17 June, 2021

With A Song On His Lips

Few sang as Rafi sang, few touched so many as he did. A mellow, melancholy memoir recalls a master we don’t know.

With A Song On His Lips

The first song that ever made me cry was Dilip Kumar singing Toote hue khwabon ne, in Madhumati. Something about the hopelessness of his predicament tugged at my heartstrings, but it was the emotion in the singing that brought on the tears. After Madhumati, Mohammed Rafi, along with Lata Mangeshkar, epitomised music, and as I went back in time to listen to his songs from Baiju Bawra or Basant Bahar, my commitment to film music was sealed. Now, Yasmin Khalid Rafi’s memoir on her father-in-law has me moving from Yahan badla wafa ka, to Tu ganga ki mauj; singing along with the pages of her chronicle of his career and life.

Yasmin Rafi’s book will strike a chord in every reader, who, like her, thrilled to Hindi film music’s golden era. Yet, unlike most of us for whom the singers were only names, Yasmin would not only marry into her idol’s family but end up being among his favourite bahus. It gave her a ringside view of the legend’s life. Yasmin traces her own life, first as a child growing up...

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