Vasant Desai ,Naushad and Mohammed Rafi
Vasant Desai ,Naushad and Mohammed Rafi

“Boli re papihara…” as a song, it is not more than a debutante’s attempt. But the impact it had in the film industry, which started comparing Vani Jairam to the Mangeshkar sisters and speculating whether they have genuine competition is what one remembers of the early ‘70s when one hears this song. 

Composed by Vasant Desai (1912-1975), this film had Jaya Bhaduri in a student’s role who is obsessed with cinema.
Having had a relatively low profile existence, Desai was identified more with the ventures of V Shantaram and is known for his soulful scores through the 1940s and the 1950s. None can forget the haunting numbers he created for the director, a prime mover and a lasting influence in Indian cinema. Desai  suffered a tragic death in his apartment as the elevator in which he was supposed to be travelling  to his home crushed him fatally, over four decades ago on December 22.

The final days of the last month have many more legends who were born. Mohammed Rafi (1924-1980), who needs no introduction was born on December 24, followed by Naushad (1919-2006) a celebrated music director and the art film director Mani Kaul (1944-2011) who share their birthdays on December 25. 

Longtime observers of Hindi cinema can reminisce about the association Naushad Saab had with Mohammed Rafi through the 50s which changed the Hindi film industry forever. 

The sheer range and versatility of the singer was very well exploited in a set of films which catered to all genres as Naushad ruled at the top for a long time to come. There are numerous instances to recount, for which a separate section needs to be dedicated for sure.

To the eternal credit of Rafi, he juggled his role plays with ease and sang for a range of music directors and this held him in good stead till he was the undisputed numero uno till the late 1960s. 

Naushad too had a lot of supporters in the form of Dilip Kumar and to an extent the ‘Jubilee Star’ Rajendra Kumar who also sung the compositions made by the legendary music director. An earlier column had detailed references to Mani Kaul who died six years ago in the month of July. 

By K Naresh Kumar 

Tags: Rafi, Naushad, singers