Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mohammed Rafi Sahaab remembered by Udit Narayan

Among the lot of the current singers many have been inspired by Rafi Sahaab’s sheer dedication, professionalism, and his magical voice. Manna Dey, Yesudas, and SP Balasubramaniam, have admitted about the magical enchantment of Rafi Sahaab’s voice. Mahendra Kapoor was his protégé and follower of Rafi Sahaab’s style. After the sad demise of this great legendary singer, Bollywood came to be dominated by the singers who were the fans and clones of Rafi Sahaab, such as Anwar, Shabbir Kumar and Mohammed Aziz. Recently, it was Sonu Nigam who drew attention and made a name for himself by singing and recording in his own voice, hundreds of Rafi Sahaab’s songs whereafter he came into his own. But still sings in programmes dedicated to the memory of his icon, Rafi Sahaab. Mohammed Aslam is another notable singer of immense talent, who is an ardent admirer of Rafi Sahaab. Having sung in several Bollywood films and some movies from the South, Mohammed Aslam never fails to perform in shows related to the memory of his ideal, Rafi Sahaab. Even Abhijeet, whose style is different, has admitted on the TV channel, in the SA RE GA MA Programme that was dedicated to Rafi Sahaab on his 29th Death Anniversay, that he had in fact followed the Janazaa (funeral) of Rafi Sahaab in 1980right up to the cemetary, and picking up the mud from near the grave where Rafi Sahaab was buried, he rubbed it on his neck (indicating a deep mark of respect and that he received a blessing of Rafi Sahaab). Then there is Udit Narayan who confesses to belonging to Rafi Sahaab’s school of singing despite the fact that there is actually no such school or a ‘Gharana’. When he was only 19 years old, Udit was blessed by Rafi Sahaab when the former had the golden opportunity of singing with Rafi Sahaab for a movie called Unness Bees. Udiit’s name became a household name when he sang PAPA KEHTE HAIN BADA NAAM KAREGAA for Amir Khan in Qayamat se Qayamat Tak (1988). Presented below are the sentiments expressed by Udit Narayan regarding his icon, the one and only Mohammed Rafi Sahaab:


(Udit sings) Mil Gayaa Mil Gayaa Dhoondhte theh Jise Mil Gayaa....

‘I started my career with Rafi Sahaab’. Film UNEES BEES theeh. 18th December ’79 ko yeh gaana record huwaa thaah aur ‘80 me.n picture release huwee theeh. Rajesh Roshan Ji ka music thaah. Ameet Khanna Sahaab ne gaane likhe, aur Rafi Sahaab, Usha Mangeshkar Ji ke saath, mujhe bhee gaane ka mauqaa milaa. Pehlee baar maine Hindi film ke liye pehlaa gaanaa record kiya thaah yeh.

Rafi Sahaab ke saath jab mai.n – jab unho.ne mujhe dekhaa wahaa.n, toh soche koee bachche ka part hogaa, gaane ke liye aayaa hogaa yeh la.dkaa. Lekin jab ek hee Mike pe hamm kha.de theh, toh Rafi Sahaab – jab mai.n start kiyaa toh Rafi Sahaab meraa chehraa aisae dekh rahe theh ke itnaa chhoTaa la.dkaa hai aur aawaaz iskee toh ‘matured’ lagtee hai. Matlab unke ‘expression’ se aisaa lagg rahaa thaah mujhe. Toh maine unn ke payr chhooye aur bolaa ke mai.n toh aap ke saamne gaa nahee.n paaoo.ngaa, kyoo.n ke mai.n jinko bachpan se suntaa aa rahaa hoo.n mai.n radio me.n, jo meraa ek sapnaa thaah ke mai.n Rafi Sahaab ko dekh paaoo.n, aur aaj aise fankaar ke saamne kha.daa hoke mai.n – mujhe gaanaa gaane ko mauqa milaa hai, mere toh haath-payr kaamp rahe theh. Lekin unhone.n mere hauslaa ko buland kiyaa. Bole: “Nahee.n, Nahee.n, mai.n bhee aap ke tareh film industry me.n aayaa thaah. Aur maine bhee ‘chorus’ se shurooaat kee theeh. Magar aap mehnat karte rahenge aur saaf soch rakhenge, toh time aayegaa aapkaa, aur aap aage jaa sakte, ba.dh sakte hai.n.” Yeh aashirwaad unn se mujhe milaa hai. Kyaa kehnaa hai Rafi Sahaab, jinko mai.n bachpan se suntaa aa rahaa hoo.n, jinke liye, matlab - abhee bhee mujhe yeh lagtaa hai, ek Farishta – matlab bhagwaan ke nazdeek jo aadmi hota hai, aisaa paayaa unhe.n. ‘Thorough Gentleman’ bahot kamm baate.n karte theh, ‘Everytime’ hanste rehte theh, aur harr insaan ke liye achchaa sochte theh. Aisaa Fankaar, aisaa kalaakar, aisee aawaaz, aisaa insaan, toh shaayad hee iss dunyaa me.n (laughs) iss waqt kamm log honge aise.



I started my career with Rafi Sahaab. The movie was UNNEES BEES. This song was recorded on 18th December 1979 and the picture was released in 1980. Rajesh Roshan had given the music. Ameet Khanna had penned the songs, and along with Rafi Sahaab and Usha Mangeshkar I too got an opportunity to sing. For the first time in Hindi movie I had this first song recorded.

When Rafi Sahaab saw me there, he thought perhaps this boy had come to sing for some boy’s part (in the movie). But when we standing at the same microphone, when I began then Rafi Sahaab was watching my face (as if to say) how young this boy is and how matured his voice sounds! That is, I felt this from his expression.

So I touched his feet (as respects) and said that I won’t be able to sing before you because he, whom I’ve been listening to on the radio since my childhood, and it was my dream to see Rafi Sahaab in person, and today I had an opportunity to sing before such a great artiste, my hands and legs were trembling. But he encouraged me saying:

“No, No, just like you I, too, had come to the film industry and I, too, had begun (my career) by singing in a chorus. But if you dedicate yourself, and keep your thinking clean, then your time too will come and you will be able to surge forward.” This was the blessing that I received from him.

What to say of Rafi Sahaab! He, whom I’ve listening to since my childhood, and I still think of him as an Angel, that is, someone very close to God and this is how I see him. He was a thorough gentleman, who used to speak very sparingly. He used to laugh always, and had nothing but good in his mind for every human being. What a Great Artiste, what a Skilled Artiste, what a Voice! What a great human being! The like of whom will be very few and far between in this world (laughs) at this time!


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