Mohammad Rafi’s First Duet Song With The Music Director: 1944-1946
To commemorate the memory of Mohammad Rafi on his birth anniversary, December 24, 1924, @ Kotla Sultan, Sindh and death anniversary, July 31, 1980 @ Mumba, we have had taken up Mohammad Rafi’s first solo song with a music director, from December 2016 till 2020. The present series of Mohammad Rafi’s First Duet Song with the Music Director is the natural follow-on series.
The series is quite simple at its core. Mohammad Rafi’s exceptionally long career is divided in five-year periods, pick up the first ever association with music director(s) in the chronological order in that five-year slot and then pick up the first film which has the first duet song of the music-director – Rafi combination. If the film has more than one duets, then we take up the least heard one for a closer look and take note of the others. The primary focus would be male-female duet, but we will take due note of first male-male duet or even triads from that combination if and as and when they come up in later years. We will limit the scope of the present series till the year 1969.
I do not have any pretense of evaluating influence of different music director on Mohammad Rafi’s singing style or the contribution of each other to the furtherance of each other’s careers Our goal is quite simple: refresh our memories of Mohammad Rafi’s fading-from-the-memory-duet-songs and bring them on one page and enjoy them on the call.
1st Five-Year Period: 1944 -1948
That Mohammad Rafi’s talent was first taken note of in 1937 in public function whereat he sang for K L Saigal, his initial introduction with music director Shyam Sundar are now a matter of folklore. Shyam Sundar recorded the first ever film song of Mohammad Rafi in Punjabi film Gul Baloch (which was released in 1944) in 1942. As is well-known now, that was a duet, with Zeenat Begum – Pardesi…Sohneys Oye Heeriye Oye. The song had become an instant hit, well before the film was released. The records also show that that film had one more duet, composed by Dhani Ram, with Munnavar Sultana – Achhanve – too.
Once Mohammad Rafi reached Bombay (as it was then known) from Lahore, after Shyam Sundar gave him an introduction letter, the way Mohammad Rafi could meet Naushad are the events very vividly covered in Mohammad Rafi’s biographies. For the purpose of our present series, the story begins after Mohammad Rafi got his first break in Hindi films under Naushad, which happened to be a chorus song – Hindustan Ke Hai Hum, Hai Hindustan Hamara; record # GE3416 – in the company of Shyamkumar, Allauddin Naved and B. M. Vyas in the film Pahele Aap.
The year 1944 has one more landmark in Mohammad Rafi’s personal life- his marriage with Bilquis Bano.
Naushad’s association with Mohammad Rafi took some time before it turned into a Fevicol bond. Naushad–Mohammad Rafi combination has yielded around 149 songs to the Hindi film industry.
Tum Dilli Main Agre, Mere Dil Se Nikale Haye Fasla Sau Kos Ka, Humane Sawan Bito Jaaye – Pahle Aap– with Shyam Kumar – Lyrics: D N Madhok – Music: Naushad Ali [Record # GE3419]
A close listening to the lyrics indicates that Mohammad Rafi seems to be singing for an actor who plays a female role in this nautanki song.
We will make an exception here and listen to another duet from this film –
Ek Bar Unhein Mila De, Phir Meri Tauba Maula… Ab To Lagi Booja De, Phir Meri Tauba Maula – Pahele Aap– with Shyam Kumar – Lyrics: D N Madhok – Music: Naushad Ali [Record # GE3417/19]
Mohammad Rafi seems to have been given a second fiddle in comparison to more experience Shyam Kumar, but that has not deterred the budding singer a bit.
We have four music directors opening their relationships of duets with Mohammad Rafi in the year 1945.
Shyam Sundar is always remembered for his meticulous choices of instruments (Kis Tarah Bhoolega Dil; Gaon Ki Gori, 1945), wonderful composition (Mausam Aaya Hai Rangeen; Dholak, 1951) and choice of singers (Saajan Ki GaliyaN Chhod Chale; Bazar, 1949).
Jab Dil Ho Kaabu Mein to Dildar Ki Aisi Taisi… Tauba Tauba Husn Ke Sarkar Ki Aisi Taisi.. – Gaon Ki Gori, a.k.a. Village Girl – with G M Durrani, an unknown male singer – Lyrics: – Wali Sahab – Music: Shyam Sundar
This song is on record number GE3596, i.e. later in then the Pahle Aap songs here above, but is widely considered as Mohammad Rafi’s first Hindi film song.
Incidentally, during his very initial years, G M Durrani was Mohammad Rafi’s role model for singing. As fate would have it, it was Mohammad Rafi who played back to GM Durrani in Unke Khayal Aaye To Aate Chale Gaye (Lal Paththar, 1971; Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri; Music – Shanker Jaikishan)!
H P Das (1905 – 1989) was one of the leading Bangla music directors who was successful in Hindi films as well.
Dil Diye Chalein… Hum Jiye Chalein Aise – Begum – with Mohantara Ajinkya – Lyrics: G S Nepali – Music – H P Das
We have a very pleasant, fast-paced song. Mohammad Rafi sounds so young.
Gobind Ram was a versatile music director of 40s. He is considered to have great influence in shaping the Hindi film music of 40s.
Chhoti Si Ek Banaayenge Naiyya… Khud Hi Banenge Us Ke Khewaiya – Hamara Sansar – with Shamshad Begum, Zohrabai – Lyrics: Ramesh Gupta – Music: Govind Ram
Mohammad Rafi sings in lower scale to begin with then raises the scale to higher octave.
Asides: Mohammad Rafi acted in a cameo role in Laila Majnu song Tera Jalwa Jisne Dekha (with S D Batish and chorus; Lyrics: Tanvir Naqvi- Music: Gobind Ram)
Alla Rakha (a.k.a. A R Qureshi) would need any introduction to those who have even rudimentary exposure to the classical music. He was basically the famous tabla player, who composed music for around 30 films between 1943 and 1958.
Topi Wale Babu Ne Dil Chheena Re Mora Man – Kul Kalank – with Amirbai Karnataki – Lyrics: Roopbani – Music: A R Qureshi
For relatively new entrant, Mohammad Rafi exudes fair amount of confidence.
Mohammad Rafi’s career wagon seems to be picking up the momentum, wih 8 muisc directors using his voice for the duets.
Firoz Nizami was the first music director who gave Rafi popularity in Lahore by offering him a chance to sing for AIR at its Lahore radio station.
Main Jab Chhedun Prem Tarana Naache Mere Saath Jhamana– Amar Raj – with Mohantara Ajinkya – Lyrics: Pandit Fani – Music : Firoz Nizami
Interestingly HFGK mentions ‘other singer’ to accompany Mohantara Ajinkya. Shri Sudhir Kapur explored the matter in details and what comes out is truly unbelievable. The details can be read@ Main jab gaaun geet suhaanaa
Asides: It would be opportune to enlist the song on the side 2 of that fateful record GE3795 – a solo by Mohammad Rafi
S Quereshi is not a familiar name among the music directors.
Macha Di Dhoom Duniya Mein Islaam Ke Deewanon Ne – Arab Ka Sitara – with Ameerbai Karanataki – Lyrics: Shewan Rizvi – Music: S Quereshi
HFGK does not have names of the singers identified for the songs of the film. I have selected the song from one of the highly authentic-considered spreadsheet compilations of Mohammad Rafi’s filmography by Mauveen. However, when we listen to the song, female voice is accompanying in mukhada and then is part of the chorus, only. So, for all practical purposes, the song is a Mohammad Rafi solo only.
Shankar Rao Vyas was a classically trained vocalist and musician. He had 35 Hindi, 5 Marathi and 3 Gujarati films to his credit in the career spanning 1937 to 1955.
Naino Se Mad Madira Pilaakar Tumne Humein Deewana – Ghunghat – with Nirmala – Lyrics: Ramesh Gupta – Music: Shankar Rao Vyas
We have here a romantic song that begins in form of exchange of dialogue that is acceptance of mutual love.
Jai Hind…Ye Hind Ki Kahaniyan… Sansar Ke Itihas Ki Ye Hai Amar Kahaniya – Mansarovar – with Geeta Dutt, Binapani Mukhrjee – Lyrics: Saraswati Kumar Dipak – Music: SA N Tripathi
HFGK lists the singers as ‘Chorus’ only. However, Geetadutt.com and other reliable sites mention Geeta Dutt and Beenapani Mukherjee as co-singers along with chorus.
Premnath has had formal training of music in his formative years. Rangbhoomi is his maiden film as an independent music director. He has given four songs to Mohammad Rafi, one with chorus and three duets with Shamshad Begum.
Khud Samajh Lo Iletajha Kya Hai, Hum Hi Keh De To Phir Maza Kya Hai – Rangbhoomi – with Shamshad Begum – Lyrics: Arzoo Lakhanavi – Music Premnath
Mohammad Rafi sings in a typical vintage era style here.
Other duets are: Aag Lagi Tan Man Dhan Sab Mein Narak Bhayo Sansaar (with Shamshad Begum – Lyrics: Arzoo Lakhanvi) does not seem to be available on YT and Jo Aage Badhe Use Peechhe Hata Do with Shamshad Begum – Lyrics: Pandit Fani) – a second part of the Rafi and Chorus song Sue Manzil Badhaye Chala Chal. – is available together in one clip@ https://youtu.be/KHAk87nu8w8
Hanuman Prasad is known mostly for the discovery of Geeta Roy, when she was 16, and gave her few lines in foiur songs of film Bhakta Prahlad (1946). He is also director of the present film, Raseeli.
Dil Mujhko Jalaata Hai Main Dil Ko Jalaati Hun – Raseeli – with Shamshad Begum- Lyrics: Hanuman Prasad – Music: Hanuman Prasad
Here is the song that is inherently poignant, as Rafi and Shamashad render it in low octaves. It must have been quite an experience to the budding Rafi!
The film has another Shamshad – Rafi duet, Yah Nayan Kyun Sharma Gaye (Lyrics: Gaafil Harnaalvi) where Rafi can be heard in early raw tone.
Bulo C Rani is a leading vintage era music director.
Jaao Jaao Na Bolungi Main Accha Ji Hato Hato – Saalgirah – with Kaumudini Deekshit , an unknow female singer – Lyrics: Wali Sahab – Music: Bulo C Rani
This a mischievous mood romantic song, where Mohammad Rafi indulges in music-director guided ‘harkats’ of interrupting with Aisa Kya and all. In the later years, Mohammad Rafi was known to do so spontaneously to make the songs lively.
Taufil Farooqi (1916-1988) is fondly recalled as creator of the original Zumka Gira Re (Dekhoji, 1947 – Shamsahd Begum).
Baithe Hain Tere Dar Par Kuchh Karke Uthenge – Sona Chandi – with Shamshad Begum – Wali Sahab – Music: Taufil Farooqui
This can be considered maiden Chhed Chaad song for Mohammad Rafi.
We will make an exception to include another duet –
Man Ki Suni Nagariya Suhani Bani – Sona Chandi – with Amirbai Karnataki – Lyrics: Khawar JamaN – Music: Taufil Farooqui
Here we have a totally romantic duet. Mohammad Rafi quite easily matches sur-by-sur with experienced Amirbai.
We will take up Mohammad Rafi’s First Duet with a Music Director for the years 1947 and 1948, of the First Five-Year Period: 1944-1948, in our December 2021 episode.