Remembering the Unforgettable…

31 Jul
Remembering the Unforgettable…

Today (31st July) marks the anniversary of the demise of one of the greatest artists of Bollywood. An amazing artiste who started at the tender age of 20 and sang each day till the day he lived. Some people have even gone as far as to call him the “Only legend” of Hindi cinema… Mohammad Rafi, born 24th December1924, in Kotla Sultan Singh, Amritsar, in a middle class Muslim family. His elder brother, Janab Hamid Sahab, was the first to take notice of the divine gift in Rafi’s voice – and the rest was history…

His fans came from varied facets of the society. He is the true embodiment of love – passion – romance – poetry – ghazal – shayari – highest of musical traditions – divine singing. Some of his renditions are said to have changed people’s thinking eternally. His songs evoked Godliness, friendliness, love, brotherhood, positive vibrations. Fans swore by him, some said he was what made them feel. But I didn’t quite enjoy his voice till I was a teenager. As a youngster, it was always Kishore Kumar mainly because of his light hearted style. But when I came into my teens and started understanding music, as lyrics made more sense to me, as feeling the lyrics as the singer sang became paramount in determining whether or not I liked the song, Rafi became my hero.

None of his songs are easy to sing – the most difficult of compositions have been made to appear easy when it flows out of the lips of Rafi Sahab – as he was called by all. On a full moon night listening to Chaundhavin Ka Chand every girl thought he sang it for her. It felt so real! Deewana Hua Badal had the most romantic tinge to it. I remember hiding under the blanket with my red transistor after curfew and listening to Kahin Ek Masoom Nazuk si ladki wondering if really someone would sing just like that to me. Mann Re tu kahe na Dheer Dhare showed me how to internalise music, how to feel every word, enjoy every nuance of every word.

When I was very little I remember looking behind the radio to see if he was really singing Mai Gaaoon Tum So Jao. That’s how real it sounded to me. How did he manage that? Shammi Kapoor sounded like he was singing the song as much as Bharat Bhushan felt like it was his voice! Dev Anand’s Tere Mere Sapney Ab ek rang Hain and Abhi Na Jao Chhodke felt like only he could sing them so well when all he was doing was lip synching!!! Rafi would feel the song and sing it!! From being patriotic in Ae watan Ae watan hum Ko Teri Kasam to being romantic in Hum Aur Tum Aur Yeh Sama to being a jilted lover in Yaad na jaaye beetey dinon ki to the disappointed in life commoner in Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaye to kya hai and Kabhi Khud pe Kabhi Halat Pe he left his mark in the hearts of everyone who heard.

An amazing singer, an amazing artist and an amazing gentleman lover… RIP. You will forever live in our hearts our minds and our souls…. The Unforgettable Gem…

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Posted by on July 31, 2011 in Bijou


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