My favourite Rafi – Lata duets

July 31, 2011

Remembering Mohammad Rafi on his death anniversary July 31

Rafi-Lata MangeshkarMohammad Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar were two colossus whose comprehensive domination in the golden era of 1950’s and 60’s made them synonymous with playback singing. They were what is described in marketing jargon as the brand becoming the product. What better way than to write on their best ten duets to pay my tribute to Rafi on his death anniversary, July 31.

The criteria I have followed is not to have more than one duet from any composer.  I have also not pre-selected the composers (except one or two towards the end).  Rather I have selected my absolute favourite songs in order of priority, and then go down the list skipping repeat composers.  So here is my best ten Rafi-Lata duets by ten different composers.

1. Ae mohabbat unse milne ka bahana ban gaya from Bazaar (1949), lyrics Qamar Jalabadi, music Shyam Sundar

1949 was a watershed year marking the change from the vintage era to the golden era with Shankar Jaikishan storming with his debut Barsaat, and Lata Mangeshkar creating a sensation with her everlasting songs with all the leading composers of the time (see Lata Mangeshkar versus Noorjehan). She at barely 20 and Rafi, barely 25 had been around for a couple of years, and not yet the dominant figures they would soon become. Shyam Sundar himself from the vintage era creating this masterpiece at the cusp of transition – this song is steeped in history, and I still find it of eternal quality, and very easily my top choice. It appears to be a stage song performed by Shyam and Nigar Sultana with a bicycle as a prop. While Nigar Sultana looks quite comely, Shyam looks unduly stiff; was it because they made him wear bandgalaa in hot summer in the auditorium which had no AC?

Ae mohabbat unse milne ka bahana mil gaya

2. Bhigi palke utha meri jaan gham na kar from Do Gunde (1958), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Ghulam Mohammad

How do you describe a song which has such ethereal quality, which puts you in trance and transports you into another world? You do not care if it is picturised on Ajit and Jayshree Gadkar. Such songs make me very hesitant in using the pejorative term B-grade for these films.  Ghulam Mohammad was one of the greatest composers, and several of his songs for Talat Mahmood, Suraiya and Shamshd Begum are of unparalleled beauty.  Some more of his Rafi-Lata duets are absolute gems, such as Hum tum ye bahaar (Ambar) and Ankhiyan mila ke zara baat karo ji (Pardes).  So you can imagine his class if he could create Bhigi palke utha towering over even these songs.

3. Sun mere sajanaa ho from Aansoo (1953), lyrics Qamar Jalalabadi, music Husnlal Bhagatram

Again a duet in the same heavenly class. Husnlal Bhagatram were probably the first duo in film music. They were also mentors of Shankar Jaikishan. With such quality of music it is ironic that SJ’s rise in a way directly led to their downfall.

4. Bhula nahi dena jib hula nahi dena from Baradari (1955), lyrics Khumar Barabankvi, music Nashad

Wow, this is Ajit again, now with Geeta Bali! Let me tell you I was not aware before writing this that this was picturised on Ajit. Moreover, the music director is Nashad (not Naushad as some websites have erroneously attributed), so is this what we call a B-grade movie? The song is undoubtedly A-plus and for me this belongs to the category of eternal songs making automatic entry at number 4.

5. Tere bin soone nain hamaare from Meri Soorat Teri Ankhen (1963), lyrics Shailendra, music SD Burman

This duet again I would put in heavenly category and makes automatic entry at my number five. Ashok Kumar is a talented singer, but ugly looking and shunned by the world.  Rafi pours the pain of this character in this plaintive melody.  Beautiful Asha Parekh is involuntarily drawn towards this enchanting voice, and as she thinks she has come near it, she breaks into Lata Mangeshkar’s equally moving rendition of the last stanza.

6. Tu Ganga ki mauj main Jamuna ki dhara from Baiju Bawra (1952), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad

This is a landmark film in the career of Naushad when he finally settled on Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar as his lead singers, even after having great success with Mukesh (Mela, Anokhi Ada and Andaaz), Talat Mahmood (Babul) and Shamshad Begum (Mela, Dulari, Babul). The song itself has several landmarks to its credit. The first ever Filmfare award to a music director went to Naushad for this song (those days the award was for a specific song), and unbelievably this remained his only Filmfare trophy (even his Mughal-e-Azam lost to the ‘mighty’ Shankar Jaikishan’s Dil Apna Aur Preet Parayee). As Meena Kumari rows away her canoe alone, Bharat Bhushan comes into view. Rafi’s opening Akeli mat jaiyo Radhe Jamuna ke teer in slow tempo sounds like a caring person’s pleading to her not to venture alone to the bank of river Jamuna, and when you least expect, it breaks into Naushad’s beautiful orchestration, and this duet with a different mukhda. This is pure magic.

7. Teri ankhon mein pyar maine dekh liya from Chand Mere Aa Ja (1960), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Chitragupta

It would be a surprise if the great melody maker Chitragupta did not make it to my list. His Teri duniya se door (Zabak) and Laagi chute na ab to sanam (Kali Topi Lal Rumal) have acquired iconic status. There are some more I like immensely such as Beet gayi hai aadhi raat (Nache Nagin Baje Been) and Chand jane kahan kho gaya (Main Chup Rahungi). I choose Teri ankhon mein pyar maine dekh liya, because it has all the sweetness for which I like Chitragupta so much. Bharat Bhushan – Nanda are childhood buddies and, as grown up lovers, are having a romantic ride on a bullock cart. This rural idyll needed the melody of Chitragupta, who would create a sensation with this genre in Bhojpuri films like Ganga Maiya Tohe Piyari Chhdayibe and Laagi naahi chute Ram.

8. Jeevan mein piya tera saath rahe from Goonj Uthi Shenai (1958), music Vasant Desai

Vasant Desai is known for classical/semi-classical compositions. When Lata Mangeshkar recites in slow tempo Rok sake na raah humari duniya ki deewar, saath jiyenge saath marenge amar humara pyar you least expect it would be followed by a very fast orchestration, and this duet continues in the same gay abandon of exuberance.

9. Kali ghata ghir aye re from Kali Ghata (1951), music Shankar Jaikishan

The first eight duets came to me spontaneously. For the remaining two I have to do some deliberation. Shankar Jaikishan should enter as a matter of right with the kind of domination they had in the golden era. Their music was to a great extent instrumental in the huge success of stars like Rajendra Kumar and Shammi Kapoor and one can recall a number of famous duets from their films of 1960s. Some of SJ’s melodious duets are Awaaz de ke humein tum bulaao (Professor), Tujhe jeevan ki dor se baandh liya hai (Asli Naqli) and Dheere dheere chal chand gagan mein (Love Marriage) However, my special favourite is this duet from early 1950s, a period which had a very unique charm in the kind of music produced by the great composers like Naushad and C Ramchandra. The young SJ team was equal to them in quality and commercial success. The voices of the great singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Rafi and Mukesh also had that period feel. Here is this 1951 duet sung so beautifully by the two stalwarts, and picturised equally beautifully on Kishore Sahu and Bina Rai.   (The video’s audio quality was poor, therefore I have replaced it with  its audio).

10. Baar baar tohe kya samjhaun from Aarti (1962), music Roshan

The one remaining slot I have to give to Roshan whom I put at the top in melody. His soulful, romantic and soft songs have the power to transport you to another world.  Aapne yaad dilaya to mujhe yaad aya is more typical of Roshan.  A middle of the road and perhaps more famous is Jo vada kiya wo nibhana padega (Tajmahal). Baar baar tohe kya samjhaun is somewhat atypical of Roshan. But its beauty is enhanced by its picturisation. A group of villagers are enjoying this item number (by those days’ standards) performed by an extra dancer. Then the newly weds Pradeep Kumar and Meena Kumari come upon this group. Pradeep Kumar coyly beckons to the wife to join. Meena Kumari in big bindi, a very prominent mangalsutra and huge jhumkas, so very gingerly starts swaying her body and sings the same Baar baar tohe kya samjhaun in a very kosher style appropriate to a virtuous patni. Towards the end of the duet you see the couple, now by themselves under the stars, walking off towards the sea and generally soaking the romantic ambience.

The above list has one important omission, Laxmikant-Pyarelal. In sheer quantity of Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar songs they would probably outnumber any other composer. In the later 1960’s they had become an assembly-line hit producing factory which also included some outstanding songs such as their very first Wo jab yaad aye bahut yaat aye (Parasmani) to their later Jhil mil sitaron ka angan hoga (Jeevan Mrityu). But I find it difficult to squeeze them in at the cost of the above ten. Madan Mohan’s songs for Lata Mangeshkar have acquired iconic status, so have Ravi’s for Mohammad Rafi, but off hand I can not recall their any great Rafi-Lata duet. It is possible there are some hidden gems created by minor composers for obscure movies. Given Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar’s enormous scale and their ardent following, it is quite likely there would be more such compilations on the blogworld. It would be quite interesting to compare each other’s favourites.

{ 77 comments… read them below or add one }

1 K R Vaishampayan July 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Hello AK,
That’s truly a melodious tribute to Rafi. Thanks a lot for such a wonderful collection. I liked all of them…especially the older ones are truly Vintage in every sense of the term – mellow, simple yet sweet. Thanks again for such wonderfully researched article and a collection to match. Thanks and regards – KRV

2 Ashok Vaishnav July 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Very fitting way to to remember Rafi Sahab, since the comparison of Rafi and Lata has always been a lively topic among crictics as well as fans.

I was recently reading a book [Notes of Naushad – Author: Shashikant Kinicker] where Shri Naushad has noted that RafiSahab found it difficult to align musically, and hence soulfully, with som=ngs that were not well composed. In this light, research on [both] popularity as well as quality of rendering of the song by Rafi sahab by those one/two/three film music directors vis-a-vis some of the bench-marked\[so called ] successful and failure songs of the “successful” ‘great’ music directors should be quite interesting to undertake . Its results may become another hot topic of discussion.

3 Rahul July 31, 2011 at 5:55 pm

The most beautiful voice.. Today when i listen to his songs, it gives me so much peace…

4 Sanjiva July 31, 2011 at 8:20 pm

It is indeed a well researched blog, kudos to you. But to my mind I love two duets of Md Rafi with other lady singers , here are two
Yeh Raat Yeh Phizaien Phir Aaye ya na aayen with Asha
Ajahu na aaye baalma sawan bita jaye with Suman Kalyanpur

May be we look forward to your comments abot other singers too.
But in any case Md Rafi remains great in any form and combination.

5 AK August 1, 2011 at 7:35 am

@KR Vaishampayan, Ashok Vaishnav, Rahul, Sanjiva
Thanks for your generous comments.

Many of the greatest songs of Rafi are by unknown composers. Even in my list of duets you see some songs by some relatively small time composers far far superior to those by stalwarts. It is quite clear there was something in the composition which attracted Rafi to put his soul into it, rather than the status of the music director.

I find Rafi-Lata duets belong to a different class as compared to with other singers. His duets with Suman Kalyanpur in 1960s are again as good as with any other singer. I have already written about Suman Kalyanpur in which I have mentioned her duets also. I find many people have deep fascination for Asha Bhosle. I have decided to write about her also, though she is not among my great favourites.

6 Subodh Agrawal August 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm

Let me begin by thanking you for song no. 3 – ‘sun mere saajna’. I was completely hooked on it at a very young age. Along with songs of Dosti this song was chiefly instrumental in making me a fan of Rafi until about the age of 20 when I did an about turn and became a Rafi hater for the next few years ( as I mentioned in my comment on Mohd Rafi vs. Kishore Kumar).

Some of my favorite duets of these two enormously accomplished singers are:
1. Dheere dheer chal chand gagan mein
2. Jeet hi lenge baazi hum tum
3. Do sitaron ka zameen par hai milan
4. Yaad mein teri jaag jaag ke ham
5. Aapne yaad dilaya to mujhe yaad aaya
6. Re man sur mein ga
7. Paaon chhoo lene do inko yeh inayat hogi

The female version of ‘zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi’ is a semi-duet; as Rafi joins in towards the end.

I checked my own collection of favorites from the 1950-1980 period and surprisingly it contains very few songs of this pair. There are many more of Rafi-Aasha, Rafi-Geeta, Mukesh-Lata, Hemant- Lata, Manna Dey-Lata and Talat-Lata. Maybe two perfectly smooth and polished voices don’t provide the kind of counterpoint that one expects from a duet. Even your list mostly contains songs from the early years when Lata’s voice hadn’t quite acquired the smoothness and maturity of later years. That’s a thought.

7 K R Vaishampayan August 6, 2011 at 10:21 am

I couldn’t have agreed more with Mr. Subodh Agrawal. The songs he listed are all-time favourites. However, with due respect – it is rather difficult to go with his observation – when Lata’s voice hadn’t quite acquired the smoothness and maturity of later years. Which years Mr. Agrawal is referring to? One realizes that both Lata & Rafi’s tonal quality or voice timber matured as early as late 40s early 50s. And both had an uncanny talent to match and mould their voices to suit the heroine / hero they were singing for. That’s why Rafi of Dhire Dhire Chal [phonetically we rather hear Tal] sounds like Dev Anand. But this is all purely academic dissection. I would rather enjoy uncountable dulcet duets sung by Lata with many a singer. Regards – KRV

8 AK August 7, 2011 at 12:13 pm

@Subodh Agrawal
I can believe what Sun mere sajna re would have done to you, because it did the same to me, and that is why you see it here so ahead in the list.

Re mann sur mein ga I believe is by Manna Dey and Asha Bhosle. YouTube has it. But the remaining songs would of course be in anyone’s list of the Rafi-Lata’s greatest duets. I have also mentioned two of them in my article Dheere dheere chal chand gagan mein and Aapne yaad dilaya to mujhe yaad aya, which some other day I might have taken as my favourite SJ and Roshan respectively. The remaining eight have somehow etched themselves in my heart, also almost in the same order. So much so that if I make this list five years hence without refering to any source, they would most likely figure in the same order.

My journey to Rafi has taken somewhat diffrent trajectory. I was a great Mukesh fan, and Talat and Hemant Kumar fan. I was never passionate about Rafi, but never got to ‘hate’ him. Then much later I developed huge respect for him. OP Nayyar whom I never admired, primarily because of his Lata exclusion, I started seeing his Rafi songs in a different light. Then Rafi-Roshan combination I found incredibly sweet. Rafi-Naushad is again a class apart. So Rafi has gone up in my esteem hugely from my younger days.

Your Lata and Rafi-Lata observation I do not share. But I have to grant we all respond to music, different singers in different ways. Otherwise how can anyone explain my almost indifference for Geeta Dutt. Lata to me in early 1950s was the best. I agree first few years her voice was thin. But 1951/52 you can not say the same, it had acquired its famed smoothness, that is why you see my selection loaded towards early 1950s, and generally you would find the same strand in my artilces.

9 K R Vaishampayan August 7, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Hello AK,
Thanks for this post. I have written earlier that LATA is the ultimate, undeniable truth and we should consider ourselves lucky to have lived in the same time as her and have had the fortune to hear her live too. That said, same can be said of the yesteryear singers without exception
Therefore, however great LATA is…she is not Beginning and End; nor were the others. Whether Singer, Song writers or Music Directors…each one of them had their own style and attractions.
I do understand your initial dislike for OP for his LATA embargo. And although it is not my brief as to why OP & LATA couldn’t come together; yet, in hindsight I can say with conviction…some things are better left to conjecture.
But…OP was truly a gutsy MAESTRO. In his own words – ” Be it – AASHA, GEETA, SHAMSHAD, VANI or PEENAZ…. they sing OP. And probably that’s why, under my batten they sound same.” This may have been the fate of great LATA too had she ever sung OP’s compositions; and as a die-hard OP fan and follower, I tend to stand by his conviction.
In a nutshell, we all love Music as food for soul. We KAANSENS should do what we do best; listen to these great melodies and keep appreciating them.
Thanks and regards – KRV

P.S.: Hello AK, are you interested in Indian Classical [Vocal]?? If yes, here is a link I landed up accidentally.
Try it. This site is a Huge den of Indian Classical Vocals…all 78 rpm recordings mostly by Columbia.

10 Gaby September 1, 2011 at 12:48 am

I have just finished listening to Tum bin sajan barse nayan from Gaban and before the sweetness fades away have jumped into my Mukesh marathon!

11 arvind September 21, 2011 at 9:16 pm
this song (tum to pyar ho…from SEHRA…) was composed by ramlal .he n vasant desai were shantaram’s favourite composers.

12 arvind October 16, 2011 at 3:28 pm
this is the link to…..teri duniya se door chale ho ke majboor…from …ZABAK….
There was this candy wala who will come around noon(1961) singing this song (both rafi n lata portions ) to the accompaniment of a rhythmic dholak n kids would simply rush to buy…..

13 Arman April 2, 2012 at 1:21 am

When I start reading this post I have made up my mind that these three songs will surely be in the list, because they have to be in anyones list.

Jo wada kya
Jeet hi lenge
Bar bar tohe kya
Till 9th song I have not found any of these, but thanks God, the last song saved my day.

14 AK April 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm

I mentioned in Roshan that my choice was between Jo wada kiya and Baar baar tohe kya samjhaun. That covers your two songs. Jeet hi lenge has been mentioned by another reader. Which one you would like to take out? I am unable to replace any of the songs. With two prolific and great singers, I am aware that different person’s best list would vary a great deal. I would be interested to know what would be your best 10, with no music director repeated.

15 Arman April 2, 2012 at 8:52 pm

Well my top ten will be
Tu ganga ki mauj—Naushad
Sun mere sajna—HLBR
Awaz deke humaain tum—Shanker Jaikishen
Jo wada kya—Roshan
Jhilmil sitaroon ka—LP
Kuh kuhu bole—Adi Naryana Rao
Saaz e dil ched de—Kalyanji Anandji
Do ghadi wo jo—Madan Mohan— how could you miss this one?
Jevan mein piya—Vasant Desai
Tere bin sone— S D Burman

16 AK April 3, 2012 at 6:53 pm

For SJ, I did consider Awaaz de ke humein tum bulaao seriously.

For Roshan as I have mentioned Jo wada kiya was on my radar screen.

Among the composers I had to leave out simply because of limitation of numbers, I did mention LP’s Jhil mil sitaaron ka anagn hoga

Do ghadi wo jo paas aa baithe I like enormously.

That leaves only two from your list which I find difficult to put in top ten at the cost of others. 80% overlap for such prolific singers is quite impressive.

17 Arman April 4, 2012 at 1:31 am

Fair and square, thanks.

18 Rajiv Yadav April 8, 2012 at 6:32 pm

Dear AK ji,
Please make a post on melodies of Hemant Kumar and specially immortal duets like -rimjhim ke yeh pyare pyare geet liye ; and yeh raat bheegee bheegee, yeh mast fizayen–.We will love to have them here.

19 AK April 9, 2012 at 12:20 am

I have done a post on Hemant Kumar-Lata Mangeshkar duets. Rimjhim ke ye pyare pyare geet liye is a Talat Mahmood-Lata Mangeshkar duet which I have covered in my post on duets of Talat Mahmood. Ye raat bheegi bheegi the famous Manna Dey- Lata Mangeshkar duet should figure whenever it fits a theme which I like. As you might have noticed I am not moving linearly but whatever takes my fancy, so my blog is a combination of structured and unstructured posts. Another thing you might have observed is that I am looking for things which are somewhat away from commonplace.

20 Sangeeta April 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Hi I have just recently discovered the beautiful duet of lata and rafi from Kali-ghata- ” O kaali ghata ghir aayri re o “. It is so enchanting and sweet. Beautiful song.

21 mumbaikar8 November 3, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Thanks A.K.
I do not know how many times I will be thanking.
This topic is very close to my heart.
However I think 10 songs for Rafi Lata duets is doing injustice to many other songs.
Here are few I would liketo include:
Nai Zindagi Se Pyaar Kar Ke Dekh Shankar Jaikishan
Meri Dunya Me Tum Aayi Madan Mohan
Chhupa Kar Meri Aankhon Ko Ravi
Ek Tera Saath Hum Ko Do Jahan Se Laxmi Pyare
Bhool Jaye Sare Gham C. Rmchandra
Yeh Dil Diwana Hai SDB

22 AK November 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Yes, ten songs for Rafi-Lata hardly do any justice to them. My purpose was to include those songs which have held me spellbound for over three decades, taking not more than one from a music director. One has to make several lists for them to cover most of their good songs. From the list you have given, I like Chhupa kar meri ankhon ko (small corection, it is from Bhabhi, Chitragupta) and Bhool jayen sare gham enormously.

23 mumbaikar8 November 4, 2012 at 2:28 am

Thanks for the correction

24 arvind December 16, 2012 at 6:14 pm
sharing this lata rafi melody “… duniya mein nahin koi yaar wafadaar …” from 1952 movie ” …amber…’ a ghulam md. composition ,penned by shakeel.

25 AK December 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm

It is an excellent song. Thanks. One of the best songs of Rafi for Raj Kapoor. My own favourite from this film is Hum tum ye bahar

26 Vineesh Vedsen February 27, 2014 at 10:05 am

Lata Rafi have innumerable immortal duets. Also the better ones are more in late 40s and early 50s. The quality of voice and music were best in these periods in most cases. Later down in 50s, 60s, too there are some amazing duets. But post 1965, the quality of the music itself fell. So even Rafi Lata duets have not been exceptionalized from that.

27 ksbhatia March 4, 2014 at 11:32 pm

AK,ji On serious notes i think Lata Rafi song from Deedar …… Dekh liya maine kismat ka tammasha dekh liya…..needs inclusion in the list amongst one of the best . Likewise songs from Kohinoor ……Do sitaron ka zamin pe hai milan aaj ki raat….and….Chalenge teer jab dil par to armmano ka kya hoga …. is worth mentioning . Similarly Yaad mein teri jag jag ke hum…..from Mere mehboob needs mention . These were Naushad sahib creation . I liked Rafi Lata’s song …….Dekho rootha na karo baat najron ki suno…..from Tere ghar ke saamne a Sachin da’s creation .

28 AK March 5, 2014 at 7:52 am

KS Bhatia,
All the songs you have mentioned I like a lot. Naushad is my greatest favourite, and would require a whole series as I have done for SD Burman. Insha Allah, some day I would be able to do it. In this post, as I have mentioned, I chose only one from a composer.

29 ksbhatia March 6, 2014 at 12:17 am

AK’ji, Bravo , That will be a great effort . I think every member should contribute or suggest songs of old and vintage era. AK’ji I was thinking that music directors of yester years beautifully utilised the contribution of “chorus singers” in their melodies there by inhancing the total effect . Naushad and Shanker Jaikishan were very effective in this regard . Naushad’s song……O more saiyan ji utren ge par nadiya dhere baho……and…..O door ke musafir …..from Uran khatola and many more justify my point . Likewise Shanker Jaikishan very effectively utillised choral effects in……..Ajib daastan hai yeh…. from Dil apna aur preet parai . SJ’s also enhanced the melody factor in not so popular songs like……Bagoan aur bharon mae ithalata gata aya koi……from Chotti bahen and …..O mere sanwale saloane piya tujhe milne ko tarse jiya…..from Kanhaiya . These are all multi listener songs ; one has to hum the choral part for total listening pleasure .

30 AK March 6, 2014 at 9:48 am

You are right about these two great composers using chorus in orchestration so effectively. Naushad seems to be especially fond of the chorus. There are songs in which the chorus is used in place of musical interludes. I had a very unusual feeling when I heard O mere saanwle salon piya. I thought the chorus bore the style of Naushad, though SJ’s orchestration is very different. I also have a feeling that Naushad’s penchant for the chorus became more pronounced in the 50s than 40s. Do you have any thought on this?

31 mumbaikar8 March 6, 2014 at 11:56 pm

AK, ksbhatia,

Please excuse me for trespassing.
Chorus in golden era was at its best too.
I was fascinated by this C Ramchandre’s chorus in Sajan.
I feel that this chorus was ispiration to the immortal Ghar aaya mera pardesi from Awara.

32 ksbhatia March 7, 2014 at 1:32 am

Mumbaiker’ji , AK’ji , Yes the song is very close to awara’s song though the rhythem and beats are slightly on the slower side . The tone and composition to my mind is very close to Do bhigha zamin’s song ” Apni kahani chhoad ja kuchh to nishani chhoad ja”……the famous Salil’da choral melody . Coming back to choral effects i think besides Naushad and SJ ; who were literally masterd these effects; Salil and C Ramchandra were also very good in this field . One cannot forget the songs of Madhumati……”Jugni sang aankh ladi” and ” dhaiya re dhaiya das gaiyo papi Bicchuaa ” . Likewise C Ramchandra’s “nain se nain nahi milao “[ or is it Vasant Desai ?] . For Naushad and SJ we have to make a big dig as they practically used chorus in every movies of the 50’s and 60’s . . Instantly I can recall …….”Ichak daana “……..and…. ” Mud mud ke naa dekh ” from Shree420; ” Ghar aaya mera pardesi “…..and ……”Ek do teen aaja mausam hai ranggein ” …. and also…..”naiya teri maajdhhar ” from Awara . Intrestingly SJ used Mandoline and chorus in AWARA’s title music which itself is a masterpiece . Yahudi’s songs ….”yeh dunia yeh duniya “…. ” meri jaan meri jaan ” are other examples . The great Naushad sahib was very effective in the movies of the 50’s ; be it song , be it background choral music . The listing will be long and i would be following it separately . However; to mention the movies they would be ….Aan , Mela , Udan khatola , Babul , Kohinoor , Amar , Dullari , Andaj , Sohni mahiwal , Mughal e ajam…..and so on . Naushad gave a very good example of how effective background music can be using chorus to enhance visual impact of a scene . Example……Pakizaa ‘s song “chalte chalte” ‘s follow up music along with the passing and whistling of train . That was something great that only great musical masters can deliver .

33 M K SHARMA March 8, 2014 at 6:00 pm

This interview in The Hindu of Lata for Rafi speaks a lot..
Remembering Rafi
As Mohammed Rafi’s 30th death anniversary comes up on July 31, melody queen Lata Mangeshkar pays a personal tribute to one of India’s greatest playback singers.
Photo: The Hindu Photo Library

A great partnership: Rafi and Lata.
Rafi bhaiya was not only India’s greatest playback singer but also a wonderful person. I am yet to come across another artist so modest, dignified and unassuming. The blessings of Goddess Saraswati were with him and this was responsible to a great extent for his iconic success and he believed in true sadhna. Every morning he practised his riyaz like a devoted singer and rehearsed before recording each song.
Household name
Suhani raat dhal chuki in “Dulari”, tuned by Naushad saab, made him a household name in the late 1940s.Since then there was no looking back for Mohd. Rafi.He went from strength to strength as a singer never conscious of his amazing abilities. While raising his voice to the highest octave for O Duniya Ke Rakhwale in “Baiju Bawra”, he was so involved that he was not even aware that his vocal chord was disturbed and blood oozed out. Naushad saab had to compel his musicians and the sound recordist to stop the recording with immediate effect.
He was not only cordial but affectionate and cooperative with his colleagues. I consider myself very lucky for having sung the maximum number of duets with him under Naushad, C. Ramchandra, S.D. Burman, Shanker-Jaikishan, Salil Chowdhury, Madan Mohan, R.D. Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Kalyanji-Anandji. Even other talented composers like Hemant Kumar, Ravi and Khayyam worked with us with resounding success. We sang so many memorable duets together. I remember Do Sitaron Ka Milan, Sau Saal Pehle, Dil Pukare, Yeh Dil Tum Bin…He was one singer whose vocal range could outclass any other singer, whether it was me, Asha, Mannada or Kishore bhaiya. Yet, he never believed in dominating the scene.
Rafi Bhaiya was very particular about lyrics. He was dead against obscenity. Salil Chowdhury, who generally did not use Rafi bhaiya, composed the haunting Tasveer teri dil mein, which we sang for “Maya”. It was the Hindi version of his Bengali master piece, Ogo aar kichu to noi. Rafi bhaiya was not getting the antara, phirun tujhe sang leke, accurately. Salilda grew impatient and showed flashes of anger, but Rafi bhaiya would not react. He politely asked Salilda to explain it to him and ultimately delivered it even better than what Salilda expected.
For top heroes
Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, Guru Dutt, Shammi Kapoor, Manoj Kumar, Sanjeev Kumar, even Rajesh Khanna… Rafi bhaiya sang for top actors with equal ability and resounding success. The way he rendered Aye chand jise, Na mukhda mor ke and Tujhe dekha for Uttam Kumar in “Choti Si Mulakat” was mind-blowing. He was at his best rendering Teri bindya re for Amitabh Bachhan and Dard e dil for Rishi Kapoor.No wonder even music directors of the 1970s, like Bappi Lahiri and Rajesh Roshan, used his voice very effectively. I still remember him singing Dil ki kali tuned by Rajesh Roshan for “Inkar” in 1978.The female voice simply paled in comparison.
It is very wrong to say that Kishore Kumar overtook Rafi bhaiya in the early 1970s.Kishore was no doubt at his peak, but Rafi bhaiya was equally effective with Tere naam ka diwana, Gulabi aankhen, Yeh duniya yeh mehfiland Tum jo mil gaye ho. Even Kishore bhaiya never felt he was ahead of Rafi.
It’s been three decades since he left us but his melodies are alive not only in my heart but in that of countless music lovers. Rafi bhaiya, Yaad na jaye beete dino ki.

34 AK March 8, 2014 at 8:07 pm

MK Sharma,
Thanks a lot for sharing this interview.

35 arvindersharma April 13, 2014 at 8:01 pm

I am very keen to add three songs of unheard variety to this discussion. Please note the inherent sweetness of these of these timeless no’s.
1. Veeran mera dil hai from ‘Lutera’, music by Vinod.
2. Mujhe preet nagariya Jana hai from ‘Ek Nazar’ music by SD Burman.
3. Mahi o dupatta mera de de from ‘Meena Bazaar’ music by Husnlal Bhagatram.
Who, from our generation, (I am 56 yes of age) would not have his/her musical sense tuned to this great pair.
We are fortunate enough to have lived this era, especially those growth years, when this music became our staple diet.
Lata and Rafi, I feel had a plain tonal quality in their voices as compared to other singers.
Talat had velvet, Mukesh had a sad nasal pitch, Hemant a sonorous heavy tone and even Manna Dey’s voice had another dimension.
Same with females.
Shamshad had an open voice, Greta had a wine like quality and Asha had her silvery huskiness.
What I am trying to convey is that whereas the mood of a song automatically selected others, with Lata and Rafi, it was only their supreme adaptability and the quality of their voices that made them indispensable.
We are really lucky.

36 AK April 13, 2014 at 10:51 pm

From your list Mahi O dupatta mera was very well known in the radio era, almost at par with Sun more saajnaa ho. I have heard Mujhe reet nagariya jana hai too. The first one is new to me. Thanks for these additions, especially the first song.

You have captured every music lover’s feeling about these two great artistes. About other female singers and Lata Mangeshkar I said a similar thing in different words. Others had special flavours. We do like fizzy drinks. But Lata has no flavour. She is pure water. When you are thirsty, nothing quenches your thirst as water.

37 arvindersharma April 14, 2014 at 11:18 pm

I forgot to add a vintage must -listen duet from ‘Khazana’
Mujhe tumse bahut hai pyar(Lata)
Nahi ji zara zara(Rafi)
The song reminds us of an equally melodious song from ‘Mehbooba’, Aji humko hai tumse pyar’, a Lata/Talat duet, with a role reversal for Lata.
I was reading with interest some posts about the use of chorus and orchestra in film music. The names Naushad, Salil Chaudhary SDB and SJ immediately come to our minds.
I consider Anil Biswas to be at par with the best in this category. He has made an incredible use of both chorus and orchestra a number of times.
(I am not naming any songs as this domain is for my favourite Lata/Rafi).
Let this also inspire you to start another write up on such songs and we will enjoy a different arena of music.

38 arvindersharma April 14, 2014 at 11:53 pm

Four of my favourite songs in which Lata dominates (partially)
1. Mehfil me meri kaun ye diwana from ‘Albela’
2. Dil ka na karna aitbaar koi from ‘Halaku’
(and completely)
3. Mera bichhda yaar mila de from ‘Sohni Mahiwal’
and lastly,
4. Main tumhi se poochti hoon from ‘Black Cat’
These songs, I feel, are second to none as long as the melodic quotient is concerned, but somewhat unlucky not to have found the place they deserved because of numerical limitations.

39 AK April 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

The duet from Khazana (#37) was new to me. You have a very perceptive observation and amazing recall of songs. Rafi does sound like Talat Mahmood and the song bears resemblance to the duet from Mehbooba – does that show the standing of the two in 1951, or CR’s closer affinity to Talat?

The duet from Sohni Mahiwaal (#38) was new to me. Again you are spot on. I would have bet a million dollars (I am informed of winning millions or dollar and pound sterling every day in my mail) that Dil ka na karna aitbaar koi and Main tumhi se poochhti hun are Lata solos. In some of the songs the reason is very clear – after slow recital at the beginning, Rafi’s voice is not used at all. It is interesting to note that Hindi Film Geet Kosh lists Mera bichhadaa yaar mila de as Lata solo.

40 M K SHARMA April 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Humen dunia ko dil ke jakhma dikhlana nahin aata.. (Aadhi Raat) is also a good duet. Tere bin sune .. (Meri Soorat Teri Aaankhe, S D Burman) and Dil todne wale .. (Son of india, Naushd), Do sitaaron ka jameen par .. (Kohinoor, Nausad) are other gems.

41 M K SHARMA April 15, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Perhaps yhe only duet but immortal one ” Bhool Jaayen sare Gum” by C Ramchandra is also worth mentioning.

42 mumbaikar8 April 15, 2014 at 6:34 pm

M K Sharmaji,
I did not get what you meant by (only duet) immortal for me too because I had mentioned that duet in my list too.

43 M K SHARMA April 16, 2014 at 11:30 am

I meant that are there any other good duets of Rafi & Lata under C Ramchandra although he used Rafi for high calibre songs like “Kah ke bhi na aaye tum’, “Tum hamare ho na ho..” and “Yeh hasrat thi ki is dunia..”

44 AK April 16, 2014 at 11:55 am

MK Sharmaji,
Taron ki juban par hai mohabbat ki kahani is a great Rafi-Lata duet. If you look at Rafi duets with any singer, Morey raja ho le chal nadiya ke paar with Lalita Deolkar is absolutely outstanding.

45 mumbaikar8 April 16, 2014 at 5:19 pm

M K Sharmaji,
C Ramchandra had one more duet of equally high calibre in Nausherwan E Adil, Bhool jaaye saare gham doob jaayen pyaar me.
I too wish, he had few more gems with them, alas!

46 mumbaikar8 May 29, 2014 at 10:55 pm

How all of us can forget this gem from Roshan?
I think it is, as good as, if not better than the other songs discussed earlier.

47 AK May 30, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Yes, Bahut aasan hai chilman se lagkar muskurana is a very melodious duet. But if you plan to take only one song from a composer, would you still include it?

48 Arun September 8, 2014 at 5:54 pm

Just a query, who’s female singer voice is at the end of “Husn Wale Tera Jawab Nahin”? And whether it is the shortest contribution of a singer in a duet?

49 AK September 8, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Welcome to SoY. If you mean the humming (the humming is there at the beginning too), probably it does not qualify as a duet. If you treat it as a duet it may qualify as having the shortest contribution of a singer in a duet. However, all sources mention it as a Rafi solo. If the humming was by a regular playback singer, generally she would have been credited – for example, O nigaahein mastana is recognised as a Kishore Kumar-Asha Bhosle, but her contribution is limited to humming. My impression is that in Husnwale the humming might have been done by the leady lady, Asha Parekh, herself.

You would be interested to know that on SoY we happened to have a long discussion on this topic, and many duets were mentioned which should be more appropriately recognised as solos.

50 Arun September 9, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Thanks AK. Other song which come into mind is ‘Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho’ which I think is Lata’s voice. Am I right?

51 Arun September 9, 2014 at 12:45 pm

And also kindly send me the link where these type of songs were discussed. Thanks.

52 AK September 9, 2014 at 4:24 pm

I always thought of Tum jo mil gaye ho as a Rafi solo. Now I find on YT a Rafi-Lata duet too. Even though Lata sings only a few lines, I would treat it as a proper duet and not a DTWRS (Duets That Were Really solos). There is another category ‘Multiple Version Songs’, created by Ashok Vaishnavji, which covers such songs. On the right, in CATEGORIES under ‘Songs on themes’ you would find its link. It has now 19 articles, including a good number by different guest authors.

There is no separate post yet on DTWRS songs. Discussions on this topic might have happened on different posts, so it would be difficult to give their links. However, off hand I can mention a number of songs of this type, besides the two I have mentioned. There are some in which the leading lady just says a few words in her own voice, for example – Mere man ki Ganga aur tere man ki Jamuna ka bol Radha bol sangam hoga ki nahi; Ek tha gul aur ek thi bulbul. There are several with two major playback singers, with one just humming or uttering a few words, for example – Ye hansta hua kaarwan zindagi na jaane chalaa hai kidhar; Peechhe peechhe aa ke; Panchhi bani udati phirun; Pyar par bas to nahi mera lekin phir bhi.

53 Shardool October 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I accidentally came upon this blog / site and to my utmost relish I found it so very captivating and interesting.
I can give lectures on Rafi / Lata duets and singing.
But for the time being, I shall limit myself to asking a very urgent question and that is the Asthaai of an enchanting duet of Rafi / Lata with music designed by a Music Director par – excellence Vinod —– yes the Wizard of Lara Lappa Lara Lappa Lai Rakda !
One of the Antara starts with a scintillating Alaap from Rafi & Lata and then Lata sings :
Saarey Deep Raat Kay Jal Uthey,
Aur Aap Jhoom Kay Aa Hi Gaye,
Aaj Ki Hawaaon Kay Saaz Par
Gaayo Jhoom Jhoom Ab Moray Baanwaray
Tu Ney Meri Beliya ….. ?
Please let someone tell me the name of the movie, year of it …. !
Will some ardent lover of Rafi & Lata help me ?

Once I get this gem of a duet, I shall then comment upon the Article of AK ….. I promise !

By the way, this my first entry on this blog / site !
My regards & love to all Rafi Lovers & Lata Lovers !

54 Naresh P. Mankad April 29, 2015 at 10:18 pm

I had an impression that one of my favourite Rafi-Lata duet had found mention in the comments but I could not find it. Stylewise, both the singers are at their typical best and very sweet: song Tum she lagan laagi, Film Madhu (1959), Music director Roshan.

55 Ravindra Kelkar July 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

I will like to add two of my favourite songs, both from Madan Mohan
1)Mohar(1959)-Ae Humsafar Bata De
2)Heer Ranjha-Meri Duniya Mein Tum Aayi

56 AK July 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Ravindra Kelkar,
Thanks a lot for adding these songs. Ae humsafar bata de was new for me. At first I thought you meant O raat ke musafir chanda zara bata de, another excellent Rafi-Lata duet.

57 Ravindra Kelkar July 17, 2015 at 5:14 pm

Yes, O raat ke musafir is more popular, but I prefer the Ae humsafar bata de. It’s a rare one not very commonly heard. I hope you liked it.
In your list I would have preferred the duet from Bhabhi ‘Chhupa Kar meri’ instead of the one you have included for MD Chitragupta. I think there are generally two types of duets. One, where both the singers are singing in complete harmony & the other ones are where there is a give & take, a playfulness. Personally I find the 2nd type of duets more attractive & ‘Chupakar Kar Meri’ falls in that category. You will find many such duets involving Rafi/Geeta & Rafi/Asha & also Kishore/Asha (prior to Aradhana are of much better quality).

58 mumbaikar8 July 20, 2015 at 10:57 pm

AK,I am back with two songs, I can listen to these songs on a loop for hours together.
Lata Rafi in Daman ho yaad aane lagi
and Stage dill eke dil diya hain

59 arvindersharma July 20, 2015 at 11:47 pm

Now that you have started paying attention to Rafi Lata, both the song you have posted are wonderful and I love these songs immensely.
I too have some vintage favorites, which I would like to share
Kab tak uthain aur ye gham intezaar ka from Nawab, music Pandit Gobindram.

Aise rasiya’ ka kya aitbaar from Dholak, music Shamsundar

Aise Rasiya Ka Kya Aitbaar – Dholak:

60 arvindersharma July 20, 2015 at 11:49 pm

The first song is from film Naqab, a typo error.

61 AK July 21, 2015 at 4:36 pm

Mumbaikar8, Arvinder Sharmaji
Ho yaad ane lagi is my great favourite, too. It figured prominently in the best songs/best duets of 1951. Kb tak uthayein gham was new to me. Thanks a lot.

62 mumbaikar8 July 21, 2015 at 5:53 pm

Thanks for reminding kab tak uthaye gham, there are so many good Lata Rafi duets that we forget some good ones,
Aise rasilya ka kya aitbaar is the one we listen to more often.
It seemed that Lata Rafi were constantly challenging and competing with each other that made their duets so unique.
Right from the first to last.
Probably first Shaadi se pahle
to last Chambal ki kasam.

63 ksbhatia July 21, 2015 at 7:41 pm

Mumbaiker8, Arvinder sharma’ji;

When we think of duet songs the first preference always come for Lata/ Rafi songs . I am reminded of one duet of the late 5os which I liked during then and even now ………Taroan ki zubaan par hai mohabat ki kahani…….from Nausharwan E Adil .
There is one more duet from Sasural…….. Kya mil gaya hai kya kho gaya……which was repeated in hollywood movie Guru as well.

64 AK July 21, 2015 at 8:08 pm

You have invertently put both the links of the song. But thanks anyway for introducing us to their first duet.

KS Bhatiaji,
I heard Kya mil gaya haye after ages. Thanks for refreshing the memory of my great favourite.

65 mumbaikar8 July 21, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Her is simti hui yeh ghadiyan sorry!

66 ksbhatia July 21, 2015 at 11:52 pm


You are welcome for appreciating the Sasural song . Old songs are really gold that never looses shine .

67 mumbaikar8 July 22, 2015 at 6:45 pm

Bhool jaye saare gham is one my most favorite Rafi lata duet it is mentioned in comment #45 AKsharmaji had mentioned another classic duet taaron ki zabaan par from Nausher wane adil.
Thanks for uploading Gurus’s Kya mil gaya, picturisation of this song makes Rajendra Kumar looks good:)

68 ksbhatia July 22, 2015 at 10:39 pm

There is one more Lata Rafi duet besides Bhool jaien sare gam and Taaroan ki zuban par from Nausherwan e adil which i am not able to recollect . In fact all the songs from this movie were great and carried the stamp of C Ramchandra as one amongst his best creations. Meanwhile here is a duet from Albela…….. Mehfil mein meri kaun yeh diwana aa gaya…….music by C Ramchandra .

69 Siddharth July 22, 2015 at 11:23 pm

One more beautiful duet –
Tum to pyar ho sajna, mujhe tumse pyara – SEHRA (1963)

70 ksbhatia July 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm

Siddharth’ji ;

Thanks for reminding this beautiful duet of Rafi/ Lata which is one of my well. The song is melodious and one of its kind as both the voices reached to high notes/ pitches beautifully supported by chorus thereby enhancing the quality of the song . Ramlal did a nice job as MD . His other songs from the same film were well recieved . Taqdeer ka fasaana jaa ker kisey sunaiyen ……..was another memrable song by Rafi and Lataji.

71 mumbaikar July 24, 2015 at 5:55 am

I am not aware of any other Nausherwan E Adil duet, if you find one, please let us know.

72 ksbhatia July 26, 2015 at 12:01 am

Mumbaiker ;

You are correct . There are only two duets in the movie . Perhaps on that day I was thinking of Rafi Lata duet from Halaku….. Dil ka na karna aietbar koi …. by mistake .

73 Siddharth July 26, 2015 at 9:40 am

There is another lovely duet in halaku. Aaja ke intezaar mein..
I think it follows waltz rhythm.

74 ksbhatia July 26, 2015 at 11:13 pm


Songs of Halaku and Rajhath has been my fav.since my youth days . You are right ; Aja ke intzar mein is waltz base rhythm song and i am very passionate about such songs ; as also interludes of songs which carries such rhythm . Dil ki gireh khol do is one such song . The first interlude of a song from Rajhath….. aye bahar ban ke lubha kar chhale gaye…… by Rafi…. carries the waltz rhythm . Akele akele kahan ja rahe ho from An evening in paris is another such example . Incidently there is beautiful background piece picturised on Pran and Sharmila tagore while dancing in the lobby of the hotel just after the main song Akele akele .

75 arvind July 27, 2015 at 10:26 pm

bhatiaji ,your reference to the rajhath song (..aaye bahar ban ke lubha kar chale gaye…) reminded me of this rafi song from nausherwan-e-adil :
the rajhath song:

76 ksbhatia July 27, 2015 at 11:30 pm

Arvind, Siddharth ji[s];

Thanks for the uploads . As already stated the songs of both the movies are my fav. and have repetitive qualities . Arvind ji, I am uploading the background score of An evening in paris . After akele akele song one can very well hear the waltz rhythm in the dance sequence from 6.25 to 8.14 . Background music was the forte of Jaikishan . There are many good background pieces which one can relish and enjoy listening to while watching S J movies .
Coming back to the main subject of Rafi, Lataji’s duets ; here is one from Andaz . Andaz was dominated by Lata and Mukesh songs which were exceptionally good .

This tune was popular on AIR prog. during mid 60s. One song……. Hum ko hai tumse tum ko humse pyar HOLI mein ……..was played during Holi festival . I have to look for it on YT.

77 ksbhatia July 27, 2015 at 11:38 pm

…… continuation . Here is that background score which I missed @76.

Watch from 6.25 to 8.14 for waltz rhythm.

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