Born in 1924 in Kotla Sultan Singh village in Punjab, Mohammad Rafi rose to fame at the age of 20. Having sung approximately 75,000 songs in his long and illustrious career, Rafi’s voice has swayed millions. Rafi sang his first song, Soniye Hiriye Teri Yaad Ne Bahut Sataya in 1944 for the film Gul Baloch.
Rafi has given voice to many romantic actors of his time, from Dev Anand, Guru Dutt to Shammi Kapoor and Dilip Kumar. He even lent his voice to Kishore Kumar, Ajab Hai Daastan Teri Yeh Zindagi from the film Shararat in 1959 and several others at the time. Late actor Shammi Kapoor, some of whose most memorable songs like Chahe Koi Mujhe Junglee Kahe were in the voice of Mohammad Rafi, has said that he would be “incomplete without Rafi”.
Rafi’s background music has found a place among contemporary movies as well. His track, Mera Man Tera Pyasa has even been featured in the 2004 film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet.
On the legend’s death anniversary today (31 July), here’s a jukebox of some of his best hits.
(This story is from The Quint’s archives. It is being republished to mark Mohammad Rafi's death anniversary.)