by Anandaroop Bhattacharya
I was listening to Vividh Bharati last night where they were running an interview with Mala Sinha. I am not sure if it was live or pre-recorded. It was really nice to listen to her talk about her past colleagues and friends. Here's what she had to say about Mohd. Rafi (translating as much as I can remember)
"Rafi-saab was our neighbour in Bandra. I have never seen anyone in my life so "saral". He was just the way you see him in his photos - always smiling. Look at his eyes - do you spot any sort of violence? That's the way he was. I don't think he knew or understood his own worth. I remember once we were trying to raise some funds for our church (Mala Sinhais Christian by faith). Nowadays they speak of crores, but we have neverseen crore. In fact, we could see a lakh only after years of eork andeffort. So, we artists did not have any money to donate. Anyway, I requested Rafi-saab to sing in one of our fund-raising programmes. We were all apprehensive if the number 1 singer in the country would agree to sing for asmall occasion like this. But not only did he sing for 2-3 hours - we didnot even have a proper stage - but did not take a single paisa from us."
Friends, this is what amazes me about Rafi. When you a become a celebrity ofthis stature, you always have some people who would say negative things about you. That's the price of fame you pay. But here is one man, on whom I have never ever read or heard anything negative. Not only that, most people are effusive in praise when they talk about him - not just his calibre but his kindness and humillity. Alu (Sudipto) once told me another story about him on how he helped Bhupen Hazarika during his early days. What an artiste and what a gentleman!!
The only exception probably is an article written by Raju Bharathan recently in Rediff after Mahendra Kapoor's death, and for which he has been bashed up in several forums.
Watch this short video at your leisure - the simplicity and humility of theman is unbelievable!http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTNdPlcCF-Y