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Films Division to make documentary on Mohammed Rafi
The documentary-film will specially focus on the struggles in the life of Mohammed Rafi. The Films Division initiative would provide a close look at one of the greatest singing legends of India to his fan and music lovers alike.
MOHAMMED RAFI, the legendary singer, is always remembered for his magical voice and evergreen songs. Considered among all time great singers of the country, Rafi is admired by people of all ages. In fact, Rafi was one of the three leading Bollywood playback singers between 1950s to 1970s, other two were Mukesh and Kishore Kumar. For about 40 long years, Rafi sung about 26, 000 songs in many Indian languages that include Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Marathi and Telugu.

Rafi has a long fan list, but very few of those fans know the struggle faced by the singer in his early years. Now, the Films Division, the premier documentary producer of the country, to commemorate the diamond jubilee year of the organisation, has started work on a documentary about Rafi. The documentary will be of 40 to 50 minutes duration and it will provide a comprehensive information about Rafi’s life, struggles and accomplishments.

Couple of days back talking to the media, Kuldeep Sinha, the chief producer of the docu-film said, “The film will project Rafi’s early days, his penchant for singing, struggle in Lahore and then in Bombay and his ascent to fame.”

“It will be unique work in the sense that we will highlight the troubles and difficulties that came in the making of Rafi. We will also show his major works,” added Sinha, who will direct the film as well.

Rafi was born in a poor family at Kotla Sultanpur, a small village near Amritsar in undivided Punjab, in the year 1924. Nicknamed as Pheeko, Rafi started singing by imitating chants of a ‘fakir’ living in his village.

Later in 1935-36, Rafi’s father, Haji Ali Mohammed shifted to Lahore along with the family, where they started a men’s saloon. Rafi learnt Hindustani classical music from noted musicians Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Jiwanlal Matto and Firoze Nizami.

Rafi got the first chance to sing on the stage at the age of 13, during a show of the famous singer KL Saigal. In 1942, Rafi was given the first playback chance by noted composer Shyam Sunder. Rafi sang a duet "Soniye nee, Heeriye nee" with Zeenat Begum, in the Punjabi film Gul Baloch (1942) and the film was released in 1944. After this, Lahore radio station invited Rafi to appoint him as a permanent singer with them.

However, to pursue his singing career, Rafi decided to move to Bombay (now Mumbai) in the year 1944. During his struggles, Rafi contacted the renowned music director of the that time Naushad Ali. Rafi sang a number of song with Naushad Ali as a part of a chorus in the period between 1944 - 46.

Meanwhile, Rafi recorded the first song "Hindustan ke hum hain" with Naushad Ali in AR Kardar’s Pehle Aap in 1944. At the same time, Rafi sang another song "Aji dil ho kaaboo mein" for the film Gaon ki Gori with composer Shyam Sunder. In the year 1945, Rafi also appeared on the screen in the film Laila Majnu for the song "Tera Jalwa Jis Ne Dekha".

Rafi got real recognition from the song "Tera Khilona Toota Balak" from Mehboob Khan’s film Anmol Ghadi in 1946. Very next year in 1947, his duet "Yahan Badla Wafa Ka" with Noor Jehan in the film Jugnu became a hit. From that juncture there was no looking back for Rafi and he enriched the Indian music industry with innumerable melodious songs. For his excellent singing Rafi also won several awards including the National film awards in 1968 and 1977 for films Neel Kamal and Hum Kisi Se Kum Nahin, respectively.

According to Films Division source, the documentary-film will specially focus on the struggles of the great playback singer. Films Division has taken a good step to make the documentary as it would provide a close look at Rafi’s life to his fan and music lovers alike. Besides, the film of Rafi will be a source of inspiration for budding singers.
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