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Rafi’s Lost Link

Mumbai, 17 Nov In the ‘Melodiana’ dated November 3, I explored the theme of how papa S D Burman was an inspiration to RD Burman. R D, interestingly, never did care for Mohammed Rafi. But SD did. In fact, such was the aura of Rafi (on our top stars through the mid ’50s) that Dada […]

Mumbai, 17 Nov In the ‘Melodiana’ dated November 3, I explored the theme of how papa S D Burman was an inspiration to RD Burman. R D, interestingly, never did care for Mohammed Rafi. But SD did. In fact, such was the aura of Rafi (on our top stars through the mid ’50s) that Dada Burman was left with no go but to alternate Rafi with Kishore Kumar, even on Dev Anand, in Nau Do Gyarah.‘Kali ke roop mein chali ho dhoop mein kahaan’ (with Asha) as the duet to go on newlyweds Kalpana Kartik and Dev Anand, was Rafi’s first recording for Nau Do Gyarah, followed by ‘Aa jaa panchchi akela hai’. How, after that, Dada Burman turned Rafi into a song legend on Dev Anand, in Kala Pani, is a story in itself.

SD’s assistant those days was Jaidev, who had picked up the muezzin’s call for prayer as ‘Aal-erasool se jo Mussalma ho gaye’. As Jaidev was humming this, Dada sought to ‘borrow’ the tune! Jaidev asked Dada to go right ahead, arguing that the tune was not his in the first place. And Dada Burman cleverly turned ‘Aal-e-rasool se jo’ into ‘Hum bekhudi mein’! It was the Raag Chhayanat impact S D made via Rafi with this ‘Hum bekhudi mein’ classic that clinched, for Kala Pani, Dev
Anand’s first Filmfare Best Actor award in 1958.

On the same Dev Anand, playing Gambler a full 13 years later, which do you think was the first song recorded by S D Burman? It was Rafi’s ‘Mera man tera pyaasa’. In fact, Rafi’s very first take was okayed by Dada as “super”, as ‘Mera man tera’ came to be recorded at Famous Cine (near Mumbai’s Tardeo air-conditioned market).

Why then did Dada ease out Rafi after ‘Mera man tera’? I pose this query meaning no disrespect to the masterful way Kishore Kumar proceeded to sing the rest of the Gambler theme for Dada Burman and Dev Anand. My simple point here is: was there any valid reason for S D Burman to have begun eliminating Rafi from his repertoire, starting with Gambler (1971)?

In other words, did it necessarily have to be Kishore Kumar on Amitabh Bachchan after that, in Abhimaan, given the fact that the songs for this film were done before the Big B’s 1973 Zanjeer breakthrough?

Yet, after Rafi had exemplarily rendered (with Lata) ‘Teri bindiya re’ for Abhimaan, S D turned wholesale to Kishore for that film. With memorable vocal results, agreed, but had the end Rafi effect, till then (in the case of S D), been any less?

Let us turn to where it all began – with Aradhana, released early in 1970. Kishore Kumar (as the Voice of Rajesh Khanna here) just swept the tap-tapping audience off its feet. Yet was there anything amiss with Rafi’s rendition of ‘Baaghon mein bahaar hai’ (with Lata) and ‘Gunguna rahen hain bhanwre’ (with Asha) on the same Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana?

It will be argued that Kishore’s hour had arrived and Dada was content to sail with the ‘wave’. Yet, in the Dada film, Jyoti, released immediately after Aradhana, it was neither Kishore nor Rafi but Manna Dey who (with Lata) left an all-time S D stamp on our mindset with that dream duet picturised on Nivedita and Sanjeev Kumar: ‘Sochch ke yeh gagan jhoome, abhee chaand nikal aayega’.

In fact, in the Rajendra Kumar-Sharmila Tagore starrer, Talaash (on which S D had pinned his hopes after Aradhana), it was still Rafi all the way with Lata – ‘Palkon ke peechche se kya tum ne keh daala’ and ‘Aaj ko junali raat ma’. Indeed, on Dharmendra in S D’s Ishq Par Zor Nahin after Talaash, can you envision the ‘Mehbooba teree tasveer’ solo and the ‘Yeh dil deewana hai’ duet (with Lata) in any voice save that of Rafi.

True, you cannot evoke S D Burman’s ‘Aradhana coming’ without Kishore. But, in the process of his baton playing such a noteworthy innings with Kishore, was Dada Burman entirely to Rafi, who had helped raise him to a new peak in his ‘first coming’.

Let us stay with Dev Anand to savour afresh, from that vintage phase, Dada’s gems with Rafi: ‘Yehi to hai woh’ (Solvan Saal) and ‘Saathi na koyi manzil’ (Bambai Ka Babu), followed by those three Kala Bazar solos: ‘Teri dhoom har kaheen’, ‘Apnee to har aah ek toofan hai’ and ‘Khoya khoya chaand’ – not to mention ‘Rimjhim ke tarane le ke aayee barsaat’ with Geeta Dutt. Then, in Tere Ghar Ke Saamne on Dev, what about ‘Sun le tu dil ki sada’, ‘Dil ka bhanwar kare pukaar’ and ‘Tu kahaan yeh bataaa’?

The Rafi icing on the Dev cherry, of course, come in the Guide form of ‘Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain’, ‘Din dhal jaay haay raat na jaay’ and ‘Kya se kya ho gaya’. But here is where the Kishore takeover on S D, ironically, begins with the Pahadi strains of ‘Gaata rahe mera dil’…
(Source:Sajjad Qadar’s Collections)

One Response to “Rafi’s Lost Link”

  1. 1
    Bapan Says:

    Kishoreda is 1000 times better than Rafi.




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