Saturday, August 7, 2010


Even after 30 years of the sad demise of the Indian Singing Legend, Mohammed Rafi Sahaab, the world is still enchanted by his magical voice that poured thousands of songs of all genres. Apart from Hindi/Urdu, he sang in many regional languages including Marathi, Punjabi, Bengali, Bhojpuri, Konkani, Sindhi, Kannada, Telugu, Gujarati, Maghi, Mathili, as well as in English, Afghani and Creole languages.  Along with his songs, one could laugh with him, weep with him, indulge in intense romance and innocent flirations, lament the loss of beloved and bewail the pangs of separation as well as reflect on the transitory nature of life and world and then find solace in the heart-wrenching and heart-rending appeal to the Divine Power for peace and serenity. Life becomes meaningful and less ardous when we listen to this mellifluous voice. There is indeed a therapy for the soul in Rafi Sahaab’s songs. We may listen and learn from him, but there can never be another Rafi, whether as a singer or a human being, in the world of music, entertainment and films.



During the launch of  Mohammed Rafi Academy by Shahid Rafi and his wife, Firdaus Shahid Rafi, various film personalities came together to pay their tributes to the memory of the Great Singing Legend, Mohammed Rafi Sahaab. Music directors Pyarelal of the Laxmi-Pyare duo, Ravi, Kalyanji of the Kalyanji-Anandji duo, Bappi Lahiri and Ravinder Jain were present. Also present were singers Udit Narayan, Amit Kumar, Sudha Malhotra, Shabbir Kumar, Adnan Sami and Nitin Mukesh, as well as actors Sanjay Khan, Jackie Shroff, Dara Singh, Jagdeep, Javed Jafri, and Jeetendra. Producer/actor/director Rakesh Roshan too graced the occasion. Others included the “Binaca Geet Mala” legend, Amin Sayani, Diamond Merchant Bharat Shah, Lyricist Naqsh Lyallpuri, Hassan Kamaal, Rajit Sayani, Ashok Shekhar and others.

The objective of the Mohammed Rafi Academy is to foster music among young talents at a young age, especially those who come from the economically backward classes and cannot afford the fees of formal training. Hence, the Academy will be thick in charity works too. We are also told that the Academy will also honour the past and living legends by honouring the artists themselves and their families on birth and death anniversaries. The governing body of Rafi Academy is represented by Shahid Rafi, Raju Naushad (Naushad’s son), Andalib (son of Majrooh Sultanpuri), and Rohan Kapoor (son of Mahendra Kapoor).

The lamp-lighting ceremony was led by the heart-throb of yesteryear, Yahoo Shammi Kapoor. Rich tributes were paid to Rafi Sahaab by the veteran film-stars and composers:

Shahid Rafi: Aaj hamaare waalid sahaab kee teesvi.n barsee hai, aur hamne sochaa hai ke “Mohammed Rafi Academy” launch kare.n....Mujhe behad Khushee hai ke aap log yahaa.n aaye, mujhe aashirwaad diyaa ab is Academy ko aashirwaad dijiye ke yeh kaafee aage ba.Dhe. …. Jabhee Rafi Sahaab se koee boltaa thaah ke..matlab.. Waah Rafi Sahaab aapne kyaa gaayaa, toh bolte….aisaa ishaaraa karte theh (with the tongue between the teeth and nodding the head and pointing the finger to the sky, to show denial) …Matlab yeh thaah ke oopar waale kee dayn hai bas! …Mere me.n kuchh nahee.n hai, sirf oopar waale ne dayn diyaa hai mujhe, usee kaa istemaal kar rahaa hoo.n. (He sang his father's DIL KAA SOONA SAAZ TARAANAA DHOONDHEGAA). 

Shammi Kapoor: Rafi Sahaab ke baare me.n bahot kuchh hai kehne ko. Mai.n nahee.n samajhtaa ke mere paas, aap ke paas itnaa waqt hai…. I can definitely say one thing that without Rafi Sahaab I was incomplete.

Rishi Kapoor: Aap ne sahee farmaayaa ke Kapoor parivaar kaa Rafi Sahaab ke saath ek lambaa sahyog rahaa hai. Jab ke Raj Kapoor Sahaab kee aawaaz Mukesh ji theeh, lekin Shammi uncle, Shashi uncle, kuchh gaane Daboo aur maine…, mere ‘career’ me.n Rafi Sahaab ka bahot ba.Daa haath rahaa hai. Manmohan Desai Sahaab kehte theh ke agar Khuda kee koee aawaaz hai toh voh Mohammed Rafi hai. .....I was lucky that Rafi sahaab has even sung for my films. One of my favorites from my film Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahi is called Kya Hua Tera Wada. It was one of the best romantic and sad songs of that time. Rafi sahib had a voice that suited all stars of all ages.  (Indeed, who can forget the Laila Majnu numbers as well as PARDA HAI PARDA HAI and SHIRDI WAALE SAI.N BAABA from AAA? And that rapturous romance in: DARD-E-DIL from Karz.)

Jeetendra: You see, very few people can do what he did! In same movie he’s singing for Guru Dutt and you feel that Guru Dutt is singing. It doesn’t sound as if somebody is giving lip-synching, and he’s singing for Johny Walker also. See the contrast. Can you imagine the talent! But…. according to me, he must have… sang hundreds of songs where the producers must not have been able to pay money and he sang them free. (He reminded the audience that Rafi Sahaab had waived his singing fee after learning that Jeetendra’s costliest extravaganza, Deedar-e-Yaar, had flopped at the box-office.)

Pyaarelal (of L-P duo): Rafi Sahaab ka kyaa, un kaa alag… un kee izzat alag hai. Un kee aawaaz me.n ek bahot hee Khaaseeyat theeh, jo bahot kam logo.n me.n hotee hai. Ke bhai, un kee Khaaseeyat yeh hai ke koee bhee.. koee bhee ‘artist’ ho, koee bhee ‘hero’ ho, un kee aawaaz kahee.n bhee ‘suit’ ho jaatee theeh. Toh yeh jo Khaaseeyat hai bahot kam logo.n me.n hotee hai. Har ek ‘voice’ me.n nahee.n hotee. …. ayaak kee baat toh chho.Diye. Aise insaan naa huwe naa abhee hai.n, naa ho.nge. (Sings: CHAAHOONGA MAIN TUJHE SAANJH SAVERE/AAWAAZ MAIN NAA DOONGAA)

Jagdeep: Rafi Saab dil kaa maalik thaah. Dil se gaataa thaah, aatmaa se gaataa thaah. Dil se jo baat nikaltee hai, asar rakhtee hai, par nahee.n taaqaat-e-parwaaz magar rakhtee hai. Aaj tak hamm us aawaaz ko sun rahe hai.n, saraahanaa kar rahe hai.n, magar ro rahe hai.n. (We still remember the Rafi Sahaab's philosophical number: AADMI CHIRAAGH HAI that was filmed on the young Jagdeep in Barkha; CHALI CHALI RE PATANG MERI CHALI RE which was a Rafi-Lata duet in AVM'S Bhabhi;  as well as PAAS BAITHO TABIYAT BEHEL JAAYEGI in Punar Milan which  was a Jagdeep-Ameeta starrer). 

Rakesh Roshan: Mujhe lagtaa hai yeh bahot ‘late’ khulaa hai, bahot pehle khulnaa chahiye thaah. ‘And it’s very good for the upcoming singers…’ (He also informed the audience that though Rafi Sahaab sang a few songs for him, the Legend had enormous work with his late father, Composers Roshan and brother Rajesh Roshan.)

Jackie Shroff: Kaisaa bhulaayegaa bhai sahaab. Jo mere se kaam karaayegaa karoo.ngaa. Rafi Sahaab ke liye jootaa paalish karaane kaa hai, karoo.ngaa. (With Shabbir Kumar he sings: ROKA KAI BAAR MAINE DIL KI UMANG KO/KYAA KAROON MAIN APNI NIGAAHON KI PASAND KO/O JAANE JAA.N.....and HAMNE TOH DIL KO AAP KE QADMON PE RAKH DIYAA/IS DIL KA KYAA KAREN KE YEH AB AAP SOCHIYE...) 

Dara Singh: Bahot Khushee kee baat hai ke Rafi Sahaab ke naam Mohammed Rafi Academy bann rahee hai. Mai.n chaahoonga key yeh bahot bahot kaamyaab ho. Bachche jo kosheesh kar rahe hai.n bahot hee saraahiniye baat hai.  (Don't we remember ZINDAGI ME.N AAYAA TOOFAAN?)

Bappi Lahiri: Bahot bahot mubaarak Shahid ko, aur mai.n sab kaam chho.D ke aaj kaa din ‘free’ rakkhaa. Toh, Rafi Sahaab ko mai.n itnaa ‘respect’ kartaa thaah. Aur Rafi Sahaab..ek ‘singer’ ke roop me.n nahee.n… ‘He was a gem of a person, gem of a human being, Toh meraa hisaab se Rafi Sahaab ka Academy pehle hee banana chahiye thaah. Lekin, ‘anyway’ jo Shahid ne kiyaa, bahot achchaa kiyaa. Mohammed Rafi Academy… Hamm log ‘foreign’ me.n jaate hai.n, Hollywood me.n kaafee ‘Stars’ kaa ‘Academy’ hotaa hai. Lekin Mohammed Rafi kaa ‘Academy” honaa hee chaahiye. One and only Rafi Sahaab Zindaabaad. ….Mai.n…..Rafi Sahaab ko mai.n bas ‘singer’ nahee.n bolnaa chaahtaa hoo.n. Voh aise insaan theh. Mai.n aaj kal har naujawaan ko boloonga aisaa insaan bano – Rafi Sahaab jaisaa… One and Only. (He sings PHOOL KA SHABAAB KYAA/HUSN KA MAHTAAB KYAA/AAP TOH BAS AAP HAIN/AAP KAA JAWAAB KYAA....)

Amin Sayani: ….Lekin…haa.nh. Lata ne mujhe bataayaa ke ek baar Rafi Sahaab aur un kee kuchh..tho.Dee an-ban ho gayee theeh. Baat chhoTee si theeh, ‘Royalty’ kaa maamlaa thaah. Ab Royalty’ ke baare me.n Rafi Sahaab keh rahe theh ke hamm toh paisaa lete hee hai.n hamm ‘Royalty’ kyoo.n le.n? Lata ne kahaa bahot saare aise ‘singers’ hai.n jo kehte hai.n ‘Royalty’ milnee chaahiye. Toh is par tho.Daa saa … jhag.Daa nahee.n huwaa, khee.nchaa-taanee ho gayee. Lekin Lata ne yeh bhee kahaa ke saab, Rafi jaise aadmee bahot kam theh duniya me.n, koee un me.n buraaee nahee.n. Hameshaa pyaar se kaam karte theh, hameshaa ba.De, ba.De….Bahot saleeke se, ba.De adab se kaam karte theh, aur, aur sabke saath miThaas ke saath bartaav karte theh.

Adnan Sami: …Baat yeh hai ke, Rafi Sahaab ne contribution jo music me.n, duniya me.n, kee hai, voh bemisaal hai. (Sings Yeh duniya yeh mehfil)

Javed Jaafri: Laakho.n log inspire huwe Rafi Sahaab se. Aur agar voh inspiration institutionalize kiyaa jaaye I think it is a very good concept. Aur sahi haath me.n hai….

Ravindra Jain: Rafi Sahaab ne apna naam Mohammed se sajaayaa hai, Mohammed naam aisaa hai jo doh jahaa.n(?) pe chhaayaa hai, Rafi Sahaab ke pardaa kar lene ke baad, aaj kal yaaro.n, naa waisaa gaayak aayaa hai, naa waisaa insaan aayaa hai.  (He sings: Gham bhee hain naa mukammal, Khushiyaan bhee hain adhooree, aansso bhee aa rahe hain, Hansnaa bhee hai zarooree....)

Udit Narayan: Mai.n actually ba.Daa emotional ho gayaa hoo.n. Rafi sahaab jaisa kalakaar, Rafi Sahaab jaisa insaan ho hee nahee.n sakta hai. (He's one of those blessed newcomers who shared the same mic with Rafi Sahaab at the start of their careers).   

Nitin Mukesh: (Reminiscing over what his father, the celebrated and late Playback Singer Mukesh, said:) Sun, main hoon main apne gaane gaaoongaa.  Magar tuu Rafi ke gaane gaa.  Aur bhagwaan jaantaa hai,main... mujhe...mann me.n kabhee irshaa bhee hotee theeh ke papa kyoon kehte theh, Gaanaa seekhnaa hai...gaane waalaa bannaa hai...achchaa gulukaar bannaa hai,  Mohammed Rafi ke gaane gaao.  Papa Theek kehte theh!


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