Mumbai, December 23 (IANS): The grand year-long celebrations to mark the birth centenary of legendary singer Mohammed Rafi will begin in Mumbai on Sunday.
As part of the celebrations, a 100-foot-tall ‘Rafi Minar’ will come up at his birthplace in Punjab, the organisers said here on Saturday.
The main programme will be held on Sunday at the Shanmukhananda Hall in collaboration with the World of Mohammed Rafi Welfare Foundation (WMRWF) and the Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts Sangeetha Sabha (SSFASS), with a series of events scheduled for the next 12 months, culminating in a mega musical crescendo on Rafi’s 100th birthday on Decembef 24 next year.
“The centennial will have 12 special concerts featuring only Mohammed Rafi songs on the 24th of every month. We shall invite popular ‘Rafi specialist’ singers from all over India to perform and bring alive the memories of Rafi sahab,” WMRWF Founder-Director NR Venkitachalam said.
All the shows will be live-streamed on YouTube for Rafi’s fans worldwide.
The concerts will include multifaceted themes on the axis of genre, music directors, lyricists and actors for whom Mohammed Rafi has sung, to be rendered by renowned male singers and also females for some timeless duets, to make it an unforgettable experience, said Venkitachalam.
Along with the shows on Sunday, a series of charitable, medical and social initiatives for the poor would also be launched, funded from the proceeds of the Rafi concerts, said SSFASS president V Shankar.
The SSFASS will start an endowment in Rafi’s name at the Shanmukhananda Community Charitable Hospital here to provide free kidney dialysis to one patient daily, at its dialysis centre.
Also, SSFASS has instituted a ‘Sri Shanmukhananda Mohammed Rafi Centenary Memorial Award’ for a young musician, carrying a cash reward of Rs 5 lakh, a trophy, and a live concert at Shanmukhananda Hall on the great singer’s birth anniversary every year.
In a unique and unprecedented initiative for any singer anywhere, the SSFASS and WMRWF are constructing a 100-ft (30.5 metres) tall ‘Rafi Minar’ (tower/turret) in memory of Mohammed Rafi at his birthplace in Kotla Sultan Singh, near Amritsar in Punjab.
“The ‘Rafi Minar’ will be made of steel, and will have his 100 top songs engraved on it along with the lyrics to remind all future generations of his valuable contribution to enrich human lives through his singing. At the top, the Indian flag will flutter majestically. The memorial will be ready in the first half of 2024,” said Venkitachalam.
The two organisations are also revamping Mohammed Rafi’s alma mater, the Government Elementary Urdu School, where he studied till Class IV before moving to another school in the same village.