In the last issue you read about Mohammad Rafi’s penchant for music and his rise as a commanding playback singer in Bollywood. Now read about his brief downfall that he faced during the Rajesh Khanna era, when Kishore Kumar began to be identified as Voice of Rajesh Khanna.
During the 70’s Rafi’s craze got a jolt due to the phenomenal rise of Kishore Kumar. A dejected Rafi lamented:
Film makers neglected him and Rafi said to himself:
‘Matlab nikal gaya hain to pehchante nahin…’
And prayed to almighty:
‘Raat bhar ka hain mehmaan andhera…’
Rafi understood the underlying meaning and made up his mind:
Soon success followed with hits like LAILA MAJNU, HUM KISI SE KUM NAHIN, AMAR AKBAR ANOTHONY, SARGAM ETC. and Rafi breathe a sigh of relief:
Once again producers stood making serpentine queue praying:
Everything was going smoothly. Even the Government of India, acknowledged Rafi’s contribution by bestowing on him the Padmashree Award which Rafi received thanking:
‘Woh khushi mili hain mujhko, is kushi se mein maar na jahoon…’
And as he thought so it happened!
31st july 1980.
As it was on this fateful rainy night the mighty death over powered Rafi Sahab. Among the infinite condolence the best tribute came from Rafi’s own song which he incidentally, recorded last evening:
‘Tere aane ki aas hain dost, sham phir aaj udas hain dost, dil ki meheki fiza yeh kehti hain, tu kahi aas paas hain dost…’
Apt word indeed! because Rafi sahab is always ‘aas paas’ - thanks to the electronic media.
People like Rafi never die, they dissolve in air like a sweet fragrance like his own song:
‘Rahen na rahen hum, meheka karenge banke kali,
banke saba, bagh-e-wafa mein…’