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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2402

The 37th death anniversary of legendary singer Mohammed Rafi

By S.H.Moulana

It has been 37 years since Mohammed Rafi passed away on July 31,1980, several years too early for a man who was only 55.

His impact on Hindi cinema and his contributions to the Hindi film song cannot be outlined in a few hundred or thousand words.

The tragedy is that there has been no serious attempt or exhaustively explain the part of singer Manna Dey’s remark in reference to Rafi.

The magic of his voice is celebrated, even venerated, but hasn’t yet been scrutinized microscopically. Yet another singer said ‘That feeling, his effortless singing is almost impossible to match, we are left with complex, mystifying task of interpreting that feeling and the effortless nature of Rafi’s singing.

Despite being a teetotaler, he has, arguably the finest in Hindi cinema. Because as a music director says, ‘‘When Rafi sings a dance song, you dance. When he sings a sad song, you cry. When he sings a love song, woman gets fever. Rafi gets inside of you, he becomes you and you become him.

He has practically won every award offered and some many times over. He has worked under every famous music director and mostly under the legendary Naushad.

When Mohammed Rafi made his first visit to Sri Lanka, I was still in school. I took all the trouble to meet him at the GOH –later known as Taprobane- in Fort, where he stayed. When I asked him about the songs he was to sing at the live concert, scheduled for that night at Town Hall, he told me that it will be entirely based on the requests of the audience.

Luckily, I was one of the audience and there was a popular request for his hit number in Baiju Bawra ‘O duniyake rakwale.’

When he started to sing this highly popular number, the crowd stood up to give Rafi a thunderous applause and none sat until the end of the song. The crowd became delirious. This is an experience I will never ever forget. One has got to be there to believe it!

This legendary singer who mesmerized the world, Mohammed Rafi, died at 10.25 PM on 31 July 1980, following a massive heart attack. His last song was for the movie Aas Paas, which he recorded under music director Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the song was ‘Shaam Phir Kun Udaas Hai Dost/Tu kahin Aas Paas Hai Dost’.

Rafi was buried at the Juhu Muslim cemetery, in Mumbai. The government of India announced a two-day public holiday in his honor. His scintillating voice will keep entertaining all his fans forever!

- Asian Tribune -

The 37th death anniversary of legendary singer Mohammed Rafi
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