<<Like Latta Mageshkar and Rafi, he was also instrumental in suppressing talent and would not help any budding photographers.>> 

I'm astonished to read this. I hope you are not basing your statement or assumption on mere hearsay or some gossipy column. The little I do know about Rafi suggests that he was a great human being. In fact he always tried to promote the careers of budding music directors and aspiring singers. One can refer to Pyarelal (of the Laxmikant & Pyarelal duo) or Anandji (of the Kalyanj & Anandji duo). When they were new and Shankar Jaikishan monopolized the scene it was Rafi who lent them a helping hand. Also he readily agreed to a duet with newcomers, be it Suman Kalyanpur or Sharda. 

During one of my visits to Bombay (1984) I happened to attend the Laxmikant Pyarelal Nite at Brebourne Stadium. They inaugurated their show by unveiling Rafi's huge portrait before a crowd of thousands and Laxmikant paying generous tribute to Rafi. On the contrary the rift between Lata and Rafi was over royalty; while Lata insisted on it Rafi disapproved of it. Rafi also charged music directors minimum for singing and was never one to exploit others. Manna Dey in all his interviews lavishes praise on Rafi, not only for his singing talent but also his humanity.   

Incidentally Rafi passed away on the 27th of Ramadhan, a sacred day for Muslims, and felt by many as a tribute to Rafi's pious acts. He funded quite a few charities. There was this picture frame shop on Bhindi Bazar in Bombay which had displayed a photograph of Rafi in suit and tie. I'd go there and stare fixedly at it. The shopkeeper sensing my admiration for him would say "Yeh bahot nek insaan hai, itna parhezgar, aur takabburka nishana hi nahin. Indeed he'd a humble background (hailing from a barber's family) and never threw any tantrums. He stayed in an ordinary house along Bandra Talkies. 

At a musical program in aid of Lala Lajpatrai in St.Xaviers School (beside St.Xaviers College on Dhobi Talao) my friend Satish Patel (a Fijian, now a doctor and probably settled in the UK, States or Australia) who was a great Rafi fan and myself went behind the stage during the interval to greet Rafi. He was humility personified, otherwise we were nobody and mere onlookers. Unfortunately we could not work out a deal with the photographers around there and our desire of getting photographed with Rafi remained unfulfilled.  

I know you are a great Mukesh fan, so am I. Rafi had nothing to do with the lull in Mukesh's career in the late 60s. It was just that Rafi's voice suited every hero, and he could modulate his voice according to the situation and actor in question. RK, a great banner then, patronized Mukesh. Rafi and Mukesh got along quite well. It is understood that the Barsaat song 'mai zindagibhar rota hi raha hun..'sung by Rafi was on the recommendation of Mukesh. He even suggested Rafi for 'yeh raat bhigi bhigi' (Chori Chori) but it went to Manna Dey. Rafi was much senior. He held sway over the entire nation till the 70s when Kishore's 'idliaa' and 'ding dong' captured the tone of Indian music, but by then Rafi had a classic innings. It had begun as far back as 1944 when he sang with Noorjehan the Jugnu duet 'yaha badla wafaka bewafaise'. This is merely telling of anecdotes to prove my point. 

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Last updated November 2007 Copyright Abdulrazak Fazal 2007 - All Rights Reserved