Mohammed Rafi, whom many consider the greatest Indian male playback singer, died on July 31, 1980. He received the Padma Shri, National Award and six Filmfare Awards in his lifetime.
His career lasted an incredible 35 years and he was best known for his sentimental and romantic numbers. He sang playback for any number of Bollywood's top heroes, among them Amitabh Bachchan who wrote about Rafisaab
on his blog:
"What can one possibly say on one that possessed perfection. His voice gave voice to many, to build their character and position. Play back singers have always been responsible for the stature that the actor in Indian cinema eventually achieves. In a country and in a society where music and its identity are observed as meticulously as the solution to a mathematical problem, it shall ever be difficult to measure this contribution. There is a song that needs must be played for identity of event, moment and remembrance. Those that pass away get description of their presence through appropriate song. Those that succeed get similar treatment. Achievements in the field of politics, sports and other vocations shall be interspersed with a song that was written and conducted for an entirely different reason. But music it is that is chosen to completely describe it. And it is always featured in the magical voices of our illustrious playback singers - Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi !!
Where Lata ji had the persistence and strength of that indestructible ingredient, honey .. where the pathos and at most times the vibrancy of Kishore Kumar ... there was and still remains the fluency and magic of a Rafi Saheb.
Nature has its effect on vocation. Your vocation at times holds hands with your nature. No where was it truer than with Rafi Saheb - a gentleman, with the politest of temperaments, and a heart filled with generosity and giving. His voice and his songs reflected what he was in real.
I attended his funeral when he passed away. His burial was done at a burial ground next to a mosque close to where I reside. Often I pass along the road that clings to its walls. There are many others of my knowing that reside there beneath the earth, in peace and rest, and a gentle prayer moves my lips - as salaam ale kum valiullah, as salaam ale kum ya halil kaboor