Mohammad Rafi was an Indian recording artist who is considered by many to be one of the greatest Indian playback singers of the Hindi film industry. In his lifetime, he was awarded the National Film Award, Best National Singer Award and six Filmfare Awards. In 1967, he was honoured with the Padma Shri award by the Government of India. His singing career spanned about 35 years. Rafi is noted for his ability to sing songs of different moods and varieties. They ranged from classical numbers to patriotic songs, sad lamentations to highly romantic numbers, qawwalis to ghazals and bhajans. He is best known for romantic and duet songs and, as a playback singer, his ability to mould his voice to the persona of the actor lip-synching the song.
Rafi is primarily noted for his songs in Hindustani, over which he had a strong command. He sang in other Indian languages including Assamese, Konkani, Bhojpuri, Oriya, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Sindhi, Kannada, Gujarati, Telugu, Maghi, Maithili and Urdu. He also recorded a few songs in English, Persian, Spanish and Dutch. From available figures, Rafi sang 4,516 Hindi film songs, 112 non-Hindi film songs, and 328 private (non-film) songs from 1945 to 1980.
During his last years, Rafi was involved in a controversy over Lata Mangeshkar's entry in the Guinness Book of World Records. In a letter dated 11 June 1977 to the Guinness Book of World Records, Rafi had challenged the claim that Lata Mangeshkar has recorded the maximum number of songs ("not less than 25,000" according to Guinness). After receiving a reply from Guinness, in a letter dated 20 November 1979, he wrote, "I am disappointed that my request for a reassessment vis-a-vis Ms Mangeshkar's reported world record has gone unheeded." In an interview to BBC recorded in November 1977, Rafi claimed to have sung 25,000 to 26,000 songs till then.
Here are his top 5 songs:
1. Chaudvin Ka Chand Ho
2. Main Zindagi Ka Saath
3. Kya Hua Tera Vaada
4. Baharon Phool Barsao
5. Kar Chale Hum Fida