Rafi sahib as he is mostly remembered and called ….was born on 24th December in 1924 and left for the inal abode on 31st July 1980.
Rafi Sahab was an Indian playback singer and one of the most popular singers of the Hindi film industry. Rafi was notable for his versatility; his songs ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans. He was known for his ability to mould his voice to the persona of the actor, lip-synching the song on screen in the movie.
Rafi sahib was the most sought after singer in the Hindi film industry between 1950 and 1970. He received six Filmfare Awards and one National Film Award. In 1967, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India.
Rafi is primarily noted for his songs in Hindi, over which he had a strong command. It is believed that he sang about 7,400 songs in many languages. He sang in other Indian languages including Assamese, Konkani, Bhojpuri, Odia, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Sindhi, Kannada, Gujarati, Telugu, Magahi, Maithili and Urdu. Apart from Indian languages, he also sang songs in English, Farsi, Arabic, Sinhalese, Creole and Dutch.
Mohammed Rafi was the second eldest of six brothers born to Hajji Ali Mohammad. The family originally belonged to Kotla Sultan Singh, a village near present-day Amritsar in Punjab, India. Rafi, whose nickname was Pheeko, began singing by imitating the chants of a fakir in the streets of his native village Kotla Sultan Singh where his family lived. Rafi’s father moved to Lahore in 1935, where he ran a men’s salon in Noor Mohalla in Bhatti Gate.
His elder brother, Mohammad Deen, had a friend, Abdul Hameed, (future brother-in-law), who recognised the talent in Rafi in Lahore and encouraged him to sing. Abdul Hameed later convinced the family elders to let Rafi move to Mumbai; he accompanied him in 1944.
Rafi learnt classical music from Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Jiwan Lal Mattoo and Firoze Nizami. His first public performance came at the age of 13, when he sang in Lahore featuring K. L. Saigal. In 1941, Rafi, under Shyam Sundar, 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).
In that same year, Rafi was invited by All India Radio Lahore station to sing for them.
He made his Hindi film debut in Gaon Ki Gori in 1945.
Sadly, little has been done by governments so far to commemorate his legendary talent. Wish
Fadnavisji comes forward with some novel and creative idea …(besides naming a road and a marg after him which is indeed commendable) to make Rafi sahib relive….as such he lives in the hearts of billions o his fans across the world!