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Remembering Mohammad Rafi

Mohammad Rafi’s Non-film Hindi Geets and Ghazals – Kya Yaad Tumhein Hum Aayenge

A tribute to Mohammad Rafi on his 97th Birthday

In the 30s and 40s, it was a normal practice for the recording companies to contract the singers with exclusive rights. That would require other companies to launch non-film songs with other singers to make their presence felt in the market. That probably laid the foundation of the practice of publishing the records of non-filmi songs. By the turn of 40s, the singers turned freelancers, hence the major recording companies took up to buying the rights of all songs for majority of the films. That again led the smaller players to approach the singers for recording the non-film songs. In decades of 50s, 60s and thereafter, the market forces kept changing the rules, but non-film songs had created such a niche for itself that the genre has survived and thrived.

Even when considered to be playing the second fiddle to the more known film-songs genre, non-film songs have been pursued quite sincerely by almost all the playback singers. For many of the frontline singers of film-song school of 50s, the changing pattern of film compositions in the early 60s created a situation where the film songs ceased to yield inner satisfaction. In that situation, it was non-film songs that helped them to go back to their basic creative core.  Many of such songs remain enshrined as the iconic renditions in the overall portfolio of a singer.

Mohammad Rafi (b. December 24, 1924 – d.  July 31, 1980) was one such singer. Mohammad Rafi is credited to have rendered over 4,500 songs during his active career spanning almost four decades. The estimate of his non-film songs varies from as low as around 300 to as high as over 700. We also often get to read in well-publicised articles that around 70 to at best 100 (only) of his non-film songs are available easily.

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I seriously started listening to the (Hindi) film music in the second half of ‘60s. Radio Ceylon, Vividh Bharati and a few programmes on the local AIR stations were the only sources to whet that newfound interest. That pursuit took more serious roots when I had purchased a basic (HMV) record player and four records from my first salary in July 1973. Not before long, I was to land upon the then fast-selling, for more than a decade, vinyl LP, record ‘This is Mohammad Rafi’ that contained non-film geets and ghazals on one side and devotional songs on the other side. Each of the song was composed by Khayyam with his exquisite magic touch. It is said that, in the melee of fast-paced run-of-the-mill songs at the advent of 60s, Mohammad Rafi was seriously concerned that he is losing the natural melody in his voice. He approached Khayyam to help him overcome his cause of concern. The joint efforts of these two resulted in the form of this LP album.  One can find many versions of what (may have) happened around this theme. To make different stories associated with this theme short for the purpose of the present article, I will note here that it was that record that opened my ears to the genre of non-film songs in real earnest. I had purchased a few more of Khayyam-Rafi non-film songs records and cassettes as well as those of Manna Dey, Talat Mahmood, Suman Kalyanpur etc. Of course, I did not pursue the matter of collecting the records of Mohammad Rafi’s NFSes as a serious curator.  But that was my inertia as an amateur fan, and hence my loss. That inertia may also be reflected in the selection of the songs in the present article too.

Since my source for the songs presented herein is presently limited to only YT and few other songs sites, I have not been able to ascertain the year of release / publication of these songs. As such, it would be apt for to begin with one representative song from the LP record ‘This is Mohammad Rafi’:-  

Poochh Na Mujhse Dil Ke Fasane, Ishq Ki Baatein Ishq Hi Jaane – Lyrics; Jan Nissar Akhtar – Music: Khayyam

With such easy-to-understand, and yet thoroughly literary lyrics and the matching soothing composition, Mohammad Rafi soulfully renders the feelings of someone who has totally been immersed into the ocean of love.

No wonder, this record not only remained on the top-selling list for almost a decade of its release, but it also reset the pride of place to the non-film songs genre in what was considered to be decade of growth of new generation listeners who had marked preference for easy, fast-paced film songs.

Before we explore more of different lyricist-music director combinations who have also recorded equally absorbing non-film songs with Mohammad Rafi, one more of representative non-film compositions by Khayyam would be in order:

Tum Aao Rumjhum Karati Payal Ki Zankar Liye, Nain Bichhaye Baitha Koi Phulo Bhari Bahar Liye – Lyrics: Madhukar Rajasthani – Music: Khayyam

Here Mohammad Rafi creates that intimate romantic touch to this Madhukar Rajasthani’s sentimental geet.

Before we dwell deeper into lyricist-music director combinations, it would be opportune to take note of extremely rare example of a non-film song wherein all the creative stakeholders – the lyricist, the music director, and the singer – are well known names of Hindi films.

Is Dil Se Teri Yaad Bhulai Nahi Jaati, Ye Pyar Ki Daulat Hai Lutai Nahi Jaati – Lyrics: Rajinder Krishna – Music: Hansraj Behl

Hansraj Behl – Mohammad Rafi have given us some of the most memorable Hindi film songs. They team up with Rajinder Krishan here to come up with this NFS gem. Rafi plays with ‘yaad’ in the mukhada and ascends-descends the scales in each stanza in what is now his familiar style to us. His ‘taan’ at ‘ye pyar ki dualat….. hai’ can also be categorised as his oft-used vocal ‘harkat’. However, and in spite of these, the song retains the charm of an NFS.

One interesting feature of Mohammad Rafi’s non-film songs is that most of the compositions have come from what can at best be classified as unknown-to-average-listener music directors. These songs may have either been drawn from the published works of known ghazal and poetry writers or from the unknown-to-average-listener poets. Taj Ahmed Khan and his Mohammad Rafi’s non-film songs fall in this category. Even as one can find many Taj Ahmed Khan’s composition on internet, next-to-no information is available about this music director.

Dil Ki Baat Kahi Nahi Jaati…. Chupake Rahena Thana Hai, Haal Agar Hai Aisa Hi To … Jee Se Jaanah Jaana Hai – Lyrics: Mir Taqi Mir – Music: Taj Ahmed Khan

Here we have a ghazal from an 18th century Urdu poet, Mir Taqi Mir, who commands respect almost equal to Mirza Ghalib.

Just to get an idea of how different music directors extracted best of Mohammad Rafi for the non-film songs genre, we should listen to another famous rendering of this ghazal by Begum Akhtar.

Please note this not an exercise of comparison between the two renderings but is simply an illustration of how differently Mohammad Rafi NFSes have been carved out.

We will now take up Mohammad Rafi’s NFSes created by less (or practically not known) lyricist or music director or both. Here, too, there are enough songs available on internet to enable a separate study or listening pleasure. I have picked representative songs for the purpose of present article.

Kya Yaad Tumhein Hum Aayenge Itni Si Baat Bataaenge – Lyrics: Madhukar Rajashthani – Music: Vinod Chatterji  

The song also begins with a precise strokes of sitar in the prelude to pave the way for Mohammad Rafi to come up with a very brief alaap picking up the initial lyrics ‘Kya Yaad Humein Bhi…’ . Harkats of very fondly playing with ‘yaad’ and then ‘aayenge’ are the simple master strokes of the composition. As the song proceeds we get several such glimpses on the way, with an extended ‘s…..ab….’ @2.25 as an icing on the cake! Music director and singer have done great justice to the lyrics of the song.

This is one of those Mohammad Rafi NFS you yearn to listen again and again.

Note: I had sought the help of several knowledgeable friends @SoY to conclusively locate names of lyricist and music director of this song. Shri Arun Kumar Deshmukhji has provided this information with the help of his friend Shri Dipak Chuadhari, who has the record (#N88276) of this song in his possession (WOW!!). My most sincere thanks to both..

Hansa Beech Gagan Roye, Komal PankhoN Par Ye Murakh Dekho Parbat Dhoye – Lyrics: Shyam Sharma – Music: Shyam Sharma

Shyam Sharma was the regular employee of HMV. HMV and some of the older record companies then headquartered in Calcutta had very strong music departments of their own. This in-house resource also has contributed to score of non-film song records.

Kash KhwaboN Mein Hi Aa Jao, Bahut Tanha HuN – Lyrics: Saba Afghani – Music: Iqbal

How earnestly Mohammad Rafi puts through the request to the beloved to appear in the dreams and break the spell of loneliness! With extra soft beginning of the first line of the stanza, where the feelings are more intense, the entire song is rendered more as a soliloquy with one’s own self!

Jeenay Ka Raaz Maine Muhabbat Mein Paa Liya, Jiska Bhi Gam Hua Use Apna Bana Liya – Lyrics: Muzaffar Shahjahanpuri – Music: Iqbal Quershi

Deep alaap and soft rendering of Jeeney Ka Raaz Maine……sets the tone for pensive mood of the song.

Main To Rahon Mein Pada Paththar Hun Sab Mujhe Chupchap Raundhake Chale Jaate Hai – Lyrics: ? – Music: Kamal Rajasthani

Right from the first note, we find a very close resemblance to the song Main tooti hui ek naiya hun (Aadmi, 1968; Lyrics: Shakil Badayuni- Music: Naushad). Of course, I have no authentic information of year of publication on the present non-film song, so would not hazard any guess whether either one is the inspired version.

Be that as it may, the song is composed to Mohammad Rafi’s deep tonal chords, except in the last stanza when the lyrics take the shape of sharp pain. Mohammad Rafi raises his scale to the top, before coming down to the original scale.

With a candid the disclaimer that sequencing of the following song is not intended after the above song, I conclude the present article, in full concurrence to what Naushad has to say for Mohammad Rafi before the start of the song in the following clip –

Beete Dino Ki Yaad Satati Hai Aaj Bhi.. Kya Jhamane Wapas Kabhi Na Aayenge, Kya Ham Tamaam Umr Yoonhi Roye Jaayenge – Lyrics: Shakil Badayuni – Music: Naushad

Mohammad Rafi does not sound loud even when he sings at a high scale all through the song.

I plan to continue the series on all other future anniversaries of Mohammad Rafi. As such, I have reformatted and shortened up the article which is published on Songs of Yore on December 24, 2021.

I hereby record my sincere thanks to Songs of Yore for publishing the article, Mohammad Rafi’s Non-film Hindi Geets and Ghazals.

Categories
Fading Memories….Unforgettable Songs Remembering Mohammad Rafi

Fading Memories…. Unforgettable Songs: December 2021

Mohammad Rafi’s First Duet Song With The Music Director: 1947-1948

1947-1948

The Google Doodle by Mumbai-based illustrator Sajid Shaikh, on Mohammad Rafi’s 93rd birthday [B: 24-12-1924 | D: 31-7-1980] depicted Mohammad Rafi as the king of playback singing in Bollywood. It shows the journeys of famous Rafi songs as they progressed from the studio, onto the silver screen and into the hearts of fans forever.

The second part of the First Five-Year Period of Mohammad Rafi’s career, covering the years 1947 and1948, that we presently take up for our series Mohammad Rafi’s First Duet Song with Music Director can be said to be period when he was still in the music recording rooms. As we have seen in the first part covering years 1944 to 1946, Mohammad Rafi was at the initial phase of ‘being under test’. More and more music directors were giving him a solo here or a duet there.

As we shall presently see, the definite trend of Mohammad Rafi trying to create his own space by discovering his own style to the confident delivery of his lines against more experienced female singers of vintage era under the batons of wider range of music directors has started emerging by the end of First- Five Year Period.

1947

Six more music directors have offered Mohammad Rafi diets with as many as eight different singers – three of which are the male singers – in the year 1947.

In so far as Mohammad Rafi’s career is concerned, the year 1947 had opened the door – in the form of the solo, Duniya Mein Meri Aaj Andhera Hi Andhera (Do Bhai- Music: S D Burman – Lyrics: Raja Mahendi Ali Khan) – that led to a strong association with S D Burman.. 1947 had also Mohammad Rafi singing his first, and the only duet with Noor Jehan – YahaN Badala Wafa Ka Bewafai Ke Siwa Kya Hai (Jugnu – Music Firoz Nizami – Lyrics: Azhar Sarhadi). This also was Mohammad Rafi’s first ever playback for Dilip Kumar.

Datta Davjekar, (15-11-1917 | 19-9-2007) a fairly known name in the then Marathi films, debuts with Aap Ki Sewan Mein in Hindi Films. He composed music for 5 Hindi films, 51 Marathi and around 500 documentary films. The film, Aap Ki Sewa Mein, has other record, in the form of. Lata Mangeshkar’s maiden songs as a playback singer with the song Paa Laagoon Kar Joree Re, to its account.

Desh Mein Sankat Aaya Hai, Ab Kuchh Kar Ke Dikhalana Hai – Aap Ki Sewa Mein – with G M Sajan – Lyrics: Mahipal

The song reflects the mood of pre-independance era, as it ends with “Chheen lo , chheen lo ……..” hinting  ‘Azaadi chheen lo”. Otherwise, the lyrics are mainly about food shortages, or maybe it is talking about famine, in Bihar or Bengal, that rampaged India in that period..

There is a male-female duet son too.

Main Teri Tu Mera Dono Ka Sang Sang Basera – Aap Ki Sewa Mein – with Mohantara – Lyrics: Mahipal

Mohammad Rafi has handled the eagerness of a longing lover on his way to meet his beloved in a controlled high-octave scale rendition. The beauty of the composition is in its vibrant freshness after so many years.

Aside Trivia:

Datta Dawjekar worked as an assistant to C Ramchandra from 1952 to 1961. As such, the source of inspiration for C Ramchandra’s popular song Eenaa Meena Deekaa. . . (Aasha, 1957) is originally created for the Marathi song “Ina Mina Mona Baass” from a children’s play for Marathi stage, by Datta Dawjekar, who also wrote the lyrics for the Marathi song.

Source Credit: Shishir Krishna Shrama’s post on Datta Dawjekar

Prakash Nath Sharma does not seem to be a known name as a music director. The only film for which he seems to have composed music, Ek Kadam, does have one Mohammad Rafi – Shamshad Begum duet. Tu Bhi Rah Main Bhi (Lyrics: Avtar Visharad), that does not seem to have a digital presence on net.

C(hitalkar Narhar) Ramchandra (12 January 1918 – 5 January 1982), is another music director who went on to have a strong presence in the subsequent period of Golden Era.

Kisko SunauN Hal-e-Dil. Ham ko Tumhara Hi Aasra Tum Hamare Ho Na Ho – Saajan – with Lalita Deulkar – Lyrics: Moti B A

The duet, and Mohammad Rafi’s solo version, were immensely popular and the both has the future imprint of Mohammad Rafi’s singing style that was later identified as his unique style during his post vintage-era career of ‘50s..

The film has one more duet Main HuN Jaipur Ki Banajaran, Chanchal Mera Naam, with Lalita Deulkar (Lyrics: Qamar Jalalabadi) and two triads, Hum Banjare Sang Hamare Dhoom Macha Le Duniya (Lyrics: Moti B A) and Sambhal Sambhal Ke Jaiyo Banjare, Dilli Door Hai (Lyrics: Ram Murti Chaturvedi) with Lalita Deulkar and Geeta Dutt (Roy).

Khemchand Prakash, a doyen of ‘40s, made two most significant contributions for which the Golden Era remains indebted. One was introduction of Kishore Kumar in Ziddi (1948) – Jeene Ki Tamanna Kaun Karein …….  Marne Ki Duaein KyoN Maangein  . and gave Lata Mangeshkar a defining identity in Aayega Anewala (Mahal, 1949).

Aji Maat Poochhco Baat Ki College Albeli, Indrapuri Sakshat Colege Albeli – Samaj Ko Badal Dalo – with Arunkumar and Manna Dey – Lyrics: ?

We have only audio clips here, but the knowledgeable bloggers note that Mohammad Rafi has sung his own lines on the screen.

Part 1:

Part 2

Pt. Ramakant Paingankar-Karnad, one more of those unknown names., except that Ramakant Paigankar was known to be a part of C Ramchandra orchestra team.

Chalo Ho Gayi Taiyyar.. Thehro Jee…. – Shaadi Se Pehle – with Lata Mangeshakar – Lyrics: Pt. Mukhram Sharma

This is a simple fun song that shows the lady making a big shopping list that her beloved readily agrees to buy for her with all the strapping. The song has the distinction of being the first ever Rafi Lata duet.

K(oregaonkar) Datta is said to have given Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle a chance to sing with the then reigning queen Noor Jehan. He scored music for 17 Hindi films

Nainon Se Naina Milaake Sota Prem Jagaate – Shahkar – with Rajkumari – Lyrics: Arzoo Lakhanavi

HFGK does not mention singers for the song. The song seems to be composed as a tong-song. The singing by both the singers rhymes exactly with rhythm of the song.

Ye Duniya Sab Prem Ki Tu Prem Kiye Jaa – Shahkar – with Shamshad Begum – Lyrics: Arzoo Lakhanavi

HFGK mentions the song as Parody song (record no. GE 3729 /31), though I must confess that I could not make it why it was so. However, the song has experimented with one singer overlapping the main singer on a different scale  in the mukhada, which must have called for some very innovative recording skills on the part of the sound recordist as well the music arranger.

1948

In 1948, on the first anniversary of Indian Independence, he was awarded a Silver Medal by Jawaharlal Nehru for his, a marathon 4-part, song on Mahatma Gandhi, Suno Suno Ae Duniyawaalon Bapu Ki Amar Kahani (Music: Husnlal Bhagatram – Lyrics: Rajinder Krishna)

1948 has once again a very rich crop in so far as our present subject goes, with eight music directors and as many as ten co-singers, Except for Shamshad Begum and Ameerbai Karnataki, in the female singer section, GM Durrani in the male singer section, and Geeta Dutt and Beenapani Mukherjee one triad earlier, all other singers have partnered Mohammad Rafi first time.

Ram Ganguly (1928-1983) was part of Prithvi Theatre team. His choice of music director for Raj Kapoor’s maiden film Aag was thus a natural choice. However, because of some misunderstanding during the days when Barsaat was being planned, Aag remained the only film RK and Ram Ganguly di together,

Solah Baras Ki Bhayee Umariya – Aag – with Shamshad Begum – Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

Mohammad Rafi gets his chance in the maiden Raj Kapoor film Aag,. Since then, even if he has not been a main singer for RK films, he has always got a song or two in almost every film, some of which have become most notable songs of Rafi’s entire career.

The visuals of the song can be seen with a typical Raj Kapoor touch.

Hans Raj Behl has used Mohmmad Rafi for duets in two films in 1948 – Chunariya and Satyanarayan.

Phool Ko Bhul Le Ke Baitha Khar, Tera Kaanto Se Hai Pyar – Chunariya – with Geeta Dutt – Lyrics: Mulk Raj Bhakhari

The song seems to be some type of beggar or a fakir song.

Dilliwale Sahab Gajhab Kar Daala Re – Satyanarayana – with Beenapani Mukherjee – Lyrics: Pt. Indra

This is a thoroughly enjoyable fun song.

The film had two more duets of Mohammad Rafi and Beenpani Mukherjee – Kya Yaad Hai Tumko Wo Din Ji (Lyrics: Sewak) and Mera Dil Ghayal Karke Bairi Jag Se Dar Ke (Lyrics: Surjeet Sethi).

Ghulam Mohammad has paired Mohammad Rafi to sing with Suraiya, one of the top actress-singing star of that time. The pair then went on to sing 24 duets, some of which remain the most memorable duets, which can be a subject for a separate article in the future.

TaaroN Bhari Raat Hai Par Tu Nahi – Kajal – with Suraiya – Lyrics: D N Madhok

On the face of it the lyrics seem to express pain of the two being away from each other. However, the song runs on a fast pace, normally used for happy songs. In the absence of this dichotomy remains unresolved. However, listening to Mohammad Rafi as if he were singing a song almost after half a decade later in the time in the style of ‘40s and matching Suraiya’s exhortations for clearly expressing the love is such a pleasant surprise.

Gyan Dutt is also a very respected ‘40s name in music direction arena. We have two duets here. Of the two, Chalo Jamuna Ke Paar  … Dil Ki Dukanein Lagi JahaN Par NainoN Ke Bajar (Lal Dupatta – with Shamshad Begum, Sulochana Kadam, Chorus- Lyrics: Shewan Rzvi (?))being a very sweet-to-listen-to triad with chorus, Rafi does no get much exposure. So, I have opted for the other one for the present article.

Ari O Albeli Naar Kyon Chhupakar Kare Vaar – Lal Dupatta – with Shamshad Begum, Chorus – Manohar Khanna

This is a chhed-chhad-cum-appeasement light mood duet, the first line of the mukhada and each interlude representing chhed chhad. Mohammad Rafi seems to enjoy seriously matching Shamshad begum’s mischievous tone

Dhumi Khan, is one more of an unknown music director, even though he is shown as ‘supporting actor, music director’. YT has an interesting video clip on Dhumi Khan, that gives some more vital pieces of information. The famous duet song Ambuwa Ki Daali Daali Jhoom Rahi Hai Ali (Vidyapati, 1937- Music: R C Boral) has Dhaumi Khan as co-singer with Kanan Devi. Hopefully, the Dhumi Khan is same person.

Ek Abr-e-Siyah Chhaya Aaja Mere Saathi – Rahnuma – with Shamashad Begum- Lyrics: Dhumi Khan

The song is a simple love song, Mohammad Rafi expressing the sincere intent of the lover for his loved one.

Ek Aisa MahaL Banayenge (with Rekharani- – Lyrics: Habib Sarhadi) from the same film is not traceable on net.

Ameerbai Karnataki, a renowned playback singer, has composed songs for ‘Shahnaz’,  wherein Mohammad Rafi had two solos and three duets in the film.

Mujhe Tumse Mohabbat Hai, Ye Meri Chak Damani – Lyrics: Fiza Kausari Banaglori

Mohammad Rafi very deftly handles a medium spaced composition.

Nazaaron Se Kheloon Bahaaron Se KhelooN, Mera Bas Chale To Chand TaaroN Se KhelooN, Yahi Chahta Hai BaharoN Se KhelooN Machalatae Hue AabsaaroN Se KhelooN – Lyrics: Akhtar Pilibhiti

In response to Amirbai’s high scale singing, Mohammad Rafi comes up with a lower scale singing.in this very small clip that is available.

Tere Nazdeek Jaate Hein Na Tujhse Door Hote Hain, Mohabbat Karanewale.. Is Tarah Mazboor Hote HaiN – with Ameerbai Karnataki – Lyrics: Akhtar Pilibhiti

Mohammad Rafi gets to sing a qawwali composition early in his career.

Rasheed Attre was one of the music directors who went on to hit immense popularity even after migrating Pakistan. His composition of Faiz Mohamamd Faiz’s ghazal Mujh Se Pahale Si Muhabbat Mere Maheboob Na Mang remains the hallmark of Noor Jehan’s career.

Koltaar Mein Rang De Piya Mori Chundariya – Shikayat – Khan Mastana, G M Durrani, Aslam, Chorus – Lyrics: Ibrahim Khan ‘Momin’

Mohammad Rafi is a minor partner in this MM triad.

Statically speaking, the first Five-year-period of 1944-48 has seen Mohammad Rafi working with 26 music directors for first time for a duet song.  Each of the song has given Mohammad Rafi a different experience of singing. That perspective apart, the fact remains that the journey had taken off well and was gaining the required velocity.

We will end 1944-48 five-year-period with what I consider as Mohammad Rafi’s most iconic song, which also happens to be my most favorite among Mohammad Rafi’s songs…

Vatan Ki Raah Mein Vatan Ke Naujawan Shaheed Ho – Shaheed – with Khan Mastana, chorus – Music: Ghulam Haider – Lyrics: Raja Mahendi Ali Khan

Mohammad Rafi’s finely controlled delivery of so high passion would be hallmark of his sing style in the future.

Our journey of Mohammad Rafi’s first duet with a music director continues……


Both episodes of the 1st Five-Year Period of Mohammad Rafi’s First Duet with a Music director – 1944-1948 can be downloaded as one file by clicking on the link.


All 12 episodes from January to December 2021 of the series Fading Memories, Unfading Songs-2021 can be read /downloaded by clicking on the hyperlink.


 

We will continue remembering Unforgettable Songs that seem to Fading away from our Memories every second Sunday of the month next year too……..

Disclaimer: All images are sourced from net. All copyrights of the respective image remain with the original owner of the image.