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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar

Originally published on PFC...check it out here

"Abhi na jao chod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahin"

And yet he did go away...on that fateful day dated 31st July, 1980 the world lost it's greatest singer ever. Leaving behind a legacy of humility and gentleness Md. Rafi passed away to other shores but definitely not oblivion. He left behind a body of work which is as gloriously mesmerizing as it is deliciously varied. There is not a known genre of songs in Indian cinema which Rafi did not perfect...be it the trademark soft romanticos to the high octane dance numbers, the melancholic sad tunes to the pulsating qawwalis, the traditional ghazals and bhajans to the comic styled songs designed for laughs...he did it all and how!!!

Starting his career in 1944 with a Punjabi number in "Gul Baloch", Rafi established himself as a leading playback singer in just a few years with songs like "Hue hum jinke liye barbaad", "Suhani raat dhal chuki hai" and "Meri kahani bhoolne wale". But it was with Naushad composed Baiju Baawra in 1952 that Rafi finally became the undisputed leading singer of the industry, a stronghold which he maintained for 19 years till 1971 unchallenged. "Tu ganga ki mauj", "O duniya ke rakhwaale" and "Man tarpat hari darshan ko" were the three tracks which catapulted Rafi into a league of his own.

The next few years were followed by one chartbuster after another..... "O door ke musafir", "Aye dil mushkil hai jeena yahan", "Aankhon hi aankhon mein", "Jaane kahan mera jigar gaya" and "Tumsa nahin dekha"...all of them gem after gem.

The year 1957 saw Rafi breaking new ground with O.P.Nayyar's Naya Daur and S.D.Burman's Pyaasa. While on one hand were the romantic "Ude jab jab zulfein teri" and "Maang ke saath tumhara", on the other were the brooding "Jinhe naaz hai hind par" and that sad lament "Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye". Backing these came the delightful "Sar jo tera chakraaye" and playback singing was being redefined over and over again.

The year 1960 gave Rafi his first Filmfare for the utterly romantic "Chaudhvin ka chand" but that was just one of the petals which formed the complete flower that year. "Madhuban mein radhika", "Do sitaaron ka zameen par hai milan", "Khoya khoya chand", "Mili khaaq mein mohabbat","Aye mohabat zindabad" and "Zindagi bhar nahin bhulenge" were the others which constituted this yet another golden year.

The next year he gave the city youth a new chant in "Yaahoo" and the village folk were gifted the brilliant "Nain lad jaywe". The lovelorns got a new ode in "Ehsaan tera hoga" while the depressed were taught a new way of life with "Main zindagi ka saath nibhaata chala gaya".

1963 saw another flourish of jewels. While S.D's Tere Ghar ke Saamne had soothers like "Dil ka bhanwar" and "Dekho rootha na karo", Roshan's Taj Mahal had romanticos like "Jo baat tujh mein hai" and "Jo wada kiya woh". " But of course the greatest pearl was that title track from Naushad's Mere Mehboob which made a country go weak in the knees.

1964 saw Rafi winning his 3rd Filmfare for "Chahunga main tujhe" in LP's Dosti. This was another feather with tracks like "Raahi mannwa" and "Jaanewalon zara". O.P. Nayyar's Kashmir Ki Kali saw Rafi form a delightful combo with Asha Bhonsle as they churned out gems like "Ishaaron ishaaron mein", "Deewana hua badal" and "Hai duniya usi ki". This same year saw Rafi making every eye moist in the country with the soul stirring "Ab tumhare hawale watan saathiyon".

1965 saw one of Hindi cinema's best soundtracls ever come to life in SD's Guide.....with tracks like "Tere mere sapne" and "Din dhal jaaye" Rafi was at the forefront of this magnum opus. The same year also saw "Waqt se din aur raat", "Pardesiyon se na ankhiyaan milana", "Yahan main ajnabi hoon" and "Mujhe dard-e-dil ka pata na tha".

The magic continued unabated with the likes of "Bhari duniya mein", "Aap ke haseen rukh", "Woh khushi mili", "Baharon phool barsao" and "Chalkaaye jaam"

1971 saw the rise of Kishore who acted as the first challenge for Rafi in almost 20 years. 3 golden years for Kishore saw Rafi losing some ground but even this seemingly lull period saw classics like "Chalo Dildar chalo", "Yeh duniya yeh mehfil", "Teri Bindiya re", "Aaj mausam bada beimaan" and "Na tu zameen".

But he came back with much more elan winning awards again with "Teri galiyon mein" from Hawas. Laila Majnu, Hum Kissi se Kum Nahin and Sargam followed, with "Kya hua tera waada" the comeback was well and truly complete....Md. Rafi was back on top again and that is where he will always be.

The amazing thing about Rafi was that not only did he modulate his voice according to the notes and scale but what he miraculously achieved was sounding different for different actors. In fact a lot of credit goes to him for launching and creating many a stars of yesteryears. As comfortable in the lowest of scales as in the extreme highs, it was Rafi who introduced "Yeowdling" which was later perfected by Kishore Kumar. The talent of Rafi is also amply on view in songs like "Jo unki tamanna hai", "Din dhal jaaye" and "Choo lene do nazuk honthon ko" where he manages to sound completely intoxicated without consuming a single drop of liquor.

However, the greatest trait of Rafi was that being the great singer that he was, he was a greater person. Good natured, affectionate and often called "The Gentle Giant" by the industrywallahs Rafi did not have any ill feeling towards anyone. He once charged a token Re. 1 from Nisar Bazmi when he came to know that his finances were badly hit. Not for nothing did Kishore Kumar rush to his defense when Anil Biswas targeted him saying "Rafi is no singer". Kishore was visibly disgusted with the remark from one of his loyalists and said "I myself am a Rafi fan...if you insult him, you insult me".

It's been 29 years since that genial soul departed but the magic continues, the voice still echoes in the valleys and mountains and everywhere in between, it lingers in every memory that has been privileged to hear it, the ears still can't have enough of Rafi and the search is still on.....perhaps the feeling cannot be better expressed than in Md. Rafi's own voice when he prophetically sang the following lines.....

Dil ka soona saaz taraana dhoondhega
Teer nigaahe naaz nishaana dhoondhega

Waqt mere geeton ka khazana dhoondhega
Mujhko mere baad zamaana dhoondhega

P.S. Yesterday was the 29th death anniversary of Rafi Sahab and the world over, his legion of fans were on a reminiscence trip remembering the genius through anecdotes and songs. This is a small tribute to the voice which will forever be echoing unto eternity!!!

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12 eulogies: on "Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar"

Rane (The Orchid with All Shades Pink) said...

he has got fans from all generations ..and this was a wonderful tribute to the legend.. kudos saim!

Hopeless Romantic said...

oh man..u touched a raw chord...i love rafi songs..mesmeric...thanks for writing this..awesome!

Cяystal said...

I've always been a B-i-g fan of this man..I mean awesome and flexible voice, and the way each of his works were eccentricity full on.. he's a charmer..
And yea..quite a dedication,bro.. :)

Btw. I just came to say..HAPPY FRIENDSHIP DAY!.. you mean the world.. and stay happy forever..:)


Ria said...

i used to love his songs...in fact i still do. The title of the post is indeed one of my favorites.

Chriz said...

i have listened to his songs..w hile reading this i felt that his death is indeed a great great loss

http://whysoserioustoday.blogspot.com said...

ohhh u made my heart go :( ... I am his great fan .... nd his music ... the way he put soul in the lyrics is heart touching :)

Satanic Angel said...

rafi has the best voice ever..i think he has fans from all the generations..i got to listen a lot of him thanks to my mother..shes an ardent rafi fan..abhi na jao chhod kar is a gem..

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