Jan 31, 2007

Lata Rafi Fued on Guinness Record

A Lata-Rafi duet used to be a staple of Indian movies in the 60s, 70s. Rafi has sung the most number of duets with Lata. Both admired and respected each other, but when Lata was included in Guinness Book of World Records for having recorded the most number of songs, it threw Rafi a curve ball.

Rafi kept writing to the Guinness book to get this reported number of 25000 reevaluated and dropped. Here are the excerpts from his 1979 letter to the publishers of Guinness.

I am disappointed that my request for reassessment of Vi's-a-Vi's Ms. Mangeshkar's reported world record has gone unheeded. Whilst I am happy that the record has been credited to an Indian singer with whom I have been privileged to sing many duets over the years, even at the cost of being dubbed immodest, I would stake my own claim to the world record. Herewith facts to support:

My career began in 1944, while Lata Mangeshkar first recorded in 1947.

Ms Mangeshkar has seldom, if ever, recorded more than one song a day, as her frail constitution would prevent her from doing so.

My claim of having recorded approximately 28000 songs is based on my average of two songs a day when I am in Bombay. I can substantiate that I have, on occasion, recorded five songs a day.

Mohammed Rafi died on 31 July, 1980. This request was unanswered for three years after his death. Only in 1984, did Guinness put Lata at 25000 and Rafi as "having claimed to have recorded 28000 songs".

It did not help Lata's relationship with the music director Naushad when it was rumored that this letter was drafted at his home. All parties involved here were and are great, but the small sandbox in which they played made them petty.

I personally don't think anyone in today's Mumbai has time to pursue such efforts. People would rather pursue their passions and earn fist full of Rupees.