Have I become a bad Singer?

Mohd Rafi Mahendra KapoorIntroduction

The Hindi film industry has witnessed its share of ups and downs over the decades, with various artists navigating the ebb and flow of popularity. One such legendary figure, Mohammad Rafi, stood tall amid the changing tides, leaving an indelible mark on the world of music. His humility, divine smile, and benevolent nature left an everlasting impact on the songs he produced, earning him the admiration of both aficionados and laymen alike.

The Rise and Momentary Fall

In the late 1960s, the landscape of Hindi cinema witnessed a seismic shift when Kishore Kumar, an exceptional singer, surged ahead of Mohammad Rafi in the popularity charts. While both were contemporaries, Rafi was known for his dynamic and diverse singing style. However, the release of “Aradhana” marked a turning point, catapulting Kishore Kumar to the coveted No. 1 spot, overshadowing Rafi’s supremacy.

The Emergence of R.D. Burman and Kishore Kumar

R.D. Burman’s innovative compositions in “Aradhana” set new trends, contributing to the ascent of Kishore Kumar and marking what some perceived as the decline of Mohammad Rafi. Media fueled the fire, comparing the two maestros and igniting a contentious debate over who was the superior singer. This period of rivalry and media scrutiny took a toll on both legends, who harbored immense respect for each other.

Kishore Kumar’s Intervention

As the media frenzy reached its zenith, Kishore Kumar, recognizing the undue comparison and irrelevant hype, took a stand. He expressed deep pain over the unnecessary rivalry and urged the media to cease the comparisons, emphasizing his profound respect for Mohammad Rafi. It was a poignant moment that reflected the genuine camaraderie shared by these musical titans.

The Unseen Impact on Mohammad Rafi

Decades later, Rohan Kapoor, son of the renowned singer Mahendra Kapoor, shed light on the aftermath of this rivalry. During the peak of Kishore Kumar’s popularity, Mohammad Rafi, feeling the weight of the changing tide, sought solace in a meeting with Mahendra Kapoor. Rafi expressed shock at being ignored by producers who once revered him, questioning whether he had become a lesser singer.

Mahendra Kapoor, a friend and fellow artist, reassured Rafi, attributing the change to the fickle nature of the industry rather than any fault of Rafi’s. He comforted Rafi by reminding him that the same producers who treated him poorly would do so to others as well, urging him to let it go.

Rising Above Adversity

In a poignant moment, Mohammad Rafi, despite the challenges he faced, showcased his resilience. He sang a few lines from his recent song, Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho …, recorded for the 1973 film Hanste Zakhm by the great composer Madan Mohan Kohli. The song went on to become a massive hit, reaffirming Rafi’s position as a singer par excellence.


Mohammad Rafi’s journey, marked by challenges and momentary setbacks, stands as a testament to his enduring legacy. His ability to rise above the transient nature of fame, coupled with his unmatched talent, solidifies his status as a timeless maestro in the annals of Hindi music history.

Our next article will explore Rafi Sahab’s iconic evolution from inception to the finale.


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