Mohammed Rafi

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Amritsar, Punjab
Birth Sign
Amritsar, Punjab

Mohammed Rafi, one of Hindi cinema’s golden voices, was unquestionably one of the best modern vocalists to have been born in India. He had such range that he could sing romantic songs, sad songs, hilarious songs, and ghazals all with the same comforting soulfulness. It’s no wonder that he’s still one of India’s most popular vocalists decades after his untimely demise, having been named “Indian Cinema’s Greatest Voice.” Thousands of songs were recorded over the singer’s lengthy and productive singing career, which spanned three decades, and several of which are still carved in the minds of Indian film fans. He had a great mastery of the Hindi language and could vary his voice and tone to suit the personalities of the actors for whom he was singing. He sung for numerous Bollywood superstars throughout his career, including Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, and Sunil Dutt. He was well-known for performing duets with notable female singers of the time, such as Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle, in addition to his solos. Though majority of his songs were in Hindi, he also sang in Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, and Telugu, among other Indian regional languages.

Childhood and Adolescence

He was born in a village near Amritsar, Punjab, as the fifth of six sons of Hajji Ali Mohammed and his wife. Rafi had a passion for singing since he was a child, and he used to imitate the chants of fakirs near his home. During the 1920s, the family relocated to Lahore. Abdul Hameed, a friend of Rafi’s elder brother, saw the little boy’s talent and urged him to perform in Lahore.

Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, and Firoze Nizami taught him classical music. Rafi began performing in public as a youngster, with his first performance taking place when he was 13 years old.

Career of Mohammed Rafi

Rafi debuted as a playback vocalist in Lahore in 1941 with the duet ‘Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee’ with Zeenat Begum in the Punjabi film “Gul Baloch.” The picture, however, was only released in 1944. He then relocated to Bombay in order to pursue a singing career in Hindi cinema. In 1945, he made his Hindi film debut with the film ‘Gaon Ki Gori.’ His debut Hindi song was ‘Aji Dil Ho Kaaboo Mein’ from this film.

During this time, he also appeared in two films on the big screen. In the 1945 film ‘Laila Majnu,’ he sang the song ‘Tera Jalwa Jis Ne Dekha.’ He also appeared in the 1946 film ‘Shahjahan,’ in which he sang a number of songs.
During the late 1940s, his fame began to surge. In the 1946 film ‘Anmol Ghadi,’ he sung the song ‘Tera Khilona Toota Balak,’ and in the 1947 film ‘Jugnu,’ he sang the song ‘Yahan Badla Wafa Ka.’

After the partition, he decided to stay in India and made Mumbai his home. It was a wise option, as his Hindi film career was flourishing and would propel him to greater heights. Rafi achieved enormous popularity and acclaim in the 1950s and 1960s as the indisputable voice of superstars Dev Anand and Guru Dutt. Rafi rose to fame thanks to his songs for films such as ‘Pyaasa’ (1957) and ‘Guide’ (1965).

He had a successful collaboration with Shankar Jaikishan, which resulted in a number of melodic and super hit songs. ‘Teri Pyari Pyari Surat Ko,’ ‘Baharon Phool Bharsao,’ and ‘Dil Ke Jharokhe Mein’ are some of the partnership’s most popular songs.

Rafi’s talents, as well as his ability to change his voice to suit any actor for whom he sang, made him a very popular playback singer. During the 1970s, however, he was up against fierce competition from the new kid on the block, Kishore Kumar. Aside from their professional competition, the two vocalists collaborated on a number of duets.
He also developed successful partnerships with the premier female vocalists of the time, the Mangeshkar sisters and Asha Bhosle sisters, with whom he sang a number of super hit duets that are still famous today.

Major Projects of Mohammed Rafi

Mohammed Rafi, dubbed the ‘Best Singer of the Millennium,’ was unquestionably one of the most well-known playback singers to have graced Indian film. He recorded thousands of songs over the course of his career, which was cut short by his tragic demise.

Achievements & Awards

In 1967, the Government of India awarded him the Padma Shri, the Republic of India’s fourth highest civilian award, for his services to the realm of Indian cinema. In 1977, he won the National Film Award for the song “Kya Hua Tera Wada.”

Personal History and Legacy

In his ancestral village, he married Bashira, his cousin. However, when India was partitioned, she left India and moved to Pakistan, ending the marriage. He married Bilquis for the second time. He was the father of seven children and a devoted family man. He was a down-to-earth individual with modest interests. He was passionate about music and practiced on a daily basis. At the age of 55, he died suddenly of a heart attack on July 31, 1980. His death stunned the nation since he was a teetotaler with impeccable hygiene.

Estimated Net Worth

Mohammed Rafi is one of the wealthiest world music singers, as well as one of the most popular. Mohammed Rafi’s net worth is estimated to be $1.5 million, according to Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.