Mohammed Rafi
Profiles of Cine Play Back Singers

Mohammed Rafi was an Indian playback singer. His career spanned for about four decades. He received National Award and six Filmfare Awards. He received Padma Shri award from the Government of India in 1967. He had sung more than 26,000 film songs in his career ranging from classical to patriotic songs, qawwalis, ghazals, and bhajans. He had sung in many languages like Hindi, Konkani, Urdu, Oriya, Bengali, Marathi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Telugu, Assamese, and Kannada. He also recorded some English, Persian, Spanish and Dutch songs.

He was born on 24th December 1924 at Kotla Sultan Singh village near Amritsar in Punjab. His nickname was Pheeko. His father was Hajji Ali Mohammed. He had five brothers. He was encouraged to sing by his brother in law, Abdul Hameed. He accompanied him to Bombay in 1944 where he learnt classical music from Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Firoze Nizami and Pandit Jiwanlal Matto. He married two sisters in Bombay. His early marriage with his cousin ceased as she migrated to Pakistan after partition. He had one son from his first marriage and three sons and three daughters from his second marriage.

He gave his first performance at the age of 13. His debut as a playback singer started in 1941 under Shyam Sunder in the song Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee in the Punjabi film Gul Baloch. He was introduced to the film producers Abdur Rashid Kardar, Mehboob Khan and actor cum director Nazeer by the poet Tanvir Naqvi.

His first song with Naushad was Hindustan Ke Hum Hai. For the song, Tera Jalwa Jis Ne Dekha in the film Laila Majnu, he appeared on the screen. He associated with many music directors of the time such as Naushad, S D Burman, Shankar Jaikishan, Ravi, Madan Mohan, O. P. Nayyar, and Lakshmikant Pyarelal.

Awards & Titles

He got his first Filmfare Award for the title song of Chaudhvin Ka Chand in the year 1960. He received National Award for the song Babul Ki Duaen Leti Ja in the film Neel Kamal in 1968. He performed a number of duets with Lata Mangeshkar and later faced royalty issue as she claimed her share. His last song was Shaam Phir Kyun Udaas Hai Dost. He died on 31st July 1980. He was buried at the Juhu Muslim cemetery and over 10,000 people attended his funeral