Last month I started the ‘Yearly review of Rafi’s Hindi film songs’ series, marking the beginning of Rafi’s birth centenary year. But I already had started the series based on Rafi’s association with composers from Bengal.
In general the number of Rafi’s songs with individual composers from Bengal is very less in comparison to his songs with other stalwarts of Hindi films. With R D Burman, I could find around 120+ songs, including 40+ solos and 65+ duets.
Again the number is not big, and in contrast to his songs with S D Burman, not many songs are extremely popular. A few like, those from Teesari Manzil, Yaadon Ki Baarat or Hum Kisi Se Kam Naheen are very popular, while many others are not very popular or even very less known or heard.
But one thing is remarkable, Rafi sang for R D Burman right from his first Hindi film, Chhote Nawab in 1961 and continued in the late 70s as well. Even a few films were released in the 80s after Rafi’s death with the last released song, a solo ,in 1988 for the film, Faisla.
To prepare the list was a bit challenging for me as I came across many unheard songs, which I listened to for the first time and chose from those songs as well. Pertaining to my busy schedule, the thing proved to be very challenging. But of course there was thrill and enthusiasm to listen to lesser heard songs.
Before we proceed to the final song list, let me put a statistical data of the songs. None of the sources is perfectly accurate, so there could still be mistakes in the stats. Any additional information is most welcome!
Solos – 42
Duets – 67
With Asha Bhosle – 36
With Lata Mangeshkar – 19
With Manna Dey – 3
With Kishore Kumar – 2
With others – 7
One each with – Shamshad Begum, Mehmood, Danny Dengzongpa, Amit Kumar, Bhupendra, Sushama Shreshtha, R D Burman
Trios – 9
One each for the films, Dil Ka Raja, Rampur Ka Laxman, Aandhi, Chor Ho Toh Aisa, Jail Yatra, Jaane Jaan, Gehra Zakham, Qasme Waade, Ganga Meri Maa
Quartets – 4
One each for the films, Bulandi, Burning Train, Shaan, Gehra Zakhm
It’s time now for the song list. Let’s visit the list at once,
R D Burman opened his Hindi film innings with the film, Chhote Nawab, which was Mehmood’s home production. He had wished S D Burman to compose for the film, but as Burman da was busy, he signed R D Burman. Though the film wasn’t a box office success, the songs were popular, mainly Lata Mangeshkar’s solo, Ghar Aaja Ghir Aaye. Rafi was the sole male playback singer for the movie. I couldn’t help select a couple of songs from the movie.
1. Ilahi Tu Sun Le Hamari Dua – Chhote Nawab (1961) / Lyrics – Shailendra
Mehmood plays a twenty year old man who still behaves like a child, including child-like pronunciation of words. Hence, ‘Hamali’ instead of ‘Hamari’. Rafi infuses the song with innocence and careful attitude. He sings the prayer which has been taught in his school.
2. Matwali Aankhon Wale – Chhote Nawab (1961) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Shailendra
Which aspect of the song should I praise? It has wonderful orchestration, excellent rendition by the singers, and beautiful dance by Helen. The echo effect created for Lata’s voice sounds excellent! Though it’s not her forte to sing such songs, she excels. And Rafi molds his voice so beautifully. He’s at home for Indian classical based songs as well as songs with a western touch. And R D Burman scores a sixer with the song.
After his first film, very surprisingly, there was a gap of a few years, when three of his films were released. In 1965, Rafi got to sing just one solo for the film, Teesra Kaun. The other films, Bhoot Bangla and Pati Patni (which I remember mainly for Lata’s beautiful solo, Kajre Badarwa. I love this melody), had no songs by Rafi.
But in 1966, when R D Burman composed for Shammi Kapoor for the first time, Rafi got an opportunity to be a part of all the six songs of the movie, including a couple of solos and 4 stunning duets with Asha Bhosle. It’s this film that highlighted R D Burman as a successful composer. He proved his composing talent by the strongly western styled songs. He was one of the few composers who successfully and beautifully incorporated the western tunes in his compositions.
Again I couldn’t help adding a couple of songs.
3. Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera – Teesri Manzil (1966) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Majrooh
I guess it’s not easy for a classically trained singer to sing jazzy songs like this. But Rafi has sung this so wonderfully. He manages effortlessly, the fast pace of the song, the vibrato in the voice and the rhythm. It’s said that Shammi Kapoor, who always insisted on Shankar Jaikishan, was very impressed with the tunes of the songs and instantly agreed to R D Burman as the composer. Unfortunately, Burman didn’t get the opportunity to compose for Shammi Kapoor more often.
4. Tumne Mujhe Dekha Hokar Meherban – Teesri Manzil (1966) / Lyrics – Majrooh
Rafi got to sing a couple of solos for the movie. Though I like both the songs, this song has a magical touch to it in my opinion, so I went for it. What a perfect rendition by Rafi. How brilliantly he sings in high octaves and effortlessly touches soft notes in low octaves in the ending lines of mukhda. It’s said to be the first song Shammi Kapoor shot after Geeta Bali’s sad demise. Vijay Anand offered a helping hand to a devastated Shammi Kapoor to get back to film shoots. We can imagine his state of mind when the shoot must have taken place.
Afterwards in the 60s, it won’t be an overstatement if I say, Rafi was the main playback singer for R D Burman. With the obvious exception of Padosan, Rafi sang for him in all of his films in the late 60s, clearly highlighting his position. I won’t say Rafi was the only male voice in all the films, but if you see carefully, Rafi was the main voice in the majority of R D Burman’s films in the late 60s. Let’s visit a few of Rafi’s songs from this period.
5. Tumhe Dekha Hai Maine – Chandan Ka Palna (1967) / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
When I heard the song for the first time, I thought it to be a Madan Mohan composition. But when the interludes played, mainly the second interlude, it confirmed R D Burman. What a delightfully beautiful melody it is! At one end Burman had a command on western jazzy tunes, and on the other end, he could compose such soft melodies too. Rafi’s soft and soothing voice is unparalleled!
6. Zamane Ne Maare Jawan – Baharon Ke Sapne (1967) / Lyrics – Majrooh
Desperate Rajesh Khanna looking for a job in Mumbai, but not getting one! Listen to the song with this background in mind. Soulful and heart touching rendition by Rafi. The song is like an underrated gem, which was overshadowed by Lata Mangeshkar solos from the movie and her energetic duet, Chunri Sambhal Gori. I must confess that I heard it for the first time while making this post.
7. Wadiyan Mera Daman – Abhilasha (1968) / Lyrics – Majrooh
A tandem song, sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Rafi. While I personally like Lata’s version more (because it was known to me since ages), Rafi’s version (which I heard for the first time about 2 decades ago) is obviously equally impressive. The song is almost like the identity of the film.
8. Tum Bin Jaaun Kahan – Pyar Ka Mausam (1969) / Lyrics – Majrooh
Rafi was chosen for the main lead, Shashi Kapoor and the song has 4 versions in the movie. 2 versions by Kishore Kumar and 2 by Rafi. Rafi’s soft, romantic, happy version is wonderfully sung, with an enchanting opening piece on Mandolin, while the sad version is a piano song. A lot of melodrama takes place during the sad version. In addition to these solos, Rafi had the popular, Ni Sultana Re and perhaps not very popular, Che Khush Nazare to his credit. But I couldn’t understand the reason behind singing the word ‘दुनिया’ as ‘दुनीया’, which keeps on disappointing me every time I listen to the song. Kishore Kumar however sings it normally.
The sad version (part 2)
1969 also marked the beginning of the Kishore Kumar tsunami. But it didn’t manifest instantly. In 1970, for the films like, The Train, Raaton Ka Raja etc, Rafi was again the main voice. And, in 1971, films Mela, Caravan and Adhikar again had Rafi. Let’s listen to a few gems from some of these films.
9. Gulabi Aankhen Jo Teri Dekhi – The Train (1970) / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
Yet another popular song by Rafi. I always wonder about the lyrics! Being a doctor, ‘Gulabi Aankhen’ always makes me think of either conjunctivitis or the eyes of a drunkard! In either case, no romantic thoughts arouse. Anyways! Film song lyrics are to not be taken literally. Though I’m not much fond of the song, it was one of Rafi’s popular songs with R D Burman and it’s not bad.
10. Chadhati Jawani Meri Chal Mastani – Caravan (1971) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Majrooh
Caravan actually belonged to the Mangeshkar sisters, mainly to Asha Bhosle, who had a few popular solos. Rafi had three duets in the movie, one with Asha Bhosle and a couple of duets with Lata Mangeshkar. But these duets are also so popular.
11. Gori Ke Haath Mein – Mela (1971) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Majrooh
Perhaps ‘Rut Hai Milan Ki’ is more popular than this song. But I just like the catchy and captivating rhythm of the song. And Rafi has excelled in both the songs.
12. Rekha O Rekha Jabse Tumhe Dekha – Adhikar (1971) / Lyrics – Ramesh Pant
Rafi doesn’t sing for the main lead in this movie. The song is picturised on Tabassum and Brahmachari, who most likely play the comic side plot in the movie. Quite a fun to watch! And just listen to the playful, energetic rendition by Rafi. The other solo by Rafi is picturised on Pran.
In the later years of the 70s, Rafi was in general a bit pushed back by the Kishore Kumar tsunami. Still he was a part of Burman’s musical team.
13. Saanson Mein Kabhi – Parchhaiyan (1972) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Majrooh
I can’t help noticing that the majority of the songs on today’s list are penned by Majrooh. This film had both Rafi and Kishore Kumar singing for Vinod Khanna. A beautiful song picturised on a sea shore. Beautifully composed and sung.
14. Chura Liya Hai Tumne – Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Majrooh
Amidst the other western styled songs, this soft romantic melody still maintained its place. R D Burman used the sounds of glasses to open the number, yet another innovative idea of his! One of the most popular and memorable duets by Rafi and Asha Bhosle.
15. Ae Jaan e Wafa Aisa Bhi Kya – Chhalia (1973) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Perhaps not a well known song. And it’s the only song by Rafi for the movie. What a delightful and fresh voice! Rafi might not have been the main male playback singer for R D Burman, whenever he was called for a song, he gave his cent percent.
16. Naghma Hamara Gayega Yeh Zamana – Bundalbaaz (1974) with Lata Mangeshkar / Lyrics – Majrooh
Again Rafi’s only song for the movie. The song is picturised at a place that looks like the inside of the Taj Mahal. And indeed the couple think of themselves as Shahjahan and Mumtaz Mahal, singing the romantic song. I must say the song is good to listen to, though I wasn’t aware of it until very recently.
17. Pagal Zamane Mein – Mazaaq (1975) / Lyrics – Yogesh
Not a popular song I guess! But a delight to listen to. Again Rafi’s fresh voice and wonderful expressions.
Now, let’s come to the year when Rafi got his first and the only National award for best playback singer. The movie Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, had a number of songs by Rafi. He received the award for the soulful, Kya Hua Tera Wada. The song appears twice in the movie. The version picturised on Tariq is sung by Rafi.
18. Kya Hua Tera Wada – Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977) with Sushama Shreshtha / Lyrics – Majrooh
A soulful melody. Heart touching rendition!
19. Chand Mera Dil – Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977) / Lyrics – Majrooh
A beautiful soft romantic number. The first song of the competition in the film. Rafi’s soft soothing voice suits the occasion perfectly.
R D Burman also had a long and successful association with the lyricist Gulzar. Majority of their popular association was sung by Kishore Kumar as far as the male playback singers are concerned. But I’ve a couple of songs on the list, penned by Gulzar and sung by Rafi under the baton of R D Burman.
20. Botal Se Ek Baat Chali Hai – Ghar (1978) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Gulzar
I don’t know if this song is popular or not. But I used to like it in the past as well. The song is somewhat overshadowed by Lata’s solos. A light hearted, playful song during the housewarming party of the couple. Rekha, Vinod Mehra, Prema Narayan etc enjoy the party.
21. Jab Ek Qaza Se Guzro To – Devata (1978) / Lyrics –
Poignant and meaningful lyrics by Gulzar, though I won’t say that I understood it completely. The tune is good and Rafi has sung it well. Again not a popular song!
Hum Kisi Se Kum Naheen featured one of the most popular qawwalis of Hindi cinema. After that film, R D Burman again composed a wonderful qawwali. And this time he had the ace lyricist Sahir, to pen it. Guessed it?
22. Pal Do Pal Ka Saath Hamara – The Burning Train (1979) with Asha Bhosle & Chorus / Lyrics – Sahir
It’s picturised in a train on Jeetendra and Neetu Singh with a lot of other familiar faces including Rajendra Nath, Mukri, Shammi, Asha Sachdev, and a few others. Both the singers, being experts, have sung it well.
23. Maine Poochha Chand Se – Abdullah (1980) / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
A soft romantic song in the praise of Zeenat Aman. A wonderful song!
24. Yamma Yamma Yamma Yamma – Shaan (1980) with R D Burman / Lyrics – Anand Bakshi
Rafi’s only duet with R D Burman and a song which is usually sung at the peak of the event in karaoke night shows. Amitabh, Shashi Kapoor, Johnny Walker, Helen, Parveen Babi, Bindiya Giswami, Shatrughan Sinha, lots of stars in a single song. Enjoy the climax of the post.
A few of the films having Rafi’s songs were released posthumously in the 80s, Harjaai, Gehra Zakhm, Kudrat, Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, to name a few.
Let’s listen to a song from one of these films… … ..
25. Puchho Na Yaar Kya Hua – Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (1982) with Asha Bhosle / Lyrics – Majrooh
The film was released posthumously and the songs were popular. Though Rafi has very little to sing in this song, its popularity is immense.
Here I end my list. The last released song of their association was for the film Faisla (1988) and the song, Champa Khili Daar, was picturised on Vinod Mehra, Saira Banu and Ashok Kumar. The film was actually started in 1974, but was completed in 1988. The songs were released in 1975 with the title Aaj Raat Ko. It was changed to Faisla later.
I’ve left a lot of songs. I’m sure readers would 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.