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Thread: Mohammed Rafi: Living for His Art....

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    Mohammed Rafi: Living for His Art....

    Mohammed Rafi: Living for his art...


     


















    MUMBAI: If ever there was a saint in human form in Indian cinema, it
    was the late Mohammed Rafi, who passed away on July 31, 1980. No one
    spoke ill of him - ever, which is a kind of a record in an industry.
    And who could sing everything to perfection, like Rafi-saab did? You
    could never guess that the pristine voice that sang a bhajan was not a
    devout Hindu, but make him sing a devout qawwali or naat and he would
    sound no less than a paighambar, the Islamic messenger of God! He was
    urban lover-boy as easily as a rustic, full-throated farmer. When his
    dedication saw him blend the needs of a song and the preferences of
    its composer with the persona of from Dilip Kumar to Rishi Kapoor with
    Johnny Walker and lesser-known names, it was as if the actor himself
    was singing.
    Rafi lived for his art, and never succumbed to the mart - he was the
    busiest singer for decades only on merit, the demand being as much for
    Rafi the simple man as for the fact that he was our most versatile
    singer. But while his associations with top actors and composers are
    well-documented, it is a fact that Rafi put in his 200 per cent not
    just for them but for every small-time composer, whether their films
    had a known actor or not. As a tribute to this trait on the occasion
    of his 32nd death anniversary, let us look at his songs for 32 such
    composers from early in his career - Rafi was already a top singer by
    the late '40s.
    Rafi would charge the less-affording producers and composers less - if
    at all he did take money from them. Frequently, if he loved the song,
    he would smilingly wave (and waive) away the payment. 'Paas Baitho
    Tabiyat Machal Jaayegi' from Punar Milan (1964) was one such song,
    composed by newcomer C.Arjun, who was to be best known later for the
    chartbusting score of Jai Santoshi Maa.
    Lavish in his words of praise and encouragement to such newbies,
    strugglers and humbler talents, he never realized what he had achieved
    himself in such songs, and how he often changed the very fortunes of
    the compositions, the films, and the men behind them. Like when he
    lead four other singers (Asha Bhosle, Shailendra Singh, Bhupinder and
    Sapan Chakravorty) in the song that is Raamlaxman's signature tune a
    decade before Maine Pyar Kiya and Hum Aapke Hain Kounů! - the rousing
    'Deva O Deva Ganpati Deva' from Humse Badhkar Kaun? Even today, the
    song is a must-play track at every Ganesh Festival.
    For years after his death, Rafi's songs kept coming in various films
    and albums. Two beauties that we must single out here are the
    title-track of Mera Salaam, a Muslim social composed by Rajkamal
    (later to do Chashme Buddoor and B.R.Chopra's epic serial Mahabharat)
    and Jugal Kishore-Tilak Raj's duet in Bheegi Palkein, 'Janam Janam Ka
    Saath Hai', with Lata, as filmed on Raj Babbar and Smita Patil.
    In 1972, Rafi sang the deceptively-simple 'Kaisi Shaam Suhani Aayi Re'
    from Pasand Apni Apni composed by Vishnu Khanna, never heard of again,
    with its quick change in octaves at the cross-line (the transition
    from antara back to the mukhda). The song was filmed on Sameer,
    younger brother of Feroz and Sanjay Khan. In the same steeply
    melodious mould were Shatrughan Sinha's twin towers, 'Dil Ka Soona
    Saaz' (Ek Nari Do Roop) composed by Ganesh, (Laxmikant-) Pyarelal's
    brother and 'Kahin Aisa Na Ho' (Milap), with Brij Bhushan as composer.
    Ganesh's title-track from 'Ek Nanhi Munni Ladki Thi' was another
    high-point.
    Lyricist Prem Dhawan's limited but sparkling career as composer is
    strobe-lit by Rafi stunners, led by 'Ae Watan Ae Watan' from Shaheed
    (1965) and 'Agar Bewafa Tujhko Pehchan Jaate' (Raat Ke Andhere Mein /
    1970). Very few know that occasional composer Vijay Singh was Maine
    Pyar Kiya heroine Bhagyashree's dad. What a song he created for Rafi
    in Khoon Khoon, a 1973 rehash of Hollywood's classic Dirty Harry -
    'Maati ke jalte deepak ki jyot to ek din bujh jaani hai! It was
    nothing less than a melodious oasis in a cacophony of action!
    N.Dutta, a hugely-talented Hindi-Marathi composer, owes Rafi his
    signature tune in Hindi films, 'Tu Hindu Banega Na Mussalman Banega'
    from Yash Chopra's debut film Dhool Ka Phool. A name often confused
    with him is of fellow Goan genius Dattaram, Shankar-Jaikishan's key
    assistant for decades - and Rafi rollicked his way through the
    latter's Mama ho mama with Manna Dey in the 1959 Parvarish.
    Rafi and Manna Dey together always proved a lethal combo, and the
    raag-rich 'Sudh Bisar Gayi Aaj' by freedom fighter-actor-composer
    S.N.Tripathi from Sangeet Samrat Tansen also proved it. Tripathi it
    was for whom Rafi's 'Zaraa Saamne To Aa O Chhaliye' in the 1957 Janam
    Janam Ke Phere and 'Na Kisiki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon' (Lal Quila/1960)
    also became raging hits. Rafi gave another classicist composer,
    Pt.Shivram, his career biggest hit in 'Daulat Ke Jhoote Nashe Mein' in
    the 1955 Oonchi Haveli.
    When Pandit Ravi Shankar stepped in to compose Godaan, it was Rafi to
    the fore again with the superbly rustic 'Pipra Ke Patwa Sarikhe Dole
    Manwa'. Also a giant in his field but a 'smallie' on the Hindi scene
    was Marathi cinema's biggest composer, Sudhir Phadke in whose Hindi
    debut in 1947, Aage Badho starring Dev Anand, Rafi sang the quaint
    hit, Saawan ki ghataaon (with Khursheed).
    For years after his death, Rafi's songs kept coming in various films
    and albums. Two beauties that we must single out here are the
    title-track of Mera Salaam, a Muslim social composed by Rajkamal
    (later to do Chashme Buddoor and B.R.Chopra's epic serial Mahabharat)
    and Jugal Kishore-Tilak Raj's duet in Bheegi Palkein, 'Janam Janam Ka
    Saath Hai', with Lata, as filmed on Raj Babbar and Smita Patil.
    In 1972, Rafi sang the deceptively-simple 'Kaisi Shaam Suhani Aayi Re'
    from Pasand Apni Apni composed by Vishnu Khanna, never heard of again,
    with its quick change in octaves at the cross-line (the transition
    from antara back to the mukhda). The song was filmed on Sameer,
    younger brother of Feroz and Sanjay Khan. In the same steeply
    melodious mould were Shatrughan Sinha's twin towers, 'Dil Ka Soona
    Saaz' (Ek Nari Do Roop) composed by Ganesh, (Laxmikant-) Pyarelal's
    brother and 'Kahin Aisa Na Ho' (Milap) , with Brij Bhushan as
    composer. Ganesh's title-track from 'Ek Nanhi Munni Ladki Thi' was
    another high-point

    CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE........



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    CONTINUED FROM PREVIOUS PAGE......


    Lyricist Prem Dhawan's limited but sparkling career as composer is
    strobe-lit by Rafi stunners, led by 'Ae Watan Ae Watan' from Shaheed
    (1965) and 'Agar Bewafa Tujhko Pehchan Jaate' (Raat Ke Andhere Mein /
    1970). Very few know that occasional composer Vijay Singh was Maine
    Pyar Kiya heroine Bhagyashree's dad. What a song he created for Rafi
    in Khoon Khoon, a 1973 rehash of Hollywood's classic Dirty Harry -
    'Maati ke jalte deepak ki jyot to ek din bujh jaani hai! It was
    nothing less than a melodious oasis in a cacophony of action!
    N.Dutta, a hugely-talented Hindi-Marathi composer, owes Rafi his
    signature tune in Hindi films, 'Tu Hindu Banega Na Mussalman Banega'
    from Yash Chopra's debut film Dhool Ka Phool. A name often confused
    with him is - and Rafi rollicked his way through the
    latter's Mama ho mama with Manna Dey in the 1959 Parvarish.
    Rafi and Manna Dof fellow Goan genius Dattaram, Shankar-Jaikishan's key
    assistant for decades ey together always proved a lethal combo, and the
    raag-rich 'Sudh Bisar Gayi Aaj' by freedom fighter-actor-composer
    S.N.Tripathi from Sangeet Samrat Tansen also proved it. Tripathi it
    was for whom Rafi's 'Zaraa Saamne To Aa O Chhaliye' in the 1957 Janam
    Janam Ke Phere and 'Na Kisiki Aankh Ka Noor Hoon' (Lal Quila/1960)
    also became raging hits. Rafi gave another classicist composer,
    Pt.Shivram, his career biggest hit in 'Daulat Ke Jhoote Nashe Mein' in
    the 1955 Oonchi Haveli.
    When Pandit Ravi Shankar stepped in to compose Godaan, it was Rafi to
    the fore again with the superbly rustic 'Pipra Ke Patwa Sarikhe Dole
    Manwa'. Also a giant in his field but a 'smallie' on the Hindi scene
    was Marathi cinema's biggest composer, Sudhir Phadke in whose Hindi
    debut in 1947, Aage Badho starring Dev Anand, Rafi sang the quaint
    hit, Saawan ki ghataaon (with Khursheed).
    Let us also not forget that Rafi also was an integral and 'hit' part
    of so many debuts of composers who went on to hit big-time, from
    Shankar-Jaikishan in Barsaat to Anu Malik in Poonam, with Ravi, Usha
    Khanna, Kalyanji-Anandji, R.D.Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Sonik-Omi,
    Ravindra Jain, Rajesh Roshan and Nadeem-Shravan (in the Bhojpuri
    Dangal) in between. We mention this only to emphasize that Rafi never
    knew which way their careers would head when he blessed them, so to
    speak, by doing his vocal best for their firt films.
    We wrap up with six more names to show that for Rafi, the song as a
    composition and a musical exercise and tapasya was the only thing that
    mattered, not mundane material things like money or the stature of
    those involved in the songs or the film.
    It was Rafi who sang singer Sharda's biggest hit as a composer, 'Accha
    Hi Hua Dil Toot Gaya' from Maa Bahen Aur Biwi and Robin Banerjee's
    popular 'Iraada Na Tha' with Suman Kalyanpur (Aandhi Aur Toofan /
    1964). The very talented Nashad may have just a letter missing from
    Naushad, but that seemed to change his fortunes! However, his classic
    'Bhula Nahin Dena Jee' (with Lata/Baradari in 1955) was a raging hit
    not to be forgotten even today.
    And speaking of Naushad, who gave Rafi his first Hindi break in the
    1944 Pahele Aap, the legendary composer famous assistant Ghulam
    Mohammed could only achieve limited success as an independent
    composer, but Rafi's lustrous Lata duets 'Hum Tum Yeh Bahaar'
    (Amber/1952 for Raj Kapoor-Nargis) and 'Chalo Dildaar Chalo'
    (Pakeezah/ 1972 for Raaj Kumar and Meena Kumari) still stands tall in
    his work. Naushad's other assistant Mohammed Shafi recorded 'O
    Bichhade Hue Saathi' with Rafi-Lata as early as 1951 in Hulchul. And
    finally, we cannot ignore one of Rafi's finest Muslim devotional songs
    in this month of Ramzan, Shafi's stunner 'Madad Kijiye
    Tajdar-E-Madina' from the 1975 Dayar-E-Madina.

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