It’s an age-old debate that we have been fighting for years. Who is better? Kishore Kumar or Mohd. Rafi. While we are no musical experts, we’re entitled to our opinion and we think Rafi’s voice is better. And we’re not alone, even Lata Mangeshkar thinks so. 

“People said that my duets with Rafi Saab were better than my duets with any other male singer. Though I enjoyed my duets with Mukesh Bhaiyya and Kishoreda, I have to agree Rafi Saab had a fabulous range and a staggering control over the seven notes. Our duets were considered really special by music lovers,” she said in an interview

His entry into playback singing wasn’t intentional, and that’s surprising considering we think that he must have recognized his gift. “I am a native of Lahore. I belong to a very orthodox and conservative Muslim family. I used to sing at friends’ places when I was only 15. During one such occasion, Nasir Khan one of the top producer-actors at that time, spotted me and offered to take me to Bombay and groom me as a singer in films,” he said in an interview with Star & Style Magazine in 1980

“Khansaab had asked my father for his permission. My father had refused the offer point blank since he frowned upon the very idea of my taking up singing in films as a career. I was being trained in classical music at that time by my guru Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan of Kirana. When Nasir Khan persisted with the offer my elder brother convinced my Abaajaan to let me go to Bombay. With great reluctance my dad agreed to my pursuing a career as a singer in films,” he added. 

Imagine if Nasir Khan hadn’t persisted. Bollywood music would have been so much poorer. 

Also, as Amitabh Bachchan pointed out, “Those days, there were no computers to iron out your voice and re-work the song. You had to sing the song again even if one musician in an orchestra of 100 played one wrong note.” 

Considering that, Rafi can be considered to be one of the greatest Bollywood singers of all time, not just of his generation. 

On his 93rd birth anniversary, we’ll list our favourite tracks sung by Rafi without further ado. 

Bahaaron Phool Barsao

Ehsaan Tera Hoga Mujh Par

Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki

Chaudhvin Ka Chand

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZUR92B-UzE

Kya Hua Tera Wada

Teri Bindiya Re

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEyu3-V2qLc

Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra

Woh Jab Yaad Aaye

Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z6Lr0JYAro

Hum Kisise Kum Nahin

Indeed, like some people have said, “If god had a voice, it would be Mohd Rafi’s.”