The Kishore Kumar Vs Mohammed Rafi Saga


Hindi Music lovers often compare Kishoreda and Mohammed Rafi and try to downgrade the one they may not like about. I have been an intense Kishoreda fan since my childhood, and have my own reasons to believe he towered upon the rest in the Hindi Playback arena. However, it would be unbecoming on my part as a Hindi Cinema Music fan if I tried to show disrespect to Rafi or anybody else just to uphold my own views. While posting these ideas therefore, my only intention is to recapture a glimpse of the golden past of the Hindi Playback through Kishoreda’s greatness…hope I’ll have enough audience for this on my side!

Rafi and Kishoreda belonged to two different eras in Hindi film making. The needs of the craft were different when Rafi sang to his peak during the 50s and 60s. When it came to the action and cinemascope extravaganza of the 70s and onwards, Rafi subsided as his classical mold proved insufficient. The industry needed far too more versatile response, something the likes of Kishore Kumar, RD Burman and Asha Bhonsle had in them. They had had a huge impact on the generation that grew up listening to their blend since the early days of 70s.

I have personally been a hardcore KK fan. Never ever visited the Rafi camp or liked his style while I was still into my teens at the time of KK’s demise. But, things have somewhat changed with the passage of time and I find both the singers equally appealing into my late thirties now. You can’t compare or denounce the names like Kishore, Rafi or Mukesh just for the sake of upholding your personal ideas. All had something special in them in their own spheres. If Rafi Saheb was Rama, the “Ansha-Avatar” yet “Maryada-Purshottam”, that spoke of the finest facets of the “Hindustani” culture, Kishoreda was like Krishna, the “Purna Avatar”, with all the additional colors and “Mudras” to transcend you into ecstasy. Obviously, Kishoreda was better suited to occupy the center-stage at a time when Sholay and “Dam Maro Dam” were redefining the very basic Hindi Cinema Craft. They both were amazing in their own ways, nobody will deny this. Therefore, one should try to celebrate them as a “single golden past”, and not as two separate entities! Amen!

26 thoughts on “The Kishore Kumar Vs Mohammed Rafi Saga”

  1. the above written article,brought tears in my eyes… it was as satisfing as if achieving the greatest goal in my life .i donot know
    why i am so passionate ,crazy to hear good praising words for my god.yes i mean it he is not only a singer for me ,he is my god.
    the versatile unparrelel madcap genius….. kishre da..i am his greatest devotee.. can some body tell this sony television people
    dr.manoj kumar

  2. Dr. Manoj Kumar, thanks for expressing out your views on Kishoreda. But, you are not alone in saying those words. Most Kishoreda fans would say similar words. Even Sony wallahs know this and that’s why they are airing this show now. Kishore Kumar was a rare occurrence, and there is little possibility that we will have yet another vocalist of his caliber any sooner now.

  3. your comments and comparision (or contrst) between Rafi Saheb and Kishre Da are absurd. Just as you cannot compare Lata Maneshkar with Asha Bhosle, you can not compare Rafi with Kishore.

    If you are not a fan of Rafi, then you are not a music lover.

    It is true that Kishore Da was more popular among young generation. But Rafi was more pupular with people who liked classical music.

    By the way Kumar Sanu and Amit Kumar both have imitated Kishore Kumar’s voice, but no one has yet copied Rafi’s voice.

    I love all singers and their music

  4. Girish, stop trying to sell Asha Bhonsle songs to me. One could guess where the absurdity lies in this case. Also, try having an opinion first, before even beginning to think you can debate on this issue. You failed to read through my above post, which anybody can guess from what you stated.

  5. I appericiate your comment. I am a fan of Mohd. Rafi and his style., but I also enjoy listening to Kishore’s song’s, including some of his earlier (50’s and 60’s)work which was under-apericiated.
    All one has to do is listen to DUKHI MAAN MERE (funtoosh) to understand
    that Kishore was a great singer long before the 70’s.
    It seems the nature of bollywood MD’s is to gravitate mainly
    toward the top singers (Rafi and Lata in the 50’s and 60’s) and that Kishore
    had not made it to the club yet despite his wonderful skills.

    What is not clear is that why Rafi was being sidelined Kishore’s arival as a great
    singer not withstanding.
    But even in the late 60’s and early 70’s was Rafi was delivering great hits
    (e.g. YEH DUNIYA YEH MEHFIL among other many hits) including some
    on Rajesh khanna and Dev Anand. Try these two : Gulabi Aankhe and Mera Man Tera Pyasa

    Rafi went on to deliver great hits, but mainly not picturized on the stars of that time (with some exception). The beneficiaries were the not so “super stars” who got Rafi as a playback. Here are a few examples ase for the fans of the 70’s ‘music’

    Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho
    apni aankhon mein basa kar
    chura liya hai tumne
    teri galiyon mein
    kya hua tera wada
    tumse door rehke
    aaj mausam

  6. Great writeup. Thanks 🙂

    Something I have all along been telling both (both hardcore ones) Kk fans and Rafi fans – They both were amazing in their own ways, nobody will deny this. Therefore, one should try to celebrate them as a “single golden past”, and not as two separate entities! Amen!

    Sigh! The feud continues and seems endless 🙁

  7. @ Musharraf,

    Conversation has been moved to Kishore Kumar – The Undisputed King! It looks there better, not inside this one.


    Btw, do visitors to my weblog understand the reasoning behind terming Rafi as Rama and Kishore Kumar as Krishna? A few do not, I suspect. It’s a very clever way of paying respect to Rafi despite patronizing KK. According to Hindu belief, Rama and Krishna were both the incarnations of the same supreme power – call Vishnu, god, almighty, whatever. They both are revered with equal zeal and passion…they are the same ultimate truth. One can read about Rama and Krishna worshipers arguing/ fighting for their sects/ gods in Hindu mythologies as well (though my knowledge with regards to Sanatan Dharma (The eternal law) is limited so bear with my misquotes, if any).

  8. I have been moving comments made by Rafi fans to Kishore Kumar – The Undisputed King! No attempt at starting a Kishore vs Rafi debate will be allowed in this particular thread. Do not waste your and my time and energy. Please move over to the other link for a KK vs Rafi battle. Whatever I have mentioned in this blog entry is my personal opinion and it stands in a good taste contrary to whatever some blinded Rafi fans may think of it. If somebody doesn’t agree it’s their problem. The other thread allows to speak out your mind, so you are not being prevented from disclosing your extreme love for Rafi either!

  9. Hello everyone. I may be 1 yrs of age but still i can still compile one of Kishore Da’s best songs. Kishore Da’s voice was something, no comparision. There was that sparkle in his voice which was missing in the others. His songs such as “Yeh Shaam Mastani” etc. have left an ever lasting impression. Truely, Kishore Kumar cannot be compared.


  10. His solos such as Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas ( BlackMail ) and duets such as Aap Yahan Aaye Kis Liye ( Kal Aaj Aur Kal ) are great. Can anything match them? If so, I wouldn’t mind knowing.


  11. Muhammad Rafi is the best, bcz the ebb and flows fo his voice cannot be compared with any other’s

  12. Satthio,

    I never taking that Kishoreda sideline RafiSaab in the 70’s as most of Rafi songs admired by me is from 70’s till 80’s… the methas of his voice was more.

  13. जब किशोरदा के गीत सुनो तो किशोरमय हो जाओ…..जब रफी साब के गीत सुनो तो रफीमय हो जाओ…. दोस्तों दोनों ने दिल से गाया है … दोनों को भगवान ने खूब दिल खोल के विशेषताएँ दी …. रफी साब के गीत भी रोंगटे खड़े कर देते हैं, भुला देते हैं होशो-हवास…..किशोरदा के गीत भी आँसू ले आते हैं …फिर यह तुलनाएँ क्यों…. संसार में कुछ बातें तुलना से ऊपर होती हैं …….. आप यदि किसी एक की तरफ हैं तो आप एक बहुत बड़े आनंद से वंचित हैं ….. हममें से कोई किशोर या रफी तो नहीं बन सकते …. पर क्या दोनों को तन्मयता से सुनने की क्षमता भी नहीं है हमारे अन्दर……..

  14. Indra Kumarjee, aap ne jo bola yeh ek taraf se sahi hai aur main aap ke saath bilkul sahmat hoon. Aise kalakaron ke bich tulnae karne mein khatra hai kyun ki kabhi kabhi ham aapas mein jhgarne lagte hain jo thik nahin hai.Rafi Saab aur Kishore Saab dono hi apna andaaz mein bohot bade kalakar the. Kal Sonu Niigaam Dhaka mein ek live concert ki. Main wahan shamil thi. Sonujee bohot achcha sangeet pesh ki.Woh ekdo Rafijee aur Kishoreda ki gana bhi gaya. Dhaka mein Sonujee ka yeh dusri concert hai. Dhaka mein Sonujee bohot popular hai.

  15. i think both Rafi and Kishore are icons of the great indian music of 60’s and 70’s. I think Rafi is better in many aspects then Kishore……….

  16. anas, your comment has been moved to Kishore Kumar – The Undisputed King! and duly answered there. Littering this blog with anything you may wish to – more so into this particular thread – isn’t allowed.

    To others,

    I’ve been observing a tinge of juvenility among many of you. Does it have to do with the freedom you get to post anything from behind the computer screen? Kindly raise your bar of debating, if you hoped being taken seriously. This blog’s caretaker is a 40 plus man with a set of very cool ideas about all things in life including music. Unfrotunately I’m the only one to reply to all negative remarks, which makes it necessary that either you spoke seriously or forgot being addressed on par. Let me say this at the risk of sounding rude, I’ve seen a majority of Rafians lacking in basic comprehension and courtesy. Time and again, they have missed a crucial aspect in my above blog post, which only indicates their ineptitude and not authority to speak on music, as often proclaimed by them unmindfully!

  17. RSF goes to trash as well. Very poor provocation to incite hate. Some people can do it cleverly, but as I said, am not expecting any better from a section of Rafians. The only reason I haven’t closed this thread for comments is, because I still look forward to some meaningful feedbacks.

  18. Fuber, I’ve moved your comment to Kishore Kumar – The Undisputed King, despite its fine nature. Besides, this thread is being closed for anymore feedbacks now.

    Lord Rama and Lord Krishna enjoy the same absolute, divine status in Hinduism. Terminologies like “Ansha Avatar” (partial manifestation) and “Purna Avatar” (complete manifestation) are subjective and do not necessarily make any of them less or more significant. This is why I’ve been preventing negative and caustic remarks in this particular thread. Hope this makes my position on this blog post clear.

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