The possessor of the mellow and powerful voice which sang the award-winning song ” tu gangs ki mouj” and other classical pieces in “baiju bawra” is a meek, gentle-mannered, and painfully shy young man who generally discards words in favor of a broad and ingratiating smile.

Short stocky Mohammad Rafi was born in a mud hut in cordless Wilton Singh Amritsar District on December 4th, 1924 of typical Farmers stock, this swarthy Village land never went to school he was never interested in anything except in exercising his super god-given voice which amazed and delighted all who heard him.

Lacking education and ignorant of the wide world outside the mud Huts which surrounded him, Rafi left for Lahore to pursue his ambition to sing and heard. The rich Timber of his powerful voice intoxicated and great Masters Of Music before whom he sang.

Music Masters like Abdul Wahid Khan of kirana, pandit jivanlal matto, gulam ali khan kirana and firoz nizami trained the golden led over a period Of 12 years during which he worked hard and the only thing which came naturally to him.

Mohamad Rafi had been broadcasting over the radio at Lahore and Delhi, for several years when the late Shyam sunder, the famous music director of Punjab asked him to sing for the Punjabi Film “gul Baloch” Rafi sang Just the three songs in the film along with Zeenat begum 18, but so super was his rendition of these songs that he become a farmer favorite with the film audience in North India.

In 1939 Rafi came to Bombay to sing for Shyam sunder’s “gaon ki gori” Bombay’s filmgoers found in his voice a pathos and emotion the like of which they had not heard since the great K.L. Sehgal.

But it was with the singing in “jugnu” Rafi zoomed into popularity. the intensely moving love-lyric which he sang with Nurjehan “Yahan Badla Wafa ka ” thrilled the Youth of the country and Rafi melodious passionate rendering of this song made it the most popular romantic duet of its time.

Then in pyar ke geet he sang ek dil-ke-tukde-hazaar a song which was heard in every street corner a few years ago so great was its popular appeal. When Rafi sings one feels his voice throbbing with emotion as if he were actually experiencing the sentiment of the song that particular in his voice that sobbing quality which is to be found in the mournful ditties which he renders so well are in a class of their own.

Yet it is not only in the singing of Romantics film songs that Rafi excels. he has to his credit many private recordings of songs that have taken music lovers by storm. During the famine in India, about a decade ago Mohamad Rafi sang ” Aya Ant Jagat me logon, Kaal pada hai Kaal” – a heart-rending plea for the starving millions of India reduced to tears and pity by the superb singing of this teaching peace, people contribute generously towards famine relief.

Also made famous by Rafi are the songs “ramzan Ki barkat” and “bapu ki amar kahani” each year, during the month of Ramzan when all the devout Muslims observe a Rigis fast, Rafi’s powerful voice can be heard over the radio stations India, salon and guava singing this haunting, Ceylon and Goa, singing this haunting melody so beautifully that it actually conjures up before the up before the listener’s eyes the moving story which it tells, his singing of “Bapu ki Amar Kahani” a great tribute to a great leader has been much admired and appreciated.

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Rafi was someone to Delhi to sing this song before Jawaharlal Nehru who was deeply moved when he heard it, a kindly and Cooperative artist, Rafi has never been approached in vain to sing at any function for good cause.

A Consciousness worker he gives his music directors hole attention and cooperation, with the result that he is very much in demand for playback singing in films.

If it all comparisons were to be made Rafi would most closely approximate to America’s Mario Lanza considered the wide range and Powerful Timbre of their voice, yet whatever similarity there may be between the two ends right there because, unlike Lenza who is known for his fiery temper and restless temperament, Rafi is quiet, the peace-loving person who raises his voice only when he sings.

Although he continued to sing hit melodies In pictures like “deedar”, “Dillagi” “Sajan”, and “Mela” it was his singing in “Baiju Bawra” that brought him his greatest triumph. he was in a Superb voice in this film and even those people who have not paid him much attention before set up and took notice.

Rafi proved that he was as much at ease which classical music as he was hybrid film songs. He shared part of the glory which was showered on music director Naushad who won the Filmfare award for composing the music of “Baiju Bawra”.

Rafi is proud and happy that Naushad, whom he admires and respects should have been singled out for his honor. Yet, he holds that in the near future playback singers, too, will be eligible for these awards so that they may find in them an incentive and in encouragement for the other work.

Meanwhile, he continues to work hard to prove himself worthy not only for any award which may be given him in the future but to convey and impart to his listeners some of the joy and pleasure he himself gets from singing.

A perfectionist in his lines, industrious and humble, Mohamad Rafi feels that education in any field can never be complete in spite of his years of training and experience, he continues to be a keen Student Of Music always striving to better himself.

He plays the harmonium, the tabla, and tanPura and he feels that classical music must have its rightful place in films, provided it also eaters for the public according to public test he usually takes about a week to practice the songs of a film, after which he starts rehearsing.

Rafi always lends a kindly ear to youngsters with musical talent and not only encourages them to find their vocation but is also willing to train them to find their vocation but it also willing to train them at his home.

Some day he would like to be a music director because music is Rafi’s first love and he is never so happy as when he is singing or composing.

It is his profession and also his hobby and although he plays a lot of tennis, he does not really think he can ever love anything more than the sweet strains of a well-worded song or the enchantment of a beautiful voice. – Filmfare 1951

One thought on “Mohammad Rafi: A Legendary Singer

  1. Truly an incomparable singer. Why ? Because he had the change if voice, whilst his contemporaries sou ded the same in every song.

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