Mansoor Ahmad Farooqui, a Bhopal
resident, sits in his museum dedicated to Bollywood playback
singer Mohammad Rafi.
Bhopal: If following
one's passion could guarantee success, Mansoor Ahmad Farooqui
would have been a multi-millionaire by now. The 47-year-old Bhopal
resident is an ardent fan of Mohammad Rafi and has a collection of
over 5,000 songs sung by the late singer, rare photographs, 15
books on Rafi and pages from his personal diary - all on display
in a museum in his humble two-room rented house.
Mansoor is a verbal encyclopaedia on the playback singer.
Sample this -- "When Rafi Sahab was 14, K.L. Sehgal was having a
show in Lahore. Suddenly, the lights went off. In an effort to
hold the audience's attention, Rafi Sahab's elder brother asked
Sehgal if Rafi could sing. Rafi sang and got Sehgal's blessings
apart from a break in a Punjabi film."
"Four years later, he sang for his first Hindi film "Pehle Aap".
Rafi Sahab sang 4,990 songs for 1,960 Hindi movies. He sang 88
songs during live concerts and did 31 concerts outside India,"
Mansoor, who binds motors of fans for a living, told IANS.
Besides, he also runs the Mohammad Rafi Memorial Foundation and
has been holding programmes on the Padma Bhushan awardee singer's
birth and death anniversaries since last six years.
He has photographs of Rafi - ranging in size from half inch to
five feet long, 13 pages of the personal dairy of the singer and
several letters written to Rafi by his friends and different
"For someone like me, it was never easy to collect those rare
songs, books, letters, audios of Rafi Sahab's concerts, but I did
not let any hurdle come in between my passion. My friends helped
me a lot in collecting all these items and information," Mansoor
And so did his wife, who takes home tuitions to support the
family. The father of three has named his elder son after Rafi.
The bachelor degree-holder has been pursuing his passion since
1985 while his little-known museum, which is opened to public only
twice a year during the birth and death anniversary of the singer,
is some 10 years old.
To make sure his treasure remains intact, he keeps the cassettes
in packets and uses briefcases, made in Taiwan, to keep all the
other collections. After all, much of the preserve is a result of
hectic work over the years.
Mansoor used to dig out contacts of people in possession of rare
Rafi pictures, then post or physically go to their houses to
strike a deal. The hard work paid off and today he's in possession
of 43 Rafi songs and gazals which have never been used in movies.
"He's the only singer who sang 87 patriotic songs. He sang during
the India-China war for soldiers on a mountain 1,400 ft above sea
level. He raised funds during the India-Pakistan war and toured
several cities, including Bhopal," he says, doling out some more
"Rafi Sahab was the only singer on whom three songs were written.
One was sung by Md. Aziz, another by Milan Singh and the third one
by Jaani Babu Qawwal."
This incredible fan also wishes that the singing prodigy had won a
"Rafi Sahab got two National Awards and six Filmfare awards for
his immortal singing. But I strongly believe that he also deserves
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