Mohammad Rafi’s Solo Song from the FIRST Film with the Music Director: 1944 – 1948: Part 1
This is month of Mohammad Rafi’s birth anniversary. [Born: December 24, 1924, Kotla Sultan Singh | Died: July 31, 1980, Mumbai]. And hence this month’s episode is dedicated to Mohammad Rafi.
All sorts of analyses have written about Mohammad Rafi. The subject that I have chosen is very simple at its core. I plan to divide Rafi’s very long career in five-year slots, look for a film that has his first association with the music director, and then pick up one solo song that seems to slip from our memories.
I do not have any pretense of evaluating influence of different music director on his singing (in the initial years of his career) or his contribution to the furtherance of a music director’s career (once he had acquired such level). Our goal is very simple: bring some of his fading-from-the-memory-songs on one page and enjoy them on the call.
We begin our journey with the 1944-1948 five-year-period – the first five-years of Mohammad Rafi’s career, a career that was to span next three decades plus period of Hindi Film Music. As can be expected the first five-year period has a very large number of music directors who deployed Mohammad Rafi first time. One can presume that there could be n-number of reasons for Rafi being selected for the first time. It was certainly not a choice by default. As we will listen to the songs, one interesting fact that will stand out is that Mohammad Rafi sounds as comfortable as he sounded once he had settled down as a very successful singer. The period does have a few music directors who already have set a repeat relationship. The period also has a few songs that had become popular then and have remained popular since then as well.
There are as many knowledgeable treatises as there are points of views on how Mohammad Rafi got to sing for the first time in a public function, how he came to down to Bombay, who all he met and how he went to record his first ever film song for a Punjabi film Gul Baloch [Sooniye Nee Heeriye Nee Yaad Ne Bahut Sataya – duet with Zeenat Begum – Music director: Shyam Sundar ] and his FIRST Hindi film song Jab Dil Ho Kaabu Mein to Dildar Ki Aisi Taisi – a duet with G M Durrani – under the baton of Shyam Sundar for Gaon Ki Gori. The first that was recorded by Naushad in Rafi’s voice, a chorus, was from Pehle Aap. The song was penned by Nazim Panipati. The song will also go in the records as Mohammad Rafi’s first patriotic song: Shri Arunkumar Deshmukh, while providing a good deal of other interesting information about this song has noted that Shyamkumar, Allauddin Naved and B. M. Vyas also have contributed in the song.
Hindustan Ke Hai Hum, Hai Hindustan Hamara
Pandit Govindram, one of the then leading music director, teamed up with lyricist Ramesh Gupta for Hamara Sansar with what may be termed as a full-fledged 1st solo song. The experts may see that youthful rawness in Rafi’s voice but not in his singing prowess.:
Ae Dil-e-Nakaam Ab Jeene Ki Tamanna Chhod De
Firoz Nizami had three solos for Mohammad Rafi in Sharabati Ankhen. Each one was set to difficult tune and rising/dropping scales. Tanvir Naqvi’s songs that I have selected is set to fast clip in the mukhada, but antara opens on a lower note before reverting to the fast clip.
Bahut Mukhtasar Hai Hamari Kahani… Jawani Muhabbat
A year later Firoz Nizami will present Woh Apni Yaad Dilane Ko, in which Rafi will appear in a cameo performance on the screen. An icing on the cake will be duet with the then reigning queen Noor Jehan – Yaahan Badla Wafa Ka Bewafai Ke Siwa Kya Hai – were Rafi will match note-to-notes with Noor Jehan and thus score a first all-time hit – one of the many to come in not too distant future.
Hafeez Khan has composed a full of pathos song penned by Nakshab Jarachvi in Zeenat. Mohammad Rafi seems to bring out the feeling without being theatrical.
Haye Re Duniya …Kitni Dil Azar Hai Duniya, Jhuton Ka Darbar Hai Duniya
S Quereshi has composed a slightly fast paced tune which is essentially in the nature of a traditional prayer. Shevan Rizvi has made required changes in the lyrics to suit the song to probably a 78-RPM record singing length duration. In the years to come, Mohammad Rafi will have developed a special forte for this genre.
Milta Hai Kya Namaaz Mein Sajde Mein Ja Ke Dekh Le
Shankar Rao Vyas is quite an unknown name as far as my knowledge of Hindi Film Music goes. In this Ghoonghat solo song written by Ramesh Gupta, we get to listen to Mohammad Rafi in his elements.
Bahoot Mayush Ho Kar Koocha-e-Qatil Se Hum Nikale
We have one more film in this year in which Shankar Rao Vyas – Mohammad Rafi combination is present. Not knowing which one would have come earlier, I have as well picked up a song written by Ramesh Gupta from Mera Geet.
Apas Ke Jhagadon Ne Dekho Bharat Barbad Kiya, Jinka Tha Mohtaj Jamana Aaj Inhe Mohtaj Kiya
Basheer Dehlvi has experimented with Mohammad Rafi’s ability to switch form very high octaves to very low octaves in the very beginning as well as in the very end of this solo song from Hawaii Khatola.
Meri Bighadi Huee Qismat Ka Naksha Dekhanewalo…. Hoton Ki Hasi Kya Hai, Kya Ashq Bahana Hai
S N Tripathi has composed a Rafi solo for Mansarovar: Badhe Chalo Badhe Chalo Bahaduron . Unfortunately the soft copy of the song is still not available on net.
Rangbhoomi’s this composition by Prem Nath has been documented as a Mohammad Rafi Solo, But it has quite a distinct chorus as an accompanying component. @2.22 onwards, there is a female component also, purportedly led by Shamshad Begum. Interesting in every antara, the beginning few words by Rafi sound quite different, till of course the line goes into what has now become Rafi’s signature style of rising to sudden high octave. The song is penned by Pt. Phani.
Kadam Suye Manzil Badhaye Chala Jaa, Koi Saath Aaye Na AAye Tu Chala Chal
Hanuman Prasad also opens account with Mohammad Rafi in Rasilii, but both the songs are duets with Shamshad Begum. So we will have to wait for the next opportunity to get a maiden solo as Hanuman Prasad – Mohammad combination
Rashid Atre has used Mohammad Rafi in quawwali style solo song, penned by Nakhshab Jarchvi for Room No 9
Rahe To Rahe Kaise Dil Ke Ikhtyar Mujhe,….Tum Is Nigah Se Dekho Na Baar Mujhe
Even as Bulo C Rani too has opened account with Mohammad Rafi n Salgirah, we will have t wait for their maiden solo combination since the films has a Rafi pairing with Kaumidini Dikshit.
C Ramachandra has scored a double solo in Safar. Kehke Bhi Na Aaye Tum can be treated as one of the popular among Mohammad Rafi’s early songs. So I have picked up another one, which is set to a very distinct style… These songs have been written by G S Nepali. As SoY has noted, CR went onto compose 22 more songs of Mohammad Rafi by 1949.
Ab Woh Hamare Ho Gaye….Ikrar Kare Ya Na Kare
Taufail Farookhi introduces Mohammad Rafi in a very different sur in this song, written by Shamim Jaipuri for Sona Chandi. As the mukhda progresses we get to Rafi’s voice as so well-known to us. The song is set to quite difficult rhythm-scale combination.
Data Ji Tera Bhed Na Paya
As was expected, the first five-year-period of 1944-48 of Mohammad Rafi’s career has many more songs then we can reasonably accommodate in one post. Thanks to Raza Abidi who has meticulously collected Mohammad Rafi’s songs on YT when he was “unknown”, we will end the first half of 1944-48 five-year-period with a song, composed by Prakash for Bikhare Phool, a film that was never released. The song does require mention because Rafi has so poignantly brought in emotions in the song with his ‘natural theatrical flair’.
Hamen Bhool Jana… Dil Na Dukhana
We will conclude this part of our journey in one more episode, on 22nd December (2016), nearer to Mohammad Rafi’s anniversary day.