The Mohd. Rafi Academy that was launched on July 31 is hosting its first musical event. It will pay tribute to the late lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri on October 1, his 91st birth anniversary, at Bandra’s Rang Sharda auditorium.
Among the singers who have confirmed their participation are Abhijeet Sawant, the first Indian Idol, Sandeep Batra, one of the finalists of the TV show Fame Gurukul, Arpita Mukherjee another contestant of Fame Gurukul, Ravindra Upadhyay from Channel [V] Super Singer, Rohan, late singer Mahendra Kapoor’s son and Dr Ashok Chopra, Priyanka Chopra’s father.
The ‘singing surgeon’ has sung at several Mohd Rafi nights across the country and has bagged 18 awards till now. "When I asked him if he’d like to sing at our show, he agreed immediately," says organiser-friend Shahid Rafi.
The doctor has picked two songs, Chalke jaam, ayeye aapki aankhon ke naam… and Yeh raat, yeh fizayen, phir aye ya na aye… When he was in the army and posted on the border, these songs, he says, were a must-sing at dinners where officers and jawans came together.
"The first one raised a toast to new soldiers and retiring officers. And the latter, a bittersweet reminder of the risk the army faces everyday. When I was head of surgery in Ladakh, so many boys who I’d smile at one day, would turn up as casualty cases the next," says Dr Chopra.
He says he managed only a glimpse of Rafi saab when he had come to a cantonment for a show. “I was mesmerised. It was as if God was singing in Rafi saab’s voice. I’m so proud to be a part of a Mohd. Rafi night,” he asserts.
Will Priyanka attend the concert? “She knows I am singing and is delighted. But she’s leaving town to promote Anjaana Anjaani,” he says.
Dr Chopra admits that he has been getting playback offers, but says he’d rather stick to cosmetic surgery. “Har kissi ko Akbar ka darbar nahin milta hai (Not everyone is able to enter Akbar’s court),” he points out. However, he’s pretty sure that his daughter, whom he describes as his “twin”, will sing for a movie very soon.
Shahid Rafi plans to host more such concerts. Another Rafi Academy could come up in Amritsar on the late singer’s birth anniversary. Rafi’s son will also be starting singing classes at Rafi Mansion from October. A website, coffee table books and magazines are also being planned.