Sunday, 14 February 2010

Rafi Nayyar rediscovered

What will happen if an arrogant genius meets the humblest king? Listen to Puakarta chala hoon main or aanchal me saja lena kaliyan to realise. Now everyone might guess its none but OPN ,the great omkar prasad nayyar n Mohammad Rafi I am talking about. If Naushad was the finicky perfectionist, SJ were the all-rounder than OPN must be a careless arrogant genius and who just loved to prove his critics wrong and his weapon was again and again our very own Rafi sahab. Can you, in your wildest nightmare forget Mere Sanam, Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, Naya Daur. None of us can.
This duo has been discussed enough and and by experts.Why am I writing this article? Another one out to prove his musical knowledge or expertise. That is hardly my intention. I just want to recollect a few forgotten (well,at least semi-forgotten) melodies and stop typing. But in case I get published, the first few formal words.

OPN was known for hoofbeat music,although I call it offbeat music. He was banned in AIR as they thought his music may have bad effect on youngsters. But have you heard aanchal me saja lena kaliyan for example or fir tere shahar me lootne ko chala aaya hoon? Any keen listener ever found a hoofbeat? Or for that matter in aapke haseen rukh, which I never could imagine to be a OPN creation until I learnt that from relaible sources.
He was considered musically illiterate so he took the challenge and composed songs of Kalpana.Wouldn't Tu hai mera prem devta have made Naushad or SJ or SD proud?
And last but not certainly the least, This man never used the voice of Lata.
Wasn't he a genius? Or perhaps the greatest genius? The mad scientist u see in those English movies?
He was,period.
His association is much discussed with Rafi sahab,as I earlier said(and also his rift, sadly. I don't know why we love negative news more) but its based on those superhit Rafi Nayyar songs. May be 50-60 songs. His films with Joy Mukherji, Biswajeet, Kashmir Ki kali, Naya daur. Lets search the remaining 150 songs for some more gems.

One song, which i personally will rate among my top 5 Rafi Nayyar ever is a duet with Asha from the dev anand-madhubala starring Jaali Note. The song Chaand zard zard hai makes me sway in stupor whenever I hear this song. My mother, who is an ardent listener of rafi sahab,also missed this song until one day i dug it out and made her listen to it. She confessed, the 'Nasha' created by this song is beyond words. You just close your eyes, forget your surroundings, and sway in the rhythm of that OPN set and RS(Rafi Sahab) delivered. It starts with the sound of a whistle, humming of Asha ji, a drum..then RS picks up. And when he delivers the HAI, dragging it n with a wobbly voice to match the loose-neck Dev Anand on screen, you just wince in sheer delight. The piece in the interlude is just so much OPN-ish. The rhythm set in this song by OPN just makes u want “just don't stop for God's sake”. RS is in a soft mood and when he is soft, he can be astonishingly sweet.Listen to this

The second song coming to mind is, Title song of Mr Cartoon MA. Main Main Main Cartoon. OPN made sure RS sounds like a singer from the west. And what a throw RS performed in this song. The instrumentation is very much westernized (in fact i couldn't notice any desi instrument except tabla during the antaras). A very very prominent saxophone during interlude. Concentrate when RS is delivering the last rhyming word.Cartoon, Telephoon(telephone), moon, soon. Almost meaningless lyric(that is common for so many OPN songs, may be his inclination to use lesser known poets, but that is a different topic altogether).As I was saying,look at the throw of those rhyming words. RS made Asha a non-entity in this song. Can you imagine this tune, and this delivery in mid-50s and that too from someone who had no relation with west (English) till we can search. One reason this song got lost is I think, the song was ahead of its time. It cud have been a AR Rahman Hit Today.
On a personal Note, I made one friend listen this song and next thing he did was to make it his ring tone.
Listen to this here.

OPN silenced his critics with the song that is third on my list. Manna De sang many great numbers along with RS and mostly qawwalis or comedy songs . IMHO, they were the best male duet partners ever. Now look at this classical song they delivered together under a so called “musically illiterate” MD. Yes, talking about the Kalpana track, Tu Hai Mera Prem Devta. Manna da picks up impeccably in his own heavy MAJLISHI voice,what a timber. RS followed with with his softer voice. In the first antara when RS sings, 'ang lagao pyaas bujhao' his return journey is as smooth and as fast as his take off. With a slight filmi twist in the 'pyaas bujhao' portion. In the next antara its RS who is doing that aalap and that too not losing the sweetness of his voice. Too short for a semi-classical this song just makes u keep the player in repeat mode n forget. Pure Indian instrumentation, so much 'un-OPN-ish' but what a genius. You just cant stop looking up n confess the greatness of God.
Listen to this gem here

Finally one song which RS sang for Shammi Kapoor under Nayyar ji BUT not from the much and mass discussed Kashmir Ki Kali. This film also holds the record for containing maximum number of RS song. Raste me ek haseen, from Basant, is melodious to say the least. Much different from all those peppy numbers that made OPN highly popular(most popular?) in 50s n 60s, which makes your foot tap, this is a soothing song,washing down your tiredness and makes you remember when you first saw 'her' and her first smile of appreciation and in that process leaving a trace of smile on your own face. When this song finishes, you feel you are in love again with 'her'. Listen to this cute romantic song at

Also I cant resist the temptation to put this link here, written by another ardent Rafian, Samarjit Acharjee from kolkata, who caught OPN-Rafi in a sublime mood.

This is a personal list and of course very much biased towards my personal choice. But I time and again felt, these songs were treated unjustly and thus didn't reach millions of Rafi lovers. This was a personal effort to bring these to the notice of the visitors of this website. I will love to see your comments.