Best songs of 1949: Wrap Up 1

June 25, 2016

Songs of Yore Award for the Best Male Playback Singer goes to?

Rafi and MukeshAs we have seen in the overview post on the Best songs of 1949, and as I have observed elsewhere a number of times, 1949 was the year of Tsunami wave of Lata Mangeshkar. The yesteryear vintage singers, like Suraiya, Shamshad Begum, Rajkumari and others like Zeenat Begum, Zohrabai Ambalewali, Surinder Kaur etc. were also at their glory. This is reflected in the numbers included in my Select List of about 160 memorable songs in the year which has 22 male solos as against 80 plus female solos. I find from my review of earlier years, too, that female solos generally outnumber male solos by a factor of four or five. If I include the memorable songs added by the readers which I had inadvertently missed, the ratio would still be the same, as female solos added would be far more. Can we conclude from this that this was not the year for male solos (as Subodh had famously said for 1953)?

Not if you consider the songs of Rafi and Mukesh which have acquired iconic place in our history of film music. There are memorable songs of Khan Mastana, Satish, SD Batish, GM Durrani, Kishore Kumar and Surendra, too. However, it is a two-legged race between Rafi and Mukesh, the former accounting for half of the male solos, Mukesh for 5 songs and the remaining divided between other singers.

I must compliment the readers that even with such a small field to work on, they made some very enlightening observations. Expectedly, SSW added Sajjad Husain’s Rafi song from Roop Lekha (Teer pe teer khaye ja). His compositions grow on you. For this exercise, I generally take songs that are top of recall, or instantly register with you on the very first hearing. On these criteria, I consider Surendra’s songs from Kamal as inadvertent omission, which have been added by Venkatarmanji and Mahesh. Jhoom jhoom ke nach re manwa is my pick for inclusion in the main list.

If you thought male solos have insignificant presence in the year, it is amazing what an indefatigable and perseverant music lover and researcher like Ashok Vaishnavji can make of it. Based on my overview post, he has written six articles on male solos singer-wise on his blog: GM Durrani+Talat Mahmood; Surendra and ‘other’ male singers; Mukesh; Rafi Part 1 (famous songs) and Rafi Part 2 and Rafi Part 3. These posts vastly expand my list and provide many songs which were not included in my Select List. My pick from his posts is Mukesh’s Lut gaya din raat ka aaram kyun. This is a kind of song which on the very first hearing seems to have been forever with you.  I believe he is going to post a seventh one, his own Wrap Up of the ten best male solos and the best singer. It would be interesting to compare his conclusion with that of the SoY.

Coming back to the readers’ comments, Arunji was as usual very pat and unequivocal in his choice – his best singer is Mukesh for Tu kahe agar (Andaaz). Gaddeswarupji dittoes that without hesitation. Shalan Lal is also for Mukesh for the same song; she also mentions his Toote na dil toote na from the same film. KS Bhatiaji also puts Mukesh at no.1, but for another song from from Andaaz – Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj. He also adds Rafi’s Is duiya mein ae dilwalo (Dillagi) at no.2, and Suhani raat dhal chuki (Dulari) at no. 3. Venkataramanji’s list of top ten solos has Mukesh’s Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj and Tu kahe agar at no. 1 and 2, but his choice for the top male playback singer is Rafi. He has not explained the apparent contradiction, but perhaps he goes by the total number – Rafi has five songs in his list of ten, and one each by Khan Mastana, SD Batish and Kishore Kumar (or Surendra). Siddharth gave his list of ten best songs for Lata Mangeshkar, indicating he would come back later, but he must have been caught up with other things. We are missing his choice as also of several readers who have commented but stopped short of mentioning their choices.

The most interesting comment was from Ashok Kumar Tyagiji on the two great songs of the year – Mukesh’s Tu kahe agar and Rafi’s Suhani raat dhal chuki. It is worthwhile to reproduce his comment in entirety:

“Both Rafi and Mukesh got to sing many excellent songs. After careful listening, I shortlisted the two best male solos to be:
Tu kahe agar (Andaz) and Suhani raat dhal chuki (Dulari).

The mukhda/sthayee of ‘Suhani raat’ starts beautifully with initial notes of sa re sa sa re. The first line of the antara ‘Nazaare apni mastiyan’ suddenly takes the listeners to higher pitch octave (taar saptak) and touches very high notes dha and pancham. This is quite an unconventional composition because of this factor. Yet Mohammad Rafi has sung with silken smoothness and with great skill. In the next antara ‘tadap rahe hain hum’, the notes are comparatively sedate. Thus we notice that Naushad and Shakeel had great understanding of each others’ thought process. Rafi has sung this song with such finesse that music directors noted that here was a naturally gifted singer with impeccable diction and presentation skill.

Matching the beauty of ‘Suhani raat’ is the song ‘Tu kahe agar’. The early songs of Mukesh gave a hint that he was much influenced by the singing technique of the great KL Saigal. In this song Mukesh shifts into his own style. In the middle of the first antara, he sings the high pitch notes ‘mein raag hoon tu veena hai’ magnificently. Naushad has used western instruments in ample measure in this song. Furthermore, percussion instruments (including ghatam and jhankar instruments) have been used skillfully in order to support the dancer on the screen. The beat patterns change a number of times. (This method was used often by OP Nayyar and Shankar Jaikishan). Thus I would say that this was a trend –setting song. Before 1949, the flow of songs was generally docile. Now songs like ‘tu kahe agar’, ‘lara lappa’ and ‘chup-chup khade ho jaroor koi’ made use of quicker tempo and fast paced interludes, much to the delight of a nation which had got freedom recently.

I vote for sharing of prize between the above two songs of Rafi and Mukesh.”

The above comment encapsulates the totality of male solos in the year. You take your pick – Rafi or Mukesh. It is a matter of personal choice. For Mukesh, every song from Andaaz is a gem, but the overwhelming favourite is Tu kahe agar for his effortless moving to higher notes in Main raag hun tu veena hai. Rafi’s best is by and large Suhaani raat dhal chuki – an eternal composition in Pahadi. Readers can’t fail to notice that Naushad is at the centre of these creations – a great music director indeed, which we would advert to later in our final Wrap Up of the best music director of the year.

Having come this far, now is the time to post the best male solos of the year. But before I do that, I must mention what struck me most was Talat Mahmood in 1949. You might ask what is so significant about it, he was hardly noticeable. That was the significant thing – to borrow from Sherlock Holmes who thought the most significant thing was the dog that did not bark in the night (in the case of Silver Blaze). The very next year, Talat creates a storm with Ae dil mujhe aisi jagah le chal (Anil Biswas) and Naushad’s songs in Babul, and there is virtually no year after that for over 10 years when his songs did not create a sensation. In 1949, he has sung in at least three films – I took special care to hear all the songs, but cannot recall any. This must have been the reason for 1950 being considered his debut as playback singer in Bombay. I would request Arunji to explain this mystery about his 1949 songs in some Bombay films (as distinct from Calcutta).

I start with some ‘special’ songs. I have so far confined ‘special’ songs to the Overview post. But I can include only so many there. There are still a fair number of songs which I feel must be mentioned, therefore, form this year I would include some special songs in category-wise Wrap Ups, too. We have seen the genius of Naushad-Mukesh in Andaaz. Here is another which was meant for this film, but was not included finally. As good as any. I should add here that it was long believed that Kyun pheri nazar, too, was an unreleased song from this film, but now I have it on authentic sources that it was meant for Anokhi Ada (1948).

Sunaaun kya main gham apna by Mukesh (unreleased for Andaaz), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad

From Ashokji’s vast treasure chest here is another Mukesh gem which was not in my list, but which would charm his fans.

Lut gaya din raat ka aaram kyun by Mukesh from Lekh, lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Krishna Dayal

Now I come to listing my final ten. Since it was the year of Rafi and Mukesh, let me start with other singers first, followed by the two stalwarts, in no particular order, as the First Cut.

First Cut

‘Other’ singers:
1. Jagmag jagmag karta nikla – Kishore Kumar (Rimjhim, Khemchand Prakash)
2. Jhoom jhoom ke nach re manwa – Surendra (Kamal, SD Burman)
3. Khushi ki aas rahi dil ko aur khushi na mili – Khan Mastana (Saawan Aya Re, Khemchand Prakash)
4. Aankhein kah gayin dil ki baat – SD Batish (Laadli, Anil Biswas)

Mohammad Rafi:
5.  Mohabbat ke dhokhe mein koi na aye (Badi Bahan, Husnlal Bhagatram)
6.  Dil ho unhe Mubarak (Chandni Raat, Naushad)
7.  Is duniya mein ae dilwalo (Dillagi, Naushad)
8.  Tere kooche mein armaano ki duniya le ke aya hun (Dillagi, Naushad)
9.  Suhani raat dhal chuki (Dulari, Naushad)
10. Is waade ka matlab kya samjhun (Duniya, C Ramchandra)
11. Rona hai to ro chupke chupke (Duniya, C Ramchandra)
12. Dil ki lagi ne humko deewana karke chhoda (Paras, Ghulam Mohammad)
13. Jin raaton mein neend ud jati hai (Raat Ki Rani, Hansraj Bahal)

14.  Hum aaj kahin dil de baithe (Andaaz, Naushad)
15.  Tu kahe agar (Andaaz, Naushad)
16.  Toote na dil toote na (Andaaz, Naushad)
17.  Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj  (Andaaz, Naushad)
18.  Baharon ne jise chheda hai (Sunahere Din, Gyan Dutt)

Reducing 18 to 10 still involves some work and cutting some very dear songs. I do not see how I can leave any of the Mukesh’s four songs from Andaaz, therefore, I let go of his Baharon ne jise chheda hai. Rafi’s Suhani raat dhal chuki has to be there in any final list. If you think of it, Jin raaton mein neend ud jati hai is almost of the same merit. Rafi starts with a slow recital at lower octave, without an instrumental support, goes to higher octaves and immediately glides down to lower octave effortlessly. That makes six. From the ‘Others’ list, all the four are very tempting, but to maintain Rafi-balance, let me pass over Surendra’s Jhoom jhoom ke nach re manwa as being his usual routine stuff. I have already included SD Batish’s Aankhen kah gayin dil ki baat in the ‘special’ songs in the Overview post, without realizing that it might merit inclusion in the final ten. But something has to give way; therefore, I let it go with some sadness. But the two remaining songs – Kishore Kumar’s Jagmag jagmag karta nikala and Khan Mastana’s Khushi ki aas rahi are in many ways their landmark songs. Now we have eight, and the remaining two slots can be given to Rafi. Is duniya mein ae dilwalo is a general favourite. Since I have yielded to readers’ choices at the cost my favourites, I am using a wild-card entry for Rafi for one of his two solos from Duniya (C Ramchandra). In the early part of Rafi’s career, CR gave some outstanding songs for Rafi, and he did more for him than Naushad, as I have shown in my Naushad-CR comparison. I think readers have given Duniya songs a miss, because of our very strong association of Naushad with Rafi. I include Is waade ka matlab kya samajhun as the tenth song, and I am sure the readers after hearing it would regard it as worthy of inclusion. Here is the final ten, in order.

Final Ten:

1. Tu kahe agar by Mukesh from Andaaz, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad

The eternal romantic Dilip Kumar on the grand piano, Nargis leaning on it longingly, sending wrong vibes, and Cockoo dancing, a party scene was never more glamorous. An iconic Mukesh song in an inedible picturisation.

2. Suhani raat dhal chuki by Rafi from Dulari, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

In the wilderness in the stillness of night, the hero Suresh gives a plaintive call to his beloved that the beautiful night is gone, when would she come after all. Nazaare apni mastiyan dikha dikha ke so gaye/ Sitaare apni roshni luta luta ke so gaye/ Hare k shamma jal chuki na jaane tum kab aaoge. What beautiful poetry by Shakeel Badayuni, and what poignant singing by Rafi. Naushad shows his virtuosity in creating another masterpiece in an entirely different style from his Mukesh songs for Andaaz.

3. Jhoom jhoom ke nacho aaj by Mukesh from Andaaz, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad

Now the ‘other’ guy or the one who had been the real guy hidden from the audience until half-way into the film, has entered the scene. There is sadness on the face of Dilip Kumar, Nargis going through inner turmoil at her own part in creating this misunderstanding; Cuckoo’s dance helps relieve the unbearable tension. Another favourite from this film.

4. Jin raaton mein need ud jati hai by Rafi from Raat Ki Rani, lyrics Arzoo Lakhanavi, music Hansraj Bahal

A slow recital of a ghazal or nazm in a mushaira setting, with none or minimal instrumental support – this is a genre in which Rafi has no parallel. He recites the first couplet (matla) without any instrument. Thereafter, the first lie of every she’r is sung at very high notes, and he glides down smoothly in the second line, creating a magical effect. The video is not available, but you hear ‘daads’ by the audience, and some prompting at every stage as in a real mushaira.

जिन रातों की नींद उड़ जाती है वे कहर की रातें होती हैं
दरवाज़ों से टकरा जाते हैं दीवारों से बातें होती हैं

घिर घिर के जो बादल आते हैं और बेबरसे खुल जाते हैं
आशाओं की झूठी दुनिया में सूखी बरसातें होती हैं

जब वो नहीं होते पहलू में और लम्बी रातें होती हैं
याद आ के सताती रहती हैं और दिल से बातें होती हैं

हंसने में जो आंसू आते हैं दो तसवीरें दिखलाते हैं
हर रोज़ जनाज़े उठते हैं हर रोज़ बारातें होती हैं

हिम्मत किसकी है जो पूछ सके ये आरज़ू-ए-सौदाई से
क्यूं साहिब आखिर अकेले में ये किससे बातें होती हैं

5. Hum aaj kahi dil kho baithe by Mukesh from Andaaz, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad

The beginning of Dilip Kumar’s attraction for Nargis, little knowing future holds disappointment for him. Nargis does not help matters by her free nature and going along with the wave.

6. Toote na dil toote na by Mukesh from Andaaz, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Naushad

In a love triangle, the grand piano is not merely prop, it acquires a character of its own. Nargis and Raj Kapoor who are betrothed to be married are lovingly leaning on the piano, as the romantic lover Dilip Kumar, who is now sadly reconciled to the situation, sings this absolutely melodious and poignant Mukesh song.

7. Jagmag jagmag karata nikala by Kishore Kumar from Rimjhim, lyrics Bharat Vyas, music Khemchand Prakash

Those familiar with Kishore Kumar of 70s for his songs for Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan would scarcely believe that this is how he began with Khemchand Prakash. He debuted under the maestro a year earlier with Marne ki duayein kyun maangun jeene ki tamanna kaun kare in Ziddi in the style of his idol KL Saigal. He repeats the soft, soulful, poignant style in this song. Those were the days when Saigal was the Gold standard of singing. Later, Kishore Kumar would spawn his own clones. For many of us, Kishore Kumar Part 1 pre-Aradhana was a superior quality of gem. This is among his earliest landmark songs.

8. Khushi ki aas rahi dil ko aur khushi na mili by Khan Mastana, lyrics Arzoo Lakhanavi, music Khemchand Prakash

Endowed with a very melodious voice, Khan Mastana was a major singer of the vintage era, before the advent of the great playback singers like Rafi. Born Hafiz Khan in a music loving family, his father was an eminent sitar player of Agra. His father wanted him to take up classical music seriously, he also gave some sitar performances, but mesmerized by KL Saigal’s voice, he moved to Bombay without letting his father know, and started playback singing under the name Khan Mastana (a name given by the music director Mir Saheb). He also gave music in a number of films under the name Hafiz Khan (Mastana). Incidentally, there was another MD by the name of Hafiz (or Hafeez) Khan. By temperament he was a carefree ascetic, and sure enough he renounced the glamour world to live like a sufi. Yet it was sad that he died a beggar near Mahim Dargah.

9. Is duiya mein ae dilwalo by Rafi from Dillagi, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

Rafi again is in his element under the baton of Naushad. You again find the gradual build up – from a low Jab se huye hain door wo humse, dhoondh rahi hai unko nazar, Rafi goes to high notes with Haaye re wo bedard zamaane and immediately glides down to Ye bhi nahi hai tujhko khabar. Another Naushad gem for Rafi. Perceptive listeners would notice subtle instrumental interludes borrowed from his mentor Khemchand Prakash’s Ghata ghanghor ghor.

10. Is waade ka matlab kya samjhun by Rafi from Duniya, lyrics (?), music C Ramchandra

I end this list of ten with my discretionary quota. I could have happily ended with another Naushad composition from Dillagi or Chaandni Raat. But I seek readers’ indulgence hopng that this song would find favour with them worthy of inclusion here. It gives another flavor of Rafi, now in qawwali-style composed by the other great Titan of the era, C Ramchandra.

And the SoY Award for the Best Male Playback Singer for 1949 goes to Mukesh,


The Best Male Solo of 1949 is Tu kahe agar.

{ 33 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dinesh K Jain June 25, 2016 at 3:36 pm

Great summing up, AK, in what was a very difficult situation.

My own preference for the year’s number one male song would have been suhani raat dhal chuki, not for any obvious reason, but simply because Andaz had four clone like songs, all in Mukesh’s voice, and each better than another, whereas Suhani raat stands out in solitary splendour.

But I must say that, in my own opinion, the year had just a few real male gems. One may compile a list of 10 or 18, or whatever, for the sake of compiling these lists, but it was only a small handful number of songs that were in real contention.

Whatever, as you know well enough, I love all these calisthenics for identifying or selecting the ‘best’ song of the year, and I thoroughly enjoyed your sincere and herculean effort for the objective.

I await further installments with bated breath.

2 AK June 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation, even though my conclusion is t variance with your choice. But frankly, you might be getting the sense that I quite recognise that Suhani raat dhal chuki is an all-time great song, and it is perfectly understandable that many people might prefer it as the #1 song of the year.

3 ASHOK M VAISHNAV June 25, 2016 at 10:43 pm

I have listened to the male solo songs mentioned in the Overview post, the ones with which I had lost contact for quite a few decades. I also selected several more, with the help of HFGK. That further sweetens up the taste of presenting MY choice of Top Songs for the year.
As would be expected, not more than one song from a film has been chosen. That provided me a better opportunity to further closely evaluate my choice of THE song when there were more than one song to choose from a film.
Here are the songs that I would choose as Top Male Solo Songs for the Year 1949, in no particular order, except that films have been arranged in the descending alphabetical order.
G M Durrani – Itani Si Kahani Hai Itna Mera Afsana – Aaiye – Nashad – Nakhshab Jarachvi
Mukesh -Hum aaj kahin dil kho baithe – Andaz – Naushad – Majrooh Sultanpuri
Mohammed Rafi – Thukarake Hame Chal Diye – Balam – Husnlal Bhagatram – Qamar Jalalabadi
Mohammed Rafi – Main Jindagi Mein Har Dam Rota Hi Raha Hun – Barsaat – Shanker Jaikishan – Hasrat Jaipuri
Mohammed Rafi – Tere Kooche Mein Aramanonki Duniya Le Ke Aaya Hun – Dillagi – Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
Mohammed Rafi – Suhani raat dhal chuki – Dulari – Naushad – Shakeel Badayuni
Mohammed Rafi – Hai Kam Muhabbat Ka Faryad Karna – Jal Tarang – Husnlal Bhagatram – Kaif Irfani
Surendra – Main To Hun Udaas – Kamal – S D Burman – Prem Dhawan
SD Batish – Aankhen Kah Gayin Dil Ki Baat – Laadli – Anil Biswas – Dr Safdar Aah
Mukesh – Lut Gaya Din Raat Ka Araam Kyun – Lekh – Krishna Dayal – Qamar Jalalabadi
Kishore Kumar – Jagmag jagmag karta nikla chand poonam ka pyara – Rim Zim – Khemchand Prakash – Bharat Vyas
Mukesh -Baharon Ne Jise Chheda Hai – Sunhere Din (1949) – Gyan Dutt
In so far as nominating the Best Male Singer for the year 1949, my choice is Mohammed Rafi. Any one song or all songs from one album put together, Mukesh’s songs from Andaz does make Mukesh a very close second contender. But, in terms of total number of songs in a year, with the different numbers of music directors and in terms of overall popularity and impact as a singer in the given year, I would put my bets on Mohammed Rafi as the Best Male Singer for 1949.

4 AK June 25, 2016 at 11:33 pm

It is an interesting point of view whether one should put a restriction of not more than one song from a film. That would surely create difficulties and artificial selection in case (which is often the case with top composers who created at least half a dozen songs of equal merit in a film. Even with this filter, Kit seems my best ten would have at least 5 songs different from yours.

On your final conclusion, Rafi scores on his wide variety with different composers and different types of songs. No quarrel with his being #1.

5 Siddharth June 26, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I have now posted my favourite songs in various categories in Best songs of 1949.
On Best Male singer it was really a 2 horse race and both are winners.

6 R Vasudevan June 27, 2016 at 8:59 am

Very good write up by Mr AK and my vote goes to Rafi Sahib for Suhani
raath dal chuki the undisputed No 1 singer of the Golden era. There were
many great singers before Rafi and after his times, but Rafi
ranks head and shoulder over others. This is my view of course I am his
huge fan.

How is song become a hit – only yardstick applied is popularity that is
liked by so many?. This has been so right through from the days of
Husnuram Bhagathram to Bappi Lahiri. But there are many so many songs which inspite of lovely composition,excellent rendering and
rich poetry these songs have not become hit.
Eg. thoote huve kwabo ne from Madhumathi composed by Salil chowdhry and sung by Rafi sahib.
Bahoshee …….. diwana, mein aaj from the film Night in London
riveting composition by Laxmikanth Pyarelel and so effortlessly
crooned by Rafi.
3. Suman kalyanpur song from the film Resham ki Dori – the title song
beautifully sung and composed and well written song.
Members if interested may add to this list.

7 AK June 27, 2016 at 10:16 am

Mr Vasudevan,
Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your appreciation. We expect that you would be now with us on a sustained basis. In 1949, Rafi has some great songs. Tere are many with you who would put him no. 1.

On SoY we have been looking more at songs which were not necessarily hugely popular, but which are intrinsically superb. We have been highlighting such songs and discovering many new gems.

8 ksbhatia June 27, 2016 at 12:16 pm

AK ji;
Some time choosing best among the best becomes too difficult and one has to rely upon additional inputs in terms of its interlude , orchestration and picturisation ,vis a vis , its situation and story as well . A C Tyagi ji ‘s analysis do indicate a choice of best among the two giving a sort of a hint of a tie.

In my mind one thing emerges that we are weighing four songs of Mukesh [ All from Andaz ] against a loner of Rafi . A situation like one alone against rome . Here battle of strength wins the war and I think Mukesh deserves as winner . Credit goes to Naushad for its beautiful tunes beside excellent orchestration for all the songs .

One thing for sure that Mukesh’s …..Romance with the Piano….spoke of many songs conveying the sweet pain as well , and that feeling did not end with Andaz . In the very next year Mukesh emerged with another beauty from Aaram…….Aye Jaane jigar….this time under Anil Biswas . This beautiful pairing of mukesh and piano picked up by many MDs and gave some beautiful songs like ……Main khush naseeb hun mujhko kisi ka pyar mila…….Waqt karta jo wafa aap hammare hote……Dost dost na raha pyar pyar na raha …etc.

9 N Venkataraman June 27, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Kudos for a great summing up.
I do not think that the male solos had insignificant presence in the year 1949. On the contrary there were quite a good number of male solos in the year 1949 too. I could not do any statistical compilation and analysis and hence I did not have the opportunity to go much beyond the list provided by you. However, the number of male solos in your main list this year was more or less keeping up with previous trend, roughly between 21 and 25, although we could note a gradual increase in total number of songs in your main list over the previous years.

My list of best ten male solos was in chronological order and was not in order of preference. I was my mistake in not mentioning that the list was not in order of any particular preference, as I generally do.

My choice for the best male singer for the year in discussion is still Md. Rafi, based not merely on the number of songs alone. If I had to choose a particular song, my choice would have been Suhani raat dhal chuki. Asho Vaishnavji has explained the reason very well. I would simply second him. Of Course Tu kahe agar would have been my second choice.

This year many of our regular members have not mentioned their choice (best ten). Thus I would say the participation was subdued in this respect, compared to the previous years. I am happy to find at least seven of my choice in your list of best ten male solos. I would have liked SD Batish’s song Aankhen kah gayin dil ki baat among the ten best male solos. However I accept that you had to let it go with some sadness.

Thank you once again for this wonderful effort.

10 Shalan Lal June 27, 2016 at 4:26 pm

I have no resistance in accepting the well studied conclusion of the musical output of the year 1949 Wrap Up part 1. It has given due regards (except the non-filmy singers) to the other filmy singers than Mukesh and Rafi. In the later years these two singers flourished well and gave memorable songs and enriched the film music in general. Their many songs have become immortal and down the decades have been heard by the lovers of the SoY. They also earned their livelihood from the singing career. Living only on earning of the money from the film-music is a tough business. The art of singing in the world is one of the many things only a few people can make it pay. Others have to keep it as a hobby horse. Hollywood or Bollywood, pop, rock, folk and other genres are treacherous and full of land mined grounds and are cut throat business. It is a jungle where everyone is on his/her own. If you make success, then count your blessings and be happy. For many the sweet honey turns into bitter poison.

Shalan Lal

11 AK June 27, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Thanks a lot for your appreciation. Between Rafi and Mukesh and their two leading songs, I am quite OK with either choice. The readers’ participation depends on many factors, including their personal commitments. But since I have set a pattern for analysis, I would continue up to 1945 like this, which was the mandate I had taken.

12 AK June 27, 2016 at 4:46 pm

Shalan Lal,
Thanks a lot for your appreciation. The leading singers were financially quite OK. It was the rung just below which faced serious problems, such as Mubarak Begum who were really in difficult situation. From the earlier era, there are several known cases of once famous personalities living in penury.

13 Praveen June 28, 2016 at 12:12 pm

Didn’t find time to go through the first post on 1949 songs – but I know that the final list will be up soon, with all connoisseurs together pruning the list to the absolute best.

My vote would always be for Mukesh – just because I am a fan. But Suhani Raat – what can one say! The first time I heard this was when I was in school, watched this movie in DD and was totally mesmerised by this one song(Was not a big Rafi fan prior to that due to his over the top style in the later years singing). I can still remember that song and that still, silent night – that was quite an experience and hence that would be by all time favourite male solo. So I would vote for both Rafi and Mukesh

14 AK June 28, 2016 at 1:52 pm

Nicely said, Praveen.

15 Shalan Lal June 28, 2016 at 5:47 pm

AK @ 12

Yes indeed Mubaraq Beghum was in need of hospital fees mounting over hundreds of rupees.

About theiry years back Raj Kumari came to London and went on asking to pay her some money for her husmbands hospital treatment.

Mighty Marlon Brando who sang only in one film ” Guys and Dolls”but to wards the end of his life lived on the charity of the other actors.

There are more horrific stories about those who get carried away by the tinsel town had only tears to console them.

We who love their art feel guilty that we enjoy their fruits of sweat, blood and tears.

Sad state indeed

Shalan Lal

16 Giri June 30, 2016 at 10:29 pm

I am a fan of Rafi saheb simply because of his God gifted voice and his ability to bring out proper emotions associated with the lyrics. Hence my choice of Rafi saheb may be out of prejudice!
But at the same time, I have enjoyed many of Mukeshji’s songs as well and I respect your choice.

17 AK July 1, 2016 at 7:28 am

You have said it nicely. But in 1949 one does not have to be prenudiced to choose Rafi or Mukesh. They song some of their career best songs in the year.

18 mumbaikar8 July 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm

I was surprised by your male songs selection. It has happened first time in six years; you have selected four songs of a singer from one movie.
I feel that baharon ne jise chheda hai and ankhen kah gaye dil ki baat should have been in final 10.
One more observation, whenever there is a too close to call situation the calls goes against Rafi. Need not remind that he is yet be the male singer of the year at SOY

19 AK July 2, 2016 at 2:21 pm

Your first point: All the four songs of Andaaz are of outstanding merit.
Second point: Accepted with respect to Ankhen kah gayi. First song Mukesh, this probably cannot replace an Andaaz song.
Third point: I think among all the years I have reviewed, this was the first time Rafi had a close call with another singer. In retrospect, declaring him a joint winner would have satisfied more people.

20 Shalan Lal July 2, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Mubaikar8 @18 and AK @ 19

I would like to express that AK has done well in putting Rafi & Mukesh in equal pans of the balance ant that is very correct for that time. Unless one knows that the period 1949 which culminated in bringing best available singings talents after the demise of Saigal and Punkaj Muullick waning out the freedom the music directors got was a good for the creativity and experimental period. Both the singers showed their very good talent to manipulate their melodic voice to express the filmy music. Both made filmy music popular and enjoyable and free from the pressure of the Classical Music to be theonly way to enjoy music

Later on Rafi flourished well in the sami classical or other kinds of genres flourished. Mukesh stuck with RK ‘s voice and had very little development of his voice. But whatever he did that became popular and likable and enjoyable as well.

For the 1949 Ak is extremly right.


21 Arunkumar Deshmukh July 3, 2016 at 5:16 pm

Thank you AK ji, for asking me about Talat songs in 1949.
Talat started singing in Hindi films from Calcutta. His first film was Rajlaxmi-45, in which he sang 2 songs under the baton of Robin Chatterjee. Next year he changed his name to Tapan Kumar and sang a duet in film Tum aur Main-47. ( In this film, there was an actor with the name Talaaq Mehmood. Talat had not acted in the film.)
1948 was dry for him.
In 1949 he shifted to Bombay, after doing film Samaapti-49 in Calcutta. His name was already ringing in Bombay and composers were waiting for him to sing in their films. They were Vinod,Anil Biswas,Naushad,Shyam sunder, Khemchand prakash,Bulo c Rani, Lacchiram, Hafeez Khan,Snehal Bhatkar and S.Mohinder. All of them called Talat to sing for them and his recordings for these people were all recorded in 1950.
As we all know, 1949 year was an exceptional year for Hindi film music and every composer was busy in churning out his best. They were all busy throughout the year and there was no scope to adjust a Talat song in 1949
However, Husnlal-Bhagatram managed to get 1 song from Talat for film Rakhi-49 and Prafull Chaudhary got 2 songs for film Swayamsidha-49. These songs came out in the year 1949 itself.
Talat realised that he had to offload the Bengal style, before he sings songs in Bombay as the audience was different , composers were different and styles have to be different. They all liked the Tremolo in his voice – the vocal vibrato that separated him from all other singers.
So, he changed his style and in this, Anil Biswas and C.Ramchandra helped him very much. That is why Anil da’s song from Arzoo came out so well and then there was no looking back.
This is my interpretation about Talat’s poor songs in 1949 and why he could not compete in the race.

22 AK July 3, 2016 at 8:59 pm

Thanks a lot. My point mainly was whether we can definitely say that Anil Biswas was the first MD to introduce Talat Mahmood in Bombay.

23 Arunkumar Deshmukh July 3, 2016 at 9:21 pm

AK ji,
The answer is NO.
Before Anil da, Talat had already sung 3 songs in 2 Bombay films, as I have mentioned in my note given above. That hnour goes to Husnlal-Bhagatram. However, Anil Biswas gave Talat’s first hit song in Bombay, which actually made his name known everywhere.

24 SSW July 4, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Mr.Deshmukh , you’ve mentioned both tremolo and vibrato related to Talat Mahmood’s voice. I’m just being pedantic but Talat’s voice displayed a vibrato not a tremolo. A tremolo is a single note being played very quickly multiple times or a single note’s amplitude being changed rapidly while it is being played. A vibrato is an actual minute variation in pitch which Talat’s voice displayed and was very effective when he was younger but sadly did not age well.
This is a very good example of a tremolo on a classical guitar . The tremolo is played by the three fingers in a continuous accompaniment while the thumb plays the main melody.

25 Arunkumar Deshmukh July 5, 2016 at 5:22 pm

SSW ji,

Thanks for your explanation. As per Oxford dictionary, Tremolo is ” tremulous effect in singing” and Tremulous is defined as Trembling or quivering. I was /am of the opinion that for a layman using the word Tremolo would be more appropriate than using vibrato. The same dictionary tells the meaning of Vibrato as ” Tremulous effect on pitch”. I thought these words are having almost same meaning.
Anyway, I am not an expert in Musicology and I accept your correction since I know your knowledge in this field is several times better than what I have.
Thanks again.

26 SSW July 6, 2016 at 1:52 am

Mr. Deshmukh
I was looking at it purely from a musical perspective. In the normal usage ” tremulous” would mean quivering derived from the Latin tremulus “to tremble” so you would be right in using it to describe a quivering voice in the normal parlance. However the musical usage is different and for that you have to blame musical people who tend to change meanings to suit their convenience. You can also blame people like me for being pedantic but I did want to post that Schubert piece. and you gave me the opportunity to do so 🙂 My regards.

27 Mahesh July 12, 2016 at 10:57 pm

I think the Big 3 factor is also into play here. Mukesh has Dilip Kumar in a big way (carrying forward Mela and Anokha Pyar from previous year), Raj Kapoor in a small way (carrying forward Aag) and into Sunhere Din in 1949. Also, Dev Anand in previous year in Vidhya.

Rafi saab in spite of more numbers came in a very big way from Baiju Bawra and that too not for the Big 3.

So I suppose this Big 3 phenomena should also be considered in the analysis and conclusion.

28 AK July 13, 2016 at 7:41 am

Association with Big 3 did play some role. But this is not the entire story. Rafi was the voice of Dilip Kumar in 1948 (Nadiya Ke Paar, Shaheed) and 1947 (Jugnu) though with different MDs. He had great success as Dilip Kumar’s voice in 1951 (Deedar). Yet 1950-1955 was a three-horse race, at times a two-horse race, the two being Mukesh and Talat Mahmood, in spite of Rafi having more songs than them. The niche factor was in play here. Gradually, versatility prevailed over niche, and late 50s through 60s it virtually became a one-horse race with Rafi becoming the voice of most of the heroes.

29 mumbaikar8 July 13, 2016 at 10:53 am

I agree that big three would make a difference.
Rafi career graph is very erratic. In 1940s he was singing solos as well as duets for heroes, supporting actors comedians etc, but in early 50s as I have said earlier he was singing most of the male songs but for heros’ solos in A grade movies (except for Naushad).
The best male songs were sung by heroes that’s why he was out of the race despite of having more songs.
Come Mr. & Mrs. 55, Pyaasa and Tumsa nahin dekha he started singing for the male lead.
I would not say it was one-horse race as Mukesh, Mahendra, Manna Dey and rest did get their share of male hero solos.

30 xFedal July 16, 2016 at 9:39 pm

Hi there AKji, I have some numbers for this year of 1949… Talatji Sang 8 songs, Mukeshji 30, Kishoreda sang 6…. I need to check up on Manna Dey Hold on…. Manna Dey sang 9 songs….. I how no info on how many Surendra, GMD, and Khan Mastana saab sung this year however I think it’s safe to say that they weren’t more in demand than Mukeshji….. Coming onto Mohammed Rafi Saab who has sung 125* songs …. This figure of 125 is greater than Lataji 161 in terms of Percentage sung by Male singer compared to Female percentage of Lata, despite the fact that Female songs were more by factor of 4 or 5… In fact Lataji figure of 161 songs is nothing new as Shamshad Begum has many years similar and had sung herself 155 songs…. However Rafi Saab as a male singer was more in demand than all the others put together compare the tally of Talatji/Mukeshji/Mannaji/ …. Which is quite shocking…. I’ve seen you refer to the year of 1949 as the ‘Tsunami Year’ in terms of quality for Lataji you are right, but 125 songs sung by Rafi Saab I think was the first time a male singer crosses 100 songs per year? If true it gains historical importance… Which I haven’t seen anyone else talk about yet…

31 AK July 18, 2016 at 7:25 am

Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your very detailed analysis. I must admit I had not viewed it in terms of gross number of songs sung by a singer in a year. I go down the entire list of songs and keep memorable ones in my Select List. This at times has inverse relationship with the total number of songs of a singer. In case of some singers this gets accentuated.

You are making an interesting point about the first time a male singer crossing century mark. One needs to take a close look at the earlier years, but my hunch is you must be right. In that sense this is another special feature about 1949. Thanks for highlighting it.

32 Ashok Kumar Tyagi August 1, 2016 at 7:43 pm

AK ji
The figure of 125 songs in 1949 by Rafi is a pleasant surprise. In quality of singing, even with the perspective of Hindustani classical music, Manna Dey and Rafi appear to be leading exponents of film song rendition after the venerable KL Saigal’s demise.

33 xFedal August 1, 2016 at 11:40 pm

Ashok Kumar Tyagi ji in reply to post 32…. It is surprising, also the gap between Rafi Saab and everyone else this year was huge, the next singer that sung the most was Mukesji with 30, which is more than x4 less.. By comparison the female equivalent of this would be for Lata Ji to sing 616 songs to match this dominance of Rafi Saab in the male category… but I also know that Rafi Saab sang the most songs in 1946 compared to 8 songs of Mukesh, the rest Manna Dey, KL Saigal din’t sing much, he might have sung the most in that year of 1946… I haven’t seen or heard any other male singer have more than 38 songs that year of 1946. He sang 1 more song than Mukeshji in 1947 and and 5 more than him in the year of 1948…. In the Vintage era…. the MD’s learnt quickly about ‘The Voice’… hence he was used the most, unfortunately for Manna Dey he seemed to have the least amount of memorable sings compared to others….

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