Sunday, 25 October 2009

Rafi: A Heavenly Voice

Although Muhammad Rafi sahib passed away on 31 July 1980, he remains my favourite singer to this day.

Three hours before a fatal heart attack, he sang a very sad song, ‘Tu Kahin Aas Paas Hay Dost’ composed by Laxmikant Pyarelel for the film ‘Aas paas’. As the session ended, Rafi sahib said, “Mein chalooN?” and again before leaving, “To mein chalta hooN”. The composer was taken aback hearing what the singer was never known to say. To me, Rafi sahib’s last words clearly show that the elusive friend he spoke of being around him was none other than the angel of death.

It poured heavily on that sad monsoon afternoon, the heavens wept for this gentle soul, but the tears of the thousands of admirers following his funeral procession outnumbered the raindrops that fell to the ground.

Twenty-nine years ago, the legend breathed his last but his voice still lives on in the memory of his admirers.

We will return later with more details about Rafi sahib’s life and music. For now, we will limit ourselves to listening to two very moving songs that appeared on Doordarshan television. With a huge orchestra conducted by Rafi sahib’s greatest supporter and legendary composer, Naushad sahib, the songs sound ageless even in these transitory times.

Until recently, I had never seen Rafi sahib sing. Seeing these two songs on YouTube left me spellbound because my years of involvement with music taught me one thing; it is extremely rare to find a singer so in control of his voice, perfect in delivering each word, filled with feeling, and who displayed not a wrinkle on the forehead while reaching for the highest musical notes.


Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki
Film: Dulari (1949)

Meri Kahani Bhoolnay Walay
Film: Deedar (1951)


Tayyiba said...

Rafi sahib still lives in our hearts with his touching voice. May His soul rest in peace. Thanks Tahir for sharing with us this blog.

teegee17 said...

Thanks for sharing Tahir......the most complete and awesome singer....that was RAFI SAHIB! Sadly he left us too early in life. BTW i'm a convert Rafi saa'b's fan, grew to love his voice only once i crossed my 20's [was so into western music before that].....there's been no looking back since.His DAUGHTER IN LAW.Firdaus, Is a friend of mine and whenever we meet up we always talk about him.Her husband has joined hands with a few others and has started an academy in his name.May saa'b rest in peace.Teri galiyon mein na rakhenge kadam aaj ke baad.....but his voice lingers on.......

teegee17 said...

This used to be one of my dad's favourite songs n he would sing it so beautifully too.... love you papa ......may both of you rest in peace

TGH said...

Thanks for dropping by girls!

Tayyaba, Rafi sahib was IT...bas!!!


Tina, THAT is a song with tremendous mood; I love it too. May both the gents rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

I am deeply touched and impressed after reading your blog on my favorite singer Rafi sahab. Nobody can compete with him , nor has that melodious and charismatic voice like Rafi Sahab. His songs are the best and some of his famous numbers are out of this world. There is no one still in Indo Pak to match his caliber. Old is Gold. Zee

TGH said...

Thanks for your comments.
It appears that the Youtube links I provided are missing (may God damn 'Kalia' who enforced a ban).

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