A [belated] tribute to Mohammad Rafi on his 98th Birthday
This is second, and extended, part of the original article Mohammad Rafi’s Non-film Hindi Geets and Ghazals published on SoY
Mohammad Rafi’s (b. December 24, 1924 – d. July 31, 1980) NFS had charmed me right from my early radio listening days. When I had reached stage of purchasing my own records, every time I would visit Rhythm House (@Kala Ghoda, Mumbai) I would invariably make sure that I skim through at least couple of Mohammad Rafi’s NFS song records, even as my limited budgets in those days forced me to prioritize the purchases from among different genres of records, thereby limiting my collection to a few Mohammad Rafi NFS songs records.
Now the present internet age has opened up the flood gates of availability of the music online. Thanks to more committed Hindi film songs fans on YT, one can find many songs that one would not have got chance to listen to in the radio-listening days.
From that vast treasure, here are some more of Mohammad Rafi’s NFSes that I have liked :
Zikr Us Pariwash Ka Aur Phir BayaaN Apna, Ban Gaya Woh Raqib Aakhir Tha Jo RaazadaaN Apana – Lyrics: Mirza Ghalib – Music: Khayyam
Khayyam and Mohammad Rafi team up to create a perfect rendering of the ghazal, drawing the listener into the depth of the mood that Ghalib would have imagined when he would have conceived this ghazal, even if the chaste Urdu lyrics remains incomprehensible to the average listener. In fact, more ear-friendly composition of the difficult Urdu / Persian poetry went on to become the norm in the later years.
I am not able to resist temptation to add one more of Khayyam – Madhukar Rajasthani compositions –
Mere GeetoN Ka Singaar Ho Tum, Jeevan Ka Pehla Pyar Ho Tum – Lyrics: Madhukar Rajasthani – Music: Khayyam
The poem is about the heart-felt exposition of the first (ever) love in one’s life, which has injected a new-found passion in the poetic expressions of the protagonist. Khayyam has set the tune to reflect the exuberance of that mood, which Rafi incarnates so lively.
Haaye Mehamaan Kahan Yeh Gham-e-Jana Hoga, Khaana-e- Dil To Koi Roz Mein Viraan Hoga – Lyrics: Daagh Dehlvi – Music: Taj Ahmed Khan
This one is a typical Taj Ahmed Khan composition – soft, sweet, with minimum orchestration. Mohammad Rafi is in his natural flow, with clear diction and throw that fully expresses the feelings embedded in the lyrics.
We will take one more instance of Taj Ahmed Khan composition – a Ghalib ghazal.
Diyaa Yeh Dil Agar Usko Bashar Hai Kyaa Kahiye, Hua Raqeeb To Ho Naamabar Hai Kyaa Kahiye – Lyrics: Mirza Ghalib – Music: Taj Ahmed Khan
The composition is relatively in higher octave scale, more in tune with the tone of the lyrics which is in the form of a complaint after once having fallen in love.
The internet is replete with Taj Ahmed Khan’s NFSes – with different singers – to offer separate subject of study and listening pleasure. However, it is time for us to change the tracks.
Keh ke Bhi Na Aaye Mulaaqaat Ko, Chaand Taare HaNse Khoob Kal Raat Ko – Lyrics: Laxman Shahabadi – Music: Shyam Sharma
Mohammad Rafi begins the opening lyrics of mukhada with extra soft touch before settling into the mood the composition.
Ji Na Sakegi Preet Kunwari Meri Saari Raat … Andekhe Dukh Ki Chhaya Mein Gheri Saari Raat – Lyrics: Madhukar Rajashthani – Sunil Kumar
The special accent lent to Ji Na Sakegi… at the very opening of the mukhada rightly raises our inquisitiveness to a higher scale. Of course, the way song proceeds, our heightened appetite is more than satisfied at every stage.
Shaam Ke Dipak Jale Man Ka Diya Bujhne Laga, Chandani To Aa Gayi… Madhuban Mera Jalane Laga – Lyrics: Madhukar Rajasthani – Music: Vinod Chatterji
Pick up any Mohammad Rafi NFS and you will feel a certain minimum level of musical output, irrespective of the lyricist or the music director.
Here is a pensively pathos mood song, composed by almost not known music director. Does it really matter?
Jab Tere Pyar Ka Afasana Likha Hai Maine, Har Jagah Apne Ko Diwana Likha Hai Maine – Lyrics: Ashish Kanwal – Music: Maqbool / Iqbal Hussain
Mohammad Rafi deftly handles quite a difficult composition….
I have a habit of always doing some work when I listen to songs. However, whenever I get to listen to this song, by the time song enters the first stanza, I get so engrossed into the mood of the song that I leave everything that I may be doing!
Kisi Ki Yaad Mein Payi Hai Jab Kami Hamne…. To AnsooN Se Jala Di Hai Zindagi Humne – Lyrics: Naqh Lyallpuri – Music: Maqbool / Iqbal Hussain
Naqsh Lyallpuri’s songs normally have difficult lyrics to set to a composition. Here the music director has weaved these lyrics in fully pleasing composition, rendered so smoothly by Mohammad Rafi. As a result, the song remains so easy on ears. Mohammad Rafi’s very unique tone in the song is another feather in the cap of this song.
Main Deep Jalaye Baitha HuN, Dam Tod Gayi Lau TaaroN Ki, Main Nain Bichhaye Baitha HuN – Lyrics: Naqsh Lyallpuri – Music: Rajeshwar Pal
Mohammad Rafi renders the song of eager expectation of visit of the beloved one even when all other mundane signs like star lights seem to have given the hope. The intensity of that feeling is accentuated by the least possible intervention of the instrumental music intervention or support.
The journey of listening to Mohammad Rafi NFs songs continues….