Timeless Bonding with Khayyam

Mohd Rafi KhayyamIntroduction

Khayyam, the renowned composer, born on Feb 18, 1927, in Rahon city, Punjab, had inclination towards Music from childhood.

After a brief stint in the Army during World War II, Khayyam moved to Bombay, laying the foundation for a prolific career. The decision turned out to be a remarkable musical journey that left an indelible mark on the Indian music industry.

Early Years and Solo Career

Starting as an actor in the film, Yehi Hai Zindagi (1947), Khayyam’s musical prowess came to the forefront when he joined forces with Music Composer Verma Ji to form the Sharmaji-Varmaji team. Together, they composed music for Heer Ranjha (1948).  However, after Varmaji’s move to Pakistan during the partition, Khayyam chose to soar as a Solo Composer.

Collaboration with Mohammad Rafi

In 1950, Khayyam’s career soared when he composed music for the film Bibi. The ghazal, Hamari Yaad Aati Toh Hogi …, from this film not only became a chartbuster but also forged a lifelong bond between Khayyam and Mohammad Rafi. Subsequently, their partnership endured through several films, with Rafi Sahab’s soulful renditions elevating Khayyam’s compositions to unprecedented heights.

Despite composing a comparatively lesser number of songs, Khayyam’s unique, off-beat compositions set him at par with the dominant stalwarts like Shankar Jaikishan, Roshan Lal, and Naushad Ali.

Notable Compositions

Khayyam’s collaboration with Mohammad Rafi produced timeless classics, notably in the film Shola Aur Shabnam (1961). Songs like Jaane Kya Dhoondhti Rehti Hain Ye Aankhein …, Jeet Hi Lenge Baazi Hum Tum …, and Pehle Toh Aankh Milna showcased both Khayyam’s musical genius and Rafi Sahab’s emotive renditions, carrying inherent philosophical depth.

National Award-Winning Achievements

Khayyam’s brilliance earned him accolades, including National Awards for films like Bazaar (1982), Kabhi Kabhie (1976), Noorie (1979), Razia Sultan (1983), Sawaal (1982), Trishul (1978), and Umrao Jaan (1981).  Throughout his illustrious career, he remained effusive in his praise for Mohammad Rafi’s unparalleled contribution to Hindi music.

Legacy of Mohammad Rafi

Despite his dominance in the Hindi music scene, Rafi Sahab maintained a humble and open-minded approach. Even during the peak of his career, he expressed desire to sing bhajans under Khayyam’s compositions. This collaboration resulted in a soul-stirring album of devotional songs that showcased the versatility of both maestros.

Enduring Impact

Khayyam emphasized that Mohammad Rafi’s ever-evolving singing style remained timeless, allowing him to resonate with generations. Rafi Sahab’s dedication, humility, and willingness to contribute to low-budget films for minimal fees showcased his compassionate nature, understanding the struggles of his fellow human beings.


The harmonious partnership between Khayyam and Mohammad Rafi created a musical legacy that transcends time. Their collaboration, marked by creativity, emotion, and a deep understanding of the human experience, continues to captivate audiences and inspire future generations of musicians.

As we delve into their timeless melodies, we celebrate the enduring impact of two legends whose artistry shaped the landscape of Indian music.

In our next article, we will shed light on Rafi Sahab’s controversial Discord with Lata Ji.


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