Born on December 24, 1924, legendary singer Mohammad Rafi began his singing career by chanting the notes that a 'fakir' (Muslim saint) sung in his village.
Rafi remains one of India's greatest singers who lent his voice to Bollywood megastars including Amitabh Bachchan, Shammi Kapoor, Dharmendra and Dev Anand in his career as a successful playback artist.
He died of a heart attack in Mumbai on July 31, 1980. Rafi was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1967. He has numerous hit songs to his credit including several duets with famous playback singers Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle.
Working with music directors like OP Nayyar, Laxmikant Pyarelal and RD Burman, Rafi delivered some evergreen hits including Yeh duniya yeh mehfil, Chura liya hai tumne, O Haseena, Tum jo mil gaye ho and Aaj mausam bada beimaan.
In a career spanning 35 years, Rafi has a wide range of songs to his credit, from classical to patriotic, mellow love songs to highly peppy numbers, qawwalis, ghazals and bhajans.
In 1944, he made his playback singing debut in Lahore with Zeenat Begum in Soniye Nee, Heeriye Nee
A year later, he debuted in Hindi films with the film Gaon Ki Gori
The one song that not only popularized Rafi globally, but also established him as an 'International Star' was 'Man tadpat haridarshan ko aaj...' . Based on classical Raag Malkauns from Naushad's movie Baiju Bawra (1952), it turned into became a national anthem
Rafi gave Indian cinema 40 golden years of haunting melodies. Rafi trained under Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Abdul Wahid Khan, Pandit Jiwanlal Matto and Firoze Nizami. He sang with KL Saigal at a concert for the first time at the age of 13. That was the turning point in his life.