Their birthdays fell on consecutive days and they created plenty of magic together. Mohammed Rafi, born December 24, 1924, and Naushad, born December 25, 1919, had a third partner in lyricist Shakeel Badayuni, and they had some of the most iconic songs of the 1950s and 1960s.
Seven of these 10 Naushad-Rafi songs are filmed on the great Dilip Kumar, whose birth anniversary was on December 11. The list is chronological.
1 Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki – Dulari (1949)
The incredible combination of Naushad, Shakeel and Rafi displayed its brilliance on this song whose opening lines were, “Suhani raat dhal chuki, na jaane tum kab aaoge, jahaan ki rut badal chuki, na jaane tum kab aaoge”. Rafi adapted his voice to suit actor Suresh, who shot on a set with Madhubala coming at the end. The song was in raag Pahadi.
2 Man Tadapat – Baiju Bawra (1952)
This classic in Malkauns was one of the many raag-based songs composed by Naushad in Baiju Bawra. Filmed on Bharat Bhushan, the bhajan began with Shakeel’s lines, “Man tadapat Hari darshan ko aaj”. The taan that followed the line “Tumre dwaar ka main hoon jogi” was an example of pure perfection. The film also had Rafi’s ‘O Duniya Ke Rakhwale’ in raag Darbari and ‘Insaan Bano’ in Todi.
3 Insaaf Ka Mandir – Amar (1954)
Another devotional song, it was filmed on Dilip Kumar and Madhubala in a temple. Naushad used raag Bhairavi and Shakeel wrote, “Insaaf ka mandir hai yeh bhagwan ka ghar hai, kehna hai jo kehde, kis baat ka dar hai”. Fans consider this to be one of Rafi’s most soulful songs.
4 Mohabbat Ki Raahon Mein – Udan Khatola (1955)
Filmed on Dilip Kumar and Nimmi, it was composed by Naushad in raag Jaijaiwanti. Shakeel’s mukhda was “Mohabbat ki raahon mein chalna sambhalke, yahaan jo bhi aaya, gaya haath mal ke”. Written in the ghazal format, it had short couplets.
5 Madhuban Mein Radhika – Kohinoor (1960)
Naushad composed this beauty in raag Hameer. The song was filmed on Dilip Kumar and Kumkum, who did a dance. Rafi sang Shakeel’s lines, “Madhuban mein Radhika naache re, Giridhar ki muraliya baaje re”. Vocalist Niyaz Ahmed Khan sang a taan filmed on Mukri. It’s said Dilip took sitar lessons so he could get the right position and hand movements in the song’s concluding part.
6 Ae Mohabbat Zindabad – Mughal-e-Azam (1960)
The song used a large number of chorus singers and was set in a large crowd with Dilip Kumar playing Salim and actor M Kumar lip-syncing the main song. Rafi’s singing was immaculate, and the lines were “Zindabad zindabad ae mohabbat zindabad, daulat ki zanjeeron se tu, daulat ki zanjeeron se tu, rehti hai azaad, zindabad, zindabad”.
7 Nain Lad Ji Hain – Ganga Jumna (1961)
Dilip Kumar led a sprightly group dance in this wonderfully choreographed song. Shakeel used the Awadhi dialect to write the lines, “Nain lad ji hain to manawaama kasak hoibe kari, prem ka chhuti hai patakha to dhamak hoibe kari”. Rafi’s rendition of the lines and Naushad’s folk-based composition were perfect.
8 Mere Mehboob Tujhe – Mere Mehboob (1963)
A wonderful nazm composed by Naushad, this had a male version by Rafi and a female version by Lata Mangeshkar. One of the highlights was Shivkumar Sharma’s santoor. The main lines were, “Mere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam, phir mujhe nargisi aankhon ka sahara de de, mera khoya hua rangeen nazara de de”.
9 Koi Saagar Dil Ko Behlata Nahin – Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966)
Rafi sang beautifully, using an intoxicated voice on this song filmed on Dilip Kumar. Naushad used raag Janasanmohini and Shakeel wrote the lines, “Koi saagar dil ko behlata nahin, bekhudi mein bhi karaar aata nahin”. Once again, the lyricist used the ghazal format with short-meter couplets.
10 Aaj Ki Raat Mere – Ram Aur Shyam (1967)
Dilip Kumar was at the grand piano, and Waheeda Rahman wore a red saree for this Rafi gem. Naushad used western arrangements. Shakeel’s lines were, “Aaj ki raat mere dil ki salaami le le, dil ki salaami le le; kal teri bazm se deewana chala jaayega, shama reh jaayegi, parwana chala jaayega”.
While Naushad and Rafi made a great combination, the ace music director also had many hit songs with Lata, and some with Shamshad Begum. Rafi, of course, successfully teamed up with many music directors from S.D. Burman, O.P. Nayyar and Ravi to Laxmikant-Pyarelal and R.D. Burman. The contribution of both musicians was exemplary.