“तुम मुझे यूं भूला न पाओगे!”
“When I entered the line, there were, of course, popular singers like Saigal Saab, G.M.Durrani and Khan Mastan. Unka Khoobi yeh tha janab ki instead of considering me as yet another competitor they encouraged me to give my best. In fact I remember the first time I met Saigal Saab at Lahore where he had come to give a concert on the stage. The mike had failed at the last minute. While it was being set right, I was asked to keep the audience engaged by singing a couple of songs. I was only 15 then. I had not yet met Nasir Khan or Shyam Sundar. Saigal Saab blessed me that day and predicted that a day would come when I would be a sought after singer.”- Rafi Sahab’s last interview
Who would have imagined that a barber’s son, with little to no access to music in his childhood and whose father detested his indulgences in music, would become the greatest voice ever heard in Bollywood? Rafi Saab did this and more, just by listening to a fakir who used to sing sufi songs for the pleasure of villagers in his village in exchange of some eatables and money. At that point of time, Rafi Saab, then lovingly called Pheeku learnt the perfect sync of his songs and sang them to his family. His father would object and look down upon him but his uncle heard the divine, singing through his voice and convinced his brother to let Rafi Saan take up music.
And the rest is history.
Who can forget the lyrical brilliance and sonorous resounding that his voice used to put into lifeless songs. To talk of songs that themselves shown of brilliance is another matter and Bollywood history shines with the mere mention of their mukhdas. That khoya khoya chand which Rafi Saab was searching still eludes many lovers during their most longing nights as they pray to forever keep their counterparts in their dil ke jharoke.
Rafi saab’s greatest songs range from the gloomy and doelful “Din dhal jaaye” to the vibrant and soulful “Dil ka bhanwar kare pukaar” to the romantic “Abhi naa jao chhodkar” to the powerful ” ye duniya agar mi bhi jaaye to kay hai”, all the way to “Likhe Jo Khat Tujhe”, “Parda Hai Parda”, “Baharon Phool Barsao” and “Mere mehboob”.
Rafi Saab’s greatest song remains- “Kya Hua Tera Wada” from the film “Hum Kisise Kum Naheen” which won him the National Film award for best singer.
Rafi Saab is believed to have sung 4516 Hindi film songs, 112 non-Hindi film songs and 32 private songs from 1945 to 1980. With such a legacy behind him, you would expect a man like to consider himself a King of the world but unlike any, Rafi Saab believed humility to be the greatest vritue. In his own words-
” Kisika dil hamne kabhi dukhaya nahin. Jo kisika dil ko dukhata hai, woh kabhi tarakki nahin karega, zindagi mein.”