One resonant voice that changed the direction of romantic melodies in Indian movies must be Mohammed Rafi—who, with his soulful music, gave Indian movies an exemplar.
December 24 marks the 96th anniversary of the birth of iconic singer Mohammed Rafi, one of Bollywood's greatest singers ever to be. Rafi, who had captured millions of hearts with a soulful voice, dominated all genres of music, including Qawwali, romantic, and devotional.
Singers come and go, but geniuses like the Bollywood playback singer Mohammed Rafi live forever. Here as some facts that the audience doesn't know about him.
Mohammed Rafi was the second oldest of his six siblings.
Rafi’s nickname was Pheeko.
In 1941 All India Radio, Lahore service, invited Rafi to sing for them.
In 1941, he made his debut in Lahore as a playback singer in the duet 'Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee' with Zeenat Begum in the Punjabi film 'Gul Baloch' (released in 1944) . He made his Hindi debut with the song 'Aji dil ho kaabu mein to dildar ki Aisi taisi' for the film Gaon Ki Gori in 1945.
In 1944, Rafi moved to Mumbai and lived with Hameed Sahab in a rented ten-by-ten-feet room in the crowded Bhendi Bazar district.
In 1945, the song "Tera Jalwa Jis Ne Dekha" appeared on the screen in Laila Majnu.
He stared at K. L. Saigal was his idol and was also inspired by G. M. Durrani, sir. In the early stages of his career, he mostly adopted their style of singing.
In 1948, after the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, the team of Husanlal Bhagatram-Rajendra Krishan and Rafi produced the song "Suno Suno Ae Duniyawalon, Bapuji Ki Amar Kahani" overnight. Jawaharlal Nehru was then invited to sing at his home.
He collaborated with a number of eminent music composers such as Naushad, S.D. Burman, Shankar-Jaikishan, O.P. Nayyar, Ravi, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and many others.
Rafi's last track for composer Laxmikant-Pyarelal was "Shaam Phir Kyun Udaas Hai Dost, Tu Kahin Aas Paas Hai Dost" captured just hours before his death.
The most famous playback singer was elected by the Outlook Music Poll with Lata Mangeshkar in June 2010, led parallel to the magazine Outlook. The same poll voted for "man re, tu kahe na dhare" and for "Tere mere sapne ab ek rang Hain" (Guide, 1964) and "Din Dhal jaye, hai raat na jaye" as Rafi's Number one and second songs. The second song was sung by Rafi (Guide, 1965).
The official biography of Shahid Rafi and Sujata Dev, which was released on its 91st birthday was tilted 'Mohammed Rafi: Gold Voice of the Silver screen.'
The 'Padma Shri Mohammed Rafi Chowk' was named after him in the Bandra suburbs of Mumbai.