Remembering Rafi on his death anniversary


I would like to start with Naushad's quote on Rafi's death

कहता है कोई दिल गया, दिलबर चला गया

साहिल पुकारता है, समंदर चला गया

लेकिन जो बात सच है वो कोई कहता नही

दुनिया से मौसीक़ी का पायांबर चला गया

Had he been alive, he would have been 90 years old now. I could keep on writing endlessly about Rafi but that would kill the point. I am not going to quantify how many songs he sang, or how good were his vocals or how humble he was as a person. Every Rafi fan, everyone knows everything about the greatness of the man. I am just jolting down 5 songs that were remarkable in establishing Rafi at the helm of singing. At the pinnacle of music

5) Soniye ni heeriye ni, teri yaad ni aan sataya

This was Rafi sahab's first song. Music was composed by legendary Shyam Sundar ji and the movie was Gul Baloch - 1944. It was a punjabi song and Rafi sahab was sharing the mic with Zeenat Begum in this duet. Rafi was initially spotted by Feroze Nizami in Lahore who also got him a job with Radio Lahore for some time. Shyam Sundar was aware of Rafi's potential and gave him 7 songs in his next film - Bazaar. However Rafi was still lurking behind in the shadows of Talat and Saigal till now

4) Yahan badla wafa ka
Rafi got his first break in hindi movies with the movie Gaon ki Gori, but he pretty much went unnoticed there. In came Anmol Ghadi and Jugnu. Anmol Ghadi was the moment that was going to shape the music industry for the coming decades. Although Naushad had recognised Rafi's talent much before and their coming together happened in 1944 with the film, Pehle Aap and the song `Hindustan ke hum ham hindustan hamara’. Naushad was the first music maestro responsible for showcasing and presenting Rafi’s awesome repertoire. Anmol Ghadi got Rafi the attention of the music fraternity while the song 'yahan badla wafa ka' from Jugnu made sure Rafi was not going to get lost in the new breed of singers that were coming up during the independence days. The music for the song was composed by Feroze Nazmi and the song garnered enough attention with Yusuf being the face of the song. The duet also had Noor Jahan singing with Rafi

3) Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki
I tried to resist the urge of not putting the live version of Naushad orchestrating and Rafi singing this song, but its next to impossible. The magic of this song has become a popcultural symbol. There have been stories about this song even being national anthem of some Caribbean island country for some time. Whether the myths, the folks attached with the song are true or not still remains clouded in mystery, but whats crystal clear is that this song is pure bliss. Naushad and Rafi carried their magical combination for years before and after this song. The duo hit their highest point in 1952 with Baiju Bawra, but Suhani Raat would always be the song that made Rafi the face of Indian music. Barsaat in 1949 was the most succesful music album and took Mukesh to great fame but Rafi with one single song had the song of the year

4) Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho
Had they had the category for best male playback singer in Filmfare Awards in 1950s, Rafi would have done a clean sweep. It almost becomes unthinkable to compare him with any other male playback singer in 50s. His combination with SD Burman, Naushad, Ravi, Madan Mohan, Shankar Jaikishan and C ramchandra delivered pure gold during the decade. Despite missing out on the inaugral award to Mukesh for Anari, Rafi got his hands on it next year with this classic number from the film of the same name. The Guru Dutt- SD relationship had ended after Kagaz ke Phool and in came the masterful Ravi who delivered a peach of an album with Rafi again bringing the golden touch in the songs. The album was critically acclaimed with Rafi claiming 5 solo songs

5) Kya Hua Tera Wada
If Filmfare were missed in 50s, then national Awards were even more delayed in entering the frame. Rafi surprisingly received only 1 national award during his life but thats more due to the fact that the awards started in 1967 and by that time Rafi had peaked multiple times already and was on a gradual decline with rise of Kishore Kumar and entry of RD Burman in the scene. However it was RD's music which finally got Rafi the award (believed by many including me, to be just a gesture to the brightest star in the galaxy with kind of a consolation. Not a great Rafi song by any stretch of imagination). From the movie Hum Kisi se Kam Nahi in 1977, this song in a way provided closure to Rafi's long, illustrious and succesful career. 

It was not long after that, when Naushad called Manna Day to inform him that Rafi had passed away. Manna was trembling after that. Lata could not get a proper sleep for some nights and the whole of India was in shock

Finally a song to remember Rafi in his entirety 

6 Underrated Songs of Sonu Nigam


पूत के पाँव पालने में ही नज़र आ जाते हैं.... 

Although Mohd. Rafi is considered by many to be one of the greatest Indian playback singers of the Hindi film industry because of his ability to sing songs of different moods and varieties in a career spanning over 30 years, I am sure that if he would have seen the young Sonu Nigam performing at stage at the tender age of 4, he would himself have given his crown to him. 

Technically, Sonu Nigam is said to be Gulshan Kumar’s discovery, who in the early 90s have started to re-create golden 70s and 60s song under his banner T-Series where Sonu Nigam sung many covers of Rafi Saa’b . Perhaps because of this, he was called as Rafi Clone during his early years and still today, one can find traces of Rafi Saa’b in his voice. Further when T-Series started to make devotional songs, then Sonu Nigam’s popularity rose and because of his appearances in these songs, people started noticing his screen presence also.

Sonu Nigam’s real stint with popularity came with the TV Show “Sa Re Ga Ma” which he hosted. The show was first of its kind and was the second reality show of cable television after Close Up Antakshari. This was a game changing event for Sonu as during this show, music director started taking him seriously as a singer and he was being given a chance to be the playback voice of actors. 

1997 was an year, that changed Sonu Nigam’s career with two path breaking songs that went on to create history as well as defined his path 

Sandeshe Aate hain – Border

 Dil Deewaana – Pardes

Over the years, Sonu Nigam has become a major force in the hindi film industry. Just, when you think, he has delivered his peak, he makes his comeback with a song more melodious, more soothing than the previous, the latest example of which is “Abhi Mujh me Kahin” from Agneepath(2012). He has not only been a exceptional playback singer, but has tried his hands at pop albums, acting, music direction etc. Not only Hindi, he has recorded songs in almost all regional languages. Besides a musician, he is a top notch performer and has a niche stage presence. Those who have seen his stage performance would have certainly witnessed his witty jokes.

Today, Filmistani would take a dig at Sonu Nigam’s under rated songs that he has sung over the years and because of many reasons, these songs got lost/not much popular these days.

#6: Betab Dil Hai(Phir Milenge) – This 2004 movie starred Shilpa Shetty, Abhishek Bachchan and Salman Khan and was directed by Revathi. The movie was allegedly said to be inspired by the Hollywood Movie Philadelphia. The movie dealt with a bold subject AIDS and in 2004, there were no takers for such concepts. As the movie failed miserably at the box-office, the lesser known songs got washed away from the public memory. Enjoy this song here and do let us your thoughts.

#5: Sapne Ki Baat Main Bataun (Indipop Album): Whenever, names of pop albums of Sonu Nigam is taken, there is always mention of Kismat(feat. Tu), Deewana, Jaan, Chanda Ki Doli etc. but, very few people know that before these albums, there was an album called Sapne Ki Baat. It surely was not as immensely popular as Sonu’s other works but it surely boasted of some good music and which was lost because of the popularity of his other works. Enjoy this song by the then lesser known Sonu Nigam who had raw fresh energy. Somehow, I feel the raw fresh power of this song deserves to be listened by more audience.

#4: Zaalima(Jal): This 2013 movie, directed by Girish Malik and starring Purab Kohli  is about an overconfident water diviner, who tries to solve the drought problems in his village, but faces unforeseen circumstances when he tries to help a female ornithologist save flamingos. The film was premiered and received special mention at the "New Currents" section of the Busan International Film Festival 2013 and in the "Indian Panorama" section of the International Film Festival of India. However, there were hardly any takers for the music of this movie because of the lack of a proper production house. As a result, this highly pulsating energetic Sonu Nigam number remained unnoticed.

#3: Phir Mujhe Dil(Toh Baat Pakki) – This 2010 romantic comedy marked the debut of Marathi Filmmaker Kedar Shinde. Although, the movie was produced by Tips Music Films and boasted some known actors like Tabu and Sharman Joshi, the movie was badly promoted and not many people knew about this movie at the time of its release. As a result the movie sunk. Also, the movie was actually scheduled to release in the September 2009 but because of the multiplex strike the movie was delayed by five months and finally released in February 2010 which overall increased the cost of the movie and film makers have then decided not to spend much on its publicity. The music of the movie was given by Pritam and it was not promoted well as you can see this Sonu Nigam song is not known to many people today. This solo song has some extraordinary Alaap and you can feel his vintage voice. (Tips Music: I have a question for you. Are you so obsessed with Aatif Aslam that you will not promote a song sung by other singer.. WTH man..). Enjoy this soothing song and let us know your thoughts.

#2: Sapna Mera (Sooper Se Ooper ) – This 2013 movie was directed by Shekhar Ghosh and starred Vir Das, Yashpal Sharma and Deepak Dobriyal. The movie faced stiff competition in the week of its release with as many as six films releasing on the same day. Despite being promoted as a comedy the film almost never made you laugh.Though the film had an interesting story line with more than praise worthy comic actors, the sad under usage of talent plagued the film and hence it was a total washout. As a result, songs never became popular and this jazzy Sonu Nigam song penned by Shabbir Ahmed was lost in be-wilderness. Let us know your thoughts on this song.

#1: Do Qadam Aur Sahi – I have not mentioned the name of the movie because I know that the moment I mention the name of the movie, people will jump on the bandwagon and will point fingers at me and will say that "Hey Admin! Are you mad? This movie is so popular. How come it is underrated?" I agree friends, this movie is very popular and its songs have crafted a special place in the heart of music lovers over the period of time but unfortunately, this marvelous song is mostly unheard of. Reason being, this movie was directed by M.F. Hussain in 2005 and was a semi-autobiographical. The music of the movie received positive reviews but as the movie bombed at the Box-Office the soundtrack too remained unnoticed. Tracks such as "Yeh Rishta" and "Chinnamma Chillakkamma" became chartbusters when they were reused in the 2008 Tamil movie Sakkarakatti. (Now you must have realized why I called the song an underrated). Listen to this soulful number sung by Sonu Nigam and penned by Rahat Indori. Let us know what you feel about this song.

Hope you like the list. Do let us know your comments.

Naseer Saa'b - The top 5 performances


They say him A Man of All Seasons. When he speaks, we all listen. He is a true master when it comes to acting. Naseeruddin Shah, unlike the rest of the Bolly Land, is honest, candid and qualified. Born in 1950, and educated in National School of Drama, Delhi, he has worked hard to cement his place as the iconic face of new Indian cinema (from 80s to till date). Indeed, he is arguably one of the finest actors of the world today.  Though his use of hesitant speech and casual gesture to signify psychological complexity sets him apart from the mainstream actors, he has gained fair amount of success in mainstream movies too. Tridev, Mohra and The Dirty Picture are to be named a few of the commercial successful movies of him. Naseer Saa’b was first noticed by Shyam Benegal and the rest is history now.

Today, Filmistani would like to list out 5 memorable performance of Nasser Shah, in no particular order. And yes we are not counting his iconic Mirza Ghalib series (as I think, that is something which can not be put in a list with any film ever)

1) Nishant: 'Poot ke paanv paalne me hi dikhayi de jate hain'. This could not have been truer in any sense of the world than Nasser Saa'b's debut movie Nishant. Directed by the pioneer of art-house and parallel cinema, Shyam Benegal and based on a story by legendary Vijay Tendulkar, Nishant is a deep and disturbing experience. Outlined by incredible performances by a stellar cast consisting of Girish Karnad, Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Smita Patil, Sadhu Meher, Amrish Puri, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Anant Nag, Mohan Agashe and Satyadev Dubey; Nishant went on to win National award that year. In a small yet powerful and challenging role, Nasser saa'b plays the character of Vishwam, youngest son of Amrish Puri and portrays the character of a shy, confused and submissive individual who is confronted by his own destitute for accepting his love. The movie will never be known as a Naseeruddin Shah movie because of the power driven by other actors in the film, but it nonetheless remains a classic

2) Masoom
Masoom can be quoted sometimes to be the movie that established Nasser saa'b at the forefront of Indian Cinema. Before this as well he was an academic artist being studied in the realms of alternate cinema but Masoom made him a household name by establishing him in mainstream with the contemporaries. Masoom touches a very sensitive topic of extra-marital affair and lovechild (It is a retelling of Eric Segal's Man, Woman And Child though). Playing the central character of DK, Nasser Saa'b churned out a masterful performance. As a man driven by grief, regret as well as love for the child, he was at his best when he does the 'evocative proximus'. The movie caps an impeccable performance from Shabana ji as well and is tuned melodiously by RD Burman

3) Sparsh
Sparsh will always be the movie which I personally think, showcased the acumen of Naseeruddin Shah at its full potential. The kind of definitiveness and exactitude that he brought to the role is unbelievable. Playing the role of Anirudh, a blind man with an imperative amount of confidence and zeal which stopped him from getting pitied by the world but at the same time being hyper sensitive to the nuances of his condition and the world outside. He gives you the feeling of a sore loser as well as a man who should be considered an iron pillar at the same time. It is an absolute gem of a performance; powerful and emotive; and deservingly got him the National Award for the best actor in 1980. The movie again has amazing chemistry between him and his favorite co star Shabana Azmi.


1980 was indeed a remarkable and life changing year in terms of Naseeruddin Shah's career. Aakrosh featured him in a character poles apart from what he played in Sparsh, the same year, and also brought forward the versatility and power of Nasser saa'b. The movie was set in the backdrop of a world ruled by people in power with law and order at mercy of these powerful few. Sounds like a usual Bolly flick!! But what made this movies a monster film is the treatment by Govind Nihlani which converts it into a dark and depressing saga where every character is relatable, every story is believable and every scene is impeccable. It features Om Puri in a career defining role and one of his most acclaimed as well but the show stealer is indeed Naseer. Playing the character of Lawyer Bhaskar Kulkarni, Nasser Saa'b plays a low tuned and uncharacteristially restrained character. The movie also outlines a lot of socio economic undoings and the struggle of one man against a system which is beyond his control. It is also a must watch movie for another of Amrish Puri's limited but impactful character

5) Mohan Joshi Hazir Ho
Well its impossible to do a top 5 list for Nasser Saab but its even tougher to have written 4 and finalise the 5th one. Mohan Joshi Hazir ho completes the Saeed Akhtar Mirza trilogy for me with Albert Pinto Ko Gussa Kyun Aata Hai and Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro, However it is the most underrated of all the three. It is one of the most subtly handled satires in Indian cinema. The movie again featured an ensembled cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Satish Shah, Dina Pathak, Amjad Khan, Bhisham Sahni and Rohini Hattangadi. Nasser effortlessly plays the character of a slimy lawyer who manipulates his clients for long periods, mocking the judicial system in India. Also the wig he is wearing is one for the collector's edition

A top 5 will never be sufficient to salute the genius of Naseeruddin Shah and some of his other monumental work includes Jane Bhi do Yaaron, Katha, Junoon, Albert Pinto ko Gussa Kyun Aata hai, A Wednesday, Mirch Masala and Ishqiya