Rafi : a tribute

This is a repeat posting on Rafi Birthday


Rafi: a tribute

Not only me, my entire family is still an ardent supporter of Rafi. Even my grandson feels Rafi has a golden voice, and, a regular story telling session, by me, on the greatness of Rafi, made him more addicted to his melodious renditions.
It was Amirchand who first broke the news that Rafi would be coming for a musical night and both Radhanath and Deep were all excited about it, and, instantly decided that they would not miss this opportunity to hear Rafi – live, for the first time. These youth were all die-hard fans of Rafi – Mohammed Rafi. It is then that Amirchand disclosed that the event was to be held in a place called Kanchrapara – a place quite far, in another district, and one has to take a train from Calcutta to reach to the place. The lowest level of ticket to the show would cost Rs. 5/-.

After an early dinner, on the D-day, the three set out for the place, a kind of a leap into the unknown! After reaching at the Railway station, it was not difficult to locate the Railway Ground where the show was on. A herd of people were heading for the ground and these three only had to quietly follow them. On reaching they found a large tent made, and lo behold, all the tickets were sold out. But the locals told them not to lose heart and just wait. The show started much earlier, in the evening, and in any case Rafi Saab’s performance would take place at the end part of the programme.

In those days such shows were organised not for any profit, but to enjoy, and once the tickets were over, and if there were still many people wanting to join, the organisers would open the side screens so that all and sundry could still enjoy the show, sitting on the ground outside the arena. The stage was made quite high so that everyone could see the show. So, soon the side screens were lifted and Deep, Radhanath and Amirchand too became part of the crowd enjoying the show…..even if they did not purchase the ticket !
At this time an unexpected thing happened. Deep noticed a local volunteer, with a large Usher Badge approaching this side, and he recognised him – Biman ! “Hey Biman” ! Deep ran towards him and they hugged in sheer joy of finding each other’s childhood friend. “I did not know you stay in Kanchrapara”, said Deep. Biman explained that he lives in the railway area and it is their youth organisation which was holding this function. Biman asked all three to follow him quietly. Biman took them to the front row where there were cushioned chairs – places reserved for special guests. Now they were seated at the front seat…. just few feet away from the performers!

rafiAround mid-night Rafi entered the stage with a shout “Yahoo…Yahoo” .What an entry ! Deep felt breathless. Now they realised why so many people loved him. He could shout full throated just at the beginning of his show – without bothering whether his voice would be choked or cracked with that huge shout. Such was the genuineness of his intention of giving his best, and all out to his audience. The audience was passing on request slips to him and he was singing accordingly. Then he stopped for a while, reading a slip and asked “Who among you passed on this slip, please stand up”. Rafi said.“This is my favourite too.. ‘O duniyakerakhwalle’”. An old man got up and raised his hand. Rafi Saab assured him “Kindly remind me later”. Thereafter he kept on singing. At one point there was a request for a duet song.He asked among the audience “Can someone come up to the stage and join me?” A young girl braved and went up to sing.Together they sang quite a few numbers and all along Rafi was guiding her like his daughter and managing every slip in notes with ease. Little did we realise that it was well past midnight and the new dawn had already arrived with the sun-rise . A few organisers came up to the stage – perhaps to remind him that he had to stop now. At this Rafi Saab requested the organisers to give him a little more time and asked “Is the gentleman still here who requested for Duniya Ke Rakhwalle ?” Before he could finish the sentence the old man got up and raised his hand.
When Rafi Saab finished the song it was already day light outside. The arena was still crowded and not a single soul had left the arena -such was his audience connect.
Deep and his friends came back home – content with a memorable experience for a life time.
No wonder people have never forgotten him…Rafi lives on and on.
“Tum Mujhe yun bhoola naa paaogey
Jab kabhi bhi sunogey geet mere,
Sangg sangg tumbhi gun guano gey”

(You will never be able to forget me,
Whenever you would hear my song,
You too would be humming with me.)

Now, click below, close your eyes …. bury all your worries…. and…. sail 



14 thoughts on “Rafi : a tribute

    • Yes, I very much agree with you, and, I have a complain…. that ….God never repeats , so we will have only one Rafi…. a man with a golden voice and a golden heart. I just heard the last song he recorded under Naushad saab, and he refused to take any money, for, he believed such a good song can not be sung for money !

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Fantastic ! It is the first time I have I have read an account of a public performance of Rafi. Great article. No wonder Rafi still has such fan following. And he will have more if people read an article like this.


      • Yes, I read that article too. But this article detailing a night with Rafi has caught my fancy. When was it ? Late 1960s, or early 1970s I guess. Rafi’s birth anniversary is round the corner. I seek your permission to mention this Rafi night in an article that I want to write in my blog on the occasion of Rafi’s birth anniversary on december 24.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Atul, the occasion was late sixties. Please feel free to mention this article in any form you wish. After all it is about the great soul, and any thing said about him is less. More and more people should know about this man. With best wishes. (sorry I saw this note on on 25th Dec.and hence could not reply earlier.)


  3. Pingback: Tumko salaam hai | Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

  4. Today, on the occasion of Rafi’s death anniversary (we have coined the word remembrance day for such occasions), I have mentioned this article of yours in my blog. Please have a look.


  5. Wonderful recollections. Night long concerts, can’t happen any more due to legal restrictions, at least not in the big cities. Maybe it still does in small towns but what’s the chance that today’s top playback singers would perform there? Different times. Thanks for sharing this fascinating time capsule. Do you remember what all songs he sang? I know it’s a long time but nobody is likely to forget the experience of listening to Rafi live. 🙂


    • Thanks ! Besides Yahoo and O Duniya ke Rakhwalleh, the one I remember was Madhubanme Radhika….. incidentally there was also a duet dance performance prelude to the Rafi’s singing session – it was by two little sisters, the song was Kantaa Laaga… one of the sisters is a present MP from Bengal.


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