Mohammed Rafi’s family originally belonged to Kotla Sultan Singh, a village near present-day Amritsar in Punjab, India.
Rafi began singing by imitating the chants of a fakir in the streets of his native village Kotla Sultan Singh where his family lived.
Rafi’s father moved to Lahore in 1935, where he ran a men’s salon in Noor Mohalla in Bhatti Gate.
His elder brother, Mohammad Deen, had a friend, Abdul Hameed, who recognised the talent in Rafi in Lahore and encouraged him to sing.
Abdul Hameed later convinced the family elders to let Rafi move to Mumbai; he accompanied him in 1944.
He made his Hindi film debut in Gaon Ki Gori in 1945.