Unique documentary on Rafi continues to get record views

Dastaan-E-Rafi is a record-breaking and award-winning documentary on Mohammed Rafi that can be watched in US, UK and Canada. photo: Rajni Acharya

The almost 120-minute film, Dastaan-E-Rafi, is available on various IPTV platforms in Canada, USA and UK. In India, it can be watched on Zee Classic, Zee5, Jio, Shemaroo Filmi Gaane YouTube Channel, ShemarooMe OTT and Tata Play.

It was officially released on December 24, 2018 (on Mohammed Rafi’s 94th birth anniversary), and its PRO-journalist-turned-producer, Rajni Acharya, coins a term for his humongous work as a ‘Lifeography Film’. Dastaan-E-Rafi is a record-breaking documentary on the late Mohammed Rafi, has received an unimaginable response from audience, and has been showered with more than 15 awards and appreciation certificates at more than 25 film festivals in India and abroad.

This film was first telecast on Zee Classic on that day in 2018 and aired on the same day on Tata Sky (cable TV) and on Airtel DTH (Direct-to-Home cable) at different timings. This was a first in India.

Dastaan-E-Rafi has also been widely acclaimed and applauded by viewers at more than 100 private screenings. This includes a special show in front of 5000 jawans of the Indian Army in Hyderabad, who not only enjoyed it but also danced to the tunes of Rafi’s unforgettable numbers.

“It took me over four years for the making of this film, which was shot not only in Punjab, Delhi, Gujarat and Mumbai but also in Pakistan to capture various events and places related to Rafi sahab’s life, like his school,” says Rajni proudly. “Also, getting time from the celebrities and video rights for his songs was also challenging.”

This film contains interviews of over 60 celebrities including Shammi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor, Jeetendra, composers Khayyam, (Laxmikant-)Pyarelal, Ravi, Bappi Lahiri, Ravindra Jain and Uttam Singh, singers Shamshad Begum, Mubarak Begum, Usha Timothy. Amit Kumar, Anuradha Paudwal and Sudesh Bhosle and director Lekh Tandon and features over 60 songs of Rafi.

A TAKSHILA Multimedia production, it has been directed by Rajni Acharya and Vinay Patel with cinematography of Prakash Karlekar.

Filmmaker Rajni Acharya speaks on his documentary on Rafi at FICCI-FRAMES 2023, the annual convention on Entertainment. Photo: Rajni Acharya

In a chat with Rajni, the filmmaker, who is now working on a similar project with Mahendra Kapoor, stated that the steady success of his film, for which he had to also battle financial hassles, is reason enough to make sure the maximum number of Rafi fans globally get aware of this mammoth labor of love.

“There are not less than 500 videos on Rafi on the internet,” says Rajni. “But my film has recorded over 1.4 million views. The average stay (online visit duration) per view has been pegged at 1 hour when normally for such videos it is around 10 or a maximum 15 minutes.”

The documentary is intensely research-based and Rajni is confident that it will be of use to anyone writing about Rafi. It also focuses intentionally on the personal and human side of the immortal singer. “I am too small to make an assessment of Rafi-saab as a singer,” says Rajni. “Yes, people have talked about his artistry, like Lekh Tandon­ and a few others, but I wanted to bring out the human side of Mohammed Rafi, and I think I have succeeded.”

The format followed was a set of questions prepared by Rajni and his team for the associates who have spoken on Rafi. After all the interviews were done, a script was written, coordinating everything said by the luminaries and family members and friends of Rafi, who have also spoken in the film. Rajni adds, “My partner was Vinay Patel, an editor with a channel, who was the co-director, and Prakash Karlekar, my cinematographer, has been associated with me for years.”

Rajni finds his labor of love more than worthwhile, as many of the viewers’ comments have shaken him with their intensity. He says, “One man said that he could not sleep after watching the film. Another watches it whenever he gets depressed. There are many aspiring singers, but more people want to emulate the person Rafi-saab was. Many have watched the lifeography again and again and reveal that they have cried while doing so.”

One viewer states, “I can listen Rafi’s songs frequently. But i cannot comment on Mohd Rafi . He is so great that I can’t tell any words about him. He is great ………….. greater …………………… and greatest . Thanks a lot.” Another states, “My eyes are full of tears. It seems like I am watching documentary of an angel of God. Lucky to have being born in this era”

And Rajni Acharya has the last word: “All this success does not belong to me but to Rafi-saab.”









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