Mohammad Rafi Romantic Duets Suman Kalyanpur

A primer of romance

There was none better than Rafisaab in the domain of Bollywood music to convey certain moods. The emotions he could bring in were truly unmatched. When he wasn’t forced to sing in loud, boisterous songs, he was truly unique. His singing definitely contributed to many a film ( & careers of actors) becoming successful. Rajendra Kumar and Shammi Kapoor – to mention only two- can thank Rafisaab for the amount of stardom they achieved.

Palki was a movie made in the 60s in a then popular genre called “Muslim socials”. Rajendra Kumar, Wahida Rehman, Rehman, Minoo Mumtaz , Johnny Walker, Nasir Hussain, Rashid Khan, Manmohan Krishna are the usual suspects. S U Sunny was the director when the movie started, he died halfway through and Mahesh Kaul completed it. Naushad contributed to the story as well as composing the music.

The storyline is of a poor shayar (Rajendra Kumar) who wins a prize in a Mushaira, but refuses to accept the money as the sponsor- the Nawab (Rehman) humiliates him as his coat is torn. He is tricked into accepting the money, much needed to get his sister married. But having oodles of self pride means he leaves his wife behind and goes to work on the docks in Mumbai. Typical twists in the tales with news of the hero and then the heroine dying are naturally proven fake over time. The lead pair reunite happily, but not before everyone watching the movie gets lachrymose and starts sniffling. The music was composed by Naushad which meant Shakil Badayuni and Rafisaab would be partners in the musical treat.

Rafisaab and Latadidi were not singing together for some time, thanks to a dispute over royalty. Suman Kalyanpur made much capital of the godsent opportunity. The duet is one of my all time favourite ones of the genre. Virtually a DIY guide for dummies on conducting romance. A step by step checklist of sorts.

Waheeda Rehman looks cute and Rajendra Kumar emotes better than the round fried object in the much touted Shivbhojan Thali, and that’s the maximum flattery I will indulge in for the inexplicably successful male lead who was the flag bearer of a proud lineage of ignoble leading men in Bollywood whose sole qualification justifying the tag was the presence of a Y chromosome in their cellular nuclei. (And the audience has always wanted to know “Why” were these guys the designated ‘heroes’ ). They had as much function to serve as a clotheshorse to drape some shirts and trousers (or some other piece of apparel) and to support tripping/swooning leading ladies at the time who were all uniformly beauteous and much better emotively endowed (& otherwise as well) . The contrast couldn’t have been more stark.

Stay safe , folks, stay happy and healthy. Enjoy the weekend while I get baked in the heat of the NCR to roast a colleague in a debate.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

6 replies on “A primer of romance”

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