Google, on Sunday, paid tribute to the legendary playback singer and Padma Shri awardee Mohammed Rafi with a doodle on the occasion of his 93rd birthday. Born on December 24, 1924, in Punjab, Mohammed Rafi is said to be one of the most versatile singers of his time.
Nicknamed Pheeko, Rafi first began singing by imitating the chants of a fakir in the streets of his village, Kotla Sultan Singh. At the age of 13, he made his stage debut with his first public performance in Lahore. In 1941, Rafi sang his first playback song, a duet “Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee” in Lahore with Zeenat Begum in the Punjabi film Gul Baloch before moving to Mumbai in 1944.
The big break for Rafi in Bollywood came through his duet song “Aji dil ho kaabu mein to dildar ki aisi taisi” for the film “Gaon Ki Gori.” From there, Rafi went on to sing atleast seven thousand songs across genres and languages. From classical music, patriotic songs, to romantic ballads and qawwalis, Rafi sang in Hindi, Konkani, Bhojpuri, Odia, Punjabi, English, Farsi and Arabic languages. In a career spanning over 40 years, Mohammed Rafi worked extensively with Naushad Ali, OP Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishan, SD Burman and Madan Mohan among others and was the voice behind Dilip Kumar, Guru Dutt.
He bagged his first Filmfare for “Chaudhvin ka Chand ho” in 1960. He followed it up by winning five more Filmfare awards. The song “Kya hua tera waada” also fetched him a National Award in 1977. He was also honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India.
Mohammed Rafi died at the age of 55 on 31 July 1980 in Mumbai, following a massive heart attack.