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 Blog Comments to “An endless feud between the fans of Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar..”

  1. Abhisek says:

    Kishoreda is the all time greatest singer and genius,comic hero of India.

  2. Abhisek says:

  3. Abhisek says:

    Eternal Dreams to scout for singing talent every year Team

    (8 August 2002 5:00 pm)

    MUMBAI: Eternal Dreams, a media company promoted by Sapna Chaturvedi, is seeking to honour bards.

    And it is doing it in memory of India’s greatest singer ever, the eternal Kishore Kumar. The company, which has been slowly but surely working on turning around the Rathikant Basu promoted Tara Marathi and Bengali, has initiated the Kishore Kumar Award – which will honour two singing talents each year: one for established singers and the other for a new voice who can recreate the magic of the Maestro, Kishore Kumar.

    Some permanent members of the jury who will judge the entries include: Amit Kumar, Kishan Kumar of T Series, Ratan Jain of Venus, Kumar S Taurani of Tips, Ekta Kapoor of Balaji Telefilms, Praveen Shah of Time and music directors Dabboo Malik and Himesh Reshammiya. Apart from these, there will be other members who will be decided each year prior to the selections.

    Chaturvedi says Eternal Dreams will handle the winners’ careers for six months. “We hope to present the Indian music industry with some exceptional talents in the coming years,”she adds. The award was unveiled by film star Jeetendra at a musical extravaganza based on the songs of Kishoreda last weekend. Among the singers who turned up and crooned at no cost included Kumar Sanu, Vinod Rathod, Babul Supriyo, Shaan and Dabboo Malik. Making his debut on stage was Kishore Kumar’s youngest son Sumeet Kumar, who enthralled the audience with his promising performance.

    Balaji Telefilms chairman Jeetendra Kappor (extreme left) and Eternal Dreams MD Sapna Chaturvedi (extreme right) at the musical extravaganza last weekend

    The surprise discovery of the evening, however, was Pankaj Chaturvedi, a singer who wears two hats with the ease of a magician. Pankaj who evoked nostalgic memories of Kishoreda with the best of his memorable numbers is also the CEO of Baskin Robbins (South Asia), the largest international ice cream chain in India.

    The show, a tribute to Kishore Kumar, is to be aired on DD Metro and has the backing of Tide detergent, Dabur and Win 94.6 with Regent Hotels being the hospitality partner.


  4. Abhisek says:
    Look at this website,here it is clearly written that Kishore Kumar is the greatest singer of all times.

  5. Abhisek says:

    Undoubtedly Kishore Kumar is far ahead than Rafi.Zeenath,are you mad?Yesudas is like a dust in front of giant Kishoreda.

  6. P. Haldar says:

    Jayanta, I thought I’d leave this debate and do other things till I saw your post on “even mm using kk more” and thought I’d like you to point out a few facts. I know you are an aRDent fan and I read your loRD’s blog site from time to time out of curiosity. Let me tell you one thing: among all the sites I have seen, yours is the site that distorts facts the most. The basic premise of your discussion is how everyone from SD to MM to LP copied your loRD’s tunes. Why do you do this? What purpose does it serve? I don’t have any problems if you think RD and Kishore are the best; you are entitled to your own opinions. But why say MM used Rafi more? Which song are you talking about: Ek Muthi Aasman?

    The idiom that MM composed in is ghazal (gojol, as Bengalis would say) and he was the king. Forget Rafi and Lata, listen to his composition for Talat in Jahanara: Phir Wohi Sham Wohi Gam. This was in 1964 and Rafi was at his peak, but MM gave the song to Talat. When you get tired of listening to your loRD’s catchy songs, listen to this Talat gem and you will realize that RD, however talented he was, could never compose a ghazal like MM; the best he can offer is Hume tumse pyar kitna. And stop broadcasting to the world that your loRD composed Tumjo mil gaye ho; just because a few arrangers from RD’s stable played the music in that song does not mean it was composed by him. The problem with your loRD was that though he came in close proximity with Rafi at a young age (having ghost composed Sar jo zara takraya and having played the tabla in Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare), he never appreciated the dimensions Rafi could have added to his oeuvre.

    For Madan Mohan, the No. 1 male singer was Rafi. He, unlike LP, never buckled under pressure during the 70s. I’d go so far as to say that most of the gems that Rafi delivered in the post-Gambler era were composed by Madan Mohan. And guys like you keep distorting facts. I am listing just a few songs from the MM-Rafi combination below; listen to them and you’ll realize that your favourite composer-singer duo could never even come close to creating these (and I mean this kind of songs).

    1. Meri awaaz suno, pyar ka raaz suno
    2. Tumhari zulf ke saayen mein sham kar lunga
    3. Tujhe kya sunayoon main dilruba (adapted from Talat’s Yeh hawa yeh raat yeh chandni)
    4. Main ye soch kar
    5. Kar chale hum fiza
    6. Ek hassen sham ko dil mera kho gaya
    7. Tum jo mil gaye ho

    You could also try Jaidev’s Kabhi khud pe kabhi halat pe, Khayyam’s Jaane kya dhoondti rahati hai aankhe or Ravi’s Chaudvin ka chand ho. Then you will realize why even those who specialize in that genre, such as Jagjit Singh and Pankaj Udhas, let alone RD-Kishore, fall behind.

    The old man respected Khayyam and Madan Mohan, and that is why you see such beauties as Hum bekhudi mein tumke pukare (Jaidev helped him on this one), Kahin bekhayal hokar and Din dhal jaye. The truth is that your loRD will never be able to measure up to his dad, and part of that reason is his disdain for ROFI. I know this is a bitter pill for you to swallow.

  7. binu nair says:

    Mr Bapan: U use words like mad and donkey with whom you
    do not agree. Each one has his right to opinion.
    And each one know how to use better dirty words for persons such
    as you but due to ethics and decency – they the music lovers of
    class – wont use these.

    By the way which school did you go if at all and do you buy
    front row tickets for watching a movie since people with such
    vocabulary are found there..

    binu…. mumbai….

  8. binu nair says:

    In Kerala during my visits I found the following facts.

    a. K.J. YESUDAS IS THE NO one SINGER in Malayalam.

    b. Mohd Rafi – in hindi leads by over 90% for his class singing.
    there are Rafi pictures in most music lovers houses.
    c. KK has sung a malayalam number but he has very few

    binu nair

  9. A Singh says:

    KK and Rafi are two different personalities all together. They both are legends.

    KK intially was not very successfull as a singer in the 50s because the norm at that time adopted by most Music Composers for singers at the time was perfect Urdu pronounciation, range of operation on high musical notes, variation in voice. This was the era when Rafi and Manna Dey where holding the center stage in singing. The result which KK entered in different areas like acting, Comedy, music composition, writing apart from singing. It brought him in comparison every where, thought he can never be considered bad or sub standard in any one them.

    Plus another factor was the most singers were trained by some Pandit / Ustad. For example Mukesh got training under Pt Jaganath Prasad. This helped him in building good reputaion with music composers Anil Biswas & Salil Chaudhuri. This is were KK was a bit unfortunate.

    As an actor his co stars where always best Actresses like Madhu Bala, Nutan, Vijyantimala, Meena Kumari, etc. But since there were Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand & Raj Kapoor most of his works were over shadow.

    Similarly as a Comedian there were Johnny Walker, Mehmood, Om Prakash, etc who were specialists in their area. Keshto Mukherjee just did one silly act through out his career, but he is remembered for that till date.

    Same as music composer his compostions were brillant certainly superior that many C grade music composers of that time. He himself was not classically trained, but he certainly had a fair good knowledge of Raags. His composition “Koi Hamdam na Raha” is based on Raag Jhinjhoti.

    Because of these comparisions KK faced stiff competition everywhere, the result of which he was not able to charish mass appeal in any area as such. Most artists whether singers, MD, actors, comedians, etc they concentrated in one area knowing their limitations and putting extra efforts on there strong factors. 50s and 60s for the era of perfection & accuracy where only the best was perferred. This was not the case with KK in 50s and 60s.

    In late 60s and 70s KK concertrated only on singing, so one can see the results. Since KK charied mass appeal a singer in 70s his all previous achievements as an actor, comedian, film maker, director, music composer, song writer, etc. are looked upon as great quantities of a singer by history. That is what makes him a legend.

    A lot of credit goes to Dada Burman in shaping KK as per his body language knowing his limitations. Later it was carried forward by son Pancham. Dada Burman was responsibile for songs for couples involving leg pulling. In majority duets sung by KK and the female counter part, KK always steals the show. In order words Dada new the right musical notes to exploit KK of screen.

    A lot as been written on Rafi so no point in going in too much detail.

  10. Debjyoti says:

    Ask any common people and experts,99% will say that Kishoreda is the best.

  11. Debjyoti says:

    Yes unknown,I am sure.You can check it in orkut.Kishoreda is infinity times better and more popular than any other singer,including Rafi.

  12. zeenath says:

    most keralites like rafi songs than kksongs.most of us donot undstant hindi.but weapreciate hindi songs .whenever one speak abot kk he tends to compare him with rafi.when one speak about rafi he speak only about his magical voice and his special style of kerala there is a saying kks sound is coarse like the sound produced when a coconut shell is rubbed on a rock.this may be becose of the presence of kjdas and his sweet sound inkerala people so feel.i think kjdas better than kk

  13. jayanta says:

    RDB had a hand in kk’s success, along with SDB..sdb used to give kishore a lot of his renditions during the early 50’s..butnot quite frequently during the late 50’s and ealry 60’s..after that he used kk more often!..
    rafi was the prime singer and singer in demand in fact to be called the best in the buisness during the 60’s..but after aradhana it was kisorw who rose to the top..and in the 70’s..he was used more by most mds!..even lp,mm etc etc who were loyal to rafi during the 60’s..turned towars kk due to the latter’s growing popularity…lp told that n an inetrview that they were forced to use kk during the70’s more as kk was the singerin demand then..and ppl wanted his songs..Ka also used kk moreoften during the 70s..and every one knows abt the rdb-kk combo which took the music industry by storm after aradhana..!..

  14. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Dear Messi, Salil Chowdhary made good songs I agree, but I said he was never on top like SJ, LP, KA and others…….. Rafi Saheb sang for him in Madhumati, Maya, etc….

  15. Hussein Sheikh says:

    This is Kishore Kumar’s site, but to my surprise, 90% praise Rafi Saheb in KK site!!! Rafi Saheb was far-far ahead of all singers including Lata Mangeshkar.

  16. Hussein Sheikh says:

    I live in Africa and people (negros) here love and admire Rafi Saheb’s songs.

  17. unknow says:

    Dear Debjyoti
    Kishoreda’s largest fan club in orkut has 68,000!!!!!!!!!!!! members while Rafi’s 10,000.!!!!!!!!This just shows what Kishoreda is.In fact,Kishoreda is the most popular singer,no other Indian!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!singer,are u sure?!!Do u know who is KK?!! only 68,000,Plz tell me when good music stared and when finished,as we know born in 1950’s was young in 1960’s was old in 1970’s and end in 1980 would u say why?Can u give RD best film?
    u r!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!??????????????????????

  18. Debjyoti says:

    Kishoreda is the greatest of all times.Check different people paying tribute to the genius.

  19. binu nair says:

    What is this ORKUT BUSINESS ?..
    Rafi saab lives in the hearts of millions of music lovers not in ORKUT.
    MORE, PLS MODERATE YOUR VOCABULARY as other writers can
    write better dirty words, I am sure. But they would not stoop down
    as they are educated and enlightened M U S I C lovers.

    binu nair

  20. Messi says:

    Dear Hussein Sheikh,

    You said Anil Biswas, C.Ramachandra, Salil Chowdhuri never reached the
    top and came down very fast that too because they prefered otehr not
    rafi ? come on, are you religiously blind ? They were legends by their
    own rights. There were other great singer at that time, they were happy
    with them so never tried with rafi. Don’t know about Anil Biswas and Rama
    but Salil had so many excellent tunes with Rafi. Remember Madhumati ?
    A lot more are there. Stop writing kiddish or biased statements.

    There are only 3 MDs who got the highest award from Sangeet Natak
    Academy and they are.

    1. Salil Chowdhuri, 2. Naushad, 3. S.D. Burman

    Mind you, Salil is there in the list and your comment is like he is not great.

    Shan Nawaz,

    Good to read your post. You think Sonu can sing in any pitch ? good joke.
    Tell me any difficult song he sang ? yes he is technically more talented
    than Udit, but he doesn’t have voice and melody.

    He lacks the melody when he sings in high pitch, and this is his biggest
    flaw. When he tries to sing in high pitch it seems it’s getting tough for
    him and the melody is no more. Do you feel such in Udit’s voice ? no
    not at all. All though Udit is not versatile or he is very monotonous but
    he is anyday better than Sonu. Another major disadvantage is ask Sonu
    to sing a sad song, you can feel what I am trying to say.

    Udit can sing in any pitch, and with ease. I don’t see that perfection
    and impact in sonu’s voice but both are talented but Sonu’s voice is
    no match to Udit’s. Only thing I like about Sonu is he can sing Rafi
    songs. Can copy Rafi with some percentage.

  21. binu nair says:

    Dear Prakash,

    U are r i g h t.

    Actually RAFI saab took a big holiday from the industry when
    he went for HAJ. During this period someone told rafi that
    singing in films is haram not religious and the innocent rafi
    believed it and went off to London to live with his sons.
    There rafi sons due to the pressures to sing sent RAFI saab
    By this time due to the vacuum created by rafi absence – Kishore
    Kumar came on back and this lasted for few years. Then Rafi saab
    came with a bang with Laila Majnu.
    R.D. BURMAN – would not have faded if he had balanced RAFI
    and Kishore like what S.D.BURMAN had done earlier to the two
    great talents.
    The arrival of Kishore Kumar meant more variety and we are richer
    musically – due to the great competition from two very talented
    s i n g e r s of our times….
    Lets enjoy the numbers of singers from 40s onwards. THEIR VOICES

    Lets enjoy these and desist from COMPARING OUR LEGENDS…

  22. myk says:

    P. Haldar,

    Thanks for your comments. Jaikishan was Rafi inclined but I am pretty sure Shankar loved Rafi as much. In an interview I had read from Shankar, the questioner asked why after the success Manna had with SJ was he slowly eased out of SJ’s recording room in favour of Rafi. Shankar responded by saying that it wasn’t anything to do with easing out Manna, it was just that Rafi was miles ahead of him as a singer. On the other hand, Jai also composed for Mukesh as well, SJ made use of a variety of singers but Rafi was their ace.

    Coming to RDB, as you said, he most probably wanted to be different, so he didn’t use Rafi saab as much. By 1980, Rafi was indeed singing a lot and had hits everywhere, and you are right, we might never know the amount of songs RD would have composed for Rafi in the 80’s. At that time, RD started taking Rafi more for not only films in general but big-budget movies as well.

    Please keep on writing, your comments are very interesting and nice

    What are your other views on RD vis a vis Rafi ?. RDB’s decline started around the early 80’s, could Rafi have saved him from that had he been there ?.


    I had read one of your comments in another forum that “Zamane Ne Mare” and “Pyar Hai Ik Nishan” would feature in the Top 5 f RD, I agree with you, these two songs are both masterpieces from the RD-Rafi combo, they produced a lot of hits together.

    Another favourite of mine is “Aye Jaan-e-Wafa” from Chhalia, fantastic use of the guitar by Pancham, and Rafi’s singing is excellent.

    Please keep on writing as well, your views are also nice.

  23. P. Haldar says:

    Thanks everyone, especially the Kishore fans, for letting us share our thoughts freely on this website. Messi, don’t be upset when people compare the two; that’s bound to happen when you are considering the two greatest “playback” singers of all time. Do you know of any other pair in the music industry (e.g., Lata-Asha, RD-LP, Sahir-Majrooh) who is compared this often and that with so much passion? It just adds that extra glitter to tha aura of these two legends.

    Here’s a parting thought. Dear Kishore fans, please listen to the 1958 duet Rafi sang with Asha in Kala Pani: Aachha ji main haar gaya maan jao na. Nothing extraordinary about the song, but take note of Rafi’s nuances for Dev in that song. Fast forward to Teen Deviyan (1965) and listen to Kishore’s Aare yaar meri tum bhi ho gazab; you’ll see how Kishore very intelligently adapted (not copied) Rafi’s style in that song and in many other Dev songs.

    Rafi was a singer’s singer, someone whom Kishore, Manna, Talat and Mukesh adored; Yesudas, S. P. Balasubramaniam, and Udit Narayan idolized; and Mahendra Kapoor, Anwar, Shabbir Kumar, Mohd Aziz and Sonu Nigam emulated. So what if kids at Orkut and other websites don’t listen to Rafi? Rest assured that all their gurus used to listen to Rafi before going to sleep, so that they could go up a notch higher in the art of playback singing.

  24. usha L.G says:

    Excellent article but the debate is healthy restricted to few like Haldar,Sudip,Manish,Naresh,MYK,Praksh,Shaan,Messi,Narayanan.

  25. P.Narayanan says:

    Well done true music lovers especially the most knowledgeable Sudip,Manish,Haldar,Naresh Sharma,MYKand some others who has commented above very analytically.
    The great composers Shanker Jaikishen, S.D.Burman,Naushad,O.P.Nayyar,Roshan,Ravi,Madan Mohan and Laxmikant Pyarelal who had dominated the fabulous 50s and the swinging 60s used only the great Rafi Sahab for majority of the songs. Mind u those days films had 10 songs easily and the two stalwarts Rafi sahab n Lataji dominated the proceedings. In my opinion this period was the BEST IN PRODUCING EVERGREEN MELODIES BY THE ABOVE COMPOSERS WHERE RAFI SAHAB TOTALLY DOMINATED. Yes there was Mukeshji who confined to RK films and Kalyanji Anandji music, Manna da was good in classical character and few comedian filmed songs. Kishore da playbacked for Dev Anand and himself in the few films he had sung.
    Many of us are not aware that Shanker Jaikishen used Rafi Sahab for almost 364 films and LP for 373 films. Infact another surprise for me was that pre Aradhna SDB used Rafi Sahab for 90 films out of 120 films. Please elucidate these facts for me Sudip, Manish,Haldar.Myk and Naresh.
    Amongst Naushad, Madan Mohan, OPN it was also Rafi all the way. Now we know Roshan and Ravi the melodious composers picked up their best bet Rafi over Mukesh n Mahendra in that order ( As BR Chopra was close to Mahendra).
    Once again Rafi sahab came with a big bang in the 77-80 period thanks to Rafi Bakths like LP,Madan Mohan ( who stood by Rafi in Laila Majnu in 75).
    Yes the two good friends Rafi Sahab and Kishore da dominated this period but the melody or the songs of earlier magic was lacking as the music dynamics changed. The tastes of listeners changed drastically. This is my opinion and the two legends did their best to ring the charts under LP who dominated the proceedings followed by Rajesh Roshan,RDB,Bappi Lahiri and KA in that order.
    The blind fans Debojit and Bapan are ignorant of the facts and they repeat parrot like in the above blog. Also Kumar Sanu who is a clone had played Rafi Sahab song Tum Mujhe bula na paoge in the Jaimala program in radio in 1985. Abhijeet another clone always revered his favorite legends but also worships Rafi Sahab and had sung Shammi Kapoor songs in T series. Shaan loves Kishore da and Rafi Sahab equally. Simillarly budding singers like KK,Babul always learned from the two legends.
    Dear Messi, Udit Narayan had paid tribute to Rafi Sahab in Screen last year the copy which I have where he mentions that he belongs to Mohd Rafi School of Music.
    No wonder that todays most successful singers Udit and Sonu owe their success to the humble giant Rafi Sahab.
    The outlook survey where Rafi sahab songs were judged the best had Kumar Sanu,Abhijit along with Shankar Ehsan Loy, Javed,Khayyam,Mann da,Annu Malik etc….
    Do I Have to say anymore ?

  26. Prakash Shah says:

    Both Rafi and kk were great individually.
    it is foolishness to compare different personalities , both are unparrereled. Right from beginning till year 2000 film industries ruled by financier and disttributors .Producer directors were puppet infront of financers and they are directed according to film distributors/financiars to sale theire forth coming.and to keep financer happy producer fix according to theire choice that who will be singer /even cast/md etc etc according to salebility of them. Before aradhana kk sang mostly for comedians ,jokers,and second leading hero .only dev /sd/rd/had given him chance in navketan that also Rafi as aregular , .thats why kk started his own production house to exploit himself.;and produced beautyful film like doo gagan ki chhao main etc.It was adark period of kk but whenever he got chance he pearformed well.
    B’for aradhana in his own starrer or else like” pyarkiye jaa,jwelve thief,rangoli,teen deviyan,ek muthi aasman,bhoot bangla” etc etc.he did good.
    ok ! After aaradhna Rajesh khanna become super star who was earlier signed by Navrang studio (andheri) being run by shakti samanta,pramod chakraborty,ramanand sagar, prakash etc etc so every producer of navrang strted announcing theire forth coming with RK as rk was being paid by them since long and rk started recomending producer and director to signed kk as his singer.and that way kk came full fledgly in to market and it is good that we are getting chance to hear both legend.
    rest on you to believe it or not but one thing is important dont waste time in wrong issue debate ,as per hindu philosophy wait and watch theire reincernation…. till then listen and valued them what they left for us.

  27. Messi says:

    Oops !!! I can’t help it man. Naresh Kumar Sharma ji, I loved what you said.
    A perfect analysis and good article. But I can’t stop them from writing such bad
    posts, even you have posted that message, they keep writing the same thing.

    I feel sorry. You are right what you said. But they won’t understand, they will be
    doing what they have been doing. See the analysis, aisa lagta hai
    uchi makan phika pakwan. Log kya kya baatein kar rahe hain. Inka ye style thik nahi
    tha. Kishore is better, Rafi is the best. ye gaana rafi se behtar kishore ne gaya.
    aur to aur chhookar mere man ko, ye gaane mein kishore ka voice thik nahi tha
    matlab not in true voice. bade logon ke bade bade baatein.

    jitni zyada analysis utni hee pakav analysis. Log aadat se majboor hai, nahi sudhrenge.

    Thank you naresh kumar ji for such a nice comment.

  28. nazeer says:

    to me it is RAFI KJ JESUDAS KISHORE KUMAR (1 2 3)

  29. Sudip says:

    To me, the RD-Kishore association was a win-win. Because Rafi was so consistent and almost “boringly” perfect with all the music directors, that the only way RDB could create a differentiator with other music directors of that time was through a new voice. Kishore offered that perfectly. What hurt Rafi however was that RD did not use him even for classical numbers during the period, most of them going to either Manna or Bhupinder.

    Continuing on P. Haldar’s reasonling of Kishore’s success from simplicity, I sincerely doubt if Hamen tumse pyar kitna would have been as big a hit had Rafi sung it. First of all, had rafi sung it, RD would have retained the strains of the female version in the male version as well (he was forced to simplify the male version at Kishore’s failure to render the classical version), and Rafi would have matched Parveen Sultana in every note. Such a classical number might not have been as big a hit.

    As far as RDB is concerned, he did produce a lot of hits with Rafi- Caravan , The Train, , Teesri Manzil, Yadon Ki Baraat, Abhilasha, Pyar Ka Mausam, HKKN, Shaan, Abdullah being the salient ones. But my favorite numbers are: Zamane ne marey (Baharon Ki Sapne) and Pyar Hai Ik Nishan Qadmon Ka (Mukti), the former being from the pre-Aradhana period and the latter from the post-HKKN period. The former one also had Rajesh Khanna in the main lead. It is a superb song, to that fact it is ironical that the RDB-Rajesh Khanna combo brought about the end to Rafi’s monopoly
    in male playbck singing.

  30. binu nair says:

    Mr. Halder saab:

    COMMENTS in the above articles. Please keep it up…. and if
    possible please contact me on :

  31. binu nair says:

    I am fully with Mr Halder when he says that some some of the
    songs Kishore sung could have been different – become classics
    like Hum Bekhudi me tumko… if RAFI HAD sung it. What about a
    RAFI version of Chingari koi badhke – for a variety and a
    comparative purpose..

    KK is a great singer but he had great limitations. R.D.Burman another
    great talent under utilised Mohd Rafi for some reasons – and paid
    a price for it.

    The point I wish to state is that music lovers lost good songs from
    the R.D-RAFI stable.. in the seventies…

    binu nair…

  32. Shaan says:

    Hey guyzz..Dont Compare Rafi with Kishore…Hey How cruel to do so..

    Rafi is the greatest of all….

    i stick to comment of ‘irony81’ did on may 12th…its just like comparing sachin to afridi…

    Rafi came from a very poor family in Punjab…every one knows how he raised up…

    Y kishore can’t train the music..does not he has money to give dakshina to his funny…..

    Dear Bengali Bors and sisters Kishoreda is from ur place everyone love the fame from theirown place but dont keep hide the truth..the same happened to Saurav’s case…
    If So I Must stick and Compare Legend YesuDAS to Rafi Saheb…as am from kerala….The number of National awards he recieved is itself pove that …But He itself said and says about Rafi that ” Rafi saab was my guru in the heart. his songs guided me to the path of music..”

    Any hard song he make easier…that’s the talent..

    Every year the small,hindi less used state like kerala conduct Rafis memmorial programs,concerts every districts even…pple will shock,that much Rafi is to southindians…so no need to ask about northies.

    This is my experience when i went to Russia ,I asked a Guy there who all u knw in india, he said ” I know Amit ( meant Bachan),I know Khan (He meant Sharukh), I know Mohammed Rafi ”
    that’s what he is ….

    Am TRAINED IN karnatic and hindustani …i knw abt something abt music…So Rafi is Rafi ….No one can near to him..sometimes Sonu nigam is better than Kishore Kumar …

  33. myk says:

    I mentioned Bhupinder for Aandhi earlier, a typo, it was Kishore-based, but Rafi could have been used along with Kishore in films such as Amar Prem, Khushboo, Mehbooba etc. This is not to say that KK did not do a good job, he did very well in the songs from these films.

    Whenever RD composed for Gulzar, there was something unique about it, however the only great song Rafi sang for this combo is “Jab Ek Kaza” from Devta. The other Rafi songs from Aandhi, Ghar etc. are just average IMO if you compare them to the KK songs from the same films.

  34. Debjyoti says:

    Kishoreda’s largest fan club in orkut has 68,000 members while Rafi’s 10,000.This just shows what Kishoreda is.In fact,Kishoreda is the most popular singer,no other Indian singer has more fans than Kishoreda in orkut.People of every age,status prefer Kishoreda.In orkut,even Shaan,Sonu,Hariharan and Balasubramaniyam has more fans than Rafi.

  35. Debjyoti says:

    Kishoreda is the grtest singer of all times.

  36. Debjyoti says:

    Kishoreda is just way ahead than Rafi as a singer.That’s it.

  37. Shah Nawaz says:

    Dear Mr.Messy ….( This is to Messy )

    How Udit become far better singer than Sonu nigam..Udit has a unique mellow voice and stlye i commit…But sonu nigam is something different..technically perfect and can go to any pitch..his Voice is just take us to anywhere…Sonu can sing udit’s song easily…but is udit can sing any difficult song of sonu to that rhythm…? tell me honestly..the one like ‘Mere rang de’, like ‘Kismat se tum’, like ‘sathiya’, ……
    I like Udit very much..cant forget the his song like ‘pehla nasha’..some time KK sing beutifully than Udit…but as a perfect singer i will point out Sonu Nigam ……..

  38. P. Haldar says:

    Hi myk, I discussed issues related to the RD-Rafi combo in my previous email. But I think you are more interested in knowing why RD didn’t use Rafi a little more. Honestly, I don’t know what the correct answer is, but I don’t think it was out of malice, given that RD was a genuinely nice soul. If you force me to give me an answer, I would say that RD wanted to break away from his father’s shadow, and what better way than to sideline Rafi? Trendsetters do things that go against the run-of-the-mill thinking, and if you consider that group of MDs, the top ones were SJ, OP, SD and RD. All of them did things that were pretty unconventional.

    There is another hypothesis that you could mull on. It is not founded on any evidence, but I just have that sneaking suspicion that at the back of his mind RD knew that if Rafi came back on top, LP could give him hell with their favourite weapon. That is exactly what happened after HKHN; LP started giving the entire score of a film (e.g., Sargam) to Rafi, which meant that RD had to follow suit. Record songs with Rafi and have jalebi and halwa at Rafi’s favourite sweet shop thereafter.

    After Rafi died, Nitin Mukesh told an interviewer that the rate at which Rafi was signing songs in 1980 would keep singers like him waiting for years. God only knows how many of those songs would have been composed by RD. Rafi’s death affected LP the most, but they somehow managed to adjust, while after Kishore’s death, RD was gone.

    As for SJ, you can easily identify who among the two composed a tune by looking at the lyricist. Barring a few instances, if it is Shailendra it is Shankar, and if it is Hasrat it is Jaikishan. Both extraordinary talents, with the former more inclined toward Mukesh and Manna, and the latter toward Rafi. As for the female singer, Lata was their one and only choice, till Sharda came to the scene and knocked the hyphen off the duo. When Rafi and Lata fought, contrary to the lies spread by the media (especially the Raju Bharatan kind) that Rafi was hurt more, SJ happily used Suman Kalyanpur with Rafi, SD used Asha with Rafi (though Gaata rahen might have gone to Rafi if they had patched up before), and even Naushad and Madan Mohan had to be content with Asha. The only music directors who did some balancing were LP and KA, who most probably would have given fewer duets to Mukesh and Mahendra Kapoor had the titan and the titaness nor quarrelled.

  39. myk says:

    Besides the Burmans who really backed Kishore, the other MD’s Kishore sang for quite a bit were LP, Bappi Lahiri, Rajesh Roshan, and KA. LP and KK combined for quite a few songs between 80-87 when Rafi had passed away. For Rafi, the MD list is endless.

    Yes, I fully agree RD missed out big on using Rafi. Rafi sang about 120 odd songs compared to the almost 600 that Kishore sang for the Junior Burman. I don’t think that was justice to Rafi’s talent. RD hardly paid attention to Rafi for his classical based themes as well. There are ofcourse the qawwalis, but in films like Kinara, Aandhi, Parichay etc. he chose Bhupinder instead, not to say Bhupinder didn’t do a good job, its just that the Rafi effect would have been different.

  40. myk says:

    I forgot to mention, that both S & J also did think highly of RDB. Satish Wagle the producer of ‘Namak Haram’ (and one of Jai’s close friends) wanted Shankar to do the score that film, after Jai passed away, but Shankar insisted he give the film to RDB because RD was talented and coming up as an MD.

  41. myk says:

    This analysis here is interesting. Both Rafi and KK were great singers, but I am with P. Haldar and Sudip on this one, Rafi was indeed a phenomenon, but this is not to degrade other singers in any way possible. KK was also a genuine talent, and had his own unique style.

    P. Haldar, you read my mind about SJ. I have always wondered what if Jai were alive, how the situation would have been different. SJ officialy broke up after Sangam, in fact they composed seperately right from the 50’s, however they used to work on eachothers songs together, give inputs etc. It was only after Sangam that they actually composed seperately for different banners but also coming together for projects. However both were inclined towards Rafi, and they both composed beauties for him.

    The interesting part is that after Jai passed away, most of the SJ banners went to RDB. Contrary to popular belief, SJ were not finished by 1970, they had many big banners signed for future films with all the big filmmakers and producers and with one single stroke it all broke down and Shankar had to pick up the pieces by himself with all those banners gone. Had Jai lived, I think the situation would have been different. Mind you, KK would still have gotten his time to shine in the early to mid seventies, but with a different scenario. As we know it, it was a battle between RD, LP, KA and even SD on the charts with others following suit, with contributions here and there. Out of the four it was the Burmans mostly towards KK, also using Rafi, LP was to Rafi but also using KK, and KA struck a balance. Had Jai been alive, he would have probably used KK but Rafi would have definitely there as well, most likely even more. The top song of 1971 was Jai’s Zindagi Ek Safar by KK, he passed away way too young, in fact at the age of just 39, he still had a lot in him, and Shankar would have not gone out the way he did had Jai lived. RDB also had immense regard for Jai, he was influenced by his jazz compositions and by his talent, Jai taught Kalyanji balancing and mixing in the studios and ofcourse Laxmikant was a huge Jai fan, just like Rafi was a phenomenon so were SJ, and for me particularly Jai, no one could compose romantic songs the way he could. He was the complete composer by all standards.

    Secondly, the Bengali topic gets out of hand sometimes, I know of a huge lot of Bengali’s who are Rafi fans. It is the media who has created the impression that the majority of Bengali’s don’t like Rafi and like KK because he was Bengali, this is utter nonesense and crap (mind the language), I hope people do not believe such idiotic statements.

    Another interesting point is that although we here of RD-KK, RD-Rafi has been underappreciated. I acknowledge RD as a trendsetter, he was a very talented musician even though he looked to inspirations from the West quite a bit, I wish he had used Rafi a bit more. But he did use Rafi for many great songs, and was his second most used singer for most of his career. If you look at RD’s memorable songs from the 70’s and early 80’s. it will have Rafi right there, that is where the irony lies. Take Churaliya Hai Tumne, Maine Poocha (which was a whopper Rafi hit when released), Kya Hua Tera, one of his finest from the 70’s, Gulaabi Aankhen etc. Rafi is right there. RD’s best albums contain Rafi, and after HKSKN RD could never achieve the same success until 1942 ALS. Yes, he did have a soft spot for KK and that is understandable. It is popular belief that RD didn’t compose for Rafi after Aradhana, which is again false, in fact he was right there until 1972. RD composed for many low-budget films and in those films there are many hidden gems by all singers including Rafi and the early 70’s was RD’s most creative period. From about 73-76 we have Rafi making choice appearances, some attribute this to RD looking at Rafi from only a meledious angle, yet they were nice songs, and then 76 onwards he returns more frequently. We did miss out on the RD-Rafi magic, most of the 80’s.

    I also agree with Sudip, Rafi would feature in any category of singing, its not a fair comparison for Rafi to be matched against any singer. Also Rafi would feature in many MD’s top list, whereas for KK it is mostly the Burmans, as pointed out followed by others. But this does NOT take anything away from KK being a great singer in his own right.

    P. Haldar and Sudip, I am interested in knowing your views on RDB vis a vis Rafi, what is your take on this combination.

  42. P. Haldar says:

    I’d urge some of the RAFIans to cool down a bit on their anti-Bengali rhetoric. Imagine film music without the likes of Pankaj Mullick, Raichand Boral, Anil Biswas, K. C. Dey, S. D. Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Hemant Kumar, Manna Dey, Geeta Dutt, R. D. Burman and Kishore Kumar. And there are so many others — Runa Laila, Arati Mukherji, Bappi Lahiri, Kumar Sanu — to name only a few.

    The day after Rafi died, AIR Calcutta invited Raichand Boral, one of the stalwarts of New Theatres and Bombay Talkies, to say a few words. This is what I recollect about what he said. Boral was composing a song in the kirtan style (a Bengali devotional form of singing) and he was a little apprehensive about a Punjabi Muslim being able to do full justice to the song. If Rafi was not up to the mark, he thought he would get Bengal’s own Dhananjoy Bhattacharyya to sing the kirtan. Anyway, Rafi was summoned to the rehearsal room. After a couple of rehearsals, Rafi requested Boral to give him a few minutes of free time. During that time, Boral recalled, Rafi went to one corner of the room, did his namaz, and came back for the final take. Boral was simply floored when he heard the final version.

    K. C. Dey, the famous blind singer of Bengal and Manna Dey’s uncle, also used to love Rafi. Manna Dey, in his autobiography (Jeeboner jolsaghore), narrates how his uncle used to make him sing a composition several times and then ask him to call Rafi to pick up the tune. SD used to do the same. Salil, contrary to public opinion, did not dislike Rafi; in fact, he held him in high esteem. Salil’s centerpiece was Lata and his surrounding cast included Mukesh, Talat and Hemant. Salil was brilliant, but not an allrounder in the SD or SJ sense. Even if he had used Rafi more, I don’t think it would have elevated him to a higher level. His tunes were ideal for Mukesh and Talat.

    The Bengali MD who missed out big time on Rafi was RD. Here was a composer with so much raw talent and with such a great understanding of orchestration (SJ, Salil and OP were also excellent in orchestration). But somehow he kept Rafi at a distance. And Chhote Nawab could compose in so many idioms — rock ‘n roll, classical, folk, soft romantic, etc. Yet, except in the 60s when he had no choice and in the late 70’s during Rafi’s second coming, he totally disregarded Rafi. Take Mere Nain Sawan Bhadon; where was the need to use Kishore for that song? Kishore fans, please don’t get upset; Kishore himself lists that song in his top 10 list, but you know what I mean? Or take Hume tumse pyar kitna (I’m not 100% sure whether Rafi was alive at the time). These songs are not Kishore’s forte. But the real missed opportunity was Badi sooni sooni re from Mili; it was an SD composition but the story is that because of Dada’s ill health, RD did the final recording. If SD were calling the shots, I can’t be fully sure if he would have used Rafi, given that by that time his loyalties were shifting Kishore-ward, but can you imagine the effect had Rafi sung the song? Probably another Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye! Incidentally, Kishore lists this song also in his top 10.

    On the other side of the coin, let’s look at an example of a song that Kishore could have done full justice to. Rafi actually playbacked for Kishore in this song: Ajab hai dastan teri hai zindagi in the film Shararat. SJ were the composers. Think about the tune; Kishore could have sung this song easily and effectively in his unique, straight voice. But we need to admire Kishore for giving the song to Rafi without a fuss. The effect? Any less? I’ll let you decide.

  43. Sudip says:

    Correcting the typos, etc:
    SJ’s overuse of Rafi was not necessarily in terms of percentage of songs..But to me in lot of films SJ put a whole cocktail of songs..I do not know if it was an SJ thing or the director’s discretion, but it is a fact that most films where SJ scored the music had a lot of songs. We come to know about the good ones, we never care about the others that never hit the charts. Take Janwar, Budtameez and Yakeen, for example. They had lot of numbers beyond the popular one. Moreover SJ mostly gave high pitch compositions to Rafi (because he could do justice to them)..But this also meant a higher burn out/overuse for Rafi for unnecessary reasons.

    LP did try to go against the RD-Kishore wave, but as I said before, producers and, to some extent actors, were so keen on riding the tide that LP also succumbed. Take 1972 for example. Kishore was in his peak form, producing hits after hits. LP used Rafi in Ek Nazar, Gora Aur Kala, Roop tera mastana, etc. If you listen to the songs you will find that qualitatively they are no less, if not better than some of the songs produced during the period. Ek Nazar, to me produced the best Amitabh Bacchan duet till date (Patta patta boota boota), but there were few takers. Roop Tera Mastana produced the most sensuous and seductive song of the period (Haseen dilruba), but it did not figure among top Jeetendra hits of the time.

    Between 1971 and 1975 Kishore gave one hit after another, largely backed by the younger Burman et al. No other singer (with the exception of Kumar Sanu between 1990 and 1995-not joking, btw) in the history of Hindi movie did produce such a phenomenon in a 5 year period. Rafi’s supremacy was spread over a period-it was consistent, not a spike.

  44. Sudip says:

    SJ’s overuse of Rafi was not necessarily in terms of percentage of songs..But to me in lot of films SJ put a whole cocktail songs..I do not know if it was an SJ thing or the director’s discretion, but it is a fact that most films where SJ scored the music had a lot of songs. We come to know about the good ones, we never care about the others that never hit the charts. Take Janwar, Budtameez and Yakeen, for example. They had lot of numbers beyond the popular one. Moreover SJ mostly gave high pitch compositions to Rafi (because he could do justice to them)..But this also meant a higher burn out/overuse for Rafi for unnecessary reasons.

    LP did try to go against the RD-Kishore wave, but as I said before producers and to some extent, actors were so keen on riding the tide that they also succumbed. Take 1972 for example, Kishore was in his peak form, producing hits after hits. LP used Rafi in Ek Nazar, Gora Aur Kala, Roop tera mastana, etc. If you listen to the songs you will find that qualitatively they are no less, if not better than some of the songs produced during the period. Ek Nazar, to me produced the best Amitabh Bacchan duet till date (Patta patta boota boota), but there were few takers. Roop Tera Mastana produced the most sensuous and seductive song of the period (Haseen dilruba), but it did not figure among top Jeetendra hits of the time.

    Between 1971 and 1975 Kishore gave one hit after another, largely backed by the younger Burman et al. No other singer (with the exception of Kumar Sanu between 1990 and 1995-not joking, btw) in the history of Hindi movie did produce such a phenomenon in a 5 year period. Rafi’s supremacy was spread over a period-it was consistent, not a spike.

  45. unknow says:

    Dear sir,
    I agree that KK was a good singer and great actor but i don’t agree that he was at top from 1970 to 1987 becaue in 1970’s there was many new singer because Mohd Rafi went to world tour the MD was looking to some one new to sing Mohd Rafi songs one of them is Anwar.about the top as I think there is one name at the top until today.
    Name like Naushand,RAVI,O P Nayar LP they beleave that there music was hit because of Mohd Rafi and we same something else Do we know how great these people are in music world?

  46. Mind you Rafians and Kishore Da fans (espocially Mr. Bapan)

    I am sorry to read the the comments of fans of two greates ever singers in the history of film music in so far as male playback singers are concerned. It is really unfortunate that one of the Kishore Da’s Fans (Mr. Bapan) holds Kishore Da infinite times better than Rafi Saab while Rafi fans hold Rafi Saab as the best ever singer.

    Both Rafi Saab and Kishore Da were/are/will always be legends of legends. All the readers will be surprised to know that despite belonging to the same field/arena of work, both the singers were great friends and had great respect for each others work/talent. Even when both were on top of the film music (Rafi Saab reportedly during 1950-1969 and Kishore Kumar reportedly 1970-1987), they refrained from saying anything bad for each other. It is only the fan fallowing of both the singers during their life time or after they are no which has for the sake of satisfying their ego or seeing their favourite singer as the best assessed singer have tried to degrade the work/rendition of other singer. Fan followings of both the singers has nor been analytic in the approach. The approach should be to praise the good works of both the singers. Rather they have adopted the practice of belittling the work/renditions of other singer in order to get their favourite the first position in the film music. They have forgotten that both Rafi Saab and Kishore Da not only were greatest ever singer but also were great human beings. Once when a film personality in the recording room of R.D. Burman tried to appease Kishore Kumar at the cost of degrading Rafi Saab, Kishore Kumar replied immediately that he himself is also a great Rafi fan and he knew how it is difficult to maintain oneself at the peak of film music for the long 20 years. Likewise, Rafi Saab had great respect for Kishore Kumar’s natural talent as a singer/actor. According to Mr. Zahir (Rafi Saab’s Brother-in-law and Secretary), whenever Rafi Saab had to sing with Kishore Da, he would say that he would laugh the whole day. Not only this, whenever Rafi Saab came across any good composition from any of his colleagues (be it Kishore Da), he would congratulate him/her/them over phone. After the release of ‘Aradhana’, when Kishore Da assumed the top position in the film music, Rafi Saab in an interview replied in response to a question that now he was getting less work that-” it is good that he would do only the selected songs and Kishore Kumar is singing very well”.

    Both the singers, Rafi Saab and Kishore Da have rendered many songs which no other singer can sing to that perfection. If Rafi Saab is Tansen in the film music, Kishore Kumar is Baiju Bawra and Manna Dey is Guru Hari Das. However, this does not mean that as Baiju Bawra defeated Tansen in the music battle as per mythology, Kishore Kumar is better than Rafi Saab. Likewise, claiming Rafi to be the better singer than Kishore Kumar at the cost of maligning the work of Kishore Kumar by the Rafians is not right. We (both the fans of Rafi Saab and Kishore Da) should give full respect to both the singers keeping in view the fact that both the singers had great respect for each other and each others work/talent/rendition because only that way we would be respecting our respective favourite singers.


  47. Sudip says:

    Very insightful and almost ditto with my own analysis..I think the best example of Rafi’s innovations under the SJ banner is “Main kahin Kavi na ban jayoo” (Pyar hi Pyar). The antaras are sung with subtle variations, almost to an intoxicating degree. In the last antara, “Yeh jhooki jhooki nigahen” has been sung such that one can feel the eyelids drooping. Everytime I listen to this line, I get amazed to almost magical proportions. Following closely would be “Tauba tauba” in “Main Nigahen Teri Chehre Se” (App Ki Parchhaiyan)

    The love for a particular type of song (which Mr Haldar bracketted as “Kishore genre”) drives most KK fans towards KK. And I think they are perfectly entitled to their opinion. Most KK fans like Rafi’s “Wadiyaan Mera daman” and the truth is I thought it is just an Okay song.. It has nothing to do with Rafi, I think it is just a flat, easy song belonging to the Kishore genre. RD could have well gone with KK for that one. I wouldn’t care less.

    One Kishore song that I think never reached the popularity it deserved was “Bahut Khubsurat jawa ek ladki” (Dostana)..I think it was very well sung on a great composition.

    The place where I differ with Haldar is that I never liked KK’s singing in “Chookar Mere manko”. I know I run the risk of being a minority (if not being single), but I think the song was sung in falsetto and not in true voice. If Rajesh Roshan was indeed looking for a mellowed voice he could have gone for lot of singers including our very own R..There is no point hiding true voice for falsetto.

  48. Manish says:

    Actually, my question was addressed to both P Haldar and Sudip about where they post.

  49. Manish says:

    Oh yeah, sorry, one more question.

    Can you guys give me examples where Rafi seemed over used or the song was boring (esp Jaikishan songs!). It’d still be good I’m sure, just not the usual SJ or Rafi standards! But I’m curious…I’d like to see the sun not be so bright…if that is possible 🙂

  50. Manish says:

    Glad to hear that Jaikishan was on Rafi’s side. I always liked Jaikishan over Shankar! Yeah, I had wondered what’d happen if Jaikishan had been around. Nevertheless, you forgot (of course you knew) to mention that LP was competition to RDB in the 70s. Sudip, where do you post? I recall a few years back people marvelled on your great knowledge of music. I certainly do. Thanks for your informative posts.

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