Music lovers all over the world remember the God of music Mohammad Rafi on his birth anniversary on 24th December, 2017. The listeners of music all over the world remembered the all-time great singer Mohammad Rafi on 31st July, 2013. The noble soul had left his admirers 33 years ago. Yet he is alive in numerous everlasting hit songs which are heard and cherished for generations.
The Poll in History TV relating to 100 years of Indian cinema was erroneous. Mohammad Rafi got the maximum amount of votes yet he was adjudicated as best singer jointly with Kishore Kumar. Firstly those admirers of Mohammad Rafi who had listened to his great songs in the 1940s and 1950s, may not have voted at all, because many of them were not computer-friendly. Otherwise, he would have received 10 crores votes more from across the world. The bigger factor is the musical giants in the form of composers of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s had expired. So the view of Naushad Ali, or Shankar Jaikishan, or Madan Mohan Kohli or Roshanlal Nagrath or OP Nayyar had not been taken. Neither the view of lyricists Sahir Ludhianvi, Shailendra and others were taken. All of them would have unanimously said Mohammad Rafi was the greatest singer ever to have graced Indian soil.
A Mohammad Rafi Musical Academy should be opened in Mumbai. The aim and objective of the Academy should be to train singers in the art of playback singing. The way Pune Film and Development Institute had created acting talents like Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, and others, in the same way, Mohammad Rafi Academy and appoint singers of repute from different parts of the world to train young singers in the art of playback singing.
Mohammad Rafi had been the greatest playback singer ever to have been graced the Indian soil. No other singer can even imagine about visualizing the emotions of Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Bharat Bhushan, Pradip Kumar, Johnny Walker, all together in the same voice. After bringing about the acting quotients of the legendary actors Mohammad Rafi went one step further to fulfill the requirements of the best composers of the country like Naushad Ali, Shankar Jaikishan, Ghulam Mohammad, Roshan Lal Nagrath, Madanmohan Kohli, OP Nayyar, to name a few, and the greatest lyricists like Shakeel Badayani, Hasrat Jaipuri, Shailendra, Sahir Ludhiyanvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, and others. Rafi’s 26000 songs are invaluable musical treasures by listening to which any singer can improve his style of singing.
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It is a huge question as to how can the singing parameters of Mohammad Rafi can be instilled in the new singers, because playback singing cannot be grammatically taught. But at least the new singers can be trained in classical singing, ghazals, qawallies and maybe a western style of singing also. The biggest thing is they can be made to listen to Rafi’s singing different types of songs. Few of the Indian classical singers like Suresh Wadkar, Yesu Das, Hariharan, can be few names who can regularly give training to new singers.
One big requirement for the present generation is to actually listen to the wide range of songs Mohammad Rafi had sung including the non-filmi albums. With the media shifting focus towards the new generation music of modern-day giants like Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Mohit Chauhan, Shreya Ghoshal, there is every possible chance of Rafi’s works not gaining media attention as the majority of the works were during the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. The young generations hardly know the grand compositions of Naushad Ali, or Shankar Jaikishan; nor the Urdu-based poetry of Raja Mehendi Ali Khan or Sahir Ludhiyanvi. So the great works of Mohammad Rafi’s generation require very strong publicity and restoration. By better knowing Mohammad Rafi’s works, Indian music can be improved, because no other playback singer in India had given adequate expression to folk songs, pure classical songs, bhajans, rock and roll songs, soft music, ghazals and other forms of Indian music the way Mohammad Rafi had done over a span of 35 years.