Rich tributes were paid to legendary playback singer Mohd Rafi by leading experts, musicologists and writers in a Unique Function organized Wednesday, the 18th July at Epicentre, Gurgaon two weeks before his 32nd death anniversary which falls on July 31. On this occasion second edition of biography of Mohd Rafi entitled “Meri Awaaz Suno”in Hindi written by journalist-writer Vinod Viplav and also a new Urdu version of book translated by Delhi University’s Dr Syed Tanvir Hussain was released. The Function was organized jointly by Cultural Societies Sakha and Rafi Smriti in collaboration with Epicentre, Gurgaon.

Amarjit Kohli on Mike Shanti Hiranand With Sakha Rafi Smriti Awardees of Amritsar Capt Narinder Singh, Tarlochan Singh & Daljit Singh
On this occasion an Audio CD of musical homage to Rafi entitled “Rafi Tu Hai Chanda” was released which was sung by Tarlochan Singh and whose lyrics were written by Daljit Singh Arora, both of Mohd Rafi Memorial Society, Amritsar. Also Sakha-Rafi Smriti Awards were bestowed by Padmashree singer Shanti Hiranand to the team of Mohd Rafi Memorial Society, Amritsar comprising Capt Narinder Singh (founder), Tarlochan Singh (President), Daljit Singh Arora (Secy) and Dr Kirat Sandhu (Patron). Also Ahsan Qasim of Rafi Music Centre, Hapur and Choudhary Zia Imam, author of the biography on Mohammad Rafi (Payambar-e-Mausiki : Mohammad Rafi) and Naushad (Zarra Jo Aftab Bana) were awarded. 
L to R Amarjit Kohli, Shanti Hiranand Author, Vinod Viplav & Dr Tanvir Hussain

Discussing the contribution of Mohd Rafi to film industry, panel member & senior journalist Pankaj Vohra said that Rafi is the only singer of India whom no other singer could successfully replicate and whose stage performances show no loss of quality from his studio recordings. He said that a second Rafi may be never born. Writer journalist Vinod Viplav who has written a book on Rafi “Meri Aawaz Suno” said that hearing Rafi’s sad, secular and melody songs was a spiritual experience and was a sure cure for relieving tensions, stress and strains of life. He felt that Rafi’s ideal character, secularism, simplicity and blotless life make him the perfect “Indian Idol”. Musicologist R P Sinha who is a retired IAS officer, recalled the meeting of Rafi as a teenager who went to attend a concert of legendary singer K L Saigal in Lahore when the mike failed and Rafi kept the audience enthralled without microphone. Saigal was highly impressed by Rafi’s voice and blessed him and later Rafi sang an independent line in a chorus led by Saigal ‘Mere Sapno Ki Rani’ in film Shahjahan (1946) under music director Naushad. After Saigal’s death, Mohd Rafi filled in the top slot.

Senior journalist BB Nagpal said that Rafi was the best versatile singer of India who could sing with equal ease all types of songs such as classical, comic, melancholic, boisterous, and whose songs were “tailor-sung” to portray the acting style of heroes on which it was picturised. From the audio itself of Rafi one could make out whether the song was picturised on Johny Walker or Shammi Kapoor or Dalip Kumar. Dr Syed Tanvir Hussain of Delhi University who had translated Rafi’s biography in Urdu, said that Rafi’s popularity spread deep across all corners of India amongst all sections of society, rich or poor, townsmen or villagers. Art promoter Amarjit Singh Kohli, Chairman of Sakha and Yaadgar- E- Rafi Society, said that the possibility of training young singers through a course of Rafi’s songs (classical, light & other shades) selected by music researchers could be seriously explored. He said that we can pay a real tribute to Rafi’s contributions during this “100 years of Indian Cinema” by starting an “Institute of Rafi Music.”

Playback singer Tarlochan Singh alias Tarlochan Tochi of Amritsar who has sung in many Punjabi Films sang Rafi’s songs alongwith singers Lily P Singh, Col RC Chadha and Arun Goela to a thunderous applause. Glimpses of some of Rafi’s rare songs and songs sung by him live during stage performances as also his interviews recorded decades ago were also shown.

Rafi was born in Kotla Sultan Singh, a small village in Amritsar District on December 24, 1924 and he died on July 31, 1980 in Mumbai.