Punjab’s Rafi, Rafi’s Punjab — a bond of affection


Bhim Raj Garg

A younger Pheeku was casually singing Waris Shah’s Heer when Pandit Jiwan Lal Mattoo of All India Radio, Lahore, found him. He took him beneath his wings, gave him coaching in classical music and honed the expertise of the lad who the world would come to know as Mohammed Rafi. His singing expertise was to be recognised on a grand scale throughout a efficiency on the All-India Exhibition, Lahore, in 1937. Present on the event was KL Saigal, who had predicted then and there that the younger man would develop into a singing sensation. And he did, and he stays a singing famous person 40 years after he grew to become one with the celebrities.

Rafi was born in a small village, Kotla Sultan Singh, of Amritsar. With his wealthy tonal voice, versatility and crystal clear intonations, he rendered 1000’s of distinctive heart-wrenching songs, various from quick, peppy numbers to classical songs, heartrending melodies to romantic songs, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans to patriotic songs. Rafi’s mellifluous voice boomed not solely throughout India however around the globe. However, it’s the inseparable connection between him and Punjab that we speak about immediately.

Rafi with legendary music director of Punjabi movies, Sardul Kwatra (in turban).

Rafi was launched to filmdom by music director Shyam Sunder in 1942. His first tune was a duet, “Pardesi…Sohneya Oye, Heeriye Oye” with Zeenat Begum in a Punjabi film Gul Baloch (1945). Rafi sang one other duet, “Aa Chann Ve”, with Munawar Sultana beneath Lachhi Ram and a refrain, “Sun Sun Nikki Jehi Gall”, beneath the music path of Pt Amar Nath. His songs grew to become highly regarded even earlier than the discharge of Gul Baloch on August 23, 1946. The relaxation, as they are saying, is historical past.

Bombay beckoned quickly and actor-producer Nazeer paid him Rs100 and a rail ticket from Lahore to Bombay. The story of Rafi’s first recording as narrated by Naushad goes like this: “In order to give a marching effect to the patriotic song, “Hindustan Ke Hum Hain” (Pehle Aap, 1944), he requested the refrain singers to put on heavy army footwear and sing the tune making a rhythmic sound by hitting the booted legs in unison. After the recording, Rafi’s toes have been bleeding however his face was glowing with the enjoyment of singing his first tune in a Hindi film.” However, some say Rafi’s first Hindi movie tune was “Jab Dil Ho Kaabu Mein” (Gaon Ki Gori, 1945).

With his father and youngsters, eldest daughter Praveen

and son Khalid.


A profitable Bollywood outing had kicked off, however Rafi was extraordinarily nostalgic about his Punjabi roots. Love for his land led him to document many Punjabi people and movie songs and shabads from Gurbani. Following Partition of India, he devoted equally to playback singing in Hindi and Punjabi motion pictures. He rendered 262 songs in 105 Punjabi motion pictures. He recorded 5 songs in Punjabi movie Lachhi (1949) beneath the music path of Hansraj Behl. His solo, “Jag Wala Mela Yaaro”, went on to develop into immensely in style on either side of the border. His duets with Lata Mangeshkar, “Kaali Kangi Naal” and “Tumba Vajdae Na”, additionally made it to the highest of the musical charts. He grew to become probably the most sought-after playback singer in Punjabi cinema.

In 1951, he sang three songs beneath Sardul Kwatra and his duet with Asha Bhosle, “Tun Peengh Te Main Parchhavan”, hit the bull’s eye. Punjab was nonetheless reeling beneath the ache of Partition when his philosophical rendering, “Darh Vatt Zamana Katt Bhale Din Aawange” (Jugni, 1953), was launched, providing a therapeutic contact.

By now, Rafi had develop into a pressure to reckon with in Hindi cinema and located little time for Punjabi motion pictures. However, he made a comeback with “Jatt Kudiyaan Ton Darda Mara” (Bhangra, 1959). Next yr, he gave voice to bounce director Sohan Lal Khanna’s in style bhangra quantity “Teri Kanak Di Raakhi Mundiya” (Do Lachhian).

Rafi’s household ran a hair salon in Lahore.

Apart from Punjabi movie music, Rafi lower many data of non-film songs, Punjabi people, shabads, naats, and so forth. A 78 rpm document of two shabads from the 1950s, “Har Ko Naam Sada Sukhdai” and “Jis Sar Upar Tu Swami”, grew to become an all-time hit and was commonly performed from the neighborhood loudspeakers in village gurdwaras within the mornings.

His coronary heart in the proper place, Rafi’s conversations at dwelling and in personal circles have been at all times in Punjabi. If any, there was one want that remained unfulfilled: an opportunity to go to Lahore. A efficiency was cancelled as a result of Indo-China War and he was at all times remorseful about it.



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