Non-filmi)
Virale geet kase (Non-filmi)
Ga pori sambhal - Daryageet (Non-filmi; with Pushpa Pagdhare)
Prabhu tu dayalu (Non-filmi)
Hasa mulanno hasa (Non-filmi)
Ha rusawa sod sakhe (Non-filmi)
Nako bhavya waada (Non-filmi)
Majhya viraan hridayee (Non-filmi)
Khel tujha nyaara (Non-filmi)
Nako aarati ki nako pushpmaala (Non-filmi)

Songs in Telugu
Yentha Varu Kani Vedantulaina Kani (film: Bhale Thammudu)
Na Madi Ninnu Pilichindi Ganamai (film:Aradhana)
Taralentaga Vecheno Chanduruni Kosam (film:Akbar Salim Anarkali)

Fun Songs
Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan (C.I.D., 1957)
Sar Jo Tera Chakraye
Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe (Junglee, 1961)
Main Jat Yamla Pagla
Chadhti Jawani Meri
Jaan Pehechaan Ho (Gumnaam, 1966)

Na To Caravan Ki Talash
Hum Kisise Kum Nahin
Raaz Ki Baat Kah Doon
Yeh Hai Ishq Ishq
Main Idhar Jaoon Ya
Pardah Hai Pardah (Amar Akbar Anthony, 1977)

O Duniya Ke Rakhwale (Baiju Bawra, 1952)
Man Tarpat Hari Darshan (Baiju Bawra, 1952)
Vrindavan Ka Krishna
Meri Binti Suno Bhagwan
Badi Der Bhai Nandlala (Khandaan, 1965)

Hum Laye Hain Toofan (Jagriti, 1954)
Ab Tumhare Hawale
Yeh Desh Hai Veer
Apni Azadi Ko Hum
Hindustan Ki Kasam (Hindustan Ki Kasam, 1973)
Ae Watan Ae Watan (Shaheed, 1965)

Nanhe Munne Bacche
Re Mama Re Mama Re
Chhoon Chhoon Karti
Chakke Mein Chakka
Hai Na Bolo Bolo

Sawan Aaye Ya Na Aaye (Dil Diya Dard Liya, 1966)
Naache Man Mora Magan
Madhuban Mein Radhika Naache Re (Kohinoor, 1960)
Nava Kalpana
Man Re Tu Kaahe (Chitralekha, 1964)

Babul Ki Duayen Leti Ja
Mera Yaar Bana Hain
Aaj Mere Yaar Ki Shaadi Hai
Teri Rab Ne Bana Di
Chalo Re Doli Uthao

Nain Lad Jaihen (Ganga Jamuna, 1961)
Dukh Bhare Din Beete
Govinda Aala Re Aala (Bluff Master, 1963)
Pipra Ke Patwa
Jogira Holi Khelat

Meri Dosti Mera Pyar (Dosti, 1964)
Ek Rasta Do Rahi (Ram Balram, 1980)
Bade Miya Diwane
Duniyan Chhoote Yaar
Badi Door Se Aaye Hain (Samjhauta, 1973)

Ham Tum Se Juda Hoke
Kabhi Khud Pe (Hum Dono, 1961)
Aap Ke Pahloo Mein
Yaad Na Jaye Beete Dino Ki (Dil Ek Mandir, 1963)
Dil Ke Jharokhe Mein (Brahmachari, 1968)
Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya (Guide, 1965)
Toote Hue Khwabon Ne (Madhumati, 1958)
Din Dhal Jaye (Guide, 1965)
Khilona Jan Kar Tum
Raha Gardishon Mein Hardam (Do Badan, 1966)

Wadiyan Mera Daaman
Aane Se Uske Aaye Bahar (Jeene Ki Raah, 1969)
Chand Mera Dil
Pukarta Chala Hoon Main (Mere Sanam, 1965)
Yeh Mera Prem Patra (Sangam, 1964)
Chaudhvin Ka Chand (Chaudhvin Ka Chand, 1960)
Yeh Reshmi Zulfen (Do Raaste, 1969)
Teri Pyari Pyari Soorat (Sasural, 1961)
Baharon Phool Barsao (Suraj, 1966)
Mere Mehboob Tujhe (Mere Mehboob, 1963)
Chhoo Lene Do Nazuk (Kaajal, 1965)
Main Kahin Kavi Na
Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayi
Na Jhatko Zulf Se Pani

Duets With Lata
Do Sitaron Ka Zameen (Kohinoor, 1960)
Teri Bindiya Re (Abhimaan, 1973)
Vada Kar Le Sajna
Dil Pukare Aa Re Aa Re
Awaz Deke Humen Tum
Dil Tera Deewana Hai Sanam (Dil Tera Deewana, 1962)
Ni Sultana Re
Chadti Jawani Meri (Caravan, 1971)
Paon Choo Lene Do (Taj Mahal, 1963)
Tu Ganga Ki Mauj (Baiju Bawra, 1952)
Jo Vada Kiya Vo (Taj Mahal, 1963)
Tujhe Jeevan Ki Dor Se (Asli Naqli, 1962)
Ek Shahensha Ne (Leader, 1964)
Sau Saal Pehle (Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai, 1961)

Duets With Asha
Chura Liya Hai Tumne (Yaadon Ki Baaraat, 1973)
Abhi Na Jao Chhodkar
Achha Ji Main Haari
O Haseena Zulfonwale (Teesri Manzil)
Deewana Hua Badal (Kashmir Ki Kali, 1964)
Gunguna Rahe Hai (Aradhana)
O Mere Sona Re (Teesri Manzil, 1966)
Uden Jab Jab Zulfen Teri (Naya Daur, 1957)
Hamdam Mere
Sawan Aaye Ya Na Aaye

Duets With Male Singers
Band Mutthi Lakh Ki
Chal Kahin Door
Chana Zor Garam
Hum Premi Prem Karna
Hum Teeno Ki Woh Yaari
Hum To Aap Ke Deewane
Sa Re Ga Ma
Yaadon Ki Baraat
Badi Door Se Aaye Hain (Samjhauta, 1973, with Mukesh)
Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya
Salamat Rahe Dostana Hamara (Dostana, 1980, with Kishore Kumar)
Ek Rasta Do Rahi (Ram Balram, 1980, with Kishore Kumar)

Source :WKPD-Net

#2 User is offline   Shuklas 

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Posted 28 March 2016 - 04:23 PM

How long must we wait for the definitive Mohammed Rafi biography?

Two new books are too uncritical to add any value to our understanding of the great singer.

Mohammed Rafi is, with the possible exception of the Mangeshi sisters, the best known name from the world of film music across the subcontinent and yet, the definitive biography on the gentleman artist whom everybody loved to love is waiting to be written.

Mohammed Rafi My Abba by Yasmin Khalid Rafi, the singer’s daughter-in-law, was released around four years ago. The memoir was mostly about Rafi the person rather than the celebrity. It described in some detail his early days, his marriage, his relationship with his children, his penchant for changing places of residence until Rafi Villa in Mumbai’s Bandra suburb became his abode, his weakness for trendy cars even though he barely drove, and his humility and benevolence as a person. The book did not quite sketch his life as a performing artist.

Over the past few months, two more biographies have emerged. Sujata Dev’s Rafi book Mohammed Rafi, Golden Voice of the Silver Screen was released in late 2015, and Mohammed Rafi, God’s Own Voice, by Raju Korti and Dhirendra Jain, was up for sale in January.

Dev’s book is a sincere and painstaking effort to gather views from an array of sources such as co-singers, composers, lyricists, actors, musicians and even comperes. Most of the interviews are original, from what one gathers. Rafi’s childhood, his family background, his early career and his last day on earth have been captured in detail and packaged with the aroma of nostalgia. There is a generous collection of photographs, some of which are rare. Dev has also thoughtfully included an introduction by the actor Dilip Kumar, for whom Rafi recorded some of his most immortal numbers. Most importantly, she has the endorsement of Rafi’s youngest and only surviving son Shahid, which gives the book the weight of an authorised biography.

But a book, whether fiction or non-fiction, needs a story. And a story needs a script with characters, sub-plots and conflicts. With so much information on Rafi already widely available, a new book demands something special to make the readers sit up. Mohammed Rafi – The Golden Voice of the Silver Screen puts Rafi on a pedestal of glory right from the beginning, doling out sugary praise page after page. The opportunity for an incisive and impartial analysis has been missed out. The grey shades of the dynamics of the composer-singer equations, the singer-hero camps and the director-singer preferences have not been covered.

For example, a personality like filmmaker Raj Khosla finds no mention, and Chetan Anand, fleetingly so. The critical turning points that lend themselves to deeper scrutiny have been glossed over. Dev’s sub-chapters read like they have been influenced by Choudhary Zia Imam’s short but well-written Hindi book Payambar-e-Mausiki: Mohammed Rafi (2011).

Dev also misses quite a few interesting stories that are not widely known, such as how “Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke Charche” (Brahmachari, 1968) was rejected by Dev Anand, a real-life qawwali witnessed by Sonik-Omi became “Raaz Ki Baat Keh Doon” (Dharma, 1973), C Ramachandra drafted Rafi to put an end to the playback career of Ashok Kumar, and many more. Notwithstanding the odd nugget, such as Rafi and Manna Dey rendering each other‘s songs at a stage show, one also misses the behind-the-scene anecdotes during composing sessions and recording.

Also, for a music book, there is almost zero technical detailing. Dev focuses too much on statistics, quoting the number of the songs Rafi sang for a particular composer or actor. The numbers do not add up to create the story the reader is pining for. Overall, the effort turns out to be more like an introduction to Rafi, one in which parts of his life have been covered very nicely, but the music plays a secondary role.

Did he really say that?

Mohammed Rafi, God’s Own Voice takes off in a manner that gives the reader the feeling that the much-awaited deep dive is finally going to take place. Co-author Dhirendra Jain had previously authored a book in Hindi on the singer titled Woh Jab Yaad Aaye, which seems to serve as the reference for parts of the new work. The authors have made immense efforts to chart the musical career of Rafi, listing out and discussing a major chunk of his songs. However, as is the case with Dev’s book, the fine-grained analysis is missing. There is far too much reliance on hearsay and myths. Also, the book seems to be written, or rather completed, in a hurried manner. Parts of the book read quite well, while some portions make you feel that the editor had gone on a sabbatical.

A major disadvantage of both books is that the authors are obsessed with proving that Rafi was the greatest in anything he ever did. Dev does not stray beyond what is publicly available. At least excerpts of the interviews she conducted are part of a DVD that has been included with her book. However, Korti and Jain do not provide references to the quotes, some of which are of a debatable nature.

For example, the authors casually pass a remark about Rafi ruling Hindi playback for 25 years, from 1944 to 1969, thereby not only rewriting their own version of history, but also being discourteous to Talat Mahmood, who was the singer to look up to during the first half of the ’50s, and Mukesh, who was equally in demand with Rafi, if not more, in the late ’50s. Rafi’s career, which was on the rise in the ’50s, actually skyrocketed in the ’60s, courtesy composers Shankar Jaikishan and O P Nayyar, and rebel star Shammi Kapoor.

There are also quite a few “he-told-only-us” kind of quotes. According to Korti and Jain, C Ramachandra, who was not exactly a Rafi votary, supposedly earmarked him as “the best singer”. Rafi was never Ramachandra’s favourite by any available account, and all throughout, he had been vocal in his negative opinion of the singer.

Similarly, SD Burman telling Manna Dey that the real “baadshah of classical” (a reference to Rafi) was in Bandra does Manna Dey injustice as well as questions Burman’s erudition. Burman, who was well-versed in classical music, knew the strengths and weaknesses of the singers extremely well. He would have been the last person to put Rafi on a pedestal higher than Manna Dey over the question of classical and semi-classical music. Once again, the authors do not corroborate their statement.

One of the most interesting quotes is by Jaikishan, in which he says that the score for Guide (1965) deserved the Filmfare award over Suraj. While there is hardly any issue about the content of the quote, one wonders what compelled Jaikishan, who died in 1971, to reach out specifically to Korti/Jain, both of whom were at best in school at the time.

The musical journey of Rafi awaits comprehensive documentation. Even in a ruthlessly competitive place like the Bombay film industry, Rafi had no foes. Neither did he lust for money or fame. In fact, he refused to accept royalties and did not know how to sign autographs until later in his career. If there is one public figure India can project as a symbol of secularity, humility, love and talent, Rafi would be the most likely choice. The efforts of Dev, Korti, and Jain will certainly fuel further research into his life and times, but future writers will need to shrug off their fandom to create an all-inclusive story.

Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal are the authors of Gaata Rahe Mera Dil and R.D. Burman: The Man, The Music.

We welcome your comments at [email protected]


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