Mohammed Rafi’s death anniversary: Native village remembers the legendary singer

New Delhi: Legendary singer Mohammed Rafi’s native village, Kotla Sultan Singh, paid homage to the legendary play back singer on his 37th death anniversary today. Scores of tribute poured in remembering the celebrated singer from across the village, which is located about 30km from Punjab’s Amritsar district.

Apart from annual singing competitions for children that are organized in the village, a small function took place honoring Rafi’s musical legacy. “Rafi Sahab’s songs are as popular today as they were when he was alive,” said Rohan, one of the fans.

The singer was born in Kotla Sultan Singh on December 24, 1924. Rafi started singing by imitating the chants by a fakir in his village. But his first public performance came when he turned 13 when he sang a KL Saigal song in Lahore.

In 1944, he moved to Mumbai to pursue a career in singing and made his playback singing debut in “Gaon Ki Gori”, which released next year. The singer later went on to lend his voice to Bollywood megastars including Amitabh Bachchan, Shammi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Dev Anand and Rishi Kapoor in his career as a successful playback artiste. He has numerous hit songs to his credit including several duets with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.

Working with music directors like O P Nayyar,Laxmikant-Pyarelal and R D Burman, Rafi delivered evergreen tracks, such as, “Yeh duniya yeh mehfil”, “Chura liya haitumne”, “O haseena”, “Tum jo mil gaye ho”, “Chaudhvinka chand ho”, “Shirdi wale Sai baba” and “Aaj mausam bada beimaan hai”. He was honored with the Padma Shri in 1967. Rafi died in Mumbai on July 31, 1980, from heart attack.