Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar fell out on royalty issue: book


Differences over royalty payment on their duets led to Lata Mangeshkar falling out with Mohammed Rafi and they stopped singing together for nearly three years, a biography of the late singer says.

In "Mohammed Rafi: My Abba - A Memoir", daughter-in-law Yasmin Khalid Rafi brings out many unknown facets of the man who came to be regarded by many as the greatest playback singer the Hindi film industry has ever known.

"In the beginning of 1960, there came a phase when Lata Mangeshkar fell out with Mohammed Rafi and stopped singing duets with him.

They did not work together for two-three years.

Lata sang with Mahendra Kapoor and Suman Kalyanpur sang with Rafi during this period," writes Yasmin.

"Their differences arose over the issue of royalty payments on the songs sung by them. Lata wanted to be paid royalty and raised the issue with the producers; she expected Rafi to support her point of view, which was in fact justified.

"But contrary to her expectations, Rafi took a different stand.

He opined, 'When the producer pays the fee the singer demands for a song, thereafter the singer should not have a share in the royalty.

'This was probably a hasty decision, taken without careful consideration," the book, published by Tranquebar Press, says.

Late music director Jaikishen finally effected reconciliation between the two.

The first duet Rafi and Lata recorded together after this episode was for the film "Palkon Ki Chhaaon Mein".

In a singing career spanning 35 years, Rafi worked with all the well-known music directors of his time, including S D Burman, Shankar-Jaikishen, Laxmikant-Pyarelal and O P Nayyar.

Musician Naushad Ali once described him as India's new Tansen.

One of his hallmarks was his ability to sing in a variety of styles, ranging from classical and patriotic songs to qawwalis, ghazals and bhajans, though he is best known for his romantic songs and duets.

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