What would have been the status of Hindi film industry in the world, had singing legends like Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi or Lata Mangeshkar were missing from the picture? To exclusively talk about Rafi Saab, the legend won millions of hearts across the globe with a twinkle in his eyes, heart melting smile, and of course an unconventional voice that gifted the world with a plethora of melodious evergreen songs.
In 1924, this day (December 24), the legend was born in Kotla Sultan Singh, a village in Amristar district in the state of Punjab. The master of melody has although recorded over 25,000 songs in his career that spanned over 40 years, there was yet a phase in his life when he doubted his own performance. For the unversed, growing popularity of singing superstar and the yodeling hero Kishore Kumar (Abhas Kumar Ganguly), dimmed the popularity of Rafi saab as the music lovers discovered a refreshing voice that they often term as eccentric and beyond the celestial world.
Although the magic of Rafi Saab was still intact as he enjoyed a greater fan following than Kishore Kumar, the former yet silently and secretly started doubting his own caliber. To be more precise, things took a dramatic turn when songs like ‘Mera jeevan kora kagaz’, ‘Mere sapno ki rani’, ‘Roop tera mastana’ enchanted the masses across the world, and led to millions of people worship Kishore Kumar as God of Music.
What transpired behind this thrilling rendition was the music of RD Burman (aka Pancham Da), who after his father SD Burman, never left Kishore Kumar’s side. Their persistent partnership and enviable chemistry is often cited as the reason for the diminishing popularity of Rafi saab.
There were incidents when the press started ranking and terming Kishore Kumar as ‘Number 1’, that did not go well with both the singers, as they shared mutual respect and cordial relationship with each other. After having everything said and done, the people have always held a high regard for both the geniuses irrespective of the quality of their voice or singing style.