Documentary channel

Documentary on Mohammed Rafi showcases the singer’s life as a family man

‘Dastaan-e-Rafi’ looks at the celebrated vocalist’s life beyond his music.

The documentary Dastaan-e-Rafi took five years to make, so it is not surprising that the 120-minute film tells the story of the playback singer Mohammed Rafi through over 60 interviews and more than 60 hit songs.

Produced and co-directed by Rajni Acharya, the film includes reminiscences from members of Rafi’s family, including his daughters Yasmeen, Parveen and Nasreen, as well as from the actors Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar, Jeetendra and Shammi, Rishi and Randhir Kapoor. All of them testify to Rafi’s integrity, generosity with time and money, and act of charity towards the needy.

In an interview with, Acharya said that making the film was a lifelong dream and could have been done only once, like Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay (1975).

When did you get the idea of making a documentary on Mohammed Rafi?
Sujata Dev wanted to write a book on Mohammed Rafi. She is a family friend. I suggested to her that we should work together on the project. She had to meet a lot of people to interview for the book. We had clear outlines that whatever we filmed would be a part of my documentary and whatever she wrote would be a part of her book. There was no interference in each other’s work.

There must have been a favourite Rafi song that inspired you to venture into direction.
Khoya Khoya Chand [Kala Bazar, 1960], whose rights I could not unfortunately get for my film. It was a song that reflected my youth and brought back memories of my time as a young man trying to charm the ladies.

The singer was an avid badminton player. Courtesy ‘Mohammed Rafi’ by Sujata Dev.
The singer was an avid badminton player. Courtesy ‘Mohammed Rafi’ by Sujata Dev.

How did you manage to line so many people to share their stories about Rafi?
When I was shooting the documentary, a lot of people wanted money in return for interviews, and we had to use our contacts to bypass the demand. We got what we wanted. We made no compromise on the quality even when people gave us a tough time. I think god assigned us to do this project.

Talking to his family was no problem. His friends and relatives were forthcoming.

Did you discover anything new about Rafi while filming?
More than the stories of his songs and his career as the greatest singer in the country, it was the humane stories we heard about how he helped people in times of crisis that shaped our film. The scripting was done after the shooting was completed. We came across a sensational bit of news about Rafi’s death, but we did not want to capitalise on it.

You also travelled to Pakistan to talk to musicians associated with him.
We went to Lahore to meet several singers who had worked with or were great admirers of his work. I met singer Shamshad Begum’s brother through whom I was able to meet other musicians. I was born in Karachi and I also have a lot of friends there, which made it easy for me to approach artists to talk about Rafi.

Rajni Acharya.
Rajni Acharya.
We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.


2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.