June 28, 2006

For R.D. Burman..On His Birthday.

Filed under: Most Read,Of men women and Eunuchs,opinions,personal — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 12:15 pm
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Kaveetaa kaul


“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”

Music is a passion that has catapulted me into realms of bliss and ecstasy at even the most despondent of times.

Among the ones who deserve special mention and a huge Thanks is Rahul dev Burman.. His art lives on and will continue forever..however cliched that may sound.

Memory is a clever maybe the relative of truth but not its twin.

Last night a bunch of us mad hatters who need no excuse to get together and sing out his numbers, found a valid reason. His birthday. So there we were an eclectic mix, in gay abandon, barbecuing, in this lilting, wet and utterly romantic weather at a Madh island bungalow juggling our memory and chasing to beat each other with the most delectable of his tunes.

My childhood years were spent close to R.D….not in the manner, most of you guys imagine, ears all perked up for juicy tattle. Its just that his bungalow, a quaint Burmese cottage with the most amazing exterior, was just a hop and a skip away from ours. I recall many a tale of his contributions to his erstwhile father S.D. Burmans music, from the tender age of 7, say some. I, for one would not disbelieve that. Finally during ‘Aradhana’ and due to the failing health of S.D., R.D. took over. The song “Roop tera mastana” which was one of the reasons for Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore becoming the craze of the nation, is claimed to be his effort. Never before did music have the sexual innuendo that was attempted by the music, rendition and flavour of this melody.

The common favourites in the lexicon are too many to enlist. Some of my personal favourites are the not so well known.”Kya jaanoon sajan, hoti hai kya gham ki sham, jal uthe sau diye, jab liya tera naam” from “Bahaaron ke sapne”..years later my music tutor had challenged me that the day I render this one to perfection, he would grant that i have learnt light classical. In all fairness I confess that I am nowhere near perfection….But I love this also “aaja piya, tohe pyaar doo gori baiyan tope war doo’…also” Hum bewafaa hargiz na the, par hum wafaa kar na sakey”, sweet, soft, simple and touching.

Panchamda as he was fondly called.. a musician par excellence.. ahead of his times

He was the pioneer of rock and pop music in India without a doubt.It was R.D. Burman who truly brought the groove into Hindi Film Music, ushering in the era of electronic rock and providing Hindi film Music with a whole new ‘happening’ sound. His hip and energetic youthful compositions proved extremely popular from the late 1960s till the early to mid-1980s. The music arrangement of his songs is unparallelled and a source of inspiration(plagiarism) to many of the present lot. If imitation be the best form of flattery and all of that, then for sure the timelessnesss of his tunes and his genius is recognisable in most numbers today.

Destiny however plays a cruel trick on some phenomenal talents. Whether, Mirza ghalib, Van Gogh or R.D., their worth is evaluated after they have departed. His last years were spent in the misery of professional rejection, personal turmoil and financial constraints. His last films “Parinda” and later “1942 Love story” was released after his demise. How can anyone forget ‘Kucchh na kaho..kucchh bhi naa kaho’ gives me goose bumps even now…he could actually transport you into the make believe world he seems to have created just for you. It behooved no picturisation to enhance the richness of melody.

It would be heartening to know that he watches from somewhere to witness that he is not forgotten…to know that the pain of survival has been erased from his soul, what remains is the glory of an artist who has not died unsung.

“The fame of heroes owes little to the extent of their conquests and all to the success of the tributes paid to them.”


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  1. Chura liya” is my all time fave. How can we forget the songs which he has sung? “Monica oh my darling” was a trend setter. Now ofcourse right from anu mallik to himesh all yoodle and sing. Must tell you of the anu mallik boast that when he composed music, the ‘ghost’ of jaikishan came into him!!… now i think he will change that to rdburman….soon… if he does not get any quick

    Comment by puja — June 28, 2006 @ 2:26 pm | Reply

  2. some trivia you might enjoy
    In the song ‘O Manjhi Re’ from the movie ‘Khushboo’, he used soda bottles with water filled at different levels and created a “phook” sound by blowing into them. This sound was used with the orchestra.
    On his own submission, he used to get tunes in his dreams, and on the advice of his father, began getting up as soon as he “dreamt” of a tune and wrote it down. Songs such as “Mera naam Shabbo”, “Kanchi re kacnhi re” had come to him in his sleep.
    He was the first to introduce the Brazilian bossa nova rhythm in Hindi film music – the song was “Maar dalega dard-e-jigar”, sung by Asha Bhosle, in “Pati Patni”.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 28, 2006 @ 2:58 pm | Reply

  3. i tried posting a comment but didn’t happen…devine intervention…some ‘prayer’ up there at work i thought (yes a translatable pun is intended and i am just kidding)
    only RDB could have made a poem into a beutiful song in kinaara…’ek hi khwaab hi dekha hai’
    wasn’t that trio a force to reckon with…the singer, the poet and music director…

    Comment by silbil — June 28, 2006 @ 4:59 pm | Reply

  4. puja..that was too funny!!are you serious..ghost and all that??

    trivia was interesting..he was innovative to the core.

    silbil, now you know what to do immediately after clicking on ‘post’:)

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — June 28, 2006 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  5. boss kaun hai maloom hai kya?!!

    to the generation that still feedz on rdb remixes in the holy spirit of creativity, as they call it re-mixes!! oh mere sona re n churaliya hai.. wud be my favz!
    like father like son although the genre was different.

    Comment by der Bergwind — June 28, 2006 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

  6. kav:

    a good tribute to ‘pancham’:)

    a person who can compose the tune of:

    ser jo tera chakra’aye….
    aaja piyaray, paas humaray..

    when he was nine only deserves all the accolades



    Comment by temporal — June 29, 2006 @ 10:09 am | Reply

  7. Wow..Im blown!!!

    did he really compose that song at 9!!!! man..i thought i was a genius…

    der berg dude..If u mean who knows him that is preposterous bro..he is a legend. the original is never forgotten no matter the mix..remix suffix quickfix matrix..:)

    k..good stuff:)

    silbil..hey good to c u…

    puja..your faves are mine 2 honey;)

    Comment by doublebarrel — June 29, 2006 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

  8. BB u fired this one wrong da…
    tat one liner is from ‘jhankar beatz’, a movie revolving arnd rdb, ya.. the boss! i won try to question anyonez knowledge of rahul dev burman… n i meant tat the music is so overwhelming that its packaged again n again n so-called artists of the day feed outta that… n lol! the x-factor in u is cool!!:))

    Comment by der Bergwind — June 29, 2006 @ 2:06 pm | Reply

  9. der,
    Despite a father like s.D. formidable talent….R.D. managed to carve a niche is so commendable. Cannot list another father son duo of the kind.. can you?

    Temp.. thanx:) n about the song ‘sar jo tera chakraye.. is on the dot.. Even the song ‘rangeela re.. tere rang mein yun ranga hain mera man.. chhaliya re.. na bujhi hai kissi jal se yeh jalan”..I quoted the whole ‘mukhda’ its one of a kind.. so long n extremely difficult to compose. This too has been attributed to R.D..from Prem Pujari..even though the music director is S.D.

    Take care

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — June 29, 2006 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

  10. Upendrakishore Ray, Sukumar Ray, Satyajit Ray .. for three generationz they had a blast with all the creative sauces.. UR was into short storiez n poetry so was son sukumar.. sukumar ray’s childrenz poetry n all are still read with amazement! satyajiy needs no intro.. n then his son sandip ray is also a commendable filmmaker in his own right..

    then u have the bacchanz 🙂 n lots of folkz from the film fraternity..
    from sportz u have the paes family.
    u have aman n ayan in line with their dad.. u have rahul sharma going great after pandit shiv kumar..
    so there are lotz of ’em naa:))

    btw my all time fav song, is sd burman’s, ‘wahan kaun hai tera musafir.. jayega kahan..'(guide)
    n the way sdb sang it.. the rustic voice…

    Comment by der Bergwind — June 30, 2006 @ 10:40 am | Reply

  11. Der,

    That list..thanks
    Just that I was referring to another music director father son duo:)
    There is Viju Shah who btw is brilliant..his songs in Gupt are a must on my car cd..he is Kalyanjis son of the kalyanji anandji duo..and then there is sanjeev darshan sons of shravan of nadeem shravan.
    But not like the S.D. R.D. pair..naa?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — June 30, 2006 @ 11:15 am | Reply

  12. haha.. yup! nothin like sd-rd.. nothing like ’em.. really..:))

    but creativity has its own wacky side naa.. personal life of rdb is so heartening; n sumhow asha bhosle was the catalyst of negativities in his personal domain.. n even now on the small screen she wud come n go ga-ga over pancham.. as if she knew him best!! pata nehi.. the balances of life never follow simple physicz n then they saw gods are fair.. well, that wud be another debate.. sumwhere.. sumtime:)

    Comment by der Bergwind — June 30, 2006 @ 2:29 pm | Reply

  13. I came here through google.R.d.burman is like a guru to all those who wish to experiment. I am a budding musician and I can spend my life only listening to his compositions. We can not improve on his work, only imitate it.

    Comment by debu roy — August 19, 2006 @ 2:13 pm | Reply

  14. That was a wonderful post kaveetaa ji.. Its true that his songs were not dependant on picturisations. Sometimes after seeing the movie you didint like it because his songs were so much better. He is my personal hero.. Thanks

    Comment by Indrani Deb — May 24, 2007 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

  15. “We can not improve on his work, only imitate it.” Well said. I have noticed that most musicians have been dirtying all his work. Even after 50 years no one can come up with the same kind (Panchamda’s style) of composition and arrangement of music- Unparalled and Immortal- The one and only unique pancham- there will be no one like him.

    Comment by Tarun — May 29, 2007 @ 6:21 am | Reply

  16. “Sometimes after seeing the movie you didint like it because his songs were so much better.” Well said Indraniji. Most people instantly fall in love with tunes composed by Pancham. His work and contribution to the Indian Music is huge and unparalled better be kept aside from commercial success and picturization of the movie.

    Comment by Tarun — May 29, 2007 @ 6:28 am | Reply

  17. can any of you give the address of r d burman’s residence at mumbai


    Comment by bhola — June 25, 2007 @ 1:09 pm | Reply

  18. i think pacham da is not a music director he also helped so many new generations music director for there food “agar RD BURMAN nahi hot to unlogo ke ghar ke roti nahi milta I just want to know the unreleased films like reshma o reshma awara raju etc films will released i had the song phoolon ke desh mein bahar leke aayi but when the film will released

    Comment by Debopriyo Chakraborty — June 28, 2007 @ 11:17 am | Reply

  19. no doubt pancham da had a great style..if you just go down deep in his music…classical…threads covered with evolution,,,,,he pulled the music from nature…from the chore of his heart…or may be his soul…..I can give my whole life just to sit with him and see him composing music…………..

    Comment by raj.... — June 5, 2008 @ 3:43 am | Reply

  20. RAHUL DEV BURMAN …a genius, ahead of his times. Brought a revolutionary to the world of bollywood music in terms of melody and rhythm in music, even today …I scan every website were I find all the movies that has the music by the great R D Burman, though the movies are utter flops , the music never disappoints , always transports me to another world. I only wish the remix trash does not get heap on the great maestro’s work . Your music is food for the soul . Thank you Sir ! you will always live in music lovers hearts . The Greatest composer of all times !

    Comment by Cassey (USA) — November 18, 2008 @ 5:25 am | Reply

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