Here is where the Kishore Kumar factor intervened for Rafi to be
able to win the Filmfare prize, again, only in 1977 -- ironically for R D Burman's Kyaa Huaa Teraa Waadaa in
Hum Kissi Se Kum Nahin. I recall Pancham, in his Santa
Cruz music room, pointedly telling me that he never really cared
for Rafi. So did Anil Biswas and C Ramchandra, at times even Salil
Chowdhury, not vibe with Rafi. Still these master composers were
'the Rafi exceptions'.
Such was this tenor's Lata-matching dominance, through 1959 to
1969, that even Kishore-rediscoverer S D Burman firmly pitched for
Rafi --- on Dev Anand, if you please --- with the 1958 Kala
Paniclassic, Hum Bekhudi Mein (set in
A baton-wielding Dada Burman was even viewed to pat
Rafi on the back as that singer put over this SD gem at Bombay's
premier hockey ground facing Marine Drive!
Indeed SD had originally wanted Rafi for that Raag Sindhura Talat
Mahmood nugget on Sunil Dutt, Jalte Hain Jis Ke Liye, in
Bimal Roy's Sujata (1959).
Take the same S D Burman's Meri Soorat Teri Aankhen Ashok
Kumar starrer as the Bhairav-Bhairavi clincher in the matter. In
this 1963 Ashok Kumar-Asha Parekh movie, all talk still is about
the way Manna Dey gave measured emotional expression to
Puchcho Na Kaise (in Ahir Bhairav). But, in a sense, no
less testing to render, in the same film, is SD's Naache Man
Mora Magan Tig Da Dheegee Dheegee. If only because Rafi here
has to keep Bhairavi pace with the virtuoso tabla of Samta Prasad
(in my view, a wizard even superior to Alla Rakha).
In fact, Dada Burman had all but settled for Rafi, as his main
singer, when Aradhana happened. The supreme irony here
lay in the fact that, even in Aradhana, Rafi had been
Dada's first choice, as playback, for Rajesh Khanna!
As should be manifest from the fact that the first two duets
recorded for the film, Baaghon Mein Bahaar Hai and
Gunguna Rahen Hain Bhanwre, are in the caressing voice of
Lucklessly for Rafi, after these two recordings, S D Burman fell
seriously ill. That left the field free for R D Burman -- as
Dada's chief assistant still. Never a Rafi votary, Pancham
promptly brought in Roop Teraa Mastana Kishore Kumar on
Rajesh Khanna (opposite Sharmila Tagore) in Aradhana. The
rest is song history!
Also Read: 'My dad Rafisaab did get his due'