Mohammed Rafi referred as legendary singer of Indian film music. In his life time he had received many awards as the National Film award, Best National Singer Award and six Filmfare Awards. Government of India had presented the Padma Shree Award In honour of Rafi sahab in 1967. The span of his singing career lasted for 35 years.
He was born in Amritsar in a mediocre Muslim family. He was the son of Hajji Ali Mohammad and the youngest among six brothers. In childhood he started singing imitating the chants of the fakirs of his village. His elder brother, Mohammad Deen recognized the talent in Rafi and provided him with all possible helps for his rise. He took Mohammed Rafi to his friend Abdul Hameed who encouraged his singing career and convinced his family to let Rafi move to Mumbai. Abdul Hameed accompanied him to Mumbai.
Rafi’s classical music mentors were Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Jiwan Lal Mattoo and Firoze Nizami. At age of 13 he first made his public performance. Then he sang his debut in Lahore as a playback singer in the duet "Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee" with Zeenat Begum under Shyam Sunder for the movie Gul Baloch. After that he got a invation from All India Radio Lahore station to sing for them.
In Mumbai he rented a small room with Abdul Hameed. He was introduced to film producers Abdur Rashid Kardar, Mehboob Khan and actor com director Nazeer by poet Tanvir Naqvi. Rafi sang for Sham Sundarji’s production Gaon Ki Gori which was a great hit. He sang a song Suno Suno Ay Duniya Walon honoring Gandhiji when he was assassinated which was written by Rajinder Krishan and music by Hunslal Bhagatram.
Mohammed Rafi got the National Rajat Kamal Award from President Sanjiva Reddy for singing Kya Hua Tera Vaada from the movie Hum Kisise Kum Nahin in the year 1977.He had the talent to sing variable mood and genre songs like sad or happy, melancholic, romantic, pop, qawali, bhajan, gazal, romantic, rock’n'roll, light music, slow numbers, sad song, parody and fast numbers.
He had married twice, first with his cousin which was held in his ancestral village and had four sons and three daughters. His first marriage broke up due to the refusal from his wife to live in India following the killing of her parents during the riots of Partition of India and moved to Lahore, Pakistan.
Rafi had won the National Film Award in the year 1977 for Kya Hua tera Wada in Hum Kissise Kum Neheen. He won Filmfare awards for Chaudhvin Ka Chand Ho in Chaudhvin Ka Chand, Teri Pyaari Pyaari Surat Ko in Sasural, Chahunga Main Tujhe in Dosti, Baharo Phool Barsao in Suraj, Dil Ke Jharoke Mein in Brahmachari, Mein Gaaon Tum Sojaao in Brahmachari and Kya Hua Tera Wada in Hum Kisise Kum Nehi. He received the Bengali Film Journalists’ Assosiation Awards Tumsa Nehi dekha in 1957, Dosti In 1965 and Arzoo 1966. In 1964 he had got the Sur Srinagar Award Chitralekha.
Mohammed Rafi left us on 31 July 1980 following heart attack. His last song was Shaam phir kyun udaas hai dost in Aas Pas which was recorded just few hours before he took his last breath.