Rafi's first song was in Punjabi for the film 'Gul Baloch'.
In 1944 Mohammed Rafi moved to Mumbai where music composer Naushad gave him his first Bollywood break in 'Pehle Aap'(1944). Naushad also gave Rafi a chance to sing in a chorus of the song sung by the legendary K.L Saigal-'Mere Sapnon Ki Rani' of the film 'Shahjahan' (1946). Rafi achieved early success with 'Tera Khilona Toota Balak' in the film 'Anmol Ghadi'.
Mohammed Rafi became the playback singer of choice for other composers like O.P Nayyar, Shankar Jaikishan and Sachin Dev Burman. Rafi and S.D. Burman produced soulful songs for Guru Dutt's films like 'Pyaasa' and 'Kaagaz Ka Phool'.
O.P Nayyar employed Rafi for a majority of his songs in the 1950's and 1960's. Rafi expended most of his energy on live music shows in the 1970's. The live shows were huge hits.
Mohammed Rafi chose to stay in India after partition in 1947. Rafi married Bilquis and had four sons and three daughters. He had a record number of Filmfare nominations-an astounding twenty-three times.
He received the prestigious Padma Shri award from the Indian government in 1965.
This legendary singer passed away on July 31, 1980.