Legendary singer, the late Mohammed Rafi, will get two new landmark memorials on the occasion of his 92nd birth anniversary on Saturday, in his home suburb of Bandra here.
While the 16th Road would be renamed after Rafi, an existing memorial at Hill Road-S.V. Road junction — revamped by a fan club — would be inaugurated on Saturday, 36 years after his death on July 31, 1980.
Top personalities from Bollywood, politics and other fields would be present on the occasion, including Mumbai Mayor Snehal Ambekar and Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar.
Later, celebs like actor Jeetendra and singer Sonu Nigam, who shared a special association with the late singer, would be felicitated by his fan club.
“We are truly overwhelmed… After so many years, there is so much love and affection for my father,” the late maestro’s son Shahid Rafi told IANS on Friday.
“There are celebratory functions and musical shows scheduled in many parts of India tomorrow,” he added.
The existing memorial on Hill Road-S.V. Road junction bears a plaque reading ‘Padmashri Mohammed Rafi Chowk’, which was renovated and shaped into a golden ball reflecting his timeless ‘golden voice’.
The gentle, soft-spoken singer lived at ‘Rafi Mansion’ near Mt Mary Church with his family.
The famous mansion was later demolished and an apartment complex constructed where his businessman son, Shahid, and his sisters Yasmin Parvez Ahmed and Nasreen live with their families.
Another daughter Parveen Ahmed lives in London, while three other London-based siblings – Saeed Rafi, Khalid Rai and Hamid Rafi – are deceased.
An upcoming biopic on Rafi is nearing completion by a Malayalam filmmaker and it is expected to be ready in the next three-four months or so, Shahid said.
Born on December 24, 1924, Rafi straddled like a colossus over the Hindi film industry with his singing ability, moulding his voice to suit the on-screen actor.
Over the years, he displayed an astounding range of singing styles ranging from Indian classical, commercial numbers, pop, ghazals, qawwali and disco and was reputed to have recorded over 7,000 songs.
He could sing effortlessly in Hindi, Urdu, Assamese, Bhojpuri, Konkani, Odia, Bengali, Marathi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Kannada, Telugu, Magadhi, Maithili and foreign languages like English, Arabic, Sinhalese, Creole, Dutch and Farsi.
Considered a veritable foundation of film industry music with other greats like the late Kishore Kumar and the late Mukesh, along with Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale, Rafi’s voice reigned over Bollywood for a large part of his 36-year career which started in 1944.
He was showered with awards and honours including a Silver Medal from the late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the first anniversary of India’s Independence Day, Padma Shri in 1967, National Award in 1977 for the song ‘Kya Hua Tera Wada’ (Hum Kissise Kum Nahin) and six Filmfare Awards among others.
Years later, in 2001, he was named the Best Singer of the Millennium by Hero Honda-Stardust magazine and in 2013 was voted as the Greatest Voice in Indian Cinema in a CNN-IBN poll.