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. P. Haldar says:


    Here’s an excerpt from an article Manna Dey wrote in Anandabazar Patrika after Naushad’s death. I met the great man after a concert last year and requested him to translate his autobiography from Bengali into English. Hope he does, so that the non-Bengali audience can know more about him and his opinions. You don’t have to buy the book; go to a book store and flip through the pages and see whose pictures appear the most other than his.

    “Once some of my acquaintances from Kannada Radio wanted to interview Naushad saab and they asked me for my help. Naushad saab immediately agreed to my request. But the condition was that I would have to go to his house and have lunch with him. When I went, I found that lavish arrangements had been made; Muslims are famous for their hospitality. We chatted for a long time. With a smile on his face, he said, ‘Everyone asks me, who is a greater singer? Mohammed Rafi or Manna Dey?’ I smiled and replied, “Why don’t you tell them Rafi is a much better singer? I say that myself. That’s what I believe in my mind.’

    I am saying it again, our and everyone’s favourite Rafi, India’s best male voice of all time, could transcend to a different level because of the magic in Naushad’s tunes. I do not have the words to express my gratitude and respect to Naushad for that.”

  2. arpita says:

    kishore da was the gr8est is the gr8est & will always b gr8 & this is the fact no matter what some people say & i cant understand if some people dont consider kishore da as great singer than what are they doing to this website This is only 4 kishore da fans

  3. Mast Mast says:

    Hussein bhai, you keep saying Bapan and some other guys are repeating themselves .. well you too are doing the same.

    Just a word for you. To them KK may be great as Rafi sahab is to you. Stop comparing the legends. They both have a special place in the hindi film music and we should accept them the way they are. Why is it that you guys can’t appreciate Rafi sahab without bringing in Kishore Kumar? Why is it not Mukesh, Manna Dey. They were no less than Kishore or others, right? If acc to you Rafi sahab is incomparable, then why are you bringing in Kishore Kumar at all? Does that make any sense to you?

    The article is more on the discussion about the feuds between the fans and not the legends.

  4. myk says:

    P. Haldar,

    I checked with a dear friend of mine who also a huge Rafi fan.

    The point that Rafi saab took a break from singing is authentic. It was after his Haj pilgrimage in 1971 where a maulvi told him that singing was ‘haram’ and he quit singing for that period of time, roughly 8 months. This was a crucial period and during the time he was out of town, the majority of songs went to KK.

    About your Bobby story, it is again true. Raj Kapoor wanted either Rafi or a new voice and Rafi could not record the songs because he was away. The songs were recorded sometime in 71, Bobby released in 72 or 73.

    As you pointed out, Main Shaayar To Nahin would have been wonders in Rafi’s voice.

    I would like to pose a question to Kishore fans as to why Raj Kapoor did not want to take Kishore for Bobby even when it was KK’s “peak” period ?.

  5. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Mast Mast, nothing special said by you…..

  6. myk says:

    As P. Haldar mentioned, I would like to Thank the members of this forum for allowing us to participate in heathy discussions about Rafi and Kishore.

    Adding some more, it took Kishore 2-3 years after Aradhana to take the top spot by himself. If you look at the Rafi-KK stats for the years 1970-1980, in 1970 and 71, Rafi has sung more songs than Kishore, so you could say from about 72-76 before Laila Majnu released, it was Kishore who ruled the roost. Rafi’s comeback to the charts is generally said to have started around 76-77. However here is an excerpt from Raju Bharatan’s recent article on Rafi:

    “Still Rafi, by dint of sheer effort, had staged a comeback without parallel in the annals of the industry. A comeback beginning with Usha Khanna’s award-winning Teri Galiyon Mein in Hawas (1974).”

    So according to RB, Rafi coming back started around 1974. Anyways, charts do not mean anything when talking about singing talent, and even though no male singer has had as much success on music charts as Rafi has, he was always a class apart as a singer.

    Also, Rafi and Kishore have sung almost the same number of songs in the 70’s which is something interesting indeed.

    I will mention one composer who I think after RDB took the best out of Kishore and that is Rajesh Roshan. Whenever Kishore sang for RR, I think he sounded different, more softer, their songs together are great from films such as Julie, Des Pardes, Swami etc. Junior Roshan was responsible for many of Kishore’s hits from the mid 70’s and onwards.

  7. Sudip says:

    In this entire thread till now, I have held back my criticism about Kishore and RD, while displaying my preference for Rafi.

    But here is something that I can’t pardon Kishore and RD for. To me, RD, Bappi and the likes with the aid of Kishore Kumar murdered Bengali songs for good. Bengali songs in the 1950s to mid-70’s represented the soft romanticism of the Bengali bhadralok played on screen by Uttam, Soumitra, Subhendu.. Songs used to be soft and strong on lyrics.. For the Bengalis out here, rewind to Uttam hits in Pothey Holo Deri, Sankhabela, Nayika Sangbad, Deya Neya, Antony Firingi, Stree or Chowringee…Or the Soumitra starred Sat pakey badha, Monihaar, Pratham Kadam Phool…The melodies were soft and mellowed, the focus was on lyrics and tune.. Voices of Manna, Hemanta, Shyamal, Satinath, Dhananjoy used to represent the dhoti-clad bengali bhadralok, depicting bengali romanticism and intellegentia..

    Then came Kishore Kiumar, backed by RD and Bappi..This was the worst import that could have ever hit Bengal from Bombay.. Most of the Bollywood hits were “bengalicized” without any care for regional nuances or culture. So we saw Kishore humming “He he ha ha ha” in Bengali numbers, tunes completely contrarian to the soft bhadralok personality.

    Things started going out of control in the 1980s. Towards the period of Kishore’s death we witnessed juvenile lyrics like “(H)E(Y) amar gurudakhina”, “Eparey thakbo ami” or “Tomar barir samney diyey amar moron yatra” delevered in the rough Kishore open-throated style. The real funeral procession (“moron yatra”) was that of Bengali songs.. It only hastened the arrival of Sanu, Abhijeet, Udit who polluted it beyond recovery..

    Bengali songs will never be the same..

  8. Sudip says:

    Any idea why RD used Rafi for Rajesh Khanna in “The Train”? Wasn’t it post-Aradhana?

  9. myk says:

    Also, Kishore’s dominating period was for pretty much four years either 71-75 or 72-76 however one wants to look at it.

  10. myk says:

    Btw, in my first paragraph I was referring to the Binaca List of 1971 vis a vis Rafi’s hits in those films.

  11. myk says:

    P. Haldar,

    Very great analysis, I always enjoy reading your write-ups and appreciate your great knowledge.

    Coming to the story about Haj, I have heard this from several sources, although it may not be true now that I have heard it from you. I find it hard to believe that Rafi who produced many hits in 70-71 could only have one or two songs on the Top list of Binaca at that time compared to the rest of KK’s scores. Do you know the reason for this ?. What happened to his songs from Caravan, Mela, The Train, Aap Aaye Bahar Aaye etc. during that time. I read in an interview of Shakti Samantha that they wanted Rafi for Kati Patang but he was out of town so all the numbers went to Kishore and one to Mukesh. You mentioned that this score was also a factor in Kishore’s upswing in the early 70’s.

    In regards to his comeback on the charts, in the years 77 (Pardah Hai Pardah), 78 (Aadmi Musafir), 80 (Dafli Wale) and 81 (Chal Mere Bhai), Rafi had the top song for those years. From 77-79 Kishore may have had more songs in general but it wasn’t by much, so in this sense BOTH shared the top slot. In 1980 and 81, Rafi matched Kishore in the number of songs but Rafi also passed away in the middle of 1980, as well as had more songs on the charts during certain periods, so it is clear that in terms of the number game, Rafi had gained his numero Uno slot back. Let me also bring back the point I mentioned earlier that I had interacted with listeners of the BGM at the time, that from 79-81 when Sargam released, it was Rafi everywhere, and indeed he was King, so in my view he re-gained his position of numero uno. His domination at that time is legendary now, only a man of his talent would have come back in such a way. The momentum was clearly on his side at the time, its sad that he passed away because the 80’s would have been a totally different story.

    Coming to the films, from 76 starting with Laila Majnu, and 77-80 whenever Rafi dominated films, they did well. Adding to that, you mentioned the big budget films were mostly Rafi dominated, and Rafi passed away at the time so he could not complete ZKDH. Another interesting story, RDB had originally recorded Dukh Sukh Ki from Kudrat with Chandrashekar Gadgil. However the distributors asked why there was no Rafi song in the film, and I believe them along with Goldie Anand wanted and persuaded RD to record the same song in Rafi’s voice, and his version (not retained in the album, only in the film) was used as the crowd puller.

    Rafi actually never left as you pointed out, he was very much there from 72-76, producing chartbusters, even with Junior Burman. His comeback is associated with his songs coming back more on to the charts but it does not mean he left or stopped singing as it may sound.

    You mentioned another great point, Rafi getting the majority of the album. Even a composer such as Rajesh Roshan delivered two knockout albums, Aap Ke Deewane and Unees Bees with Rafi in 1980. I love RR’s albums in his early days, he is a very talented musician and made great use of both Rafi and KK. Rafi vibed with him very well. What are your views on him as well as his combination with Rafi ?.

    LP became number one at the start of the decade, eventually displacing SJ, and they along with RD had a battle royale in the 70’s. Although both did great I feel in the late seventies LP broke away. RD’s best phase was in the early seventies IMO, that was when he was at his creative best and peak, a good number of his songs were for B-grade films which is sad considering the songs he produced for them. LP were always consistent throughout the decade, and in order to match RD at his game, they balanced both Rafi and KK. Once the late seventies came around it was back to Rafi more than KK and then Rafi was used to devestating effect by LP as you mentioned. After HKSKN (Rafi-based), RDB could never repeat the same success until 1942 ALS, and the 80’s was a tough time for him. Even though he still received big budget films in the late 70’s-80’s and produced great songs with both KK and Rafi. Rafi’s exit just made things worse, and I am sure if he was alive at the time it would have made a difference to RD. He did realise his blunder in not using Rafi more, and when he did, he couldn’t do it for that long due to Rafi’s passing away.

    The Bobby story is interesting, I have also heard that somewhere, Bobby by Rafi would have been amazing. An interesting point, the tune for Hum Tum Ek Kamre was composed by Jaikishan, RK had all of SJ’s practice tunes on tape and was free to use them with other composers. It is ironic though that Rafi later on became Rishi Kapoor’s voice, the two matched eachother perfectly.

    P. Haldar, when you contact Mr. Nair, please contact me as well, I have given Mr. Nair my email address, it would be great to be in touch with you.


    If you fail to acknowledge Rafi’s greatness in the 70’s then that is your wish, no one is forcing you to accept anything. Kishore’s dominating period was from 71-75, in which no male singer was as successful as him. You cannot compare that with the two decades that Rafi ruled previously. Add to this, Rafi also made a comeback on to the charts in supposedly Kishore’s era, which is in itself a great thing. Both Rafi and Mukesh won awards during this time, something no singer was hardly able to do in Rafi’s domination for two decades, so please judge for yourself.

    In regards to LP using KK more than Rafi after Aradhana is again not the truth, I don’t know where you are getting your info from, but please do not distort facts. And MM using KK a lot in the 50’s beats me, his favourites were always Rafi and Talat, again wrong information. If he did use KK it was probably for KK’s own film. MM using KK more after Aradhana is again false, please do check your facts.

    Coming to SDB, yes Kishore has 120 songs compared to Rafi’s 90 odd, however have you noticed how many songs came from Kishore’s own films ?. If you take out Kishore’s own films under SDB, the two totals will be pretty even between KK and Rafi vis a vis SDB.

    The reason why both father and son SD and RD moved KK way in the 70’s was for a few reasons, one being KK’s popularity from Aradhana and the films after, both father and son felt that since KK had lost out in the 50’s and 60’s, here was a chance for him to get songs, and also RD’s chance at breaking away from his father as well as other composers, being different, aka not using Rafi, hence using Kishore. This does not have anything to do with KK’s singing talents being better than Rafi.

    As far as classical singing is concerned, Manna Dey himself has said that even though he was more trained in classical songs, Rafi could sing classical songs better than him because he was a better singer. If Manna was the better singer, I am sure composers would have chosen him over Rafi. As far as singing is concerned, you cannot compare anyone to Rafi.

    As for interviews, the majority of the times celebrities such as Lata, Manna Dey etc. have said Rafi is the greatest. Add to this the hundreds of musicians such as Yesudas, SPB, Jayachandran, many prominent HFM personalities, even the great Illayaraaja of the South, one of the best musicians India has ever seen as well as MSV have all vouched for Rafi as the greatest including the Outlook Poll by prominent celebrities. So there is no point in discussing one or two interviews mentioning KK when the majority is in favour of Rafi. As for Asha Bhosle she does not admit Rafi’s greatness even though she has sung her most duets with him, over 800, but it is understandable that she would mostly talk about Kishore, since RD was her husband.

  12. unknow says:

    DEAR Mast Mast,
    U people want to compare Sun light with Moon light If u ask a blind man he will know different between sun light and Moon light.thanks to mohd Rafi name only this top is over 133 msg,KK fans have no topic?I requet to Mohd Rafi fans plz don’t answer KK fans here,If u look to all topic in the site will see that only there few people they speak but when they tried to compare Mohd Rafi with KK,why we should answer them because KK fans have no answer for our Questions?
    To Mohd Rafi fans and kk fans wilcome to
    Some said that why not SD used Mohd Rafi for only for one song in flim Abhiman but they don’t know the story of flim that KK lost fom Lata ji.
    !!!!!!!!kk was a good singer who copied KK they think they are better than KK but when u see the singer who copied Mohd Rafi they know how is Mohd Rafi great they never said that they are better than Mohd Rafi,
    This my last msg at KK site my answer will be at Mohd afi site to KK fans

  13. P. Haldar says:

    Dear Hussein Sheikh, unknown and other RAFians,

    Please do not disrespect the memory of your idol by targeting Kishore. Rafi never said anything bad about anyone. The modest person that he was, he once said during his lean phase, “I’ve had a long reign; it’s someone else’s turn now”. Each of the greats — Manna, Mukesh, Kishore and Rafi — added new dimensions to the world of Hindi film music and we should all be happy about it. Let us thank Kishore’s fans and the administrator of this website to be their guests, and go back to our home site.

  14. binu nair says:

    Mohd Rafi was so much indispensible that composers used
    Rafi s vocals for Kishore Kumar in Bhagam Bhag, a duet :
    Humko yeh dhar hair; Man mora bhavra in RAAGINI :
    Rafi has sung for three generations of actors : the Kapoors,
    Prithviraj-Raj-Rishi Kapoor which is a world record.

    Kishore Kumar is a great all rounder liked by many. But
    when it comes to singing a n d melody there is only one master :

    from Bhagwan to yahoo , Chahe koi muje junglee kahe…..

    And many many incomparable melodies.

    binu nair

  15. binu nair says:

    Well analysed article.

    But shri Shakti Samanta said to a music buff : Rafi went to
    Haj or on a long holiday and Kishore Kumar reaped the harvest
    in Rafi saabs absence….
    Again, Rafi had already scaled the No. 1 position in 1980 by his
    melodious vocals and due to L.P being on top and on his side.

    binu nair

  16. Mast Mast says:

    quote – # Hussein Sheikh Says:
    May 19th, 2007 at 11:28 pm

    Only a couple of people say KK is popular, but 90% praise Rafi Saheb only on this KK site! Very strange but true!! – unquote

    Couple of people – are couple of different people. 90% is one person posing as many. 😉

    Hussein bhai you should be amazed that a kk fan who created this site is actually approving all your messages. What do you say about that? 😛 That he is a Rafi fan? If so he is a great man. There you go agreeing that a KK fan is great. 🙂

  17. unknow says:

    Dear Sir,
    how they can say to Mohd Rafi to sing in Abhiman because if u look the story of the flim Lata ji was the winner and she singed better than KK(Bachchan),As said that flim Abhiman was one of mr bachchan best flims as a actor,who said that KK was at top from 1970 t0 1976?when Rishi Kapoor and flim said to Madan Mohan to use KK in flim Laila Majnu but Madan Mohan said no way plz put kk in these songs.
    Why u KK fans d don’t answer what asked?why it said that music born in late 1940’s was baby in 1950’s was young in 1960’s was old in 1970’s and died in 1980’s?if u r honest u will see only Mohd Rafi it,
    Dear KK fans please give one name if u take kk out from him u will not get anything from him?about Mohd Rafi said by them if there was no Mohd Rafi there was no O P Nayar,Naushand said Mohd Rafi was 50% in his Music,Shammi Kapoor said mohd Rafi was his voice…………………..

  18. P. Haldar says:

    Continuting on the remark made by myk, let me point out to Kishore fans not to make statements like “Rafi was swept aside in the 70s” or “Rafi was king only in the 50s and 60s, but after that, it was Kishore all the way”. As I’ve said time and again, each one of us is entitled to our opinions — there is always some subjectivity involved — but please do not distort the facts. At the time of Rafi’s death, 10 out of the 16 songs being played at Binaca Geetmala were his; please remember those days that progam was the main yardstick of popularity. The other thing to note is that RD, even in big-banner films like Shaan, were giving most of the songs to Rafi. Why do you think he was doing that? The reason is simple — it was just the market forces. In Zamane ko Dikhana Hai, Rafi got the main song “Puchho na yaar kya hua” and probably after that he died, otherwise I doubt Nasir Hussain would have asked Shailendra Singh to sing rest of the songs. LP was happy to make Rafi lip-synch for Amitabh in Naseeb and others were also doing the same.

    Despite his growing popularity, I wouldn’t still say that Rafi had pulled ahead of Kishore in 1980. During the 1977-80 period, both were at the top; there was no clear winner. But knowing Rafi, who ruled like a monarch in the 50s and 60s, I think he would have slowly pulled ahead of Kishore in the 80s (this is just my opinion). Other than the fact that all the big banners wanted to sign him, there is another factor: LP was getting ahead of RD. Laxmi would start using his “pitri-saman” Rafi for entire scores and gradually RD would have been forced to follow suit. As I’ve said before, RD should have kept this weapon in his arsenal; he was a multi-dimensional talent but got restricted in his compositional orbit by his over-dependence on Kishore. Why not give some of his folksy compositions to his “Ni sultana re” Rafi? He was slowly coming around to that point of view but it is our misfortune that Rafi left us prematurely. Listen to Rafi’s “Poocho na yaar kya hua” in ZKDH and the way he starts (Chak chak chakah chakah cha).

    I want to point out to the Burman fans one more thing: whenever Rafi got a fair chance to deliver under their batons in the 70s, he did. If you consider the senior Burman, Rafi produced hits in Talash, IPZN and Abhiman. Look at Abhiman; he had only one duet but that remains the most enduring one. For the younger Burman, consider YKB; one duet with Kishore and one duet with Asha. The latter became one of the greatest hits of all time. Fast forward to HKKN and you have Kishore and Rafi sharing the songs. Do I have to remind you guys who came out on top? No, actually there is no need because it doesn’t mean much. There were many instances in the 60s when Manna’s or Mukesh’s songs were greater hits than Rafi’s in the same film; Waqt is a prime example where Manna’s “Aae mere zohra zabeen” was by far the biggest hit. So even though Rafi’s songs in HKKN or AAA were much bigger hits than Kishore’s, I wouldn’t say that Kishore was “swept aside” (like Kishore’s fans do from time to time).

    What all of us — both Kishore and Rafi fans — missed was a battle royale between the two greats in the 80s. Kishore had the advantage in that his heavier voice suited the reigning superstar more than Rafi’s. But Rafi had the momentum and that ever-dangerous Laxmi on his side.

    Where I’d differ from myk is the contention that Rafi lost his No. 1 place in the early 70s because he took a break. I know RAFIans would like to believe that but as someone who has followed his career even before I hit my teens, let me tell you something: Rafi never took a break. That man was a workaholic. He didn’t go to Haj or a world tour for the first time in 1970. If I remember correctly by that time he had completed more than 20 world tours! Producers, directors and actors used to wait for Rafi to return home, such was his dominance. What hit him more than Aradhana was those twin blasts: Amar Prem and Kati Patang. Make no mistake about it — it was Chhote Nawab who was responsible for Rafi’s downward slide in the early 70s.

    There is another interesting story I heard from someone who knows a lot about the film industry. I cannot vouch for its veracity but here’s how it goes. Raj Kapoor wanted a fresh voice for Rishi in Bobby but LP wanted Rafi to sing. Apparently, Shailendra Singh told an interviewer that LP would have given the songs to Rafi had he failed in the audition. And if that had happened, Rafi wouldn’t have had to wait for three more years to witness the reversal of fortunes. Imagine “Main shayar to nahin” in Rafi’s voice!

  19. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Rafi Saheb’s ‘Tum bin jaoon kahan…’ is a better version than of KK, Rafi Saheb’s version has sweetness, melody, sung so nicely for Shashi Kapoor.

  20. unknow says:

    kk was more popular and famous than Mohd Rafi!!!!!!!!!!???if u r saying jokes plz don’t………If u r saying that KK was at top from 1970 to 1976 u r so wrong,when Late ji,Asha ji RD,SD most of MD they speak about KK jokes or he should be paid before to sing but when they speak about Mohd rafi we know what they say…….
    If am popular it not mean that i am the best.
    some one speak that kk singed these songs so will i agree with him but if we speak best 20 all time hit songs went to only Mohd rafi.
    There was Madan Mohan he was been force to use KK but he said that he will work in the flim if Mohd rafi not sing in it.
    There was OP N,SJ and SD who used Mohd Rafi voice on KK..if I am not wrong when they asked SJ why they used Mohd Raf on KK he answer that is not KK cup of tea….
    Whey Mohd Rafi singed for Shammi Kapoor there was no other he need to sing for him but Rajesh Khanna he used Mohd Rafi and all songs singed by Mohd Rafi are hit.

  21. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Hi myk, a very nice comment by you, I appreciate it. So nicely explained.

  22. zeenath says:

    i frequently hear hindi songs.while iam travelling imostly prefer kk gives me joy and enjoiment.moreover his sound has a special power to conqer all other sounds emnating from the home i prefer rafi -gives me peace of mind -trianquility-happiness.

  23. jayanta says:

    myk..u r again distorting facts altogetherand with no good effect!..kishore ruled for four yrs??..commom even the die hardest rafi fans wouldnt have givejn such biased opinion!..after aradhana it was kishore all the way! one surpassd him…2 rafi hits during that time was followed and buried by 10 hits of kk!…comprehensively!..dont say sumthing like rafi made a comeback..!not at all!..even the intervies depicting lata /asha /manna etce tc says kishore da ws the ebst..’unke jaisa singer aaj tak paida nahin hua’…then what great opinions do u need!…and u r wrong agaib..check out the facts.LP has given kk more of his compositions than rafi!..and most of then came during post aradhana!..MM used to use kk a lot during the 50s..and also post aradhana!..and as per sdb…his fav sinegr was also kishore all the way..although sdb chose rafi a lot during the 50!
    rafi sab wud have taken a 1000 yrs to come near the calibre of manna dey! if classical singing is considered then manna dey is way way ahead of rafi!..

  24. Robin says:

    If someone who has not heard a single Rafi or Kishore song in life goes through the above comments, he/she will be able to figure out who the better singer is.

    On one side (Rafi) are comments with analysis, logic and reference to classic numbers.

    On the other side (KK) are comments with emotion completely devoid of any analysis and reference to crappy songs (“lare lappa songs” as they say in Bengali).

  25. binu nair says:

    Rafi saab is the t a n s e n – of music.

    And for centuries, music lovers will cherish his songs, character
    and humility.

    Such an individual can take birth only between many centuries.

    My good fortune that I heard r a f i saab from close quarters on
    two occassion.

    My good fortune that I met the great Kishore da at abu dhabi,
    the UAE capitol for 2 minutes – just before a fun rolled concert..

    We are all blessed to have such great singers with us – who visited
    this planet – and will never die…..
    binu nair

  26. Salil says:

    For a person who grew up listening vividh bharti for hours daily(due to dad’s profession as a voice artiste) i had listened to all rafi sahab,mukesh and kishoreda at a very early age. And till this day i have never wavered from my opinion tht Kishoreda was the best not only among his peers but also across all generations..
    Such was the power of kishoreda’s singing tht at the age of 5 years i had memorized most of his songs,first one being “Roop tera mastana”..
    Agreed he didnt get ne formal training and tht makes him even more special and beyond compare.
    And if doubts still persist then ppl plz listen to “roop tera mastana”,”dil kya kare”,”o mere dil ke chain”,”wada tera wada”,”meri bheegi bheegi si” to name a few and u shall b enlightened .. !!
    kishore da lives forever

  27. P. Haldar says:

    Hi myk, I really appreciate your knowledge of musicians. I’ve seen both Kersi Lord and Bhupi on stage. I’ve also seen Manohari Singh (of Basu-Manohari fame), probably the best sax player of all time. The sax sounds you hear in the Guide songs are all from that man. It’s reported that Salil brought him from Kolkata and then he became a regular in the SD camp (I think he played the flute in Salil’s classic “O sajna barkha bahar aayee”). Always used to accompany RD along with Kersi for concerts. Manohari also played for OP in quite a few songs, the most memorable being Rafi’s “Hai duniya usiki zamana usika” from Kashmir ki Kali. But I am curious to find out who played the flute in Rafi’s “Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar”; sounds like Manohari but can’t be fully sure. Our Chhote Nawab played the mouth organ for the Dosti songs, and Kolkata’s Milan Gupta played it for the background score.

  28. myk says:


    Please do not distort facts, I have read your posts, many of the facts are totally opposite of the truth. Let’s take your points one by one:

    You mention KK’s second liking in the 50’s and 60’s was to sing. Can you tell me why Kishore came to Mumbai in the first place ?. He came to be a singer, he wanted to sing, that was his passion, he is admitted that many a times in his interviews. He only got into acting because he could not receive a break in singing, no MD besides SDB was willing to give him a chance. He did not come to Mumbai to become an actor, if he wanted to become an actor he probably would have stayed in Khandwa.

    If you read what I stated earlier, I had mentioned that if MD’s like OPN and SJ etc. took him, is due to his own films, not for any other actor. The only actor he playbacked for outside of himself at that time was Dev Anand. This is majority of the times, he may have sung for RK or others earlier on but most of the time it was Dev and under SDB. He did not voluntarily choose to act, nor did he take himself out of the race, he was forced to, and even if he was in the race, he would not stand a chance to Rafi at that time. You mention how MD’s like Salil used him, again please check if Kishore is acting in the film himself and you will come to your answer. Early on in the 50’s composers like Roshan and CR may have taken him, but for very few songs, he was hardly considered a top notch singer in the 50’s and 60’s.

    By the way, if you knew about Kishore’s films, you would not be asking me how much I know. A good number of KK’s films did not do well even though he may have acted with top grade heroines in some of his films, most were B-grade ventures.

    The problem with some people is that instead of acknowledging the truth, they mix Kishore’s acting with him not getting a break to sing. The argument put forward is because KK could not compete with Rafi or Mukesh etc. in the 50’s and 60’s is because he chose to act. Now why would he choose to act if he came to Mumbai to become a singer ?. Please do answer that question. Also, why did Kishore want to go back to his home town in the late 60’s ?. The reason is because he was not getting a chance to sing in films the way he wanted to. Please do not distort facts, nor make up excuses such as KK was busy with acting etc. Yes he was busy, because he wasn’t getting a break to sing and its purely logical and not illogical as you pointed out. The more you try to defend Kishore in the 50’s and 60’s, the more off track it gets.

    Coming to your point about majority of MD’s using KK in the 70’s. Let’s pinpoint it one by one. LP mostly used Rafi and yet still used Kishore, KA made a balance, Rajesh Roshan maintained a balance, for Usha Khanna, Madan Mohan and Ravi it was Rafi more than KK, for newcomers such as Mandhir Jatin, Manas Mukherjee, Anu Malik, they all went to Rafi before they eventually moved on to Kishore because Rafi passed away. The only MD’s tht favoured KK were the Burmans and Bappi Lahiri, and that is understandable. Ravindra Jain you could say maintained a balance although Rafi and Yesudas were his favourites. So now tell me who are the majority of MD’s that used KK in the 70’s ?.

    Mind you, Kishore was the most successful for about four years in the 70’s, other than that you could say it was even between Rafi and KK, with Rafi having more success in the latter part of the decade, especially 79 and 80. Check out the Binaca Geetmala Records, from 79-81 it was totally Rafi everywhere, no sight of any other singer on the radio, the comeback was complete and in full gear until Khuda took him away from us.

    The real impact of Kishore getting far away from every singer including Rafi in the brief period was because Rafi did not sing for 8 months in 1971. Ofcourse Kishore’s time had come, and this does not take away from his talent as a singer, but it was not Aradhana that did the trick, it was the absence or leave which was the main reason.

    Mr. Haldar,

    What are your views on Rafi in the 70’s ?. I think he had many great songs during this period. It is the media that creates myths that he was not up to the mark, leaving aside the 77-80 period how about 70-76, he had many great songs in this time.

    Ironically, many of RD’s best songs during the 70’s are by Rafi, Churaliya Hai Tumne, Kya Hua Tera Vaada, Maine Poocha Chand Se, Gulaabi Aankhen and the list can go on.

  29. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Only a couple of people say KK is popular, but 90% praise Rafi Saheb only on this KK site! Very strange but true!!

  30. abhishek says:

    Though Md. Rafi was a great singer, but when the question comes who is the best male playback singer, it is only Kishoreda who rules the first position. There are many great male singers such as Md. Rafi, Manna Dey, Mukesh & many more but in the field of playback Kishoreda is simply brilliant whose voice befits each & every individual & holds a much higher position than the rest. A voice which is still rocking in the minds of this generation, a voice which can be moulded to any type according to need of the song, a voice which carries all the emotions with it from the depth of the heart & touches the same……….It is one & only Kishoreda’s voice which stands much ahead of the others. He is simply the best out of the best.

  31. Abhisek says:

    Undoubtedly,Kishoreda is the greatest singer of all times,much much more popular than Rafi.LONG LIVE KISHORE KUMAR THE GREATEST GENIUS.

  32. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Mohammed Rafi Saheb is the best singer, no one can be compared to this legend, KK was just ok.

  33. binu nair says:

    three points here.
    1. I agree with you Mehtabh ji and we ought to SALUTE RAFI AND
    KISHORE DA for their contributions.
    2. Zeenath : Yesudas is the finest singer after Rafi saab. Have met
    him couple of times. He failed in the diction part in most of the
    songs except Chitchor and Rajnigandha where the composers
    brought out the best in him. Pl. compare his diction with Rafi
    who was the finest in the business. Yesudas considers Rafi
    saab as his guru and the best -like 98% KERALITES.
    3. THIS topic discussion got the best and maximum INPUTS.
    two great singers. And , if at all can we all have a healthy
    discussion and respect the singers of YORE…

  34. Mehtab says:

    Respected Music Lovers, Namaskar!
    I want to tell the so-called fans of Kishore Da that Kishore Da had displayed only one photograph in his bungalow. The photograph was none other than the Great Mohd. Rafi. Another fact that Mohd. Rafi sahib was used to address Kishore Da as a tiger. According to Rafi Sahib that Kishore Da had such natural God-given grains in his throat that couldn’t be imitated. So please, all the music lovers should keep normalcy in their minds. Please shut-off this debate. Your claims shall never reach anywhere. Be brave and be prudent also. Please accept my humble appeal.

    –MEHTAB, Chandigarh (India) +919815703226, E-mail :

  35. jayanta says:

    RDB Kk folp..cuumon u must be joking!…and rdb’s talent wasted!..sdb’s son wasted everythng?..are u living in this wolrd??..really???
    a music director after performing and producing immense hits and going thorugh ahell lot of success is bound to get bogged down greta ppl can remain at the top all the time..sumtimes or the other they are ound to go through the linear patch!..wich rdb did during the 80’s..still folowed it with hitsloke heralal pannalal…sitamgar etc etc!
    kk extended version of shailendra?..tell me how much do u know at shailendra!…u hv no idea at all!..kk rules forever…rafi was brillant during the 60’s…but y dont u answer the straight forward question y most of the mds prefferred kk to rafu dirung the 70’s,…and y kk got more success thanr afi durign the 70’s??….kk was more of an actor..than a singer during the 50’s..and 60’s..lot of hit films accompanied by some b-grade films were there…yet singing was his second liking..and everyone eventhe greats lata,.asha..manna, big b ..everyone has admitted that..and the interviews of which i have!…so thats cleared!
    myk..dont get biaed..b/w..y r u hiding ur name???…anyways..rafi cant reach the heights kk reached during the 70s’..and still now!..

    how much do u know abt kk’s films and hits dueing the 70’s..tell me?…and u toldthat only sdb was instrumental in letting kk to sing his sogs and no one else…not at all!..even SC,Ramchandra..o.p.nayyar,sc used kk often but to a lesser extent than rafi!…that fact that no mds other than sdb preffered kkduring the 60s”,is absoultely illogical..try to get ur facts clear!
    y not rafi fans acept the fact tha rafi was at the top during the 60’s..but lost out to kishore during the 70s!

  36. P. Haldar says:

    Jayanta, I’m not going to discuss the MM-Rafi combo here because that requires a special set of ears. I’ve maintained time and again that RD-KK was a special combination; they were made for one another. What I objected to was what you said about MM switching more and more to Kishore. The truth is that MM never switched. Just a couple of songs here and there for Kishore does not mean much. Rafi sang more than 100 songs for your loRD, but we can still ignore them. For Rafi, take out Naushad and SJ, you’ll have SD and OP. Take all these four out, you will still have Madan Mohan and LP. Take all these six out, you’ll have Roshan and KA. Now let’s focus only on SD; I know the media keeps talking about SD-Kishore all the time. They produced some wonderful tunes, no doubt about it. But are you sure that SD-KK was better than SD-Rafi? I’ll just list 10 compositions of SD for Rafi and I’ll let you judge for yourself.

    1. Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai (Pyasa)
    2. Jinhe naaz hai Hind par o kahan hai (Pyasa)
    3. Dekhi zamane ki yaari (Kagaz ke Phool)
    4. Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye (Kala Pani)
    5. Saathi na koi manzil (Bambai ka Babu)
    6. Dil ka bhanwar kare pukar (Tere Ghar ke Samne)
    7. Nache man more magan dhikna dhiki dhiki (Meri Surat Teri Aankhen)
    8. Din dhal jaye (Guide)
    9. Tere mere sapne (Guide)
    10. Mera man tera pyasa (Gambler)

    I can list 10 more but for the time being these should suffice. Why Kishore, has any singer sung such a variety of high-class songs for any composer? If you want ghazals, select nos. 4 and 8. If you want soft romantic songs, select 9 and 10. If you want an intoxicating feel with the voice melting into the sound of a flute, select 6. If you are in the mood for a classical song, select 7; the tabla accompaniment was by Pt. Santa Prasad and you’ll find out how Rafi’s voice deftly does jugalbandi with the tabla. If you are in a blue mood, listen to 4 and 5. If you want songs that no other singer dare tread, select 1, 2 or 3. And I haven’t even listed “Khoya khoya chand”, the song that gave Dev his debonair image. Also, I haven’t included the numerous duets Rafi sung with Lata, Geeta and Asha, an art that the old man specialized in. But I’d recommend one from MSTA: Tere bina sooni nayan hamare.

    As regards classical songs, you are wrong about Manna being better than Rafi. In my ranking I would put Manna a close second, followed by Lata and Asha. Remember “Madhuban mein radhika nache re,” the most celebrated classical song from Hindi films? How about “Man tadpat hari darshan ko aaj”, the best exposition of Malkhauns to date? If you like SJ, try “Radhike tu ne bansri churayi”. This song for whatever reason didn’t get the fame it deserved; it’s a wonderful composition and see how easily Rafi glides through the difficult notes and still maintains his vocal quality. If you like OP, try “Anchal mein saja lena kaliya”; this song took even someone of the stature of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan by surprise. And if you ever heard Rafi at a concert singing “O duniya ke raakhwale” you’d have marvelled at how he used to deliver the “Mahal udas aur galiya sooni” part; I call this a song within a song, composed by Rafi himself to hit your heart with such a force that tears will come out in a second.

    Rafi is the “ustadon ke ustad”. Sudhu sudhu torko kore ki laabh?

  37. A S MURTY says:

    have seen only a few of the above comments. Did not feel like going through the rest. NO COMMENTS as far as the Versus thing is concerned. Rafi is RAFI and Kishore is KISHORE. We enjoy songs by both these singers. Let us not compare.

  38. Sudip says:

    You said: “dont get biased…do u mean to say that rafi-mm combo was superior than rkk-sdb or kk-rd???…no chance…the latest two combo wins anyday man!!”

    –I will not compare rafi-mm versus kk-sdb. I will compare kk-sdb with rafi-sdb only. For every kk-sdb good song I will mention 2 rafi-sdb great numbers. It is a challenge.
    –Secondly, why are we quoting bogus orkut or 99% junta numbers. There are similar bogus numbers in favour of Rafi too (

    –Why are we debating?? The musical PUNDITS of Outlook India have already spelt out the verdict. Some of the judges included Kishore loyalists like Sanu, Abhijeet as well. In the same poll, 5 out of top 20 songs of all time were Rafi’s..And Rafi did not have to resort to publicity frills and gizmos like “eccentric genius” blah, blah to earn that…

  39. Sudip says:

    Adding to P. Halder’s list with my favorite Rafi-MM songs:
    8. Main nigahen tere chehre se hatayoon kaise (Aap Ki parchhaiyan)
    9. Kiski Yaad mein duniya ko hai bhulaye huye (Jahan Ara)
    10. Baad Muddat ke yeh ghadi (Jahan Ara)
    11. Barbad-E-Mohabbat Ki Dua (Laila Majnu)
    12. Zameen se humen aasman tak (Adalat)

    I also like the “Neela Akaash” songs, but they will be second rung.

    I think the Haqeeqat quadret “Hoke Majboor Mujhe” is a glaring proof of why Rafi was way above others. Each of the other singers (Manna, Talat and Bhupinder) were great in their own right but the singer who stands out is Rafi.

  40. zeenath says:

    there is no point in making comparison between rafi and kk.rafi is very much ahead with his superb songs. kk is an extended version of the likes of sailendra singh.but rafi was/is constant.if at all a comparisin is possible it should be between rafi and the great jesudas,who possess asweet and clear voice.he himself is the greatest rafi fan.when hearing some of his songs i am forced to think that even rafi could not sing like that.we can even identify the actor by listening to his song.a great real play back singer.his hindi songs are suprb.inthe midst of battle between rafi fans and kkfans everybody willfully ignores him only because he is not a hindi singer

  41. unknow says:

    Dear Debjyoti
    if u ask people from KK family they will never say 99% that KK is batter than Mohd Rafi,I think u r mixing between mohd Rafi and KK!!!!! or u will nevrt that,if u as Amit Kummar he will never say that.
    plz anwer as u been asked?

  42. Mehtab says:

    Respected Music Lovers,
    I salute all of you. But it is the matter of great sorrow that when Rafi Sahib and Kishore Da is still singing together “Bane Chahe Dushman Zamana Hamara, Salamat Rahe Dostana Hamara” then why we are wasting our time on this baseless debate. Both these singers were/are the greatest. However, Rafi sahib was the Senior to Kishore Da, it is the ground reality. Senior always remains senior. We should pay only homage or tributes to such artists and we should not bring forward our own egos on the behest of these great playback singers. We must make happy the souls of these departed pillar singers of the Bollywood. Please don’t be fool thyselves. Such type of discussion ‘ll not bear any fruits.
    We should say Rafi Sahib Zindabad, Kishore Da Zindabad. That’s all.
    –MEHTAB, Chandigarh (India) +919815703226, E-mail :

  43. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Hello Debjyoti, ask any common people and experts, 99% will say you have no knowledge of music……….

  44. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Very true Mr. P. Haldar, I agree cent percent with you.

  45. myk says:

    Also, the theory that KK decided to “voluntarily” choose acting instead of singing is hilarious. Kishore could not get a big break in the 50’s which is why he resorted to concentrate on acting. The only MD who stood by him at this time was SDB and if he did sing for others it was in his own films (eg. SJ films, Shararat, New Dehli etc.). In the late sixties he was about to go back home when RD told him to stay, as said by RD in one of his Jamaila interviews, and the rest is history. After that he showed that he was a great singer. This has nothing to do with him concentrating on singing after and concentrating on acting before, the theory holds no water, and is bogus to say the least. Kishore was a very talented singer, but to compare him to Rafi is not a fair comparision, Rafi can only be compared with himself.

    P. Haldar, “Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho” is a masterpiece, it is said that after the song Rafi complimented Kersi Lord on the arrangements he did for this composition, the guitar was played by Bhupinder, both the musicians were regulars in the RDB camp.

  46. binu nair says:

    Rightly said Mr. Halder .
    S.D. BURMAN THE old patriarch was a gem of a composer. His
    son ruined music to a great extent AFTER SHOWING GREAT
    P R O M I S E.
    His films failed by the dozen and he hit the bottle and also
    lost big banner films.
    What RDB was trying to prove? A GREAT TALENT WASTED…..

    Why was he against ROFI who was less than 50 years when
    RDB came galloping. How many MUSIC LOVERS RDB
    ALIENATE – by not taking RAFI VOCALS.

    Did success go into his head or were his limitations exposed by
    the great compositions of Laxmikant Pyarelal and Kalyanji
    Anandji team….
    Were music lovers tired of the repetitive stuff doled out by
    Kishore – Asha duo , RDB S main singers?
    inside reports say due to RAFIS diferences with Lata over the
    royalty issues…
    THE LATE SEVENTIES….. WITH great results.
    So the question is : How many lovely numbers music lovers
    lost from the great RDB-RAFI stable in the early seventies


  47. Piyush says:



  48. jayanta says:

    I dont need to list down songs list to increase by post lenght sir, because everyone knows that kk had given a huge no. ofhits compared to very few of rafi’s during the 70’s, where the former completely outsmashed the latter.
    You got me wrong…i m not distorting fatcs..its u who is trying to do so..and also biasing others..i implied mm used kk moe often than he did during the 60’s, (remeber mm has given some great gems for kk to render them during the 50’s..if u want them i may list down), but i m notcomparing the same percentage of songs or hits which kk produced out of mm as compared to rafi…itsthe nature of the songs and how beautifully kk sang the no.s is to be kept in mind!…and even rafihad a competition earleir as he had to fight out with mana and talat during the early periods to cement his position!.rafi is a brilliant singer no doubt about that..but somehow manna dey is far ahead of him if classical singing is concerned!
    and for your info, Rd-kk will never fall behind no matter what hits of rafi u mention and under which md…its more or less a super combo which rocked the HFM during the 70’s and after that…the pair produced some real magical nos which no one except rd could have composed..and which no one other than kk could have sung!.
    u go all facts wrong..and u r trying to do coctail sd with rd’s method of singing arangement!…sd used to bring folk song tunes most times into his songs which were great..and rd westernised the environment which was pretty successfull!…and for your info…sdb has used kk the most arnd 120 songs as compared to rafi-sd ‘s 90 odd!..and most of them came from dev anand movies..!..and abt rafi..i fel he is a bit underated thats all..
    MM more or less alone was loyal to rafi right throughout..yet he had to give kk some of his best compositions…like that in parwana ‘simti si sharmayi si’…the film also had a rafi-kk duet..and yet like most rafi–kk duets..its kk who excelled over rafi!
    dont get biased…do u mean to say that rafi-mm combo was superior than rkk-sdb or kk-rd???…no chance…the latest two combo wins anyday man!!

  49. rajeev banerjee says:

    well kishoreda is the best singer beyond the shadow of any doubt!!!!!!

  50. P. Haldar says:

    Correction (2nd last sentence, first paragraph of my previous email):

    I meant:

    But why say MM used Kishore more?

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