Happy Birthday Mohammed Rafi!!!! A Dozen Reasons I Love You (Better Late than Never)

Wow, end of July is a good time for singers to be born!  Sonu and then Rafi.  Sonu I was at least able to make a start at listing all his important songs, Rafi I can’t even attempt that challenge.  So don’t look at this as a comprehensive list, just a starting point.

1.I love you because your death in 1980 resulted in 2 days of national mourning declared by the government of India, and inspired a funeral procession of 10,000 people.

2. I love you because you chose your country over your family, your in-laws were killed in the Partition riots which drove your wife to move to Pakistan, but you chose to remain in India even if it meant losing her.

3. I love you because you were humble, arguing with Lataji that singers have no write to royalties, their payment for their song is all they deserve.

4. Now, songs!  Again, selected at random because there is so much good Rafi, it is overwhelming.  I’ll start with one of my favorites, “Kya Hua” from Hum Kisise Kum Nahin.


5.  And then just an all around brilliant classic, “Yeh Duniya” from Pyaasa.


6. Something a little faster and less melancholy, “Yahoo” from Junglee.


7.  Another Shammi hit, with one of my all time favorite refrains (“dekho dekho dekho dekho dekho….An Evening in Paris!”)


8.  Back to some bleak Guru Dutt songs instead of happy Shammi, “Chaudvin Ka Chand” from the movie of the same name.


9.  A happy one from a strange fun movie!  And such a catchy song that it has outlived the film, “Gulabi Aankhen” from The Train.


10.  Rafi worked from the late 40s through to the 70s, making the leap from classical songs to RD Burman modern stuff, like the duet with Ashaji “Chura Liya Hai Tumne”


11. Amazing flexible voice, could do anything from straight songs, to the sort of spoken patter of “Pucho Na Yaar Kya Hua” from Zamaana Ko Dikhane Hai.


12.  And to round out the dozen, back where we began, another sweet song from Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, “Chand Mere Dil”.

10 thoughts on “Happy Birthday Mohammed Rafi!!!! A Dozen Reasons I Love You (Better Late than Never)

  1. You have merely skimmed the surface of awesome Rafi songs.How could you forget Badan pe Sitare? Especially since Sonu Nigam’s version from Fanney Khan came out yesterday.Which one is your favorite?

    Though Shammi and Rafi made an awesome pair -as far as I’m concerned,Rafi and Rajendra Kumar’s voice go together. They have so many hit songs from Arzoo, Mere Mehboob, Suraj and Jhuk Gaya Aasman.

    Sunil Dutt wavered between Rafi and Mahendra Kumar. However he got his share of Rafi too.Teri aankhon ki siva is their most famous song.

    And since it’s Sunil he gets an extra song -albeit a weepy one from Mere Saaya.


    • I knew I could count on getting more suggestions! I tried to look through his song list to pull out the best ones, but it is literally thousands of songs long, there was no way.

      And does this mean you have now officially moved on to Rajendra Kumar?

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 9:04 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Nah.I just listened to a bunch of Rafi’s songs back in the 90s and they stayed with me.Coincidentally, good old DD came out with those Rajendra Kumar movies at about the same time.But by the late 60s he has gotten a lot more heavier.Not so bad when cast against Sadhana, but terrible when cast against dainty Hema Malini.


        • I never think of Hema as dainty. I guess because she had such a full figure. But she was kind of tiny, wasn’t she?

          On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 10:18 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Ahhhhhh what have you unleashed!!

    – Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra (Kashmir Ki Kali) where Rafi sang the Taareef Karoon….line, like, dozens of times and each time it was different. Each song of this movie is a masterpiece.
    – Kar Chale Hum Fida (Haqiqat) – my favorite patriotic song
    – Abhi Na Jao Chhodh Kar
    – Tere Mere Sapne (Guide) which I’m now going to listen during my lunch break. So SIMPLE yet perfect! My favorite kind of song, and the hardest to emulate, cos it’s SO “SIMPLE”!!
    – Pukarta Chala Hoo Main (Mere Sanam) which is a great example of the amazing Rafi-Nayyar partnership
    – Khoya Khoya Chand (Kala Bazaar) – I think some of Rafi’s best songs were filmed on Dev Anand
    – Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho – holy $hit what a song and what unbelievable singing! He effortlessly breezes up and down the scale with changing tempos and styles going on at the same time!
    – Teri Bindiya Re (Abhimaan)

    I’ll stop here. But if I got down to it I’d have a hard time making a top 100 list.


    • Yes! The simplicity! There was one song I didn’t include, because I didn’t want too much Pyaasa, Sar Jo Tera Chakriye. It’s Johnny Walker singing about oil massages, the simplest little tune, and yet so pleasant and memorable. Better than today’s big sweeping love songs with hundreds of instruments and melodies and counter melodies and all the rest.

      Oh my goodness, Rafi also did Bombay Meri Jaan! I may need to edit the post to add that one.

      On Wed, Aug 1, 2018 at 9:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Khoya khoya chand is a new discovery for me.It’s very soothing.There are hundreds of Rafi songs out there.You discover something new each day.


  3. Rafi Saab’s Telugu songs (he sung for 3 Sr NTR movies) songs are still played today.
    songs from Aradhana (Telugu NTR) and Akbar Salim Anarkali are too good.


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