Kotla Sultan (Amritsar), July 31 : Mere mention of Mohammad Rafi (December 24, 1924 - July 31, 1980) can make many of the leaders start humming his immortal songs. But at the legendary play back singer's native place, his friends rue the ignorance shown by political leaders towards his reputation.
It was his 28th death anniversary on Thursday.
At Kota Sultan, Mohammad Rafi's birthplace, his friends are unable to understand as how could government forget development of his birthplace. The place is facing utter neglect but nobody has done real work despite it belonging to such an influential person who earned laurels across India and abroad.
No matter, how contrite they may be, all of them still remember their friend and observe his birth and death anniversary without a miss.
Even the village Panchayat has earmarked one acre of land for raising his memorial and the approach road to village is also called Rafi Marg.
Octogenarian Kundan Singh and Bakshish Singh are still keeping memories of Rafi alive and tell stories of their association with Rafi to the younger lot of the village.
Following severe illness this time today on Rafi's 28th death anniversary, Bakhshish Singh, an otherwise regular on functions related to Mohammad Rafi, could not attend the program being arranged by the local villagers.
But village elders and youngsters gathered on Thursday at the local school here to pay tributes to the great legendary singer on the eve of his death anniversary.
Kundan Singh, going down the memory lane, said that he still remembers Rafi by his childhood and misses him till date. But he rued that despite lots of empty promises by political leaders to develop Rafi's village nothing has been done either for Rafi or for his village.
Harinder Sohal, one local singer who used to sing Mohammad Rafi's songs demanded that government should establish a music academy here in the name of Rafi.
Rafi sang in many Indian languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Oriya, Marathi, Sanskrit, Bhojpuri, and Telugu, but he is primarily remembered for his songs from Hindi cinema
Rafi established himself as the number one playback singer in Bollywood with the songs of Baiju Bawra (1952). The songs from Baiju Bawra, O duniya ke rakhwale and Man tarpat Hari darshan ko aaj established Rafi's credentials.
The newly-started radio program Binaca Geetmala also played the songs, leading to an increase in their popularity
afi got his first Filmfare Award for the title song of Chaudhvin Ka Chand (1960), composed by Ravi. He got his first National Award for the song Babul Ki Duaen Leti Ja from the film Neel Kamal (1968), also composed by Ravi. Ravi and Rafi produced several other hit songs, in the films such as China Town (1962), Kaajal (1965), and Do Badan (1966). Madan Mohan was another composer whose favorite singer was Rafi. Rafi's first solo with Madan Mohan in Ankhen (1950) "Hum ishq mein barbad hain barbad rahenge" was a great hit.
They teamed up to produce many hit songs including Teri Aankhon ke Siva, "rang aur noor ki baraat", Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil and Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho. The composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal ("L-P") also patronized Rafi as one of their leading singers since their first released film, Parasmani (1963).
Both Rafi and L-P won the Filmfare Awards for the song Chahoonga main tujhe saanjh savere from Dosti. Rafi sang a total of 369 numbers (186 solo) for LP.
Rafi sang for many lesser-known composers as well. Once, when a minor composer, Nisar Bazmi (who migrated to Pakistan in early 1960s), did not have enough money to pay him, Rafi charged a fee of just one rupee and sang for him. By Ravinder Singh Robin