A Portfolio Of Portraits || Men Of Fame || Women Of Fame



Early Life of Mohammed Rafi

Mohammed Rafi was born on December 24th, 1924 Punjabi village of Kotla Sultan Singh which was close to Amritsar. Mohammed Rafi is one of the greatest playback singers who is been in the industry for more than 4 decades and has almost done playback singing or all the topmost male actors. Mohammed Rafi's father was Haji Ali Mohammad who was running a salon for men.

 Mohammed Rafi Mohammed Rafi was the fifth youngest of six brothers. In his young are Rafi was nick named as Pheeko.Mohammed Rafi's youngest brother Mohammad Siddique is still alive and lives in their ancestral house in Lahore, Pakistan. For a better business opportunity Rafi's father moved from their native village to Lahore. Even as a small lad Rafi lot of interest in music and used to imitate the beggars singing in the streets of Bhati gate in Lahore where they lived.

Mohammed Rafi's elder brother named Mohammed Deen had a friend named Abdul Hameed was the person who recognized the talent of Rafi in music and encouraged him to pursue in the field of music. So Abdul Hameed convinced the family members of Mohammed Rafi and relocated Rafi from Lahore to Mumbai to further pursue his career in music. Thus in the year 1944 Rafi moved to Mumbai along with Abdul Hameed.

After moving to Mumbai Rafi was able to get training from great singers and musicians like Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pundit Jiwanlal Matto and Firoze Nizami. Again in spite of Rafi's talents it was fate and luck made him to rise to a stardom. It once happened that Mohammed Rafi and Abdul Hameed went to attend a music concert staged by the then great singer and musician K.L.Saigal. But unfortunately there was a problem with the power and Saigal was refusing to sing without the benefit of power, but by then the audience were getting very agitated because of the delay.

In the mean time Abdul Hameed requested the organizers to give Mahammed rafi a chance to sing till the problem of power was fixed. The audience and the organizers accepted the idea and so Mohammed Rafi sang for the crowd. The great music director Shyam Sundar who was one among the audience was very much surprised with the talents of Mohammed Rafi and so he invited Rafi to sing for one of his song in the Punjabi language.

Thus Mohammed Rafi debut in the field of singing happened in the year 1944 was with Zeenat Begum and when he was 20 years old and it was for a Punjabi movie "Gul Baloch" for two numbers namely Soniye Hiriye and Teri Yaad Ne Bahut Sataya. Also in the same he got an opportunity to sing in the All India Radio of Lahore. Mohammed Rafi made his debut in the Hindi film industry in the year 1945 in a movie named Gaon Ki Gori composed by Shyam Sundar and also for Naushad in his movie "Pehele Aap".

He also gave an extraordinary performance in the year 1946 for the movie Anmol Ghadi and the song was "Tera Khilona Toota Balak". After this Mohammed Rafi sang for several music directors but however his first hit with the public was for the movie Jugnu in 1947 singing "Yahaan Badla Wafa Ka" with the singer Noor Jahan. Rafi got married to one of his cousins named Bashira in 1945. Later in the year 1947 after the partition of Pakistan from India Rafi had to move his entire family from Lahore and decided to remain in India. Mohammed Rafi also acted in a couple of movies like Laila Majnu in 1945 and Jugnu in 1947.


MANMOHAN SINGH By 1948 Mohammed Rafi was one of the most famous playback singer in the music industry. He was highly praised by K.L.Saigal & Pandit Paulsikar.At the time of assassination of the Mahatma Gandhi, Rafi was asked to sing a song written by Rajinder Krishan and music composed by Hunslal Bhagatram. The song was Suno Suno Ay Duniya Walon, Bapu ki Yeh Amar kahani which touched the hearts of every individual and was a major hit.

Rafi's combination with Naushads music and Shakeel Badayuni's lyrics was always a major sooper dooper box office hit. The songs from the team of these three were very famous and were heard in all knook and corner of the street. Apart from recordings for movies Rafi also had lot of opportunity to sing in public with his very high voice. In fact his performance in the song Duniya Ke Rakhwale from the movie Baiju Bawara in his loud tone was highly appreciated by the music composer Naushad.

The excellence of actor Dilip Kumar was even more intensified in the voice of Mohammed Rafi. Thus Rafi is noted for singing any type of song. Mohammed Rafi was noted for his versatility in singing who was good at everything be it pop, qawali, bhajan, gazal, romantic, rocksroll, light music, slow numbers, sad song, parody, fast numbers, anything he was remarkable. With the start of the famous Binaca Geet Mala in 1952, the program aired the immortal songs of the film Baiju Bawra and this really launched Rafi as a popular singer for all ages.

There was lot of requests which used to come into the Sri Lanka radio station for the transmission Rafi's songs. In fact he worked a lot to depict his voice according to Dev Anand's mannerism. It can even be said that great actors like Shammi Kapoor should all be thankful to Rafi who played a major role in taking up their careers with the voice of God. Even today in spite of as many great singers in the field nobody can match with Rafi's voice not do they can imitate him for he had a versatile voice and way too impressive. Many people who entered the field tried imitating Rafi's voice but were of vain.


MANMOHAN SINGH Rafi has worked with almost all the great musicians of the 1950's and 1960's like O. P. Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishan, S.D. Burman and Roshan. Some of Rafi's major hit the music composer Naushad are "O duniya ke rakhwale" and "Man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj". He has sung a total number of 149 songs for Naushad. S.D. Burman standardized the voice of Rafi with Dev Anand and Guru Dutt.

Some of the hits given by Rafi with S.D. Burman are movies like Pyaasa (1957), Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963), Guide (1965), Aradhana (1969), and Abhimaan (1973). Rafi's colloboration with Shankar-Jaikishan gave the major number of Rafi's hit in the Bollywood film industry. Out of the total six Film Fare awards which Rafi won, three was in the music composition of Shankar-Jaikishan for the songs "Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko", "Baharon Phool Barsao", and "Dil Ke Jharokhe Mein".

Thus in association with Shankar-Jaikishan, Rafi has worked in hit movies like Basant Bahar, Professor, Junglee, Suraj, Brahmachari, An Evening in Paris, Dil Tera Deewana, Yakeen, Prince, Love in Tokyo, Beti Bete, Dil Ek Mandir, Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai, Gaban and Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai.Rafi and Ravi worked for the movie Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960) and this got him the first Filmfare award.

Also Ravi composed the song "Babul Ki Duaen Leti Ja" from the film Neel Kamal (1968) for which Rafi got the National Award. They both have worked for other movies like China Town (1962), Kaajal (1965), and Do Badan (1966). Rafi was also the favorite singer of the music director Madan Mohan were both have worked together for many songs like Hum Ishq Mein Barbad Hain Barbad Rahenge", "Teri Aankhon Ke Siva", "Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil" and "Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho".

O.P.Nayyar anothoer contemporary music director of Rafi's time had worked for a number of hits. In fact in an interview O.P.Nayyar has said that without Rafi he would have not been there in the field. O. P. Nayyar used Rafi and Asha Bhosle for most of his songs. The team created many songs in early 1950s and 1960s for movies such as Naya Daur (1957), Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957), and Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). Rafi sang a total of 197 numbers (56 solo) for Nayyar.

But however they had fallout in between and didn't work together for the next three years. Rafi has sung the maximum number of songs for the duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal of about 369 numbers. Rafi as described by everyone was not only a great singer but also a great human who helped many producers financially without looking back for any returns. Rafi has also recorded two English albums.

As years passed by Rafi's recording was getting slowed down and by 1971-1973 it was greatly decreased. During the later years the music directors with whom he worked were Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Madan Mohan, R.D. Burman and S. D. Burman. Rafi also sand for Rishi Kapoor in films like Laila Majnu, Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Sargam (1979) and Karz (1980).

Some of the renowned movies for which Rafi worked in the late 1970's and early 1980's are Bairaag (1976), Laila Majnu (1976), Apnapan (1978), Suhaag (1979), Qurbani, Dostana (1980), The Burning Train (1980), Naseeb (1981), Abdullah (1980), Shaan (1980), Asha (1980), Aap To Aise Na The (1980), and Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (1982). The great legend Mohammed Raf passed away in 31 July 1980, following a heart attack and was buried at the Juhu Muslim cemetery. and his last recording was with Laxmikant-Pyarelal just few hours before his death.

Awards and Honours

MANMOHAN SINGH 1948 - Rafi received a silver medal from the Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, on the first anniversary of the Indian Independence Day.

1967 - Honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India.

2001 - Rafi was honored with the "Best Singer of the Millennium" by Hero Honda and Stardust magazine.

2013 - Rafi won the CNN-IBN poll for the Greatest Voice in Hindi Cinema.