Movies and posts on this blog

Latest on Masala Punch

Friday, July 31, 2009

The A-Z of Mohammed Rafi

Updated (links): 10 Sep 2022
Mohammed Rafi
Think old Hindi songs and you think of Rafi’s voice! For over three decades, he was the singing voice of generations of heroes. His melodious voice could soar into high notes for a passionate song or dip down into the low notes for a ghazal, adapt itself equally well to a qawwali, a classical song, a Rock-n-Roll number, or a bhajan. It wasn't just his vocal range and melodious voice that made him such a popular singer. There was also that elusive quality – Charisma with a capital C - in his voice (a quality that onscreen stars had cause to be grateful for!). And then of course, as Filmi Girl points in her awesome podcast, he was also a consummate actor. He could make you laugh and cry, tug on your heartstrings, make you feel blue, or ready to dance. 29 years after his death, his voice is still fresh and charismatic as ever!

So, here’s a post dedicated to my favorite singer on his 29th Death Anniversary. Since it's impossible to do a list of my favorite Rafi songs or even favorite Rafi solos/duets, (those lists would run into the hundreds), I’ve decided to do a Rafi song for each letter of the alphabet.* Just to make things more interesting, I decided to restrict myself to his duets or group performances from B/W films. So here goes…(The songs are all in a YouTube playlist.)

A. Achha ji main haari (Kaala Pani) – with Asha Bhosle
Madhubala is trying to mend fences with a visibly angry Dev Anand. It's hard for me to understand how anyone can stay mad at Madhubala when she sings and emotes like that, but maybe it helped that Rafi couldnt see her?
B. Bade hain dil ke kaale (Dil Deke Dekho) – with Asha Bhosle
Shammi Kapoor can't imagine how anyone could find him a black-hearted devil, though he concedes that his face does not quite live up to the goodness of his heart, and invites Asha Parekh to come check it out. Much to my relief, Asha decides to trust his face and forego the invitation to perform an open heart surgery on Shammi!
C. Chori chori ik ishaara (Basant) – with Asha Bhosle
More Shammi… this time its a foot-tapping, meltingly romantic number with Nutan, and the two are secretly exchanging their hearts. But how can it stay secret when Rafi and Asha are broadcasting it to the world?
D. Do akalmand hue fikarmand (Akalmand) – with Kishore Kumar
Two brainy people (Kishore Kumar and I. S. Johar) explaining why they are getting worried, with some socialist sentiments thrown in for good measure. Hmm… I would be just as worried as Kamal Kapoor seems to be, if these “brains” were following me around.
E. Ek tera saath humko do jahan se (Wapas) – with Lata Mangeshkar
A newly married couple (Alka and Shekhar Purohit) pledging undying devotion to each other in a very romantic song. I suspect that its the kind of undying devotion that ends up in the divorce courts or something equally tragic.
F. Falak milega tujhe kya humen mitaane se (Ghar Ghar Mein Diwali) – with Lata Mangeshkar
A ballad of undying love that sounds like a presage of tragedy. I could only find an audio clip. I hope one of you can enlighten me about the actors this was filmed on.
G. Gora rang chunariya kaali (Howrah Bridge) – with Asha Bhosle
Real life siblings – danseuse Minoo Mumtaz and comedian Mahmood -are playing sweethearts in this song, and flirting with each other! Now, that's a pretty unusual combination. Even Madhubala is puzzled, and she only came over to hide behind the car.
H. Humen koi gham hai (Bhagam Bhag) – with Asha Bhosle
Rafi sings for Kishore! Its interesting to see how well Rafi’s voice suits even Kishore, right down to reflecting his horrified rejection of Shashikala’s advances. O well, Shashikala, keep trying. Kishore just might change his mind!
I. Iran humne dekha dekha hai cheen humne (Ek Musafir Ek Haseena) – with Asha Bhosle.
“I have seen Iran and China, but never found anybody as beautiful as you anywhere”, a smitten Joy Mukherjee assures an unimpressed Sadhana. “My friend speaks Turkish and I speak none”, she says disdainfully. But Joy isnt about to give up easily, and who can blame him?
J. Jane kahan mera jigar gaya (Mr and Mrs 55) – with Geeta Dutt
Johnny Walker has misplaced his heart and needs the help of Yasmin to find it. Any guesses where he will find it?
K. Koi bata de dil hai jahan (Main Chup Rahoongi) – with Lata Mangeshkar
Sunil Dutt and Meena Kumari pledge their love with palm leaves! OK no, that's not true. They merely fan themselves with it. Clearly their love is exothermic enough for them to need to cool down!
L. Laagi chhute na ab to sanam (Kali Topi Lal Roomal) – with Lata
A tragi-love song and a mouth organ! Shakila is clearly puzzled. Shouldnt the mouth organ be part of a more fun song, she asks Chandrashekhar, who merely continues singing and playing his mouth organ!
M. Munh se mat laga (Johnny Walker) – with Manna Dey
When’s the best time to lecture your best buddy on the evils of drinking? When you are all drunk, of course! That's when he can safely assure you that you are mistaken about his drinking, and you’d be too drunk to counteract it. That's what Johnny Walker is doing (in a film that is also called Johnny Walker!) but his buddies don't seem convinced, inspite of their own advanced state of inebriation.
N. Nashe mein hum nashe mein tum (Black Cat) with Suman Kalyanpur
Johnny Walker packs in some more alcohol, this time in a good cause, and Shammi is very supportive of his drink-n-sing caper. Even the club dancer doesn't seem to mind – hey, its RAFI’s voice, how can she?!
O. O mama o mama (Parvarish) with Manna Dey
Two devoted nephews (Raj Kapoor and Mahmood) want their uncle to know that he can always believe them. A rare bromantic song for Raj Kapoor and gosh, the guy can really dance!
P. Parbaton ke pedo par (Shagoon) – with Suman Kalyanpur
Waheeda Rehman with the man she married in real life (Kanwaljeet)! I love this song, it invokes sunset in the mountains so vividly, even without the video.
Q. Qismat phati hui thi (Alibaba and the Forty Thieves)
I couldn't find the video for this, so all I can tell you about it is that Rafi seems to be lamenting a torn luck which he is trying to mend, one stitch at a time. Good luck with that, Rafi!
R. Ruk ruk ruk kahan chali (Do Ustad) – with Asha Bhosle
Stop, stop, stop, goes Raj Kapoor. And can you blame him? Its MADHUBALA, he is after. Worry not, RK. She isn't going far. OK?
S. She’ ne khela ‘he’ se aaj cricket match (Love Marriage) - with chorus
When “she” and “he” played a cricket match, it was the heart that got caught out. Hmm… I’ve heard of people being bowled out, but LBW (leg before wicket) is a new one on me. This film had the loveliest and also the funniest songs ever (Check this one – Dev Anand and I have the same opinion of modern music!)
T. Tumhen husn deke khuda ne (Jabse Tumhen Dekha Hai) – with Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar
“The good lord has given you so much beauty but no feelings”, go the Kapoor siblings (Shammi and Shashi) while the beauties in question (Kum Kum and Shyama) are merely glad that such godless people remembered God for once! Aah you two – HOW can you resist the combined Kapoor assault on your affections?!!
U. Uden jab jab zulfen teri (Naya Daur) – with Asha Bhosle
A paean to male beauty! Thats certainly unusual. No wait, the man (Dilip Kumar) isnt far behind in praising his beloved (Vyjayanthimala), either. Equal opportunity, thats what this song is all about! :-D
V. Vrindavan ka krishan kanhaiya (Miss Mary) – with Lata
A lovers’ spat played out through singing of the sparring between mythological lovers Krishna and Radha. Huh! Krishna was notoriously inconstant in affairs of the heart, so I wouldn't advise the use of his example to justify my doings. Gemini Ganesan though, never asked me, and consequently had a lot of trouble wooing Meena Kumari!
W. Woh apni yaad dilane ko (Jugnu) – with unknown singers
This is one of Rafi’s earlier efforts, and he even shows up on screen for a few brief moments. The lyrics are hilarious – a men’s dorm seems to have acquired items of female toilette and are singing about them. There is a super handsome Dilip Kumar, and I can spot a very young Rashid Khan too. Can you recognise anyone else? Can anybody identify the other singers?
X. Kali ke roop mein (Nau Do Gyarah) with Asha Bosle
OK, so this song doesn't begin with “X” – but then, how many songs do? I’ll just use this letter to sneak in another fun Rafi duet – this one picturised on Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik. He wants to know where she’s off to and she tells him that she’ll go anyplace where he isn't. That's right, tell him off, bring him down a peg or two!
Y. Yahan badla wafa ka (Jugnu) with Noor Jehan
The only duet I could find online where Rafi sang with Noor Jehan. Its a lovely song (though very pessimistic – “in this world love can only be repaid by betrayal”) picturised on Dilip Kumar and Noor Jehan.
Z. Zara saamne to aao chhaliye (Janam Janam Ke Phere) – with Lata Mangeshkar
“Come out of hiding o deceitful one, whats the point in deceiving by hiding?” - is Manher Desai calling to Nirupa Roy or God? Your guess is as good as mine!

*Inspired by Nicki’s Bollywood Alphabet Meme and Shweta and Beth’s variations on it.


  1. Brilliant post. Rafi has been the greatest Bollywood singer without any doubt. He is the voice of the Indian subcontinent.

  2. Awesome post - and such an innovative way of showcasing some lovely songs! I'd been toying with the idea of a `favourite Rafi songs' but gave it up, because there are just too many. This is superb - and there were some songs here which I hadn't heard, let alone seen picturised.

    Delightful :-)

  3. Wow you definitely know your bollywood very well ;0) and i like your idea of A to Z rather than a top 10 or top 15, i find that can be very limiting, fab post

  4. This is embarrassing - around 300 films watched and I only knew one of your 26! Thanks so much for pointing me to more of Rafi's breat work. Over the last few years, since falling in love with elsewhere much-maligned Aag, I have become a big fan of his work with Shamshad Begum. She is now my 2nd-favourite of his duet partners, after Asha.

  5. What a list! I feel very educated, and in the best possible way. :-D

  6. Thanks for making such a wonderful list. I love the A-Z format used for his duets or group performances. Must check them all out! If you ever get to make a list of his solo work please consider these two: Shammi's personal favorite "Tum Mujhe Yun Bhula Na Paoge;" that beautifully sad love song from Pagla Kahin Ka (1970). And "The She I Love" - a very funny novelty song sung in English and which was a remake of "Hum Kale Hain Toh Kya Hua" from Gumnaam(1965).

    What a majestic and versatile voice he had!

  7. Oh wonderful! I'm going to make all of these into a playlist later and listen alphabetically on my iPod! Hee hee!

    I had that peppy song ("Chakre Mein Chakre!") from Brahmachari come on my iPod while I was on the train this morning and enjoyed listening to Rafi's Shammi with a big smile on my face while all the other sad commuters were reading their newspapers and looking depressed.

  8. It's going to take me a while to get through all of songs, but I wanted to say what a great way to list your favorites! Definitely a lot of "new to me" stuff here. Can't wait to sink my teeth in it!

  9. I had that peppy song ("Chakre Mein Chakre!") from Brahmachari

    "Chakke mein chakka" is a great fun song. I think the rafi/shammi pairing works spectacularly well in that film, especially in Main gauun tum so jaoo. That song is beauriful and the sad version is devastating. When it comes to Rafi, they REALLY DON'T make them like that anymore.

  10. Anonymous, YAY! for Rafi fans. There is soooo much Rafi goodness for us! :-D

    dustedoff, thanks! I started by thinking of a favorite Rafi songs list, until I realised that I like pretty much everything of his pre-70s and most of his stuff after that too!

    A lot of the songs were new to me as well - serendipitous finds on youtube. That site is doing what Vividh Bharati ki vigyaapan prasaran seva used to do earlier - re-introduce golden classics!

    bollywooddeewana, it wasnt so much Bollywood knowledge as perseverence, determination, and google+youtube!

    maxqnz, your comment reminds me that I havent got a single duet of his with Shamshad Begum or Suraiya in here. He has such a vast body of work that its impossible to be all inclusive! I remember reading somewhere that Rafi's best romantic numbers are with Asha (and not with Lata, as one would have thought) - the ones I love best are, but then I love Asha! And I agree about Rafi + Shammi - they always worked so well together.

    As to not being familiar with most of these before - you werent brought up with Vividh Bharati (an All India Radio service that broadcast mostly old songs in the 80s and 90s) playing at home all the time! But you have youtube, so you can actually "see" the songs instead of just imagining the picturisations.

    ajnabi, I had a lot of fun hunting up songs to match with my criteria - all those hours on youtube... :-)

    Mister Naidu, I never knew he sang an English song! Is it available online? I'll try to find it. Rafi was certainly one of a kind. Wish there was someone like him nowadays!

    Filmi Girl, Rafi+Shammi would definitely brighten up my morning, too! Poor sad commuters, they dont know what they are missing...

    shell, thanks! I tried to steer clear of his more well known songs (even they would probably be new to you), so a lot of it was fairly new to me as well.

  11. "I remember reading somewhere that Rafi's best romantic numbers are with Asha (and not with Lata, as one would have thought)"

    Not this "one" - I would pick Asha over her didi in a heartbeat. Whether with Rafi, someone else or solo, I'm an Asholater. There are many Lata songs that I adore, but overall she comes 2nd for me, if not 3rd, after Shamshad. I'm well aware that my OCI staus would not save me from being burned at the stake for this heresy, but I don't care.

  12. lol at "Asholator"! I would pick Asha over Lata (or anyone else, for that matter) too, and I know several others who would, as well. So, we're probably just "different", and not heretics. ;-)

  13. Bollyviewer, Yes, he sang in English. I have it on my blog @

  14. Bollyviewer, Here is a link for another English song from 1970 by Mohd. Rafi:

    "Although We Hail From Different Lands" and written by Shankar-Jaikishan
    I think its beautiful. He was a legend!

  15. What a clever construct for a list. I love it! And I'm tickled pink to see the Roshan beauty "falak milega tujhe" cited - not many people know the song.

    While I'm an "Ashavaadi" myself (though I adore Lata *almost* as much), and was happy to see many Asha-Rafi duets in the list, mention must be made of the Geeta-Rafi combo. They had a special chemistry of their own as can be heard in the wonderful "chupke se mile pyaase pyaase" from Manzil.

    Finally, it's interesting to see that you love Rafi's 70s output as well...I dislike them with the same vehemence that I love his 50s-60s songs.:-)

  16. Mister Naidu, thanks so much for those. Its so interesting to hear Rafi singing in English. The second one's tune was a bit distracting - I kept substituting Baharon phool barsao for Although We Hail From Different Lands!

    Shalini, do you know anymore about Falak milega tujhe? I dont remember ever hearing it before I stumbled across it last week on youtube. Its lovely.

    You are so right about Rafi and Geeta Dutt - they have lovely duets, too. Chupke se mile and Tum jo hue mere humsafar (12 O'Clock), and their other duets in Guru Dutt movies are all great. I love Geeta Dutt too, but am just more of a confirmed "Ashavaadi" (love that term!).

    As to Rafi's 70s songs, they arent hate-worthy, surely?! I like Chura liya hai, Hum kisise kam nahin (and others from that film), Teri galiyon mein na, Jab bhi yeh dil udhas hota hai, Waada karle sajna - not a patch on his 50s and 60s stuff, but still pretty nice. Or maybe its just the relief of hearing Rafi in the "Kishore" decade!

  17. Excellent post.

    I really like the fact that you have two songs on your list from Jugnu. :) I haven't been acquainted with this soundtrack for all that long (compared to many people :), but I think the songs are fantastic, especially for the singing! (Not understanding the words, I can still listen to that duet with Noor Jehan over and over...)

    I also was amused by your comments on "Gora Rang Chunariya Kaali" - those were my thoughts too! :) And it is one of my favorites also...

    A couple of years ago, I learned from a Rafi fanatic (not connected to our blogging circle) that Dec. 24 was Rafi's birthday. But I was not aware of - or maybe had just forgotten - the date of his death anniversary, so this post was a nice surprise to me.

  18. Richard, I was only familiar with the Rafi-Noor Jehan duet before, but thanks to youtube I found the Woh apni yaad dilaane ko number. I did mean to use only one of them, but couldnt bring myself to leave either one out! The duet because its lovely and historic, and the other one because Rafi is actually onscreen (and lip syncing to another singer in one scene!) and because its such a fun song.

    This post was actually planned for Rafi's birthday, last Dec. But then I couldnt finish the song list to my satisfaction by 24th Dec, hence a post now!

  19. Awesome. I've only seen one of these movies (tragic!). Sure, I've got some Rafi CDs, which are great, but seeing the clips is so much better! And with so much of my time being eaten by snakes, I need all the education I can get. Fortunately, it's the kind of education that comes with beautiful songs and even more fantastically beautiful people.

  20. Bollyviewer, just a delightful post--I'm having so much fun watching your excellent playlist.

    Unlike many, I don't have a favorite between Lata and Asha. I think of Asha's voice as having more purity, and Lata's as having just slightly more "grit," but they both were (and are) so brilliant. And sometimes I can even have trouble telling them apart--in "Gora rang chunariya," to my ears Asha sounds almost Lata-like.

  21. Add me to the Asha-loving minority (love Lata, Geeta, et al too, but Asha rules over everything)...

    What a great way to limit yourself to a manageable number. I have long thought of doing a favorite Asha or favorite Rafi post, but despaired at the thought of so many great songs. Glad to see a few Shammis on here---what a pair they made, actor and voice...

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. Anarchivist - Rafi (and the beautiful people) will definitely pull you out of the snake-pit! As a matter of interest, which is the movie from among the ones featured in my list, that you have seen?

    Pessimissimo, thats interesting! My perception about Lata and Asha is the exact opposite of yours. Lata's voice I always associate with virginal purity, probably because she sang for "pure" heroines more often than not. Asha on the other hand, got to sing for more interesting characters as well, and I associate her voice with more earthy and gritty character.

    memsaab, Asha sure rules over everything, as far I am concerned, too. :-D

    And I cant imagine Shammi with any other voice - the Mukesh number in Bluffmaster was so wrong!

    theBollywoodFan, yes, his classical songs were awesome too! Somehow, one always associates Kishore Kumar with silly but fun songs - I am still discovering Rafi's songs in that category and he is just as good there as he is in his serious stuff!

    I wouldnt blame the consumers of today for the kind of music that comes out - if that was true oldies wouldnt be popular in today's generation and new films wouldnt be forever referencing old songs. And wasnt the Parineeta soundtrack a big hit? It was pretty oldies-oriented to my ears.

  24. OOooooh My God !! This is such a great post. I need to save this page right now, and will read later when work is done. Such a fantastic list abt Equally Fantastic singer. He is my most most most favorite. Legend he is.

  25. This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Darshit, glad you enjoyed it. I had such fun researching Rafi songs on youtube!

    theBollywoodFan, I didnt mean to imply that current music has no market or even that there is a dearth of talent nowadays. That is, of course, not true! All I meant to point out was that there IS a market for oldies and their kind of music as well (judging by the inventory of old songs and movie VCD/DVDs in Rhythm House, alone), and I am not sure why it isnt exploited. For the lack of availability of these things, I dont hold the consumer responsible - because all we can really do is choose from what is available. Its like in a democracy, one can only vote for the candidates on the list, no matter how much one may want other candidates!

    And you are so right about "lyrical dementia". Just compare the lyrics of Anarkali songs to that of Jodha Akbar ones - the poetic beauty of the former seems to be entirely missing in the latter!

  27. It's wonderful to see Rafi saab's song being appreciated.Sadly these days media,only seems to highlight only Kishore Kumar and RD Burman.

  28. Hi

    Congratulations! Your post has been selected by BlogAdda as one of the top posts for this week's 'Tangy Tuesday Picks'. Do mail me at harishkrishnan at blogadda dot com

  29. Wow, that sure is a wonderful way to present the Maestro's songs. I had written a dedication to Mohd Rafi in the form of a story interspersed with songs, some time back. If time permits do visit:

    BTW, Congrats on the blogadda pick.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. I loved your comparison about being bowled over in love to the one being LBW. Guess, Indians are not bowled over, but they rather get out by LBW. (song: He ne Khelaa She se Aaj Cricket Match)

    Secondly, regarding the song UDEN JAB JAB ZULFEN TEREE, a little demystistification is in order. Those were the days when Dilip Kumar's crop of hair used to be the high order of fashion for men, though for Dilip Kumar his hair were just unruly that's all. So, youngsters used to purposely bring a curl of hair on their forehead as a style, and at once used to meet with the remarks: "Kyaa Dilip Kumar" (Dilip Kumar huh?. It goes to the credit of that great lyricist, Sahir Ludhianvi, who summarised that effect into the Naya Daur song.

  32. The one I've seen is "Howrah Bridge." It was nice to see Madhubala vamping it up a little, rather than pining! (Still a good girl, though).

  33. Shontou, Kishore and RD Burman do seem to grab most listeners that I know of, too, so maybe its their popularity thats responsible?

    Harish, thanks!

    Shail, thats a lovely post and so very imaginative! Romance is what first comes to mind, when I think of Rafi's songs too.

    theBollywoodFan, I think we are destined to agree to disagree on a lot of topics! lol It does lead to a lot of intelligent and interesting discussions.

    Nasir, thanks for that insight. Dilip Kumar did have lots of hair - something I imagine a lot of other heroes must have envied too!

    Re the He ne khela she se song - its the only "cricket" song I remember hearing, which is surprising considering how popular cricket is in India and what an intimate relationship it has with the filmi world! Have you heard any other cricket songs?

    Anarchivist, Madhubala did a lot of fun stuff (I actually havent seen any of her pining roles, except for Mahal!), but ya vamping it a bit was unusual!

  34. No, I certainly don't know if there is any other song so specific as the Love Marriage song on cricket. Though the story of Lagan was built up on cricket, yet there was no song using the word "cricket".

    Yes, not only his hair but the whole persona of Dilip Kumar was the subject of envy which explains his being subjected to the ignominy of proving himself to be a patriot on different occasions plus his being actually attacked by ruffians.

  35. Looks like He ne khela she se aaj cricket match is likely to go down in history as the one and only "cricket" song! :-)

  36. Thank you for this post. Came to know about some old Rafi songs that i am not so familiar with.

    For E - my favourite would be "Ek Haseen Shaam Ko, Dil Mera Kho Gaya" - Dharm singing and also for T - Tum Ne Muhey Dekha ho kar mehreban, ruki gayi yeh zameen, tham gaya aasman from Teesri Manzil

  37. Anonymous, you are welcome!

    I love your choices too. They are both lovely songs. But then everything of Rafi's pre-70s is a gem. Thats why I had to make the choice of restricting myself to B/W duets/group performances to make my task easier - it would be too difficult to decide on his songs if I considered ALL of them!

  38. Great post - although I do love Rafi it's Kishore Kumar that lays claim to my all time favorite singer. I have a great CD of their greatest hits together but had not heard of 'Do Akalmand' and it was just a joy to watch. I would have put 'Chaudvin Ki Chand' (my favorite Rafi song) as C but that's just me ;) Even though it is overplayed it is just timeless and I never tire of hearing it. Cheers!

  39. Sanket, Chaudhvin ka chand ho is just sublime. The lyrics, Rafi's voice, the music and Waheeda Rehman - all mixed into the best combination ever. I would have put it in "C" too, except that I was steering clear of his solo efforts for this list.

    Kishore does seem to win more hearts in the present days than Rafi - at least among the people I know. I wonder why...

  40. Bollyviewer --you are right that Kishore may be more popular in India thanks to the media and its RD fixation. However, I would think that Rafi is a much bigger phenomenon globally, and the phenomenon is growing bigger as the days go by. Plus, no amount of media push and propaganda can hide the fact that Rafi was a much superior singer than Kishore and all the other greats --those who understand music just know it. Even Lata paid a tribute on Rafi's 29th death anniversary, and hailed Rafi as the greatest ever Indian playback singer (male or female).

  41. By the way, the Lata's tribute that I am referring to in the earlier post was published in the Hindustan Times newspaper (Hindi Edition) on August 1st, 2009. Rafi Sahab does not need any further endorsement, but it was still nice to see the great Lata hailing Rafi Sahab as the greatest ever playback singer. She is finally calling a spade a spade:-)

  42. Nikhil, agreed that Rafi was a much better singer than Kishore, but I dont think the latter's popularity was entirely due to the media coverage! Rafi happens to be my favorite singer, but I can understand Kishore's pull, too. They both have great songs and I guess there is room for both in filmi music.

    I've been trying to get hold of the Lata article - all I found was an English translation. Wish I could get the Hindi version to see what exactly Lata said in her tribute.

  43. There's a lot of drama in Rafi's singing... which works fine for light wooing, comedy, patriotic and declamatory kinds of songs. He's sung many such, but doesn't come out as convincing in the pensive genre... the kind where Mukesh, Talat and Manna Dey (when he got such a song) shined. My humble opinion :-).

  44. Himmat, you and I will have to agree to disagree! I think Rafi did pensive/soulful just as well as Talat and Manna Dey did. I love his philosophical and sad numbers. His rendition of Bahadur Shah Zaffar's ghazals (Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon and Lagta nahin hai dil mera), Neeraj's lovely poem Caravan guzar gaya, the philosophical Yeh zindagi ke mele, the sad Is duniya mein aye dilwaalon, the haunting Suhani raat dhal chuki and Waqt se din aur raat, etc., are just a few examples of his pensive songs that I think are just as good as anything Manna Dey, Talat or Mukesh came up with.

  45. They both have great songs and I guess there is room for both in filmi music

    This is one of the really intersting and seemingly unique aspects of desi filmi fandom. Across both cyberspace and meatspace it seems that many, if not actually most, desi fans of a particular actor/actress/playback singer/director feel that being that person's fan requires them to diss perceived competitors. It is most often evident with playback singers, especially the men. Like you, Bollyviewer, I think there is room for several great playback singers, but I have noticed a desi trend to act as if saying "X is the greatest" (a perfectly valid subjective statement) is not enough and that it MUST be accompanied by "Y is a croaking cretin whose songs are total bavaas". IMDb and Wikipedia are excellent sources of examples of this pattern. It makes me pleased to be coming at this from a firangi POV and able to relish them all - Rafi, Kishore, Talat, Mukesh and Manna Dey (concerning whom I agree with the view that he was underutiilised). I even like some of Asha's croaky didi's songs. ;)

  46. maxqnz, agreed. Just because one performer is the best doesnt mean the others are bad. And yes, Manna Dey was criminally underused in Hindi films. He is still probably the finest singer in Hindi films. Perhaps he wasnt quite as good an actor as Rafi was, perhaps he wasnt as charismatic, I dont know. I must admit to liking Rafi better, even though I think Manna Dey was probably a better singer!

    And did you just call the nightingale of India a "croaky" singer?!!! Burning at the stake awaits you for such heresy! ;-) People who know music say that Lata is much better than Asha. I say that Asha is a way better actress than Lata and can sing a wider variety of songs because of that. I really dont dig Lata's peppy and Western numbers, nor do Lata's sad songs induce tears the way Asha's do. But hey, even I wouldnt dare to call Lata "croaky"!!! Besides, didnt we just agree not to diss our not-favorites?

  47. Thank you soooooooooo much for including the link to this in your latest post!!!
    I love your list and love the way you chose to make it. I truly madly deeply love Rafi. And oh yes, I'm an Ashavaadi too. As long as I get to listen to Asha and Rafi I wouldn't ask for anything more.
    I hadn't heard few songs here in your list.
    I sat down on 24th Dec to make a list of my favourite Rafi songs, but I gave up. I love all songs of his. I just ended up with "I love Rafi" article.

    Even now, I stick on to Doordarshan (esp Rangoli and Chitrahaar)and Vividh Bharati. I usually do but I make sure not to miss any of these programs on/around 31st Jul and 24th Dec.

    Coming to Asha....recently there was an R.D Burman special Rangoli episode. It seems Asha used to complain to Pancham da that he gives all good songs (as in picturized on the leading ladies) to Lata and makes her sing the remaining songs. To this R.D would say : Those are the songs that anyone can sing, but the songs that I give you are the ones which only you can sing!
    I prefer Naushad, O.p Nayyar, Roshan.... ie pre-70 era more than RD era any day, but there are some love RD tracks that Rafi has sung.
    And Shammi and Rafi combo...what an amazing duo they made - I really find it weird listening to someone else singing for Shammi.
    I'm not anti-anybody. I like other singers as well - Talat, Mukesh, Kishore, Manna Dey, Mahendra Kapoor, Lata, Geeta Dutt, Shamshad, Noor Jehan but Rafi and Asha will always remain my favourites!

  48. Sunheriyaadein, YAY! for more Ashavaadi Rafi fans!!!

    Me too, on loving pre-70s music, especially Rafi, pre-70s. He certainly had a lovely voice. I love Talat, Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, Kishore Kumar, etc., too, but there is only one Rafi! Love that RD quote about Asha - she certainly is in a class of her own.

    And Vividh Bharti is still on? I remember finding it very difficult to tune into the station, once FM came on the scene. After playing with my radio orientation and its antenna orientation, for weeks on end, I had to give in and began listening to FM and the non-stop (annoying) chatter of the FM hosts. In Canada, of course, I would be glad to have even AIR FM to listen to!

  49. Oh yes....Vividh Bharti is still on. And it still airs the same programs. The first thing I listen to every morning is Bhooli Bisri Geet and the Vicco Turmeric ad :-)
    Too many FMs these days and quite a lot of regional transmission on VB as well. But thanks to Dish tv...we get few radio stations with Dish tv subscription and thankfully regional programs don't take over here - I listen to Vividh Bharti and AIR FM Gold the most.

  50. You are so lucky to be able to hear Vividh Bharti, still!!! Wish I could...

  51. excellent post, i loved reading the article and the comments. i'm so glad many folks enjoy the golden oldies and i hope they continue to do so for many many years. just right now i am listening to talat's classic "mohabbat turk ki maine, gir e baan si liya maine" they sure don't make songs like that anymore! love rafi and the legends!

  52. No, Sharad, they sure dont make them like Rafi and Talat anymore. Thats why they are the stuff of legends! :-) And thanks for telling me about Mohabbat turk ki maine - its a lovely song.

  53. Hello,
    you have a great blog here. I'm crazy about old films too and write a blog on it as well. the link is:
    you can visit it if you like.
    BTW this is great way to pay tribute to the most awesome singer of all times....his repertoire is unmatched.
    however, for A i think my favourite would be Abhi na jao chodkar from Hum Dono. what say????

    lovely lovely post nonetheless :)

  54. Sharmi, thanks for stopping by! I've already been lurking around your blog for a while now. Love your reviews!

    As to picking a Rafi favorite for the letter A (or any other letter of the alphabet) - that is a task completely beyond me! There are very few 50s and 60s songs of his that are not favorites. :-) I just went with whatever song came to mind first. Of course, I love Abhi na jaao chhod kar too - its lovely and Rafi's voice is soooo seductive. :-)

  55. 'I suspect that its the kind of undying devotion that ends up in the divorce courts or something equally tragic.'

    ROTFL. I agree it is simply too sweet to be true. But maybe I'm just too bitter since nobody sang these lines to me! ;-)

    'Gora rang chunariya kaali' sounds so much like 'reshmi salwaar kurta jali ka'. BTW the link leads one only to you tube and not to the song, maybe you would like to correct it.

    Shashikala looks so beautiful in 'Humen koi gham hai'.

    Great list!

  56. "maybe I'm just too bitter since nobody sang these lines to me" Are you sure you want somebody other than Lata/Rafi to sing these lines? If it was Shabbir Kumar or Kumar Sanu, or someone like that, I know I'd RUN!

    Thanks for letting me know about the missing links. I need to do some youtube research and put them in.

  57. dearest all users
    if you want to know all songs of mohd rafi's list
    please visit

  58. Nafees, that is a very comprehensive list of Rafi songs! Its going to be a very useful resource for all my future Rafi posts. :-D

  59. Hi..came across to ur blog on Rafi sahab.. nice list indeed, considering the fact that it is SO much difficult to choose 26 odd songs from a pool of hundreds (or maybe thousands?) of Rafi numbers. though it was a comprehensive list, I was searching for Geeta-Rafi dutes in the list as I am a grt fan of both the legends and consider Geeta-Rafi combo the best in hindi music!
    just hear them in Pyaasa's waltzy number "Hum aapki aankhon mein..." or "Chupke se mile pyaase pyaase.." from Manzil or other SD Burman or OP Nayyar compositions.. they have the best chemistry as far as singing is concerned.. this pair is to hindi film music what Raj-nargis pair is to silverscreen (all this IMHO)

  60. Punya, Geeta-Rafi are indeed a great combination, and I did include one of their duets (Jaane kahan mera jigar gaya ji). There aren't more since I was trying to include Rafi's duets with every singer I could! Geeta-Rafi duets, I think, deserve a post of their own - someday soon...

  61. Thanks.. waiting eagerly for that! :)

  62. I missed out on so much goodness being away from blog world for a few months. I am glad you had this linked up on the Shamshad Begum post. It is beautiful! *sigh*

  63. Thanks Kanan! Glad you enjoyed it. Rafi posts are pleasure to do and read!

  64. dear friends iam inviting each and every body to visit each and every page of our beloved rafi saab"s blog,total over 500 pages are there,to go to next page,kindly click older posts,you will find bottom of every page,please don"t miss any page,kindly visit this link,take care



  67. One song i donot find in any list- kitni raten beet gayeen tanhai mein/ haar gale ke toot gaye angdaayee mein.......

  68. Rafi was an icon of Indian playback singing.

  69. Nobody can take the place of M.Rafi. they are my best play singer.

  70. Rafi is the name of greatest ever singer of the world.

  71. Rafi a leagend.his songs are so melodious. he is my favorit singer above all.
    for latest bollywood updates visit