Rafi vs Kishore

Of the 5 “classic” hindi singers, the biggest fight has always been between Kishore and Rafi. Asha Bhosle growing up in the shadows of Lata Mangeshkar could only ever go as high as Lata (perhaps at times succeeding her). Lata is perhaps the greatest of them all, men and women. Mukesh, Kishore and Rafi don’t stand as far apart as Lata and Asha. Yet, I (and many people I know) put Mukesh on a paddle below the other two, partly due to fact that he’s a bit typecasted.
Mukesh = rona dhona , raj kapooor euphoria songs.

Just like the McCartney- Lennon comparison which has egged on Classic Rock enthusiasts for generations, Rafi vs Kishore battle has been going on, even in the present generation, even though Rafi died, a good 7 years before I (avg age of our generation) was born and Kishore died a few months after my birth. Now coming to the main question, the debate between the two and my view on it. Even though I was a Kishore Kumar enthusiast since the time I can remember done in by his yodeling and the masti in his songs, also coupled by the fact that until quite some back I wasnt proficient in recognizing the different voices of Rafi & Kishore ( I still can hardly distinguish between old Lata & Asha songs, although newer songs are easily identifiable).

It would actually be a sin to downgrade Kishore when compared to Rafi, coz there might not be much of a difference, but if you ask me, my fav male singer in Bollywood, there’s only going to be 1 answer, Mohammed Rafi.

For the starters, a fact which many might not know is, although its Kishore who is associated with Yodeling and is the only Indian in this list http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Yodelers, but its Rafi who was the first one to bring  it into bollywood, using it in songs, as early as the early 50s, while Kishore Kumar popularized it almost a decade later.

I have always had a fascination with the songs of 50s, 60s featuring people like Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor, Joy Mukherjee and people of that generation and while songs from Rajesh Khanna period are huge favourites with people all around, but I have more than often found those songs, either sad (lost of rajesh khanna songs) or Happy go lucky(typical Kishore songs) and I like these kinds of songs, but the soul stirring, the harmoniously beautiful songs which came in the 50s and the happy go lucky  + romantic songs in 60s, are more of a feature of Rafi than Kishore. Kishore Kumar while managing to be succesful in the early decades of his career (he had a proper start to his career in mid 50s) only came to the fore in 70s with songs in the film Aradhana, being the important milestone in his career, but before that it was Rafi all the way.

In my opinion, while Mukesh is chained to sad songs, Kishore is more or less limited to the cheerful and sad songs, but Rafi with his ethereal voice always fits the bill for me, whatever be the type of songs, he has hummed out songs, which would surpass Mukesh anyday, his romantic songs/duets with Lata/Geeta Dutt would always be counted as the most romantic chapter of hindi music, while he couldnt give Kishore a running when it came to the bubbly and ecstatis songs, but perhaps the most famous fast paced song of bollywood, Yahoo! Chahe koi mujhe Junglee kahe, was sung by NOT Kishore but Rafi, which can us a fair idea about his talent.

While I will always be enamoured by Kishore’s voice in songs like Diye Jalte hain, Roop Tera Mastana, Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz and likes but the only question to my all time listing preferences will always be Rafi because his songs have always  retained that freshness for me 50-60 years after they were recorded, but with Kishore you at times tend to get bored, more so coz of the type of songs he sang, rather than his voice being the reason. But, when you dont have much to chose from, this is the type of things which can make the minor difference.

77 thoughts on “Rafi vs Kishore

  1. I will say this is totally subjective phenomenon who likes whom.
    Both have their best of best songs in every genre , no matter it’s romantic, sad, euphoric,classical ….
    Rafi’s Kala Pathar- Khoya Khoya Chand can no where be compared with any one, the same stands with Kishor Da- Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhagi Si…

    Madhuvan Mai Radhika Nache–The best classical creation ever….even today I get a goose-bumps after listening it.

  2. Nice post. Both are all-time legends of our country, but I totally agree with you on Rafi’s superiority. Rafi & Kishore are both hugely popular, but Rafi was clearly Kishore’s superior in terms of quality and no amount of media push and propaganda for RD Burman songs (mainly sung by Kishore & Asha) can change this fact for people who know music and are unbiased. In fact, in a tribute to Rafi earlier this year in the Hindu newspaper, Lata hailed Rafi as the greatest of all Bollywood singers male of female, and this coming from Lata herself means something!

    All you have to do is to compare a random set of top 100 songs of both Rafi & Kishore, and it’s easy to recognize the superiority of Rafi’s body of work. I could appreciate Kishore’s songs till I was a teenager, but can’t anymore. Kishore was talented too, but unfortunately his body of work sounds rather elementary compared to Rafi’s.

    1. RD Burman songs (mainly sung by Kishore & Asha)?????? RD Burman always used Lata as main singer, infact Asha always complained why pancham never used her. Classical based numbers sung by Lata (under RD Burman) like Mere naina sawan bhadon, Aandhi songs, naam gum jayega, beete na beetaye raina, raina beeti jaaye are testimony to Panchamda’s versatility and forte in Indian classical music based songs. Most of memorable Lata numbers are with RD Burman, some of which timeless classics with Kishoreda. To consider Kishoreda elementary is disrepute to the legend. To rule bollywood for 18 years as the no 1 playback singer is not anyones cup of tea. Till today, we look for versatile singers like Kishoreda, the only singer of some calibre to have come after Kishoreda is Sonu Nigam.

      1. Kishore Kumar got success after Aradhana a 1969 release. But he was often challenged by Mohd. Rafi with Rafi’s sheer brilliance. Kishore reigned after the sad demise of Rafi, when there was no other main stream singer ( Manna De and Mahendra Kapoor) despite their talent had humble pie to have. After 1980 onward when there was literally no competition for Kishore Kumar for most of the Bappi Lahiri compositions he sang trash.

      2. What? Is Sonu Nigam a singer? If you don’t have musical sense better keep mum. Don’t talk rubbish. Sonu is not an accomplished singer. Started career as a clone of Mohd. Rafi aur use singer bata rahe ho.

    2. Md Rafi is always greatest along with Lataji. Remember Md Rafi went ahead of all singer Hemant kumar, mukesh, mannadey incuding Kishore kumar from 1956 to 1971. And this did happen when all these great singers youth & timbre of voice were at their peak. So imagine how out of the world Md Rafi’s voice was!

      1. Its not the voice of rafi, but the emotions/ liveliness he could bring in the songs that made him unique and different from others. but as far as voice quality is concerned rafi was miles behind hemant and no match for kishore

    3. Yes, I agree with you Rahul. Kishore kumar was also hugely talented and gifted singer with terrific buzz in his voice, but if compared to Md Rafi sahab, Kishoreji’s infirmity and limitation becomes glaring. Because, Md Rafi had a mesmerizingly divine melody in his timbre, which not only KK but every one given playback in bollywood lacked and still lacks, except perhaphs the gret Lata Mangeshkar. 2ndly, in terms of quality and variety in his body of works, Md Rafi sahab surpasses Kishoreji, since quality and depth of music was better in the 50s and 60, if compared to 1970s. RD Burman who was instrumental behind sublimating KK with his choice and maneourvering in the 1970s had amazing melodies in his stock, and was hugely gifted as a Musician too, but except for Parichay and ‘Amar prem’, he was more inclined to rock-style western songs and importantly he lacked the divine heiht of melody-songs, his father SD Burman was famous for along with Shankar-Jaikishan, Madanmohan and Roshan. Actually, SD, SJ, Naushad, Roshan,Ravi, Madanmohan, OP Nayar, Chitragupta, N. Datta Vasant Desai, along with great composition of LP in their debut film, Parashmani, and latter Dosti — had created a prolific and awesome varieties of outlandish melodious songs, just musicians of 1970s headed by RD Burman, Rajesh Roshan, Bappi Lahiri, even Ravindra Jain ( who held Md Rafi sahab as Tansen of modern singing ) just failed to emulate. And Just compare LP and Kalyanji-Anandji who were very much on the rise in the 1960s, and songs they composed in 1960s with that of their creation in 1970s and 80s, you would just find them inferior to their earlier works. Even whole body of songs that LP got Md Rafi and Kishore to sing in the 1970s where much inferior in quality, if compared with their great songs of 1960s, which Md Rafi sahab and Lataji had sung for them. Therefore, the body of work Kishoreji got from their MDs, except of course,SD Burman, and to some extent RD too, were much inferior, compared to the body of quality music Md Rafi got from his Music directors. Thirdly, while acknowledging KK did have a tremendous voice, the Md Rafi had that terrific or tremendous voice + SOMETHING ( wHICH lATAJI HAS ), where all other great singers are just far behind. Thanks

    4. Rahul you’re absolutely right in recognizing Md Rafi to be the greatest male singer of India, in the realm of modern music. KK no doubt, was a great, superb singer too, but Md Rafi’s mesmerizing voice had dumbfounded listners for 35 years, amongst those, atleast for 17 years ( 1953 to 1971) he was on top. Moreover, Md Rafi had proved his superiority over other great singers like Mukesh, Talatji, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, all at a time, while these very hight quality singers voice were superb, and in the mid-fifties they were in their prime. When RD Burman-KK duo were succeeded to oust Md Rafi from his prime position, it was an upshot of a pre-ordained progamme of RD Burman, who was committed as a close friend to provide a great support to Kishore Kumar, and they entwined Rajesh Khanna also in their mission since, he could convince that KK hit songs for Rajaesh Khanna’s Aradhana had become a tweak of fortune for the hero to climb through the ladder of success. According to some experts, Md Rafi’s divine voice was plumetting a little in the early 70s too. If one arguably, finds some truth in this assumption, even then, it remains an unalterable fact that when their ( all great singers of the 60s ) timbres were superb in their youth, Md Rafi did surpass everybody, Talat, Mukeshji, Heamant Kumar, kishore kumar and every other male singer from 1953 to 1971

  3. I think Kishore had more soul and expressions in his songs (specially serious, sad, philosophical ones) as compared to rafi, who had more technique and variations. While, the latter can be perfected by classical training, no amount of training can teach you how to bring expressions, feelings into the songs. This is where Kishore surpassed every possible singer without doubt. From the following songs sung both by rafi and kishore, it is obvious that Kishore was a far superior emoter: Tum Bin Jaaon Kahan, Bane chahe dushman, Yaadon Ki Baraat.

    I believe that Kishore-Lata duets from 70s, 80s are classics, far more than Rafi-Lata ones. Even one of the finest Rafi-Lata duets “Teri Bindiya” was overshadowed by Kishore-Lata duet “Tere Mere milan ki yeh raina” in the same movie. The greatest music directors : Burmans realised the magic of Kishoreda’s voice and used it for all time classics like Aandhi, Abhiman are testimony to Kishore’s superiority in terms of voice quality, depth and emotions, which are far more important than classical training for playback singing.

    Kishore far excelled in versatility of moods of singing (romantic, sad, fun, philosphical), while rafi excelled in genres/techniques of singing ( qawali, classical, bhajans). It is important to note rafi’s success in fun/fast type of songs is primarily attributable to Shammi kapoor numbers.

    1. Kkal your perception of music and KK and Md Rafi is horribly amazing. (1) Tum bin jaun kahan was a quality song, they rest were inferior musically, devoid of melody, if compared to great songs of 1950s and 1960s. 2nd ly, ‘T um bin jaun kahan’ was sung in different moods by KK and Md Rafi ( I’m no taking into reckoning the sad ‘Tum bin…’ sang by Md Rafi, since it was made to be a situation song just instrumental in retrieving the memory of the Mother for his song, played by Sashi Kapoor, therefore the Musician RD Burman clipped the wings of the great singer to make it a memorable sad song ) Md Rafi had sung the romantic note, and KK sang the sad one. Please listen minutely both those 2 songs, the Antara of KK was drawled to touch the wooes of the father, while the romantic number was flat and straight. Even thouch, Md Rafi’s melody and beauty in that song was quite perceptable, and, notwithstanding the difference of ‘ GAYAKI’ Md Rafi never sounded inferior. Kkal, never forget one thing, Md Rafi sahab’s pronunciation in singing is best in India, compared to all playbacksingers, who have rendered voice in Bollywood till date, and he had umpteen numbers of ‘adanyee’ while singing a romantic song, which none can equaly. So he sang it very nicely by the standard ‘bench-mark’ of romantic singing that he himself had set for male playback singing in Bollywood. Lastly, I would request you firstly, to listen to Kishorekumar’s atleast 1000 songs followed by Md Rafi and Lataji’s one thousand songs atleast, to understand their variety, talent and excellence. After demise of great Md Rafi sahab, while begining his one public function soon after that, Kishoreji started his songs with a Md Rafi song to pay him tribute. The song was ‘Man re to Kahen na dheer dhare’, arguably one of the best 10 songs ever to have been recorded in Bollywod. And it clearly revealed Kishoreji was potentially a limited singer, if comared to great Md Rafi, because, the way he made a mess of the original song, shows he could not have sung the song at all, if offered by the MD Roshn sahab to sing in the original film. Pl. dont forget, Manna Dey, Zaved Akhtar, Anu Malik, Sanu Nigm, Sreya ghosal ( of these days sings ) along with godess of singing Lata Mangeshkar all held Md Rafi to be the number one play back singer till date. ‘ Tum bin jaun kahan’ hardly unforlds the whole story. You first listen to main songs of these great singers first, the I feel, it would dawn on you never to opine like a duffer as a music listner, and start making fresh evaluation. Thanx

      1. You also listen to innumerable duets of Md Rafi and Lataji, Md Rafi and Asha Bhosle and Suman Kalyanpur also. Then you listen four or five solo songs where Md Rafi sahab and Lata Mangeshkar have sung separately in same films. Like, Ehesan tera hoga mujhpar ( Junglee ), (2) Pardesiyon se na ankhiyan milana, a mesmerizing melody by KA. ( Jab Jab phool khile ) (3) Dil jo na kahe saka ( Bheegee raat ). Just you listen please, I do have confidence, you would concede Md Rafi had sung them far better than Lataji, the godess of music!. Therefore, try to conceive raison de’tre of my point, if great Md Rafi sahab could produce that divine timbre to supass, arguable the best singer of India Lataji, in terms of sadness and melody, then to surpass the height of Kishoreji’s great sad range is not at all impossible for him. It is indeed true, Lataji had surpassed even Md Rafi’s outstanding melodious voice in quite a few duets sung by them ( More than 425 in nos ). Songs where the singer creating cry, and lamentation, on goodmany occasions, you would find Md Rafi is surpassing Lata Mangeshkar, just you would be befuddled to experience it my friend! So, it was just nothing for Md Rafi to put behind kishore kumar in terms of quality, classical touch and weeping lamentation. I feel, while it is unfair to discuss poetry or novel on the basis of reading only 8 or 10 novels or book of poems of writers and poets, similarly it is equally unfair to foreground opinion on the basis of listening 100 or 200 songs of these two great singers. Just start listening afresh, you might fathom the truth and divinity of Md Rafi sahab’s divine timbre.

        1. Correctio – I meant Md Rafi and Lataji had sung in four or five films same songs, solo, sung separately and picturised also separately on the heroe and the heroine, where Md Rafi sahab’s quality of singing surpassed his partner singer great Lataji

  4. WELL WELL WELL

    SOME OF US PEOPLE HAVE JUST LOST OUR BRAINS, I GUESS.

    SOME KISHORE FANS AFTER HAVING THEIR BACK AT THE WALL SAY THAT RAFI WAS TRAINED. WHAT A RIDICULOUS EXCUSE. SO WHAT? MANNA DEY WAS ALSO TRAINED. THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TRAINED. NO ONE HAS COME A BIT TO BEAT RAFI. ITS LIKE COMPARING AFRIDI WITH SACHIN TENDULKAR WHO WAS TRAINED.

    IF A TRAINED RAFI IS A PROBLEM FOR SOME FOOLS THEN WHAT ABOUT HIS HUMAN QUALITIES. HE NEVER DRANK, NEVER SMOKED. AT LEAST WE CAN FOLLOW THESE QUALITIES WHERE KISHORE WAS OPPOSITE WITH SO MANY AFFAIRS WITH WOMEN!

    RAFI IS JUST THE BEST. AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

    1. No not at all sir kishore da won more awards. Than rrraaffi. without training , fool idiot rafi can sing only soft song but kishore was all rounder stupid

      1. U fool. Kishore won 8 film fare awards and Rafi only six is b’coz of the fact that the time Rafi started getting FFA, it was only given to the singer without any distinction between male and female. So obviously Rafi missed on a few FFAs to Lata and other female singers. It was film Suraj when Rafi and Sharda both were given FFA for best male and female singer separately. Since then Kishore Kumar started receiving FFAs and hence won two more than Rafi. So far total number of awards are concerned do check with the details. Rafi is Miles ahead of Kishore Kumar. He has been chosen as the best male playback singer of the millennium through public voting. You fool

      2. ankur , is ‘o duniwa ke rakhwale’, ‘roshan tumi se duniya’, ‘madhubanme radhika’,’dewaana hua badal’,and so on, are soft and easy songs.I think u had not listened to rafi’s song properly. Rafi is more versatile than kk.And have u counted all the awards rafi had achieved from 1947-1980 as rafi had more active singing years than kk due to his unique voice.

  5. I agree with kkal ji that as he said kishore only be compare with sonu !!? Mukesh ji said to his son if u want to be singer you should sing mohd rafi songs, manna da said mohd rafi is from 1 to 10,Talat ji said mohd rafi voice got gift but he gift it to god, kishore da said lp that this song is not for me say to ur singer to sing it, ash said no one has control on high pitch as mohd lata ji said I am lucky that I sang most my songs with mohd rafi and same said by ash ji that she sang 900 songs with mohd rafi.

  6. Mr. kkal ji, do u know in film shararat (1959), hero was kishore kumar & music director was famous duet-composer shanker-jaikishan, they hired kishore to sing also in this movie. obviously, if kishore is hero, what to hire anyone else to sing. but in song ‘Ajab hai dastaan teri aye jindagi’, kishore tried his best to put feelings & range upto the sur as desired. but music-director was not satisfied with his performance, after many retakes they refused kishore to sing this song. Then kishore himself insisted them to compose this song with rafi saheb. B’cos he knows the difference between him & rafi saheb. After all, rafi sang this song so easily that shanker-jaikishan was surprised. Kishore was hero but singer was rafi, Now u tell me who was better?? Now u can easily understand the greatness & giant personality of rafi saheb in singing-world.Kishore was a developing boy before him. kishore was chanced in AARADHNA(1969) when rafi had gone to MAKKA for HAZ. otherwise rafi was the most sought after singer in film industry…..take care

  7. Every indian singers (male or female) has limitation.Only Rafi has no limitation.Rafi is the only singer who can sing anykind of song better than anyone.Even today Rafi gives me new songs.Rafi is no more but his songs has always with me in my bad times or good, and i want to live long life as i want to listen Rafi more, kishore has never sang soft love song,bhakti geet, ghasal, classical.So d’nt compare’

  8. Kishore Kumar was a great singer, no doubt. But Mohammed Rafi was the greatest amongst the great. And I do not agree with the original poster that “Lata is perhaps the greatest of them all, men and women”. Sorry, Rafi was the greatest of them all, men and women. Lata was no match for Rafi and she herself admitted that when she called Rafi the greatest playback singer of all time. Listen to songs like “Ehsan tera hoga”, “Aji rooth kar ab” (sung in tandem by both Rafi and Lata) or the duet “Tasveer teri dil mein”, where Lata sounds very screechy at high pitch, whereas Rafi is in control and with several notes to spare.

  9. Hello friends,
    I had always been a Mohd. Rafi fan, since I was a kid. Like my parents and friends, I, obediently followed the tradition to listen and admire rafi and only rafi. His “Makhmali awaaz” was always a treat to my ears. I would sing his songs at the school and with friends. People liked me because I was eventually, if not easily. able to hit those “high surs”. I was admired.
    But, then I had chance to listen to Kishore da`s songs. I was moved! His voice was uniquely LARGE. The base in his voice was incredibly deep, unlike any other singer. His voice was inimitable. Such strong voice, reflected pronounced masculinity. His songs like ‘Hal Kya Hai Dilon Ka’, ‘Phoolon ke rang se’, ‘Aapke Anurodh Pe’ ‘Kuch To log kaheinge’ and many others, are great examples of his talent. You would see many singers singing Rafi`s songs, giving him a good enough tribute. There are sonu nigam, shabbir and many others who are fairly good at it. But Kishore Kumar was UNIQUE. No one in the world has such a tremendous throw and solidarity. AND now we can just IMAGINE what kishore da could have done if he was classically trained from his childhood. His voice would have broken the boundaries and CONQUERED the world!!
    The khanak in kishoreda`s voice was a god-gift and the almighty has not given even one-tenth of that charismatic resonance that kishoreda was rewarded with.
    Conclusively, I hope and pray that the rafi`s fans break their old bias for an hour and just listen to the songs I have recommended above! Do not banish kishore da`s talent without even weighing them fairly. And as for Rafi, he has been my guru, idol, teacher, god and always will be.

    Thank you.

    1. Hallo fazal saab, I am a bit of the same opinion like you.But you must know that every thing in this universe is god gifted not only kk’s voice. If rafi had simlarity with kk ,would it sound good? Hemant kumar had a more masculine voice with a tremendous depth than rafi and kk,but could he succeeded more than rafi .kk was also a contemporary singers of md rafi., but why was not he so successful as rafi was in 50s ,60s.Rafi’s tender voice always suited to any romantic songs.Manna dey had a more resonance full voice than kk.Only by mentioning some songs an artiste’s quality can never be judged.you better hear other privincial songs of india where u will find more talented singer than kk.lastly none can be the best in this world neither rafi nor kk.They are only good singers.

  10. Dear musiclovers,
    All gentlemen on this thread who are reading me, I want to bring something to light. You must have noticed that the kind of songs and music that are being made today. Its a shame. Quality music is dissapearing.
    I think the only way we can help improve the quality of music today is to educate our children with good quality songs. We should expose them to the khazana of music that our predecessors legends have left us with . I have noticed that youth today does not even know about legends like Rafi saab, Kishoreda and Mannadey. I mean, literally young generation doesnt even know the “names” of our legends. Infact, they find it old-fashioned when an old melody is played in front of them. Why? Thats because they have never been taught about these legends by their parents. Its very shameful.

    I think the only way is to expose our children with this quality music at an early age, so that they develop an interest and love for these legends. Its then that they would be able to understand that whats quality music.
    I hope all of you gentlemen here are with me for this cause. If we want to preserve our music and prevent it from getting effected by westernization then, we all need to do our duty and propagate this into the life of today`s generation.

    Thanks and Adaab!
    Fazal

  11. sanjay kumar.

    Hello friends,
    I think Mohd. Rafi was better than Kishore Kumar. Rafi sung many Bhagti songs, Bhjans, Kwaali but kishore kumar did not.

  12. KKAL read thiis…

    The question that u asked,,,was asked by a press reporter to Kishore Kumar,,You Know what Kishore Kumar answered then,,,He enquired if the reporter had any idea of music,,,”there is none in this world that can be compared with Rafi Sahab,he is ,was and will remain Best” and warned  not to comapre singer like Rafi with anyone ,male or female not even Lata. Well,its Kishore kumar modesty and his understanding of music that he always consider Rafi sahab best ;

  13. Jo bhi Kishore kumar ko acha batate hai wo pagal hai unko samaj nahi hai. are dosto M. Rafi Sahab to lata ji se bhi badkar the. sirf wo hi asha ji or lata ji se takkar lete the or unse acha gate bi the bilkul dil se or unki gud jaisi aawaj to kyamat dha deti thi.

    By Kamal Sharma

  14. I don’t know who stopped kishore from getting training in classical music. So many people take training but only one becomes Mohd. rafi . who has been nominated as Best singer of the millennium in 2001 . twenty years after his death today 32 years after his death people still go to his Mazar listen to his songs and search for his songs on the net Is there any such artist around . people have forgotten his religion and made a temple for him . what is this sheer love for the man who was the greatest voice on the earth . how many artist will be remembered even 4-5 years of their death .Rafi is an institution says living legend Manna Dey just few days back on his 92 birthday. Lataji says It was an honour for her to have sung maximum no of songs with him .
    Maana Dey has maintained always just 15 years back he has said and now again repeated that lataji and Rafi saheb are india’s greatest singers. Please give his his due place in the history by giving Bharat Ratna to him which is long pending.

  15. we all seem to have become schizophrenics. Why do we try to escape reality and compare an ocean to a river. It,s a far cry to compare a legend to a pigmi , highly unjustified. Rafi is piece of a masterful art of God. He was a versatile singer while kishore only sang husky and light mood songs, though he did sing some excellent songs . As far as I would grade him , Kishore was of the caliber of not even Chitalkar and hemantda. Rafi is the best of all singers God created on the earth. He is unrivaled, incomparable and unmatched. Rafi sang many songs for kishore but the latter never did it once for the former.

  16. rafi on the top always and ever even male or female singers,even lata herself admitted rafi is superior, just listen those same songs where lata and rafi sing separately you will get the result

  17. no one can touch rafi how easily he sang most difficult songs ,late kishore asha mukesh and others are 2nd to rafi.

  18. Both were legends, no comparison, But somehow Kishoreda has that distinct quality of voice which charmed masses which I feel even Rafi did not have, If Kishoreda would have been trained, he would have conquered the world, as rightly pointed out here. He was not inclined to be trained but still capture so many hearts thru his sheer voice power. That’s magic for you ! So Kishore was always better, voice wise, yes the quality of majority of songs of Rafi was definitely better, b’coz times were such. In seventies, you can hardly find Rafi numbers as compared to Kishore or Asha.

  19. Kishore Kumar was a very good singer. He was an all rounder. But so far singing is concerned, Rafi was the best. He had got a devine voice. No singer had the ‘sur’ and the melodious voice of Rafi Sahab. No singer could express the feeling of a song the way Rahab has done that. His songs touches our hearts.

    Most of the great music directors, such as Naushad, Shankar Jaikishan, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar and Lakshmikant Pyarelal prefered his voice to record their songs. Rafi ruled the industry. It shows that how great a singer Rafi was.

    Rafi Sahab was the most verstile singer of India. He could sang all types songs. These are some of the many memorable songs of Rafi sahab-
    classical- man tarpat hari darshan ko aaj, madhuban me radhika, nache man mora, ajhu na balma, radhike tune bansri churai
    Romantic- husnwale tera jawab nahin, fir miloge kabhi, tu ganga ki mauj, ek hansi sham ko, mai to tere haseen khayalo me kho gaya, zindagi bhar nahi bhulegi, jane bahar husn tera, laagi chhute na, mujhe pyar ki zidagi dene wale, teri aankho ke shiva, tere mere sapne, kitna hai tumse pyar, mai nigahe tere. Khoya khoya chand, tu kahan ye bata, fir aane laga yaad tere pyar ka aalam, tum jis pe nazar daalo, haye tabassum tera.
    Haunting- saathi na koi manzil, aaj purani raaho se, o dur ke musafir, ter bin suni nain humare, suhani raat dhal chuki.
    Sad- din dhal jaaye, chal ud jaa re pancchi, hum bekhudi me, kabhi khud par, o duniya ke rakhwale, ye duniya ye mehfil, na kisi ki aankh ka nur hun, maine chand aur sitaron ki tamanna ki thi, aaye bahar ban ke, yaad na jaye bite dino ki, mili khak me muhabbat, takdir ka fasana, hai duniyan usi ki, tukde hai mere dil ke.
    Qawwali- ye ishq ishq hai, chandi sa badan, wakif hain khub ishq ke, ye mana meri ja, parda hai parda
    Patriotic- kar chale hum fida, jahan dal dal pe, vatan ki raah pe, apni azadi ko
    philosophical- mai zindagi ka saath, sun le tu dil ki sada, Aaj purani rahon se, na tu zami ke liye hai, jina to hai usi ka, nafrat ki duniyan ko chhodkar, aadmi musafir hai.

  20. Film Fare award for play back singers started in 1959. There was no separate awards for male and female singers till 1967. It means that many of great Rafi numbers came when there was No Film Fare award and Rafi had to compete with even Lata for that award when he was at his peak. Imagine that how many more Film Fare awards Rafi Sahab would have won, had this award for male singers started in 1950.

    Some people think that Rafi could sing only soft romantic numbers and that Rafi could not sing fast numbers. They should listen to Rafi songs, such as aye hasina julfonwale, badan pe sitare lapete hue, bar bar dekho hazar bar dekho, chahe mujhe koi jangli kahe, jiya o jiya kuchh bol do, ajaa ajaa mai hun pyar tera, hum kale hain to kya hua, bade miya diwane, nazar na lag jaaye kisi ki rahon me, mast baharo ka mai ashiq, yamma yamma, hai agar dushman jamana and parda hi parda.

  21. Rafi is superior to all male and female in all respect voice and fun. In fact, in a tribute to Rafi earlier this year in the Hindu newspaper, Lata hailed Rafi as the greatest of all Bollywood singers male of female.

    All you have to do is to compare a random set of top 100 songs of both Rafi & Kishore, and it’s easy to recognize the superiority of Rafi.

  22. who said that mukesh rona dhona…
    his songs like sawan ka mahina,bol radha bol,dum dum dika dika,phool tumhe bheja h khat m,kabhi kabhi mere dil m,………mch more…..
    i think mukesh is number one among all …
    inhone sabse kam gaane gaye aur average hit songs inke sabse jyada the
    ye ek samrpit insaan the music ko….itne ache insaan ar uchh koti ki aawaj
    ye sabse hat ke the
    rafi ,kishore,mukesh,manna da,lta ji,asha ji,hemant ji,mahendra kapoor ji,asha ji.talat mahmood ji ye sakhsiyat uncomparable hain….
    i sab ka apna ek alag mukaam hai
    so inka comparison nhi inki atut mehnata ur ruchi se gaye hue gaanao ka aanad ligiye
    STOP THIS FOOL….

  23. Kishore undoubtedly was the best ever playback singer of Hindi cinema.. His voice always had power and authority.. In comparison, Rafi’s voice lacked the punch.. with Kishore’s ascendancy, Rafi’s reign at the top came to an end..

    1. Stupid! Gop through the interview of Lata Mangeshkar, Manna De, SP Balasubramaniam, KJ Yesudas, who all have acknowledged Rafi as the best, whether it is timbre of his voice, or singing technique, or diction, or classical training, or throw of voice, or what not. At least these great singers know music better than u idiot.

  24. Rafi was no 1 singer from 1952 to 1969 and after that kishore kumar become no 1 singer from 1969 to 1977 and from 1977 to 1979 both were no 1 singer and in 1980 rafi again become no 1 singer and after rafi died there was no competetion hence kishore become no 1 upto 1986 this is truth

  25. Lata perhaps greatest of all – men & women!!!!!!!

    Just listen to:
    1. tum mujhe yun bhula na paoge
    2. ehsaan tera hoga mujhpar
    3. jiya o jiya o jiya kuch bol do
    4. oh mere shah-e-khubaan
    5. ajee roothkar ab kahan
    6. teri aankhon ke siwa duniya mein
    7. aaja tujhko pukare mere geet re
    &&&…umpteen more….&&&…you will subsequently correct your statement.

    Rafi is next only to God in music….and there’s a majority vote across the world for that. Anyone can check whose songs are played most on Radio, television, concerts, prayers, tributes, weddings, parties, obituaries…..& chalk a statistic proving my statement.

  26. Well, I feel Md Rafi fans should restrain their emotion a bit before concluding Kishore fans to be all duffers and fools.Secondly, I would suggest all Kishore kumar fans to listen to all great songs of Md Rafi first, before putting Kishore above great Md Rafi. Can you place great poet T. S Elliot above our Tagore, having read only 2 collection of his poems! So one has to listen to all great Md Rafi songs beside best songs sung by Kishore kumar. Thirdly, please observe, it is not only a fact that Md Rafi has the best high octave quality in his voice, that surely he has, but what is mind boggling is the fact that he can take his voice to high octave in two planes, while other great singers, including Kishore Kumar can sing high note songs only in one natural plane. To substantiate by point, I would refer to 2 songs which Rafi sahab sang for SJ, in Beti -bete ( Aaj kal main dhal gaya hua keya… , and Aaj ki raat ye kaise raat, which was sang in falsetto. Kishore kumar does have a terrific base, but that cannot put him ahead of Md Rafi since kishore does’nt have the lament and divine cry that Md Rafi has. I am not discussing here about the great singer’s variation and range, which has perhaps already become a known fact.

  27. rafi is the best all the way. I mean kishore is an allright singer and a veratile actor but when it comes to skill, modulation, and knowledge and versatality in singing than RAFI IS THE GREATEST !

  28. Bhaiya Shantanu,

    Kam se kam sangeet ke bare mein , tum Asha bhosle se jyada nahin jaante.
    Unke anusaar agar unhone kuch seekha hai to bas Lata aur Kisore se.
    Ye shabd Asha Bhosle ke hain. yehi nahi unhone Dusre Singers ke fans se maafi bhi maangti , ke unko kahin bura na lage, lekin main phir bhi kehati hoon Kishore Da jaisa koi nahi.

    Chalo ye batao ” Aake seedhi lagi jaise dil pe katariya (Half ticket) mein kaun kaun singers se ne gaya hai.
    Isko Pran aur Kishore da par philmaya gaya.
    Kya Pran sahib ne ise gaya hai , zara dekhkar aur sunkar to batayein.

  29. Do you all people know the fact that both Rafi & Kishore were fan of K L Sehgal and Bade Gulam Ali Khan saheb?

  30. Should anything in this world deserve the privilege of being immortalized as an epitome of unearthly perfection,it is the soulful voice of a man even god would long to have.mukesh does have your tears but he won’t make you cry,can bid particles grow hearts in their masses.watever stature the pain comes with, all its dimensions get confined to his unparalleled singing.

  31. aaj tak hum kahte hai ki rafi great hai kabhi kahte hai ki kishore great hai lakin ye kyon nahi sochte ki us dor main jisko golden era kaha jata hai kya wo dor kawal rafi ya kawal kishore kumar se hi golden era tha kya us dor se mukesh sahab ya manna da ya kisi dusare gayak ko nikala ja sakta hai ? nahi isi liye es gande topik band karo or us golden era ka maza or ye kabhi mat bolo ki koan great hai kyonki wo great the great hai or great hi rehege

  32. There should not be any debate, Md Rafi has been the greatest Modern voice of singing in the last century, till today April, 2014, those who have arguement about it, sadly are bereft of any deep perception of music and aestetics for that matter, this is just a simple fact

    1. First of all,we should b unbiased. Listen the songs deeply, ur heart would say the fact. Rafi sahab is the best. Aap log award ki baat karte ho, aap yeh bataao ke 1969 se 1980 tak kishore kitna film fare award liya hai. Haq ko haq bolna sikho.

  33. I only have say that rafi was biggest singer ever why bcs no singer sing like him just listen his songs no bore at all listen his for numers times no bore u believe or not i don’t bother i mad of rafi i sleep rafi i eat rafi drink rafi play rafi work rafi what ever i do rafi main i die rafi don’t think s listened to Kishore da gi but no soooo much live rafi he rafi was the biggest not he .he is is nothing yar rafi is something that when. I listen to his like his still alive his songs only for lovers according. To me when u drank then listin his sing u understand it

  34. Hmm it seems like your website ate my first comment (it was super long) so
    I guess I’ll just sum it up what I had written and say, I’m thoroughly
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  35. The comparison is wrong. Comparing Rafi Sahab with Kishore is injustice. In place of Kishore, it could have been Lata. Anyone with slightest music knowledge would know that Kishore would require 20 yrs of training to come close to Rafi.

  36. KK GOT HUGE SUCESS AFTER ARADHANA BECAUSE PEOPLE GOT CHANGE AS THEY LISTENING RAFI SINCE 25 YEARS. ONCE THAT CHANG WAS OVER RAFI WAS ON TOP AGAIN. IN SIMPLE TERMS RAFI IS CLASS WHILE KISHORE IS FORM. SO ENJOY BOTH.

  37. IN OTHER VIEW THIS IS BEST EXAMPLE HOW INDIANS ARE KILLING QUALITIES AS A RESULT REMAINS UNDEVELOPED. AT LAST MUSIC LOST FOREVER

  38. Sonu Nigam? Is he male or female singer? In high notes, he becomes a female singer. His whole bosy moves, but voice does not. Kishore, at least, had a very good voice quality and singing basics. Rafi is inimitable…. No male singer can be compared with him. Kishore, Manna De and Mahendra Kapur accepted this and this is documented proof. Rafi sang songs with higher comfort level, more accurately, more sureele and had a wider range than all other singers keeping his voice stable and expressive at any stage.

  39. Today 31st july 2015,,, the death anniversary of legend … The voice of millennium .. Rafi Saab… jo comparison karte hai unhise request ha ke please take out 500 songs of each and listen with the headphone and then put your comment… 1st of all you will have to find 500 songs for kishor da but in i rafi sahab case you can easily pick up 500+ nos. of rafi sahab. Both are legends but i am convinced that Kishorda is the 2nd authority after Rafi sahab… rest will come after him… all old singers are god gifted.. salute to all…

  40. seriously guys. this comparison is ridiculous. these gentlemen were LEGENDS, and none of us have the right to comment on them (unless you are lata, asha, manna, sd burman, etc). enjoy their talents for no one will ever replace them.

  41. The song “nafrat ki duniya ko chhod kar…..” Kishore Kumar could not sing and ultimately Mohd. Rafi sang it exceedingly well. Do you remember history?

  42. Yeah no doubt that md Rafi had good voice but here I want to say about Kishore Kumar voice. He gives pleasure to audience. I enjoy kk voice cause feelings in his voice. He always keeps fresh me in any mood. When I feel sad 😢 only kk voice pull out me from the situation.

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