By Ashok Kumar
Last weekend, the Chester Hill RSL function Centre resonated with famous Bollywood songs of the yore, of course sung by Great singer Mohammad Rafi. Sydney melody king and Mohd. Rafi “Bhakt” Riaz Shah organised the Rafi nite, he organises the Rafi nite at different places and at different times of the year.
The audience was in for a big surprise as the walls of the hall were adorned by the pictures of famous film stars of the fifties and sixties. Riaz worked very hard to collect these photographs and put them on display. The
photos reignited the memories of their times and music. The beauty of the programme was that there were several singers before Riaz made his entry, who sang Rafi Sahib songs and none was less melodious.
Several female singers made their presence felt, each more melodious than the other but the one who stood alone and suited the most with Riaz was Priya Das, an environmentalist by profession, rendered beautiful duets.
The stars that twinkled on the nite were Manzar Mirza, Waseem Shah, Shahid Malik, Tariq Mehmood, Latif, Dr. Archana, Razia Sultana and Nitya. Manzar rendered the beautiful song “ Suhaani Raat dhaul chuki” from Dulari. Though Riaz conquered the stage with back to back Rafi melodies, the singer that was a surprise package was Manzar Mirza. The songs were chosen carefully keeping in mind the knowledgeable audience.
Notwithstanding the programme starting a bit late but the audience lapped up the melodious renditions. The best part was the people shed their inhibitions and did shake their legs on the dance floor. Though it was a Rafi nite but it was seemingly, Rafi- Shammi nite as most songs were from Shammi films like Diwana hua badal and din sara guzara tere angana, aasman se aaya farishta and other gems. Sandhya from Woolongong sprinkled anecdotes before each song and rendered a beautiful duet. The event could not have been complete without the hard work of the musicians.
As once famous star Balraj Sahni said there are many singers in Bollywood but none is bigger than Mohammad Rafi and to add to this is that it needs the calibre of Riaz Shah to collect so many singers under one roof to produce such a wonderful event.