I started the series on Rafi’s association with the Hindi film composers from Bengal on his death anniversary, three months back. I was a little disappointed with the lukewarm response to the first part, but I didn’t let that discourage me from publishing the future parts.
Before I start, I want to thank Mr Arunkumar Deshmukh for Sharing his data with me, which proved to be one of the pillars for the series, also it has inspired me to take up a new series as well. I’ll reveal the latter in due course!
Today on the occasion of S D Burman’s 48th death anniversary, let’s remember his memorable and melodious association with Rafi. Though the number is not very big, the association was very successful and popular too. Though it’s always said that Kishore Kumar was Burman da’s favourite male playback singer, he did offer Rafi 93 songs (source: S D Burman’s biography by H Q Choudhary) from 1947 to 1975. After cross checking, I found a few more songs to add to the information. Of course none of the sources could be taken as full proof correct, there could still be errors.
When I went through the filmography in the book and adding to it the newly gathered information, I could divide the songs as,
Solos – 44
Duets – 46
19 with Asha Bhosle
13 with Lata Mangeshkar
09 with Geeta Dutt
05 with other singers (one each with Manna dey, Kishore Kumar, Suman Kalyanpur, Balbir and Kamal Sista)
Trios – 3
(One each for the films, Solva Saal, Kaagaz Ke Phool, Kaise Kahoon)
Rafi made his Hindi film debut in 1944, while Burman da’s debut in Hindi films was in 1946. Their association started with the film, Do Bhai in 1947. Today the film is mainly remembered for Geeta Dutt’s soulful solos which were extremely popular and Geeta Dutt became a promising new voice of Hindi cinema. Perhaps that’s why Rafi’s first song with S D Burman was overshadowed and the starting point of Rafi’s journey with Burman da wasn’t popular at all.
Let me add the song here,
1. Duniya Mein Meri Aaj Andhera Hai – Do Bhai (1947) / Lyrics – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
The song is good actually, but couldn’t outshine the solos by Geeta Dutt. A lover reminiscing about his good old days and wishing for a better tomorrow with a fear of what’s coming next! Rafi gives full justice to the song. Incidentally it was the only male solo of the movie. I couldn’t recognise the actor who lip syncs to Rafi’s voice. I think Rajan Haksar was opposite Kamini Kaushal and he has one duet picturised on him sung by G M Durrani.
After this song there was a big gap of three years from 1948 to 1950 when Rafi had no songs with Burman da. In this period, Burman da offered songs to Mukesh, Manna Dey, Surendra and Kishore Kumar. The latter had his first song with Burman da for the film Pyar (1950) where he sang for Raj Kapoor. Kishore Kumar had sung a few lines for the film Shikari (1946) for S D Burman. But that wasn’t a full song and he wasn’t credited either. So it was his first official song with Burman da.
In 1951, Rafi had three songs with S D Burman, all were duets. One duet for Ek Nazar and a couple of duets with Geeta Dutt in Naujawan. I’ve chosen the one from Ek Nazar, as it was Rafi’s first duet with Lata Mangeshkar under the baton of D Burman.
2. Mujhe Preet Nagariya Jana Hai – Ek Nazar (1951) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Nalini Jaywant in a stage performance, with Rehman as a surprise guest singer! Hindi film heroes can sing well even at the shortest notice, I wonder how!
A good song though not very popular.
After a gap of one year, Rafi again had just one duet in Jeevan Jyoti (1953), no songs in 1954. In this period, he offered songs to Talat Mahmood, Kishore Kumar and Hemant Kumar. S D Burman always used to be very keen when it came to selection of playback singers. He didn’t quite depend on a single male playback singer and if needed has used more than two singers for a single hero in a single film.
He had three songs in 1955. One solo for Devdas and a couple of duets for the film, Society. Again there was no song offered to Rafi in 1956.
3. Manzil Ki Chaah Mein – Devdas (1955) with Chorus / Lyrics – Sahir
The song holds a crucial place in the movie, as it’s the only occasion where Paro and Chadramukhi see each other. Both are in search of Devdas. It was very apt to choose Rafi for this song, as a singer who can sing with an open throat and easily reaching high notes was required. Though Talat Mahmood was chosen for Dilip Kumar in Devdas, Rafi sang this heart touching background song in the film.
By the end of 1956, Rafi completed 10 years of his association with Burman da and the total number of songs Rafi sang for him were just 8. But it was still just the beginning, as perhaps Burman da hadn’t yet utilized Rafi’s full capabilities. A turning point was about to come.
The year 1957 proved to be a breakthrough when Rafi sang 7 songs for S D Burman. Except, Paying Guest, Rafi was the chosen one. Nau Do gyarah had equal number of songs by both Rafi and Kishore Kumar, while Pyaasa was full of Rafi. Still the soulful ‘Jane Woh Kaise Log The’ was offered to Hemant Kumar, which again reinforced the fact that Burman da never relied on any singer.
The story was somewhat repeated in 1958, when for Solva Saal, Burman da again chose Hemant Kumar for Hai Apna Dil To Awara, offering Rafi just a couple of songs.
The year 1957 saw two separations, Lata Mangeshkar stopped singing for him. Also S D Burman departed with Sahir, his lyricist companion for a long period. It all is said to happen after the grand success of the songs of Pyaasa, when allegedly Sahir took all the credit of the success of the songs, denying Burman da’s contribution to it. And the departed friends never came together in the future.
Time to have a look at a few of his songs from these years.
4. Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaye – Pyaasa (1957) / Lyrics – Sahir
The song portrayed the naked truth of the society and each word of the poem is still valid. In addition to Sahir’s absolutely apt lyrics, Rafi should be given equal credit for conveying the poem effectively with his sincere and honest rendition. Not to forget the tune by S D Burman. An absolute masterpiece!
5. Kali Ke Roop Mein – Nau Do Gyarah (1957) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Majrooh
Rafi had a couple of duets in this movie and both the songs are popular. A romantic nok jhonk between Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik is expressed really well by the singers. One of the most enjoyable duets by the singers.
6. Hum Bekhudi Mein Tum Ko – Kaala Pani (1958) / Lyrics – Majrooh
What a beautiful ghazal like composition rendered with perfect expressions by Rafi. The film has wonderful solos by Asha Bhosle, but the only solo by Rafi is also worth cherishing forever. The song has a somewhat different tabla rhythm and there’s no extra orchestration. The main focus is on Rafi’s expressions.
The success story continued in the later years as well, with its peak in the year 1960. S D Burman had a number of releases and Rafi was a major part of the majority of the films. S D Burman had 8 films in 1960 and Rafi was a part of 6 of them. He sang the maximum number of songs (18) for S D Burman in 1960. And though a few films like, Bewakoof and Ek Ke Baad Ek, Miya Biwi Razi were not commercially successful, a few songs from these films were good too. Let’s watch a few of my favourites from these years.
7. Dekhi Zamane Ki Yaari – Kagaz Ke Phool (1959) with Chorus / Lyrics – Kaifi Azmi
Kaagaz Ke Phool was much ahead of its times and perhaps that’s why it couldn’t get acclaim in that period. Now it’s considered a cult classic. The film portrays a story of a once successful film director and his decline thereafter. It focuses on the dark side of the glamour world. Rafi’s soulful rendition of the theme song brings goosebumps. Let’s watch both the versions.
The second version
8. Chand Sa Mukhda Kyon Sharmaya – Insaan Jaag Utha (1959) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Majrooh
A beautiful romantic duet! The song starts with almost a whisper and later maintains the soft touch. Madhubala, looking absolutely gorgeous as always, and handsome Sunil Dutt made a good on-screen pair.
9. Saathi Na Koi Manzil – Bombai Ka Babu (1960) / Lyrics – Majrooh
The song doesn’t have an extraordinary tune, but Rafi instills a soul in it. The way he sings at a slower pace initially, only to get to a high note in the end with a faster pace. The transition sounds fantastic, highlighting the increasing turbulence in the character’s mind.
10. Apni To Har Aah Ek Toofan Hai – Kala Bazaar (1960) / Lyrics – Shailendra
Kala Bazaar was yet another film where Rafi was the main singer, though Manna Dey also sang one duet. Rafi brings out magic with his spot on expressions. Just too perfect!
I just love the way the song is picturised in a train with Waheeda Rehman and her parents in a perplexed situation as to whether Dev Anand is referring to God or Waheeda? And each time they believe it’s God!
11. Chupke Se Mile Pyase Pyase – Manzil (1960) with Geeta Dutt / Lyrics – Majrooh
Though Hemant Kumar also sung a memorable song in Manzil, the other songs were wonderfully sung by Rafi. Out of the three duets, this one’s my favourite. I’ve been listening to it since childhood and always used to love the combination of lines sung in a prose style and the ones actually sung. One of Rafi’s best duets with Geeta Dutt. Enjoy the melody.
12. Thumak Thumak Chali Hai – Ek Ke Baad Ek (1960) / Lyrics – Kaifi Azmi
I must confess that I’m not very well acquainted with the songs of this movie, barring, Batao Kya Karoongi Main, which I like a lot. Unfortunately it was not included in the movie. For today’s list, I’ve chosen a lesser known but melodies solo by Rafi. Dev Anand wandering around the streets, appears to flirt with ladies.
By the end of 1960, Rafi had 14 years of singing with S D Burman and in those years Rafi had just one duet with Lata Mangeshkar. The reason is quite obvious. Rafi’s major association with Burman da started from 1957, when due to differences Lata Mangeshkar wasn’t singing for Burman da.
After a gap of a year, S D Burman had a couple of films with Rafi, Dr Vidya and Baat Ek Raat Ki in 1962. The latter had only one song by Lata Mangeshkar, Sheeshe Ka Ho Ya Patthar Ka Dil. Though the majority of it is sung by Lata Mangeshkar, the opening lines are sung by Rafi. So it’s technically a duet. Rafi also sang one duet with Lata Mangeshkar for Dr Vidya. So Lata’s second duet with Rafi under the baton of S D Burman was after a gap of 10 years. After Tere Ghar Ke Samne, Lata Mangeshkar and Rafi had differences on the song royalty issue and they stopped singing with each other.
13. Nache Man Mora Magan – Meri Surat Teri Aankhen (1963) / Lyrics – Shailendra
The song will always be remembered for Rafi’s excellent rendition, Pandit Samta Prasad’s tabla. Though I’m a huge fan of the song, Tere Bin Soone, I added this semi classical solo. It’s picturised as a stage performance by Ashok Kumar as a singer and Asha Parekh as a dancer.
14. Tu Kahan Yeh Bata – Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963) / Lyrics – Hasrat Jaipuri
What a beautiful composition! Excellent combination of Rafi, Burman da and Dev Anand with gorgeous Nutan. The echo effect adds to the beauty of the song, also adding a dimension to the theme of picturisation of the song. The film had many songs by Rafi including a couple of duets with Lata Mangeshkar.
Here we come to the period when Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar were not singing together, Burman da chose Asha Bhosle or Suman Kalyanpur with Rafi for the duets. For films like, Guide and Teen Deviyan, he chose Kishore Kumar for the duet with Lata Mangeshkar. Let’s listen to the songs on the list during the period 1964 to 1966.
15. Manmohan Man Mein Ho Tumhi – Kaise Kahoon (1964) with S D Batish & Suman Kalyanpur / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
Nanda, Biswajit and Manmohan Krishna sing this beautiful semi classical song as a part of morning riyaaz. Biswajit plays a disciple while Manmohan Krishna is his Guru. One of my most favourites by Rafi. Of course Rafi had a strong Indian classical music base, so such songs used to be excellent in his divine voice.
16. Champakali Dekho Jhuk Hi Gayi – Ziddi (1964) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Hasrat Jaipuri
While the film had three solos by Rafi, I preferred adding this beautiful romantic duet. S D Burman reused the tune of the song, ‘Hamari Munder Bole Kaga Sakhi Ri’ by Rajkumari (from the film Babla composed by Burman da) for this one. Quite an enjoyable song!
17. Dil Mein Ek Jane Tamanna Ne – Benzir (1964) / Lyrics – Shakeel Badayuni
The film was produced by Bimal Roy, starring Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari, Shashi Kapoor and Tanuja. Rafi sang this one for Shashi Kapoor, who confesses his love for Tanuja, or so it seems! A very beautifully sung song, with equally good tune and orchestration. The picturisation is good too. The film had 11 songs in total.
18. Kya Se Kya Ho Gaya – Guide (1965) with Chorus / Lyrics – Shailendra
Guide was full of melodious songs, with three soulful solos by Rafi. Though it was difficult to choose, I decided to go for one of the back to back songs of the movie. The songs have a similar tune and are based on the same classical Raag. Rafi pours his heart out in the song, with wonderful support by the chorus.
19. Kahin Bekhayal Hokar – Teen Deviyan (1965) / Lyrics – Majrooh
For me, the best songs of this movie are the couple of solos by Rafi and in particular I love this one. A wonderful ghazal, beautifully written, sung with out of the world expressions. One of the best songs of Rafi’s association with Burman da. Here’s the link for the film version which is much shorter than the audio version.
It was Burman da again to record Rafi’s duet with Lata Mangeshkar after the gap of three years after they reunited. And it was Rafi’s only song for that film. You must have guessed it. Let’s listen to it.
20. Dil Pukare Aare Aa Re – Jewel Thief (1967) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Majrooh
It is said to be the first song Lata Mangeshkar and Rafi recorded after they sorted out the differences. The song is perhaps based on Raag Pahadi and has a wonderful melody and beautiful orchestration. Jewel Thief was a suspense thriller movie, but now I have forgotten most of it. I watched it decades ago on Doordarshan. Should be watching it soon. Gosh….
In 1969, Rafi had 4 songs with S D Burman, all were duets, three with Lata Mangeshkar, one with Asha Bhosle. Let’s have a look at a couple of songs,
21. Gunguna Rahe Hain Bhanware – Aaradhna (1969) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
A cute and melodious romantic song! The film, though popularly belongs to Kishore Kumar, has a couple of duets by Rafi. Both the songs have a typical touch of Burman da. The songs are picturised on Rajesh Khanna belonging to two generations, father and son.
22. Palkon Ke Peechhe Se – Talash (1969) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
One of my favourite duets by the singers. The song has a typically sweet and melodious Burman da tune. Talash had a couple of duets by Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. The other duet, Aaj Ki Junli Raat Ma is also good, though you may not like it instantly. I guess it may have a folk base as well.
Post Aaradhana era with Burman da wasn’t very fruitful for Rafi. In 1970, he had just a couple of songs. Let me one of those,
23. Yeh Dil Deewana Hai – Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
The tune is very melodious and though the mukhda has just a few words arranged differently in different lines, it doesn’t sound banal. The song has a peaceful thehrav and the singers have done full justice to the slow paced melody.
After 1970, there was a change in general in Hindi film songs. The veteran composers had their prime period over and the majority of them were either on a decline or had already gone into oblivion. The major exception was of course S D Burman, who despite his health issues, continued quality work in the changing circumstances.
If we consider Rafi in the 70s, he was somewhat losing his first rank. After the Aaradhna tsunami, every composer was opting for him and he started his second innings in the Hindi playback with a bang. He was now again focusing on his playback career after having an acting focused phase from the mid 50s to the late 60s. Burman da also was more inclined to him, as evident from his films in the 70s. Tere Mere Sapne, Sharmilee, Gambler, Abhiman all had Kishore Kumar as the main singer.
In such circumstances, Rafi had just one song per year from 1971 to 1975. The films were, Gambler (1971), Anurag (1972), Abhiman (1973), Us Paar (1974) and Chupke Chupke (1975).
I’ve a couple of songs for the last segment of the post, which focuses on Rafi and Burman da in the 70s. Let’s start,
24. Mera Man Tera Pyasa – Gambler (1971) / Lyrics – Neeraj
Even though it’s the only song Rafi sang for the movie, he shines bright with his sincere and soulful singing. The song has typical Burman da styled tune with the words being stretched long for a powerful impact. The first line of the verses also has his typical touch.
The rest of the songs were sung by Kishore Kumar.
25. Teri Bindiya Re – Abhiman (1973) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Majrooh
Newly wed couple, Subir and Uma, sing at their wedding reception. A beautiful semi classical song. In the 70s, when there was a strong influence of western music on Hindi films, Burman da not only crafted beautiful semi classical melodies for the film, but also won a well deserved best composer Filmfare award for the film.
Abhiman also had Kishore Kumar as the main voice of Amitabh Bachchan. But both Rafi and Manhar Udhas were offered one song a piece, both were duets with Lata Mangeshkar.
I end my list. I know the majority of the songs on the list were picturised on Dev Anand, but that I couldn’t help! Still I tried to incorporate other songs as well, because Rafi had many songs under the baton of Burman da, which were picturised on other actors. I request the readers to add their favourites to the list.
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube and Dailymotion, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.