(Part – I) Rafi sings for Chitragupt

Let me start the post by wishing all the readers on Makar Sankranti.

Rafi is my most favourite male playback singer of the golden era of Hindi films. But though my blog nearly completed three and a half years, I could never manage a post entirely dedicated to Rafi. This year I’ll try to rectify that by covering my favourites by Rafi under the baton of various composers.

And I’m delighted to start the journey with one of my most favourite composers of the golden era. Today let’s remember Chitragupt by reviving his association with Rafi.
Chitragupt started his journey as an assistant to S N Tripathi and also sang a bit under his baton as well. His independent compositions made their way in 1946, though for a very long time his compositions were restricted to stunt-action and mythological movies. It was only after the release of the film, Bhabhi in 1957 that his name got connected with A grade socials. He however continued composing for B grade films. He never got associated with big banners and a number of his good compositions remained neglected. His association with the legendary singer Rafi started in 1950, when the latter sang for his mythological movies.
The film Bhabhi (1957) produced by AVM was a major breakthrough to Chitragupt. Even though Rafi had sung for him earlier, the song Chal Ud Ja Re Panchhi was so popular that Chitragupt became a well known name. His association with Rafi got stronger over the period though he also offered a fair number of songs to Mukesh as well. Still Rafi was his favourite male playback singer.

rafi - chitragupt
Today on the occasion of Chitragupt’s 30th death anniversary let’s remember his association with Rafi.

If you’re an old follower of the blog, you must have guessed by now that I would divide the posts into two parts. It’s just impossible for me to select ten or fifteen songs including solos and duets. So today’s part let’s enjoy the solos sung by Rafi under Chitragupt’s baton. I’ve tried to categorize the songs into different genres, and I hope it would make the list more interesting. Rafi has sung songs of all genres.

So here we go, Rafi’s solos sung for Chitragupt.

1 Philosophical –
A lot of movies during the 50s-60s had philosophical songs. The songs would tell us about the facts of life in a simple way, not letting it get a preachy touch. Rafi has sung such songs for all the composers, but when his voice combines with the honey sweet melodies of Chitragupt, the result is a perfectly hit song. Here are a few.

Aadmi Chirag Hai – Barkha (1959) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Jagdeep, a boatman, sings the song as he rows his boat in the Ganges. A human being is too incapable in front of the supreme power of the almighty God. He has to bend according to the wishes of the latter. The song also revises the verse from Geeta, ‘कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन’.
Rafi’s impressive and effortless singing highlights the otherwise simple song.

Deewana Aadmi Ko Banati Hai Rotiyan – Kali Topi Lal Rumal (1959) / Lyrics – Majrooh
The film had Rafi as the only male playback singer, singing for both Agha and Chandrashekhar. The film had a simple and entertaining story. When Kumkum discovers about Agha’s habit of gambling, she is furious. But Raja explains that everyone tries to earn their living by hook or crook. The circumstances drive a man to do whatever it takes to put food on the plate. An old man who should rest peacefully runs a cycle rickshaw, a child who should be playing with toys, carries a heavy load just for roti. Rafi’s sombre voice just aptly puts forth the things. Really heart touching and soulful!

Yeh Duniya Patang – Patang (1960) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
Another gem by the trio, Rajendra Krishan, Rafi and Chitragupt. The truth of life put in simple words, sung so beautifully by Rafi. Chitragupt’s sweet melody, simple and very soothing!

Kismat Phati Hui Thi – Alibaba Aur 40 Chor (1954) / Lyrics – Raja Mehdi Ali Khan
I think it’s a light hearted song. But it indeed has a philosophical touch conveyed in a light hearted manner. And Rafi sings for the main lead, Mahipal as well as for the supporting character of the tailor. Both the songs are sung with equal dedication.
The tailor had bad financial times, but opportunity striked when he was approached by Alibaba for sewing a corpse with a handsome return. That’s why the line, ‘देनेवाला जब भी देता हैं छप्पर फाड के देता हैं’.

2 Romantic –
Chitragupt was much inclined to duets in my observation. And many of his romantic duets were sung by Rafi. Nevertheless, a few solos by Rafi have also been extremely popular and I’ve added here some of my favourites.

Jaag Dil e Deewana – Oonche Log (1965) / Lyrics – Majrooh
What a beautiful song! A typically sweet Chitragupt melody and Rafi’s voice is like icing on the cake. It’s not very easy to sing if one attempts, छोटी छोटी मुरकियाॅं, needs rehearsals. Rafi sings so effortlessly, his lilting voice sounds great.

Aap Moujud Yahan – Baghi (1964) / Lyrics – Hasrat Jaipuri
While the film is obscure, nearly unknown, I’m very fond of its songs. Rafi sings with utmost romantic expressions and even if you are listening to it for the first time, the song does impress.
But I was shocked to see Leela Naidu opposite Pradeep Kumar. I wasn’t aware she acted in such costume dramas as well.

Ab Ke Bahar Aayi Hai – Aulad (1968) / Lyrics – Majrooh
It’s one of Chitragupt’s last hits. Later most of his films went unnoticed or the songs couldn’t get popular. The song appears to have a waltz like rhythm and it’s so very romantic. I’m not a fan of Jeetendra or Babita, so I preferred an audio.

3 Light Hearted –
Rafi was a talented singer and could modulate his voice as per need. He has sung a lot of light hearted and comedy songs in his career. I’ve mentioned a few of his songs under Chitragupt’s baton.

Aaye The Huzoor Bade Tanke – Main Bhi Ladki Hoon (1964) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
I am very much fond of the song, though I must say, after watching its video, I was disappointed. The hero hasn’t done justice to Rafi’s excellent expressions. I wish it was picturised on a better known actor.

Koi Bura Kahe Ya – Main Shadi Karne Chala (1962) / Lyrics – Majrooh
It’s such an interesting fun song. The gentleman declares himself ready for marriage and goes on to describe its benefits. Rafi’s voice is completely carefree and joyous. it seems like he himself is strolling around the streets singing. It’s one of my great favourites. Chitragupt composed very good songs for the movie and a few more songs are also popular. Unfortunately the video of the song is not available.

4 Sad –
I’ve included soulful ghazals, cynical and other songs in a blue mood under the broad category. I could have included a few more songs, but I had to stop some time hadn’t I.

Chal Ud Ja Re Panchhi – Bhabhi (1957) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
While the song has two parts, the first one fits more as a philosophical song. The second part however is more personalized to portray the feelings of the characters. So I included it here. The first part is anyway a credits song, though a part of it appears again in the movie as a background song. The second part is picturised on Nanda and Jagdeep as the former leaves the home crying throughout the song. The song attained an iconic status and it is popular till date.

Itni Badi Duniya Jahan Itna Bada Mela – Toofan Mein Pyar Kahan (1966 ) / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
What a great melancholy! So much sorrow. It could sound like self pity, but Rafi’s expressions are so touchy and wonderful. The way he laughs in between the words, just touches the soul. The film is so lesser known, almost unheard by the masses. But the song is superb!

Mujhe Dard e Dil Ka – Akashdeep (1965) / Lyrics – Majrooh
Another masterpiece. Another of my greatest favourites. The song has meaningful lyrics, a touchy rendition by Rafi and of course an excellent tune by Chitragupt. The orchestration is very good too. In all a complete package. The shared link has a few scenes as well that help understand the situation in the movie. A great gem.

Main Kaun Hoon Main Kahan Hoon – Main Chup Rahungi (1962) / Lyrics – Rajendra Krishan
The song sounds extremely pessimistic, the man declares himself dead and adds that he has murdered himself. There seem extremely disheartening moments in his life. Rafi has sung it so well, it sounds soulful! And the orchestration is a bit different. Not a routine extremely slow paced one. And it has saxophone in the interludes, an instrument primarily thought to suit romantic songs.

5 Classical Based –
Chitragupt was at home with the semi classical songs. In addition to Rafi, other playback singers also had their share of classical based songs under his baton.

Akhiyan Sang Akhiyan Lagi Aaj – Bada Aadmi (1961) / Lyrics – Prem Dhawan
One of Rafi’s best known semi classical songs. Rafi has excelled as usual, but also shows Chitragupt’s talent to compose such songs. It’s a stage performance, with Vijaya Choudhary dancing. But I couldn’t recognize the actor singing the song. Perhaps because he has a beard, disguising his reality.

6 Devotional –
Rafi’s bhajans and devotional songs are a class apart. He has sung a number of songs in this genre. Rafi’s association with Chitragupt is obviously not an exception. The mentioned song has been very popular among old Hindi film song lovers, though hardly anyone bothered about the composer of the song.

Mujhe Apne Sharan Mein – Tulsidas (1955) / Lyrics – G S Nepali
I saw the video of the song for the first time. Mahipal as Tulsidas leaves home and roams around holding Ram’s idol in his hands. Rafi’s impressive rendition is full of devotion and dedication. Even though it is a religious film, both have offered their best.

Please add your favourite Rafi solo by Chitragupt.

Disclaimer –
Mehfil Mein Meri, claims no credit for any image, screenshots or songs posted on this site. Images on this blog are posted to make the text interesting. The images and screenshots are the copyright of their original owners. The song links are shared from YouTube, only for the listening convenience of music lovers. The copyright of these songs rests with the respective owners, producers and music companies.

16 Replies to “(Part – I) Rafi sings for Chitragupt”

  1. Dear Anup ji,
    Thanks for highlighting the work of Chitragupt and Rafi.
    I have always maintained my personal opinion that there are  4 composers in Hindi films, who can be genuinely called “The melody Makers”.
    1. Chitragupta
    2.Hansraj Behl
    3. Khemchand Prakash    and
    4. Ravi

    Barring Ravi, the other three composers rarely ever got support from Big banners in their careers.  Khemchand Prakash had a short tenure and limited films to his credit, Hansraj Behl had to be content with composing for his home production and Chitragupta was engulfed in Stunt and Mythological films for survival. Of course,these things never deterred them from making melodious music. Lacking enough exposure and Limelight, their songs remained chained to the films they worked on.

    Actually Chitragupta should be counted as No 1 composer who gave very melodious songs to Lata,but this is forgotten because like Madan Mohan, Roshan, S-J, C.Ramchandra or S D Burman, he never got big banner films ( at least not very often),which became a reason to discuss only their Lata songs frequently. Chitragupta always got only B and C grade films,which were not famous,but he was in no way less capable of composing good tunes for Lata.

    Chitragupta was a very homely family man with a middle class mentality. He had a fun group consisting of  Lata, Usha, Meena, Dilip Dholakiya, Prem Dhawan and Chitragupta. They used to have a lot of fun at the home of Chitragupta. Lata liked their food very much. Chitragupta Shrivastav was a Kayastha ( ” Lalaji ” as they are called in Bihar ) and their Non veg food was excellent.

     In the late 80s,I came in personal contact with Chitragupta,when my close friend’s daughter married his elder son. When Chitragupta learned that I liked ” Sattu ki poori ” ( a Bihari Veg dish ) very much, he called me to his house and we ate Sattu Puris and Aaloo Sabji, to our heart’s content !

    His house in Prabhat building on Khar Road, Bombay had a Music room on the ground floor, where he composed his most tunes during 1959 to 1990. During the early 60s upto 65, he was so busy with work that-according to his son Anand- at one time 4 Lyricists were writing Lyrics in his home, Anand Bakshi in Garden, Majrooh in a room, Rajendra krishna in the Music room and Prem Dhawan under a palm tree and Chitragupta used to visit one by one to see their progress !!

    Chitragupta was such a simple person that when S-J demanded 5 Lakhs per film,he hesitated to ask for 50000 !

    He remained a typical Gentleman till the end. He was expert in using Bihari folk tunes in his songs. He became the First MD of the First Bhojpuri film ” Ganga maiyya tori piyri chadhaibo’-1962. His main singers remained Lata,Rafi and Mukesh.
    Thanks again.
    -Arunkumar Deshmukh.


    1. Arunji,
      Thank you so much for adding such an insightful and detailed comment!
      You made my day.
      You are so fortunate to meet Chitragupt in person. Thanks for sharing the trivia.
      I agree with you the melody makers of the Hindi cinema. Hansraj behl and Khemchand Prakash are my personal favourites as well.
      Last year I had a two part series on Hansraj Behl’s songs.
      And, Lata Mangehskar had a number of excellent songs with him.
      In fact in 2018, I had a post on their association. (exactly three years back)


      Go through it if you wish.



    2. Arunji, it feels so nice to read about talented people who are also noble souls. This is a very rare combination. Rafi and Chitragupt both fall in that category.

      I have many a time tried to include songs of the lesser known lyricists and music directors in my blog posts.

      One name that I have great regard for is Ramlal Chaudhary who was an ace flautist and Shehnai player. Unfortunately, he did not get his due. He was no less than Ustad Bismillah Khan as far as the shehnai was concerned but did not get the recognition he deserved. He was perhaps the only music director for whom Kishori Amonkar sang. His rare interview is on YouTube and it is a pleasure to hear him. His childlike innocence and his candour in the interview bring a smile on one’s face. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lltKRbUp9-c&t=1871s

      His music in Sehra and Geet Gaya Patharon ne is out of the world.
      Chitragupt when compared to the other talents (many of whom could not walk out of their mentors’ shadow – G.S.Kohli for example) was perhaps more fortunate, I feel.


  2. Anup,
    I entirely ditto Arunji. Chitragupt’s compositions for Lata Mangeshkar are among most favourites. He similarly gave some great songs for Rafi, both solos and duets. You have done a laudable work in highlighting Chitragupt-Rafi combination.


  3. Anup ji,

    Itni nazuk na bano from VASNA, 1966 is a lovely song. The film also has Aaj is darja pilao and the wonderful Rafi, Lata duet Ye parbaton ke daayre.
    Chand kitni door tha, Sitare kitni door the from AFSANA, 1965 ,is a nice song, too.


    1. Yes,
      You’ve added beautiful songs. Thank you. All the songs are my favourites. Couldn’t add all my favourites to the list.
      Let me add the links.
      Itni nazuk na bano

      Aaj is darza peela do

      Chand kitni door tha



  4. Anup ji ,
    Namaste .

    Enjoyed the post .
    The classification of songs in 5 types is interesting nd the song selection is also excellent .

    Yes , U r right that the laugh filled by sorrow in ” तूफान में प्यार कहाँ ” song touches the soul .. its picturisation nd expressions of दादामुनी r also praiseworthy . Thnx for introducing such gem .

    Oh yes , I , too , was shocked 2 see Leela Naidu in different अवतार in ” बाग़ी ” song.

    Arun ji’s comment is a bonus , I must say .

    Looking forward to all the forthcoming Rafi posts .

    I wud like to add a song from movie
    ” महाभारत ” released in 1965 .
    Wonderful story – telling by Rafi !!!
    ( Nd the resemblance to Mahendra Kapoor singing title song of TV serial महाभारत
    ” अथ श्री महाभारत कथा ” also surprises us . )

    Anup ji ,
    Lots of best wishes for 2021 .

    Pramod Godbole .


    1. Thank you Pramodji for your appreciation.
      You rejoined after a long gap. Glad to see you back.
      Arunji’s comment is always a delight. It’s always encouraging and informative.
      thank you for sharing the song from Mahabharat.
      I agree, the resemblance between the songs is there.



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