Exploring the Timeless Songs of R.D. Burman

Mr. Rahul Dev Burman, was the most popular Bollywood music director during the 60’s through the early 90’s. 

His style has influenced music directors from almost all generations.

Pancham was born on 27th June, 1939, in Calcutta. His father was the legendary music director Sachin Dev Burman and mother was Meera Dev Burman. A story has it that once when Ashok Kumar visited the Dev Burmans, R. D Burman kept saying Pa, Pa, Pa, Pa and on hearing this, Ashok-ji named him “Pancham”.

His music education began at an early age. As soon as his family moved out from Calcutta to Bombay, he began to learn sarod from the highly popular Ali Akbar Khan. He also learnt the harmonica. Exposure to a rich musical environment taught him to compose music really quickly. He was just 9 when he composed his first song; that was ‘Aye Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa’ and S.D Burman used it for the 1956 film ‘Funtoosh’. 

 

Let us now explore a few of his many gems!

Chanda O Chanda (1971)

Movie: Lakhon Mein Ek

Singers: Kumar Sanu

Music: Nadeem- Shravan

Lyrics: Faiz Anwar

 

This is a beautiful children’s lullaby that most Indian babies have grown up listening to. R. D Burman has ensured the bare minimum use of guitar, violins and the dholak. This lullaby demands an understanding of film song nuances. It is delivered in the most perfect way. This shows that R. D was a perfect, well rounded composer. Kishore Kumar’s voice expresses empathy for Bhola as he sings the song. Anand Bakshi has put a not so easy situation in a very simple manner through lucid words. The words to this song come to Bhola’s mind all of a sudden as he stares at the moon in the sky while humming some verses from Shakespeare for his English examination.

Raina Beeti Jaaye (1972)

Movie: Amar Prem

Singers: Lata Mangeshkar

Music: R.D Burman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

 

R.D Burman never accepted the regular norms and structures. He composed the antara of this song in Thumri style. The komal or flat notes are based on Raag Todi. These notes depict separation and longing. The rhythm for the song is composed in Taal Keherwa or eight beats. In the mukhda, between the third and the fourth beat, you’ll get to hear the lovely sound of the maadal and the guitar’s jhum accompanying the tabla. Anand Bakshi ji’s lyrics are full of sweet emotions. and Lata ji’s singing literally has no comparison. It’s class apart. Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna’s acting is simply fabulous in this song scene.

Jaane Jaan Dhoondta Phir Raha (1972)

Movie: Jawani Diwani

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music: R. D. Burman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

 

Remember this awesome party track from the 1972 film ‘Jawani Diwani’? R.D Burman’s music has the perfect ups and downs. The perfect use of string and wind instruments. As you continue listening to this song, you’ll discover its beauty. This is a great song for stage performances. Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle’s duet brings out the beautiful romance between Randhir Kapoor and Jaya Bhaduri. Anand Bakshi was like the perfect lyricist for songs composed by Pancham. He has written about a crazy lover who keeps wandering from morning till night like a mad person in search of his lady love.

Nahin Nahin Abhi Nahin (1972)

Movie: Jawani Diwani

Singers: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle

Music: R. D Burman

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

 

R.D Burman experimented with different genres and music from different parts of the world. As people from different parts of the world have different indigenous instruments, R.D’s songs would be incomplete without the sound of mouth organs, tambourine, banjo, dafli etc. Kishore Da and Asha Bhosle Ji gave back to back hits for R.D Burman’s compositions. They beautifully sing out the playful feelings in the song. Anand Bakshi was the best lyricist in those days. His lyrics describe the feelings of restless Randhir Kapoor. Jaya and Randhir’s expressive eyes and top class acting will put a smile on your face as you listen to this song.

 

Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si (1973)

Movie: Anamika

Singers: Kishore Kumar

Music: R. D Burman

Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri

This is a heart melting song from the epic Hindi cinema Anamika. This song was listed at number 4 on Binaca Geetmala annual list of 1973. R.D Burman’s composition portrays the sad situation of the song and the poetic lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri talk about the tears that don’t leave the actor’s eyes on seeing his beloved getting married to someone else. He is in envy and hates the circumstances that he is in. Kishore Kumar and R.D Burman made for a great singer- composer duo and have delivered songs that have changed the Bollywood music scenario forever. This is also a great song for chorus singing. R.D. Burman had used this tune for the 1969 Bengali Pujo album song “Mone Pore Ruby Ray” which he sang himself! [My Swar]

 

Kehdoon Tumhein (1975)

Movie: Deewar

Singers: Kishore Kumar

Music: R. D Burman

Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

 

This is a highly sought after song from the influential 1975 film “Deewar”. R.D Burman was one of the most influential music directors of those times and the playfulness in the music, the beats, the music inspired from some pieces of western music is absolutely mind blowing. Kishore Kumar’s powerful voice was just perfect throughout this song. He gave life to it and made it one of the biggest hits of those times. Sahir Ludhianvi’s creativity was at its peak when he came up with these lyrics that express doubt in the actor’s mind regarding whether he should express his heartfelt feelings or not. This song has captivated millions of music lovers all around the world since 1975.

 

More About Pancham

Did you guys know that Pancham’s introduction to Western music came from Kersi Lord, a music arranger and accordion player who worke with many Bollywood composers?  Lord had a large collection of long play records of jazz, Latin American, European and Middle Eastern Music. Pancham never had any patience for Western classical music. His biggest passions were swimming, mouth organ and harvesting chillies of different varieties. He also himself played the mouth organ in a film for which his two best friends Laxmikant and Pyarelal composed the music. It was for the 1964 film ” Dosti” and the three of them remained friends for eternity. Another mouth organ incident was that he played it while floating on water during a water ballet at Anderson Club near Dhakuria Lake, Calcutta. Isn’t that interesting?? 

For more informative blogs, keep checking the Gaana Pehchaana blogs section every week. Install the app from Playstore/ Appstore to discover an exciting world of Bollywood musical games like never before. We also have TMK games called Hits of R.D Burman and Asha & R. D Burman Magic, Check them out!!!

By- Arunima Gupta

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