You are currently viewing SN Tripathi Part 2 (post-1950s): His best songs for Mohammad Rafi

SN Tripathi Part 2 (post-1950s): His best songs for Mohammad Rafi


A tribute to Rafi on his 43rd Remembrance Day with the continuing series on SN Tripathi

In SN Tripathi Part 1 (1930s and 40s) we became familiar with his multi-faceted personality: an actor, a singer, a music director, and surprisingly also a director – though of post-50s films. But post-50s we know him mostly as a music director, and we slot him in a narrow range – generally for his sweet melodies and classical-based songs and dances.

But as we look around, we are amazed by the range of SN Tripathi – from pure classical based songs, to mythologicals, to naats to songs on Arabic tunes, to romantic solos and duets. In this journey Rafi, the most versatile singer, has been his unforgettable companion. With about 90 songs of Rafi, this must be the most by SN Tripathi for any male playback singer. I continue the series on SN Tripathi with his songs for Rafi, as a tribute to the singer on his 43rd Remembrance Day (24 December 1924 – 31 July 1980).

Rafi sang his first song for SN Tripathi in 1946 (Mansarovar). He had some excellent songs under his baton in the film Shri Ram Bhakt Hanuman (1948). This combo also had a nice song in the film Veer Ghatotkach (1949). I have posted Rafi’s songs from all the three films in the Part 1 of my tribute to SN Tripathi. So it is time to plunge straight into the 1950s. In this post I would also cover his duets with female singers as well as other male singers. I would limit myself to his best known songs or those that mesmerised me on the first hearing.

1. Chham chham chham naache mere nainon mein pyar, mere rang bhare sapnon mein kaun aya re by Rafi & Geeta Dutt from Nav Durga (1953), lyrics Anjum Jaipuri, music SN Tripathi

‘Mythologicals’ create an impression in the mind of Grade ‘B’ or low on production values. But this song floored me on the first hearing. You can see the beauty of the lyrics – while Geeta Dutt sings Chham chham chham to denote the sound of dancing (naache mere nainon mein pyar), Rafi comes with his response indicating the sound of the sitar – Jhan jhan jhan baaje mere man ka sitar, mere rang bhare sapne mein kaun aya re. Not as well-known as their duets by OP Nayyar, but SN Tripathi gives his unique sweetness to this song.

2. Chalo chalo chalein hum babool ke tale by Rafi and Shamshad Begum from Alibaba Aur Chalis Chor (1954), lyrics Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, music SN Tripathi

Now Rafi combines with Shamshad Begum in this film based on the famous story from the Arabian Nights. Starring Mahipal in the lead role, it has to be a B-grade fantasy film. The wonderful dancers on the screen are extra artistes whom I have not seen earlier, nor do I know their names. But everything about the song is superb. A Punjabi-style song in the full-throated voice of Rafi and Shamshad Begum, but full of SN Tripathi melody. I find his name in the star cast, so he must have essayed a minor role in the film. This film also had another excellent by Rafi (& Asha Bhosle), Ai saba unse kah zara kyon humein beqarar kar diya.

3. Parwar digar-e-aalam by Rafi from Hatim Tai (1956), lyrics Akhtar Romani, music SN Tripathi

Hatim Tai is another legend from Arabian Nights. He is a highly respected person for his generosity and quality of heart, from the 6th century pre-Islamic Arabia. But faith in the Supreme Being transcends denominational religions. Rafi is matchless in devotional songs. In Parwar digar-e-alam he narrates several stories from legends, which I believe, have now been assimilated in Islamic folklore. The stocky man holding a child in his lap is, I believe, SN Tripathi himself. Thus, he carries on with his acting career! This fantasy Arabian film had many superb songs, including a Rafi-Asha Bhosle duet, Jhoomti hai nazar, jhoomta hai pyar, ye nazar chheen kar le gayi qaraar.

4. Aatma ki ye aawaz hai..Zara saamne to aao chhaliye chhup chhup chhalne mein kya raaz hai by Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar from Janam Janam Ke Phere a.k.a. Sati Annapurna (1957), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music SN Tripathi

Another mythological, so not a big banner by definition, but an immortal song if ever there was one. Becoming the top song of Binaca Geetmala was inevitable.

5. Baat (बाटchalat nayi chunri rang daari by Rafi & Krishnarao Chonkar from Rani Rupmati (1959), lyrics Traditional/Bharat Vyas, music SN Tripathi

This traditional Bhairvi has been sung by many classical singers. In such traditional bandishes, the films credit the lyricist – Bharat Vyas in this case. He might have made some changes here and there, but it is more correct to specify that it is a traditional bandish. Another well-known use of this bandish was in 1953 in the film Ladki by Geeta Dutt, for which Rajendra Krishna had been credited as the lyricist and the music directors were R Sudrshanam-Dhaniram. Bhairvi is sada suhagan and this duet of Rafi with the classical singer Krishnarao Chonkar has to be absolutely melodious. The link below gives Geeta Dutt’s version too in the end.

6. Preet ke bandhan mein basi, karti chali pukar…Un par kaun kareji vishwas by Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar from Kavi Kalidas (1959), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music SN Tripathi

A superb Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar duet from the biographical film Kavi Kalidas. It starts with a slow recital by Lata Mangeshkar, Preet ke bandhan mein basi, and suddenly this duet starts with an unexpected fast rhythm. You can compare this with Vasant Desai’s Rok sake na raah hamari duniya ki deewarein…Jeevan mein piya tera sath rahe.

7. Phool bagiya mein babul bole daal pe dole koeliya by Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar from Rani Rupmati (1959), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music SN Tripathi

Rani Rupmati was the high point of SN Tripathi’s career; a number of its songs in different voices have become immortal. Here is another duet between Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar, two of our greatest singers of the golden era, singing this delightful song.

8. Lagta nahin hai dil mera ujade dayar mein by Rafi from Lal Quila (1960), lyrics Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’ (?), music SN Tripathi

Now SN Tripathi completely changes tack to create two superb ghazals in Lal Quila, a story depicting the last Mughal Bahadur Shah Zafar’s hopelessness and despair when he was virtually confined to the Red Fort. Believed to be written by ‘Zafar’ himself, my question mark is because Urdu scholars now agree that its last but one couplet (given below) is written by Seemab Akbarabadi:

Umr-e-daraz maang ke laaye the char din
Do arzoo mein kat gaye, do intezar mein

I think Habib Wali Mohammad sang this ghazal as NFS before Rafi’s film version. I have earlier mentioned on the blog that Habib Wali Mohammad’s is my favourite.

9. Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hun, na kisi ke dil ka qaraar hun by Rafi from Lal Quila (1960), lyrics Muztar Khairabadi (Bahadur Shah ‘Zafar’?), music SN Tripathi

Rafi sings another superb ghazal of despondency, long believed to have been written by ‘Zafar’. But now I find that Urdu scholars accept the claim of Javed Akhtar that it was written by his grandfather Muztar Khairabadi (father of Jan Nisar Akhtar), and he found it among his old papers in a trunk lying at his ancestral home. I had discussed this controversy earlier on this blog. I leave it to the readers to explore this debate on the internet.

Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hun, na kisi ke dil ka qaraar hun
Jo kisi ke kaam na aa sake main wo ek musht-e-ghubaar hun

10. Man ki gagariya mein tu chamka, kamal khila meri aas ka by Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar from Piya Milan Ki Aas (1961), lyrics Bharat Vyas, music SN Tripathi

SN Tripathi had unending fount of sweet melodies in his quiver. Another great duet by Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar.

11. Deepak jalao jyoti jagaao by Rafi from Sangeet Samrat Tansen (1962), lyrics Shailendra, music SN Tripathi

Sangeet Samrat Tansen gave SN Tripathi an opportunity to display his thorough grounding in classical music. This film had excellent songs by Manna Dey, Mukesh and Mahendra Kapoor, besides the female singers, led by Lata Mangeshkar. Rafi reprises KL Saigal’s immortal Diya jalaao, jagmag jagmag diya jalaao (Tansen, 1943).

12. Mohammad Shah Rangeele re sajna by Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar/Suman Kalyanpur from Nadir Shah (1968), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music SN Tripathi

Mohammad Shah was the Mughal King in the first half of the 18th century when the Mughal empire was on decline. He was famous for his love for classical music and dance. This earned him the epithet ‘Rangeela’, a pejorative term but he did not seem to mind it. He was also known as ‘Sadarang’. This beautiful duet has been picturised as a dance song on Minoo Mumtaz. About the female singer the YT link below mentions Suman Kalyanpur, whereas HFGK credits it to Rafi and Lata Mangeshkar. I can’t distinguish the two voices, at least in this song. An explanation has been given on ASAD that in the film it was sung by Suman Kalyanpur, but commercial record was cut in the voice of Lata Mangeshkar (& Rafi).

It appears Rafi sang his last song for SN Tripathi in 1974. But Mohammad Shah Rangeele re is the last famous song I recall. It is a good stop as a tribute to SN Tripathi, and Rafi on his 43rd Remembrance Day.

Acknowledgement and Disclaimer:
The song links have been embedded from the YouTube only for the listening pleasure of the music lovers. This blog claims no copyright over them, which vests with the respective owners.


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