Monday, September 28, 2009


A Humble Tribute to the Greatest Playback Singer of all times – by Nasir.

While we are still in 1946, Noor Jahan was singing a beautiful song penned by Anjum Pilibhiti and composed by Hafiz Khan in Hamjoli starring herself, Jairaj and Agha among others. The song was: YEH DESH, YEH DESH HAMAARA PYAARA HINDUSTAN JAHAA.N SE NYAARAA/HINDUSTAAN KE HAMM HAIN PYAARE, HINDUSTAAN HAMAARA PYAARA. This song draws our attention to the anticipated independence from the British Raj.

It was in 1946 that Rafi’s Sahaab’s name appeared for the first time in the credits of Arab Ka Sitaara which was Cuckoo’s debut film. ROSHAN SA IK SITAARA was a duet he sang with Amirbai Karnataki.

Some of the other movies of 1946 for which Rafi Sahaab sang are:

Amar Raj:

Two solos: PRAAN TYAAG KAR TUUNE DEEWAANEE; and TO.DO TO.DO TO.DO DIL KE TAAR. Another solo was: MAIN JAB GAAOON GEET SUHAANA, GAAYE MERE SAATH ZAMAANA, written by Pandit Fani. This must be his earliest semi-classical song. There was also a duet with Mohantara: MAI.N JAB CHHE.DOO PREM TARAANAA. Music was by Feroze Nizami. Yes, this was for Wadia Movietone. A curious thing here is that Rafi Sahaab’s name is missing from the duet. The 78RPM record mentions: “Mohantara Talpade in duet” though she sings hardly for a minute, while the young Rafi sings for nearly six minutes for this song which is recorded on both the sides of the record. In an ordinary 78RPM 10-inch disc, just a little over 3 minutes could be recorded on one side. Such was the limit of the technology then. In this movie, a young Nirupa Roy, made her acting debut.

Mera Geet:

MERA SWAPN BA.DAA SUHAANAA; JAAKE PARDES PIYAA BHOOL NAA JAANAA; both under musical direction of Shankar Rao Vyas. Ramesh Gupta wrote the lyrics.


Rafi Sahaab sang two duets with Shamshad Begum: YEH NAYAN KYOO.N SHARMA GAYE, and DIL MUJHKO JALAATAA HAI. Hanuman Prasad was the music director.

Rang Bhoomi:

The music was rendered by Premnath. The songs of Rafi Sahaab are: SOOYE MANZIL BADHAAYE CHALAA CHAL KOEE along with chorus; then three duets with Shamshad Begum: AAG LAGEE TANN MANN DHANN; JO AAGE BA.DHE USSE; and KHUD SAMAJH LO KE ILTIJAA KYAA.

Sona Chandi:

Tufail Farooqi was the music director. Rafi Sahaab had two solos and two duets as follows: ABKE BHAGWAAN DAYAA KARENGE and DAATAA JI TERE BHED NAA PAAYAA; one duet with Shamshad Begum: BAITHE HAI.N TERE DAR PE; the other duet with Ameerbai: MANN KI SOONEE NAGARIYAA.


Music was by Gobind Ram. Rafi Sahaab sang two duets with Shamshad Begum: WATAN KEE AMAANAT MEREE ZINDAGEE HAI with chorus; and BALA JAWANVAA SAMBHAALAA NAA JAAYE.


Music was by C.Ramchandra. The notable solos of Rafi Sahaab are: KEHKE BHEE NAA AAYE TUM where the tonal quality and style of Rafi Sahaab reminds us of the mid-fifties. It proved to be a hit song. The other song was, AB VOH HAMAARE HO GAYE.

Some of the following 1946 movies have a song each of Rafi Sahaab:

Sassi Punnu:

AASHIQ KA KAAFLAA along with G.M. Durrani and chorus. Music was by Gobind Ram.

Room No.9:

RAHE TOH KAISE RAHE DIL PE IKHTIYAAR, which had music by Rashid Atre and lyrics by Naqshab.


Hari Prasanna Das was the music director. Rafi Sahaab sang a duet with Hameeda Bano: ROOKHEE SOOKHEE MAI.N KHAA LOONGEE.


S.N. Tripathi composed the music for this movie. Rafi sang Yeh Hind Ki Kahaaniyan with Geeta Roy and Binapani.

Here are some more solos of Rafi Sahaab:

Arab Ka Sitaara: The inspiring song, Milta Hai Kya Namaaz Me.n - Music by S.Qureshi, Lyrics:Shevan Rizvi. 

Bachchon Ka Khel: Kalpana karo Naveen Kalpana Karo - (Rafi and Chorus), Music by C.Ramchandra, Lyrics by Magan.

Hawaai Khatola: Meri bigdee huwee qismat - Music by Bashir Dehlavi, Lyrics: Qaiser Sabai

Mansarovar: Badhe Chalo Badhe Chalo - as stated before, music was by S.N.Tripathi while Ishwar Chandra wrote the lyrics:

Shah Jahan and Anmol Ghadi.
In 1946 Naushad was again at his best in Anmol Ghadi and Shah Jahan. Both these movies were
immensely popular along with other movies such as the Dilip Kumar starrer Milan, Saigal starrer Omar Khayyam, V.Shantaram’s Dr. Kotnis ki Amar Kahani, and Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar.

Noor Jahan and Mehboob Khan had come together for the first time – and the last time in Anmol Ghadi which was Noor Jahan’s greatest hit. As for the songs of Anmol Ghadi, Noor Jahan’s JAWAA.N HAI MOHABBAT, AAJAA AAJAA MEREE, MERE BACHPAN KE SAATHI and KYA MIL GAYA BHAGWAAN, and the duet AAWAAZ DE were super-hits overshadowing the good songs of Shamshad Begum and Suraiya. Noor Jahan at just 20 was at her career-best. Suraiya played the second lead to her.

The songs of Anmol Ghadi are etched in everyone’s memory. So when she visited Mumbai in 1982, she was accorded a warm reception by Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Naushad. Even Suraiya was present. When Noor Jahan began to sing AAWAAZ DE KAHAA.N HAI, DUNYA MEREE JAWAA.N HAI, on the stage for the show "Mortal Men, Immortal Melodies" she and the composer Naushad had tears in their eyes. The latter exclaimed that she had indeed done him the honour and “made my song immortal.” Anmol Ghadi had also raised the stock of Tanvir Naqvi so that he had charged a whopping Rs.5,000/- for his work. What an irony of fate that the same talented lyricist had to go round the studios in Pakistan for merely Rs.200/- in the Seventies!

Two years had elapsed since Pehle Aap (1944) when Naushad had given the young Rafi an opportunity to sing a couple of duets. For the first time, Naushad Ali gave a solo number to Rafi in Anmol Ghadi (1946): TERA KHILONA TOOTA BAALAK, which was playbacked for an unknown character of a toy-seller, since the movie had Mehboob’s favourite singer-hero, Surendra. After this, the team of Mehboob Khan and Naushad worked in a number of blockbuster movies.

Shah Jahan had the best of K.L. Saigal numbers. Naushad was the first to record songs and the music on different tracks and then mixing them together and he also did this in Shah Jahan. Shah Jahan had excellent songs of K.L. Saigal such as GHAM DIYE MUSTAQIL KITNAA NAAZUK HAI DIL, CHAAH BARBAAD KAREGEE HAMEN MAALOOM NAA THAAH, and JAB DIL HEE TOOT GAYAA. The lyrics of all the ten songs were credited to the debutant Majrooh Sultanpuri, the young chela of Jigar Moradabadi. However, according to the article in “Gaata Rahe Mera Dil,” the songs BEDARD NA KAR; CHAAH BARBAAD KAREGEE HAMEN; AY DIL BEQARAAR JHOOM were written by Khumar Barabankavi.

Naushad would be fulfilling the wishes of the young singer by giving him an opportunity to sing in the chorus of a K.L. Saigal song in Shah Jahan. Naushad himself had been enamoured of K.L. Saigal. Rafi was happy with just the chorus rendering of RUHEE RUHEE RUHEE, MERE SAPNON KI RANI, where he can be easily spotted on the screen and actually sings the entire line towards the fag-end of the song when a faqir is shown entering the scene. The blessing of K.L. Saigal had come full circle. Who could have imagined that after nearly a decade the same lad who sang at the K.L. Saigal Concert in Lahore would also sing along with the legendary singer/actor in a movie that would create history of the present and the future legends coming together in the same song! The RUHEE song is specially remembered for that reason.

Thus Rafi Sahaab also has the distinction of not only being blessed by K.L. Saigal but also singing a song with him – the distinction denied to self-proclaimed fans such as Mukesh, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Talat Mehmood, and Shamshad Begum who were already a sensation by mid-Forties. All of them and also Geeta Dutt, would be dominating the Indian playback scene along with Rafi Sahaab in the decades to come.


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