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Mohamed Rafi - Melody in many moods
By T.M. Anantharaman
BANGALORE, June 19: From “Arumo aaval” to “Hari Om, man tadapatu Hari darshanuko aaj” is a relatively big jump but Mohamed Rafi made it easy for me, immortalizing his brand of music for me and my chota grandfather (Chinna Thatha, as we would say in Tamil) Shri Krishna Bagavathar and, I presume, to countless other admirers.

We were young and in love with life and in college when Baiju Bawra was released. The film mesmerized us for many reasons. For one, the story depicted the travails of two lovers separated by time and fate. For another, Naushad had given extraordinarily melodious music right through the film. Again, it seemed Lata Mangeshkar could never have sung such lovely songs “mohe bhool gaye saawariya” or “bachupan ke mohabat ko dilse bula na dena”. That she surprised everyone and all skeptics by singing many more memorable songs for other composers than Naushad saab redounds to her eternal credit.

Melodious voice
But Baiju Bawara caught the attention of the nation with the sweet and melodious voice of Mohamed Rafi. Rafi saab was in his elements singing “O Duniyake rakhuwale” or “Manu tadapatu Hari darshanko aaj” or “Insaan bano, karlo balayika koi kaam, insaan bano”” or “Tu Ganga ke mauj mai Jamunaki dara” - all favourites and figure in my all- time favourites list, too. Rafi, as usual, imparted not just melody but a whole lot of depth and feeling to his singing so much so that his voice continued to haunt all those who listened to him in Baiju Bawra.

A “must” watch
My chinna thatha (chota grandfather) Shri Krishna Bagavathar was steeped in Carnatic music and used to often rave about the extraordinary pull that Carnatic music had with its ragas, compositions and swaras. “No music can match our Carnatic music for depth and creativity,” he would often assert. One day when I told him about the divine music of Baiju Bawra, he laughed and derisively dismissed my views. We were young then, and so never thought of forcefully arguing our case. I only pleaded with him to see the film and then comment. “Forget it, I don’t see Hindi films,” he brusquely dismissed me and my suggestion. So, it was all the more astonishing one day some months later when we met. He said: “Hey, you were quite right. The music is astounding, and I have never heard anything like this before!” When I raised my puzzled eyebrows, he merely said, “I have seen Baiju Bawra and it is superb.” He then asked, “Who is the fellow who sings the Hindolam song?”(Carnatic musicians call raga Malkouns as Hindolam and my chota grandfather was referring to “Manu tadapatu Hari darshanko aaj”!). I told him that it was sung by Mohamed Rafi. He said: “This man has an incredibly melodious voice, and he virtually swamps you with his singing.” It was some months later that I discovered through my cousin Ramu (my chota grandfather’s third son and a Mridangam player of repute) that he (my chota grandfather) had in the last two months or so had secretly seen the movie five or six times because of its soulful music. It seems every time he came back from seeing the film he used to rave about its excellent music. What’s more, he began recommending it as a “must” watch to all his friends and disciples!

Favourite songs
Earlier, I had mentioned about my list of favourite songs of Mohamed Rafi. It will, besides Baiju Bawra, include such all-time great melodies as:
1. “Chauhunga mai saanj savera, phirbhi tu naam tera aawaazna dena” (from 1964 film Dosti, music by Lakshmikant Pyarelal);
2. “Suhani raat dal chuki na jaane tum kab avogey” (1949 film Dulari, music by Naushad);
3. “Zindagibar nahi boolenge hum ye barsaatuki raat” (from 1960 film Barsaat ki raat), music by Roshan. Lyrics Sahir Ludianvi);
4. “Toote huay khwabonne humko ye sikaya hai dilne dilne jise paya ta aankone gawaya hai” (1958 film Madumathi, music by Salil Chaudhri, lyrics by Shailendra);
5. “Ham bekhudi mey tumko pukare chale gaye” (from film 1958 Kala Pani. Music by S.D. Burman, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri);
6. “Man rey tu kahena deer darey voh nirmohi m ohana jaane jinka amoha kare (Chitralekha –1964 music by Roshan, lyrics Sahir);
7. “Madubanme raadika naache re” (Naushad’s music for the 1960 film Kohinoor, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni);
8. “Insaafka mandir hai ye bagwanka ghar hai” (from 1954 film Amar, music by Naushad, lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni );
9. “Aana haito aa raheme kuch pher nahi Bagwanka ghar dher hai andher nahi hai” (from 1957 film Naya Daur, music by O.P. Nayyar, lyrics Sahir Ludianvi);
10. Chal ud ja re panchi” (from 1957 film Babhi , music by Chitragupt, lyrics Rajinder Kishen);
11. Tere aankho ke siva duniya mein rakha kya hai” (from 1969 film Chiraag, music by Madan Mohan, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri);
12. Famous Badshah zafar poem “Laguta nahi dilmera ujude dayarme, kisuki bani hai haalume na payadaaru me” (from film Lal Kila (I think);
13. “Saati na koi manzil diyahai na koi mehphil, chala mujhe lekin aye dil akela kahan” (From 1960 film Bambai ka Babu, music by S.D. Burman, lyrics Majrooj Sultanpuri);
14. “Kahan ja raha hai tu aai jaanewale” (from 1955 film Seema, music by Shanker Jaikishen, lyrics Shailendra);
15. “Aaa yena balam vada karuke “ (from 1954 film Shabab, music by Naushad, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni);”
16. “Tujekya sunavun mai dil ruba tera saamune mera haal hai (Madan Mohan’s music in 1958 film Aakri Dao, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri);
17. “Rang aur noorki baaratu kisse peshu karoon, ye muradon ki haseen raat kisse peshu karoon” (from 1964 film Ghazal, music by Madan Mohan, lyrics Sahir Ludianvi);
18. “Mere mehboob tuje meri mohabatu ki kasam, phir muje nargisi aankhoka sahara dede, mera koya hua rangeen nazaraa dede” (Mere Mehboob (1963), music by Naushad, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni);
19. “Na kisi annkuka noor hoon, na kissi ke dil ka karar hoon,” (poignant poetry from Lal Kila);
20. “Duniya nabaye mohe abto bullae, charunome tere charunome” (riveting music by Shanker Jaikishen from film Basant Bahar);
21. “Kabhi khudpe khabi halatupe rona aaya”; and
22. “Mai zindagiki saat nibatahi chalagaya” (both from 1961 film Hum Dono, music by Jaidev, lyrics Sahir);
23. ``Chauvdavi ke chand” (from 1960 film Chaudvi ke chand, music by Ravi, lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni);
24. “Ehsaan tera hoga muj par veh kehne do muje tumse muhabat hogaya hai palkonki chavonme rahane do” (from 1962 film Junglee, music by Shanker& Jaikishen, lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri);
25. “Jawaniya ye mast mastbin piye chalati chal rahi raheme diye”;
26. “Diwanahua badal, Ye dekhke dil juma le pyarki angdayiyan”;
27. “Maangke saat tumhara maanguliya sansar” (Naya Daur: Rafi with Asha Bhonsle);
28. “Mai ye soch kar uske dilse ye rakhata” (music by Madan Mohan ---1964 film Haqeeqat);
29. “Teri ankhoke siva duniyame rakha kya hai” (Chiraag—muisc by Madan Mohan);
30. “Hui sham unka ek khayal aayega, wahi zindagi kal saat aayega” (Laxikant Pyarelal music for 1968 film Mere hamdam mere dost, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri);
31. “Akele hain chale aavo” (in raga Charukeshi in 1967 film Raat, music by Kalyanji& Anandji, lyrics Shameem Jaipuri);
32. R.D. Burman composed “Kya hua tera vaada” (from 1977 film “Ham kissisise kam nahin”, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri); and
33. “Churaliya hai tumne dilko” (1973 film “Yaadonki baraat”, music by R.D. Burman, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri);
34. ``Bichde sabhi bari bari” (from 1959 film Kagaz ke phool, music by S.D. Burman, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri) and
35. ``Ham bekhudime tumko pukare chale gaye” (1958 film Kala Pani) …music by S.D.Burman, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri ;
36. ``Sarjo tera chakraye ya dil dooba jaye aaja pyare pass hamare kahe gaburaye, kahe gaburaye (S.D. Burman music for 1957 film Pyaasa);
37.” Ye duniya agar milbhi jaye to kya hai” (film Pyaasa, S.D.Burman-1957);
38. “Aye dil muskhil jeena yahan jara hatke jara bachke yaha Bambai meri jaan” (O.P. Nayyar music for 1956 film CID);
39. “Ye zindagike mele” (from 1948 film Mela, music by Naushad); and
40. “Too pyar ka sagar hai” (film Seema); and innumerable other melodious songs I have not listed here.

Mohamed Rafi depicted a rare passion for singing with total commitment to whatever the mood of the song, and his songs depict the myriad emotions that we have experienced at one time or the other - elation, frustration, dark gloomy moods or utterly delicious happiness not easy to describe but typified by Shammi Kapoor-kind of boisterous, fast-paced singing as in the song “Yahoo chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe” (Junglee) and “Barubaru dekho” (from 1962 film China Town, music by Ravi, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri) or “ Mai Bambaika baboo naam mera Anjaana, English gunme gavoon Hindustani gana” (Naya Daur) or “ Maalish tel maalish… sarjo tera chakuraye ya dil ghuma jaye aaja pyare pass hamare kahe gaburaye, kahe gaburaye..” (Pyaasa) and “jawaniya ye mast mast bin piye”, to name some of the many memorable ditties sung by Rafi saab.

Be it classical or light-hearted banter or the separation pangs of lovers or those that failed in love, Rafi could emote the lyrics with utter feelings suiting each and every mood. So hauntingly memorable were many of the Rafi numbers that even today when you hear them you are forced to take a deep breath and wonder at the magnificent voice that brought so much joy to so many millions all over the country and overseas as well. The success of any artiste is seen from the attempts at imitation by many. There were many Rafi clones but there could be only one authentic interpretation–Rafi himself, clearly head and shoulders above all. Long live Rafi saab and his golden voice.

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