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An endless feud between the fans of Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar..

Mohammed Rafi was born at Kotla Sultan Singh, near Amritsar . Rafi displayed his talent for singing at the tender age of 13. The lure of movies beckoned him to Bombay in 1944. His first hit was the Tera Khilona Toota Balak from Anmol Ghadi in 1946. India lost this jewel on July 31, 1980. […]

Mohammed Rafi was born at Kotla Sultan Singh, near Amritsar . Rafi displayed his talent for singing at the tender age of 13. The lure of movies beckoned him to Bombay in 1944. His first hit was the Tera Khilona Toota Balak from Anmol Ghadi in 1946. India lost this jewel on July 31, 1980.

Abhas Kumar Ganguly, better known as Kishore Kumar was born on August 4, 1929 in Kandwa. Following the footsteps of his elder brother Ashok Kumar he too ventured into movies. But he soon realised that his heart was in singing. Under the patronage of RD Burman he soon flourished. He would at times compose and write songs himself. Sadly he passed away in October,1987.

The debate as to who was the greater singer carries on even today, even decades after their death. Both of them left an indelible mark in the world of Indian film music, a void that still cannot be filled today. No wonder that their fans are at constant feud with one another trying to prove that their hero was better.

It is a no secret that Mohammed Rafi was a trained classical singer and that Kishore Kumar had a natural talent. Hence Rafi’s fans feel that he was the more accomplished and skilful of the two. Kishoreda’s fans are of the opinion that though he may not have been trained, he had purity and sheer quality of voice. The fact that he wasn’t trained, and could still sing anything, both classical and non classical songs with equal magic rendered him more superior than Rafi.

Fans claim that Rafi was the most favoured singer for many veteran composers while Kishore Kumar was preferred by few and was a playback mainly for Dev Anand and later for Rajesh Khanna. Rafi on the other hand balanced his melodious voice for diverse stars like Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Guru Dutt, Rajendra Kumar and Shammi Kapoor.

In support of Rafi’s greatness, many of his fans say Rafi sang for Kishore Kumar in films that Kishore himself acted. They also draw the attention to Rafi’s song Darde Dil in Karz which was based on a single note and proved that he was indeed blessed with God-gifted melody. Mohammed Rafi’s fans also claim that Sonu Nigam and Udit Narayan who belong to the Rafi school are technically better than Kumar Sanu, Babul Supriyo etc.

On the other hand, Kishore Kumar’s fans remind people of songs which he sang by melodiously incorporating his inimitable yodelling. Those numbers are extremely popular even today. They further claim that in the 70’s and 80’s, it was he who sang for a number of heroes.

This debate can go on endlessly. However it must be stated that both were great singers of their times and each had his own distinctive style.

There was no feud between the two and the immense respect that Kishore Kumar had for Mohammed Rafi is clearly seen in the photo during Rafi’s funeral. A silent, sad and grief-struck Kishore in the newspapers portrayed very well that no one except him understood what an irreparable loss had taken place in Indian film music.

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2,285 Responses to “An endless feud between the fans of Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar..”

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  1. 1951
    Milind Says:

    Kishore da is the finest singer. The yodelling genre sophistication heard in this singer’s voice – no singer has been able to match at all till date – including the so called famed singers mohd rafi and ghantasala or others.

  2. 1952
    KK fan Says:

    Hi KK fans and rafi fans

    Just listen bane chahe dushman – KK’s voice is more majestic than rafi. Of course, this was discussed many times earlier.

    Hi bhushan,

    I understand ghantasala was a undisputed legend from the south. He has got a great voice and talent. I loved the songs presented by you.

  3. 1953
    Arora Says:

    Rafi and kishore fans

    No fued between rafi and kishore, but it is between only fans of rafi and kishore. There lies the vast difference between the singers and their fans. That is why the singers are singers and fans are fans.

  4. 1954
    balarykar Says:

    @ Prasad Sarma:
    Its not “may be great”, SPB is a great singer. I have seen many Ghantasala fans say that post Rehman, SPB lost monopoly and he declined, and all kind of nonsense. Rehman stopped using “single dominating singer” in any single movie album. In fact, one may not get more than 5 Rehman movie albums that has one singer singing more than 3 songs in that album. Other music directors just blindly copied him. Its not just SPB, even in hindi where SPB was not a force, is the same story. Do you Ghantasala fans want to tell me that even Chitra declined? See, before Rehman even she was singing almost all female songs in the album, be it Kannada, Telugu, or Tamil. Not any more. So stop this nonsense that SPB declined.
    Krishna? Why don’t tell the complete story? SPB had sung for the TDP party, and when Krishna asked him to sing for Congress, he refused. See, if Ghantasala had refused the same, you would have praised the virtous of him valuing ethics more than friendship. This was not taken kindly by Krishna, and he in fact promoted another singer for movies like “naa pere prabhanjan”, etc. They all bombed massively, and Krishna later returned to SPB. In this case SPB is arrogant, no gratitude, etc. However, when NTR-Ghantasala combination went through similar cycle, Ghantasala is so great that NTR had bow down, etc. Why did Ghantasala resume re-singing for NTR? No self-respect? If KK-Amitabh Bachann did a similar cycle, both can come out unscatched. But only SPB is arrogant, etc.

    And about platform? Are you serious? Do you think all other superstars never lie on the platform? Good joke. What happens behind the scene is not useful for the common fan.

  5. 1955
    balarykar Says:

    @ Bhushan Says:

    I think its very easy to say that “there are many other singers who can easily sing SPB songs.” Yes, we have Mano, Rajesh Krishnan, et. al. who did sing like SPB, and went away even faster. Producers (who never like artists, be it Ghantasala, Rafi, or KK) don’t give a hoot to singer is he is replacable. If you list out the most difficult telugu songs of the last 15 years, a majority is “owned” by SPB, and not the entire field put together. So, your projection of “other singers” does not cut ice with me.

    If you through out all SPB-Ilayaraja songs, SPB is still not bad. SPB best songs for me, and many others, are with Satyam, Shankar-Ganesh, et. al. I have seen that many criticizers crediting SPB career with “music directors” greatness. The point which they make all the time is that SPB songs are good thanks to music director only. Great music picks average voice 😀 WOW! What a great point!

    If the difference between SPB and Ghantasala is 100 kilometers (which it is in telugu only), the next best telugu singer is at least 1000 kilometers away from SPB. Much is said about SPB not reaching high pitches. If I know music whatsoever little about music, there is no doubt that SPB can’t match TMS at high pitches, leave alone Ghantasala. High pitches were never SPB forte, and he has declined them as much as possible in his career. However, singing at high pitches is not everything, strictly in the context of film music. There is a price, I feel, which one pays for it. Let us not forget one thing that though Rafi was good at high pitches, he failed to be a great singer in Punjabi where high pitch songs are generally preferred. I said only Punjabi, because Punjab is Rafi’s home state. Also, I have some Rafi fans joke in the “other site” that SPB and Yesudas could not succeed in Hindi, and if Rafi was anything like them, he would be packing the bags and be confined to singing in Punjabi. The fact is Rafi WAS not a great punjabi singer trying luck in hindi. He was just an awesome singer in the right place – hindi 🙂 But Rafi fans, like Ghantasala fans can’t accept his not greatness in tamil and kannada, can’t accept the fact that Rafi does not have even half great punjabi number of songs as SPB and Yesudas have in hindi.

    Ghantasala greatness is reflected in his telugu songs. Much like what I read from his fans, he was not really “The Ghantasala” in kannada or tamil. Pre-1954, the entire south Indian film industry was in then Madras, and Ghantasala was the-all and end-all of music for the three languages. However, the moment Kannada industry moved to Bangalore, Ghantasala was not missed any more. In fact, Ghantasala won’t figure in the top 3 male singers of Kannada. Here, its SPB, PBS, and Rajkumar in that order. Though I love every Ghantasala song in Kannada, you will rarely hear his songs on radio. The ones that are recollected on radio are more due to them being playbacked on Rajkumar, and lesser because of Ghantasala love.

    If the fans feel SPB pronounciation in telugu is not upto the mark, so is also true about Ghantasala in Tamil. Though Ghantasala is the GURU of TMS, it is SPB and TMS who are the two best singers of Tamil, and not Ghantasala. In fact many people rate SPB over TMS for versatility in tamil. Can you now see that though SPB is in top two all time best singer of three languages, Ghantasala is just in ONE. So is also Rafi, just ONE. So, technically though Ghantasala is peerless, its not that SPB does not have greatness. There is different kind of greatness in him too. High pitch or classical songs is not everything when it comes to film music. Also, having heard Rafi’s classical songs (semi-classical songs actually), I can guarantee that SPB has done better more numbers as far as semi-classical songs are concerned. And this is despite the fact that Rafi had official training in classical songs and SPB did not have the same. If this is not greatness, I wonder what is greatness? Please note that I am no where saying SPB’s greatness is more than Ghantasala, KK, or Rafi. My point is that despite all the artists have different greatness.

    Finally, about SPB playing politics, which you say “I heard that spb did a lot of politics to maintain his position”. Do you realistically think one can simultaneously play politics in three different states? Recording in Chennai, Hyderabad, and Bangalore for over three decades? Also, if you google a little, in way back 1984, the entire Chennai chess playing team was sent to Delhi for competition at national level. The Chennai team became victorious, and was boosted by one particular player, who was then identified as the player to be sent all over world. That player is the current world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand. Entire expenses of the Chennai team at Delhi was sponsored by none other than SPB. Do you honestly feel politically minded people will do this kind of work?

  6. 1956
    common_man Says:

    “Just listen bane chahe dushman – KK’s voice is more majestic than rafi. Of course, this was discussed many times earlier. ”

    kkfan, can you please elaborate on this? in the song you mention, what do you like about kk’s voice? what do you not like about rafi’s voice? i know it’s subjective but i do want to hear your opinion. it’s funny because i feel very strongly the opposite! 😉

    rafi sings every syllable to perfection with a perfect voice that is very strong yet soothing but not too heavy…it’s not too heavy or too light…it’s perfect. i love the way he puts the perfect, profound emotion (and credible – not over the top) behind individual syllables in this song. i love the way he does the opening and stretches out the “zamaaaanaaa hamaraara…”. i think this song was biased to rafi because he got to sing a little more. kishore was great too in this song but rafi was simply rafi…this is one of my favorite songs. i’ve talked about it so much. never get bored of hearing it.

  7. 1957
    Bhushan Says:

    1950 – Balarykar ji – to a large extent a reasonable post, I am with you on many of your points and I do not disagree with them. I appreciate your liking for SPB (whom I too admire reasonably) and despite you being a SPB fan and trying to project his greatness (which I could make out from your post) you have maintained the peerless greatness factor of ghantasala. That’s appreciable really. I will try to be as reasonable as possible for replying to your post.

    Yes, as you said SPB did dominate in telugu industry from 1980 to 1993 or so and there is no dispute about that. And he had rendered some beautiful songs, thanks to creative music directors such as illayaraja etc. He was like the kishore kumar of the south, and we all know kishore was also not much trained like spb, despite that they have done well in their respective fields. Coming to your view on domination in all the three languages (which you admit for ghantasala in the 50’s), i was given to understand that ghantasala was alone preferred in tamil for many songs, even in 60’s and he declined to sing due to health reasons. Even in 1972, the song Mutthaka muttaga in tamil (babu vinara song in pandanti kapuram), K V Mahadevan made the song to be sung by ghantasala only in tamil, everybody knows TMS was famous by then. Coming to your version of SPB’s comparison with TMS, it is not correct, as both were never contemperary singers, TMS was a singer of the 60’s and 70’s when SPB had no major role or assignment in tamil. SPB got majority of songs in tamil only in 80’s. The fact is SPB could taste success in tamil only after TMS and not when TMS was active. Next, kannada world, most of ghantasala songs in this language are versions of his telugu films only and those kannada films remade of original telugu ones, producers in kannada did prefer only ghantasala, because after hearing the telugu versions of ghantasala, no singer in kannada was preferred to sing those songs, as producers felt that ghantasala was the only one who could do justice to those songs. However, a telugu film amarasilpi jakkana, wherein all ghantasala songs are major hits, in kannada the same film P B srinivas sang the songs in kannada, but sorry to say, his songs really pale before the telugu version of ghantasala songs. This was the main reason why producers of kannada too made ghantasala only sing songs for the remakes of telugu originals, The siva sankari song is also sung again by ghantasala in kannada too – you are aware. So upto mid 60’s ghantasala was the dominant singer in tamil and kannada as well. He voluntarily reduced greatly his role in tamil and kannada thereafter, due to his health condition, even in telugu in early 70’s he could not sing some songs, but producers waited upon him even for days, and when he recovered, he sang the songs for them. So agreed, whatever preference TMS and PBS got in tamil and kannada respectively, was only after the end of era of ghantasala there and similarly whatever preference SPB got in tamil and kannada was only after the end of era of TMS and PBS respectively.

    Next, coming to the political factor, yes, I have heard from many people during the 1st decade of his career (1969-1979) SPB did indeed ensure that no other singer (the only exception being ghantasala for his last 5 years during the period) was given an opportunity to sing, as he had the fear of losing chances. (even i know people who missed chances even being selected as singer for some films, after SPB grabbed the songs by colliding with the producers and music directors) Might be this was the necessity for SPB to achieve success. And yes, once his position stabilised in 1980, there was no further necessity to play further politics (here your factor applies) and after this he was successful in tamil and kannada, by which time the politics were not strictly necessary.

    Next, Mohd rafi, yes was the great singer of hindi and in the last decade of his career, he had indeed faced a tough competition in his career from none other than kishore kumar himself, but for a period of nearly two decades rafi was indeed the most preferred singer of hindi (50’s & 60’s). I am not much aware of his role in punjabi language, might be you are correct, that rafi was not successful in his own native language.

    Finally, I agree with you, each of the artists in his own era (as a ghantasala fan I still maintain ghantasala’s speciality as a edge) had a “great” contribution on their own, but if you see overall speciality, ghantasala and rafi (and of course also kishore kumar) only are the singers, who continue to be immensely loved by a large fan following even after decades of their demise. I think no other singer has such fan following (even singers who are alive today) That seems to be the ultimate conclusion.

    Thanks and regards,


  8. 1958
    Raj Says:

    1951 – Hi common man,

    Bane chahe dushman – the punch is more in kishore’s voice than rafi, that makes the difference. Such type of songs require the tone and timber of kishore to make the song attractive. Just pronouncing syllable with perfection does not make the song attractive, there should be proper punch as well, which kishore displays well than rafi. Rafi fans, I can understand, the problem with them.

  9. 1959
    Rafifan1 Says:

    Balarykar ji, – 1950

    You have said that

    “Also, having heard Rafi’s classical songs (semi-classical songs actually), I can guarantee that SPB has done better more numbers as far as semi-classical songs are concerned. And this is despite the fact that Rafi had official training in classical songs and SPB did not have the same. If this is not greatness, I wonder what is greatness? ”

    Could you kindly provide links to some SPB’s semi classical songs to prove this statement ? SPB himself many times, as rafi fan, claims that he does not feel like half a singer when he hears rafi. Without training in classical music, if one tries to render classical or semiclassical songs, it will be like copy paste technique. That is why even kishore kumar did not put focus on classical and semi classical songs because he knew this fact. I feel, SPB, being not trained as you say, too belongs to the cateogory of kishore, since it was told that SPB used to imitate kishore kumar in his early parts of career (I think this information was shared by you only) And I have nothing to comment on the genius of ghantasala’s speciality in classical and semi classical songs, as you yourself wholly admit for his superiority than other singers, even I agree for his peerlessness.

    Common man – KK fan’s have to comment on kishore kumar’s style, otherwise they cannot be KK fans. Why only one song bane chahe dushman is discussed always ? What about many other songs of rafi vs kishore ?

  10. 1960
    common man Says:

    hi raj,

    i would have agreed with you if we were talking about “amar hai shakti” (where rafi’s voice was just not its usual) or even “pehli nazar mein” from burning train. however, for “bane chahe dushman salamat rahe” i strongly disagree with you. if you don’t mind, i think you are confusing heaviness of voice with tonal quality & punch. rafi’s tonal quality & punch were oustanding in this song. moreover, there are parts of the song where both rafi & kishore sing together – you can hear both voices equally well because both have excellent tonal strength. one voice does not drown (as was the case in the burning train song – but that’s out of the way they sang rather than the voice itself imo). i actually find kishore’s voice on the heavier side for this song and it takes away from his ability to modulate his voice for the perfect emotion within syllable’s which rafi’s balanced voice does majestically.

  11. 1961
    common man Says:

    “Why only one song bane chahe dushman is discussed always ?”

    Because it’s my favorite song of all time! Made me a fan of both Rafi & Kishore – although I really really really loved Rafi in this song – he took this song to heights that no one should have allowed. LP probably didn’t know what a great song they crafted until Rafi sang it. I know the “music purists” don’t have the same enthusiam for this 1980s song that I do (no, they’d rather go back to 1944) but I love it.

    ” What about many other songs of rafi vs kishore ? ”

    With some exceptions, most of their duets were mediocre compositions from the late 70s and when Rafi’s voice was not its usual self. “Nothing Is Impossible” did just that. It proved that you can have TWO GREAT singes and still have a mediocre song.

    Some of my favorite duets they sang…

    “Ae Baagh Kaliyon Sharam Karo” (SJ)
    “Mere Jaise Nahin Milega” (compose and co-sung by Madan Mohan)
    the comedy song from Bhaghambhaag
    another song “Hey Babu” (now here Kishore’s barritone is outstanding)

    One great duet that had potential was SD Burman’s “Sa Re Ga Ma”. Rumor has it that this song was truncated because Dharmendra showed up late to recording. That’s a shame because Rafi sings by himself in that song for only 15 seconds total. Composition was nice and Rafi & Kishore were singing well.

    “Hum Premi Prem Karna Chahe” – good song. Rafi’s tone & punch is very good for the tough guy Vinod Khanna in this macho song

    “Tum Nahin Ya Hum Nahin” – Excellent song & composition. There is one small part of the song where I can agree with Raj and say Rafi could have used more punch (shortly after he enters the song). But these guys were humans – not computers. Sometimes they’d sing a song or a second of a song in a way that they ideally would not if they were not humans. This is just my subjective pickiness to say that he could have sang a particular word differently.

    “Yaadon Ki Baraat” – Rafi’s voice was not its usual.

    “Bane Chahe Dushman Zamaana” – Rafi’s voice was outstanding! He showed his vintage voice in this one.

    the song from Ram Balram…Rafi’s expressons of emotions was excellent even if his voice was not its vintage self.

  12. 1962
    balarykar Says:

    A few clarification: TBH, I was carried away by a few posts which I felt were anti-SPB. I was a bit angered and would like to withdraw that comparison of Rafi classical songs. Let us look at the scenario in this context. If Ghantasala sir sings the classical songs the best way, it is to his credit and ability. This should not be converted into a stick and belittle other singers if they fail to sing the classical songs. Rafi is great on his own when he rendered the songs, semi-classical or otherwise. If my historical knowledge is correct, Rafi had less training than Ghantsala. Having said this, SPB did not succeed in rendering padyams despite the fact that his father was a bit of school in himself while rendering Ramayana, etc. It seems that SPB learnt the notations of harmonium, etc from his father. Thus, there can’t be excuses for “failure”. I think post Shankarabharanam, SPB got some tips from none other than the great M. Balamuralikrishna (BMK) himself, and it is to SPBs credit that he was found “good enough” by BMK to sing some songs under that bation of BMK himself. So, all in all, if you agree to drop all this comparison nonsense angle, let us discuss some music.

    I will share some SPB hindi semi-classical songs.
    There is this dubbed into hindi movie “Bhairav Dweep” Check this link http://www.in.com/music/bhairav-dweep/songs-8261.html and click on the song “Saaton Sur Ka Hai Sangeetampuram”. The lyrics were not done too sincerely by P.K. Mishra, nonetheless, the song is at least semi-classical.
    Rafi and Naushad! Is there anything more thats to be added? This is the reason why SPB attained Nirvana when he sung for Naushad. “Teri payal mere geet”, the title song has some elements of classical-ness. Your take on this song? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvC0rut2gOY . There is another gem from this movie in “Baat sabse karo pyar humse karo”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KAPi_rR59ts

    In “Antakshari” DD program, I remember Anu Kapoor saying that “Aake teri baahon mein” is a classical song. The youtube link is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pkkhDvQEyc, and one of the reader there says its based on “puriya dhanashree” raaga.

    Later, I will post his kannada and telugu classical songs.

  13. 1963
    Raj Says:

    Hi common man,

    I am quite sure rafi’s voice in bane chahe dushman is not as beautiful as was in the song jo wada kiya ho, the effect of the tajmahal voice is completely missing in rafi’s voice. Kishore had a different attraction in late 70’s as well when compared to his 50’s voice. Just listen om shanti om – it is so beautifully sung by kishore in 1980, just hear rafi’s songs in 1980, you will see the difference. Rafi was simply not a man of 60’s in the 70’s but kishore was certainly different, his songs had a altogether different attraction even in 70’s. Hence, I maintain my earlier post and the facts on kishore’s voice in bane chahe dushman – kishore appears more beautiful than rafi – no doubt about it. To rafi fans, rafi sounds beautiful in any song – as in the rafi blog, very recently Mr. Bhagchandani was just hitting at me saying that some kishore fan had referred rafi’s kuhu kuhu bole koyaliya rendering as a “pedestrian” rendering when compared to ghantasala song in the telugu. What is wrong in it ? It is a fact that rafi’s rendition pales before ghantasala. It would be clearly better if Mr. Bhagchandani learns that kishore fans have stopped long back making the mention of ghantasala here, but it is the rafi fans who continue to discuss ghantasala there, even now as is confirmed by Mr. Bhagchandani’s post in the other forum. So dear friend common man, to a rafi fan, any song of rafi is excellently rendered, even if it is not so, that is why I had mentioned in my previous post – i can understand the problem with rafi fans. BUT KISHORE FANS ARE CERTAINLY DIFFERENT, THEY OPENLY ACCEPT EVEN KISHORE’S FAULTS IF FOUND IN ANY RENDITIONS – THAT MAKES THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN KISHOREANS AND RAFIANS – KISHOREANS SPEAK FACTS. IF THEY FIND ANY LEGEND AWESOME THEY MENTION IT. IF THEY DO NOT THEY MAINTAIN SILENCE BUT MAKE NO CRITICISM. Anyhow, your post appears to be clean and hence I have nothing against your personal views and preference of rafi – But I would like to re-iterate that many of the people prefer kishore (apart from kishore fans) in bane chahe dushman zamana hamara.

    Bhushan – I heard the bhakta jayadeva songs in your earlier post – I liked the two songs very much – priye charusile and nee madhu murali – both were “AWESOME” by ghantasala. Thanks for that link.

  14. 1964
    Raj Says:

    Common man – contd..

    Now what do you say on yaadon ki barat niklee song – anybody who listens to this song of rafi and kishore – undoubtedly prefers kishore – kishore just sings simply and makes the song very very attractive as compared to rafi – rafi just lost his sheen in the song as compared to his evergreen hits of 60’s. Even in salamat rahe dostana hamara, kishore sings the song in a easy way, without any complications, but I find rafi trying for more concentration in the song as compared to kishore.

  15. 1965
    Raj Says:

    Rafi fan 1 and Common man

    Other songs of rafi vs kishore – OK – What about yaadon ki barat niklee – rafi just pales before kishore. Kishore just simply makes the song ATTRACTIVE without any struggle anywhere. What do you say ? Bane chahe dushman also kishore just sings simply, rafi had to concentrate more on the song as compared to kishores simple pulling of the song in an attractive way.

  16. 1966
    Bhattacharya Says:

    Common man,

    You yourself agree that in most of the duet songs with kishore, rafi was not in usual self – that itself solves the problem. Kishore kumar had done certainly better in duets with rafi – not only salamat rahe dostana hamara, but even others such as yaadon ki baraat etc. rafi’s voice was not that great as compared to his earlier voice, but kishore’s voice had nice attraction even in late 70’s. Perhaps only after 1985, kishore’s voice started showing some difference, still he was the king of hindi cinema at the time of his leaving the earth in 1987. Only kishore alone was the singer in hindi cinema, who was the king when he made his final exit.

  17. 1967
    murali Says:

    We need to compare if they are equals in quality talent. That too the songs sung by them in their prime age. In the songs of 40s and early 50s though songs are good but lack somewhat in speed. From mid 50’s to late 60’s, we have seen greatest Music directors, Singers, Lyricists etc who had given to this world so many immortal songs that will live for ages to come. We must salute all those Supreme heroes who were never seen on silver screen.

    From mid 70s the quality had waned a bit and deteriorated in all most all languages, hugely in Hindi and Telugu – please spare some rare songs here. We can never compare songs of golden period with present day songs from mid 70s.
    If the talent pool is dense, the main singer would be a real hero like Ghantasala & Rafi ably supported by Mukesh, Talat, KK, AMR, PBS.
    Then if the talent pool is sparse, then the singers who happened to be there rule the roost even though they are mediocre.
    So we need to have a common platform to compare singers of different era. But that is not possible looking to interests / liking shown by many fans here.

  18. 1968
    Varma Says:

    1937 – Mr. Murthy 2010

    I have not said anything against, nor Mr. Balarykar says so . In fact I had mentioned in my very first line itself that SPB cannot be compared to Ghantasala, the maestro in any form. We were only highlighting SPB’s achievements in his era, which can be rated above many other singers of his era.

  19. 1969
    Bhushan Says:

    1962 – Murali – GREAT POST – i agree with your views. Keep it up. It would be nice if people understand your post correctly, in fact that is the situation which had prevailed in 60’s. The songs sung in prime age are definitely the base as in such age, the voice is fully comfortable.

    Raj – thanks for your compliments.

  20. 1970
    murthy2010 Says:

    dear mr varma

    your post 1963. it is really surprising that you took so much time to respond to my post 1937 which was dated 14th october and you finally gave a feeble and evasive reply. in my post 1937 i did not mention anything about Mr Balarykar. so why drag him into this? next, you have not replied to my question at all. i only repeated what you said in your post 1934 as under –

    “It does not matter whether SPB has achieved such status by virtue of playing politics or otherwise”

    what do you mean by this? any layman with some commonsense says that your comment clearly shows that it is okay even if SPB has achieved such status by virtue of playing politics. what do you say?

  21. 1971
    murthy2010 Says:

    dear mr varma;

    a correction in my post 1965. the date of my post 1937 was wrongly mentioned as 14th October. it was actually 14th September which may be noted. regards.

  22. 1972
    Musharraf Says:

    Dear Commonmanji,

    I have a question. We understand that Rafi’s voice after 70s was not that intact as it was during 50′ and 60′. But I have listened to “bane chahe dushman” and was astonished to see how majestic was the voice and “Dostana” if I am not wrong was made in 1980 the year of Rfai saab’s death. Then there was a qawali in “Burning Train” where I found Rafi Saab’s voice in a fantastic quality. Burning grain was also made in 1980. What is the catch? Did his voice make a turn around? I think you have studied the matter. Please elaborate.

  23. 1973
    George Melozona Says:

    I feel it is not fair to compare this two great legends rafi Saab and Kishorji.I am a professional singer,conducting the show of Mohd Rafi songs in chennai and other places.I feel God has given individual talent to both Rafi saab and kishoreji.Rafi’s voice is pitch voice and Kishoreji’s voice is base voice.rafi saab can go to any high pitch without any strain.But,Kishoreji voice is base melody and with beautiful vibration for i.e Mere dil me aaj kya hai from daag and so many.Rafi saab can sing even with husky voice like ajaray ah zara ah from love in tokyo and Babul ki duwayen(shedding tears) george melozona

  24. 1974
    balarykar Says:

    @Bhushan ji:
    I did some survey of singers year of birth, their debut year, shoot to success, and the end of their prime. Here is some info.

    KK: 1929 (Birth Year), 1948 (Debut), 1969 (Breakthrough), 1987 (end of prime)
    Rafi: 1924, 1944, 1952, 1980
    PBS: 1930, 1951, early 60’s (maybe late 60’s), early 70’s
    TMS: 1923 , DNK, late 50’s, mid-70’s
    SPB: 1946, 1966, mid 70’s, late 90’s.

    Only KK and Rafi have demised and only both of them had complete authority till their death, though I will give more edge to KK. Also, KK had tasted lot of success before 69, and yet I think I am not offending many KK fans by saying his breakthrough was in 1969. But what a year that was 🙂
    Look at the age of KK and Rafi when they left the industry (of course, thats due to their death and not being succeeded by other singer). Both were 58 and 56 respectively. There is some difference to these two greats in hindi and their south counterparts.

    With the exception of KK, almost every singer has taken about a decades time to establish themself as the prime singer, and SPB is not too late either.

    First difference. Rafi had Baiju Bawra and KK had Aradhna. Except telugu, SPB does not have a defining Shankarabharanam in kannada or tamil. Similarly, PBS in kannada and TMS in tamil do not have one definite album around which we can mark their breakthrough year. Having said this, neither of the three had the kind of success till they were alive like KK and Rafi. However, among the three there is one difference. TMS in tamil and PBS in kannada replaced by SPB, and SPB has not been replaced in any of the three languages. The definitive proof of this being that even today most of the difficult songs in the three languages go to SPB, and not by the other field.

    Next, I seriously disagree with “similarly whatever preference SPB got in tamil and kannada was only after the end of era of TMS and PBS respectively.” I completely agree that in telugu Ghantasala was not simply replaceable. In kannada and tamil, PBS and TMS were indeed replaced by SPB. Moreover, if SPB did not replace even a single great in the three languages, he is JUST not great.

    There are two main reasons for the decline of PBS in kannada. First, Rajkumar started singing for himself. Second, PBS completely failed to adapt. Why is this ignored? Let me explain more. In the year 1972, three great kannada artists debuted: Vishnu Vardhan, Ambarish, and Anant Nag. SPB became the default voice of all the three of them. It was PBS failure to adapt here is what cost him his numero uno status in kannada. And he was not that old in the 70’s. He was in his 40’s, and we know what KK and Rafi did in their 40’s. For that matter, even what SPB did in his 40’s is something that is overlooked. He also adapted his voice to the next generation of artists in kannada: Ravichandran, Ramesh, Shiv Raj Kumar, et al. This is what kept SPB going in kannada. What PBS could not do in his 40’s, SPB does that even in his 60’s. Check this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz1UlX1EZdY which came when he was 60 and this song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkeuCi2RJpI at the age of 64!

    Next, coming to TMS! The age difference is too clear an indication that comparison is, of course, meaningless. My tamil friends though tell me that TMS was indeed replaced. Between 70-75 SPB was the favorite among the two, and late 70’s TMS was a non-factor for tamil songs, something which did not happened when Rafi and KK were of similar age. To be very clear, TMS was not even 25% of what SPB is at the same age.

    Finally, return to Ghantasala in kannada and tamil. Siva sankari song in kannada is not what it is in telugu. Technically, yes, its on same level. The difference is that in telugu it must be among all time top 5 songs, but in kannada its nowhere on the radar of even top 200 best (read popular) kannada songs. Why? I really do not know. I will again reiterate. I like all Ghantasala kannada songs. To be honest, they are hardly remembered much by most others. In some sense, PBS kannada songs are better remembered than Ghantasala kannada songs.
    About Ghantasala and tamil songs you said this: “Even in 1972, the song Mutthaka muttaga in tamil (babu vinara song in pandanti kapuram), K V Mahadevan made the song to be sung by ghantasala only in tamil, everybody knows TMS was famous by then.” There is a reason why Ghantasala sang that and not TMS/SPB. There are two versions of the song. Ghantasala sings for the elder brother. First, TMS did not sing that song because he had already sung that song for the younger brother version. SPB singing for elder brother would have been a joke, by the aesthetics of those days, and it made a lot of sense for KVM to rope in Ghantasala for the version of elder brother. So, at least in this case, its not that TMS did not sing that song, he sang one version of the Ghantasala song.

  25. 1975
    common man Says:

    hi raj,

    “Even in salamat rahe dostana hamara, kishore sings the song in a easy way, without any complications, but I find rafi trying for more concentration in the song as compared to kishore.”

    you have made an excellent observation. this is why i consider rafi the greater singer. there’s on part i disagree with you. i think rafi does what you describe…with EASE! rafi is a genius. he has a talent singing each syllable exactly how it should be sung with the right vocal modulation and expression of emotions. this attention to details lets him have more depth in his singing than kishore. it also allows him more differentiation even within the same genre. this is not something you attain merely by practicing you need god given talent. for prove of how rafi easily achieves this, watch this video of rafi recording with asha bhonsle & op nayyar.


    just look at rafi’s face as he sings. he’s having fun! he’s being himself! he’s not doing homework. the expressions come naturally to him. in contrast, look asha bhonsle stoic facial expression compared to the song. she looks as if she’s doing a task and wants to quickly get this *job* over with. she’s artificially producing the emotions and is not as natural as rafi. for her this is hard work. granted, she was god gifted vocally so her beautiful feminine voice carries the song…but rafi is still the natural genius when it comes to both voice & expression. i think it is a major misunderstanding to suggest that rafi was not a “natural” singer. he was the best of both worlds…a natural and a consummate professional. i can imagine rafi sang “salamat rahe dostana hamara” with the same ease & enjoyment that he rendered “aaye hain door se milne huzoor se” – outstanding song by rafi! look at depth he achieves with every single syllable. kishore couldn’t sing like this or to this depth. granted, he could sing a song with great technical rigor and sing it spontaneously (jhum jhum jhumroo) but i have greater value for rafi’s approach to singing.

    michaelangelo once said when he looked at a block of marble, he could see the statue inside it, and it was his job to chisel away the extra marble. michaelangelo naturally saw the statue. likewise, rafi naturally saw where to put the right emotions because he was a genius like michaelangelo. you may not appreciate rafi’s emotions in salamat rahe dostana hamara like the way i do and i can respect that…but i savior every syllable of rafi’s singing in that song…i savor every profound expression…his expression is eloquent and expresses feelings inside our hearts that even we don’t realize even though we possess them…feelings of love and friendship and longing…which is what this outstanding song is about. while kishore does an excellent job in salamat rahe dostana hamara, compared to rafi he sounds plain and does not have the same depth.

  26. 1976
    common man Says:

    hi raj,

    regarding ghantasala, i myself have stated many times that his rendition of kuhu kuhu is better than rafi’s. however, i’ve been critical of taking that one song (and siva sankari) and generalzing or trying to repeat it ad nauseum. then some fans on this site have misinterpreted me and think that i have failed to recognize that technical perfection is the first and foremost qualification of singing…i have agreed that is true but emphasize that rafi (like kishore) was technically proficient to a point where his technical skills more than exceeded 99% of the songs he sang across a wide variety of genres…that’s what matters…i have detailed this before and don’t want to repeat…overall, i honestly hold rafi in the highest esteem.

    as for voices…remember that by 1969 rafi had sang 3000 songs whereas kishore sang 1/10s of that with 300…1970-1980 kishore sang 1200 whereas rafi sang 1000. in 1980s kishore sang maybe another 1200…exact numbers don’t matter…you get the trend. point is, rafi’s voice started becoming inconsistent after 1971 when he had sang more than 3000 songs. you can argue when kishore’s voice became inconsistent but even by 1980 he had at best sang 1/2 the number of songs rafi sang in 1971. so of course rafi’s voice is going to age earlier than kishore’s. anyhow, this is a trivial matter. i do agree though that kishore’s voice was very well suited for pop music & amitabh bachchan movies (among many other genres and types of songs too of course).

    i am happy to hear that most people prefer kishore over rafi in dostana. i’m not sure if that’s true but if it is then i am happy to be on the side of the “underdog” and that no one can accuse me of joining a bandwagon 🙂 (this is not to say that if you prefer kishore you are on a bandwagon…he was a great singer and i can understand).

    hi bhatacharya,

    i actually think kishore showed an excellent voice in mr. india from 1987. his voice & expressions were excellent in “zindagi yehi beet hai…” and “karte hain pyar mr india se”. very robust, clean, and vibrant. even if these singers are not consistent in their later stage, many times their voices are still very good even if not at their peak.

    rafi was a multi-facetted singer. it isn’t just that he had a great, pleasant voice. he also had excellent expressions of emotions. his voice in the 70s was not consistent – i agree. however, sometimes, even if his voice was not the same of the 60s, it was still excellent nevertheless as in “salamat rahe dostana hamara”. sometimes its tough to compare a singer’s voice in different songs because the composition itself may determine what aspect of the singer’s voice we perceive. in some cases, we don’t perceive the change whereas other songs really show it. i agree that rafi was not his usual best in “yaadon ki baraat”…but i still believe that if you replace rafi with another singer in that duet, the duet loses a lot of value. moreover, while rafi’s voice was not its usual self, his expression in that duet was still very good.

    i’m not going to argue as to who was #1 in 1980…i think that the industry had space for both singers to be #1…rafi had a lot of hits…i believe if you take him out from the 70s, the industry would limp on one leg…but what is indisputable is that when rafi did die in 1980…no one could fill the void…rafi could not replace kishore but kishore could not replace rafi. rafi died as a crowned king in 1980 just as kishore was a crowned king in 1980 and 1987.

  27. 1977
    Bhushan Says:


    Fine, largely a reasonable argument. I think you have not extended your survey to ghantasala, who was of the lesser age among all to pass away (at 52) as the king of telugu playback singing. I do not know when was the breakthrough for him, because he was in complete command from shavukaru film in 1950. Regarding prime status, he was throughout numero one, this is known – every year from 1948 to 1974 (if I understand correctly from 1948 – from 1950 it was sure) the best singer award went only to his songs. Mainly his songs received that importance. Very remotely, songs of other singers in telugu were fielded for best singer award. By one chance in 1973, SPB’s song siva ranjani was placed for best singer award, but Ghantasala’s ghana ghana sundara from Bhakta Tukaram won the best singer award in 1973. I think this status was not achieved by any other singer. Regarding KVM’s observation, what I meant was our understanding on tamil pronounciation, there were many other singers in tamil, but KVM did prefer only ghantasala for the version, that is what I was meaning.

    In hindi, rafi and KK had immense importance, but KK’s following was more in 1970’s than rafi’s (which you too agree) – so nothing much to comment on that. But yes, KK was the king when he passed away in 1987 (there was no other singer to be equalled to him at that stage – similarly like the irreplaceable ghantasala in telugu at his time of exit)



  28. 1978
    Bhushan Says:

    Balarykar ji…contd..

    I think even saigal was another great who was on top at the time of his exit – this is another notable point. Saigal, who just song some 185 songs, is remembered with lot of reverence.

  29. 1979
    Raj Says:

    Balarykar ji and Bhushan ji

    Yes : To conclude, (put your posts together) There are only 3 singers in india who did not face any competition/were irreplaceable AT THE TIME OF THEIR DEMISE were : Ghantasala, Kishore Kumar and Saigal. That was one of the reasons for their continuing popularity and reverence by many, even today. Saigal is the oldest to pass away in 1940’s but still remembered and revered by many.

    Rafi was not numeroone in 1980 (when he left) like the above three (when they left), might be he was singing, but the numeroone status was not there. So Balarykar ji, except this small point, remaining is fine.

    Next, everybody knows that SPB holds the record for singing maximum number of songs, going by the newspaper reports they could be in the range of 40,000 plus ? So that is also a point to reckon with while discussing about SPB.

  30. 1980
    Raj Says:

    Common man

    Just like the lines of Bhushan ji, I too state that to a large extent your post was a reasonable one. You agree on kishore kumar’s importance in both of your posts and I am in agreement with both of them. I think there is not much left over to argue further, as there appears to be a clear understanding among all of us, after nearly 1974 posts arguments. I think it should be nice to culminate the discussion when environment is understanding and I feel the time has arrived for that. Hope no unpleasant comments are seen again.

  31. 1981
    murali Says:

    Balarykarji – 1969

    Good Survey by you and continued by Mr Bhushan – 1972. And a nice interpretation by them and by Mr Raj -1974. An interesting comparison here (to me !)

    Bradman, Sobers, Gavaskar, Border, Lara, Steve Waugh, Sachin have scored and set all time high aggregate score in Tests at some point of their career. (few names may be missing here). Only the innings of Bradman, Sobers, Gavaskar, Lara, Sachin are discussed time and again and not that of Borders and Steve Waughs. Probably it is because of quality aspects, even though they were considered number one at some point of time.
    Quality has no age either visual or songs. Its true value is reflected when it is old. Many songs are popular when they are just out, but fade away when the next so called hit number gate crashes. But quality products / songs stay forever. It doesn’t stand if only the numbers are considered.
    In case of Kishore, why only Aradhana song is remembered? Because, his subsequent songs were not up to it. And many songs were not even good for one time listening even though he was number one during that time. Quality and Class are permanent and not the popularity gained in different eras. Even in today’s many programs, the number of Rafi and Ghantasala songs are more than those of others for simple reason – quality and class – in their respective fields.

  32. 1982
    common man Says:

    #1976…now, now…the rd-burman kishore combination is probably the commercially most popular music today in the category of music before 1990. definitely not forgotten. now i think in some cases it is unmerited due to a shallow mass media but in many other cases it is well deserved. the songs from amar prem, anamika, kati patang, aapki kasam, aan milo sajna, aandhi are nothing short of eternal, excellent master piece songs. i’m a big rafi fan but but those albums offered an high quality variety to rafi’s majestic reign. we all like variety. i think those albums that i mentioned deserve the high popularlity and praise that they get. rd burman at his creative best was brilliant. when i say shallow mass media…in my opinion, “kora kagaz tha yeh man meraa” was a much better song in my opinion than “roop tera mastana”. in fact, i anecdotally heard that kishore’s popularity from aradhana came when they played “kora kagaz tha yeh man mera” on the radio. the song was excellent and the voice was very fresh just do the to that fact that that voice was not heard as much (relatively speaking of course). when i refer to the shallow mass media i mean himesh reshamiya’s popularity or people today on tv shows trying to copy trashy hip hop songs. i don’t want to put kishore kumar in the same line as the hip hop or himesh reshamiya type because that would be a gross insult to kishore. but i do think that there are kishore’s gems which don’t get their due whereas other lesser songs get more popularity because some in the mass media are not true music lovers as we are. i do agree however that rafi has a lot of eternal gems that are just as loved today as they were back then.

    i should also correct my prior post when i said kishore couldn’t reach the same depths as rafi…that’s an incomplete and therefore flawed statement…kishore acheived as much depth as anyone could in “mere mehboob qayamat hogi” or “meri beeghi beeghi si” or “badi sooni sooni hai” and the list goes on…in fact i am doubtful if anyone could have bettered those rendtions (including ghantasala :))..but what i do feel is that rafi can achieved a greater sense of detail and depth in a wider variety of songs and that makes him stand out.

  33. 1983
    murali Says:

    Good Going!. Kishore is very good, definitely not so so. Many of his songs of early 70s are very good and at that time many people used to argue for him. But as I said in my earlier paras, advent of AB (barring pre abhiman or very few there after) he lost his sheen. That is not Kishore what he is capable of. His songs for rajesh kanna, Devanand + some other contemporary are really good & worth listening forever. No doubt about it.
    all is well but for the comment on Ghantasala!
    Against Ghantasala at his best when his age was on his side. nobody comes closure to him. He is immortal. He is classic in telugu songs, Sanskrit poems, padhyas. He is unique. He is a songster, Music director, he wrote his own private albums. That time the Oscars were not for Indians. Many lesser mortals are blessed with Padma Vibhushan etc. that is typical politics in our India.

  34. 1984
    Bhushan Says:

    Common man – 1977

    That was exactly what Mr. Murali was stating in his post 1976, if you carefully read in between lines. Steve waugh and border were considered top at one point of time – same analogy can be applied to kishore kumar’s songs mentioned in your para. Regarding your observation on bettering of kishore’s famed renditions (which have been received very well by a large number of people) , it is really very difficult to respond, as there was never a comparison between ghantasala’s songs and kishore’s songs (except the voice texture in some posts). Perhaps another reason might be kishore was famous in 70’s when ghantasala was no more and moreover, to my knowledge no similar songs exist between ghantasala and kishore, as songs between rafi and ghantasala exist (this was one of the main reasons for comparison with rafi more so when he was mentioned as top and to counter that ghantasala’s superiority was mentioned for comparison), otherwise, i do not think ghantasala would have ever been mentioned, (because he is never compared with anybody – to be frank, really hardcore ghantasala fans are even more rigid than hardcore rafi fans you will be surprised to note that, despite any number of arguments they will never be convinced of any match for ghantasala) if there were no similar songs between rafi and ghantasala, I think there might not have been any comparison between both of them as well, as they were two different stalwarts in two different areas (of course the field – playback singing is common). But still if you want to compare as a artist/musician with kishore kumar , same logic applies, the diverse/versatile talented ghantasala always remains peerless, in comparison to any other playback singer. Even if we want to make a dreamy analysis for kishore’s songs to be sung by ghantasala, I believe the latter would have done it very easily (in telugu) but still it has to be taken as a hypothetical analysis only, as no such situation materialised. But sure, in my opinion, if it is reverse i.e ghantasala songs to be sung by kishore – I do not think kishore can attempt for display of any justice for such songs, similar to the hindi songs of his range and as you mentioned in your post. Please do not think I am comparing both, rather I was just personally analysing why both were generally not compared like the comparison between rafi and ghantasala. These are purely my views dear common man. Next, I think SPB has sung some of kishore kumar’s songs in telugu, and Mr. Balarykar would be able to enlighten on that aspect.

  35. 1985
    Dawood Ahmad Says:

    There have been so many comments on this issue but the topic is so interesting that I could not hold myself to comment.
    First of all I would like to make it clear that I am a big fan of Rafi as well as Kishore but when it comes to comparison I have no doubt in my mind that Rafi was is and will be the best Singer the music world has ever produced. I am not rendering this statement without basis as I have heard almost all the Hindi singers right from Saigal to date and especially Rafi from 1944 and Kishore from 1948. I am not going to discuss Rafi’s greatness here because he is above all these things for sake of understanding and quality just listen to following songs rendered by both of them and make a fair judgment yourself:
    Tum Ko Khush Dekhkar: Aap to Aise Na The 1980
    Janoo Meri Jaan Mein Tere Qurban: Shaan 1980
    Seedhe Raste Chalo Ge: Heeralal Pannalal 1978
    Ek Rasta : Ram Balram 1980
    Sa Re Ga Ma : Chupke Chupke 1975 (Just Listen to Rafi’s rendition of Sa Re Ga…)
    Parda Hai Parda : Amar Akbar Anthony 1977 (In film only- when Amitabh in Kishore’s voice says Akbar Tera Naam Nahin – just feel the voice… a bit crude as compared to…. )

    There were many instances where Kishore held up his hands by saying it’s not my type of song – that means he feared he will not be able to sing it or justify the situation and music director had no option but to look up to Rafi whereas there was not a single instance in Rafi’s whole career where he himself refused to sing or otherwise. I am not talking of 50s or 60s it all happened in so called era dominated by Kishore though I don’t agree with it (it’s a separate discussion) e.g:

    Nafrat ki Duniya Ko Chod Ke Pyar : Haathi Mere Saathi 1971
    Duniya Mein Sada Rehne: Amar Prem 1972
    Zindagi To Bewafa Hai: Muqaddar Ka Sikander 1978
    and many more…..

    In all the above mentioned films all the songs were rendered by Kishore except mentioned above; answer to this would be a sorry state of affair for most of his lovers including me so I leave it to the reader. It’s also wrong to associate only Kishore in Rajesh Khanna’s success just listen to the following songs by Rafi in Rajesh’s Films:

    Yeh Jo Chilman Hai Dushman Hai : Mehboob Ki Mehndi
    Yunhi Tum Mujh Se Baat Karti Ho: Sacchha Jhoota
    Chhup Gaye Saare Nazare: Do Raaste
    Gulabi Aankhen Jo Teri : The Train
    Zamane Ne Maare Jawan: Baharon Ke Sapne
    Aur Khuch Der Taher: Aakhri Khat
    Akele Hain Chale Aao: Raaz
    Nafrat Ki Duniya Ko Chod Ke: Haathi Mere Saathi
    Baghon mein Bahar Hai: Aradhana

    Same is the case with Amitabh – Suhaag, Adalat, Shaan, Amar Akbar Anthony, Naseeb, Abhimaan, Dostana, Ram Balram.

  36. 1986
    Ajay Says:

    Common man,

    “what i do feel is that rafi can achieved a greater sense of detail and depth in a wider variety of songs and that makes him stand out.”

    Well, Rafi might have sung a variety of songs, but only few songs have that attraction which you state in your last line in your post – that too songs in medium and slow ranges. Kishore, whatever songs he has sung, has pefectly maintained the balance and all were well sung. In my opinion, whatever songs such attraction cannot be maintained, kishore has not attempted such as tough classical genres etc, whereas rafi tried into variety of genres, but was not perfect in all, only he attempted various genres but could be attractive only in few, remaining nothing much to cut ice, though rafi fans count this as a great factor but which is not strictly so. I found ghantasala to be clearly more versatile and commanding (than rafi) in various of his songs which have been presented here – in all his songs his command appears to be the same, not like rafi’s display as highlighted above.

    The following songs presented by one Mr. Bhushan recently caught my attention (beautifully composed , very melodious and captivating, sung with ease) in support of my point above.


    and this one of ghantasala so well sung, looks like on the lines of madhuban me radhika naache re of rafi (it can be clearly seen how rafi’s song easily pales before this song)


    Next, kishore too, whatever songs he has sung, has maintained that attraction, and never ventured into areas where such attraction could not be maintained. So in a nutshell, overall kishore kumar’s songs present a clear perfection picture and anybody can find the least possible faults in his renditions as compared to rafi’s.

  37. 1987
    Raj Says:

    Common man,

    Roop tera mastana and kora kagaz tha yeh man mera are sung in two different romantic styles, which set them as class apart songs in kishore kumar’s numbers. I do not agree with your statement on rafi’s success in wide variety of songs, he was good only in some of genres and not all, I am quite clear on that and this has been highlighted in many posts, which i do not want to repeat again.

  38. 1988
    jeevan Says:

    This song of kishore kumar – nice one but rarely played


  39. 1989
    Rafifan1 Says:

    Post 1976

    “Quality and Class are permanent and not the popularity gained in different eras. Even in today’s many programs, the number of Rafi and Ghantasala songs are more than those of others for simple reason – quality and class – in their respective fields. ”

    A good observation. I agree with it.

  40. 1990
    Rafifan1 Says:

    Mr. Balarykar

    I got the opportunity to hear semiclassical numbers of SPB – he appears to have made good effort to put up a proper presentation. But what i felt was he appears to be a little bit shouting with a more open voice especially when notes are going higher. Moreover, yes as you mentioned, his high pitch attempts (as you mentioned) were not so interesting, perhaps that might be the reason he has not shown interest in high pitch numbers. Anyhow, in my opinion and observation, I found that SPB can be counted as as better than many other singers (save the stalwarts such as rafi & ghantasala) Rafi was more interesting in high pitch songs in the hindi film world and to my knowledge no other singer in hindi had made such interesting presentation as displayed by rafi in high pitches. And I believe in your musical arena and based upon the knowledge of songs presented, only ghantasala alone was capable of taking very high pitches with relative ease and amazing control. I really admire that, ghantasala does not show even a single bit of strain even in very high pitches, it just flows naturally. He had got an excellent control on all the octaves (even lower notes as well). it was excellent that he was gifted with such “capable voice”. Though I have not heard K J Yesudas, I heard that he also rendered high pitches and got good control on the octaves.

  41. 1991
    Shahid Says:

    In art the comparsion is not good .As singing is an art so everone has his/her own style like Kishore has his own and M.Rafi has his own. But people try prove with information available like kishore was not trained and Rafi was trained? Rafi Could sing every song but kishore can’t . What stupid analysis these people are doing.

    I heard kishore kumar songs and M.Rafi songs as well I’m not going to decdide who is better .But the songs sung by Kishore are more verstile and variety songs . Rafi songs in happy and sad mode are almost little varitation in variety. One problem was with kishore that he had a disturb life he was not able to concentrat on his work though he sung much better songs than any other body in Indian singing history . If kishore respected rafi sb this was his greatness lesson for us that we should respect every artist. When kishore started rising the Rafi start falling in early 70s but We could conclude that Rafi was not better singer.
    however hit songs of Kishore are more than M.Rafi

    Listen this song Zindagi ek safar hai sohana ” sung by kishore in happy mode and sung by Rafi in Sad mode who is best decide . If I give song to Rafi he could not sing this song as kishore did So, by qouting examples only we can prove that who is better singer.
    In singing if one song suite one singer voice and other song suite other singer voice then this mean not that one singer is better than other.
    See the quality produced by kishore in singing enlist songs he sung in his career like
    1: agar tum na hotay
    2:neele neele amber per
    3:adami jo kahta hai
    4:meray supno ki rani kub aa gi tu
    5: Zindagi ek safar hai sahana
    6:ek rastha hai zindagi
    ………………………….. so many songs melody , message and energy no comparion for these songs , India has to wasit for centuries to have a kishore again.

    Respect for Rafi but no substitute of kishore .
    Best ever singer produce by India

  42. 1992
    murthy2010 Says:

    dear mr varma,

    you have not replied till date to my post 1965 dated 20th October and your funeral silence clearly indicates that you have no answer to my query and you faltered in your posts in support or praise of spb. i advise you to think clearly twice or thrice before you want to write or speak. it appears that you are not a matured fan but a moodh bhaktha of spb.

  43. 1993
    common man Says:

    hi raj,

    i quickly browsed your prior comments. i’ll summarize in 2 lines everything you’ve said (1) ghantasala was better than rafi for classical singing (2) rafi generally sang up to 2 octaves range. we’ve debated the first issue before (ref your post 1747 & 1748). i have nothing further to add to that. let’s agree to disagree and yes i too don’t want to go down that beaten path again.

    i had something different in mind when talking about versatility – i meant different approaches to singing. i think rafi this discussion is more fun because it requires sharing songs. the drawback is, it requires a lot of knowledge too 🙂 knowledge that i may not have. let’s give it a try anyway since it is fun.

    let’s do the category of romantic solos. how many different approaches to romantic songs do rafi & kishore have? I’m going to list you some excellent rafi songs and for each song give me a song by kishore that has a comparable approach.

    aasman se aaya farishta – kishore mere sapano ki rani & kk’s song is better
    main jat yamla pagla deewana – khaike pan banaraswala
    yeh maana meri jaan – kishore kuch hum bhi deewane (naya andaz)
    ab kya misaal doon – ami chini go chini (my personal favorite kishore romantic song of all time)


    yeh mera prem patra – kishore ???
    aji hamse bachkar kahan jayega – kishore?
    aye gulbadan – kishore?
    huye hain tum pe aashiq –
    yehi to hai woh
    thoda ruk jayii
    mere mehboob tujhe – kishore?
    main nigahen tere chehre –
    chere pe giri zulfein (suraj) –
    baharon phool barsao –
    main kahin kavi na banjao –
    ae phoolon ki rani –
    yehi hai tamanna
    mere mehboob teri dum se
    tum jo mil gaye –
    aise to na dekho –
    tere mere sapne ek rang hai –
    Koi Sone Ke Dilwala (dev anand maya)
    mujhe ishq hai tujhise (umeed 1971)
    aa gale lag jaa (april fool)
    ae haseeno o nazneeno (shart 1969)
    jo chahe saza do…tumse pyar hai (vandana 1974) –


    ek ladki beeghi baghi si – love this song!
    o mere dil ke chain
    mere samne wali khidki mein – i’m sure rafi’s got a good song like this that i’m not thinking of…:) his parody of this song left me dreaming for a version by rafi

    roop tera mastana – i’m struggling to think of another song by kishore similar to this – nvrmind rafi

    this kind of comparison is also an opportunity for me to learn about some kishore songs that i may enjoy. i think the difference is even greater if we get to sad songs or duets with lata….but this is a good start. i think the best qualification for this kind of comparison is to have heard all ~5000 songs of rafi and ~3000 songs of kishore.

  44. 1994
    Dawood Ahmad Says:

    I would like to add few more songs of rafi to the list made by common man in his post 1988. Just listen to the following songs u wont find any comparison around be it Kishore or otherwise:

    Sau Baar Janam Leinge (if u include the starting lyrics normally not available in CD or Lp u will be stunned)

    Khoya Khoya Chand Khula Aasman (Kala Bazaar)

    Jab Pyar Kisse Se Hota Hai To Dard Sa Dil

    Nazar Na Lag Jaiye Kisse Kee Rahon Mein (Night in London)

    Dheere Chal Dheere Chal Ae Bheegi Hawa (Boy Friend)

    Salam Aap Ki meethi Nazar Ko Salam (Boy Friend)

    The list is endless while I am writing lot of songs start pop up in my mind if someone requires i can easily list them.

    As earlier said in my post 1980 the comparison is useless as far as Rafi is concerned. Rafi is above all these comparison and my comments are not without basis because I have got more than 4500 songs of Rafi and with list of 6000 + songs and is still increasing and I have almost listen to all kishore’s songs and got huge collection of Kishore’s songs.

    If u list Kishore’s pre 1970’s songs u will hardly be able to find more than 20 good songs and in post 1970 era the worth listening songs would be in between 150 to 200 but if it comes to quality the numbers would be much lower than this. If someone has any doubt just try and do a rational judjement without being biased.

    Upon receiving/viewing contradiction I will comment further on this.

  45. 1995
    Kishore premi Says:

    Common man 1988:

    1. Yeh mera prem patra= Mere deewanepan ki( much more manly voice and expressions)

    2. Baharon phool barsaao= Aesi haseen chandni.

    3. Thoda ruk jayegi to= Ruk jana o jana(much more energy), Ruk meri rani O monalisa(Dil Daulat Duniya-1972, SJ)

    4. Yeh hi to hai woh= Chand chupchap hai sitare gumsum.

    5. Ae phoolon ki rani= Mukhde pe gesu aa gaye adhe idhar adhe udhar.

    6. Tere mere sapne= Tere mere milan ki yeh raina.

    The arguements can go on for the different genres of romanticism. But Rafi was unparallelled in songs like Mere mehboob tujhe and honestly we cant find a similar caliber nazm of Kishore but so we dont find the modern sensousness Kishore created in Roop tera mastana in Rafi. O yes, regarding your queary, listen to Aaj mujhe jal jaane bhi do by Kishore and see what sensuality he extracts out of that song.

    Some food for thought:

    1. Pyar Ka Mausam was released when Rafi was at top and Kishore was having a horrible time. Tum bin jaaon kaha went to Rafi for the hero with full two stanzas on screen alongwith a sad piano version again for the hero. So, a short waist height ball for him on a flat pitch. What Kishore got was only one stanza on screen for the character artist(the less I talk of that artist the better it is). And Kishore’s version got equally popular(if not more) than the Rafi one. Does it convey something??

    2. On a role reversal this time, two years later, in Andaaz, Kishore was ctaching fast with rafi and 71 happened to be the last year when Rafi recorded higher Hindi film songs than Kishore. SJ gave all songs to Rafi alongwith a version of Zindagi ek safar. Kishore got only Zindagi ek safar with two versions. Rest we all know…

    For me, Kishore and only Kishore had the ability to convert a mediocre composition with mediocre or sub standard lyrics into a super duper hit. Rafi needed everything good, all the resources, to perform. He had his great times. When circumstances detoriated, with no proper support from his old timer composer friends, he found it really tough to perform. He could not convert a ‘Chup chup kyun naithi ho’ and needed ‘dard e dil dard e jigar’ or ‘ kya hua tera wada’ to perform, whereas Kishore could convert a nonsene, mediocre ‘ Chahiye thoda pyar’ into super duper hit only with his strong vocals.

  46. 1996
    Raj Says:

    Common man – some truths and facts


    The article states these facts.

    Salil Chowdhury felt that Mohammad Rafi did not know the first thing about singing.
    He was not the only one who felt that way.

    During the recording of Jaane Kya Dhoondte Phirti Aankhen Tujh Main (Shola Aur Shabnam), Rafi needed 21 takes. Even then (composer) Khayyam was not satisfied.

    During the 22nd take, Shola Aur Shabnam director Ramesh Saigal said he was running out of money, and he wanted the next take right at any cost.

    Khayyam had to later join bits and pieces from the various takes to make it sound good.

    But that could be Rafi’s off day. This is the only industry where you cannot have off days.

    Rafi could not get a particular portion of Tasveer Teri Dil Mein (Maaya) right as well, and Salil Chowdhury was trying to explain it to him.

    After many takes, Lata Mangeshkar got angry with Rafi and snapped at him. The thing with Rafi was that if you got very demanding, he would be put off.

    O P Nayyar and Naushad would not be demanding with Rafi because they understood him. But that day, Rafi got very upset because Salil took Lata’s side.

    Salil always considered Rafi to be just an okay singer.

    Even Pancham and C Ramchandra felt that Rafi was no good

    WHY I HIGHLIGHTED THIS MR. COMMON MAN ? I have nothing against rafi. – but even hindi music directors held the above views. What do you have to say? It is better rafi fans understand what others have to say – I think similar views were echoed by some of the classical musicians here as well in this forum and in rafi forum as well. I mean that do not put rafi as a best singer in the universe (which many rafi fans claim so) – it cannot be and never will be, agreed he was just one of the famous ones in hindi film industry along with others and just nothing beyond that.

  47. 1997
    Raj Says:

    Common man – see some facts

    About kishore’s genius in this article.


    And some facts about rafi.


    The article states these facts.

    Salil Chowdhury felt that Mohammad Rafi did not know the first thing about singing.
    He was not the only one who felt that way.

    During the recording of Jaane Kya Dhoondte Phirti Aankhen Tujh Main (Shola Aur Shabnam), Rafi needed 21 takes. Even then (composer) Khayyam was not satisfied.

    During the 22nd take, Shola Aur Shabnam director Ramesh Saigal said he was running out of money, and he wanted the next take right at any cost.

    Khayyam had to later join bits and pieces from the various takes to make it sound good.

    But that could be Rafi’s off day. This is the only industry where you cannot have off days.

    Rafi could not get a particular portion of Tasveer Teri Dil Mein (Maaya) right as well, and Salil Chowdhury was trying to explain it to him.

    After many takes, Lata Mangeshkar got angry with Rafi and snapped at him. The thing with Rafi was that if you got very demanding, he would be put off.

    O P Nayyar and Naushad would not be demanding with Rafi because they understood him. But that day, Rafi got very upset because Salil took Lata’s side.

    Salil always considered Rafi to be just an okay singer.

    Even Pancham and C Ramchandra felt that Rafi was no good

    WHY I HIGHLIGHTED THIS MR. COMMON MAN ? I have nothing against rafi. – but even hindi music directors held the above views. What do you have to say? It is better rafi fans understand what others have to say – I think similar views were echoed by some of the classical musicians here as well in this forum and in rafi forum as well. I mean that do not put rafi as a best singer in the universe (which many rafi fans claim so) – it cannot be and never will be, agreed he was just one of the famous ones in hindi film industry along with others and just nothing beyond that.

  48. 1998
    Bhattacharya Says:

    Hi rafians,

    Today there was a article in rediff (which I do not want to give a link here), under title Why lata and rafi fall out ? In the article Mr. Raju Bharatan had given the views of various music directors on rafi – salil chowdary, Pancham, C Ramachandra etc. who considered rafi just as an OKAY singer. They stated that there were many better singers than rafi. Hope this should be an eye opener to rafi fans who claim rafi as a superior singer. Hope they do not air their comments against salil, pancham, ramachandra etc. and declare them useless. I doubt how much value rafi fans will give for these reputed music directors. I never heard any music director commenting against kishore kumar. Rafi fans used to climb on kishore kumar and ghantashala fans when they proved these singers superior to rafi, now the picture becomes more clear with hindi music directors comments above. Where were the comments of reputed rafi fans like MYK, Haldar etc. who used to say all the music directors in hindi rated rafi as greater ? Well, let them comment now on the above music directors of hindi. None should be surprised if rafi fans now start making comments that salil, pancham, ramachandra etc. were not music directors and they did not know music. Remember the comments by some musicians here Mr. Surajit Bose, Mr. Khan etc. similar views were echoed by most of them, in fact no rafi fan has been able to give a single reply to any of the posts of Mr. Khan as none was capable of replying to him.

  49. 1999
    Bhattacharya Says:

    Post 1981 – Mr. Ajay

    I fully agree with your post and the links to the songs after hearing them. What a beautiful renditions ? Please see my previous post, your post will get the right edge.

  50. 2000
    common man Says:

    kishorepremi: thanks so much for sharing gems – many that i have not heard of. i am embarassed to say that until your post i had not heard “Mere deewanepan ki”. Excellent song. I will reply in greater detail to this when I get a chance. This is the kind of discussion I want to have.

    Raj: I have heard those “facts” many many times over. I’ll give you another “fact”. The following is a quote from Salil Choudhury in an article mostly devoted to him praising (rightfully so) Kishore Kumar: “There is no doubt that Kishore possessed an exceptional voice. But
    voice alone is not everything. I have to say that if Kishore had classical training he would have been a different Kishore. Not only by
    popularity, but also by the yard stick of qualitative merit of singing Kishore could have reached the place occupied by Rafi.”

    The rest of the article is here: http://groups.google.com/group/rec.music.indian.misc/browse_thread/thread/2c52c398cbea470/248f80024645c60c?hl=en&lnk=st&q=There+is+no+doubt+that+Kishore+possessed+an+exceptional+voice.+But#248f80024645c60c

    contrary to your comments, Salil held Rafi in the highest esteem. But this isn’t really important.

    As for Raju Bharatan, you don’t have to agree with me, but I ignore him. I think he’s dishonest, he exaggerates, and he does those things to sell his latest book because he knows that controversy sells. He’s very experienced but I regret that I cannot trust him. And I don’t say this because he puts Rafi in negative light (I’m quite tolerant of that) it is just that he has been proven to be wrong before. For example, it was SD Burman who picked Kishore for Aradhana. It was SD Burman who rehearsed the songs with Kishore. You wouldn’t know that with Raju.

    Finally, as for opinions. I respect these luminaries. When it comes to facts about their music or their experiences, they are the ultimate authority. As for opinion – they are human like anyone else. For example, C. Ramachandra also said in 1980 that Lata was no better than a tape recorder and that Rafi was so much better. I can’t take this seriously. Humans have their biases and flaws. RD Burman felt liked Kishore most – that’s great. But that’s not enough to come anywhere near in convincing me that Kishore is better. I prefer Shankar Jaikishan 🙂 SJ were so loyal that they still preferred Rafi overall in 1971 (when Jaikishan died). They responded to Kishore’s massive commercial euphoria but they still preferred Rafi (Shankar had composed that piano song in Lal Patthar for Rafi but the director wanted Kishore so Shankar changed the tune). But again, these are subjective opinions. They don’t prove who’s better. It can go both ways anyway. Even Salil Choudhury admitted his mistake in failing to appreciate Kishore (despite great songs with Kishore in the 50s). These guys are human beings.

    Anyway, from this point on, I want to discuss any songs. I welcome any songs that Kishore fans absolutely love and then I’ll see if Rafi has a song that’s comparable to it 🙂 That’s a great way to discover new gems from both sides.

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