As a birth anniversary tribute, we pick 10 Songs of Mohd Rafi with Kalyanji-Anandji. Together they created songs which we hum and enjoy to this day.
Mohd Rafi has worked with all the legendary music directors and lyricists, such was his amazing range. With some music directors his body of work was larger, with some others the songs were lesser in number. Irrespective of how many songs he sang for them, one can safely say, the creations that emerged were everlasting.
Last year I had done two specials on Rafi, visiting his classic songs with SD Burman and the rocking ones with RD Burman. This year let me take you on a journey of Rafi’s songs with Kalyanji-Anandji, the maverick duo. Well, usually we associate this duo with Mukesh and undoubtedly, their work together has stood the test of time. With Mohd Rafi too, as was their style, Kalyanji-Anandji created some beautiful numbers which we hum and enjoy to this day.
Here comes the first one, a surprise item – Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968) written by Qamar Jalalabadi and sung by Rafi with Lata. The beauty of this song is more specific when we watch it. There are two very handsome Shashi Kapoors in the film with one really pretty and attractive Babita. That then is the problem in this song. One is the naughty Shashi and other a simpleton. And you have Rafi singing for both!
Notice especially the antaras. Rafi has to sing the first line for naughty Shashi and second line for the sober one. His voice modulation is out of this world. What a master this man was in conveying the right emotion in the right manner – this song is a perfect example of his variety and control.
A breezy number, well crafted and in one of Kalyanji-Anandji’s successful films. It was first directorial venture of Prakash Mehra, after being an assistant to Narendra Puri (in Majboor ‘64) and others. Mehra got a hit in his first venture. The film is quite an entertainer. Let us enjoy two Shashi Kapoors with Rafi and a very cute Babita:
Dilbar dilbar kehte kehte hua diwana (Haseena Maan Jayegi, 1968) Anand Bakshi / Mohd Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
Let’s go back to this team’s first hit together, Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965) written again by Anand Bakshi, the film that established his career as lyricist. Directed by Suraj Prakash (as was Aamne Saamne) it was Nanda, the bigger star at this time who teamed up with the young and emerging Shashi and they had a huge hit.
If you want a story narration in a song in the most engaging manner, listen to this story time by Shashi Kapoor who keeps Nanda entertained on the trip through the moors of Kashmir. The song has Nanda’s vocals interspersed within it. But the voice modulation and mood rendition by Rafi is par-excellence.
Ek thha gul aur ek thhi bulbul (Jab Jab Phool Khile, 1965) Anand Bakshi / Mohd Rafi
Pramod Chakraborty co-produced and directed Madhubala and Pradeep Kumar in Passport in 1961. Farukh Qaiser wrote this Rafi-Lata duet, Saaz-e-dil chhed de, a foot taping romantic sweet duet with Madhubala looking just stunning.
Laxmikant-Pyarelal were assistants here and when they got their break in Parasmani, requested Qaiser to pen the duet, Chori chori jo tumse mile to log kya kahenge. Madhubala looks ravishing under J P Kapadia’s camerawork and the song shines with an excellent rendition by both Rafi and Lata.
Saaz-e-dil chhed de, kya hasin raat hai (Passport, 1961) Farukh Qaiser / Mohd Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
Now this one is classic Shammi Kapoor with all his electrifying dance gyrations. In the first-of-its-kind song picturised on the streets of Bombay in the midst of milling crowds to bring to life the popular Dahi Handi festival of Bombay, Shammi Kapoor sets the screen on fire.
Manmohan Desai had directed Bluff Master (1963) for his brother Subhash Desai, the producer. Highly spirited and full of masti this song is pure joie de vivre. Written by Rajendra Krishan, the music captured the essence of the festival and became a massive hit. It has remained synonymous with the festival all these fifty plus years.
Govinda aala re aala, zara matki sambhaal Brijbala (Bluff Master, 1963) Rajendra Krishan / Mohd Rafi
Rajesh Khanna was a fresh face in GP Sippy’s Raaz (1967), directed by Ravindra Dave. The credits of Raaz claimed to introduce both Rajesh and Babita (Shivdasani). Being a sort of suspense thriller, it was given an A certificate by the censors. The movie had a mediocre run, but the songs were hit.
This Rafi number, written by Shamim Jaipuri and filmed on Rajesh has remained popular on Rafi collections ever.
Akele hain chale aao (Raaz, 1967) Shamim Jaipuri / Mohd Rafi
The other Rafi-Rajesh Khanna-Kalyanji-Anandji outing that comes to mind is that excellent duet that Rafi sang with Lata in Sachha Jhootha (1970), again a Manmohan Desai film. Once more, the hero has a double role. But only one Rajesh Khanna sings, the other is a negative character and has no songs.
But by now, Kishore was getting established as a voice for Rajesh and as such, both Rafi and Kishore were used on Rajesh in this film, successfully.
Written by Indeewar, it is very soft and romantic delivery by Rafi that remains a pleasure to listen to.
Yun hi tum mujhse baat karti ho (Sachha Jhootha, 1970) Indeewar / Mohd Rafi
The third Rajesh Khanna-Rafi-KA song that comes to mind is the duet from Arabind Sen’s Maryada (1971). This time Rafi gave playback for Rajesh as well as Raaj Kumar in the film. But interestingly, Rajesh had three voices giving him a musical voice here – Rafi, Mukesh and Kishore. But in this song it is Raaj Kumar in the spotlight.
It was Mala Sinha’s turn to play a double role this time as the female lead. The film did mediocre business and the songs were hit. Written by Anand Bakshi, this duet with Lata, was again a soft romantic that is pleasing to ears and soothing to the heart – Dhol sajna dhol jaani, meri gali aa, teri meherbani.
Tu bhi aaja kea a gai rut mastani o dhol sajna (Maryada, 1971) Anand Bakshi / Mohd Rafi
Vinod Khanna’s turn now. Prakash Mehra’s Haath Ki Safai in 1974 had two heroes – Randhir Kapoor paired with Hema Malini and Vinod Khanna with Simi Garewal. Kishore Kumar lent his voice for Randhir Kapoor songs and Rafi for Vinod Khanna.
I had a couple of friends in college who saw this film multiple times to watch this one song. Once the song was over they would walk out. A dream like sequence with romance in the air and a very effective Rafi along with Lata in this Gulshan Bawra song.
Vada kar le sajna, tere bin main na rahoon (Haath Ki Safai, 1974) Gulshan Bawra / Mohd Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar
Let’s go back to veteran producer-director K. Amarnath’s Ishara. This beautiful song has an elegant Vyjayanthimala being romanced by an expressionless Joy Mukherjee in the best spots of Delhi including the imposing Humayun’s Tomb, the Rajpath with the Rashtrapati Bhawan in the backdrop and finally a boat ride in the India Gate lakes. The song however, sparkles purely on its breezy tune with excellent orchestration and percussion. Rafi is in his elements in this one written by Majrooh Sultanpuri – as they say, char chand laga diye, by his masterful delivery.
Dil beqaraar sa hai, humko khumaar sa hai (Ishara, 1964) Majrooh Sultanpuri / Mohd Rafi
Finally, the expressive bhajan written by Rajendra Krishen and picturised on Dilip Kumar in Gopi (1970). This is one of the best bhajans from the Kalyanji-Anandji duo, and most certainly among the best bhajans of Rafi as well.
Gopi had the husband-wife team of Dilip and Saira in the lead roles. It was directed by the south India’s leading director A Bhim Singh. It turned out to be a quintessential Rafi delivery where the singer leaves the listener yearning for more by his sheer genius.
Sir, you will remain with us as long as music lives.
Sukh ke sab saathi dukh mein na koye (Gopi, 1970) Rajendra Krishen / Mohd Rafi
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