Saturday, 30 June 2007

'Pancham': Remembering RD Burman

If he were alive today, music composer RD Burman would have turned 68. His father Sachin Dev Burman was the scion of a small princely state in Assam but instead ruled over the hearts of music lovers in the sub-continent.

He affectionately called his son, 'Pancham'. RD was just nine when he hummed a tune for 'Aye meri topi palat ke aa' in Devanand's Funtoosh. SD liked it so much that he recorded it after some polishing and the song with the same tune was released.

At the age of 16, Pancham composed the music for the song 'Sar jo tera chakraye' in Pyaasa and on the set he struck friendship with Mahmood. Later Mahmood asked Pancham to compose music for Chhotey Nawab. For the song 'Ghir aaye kare badra', Lata reached Pancham's house and then remembered that she was not on talking terms with Sachin Dev Burman, in those days. And she sat outside the flat, on the stairs, for rehearsal along with Pancham.

In Mehmood's next movie Bhoot Bunglow, Pancham not only composed music but also acted. Amin Sayani was also an actor in this movie. A football freak, Pancham was also addicted to laying chess. He loved to cook. He and his wife Asha Bhonsle kept experimenting with recipes as much as they did with music and songs.

Whether it was blowing air in an empty bottle to create the background music in Sholay or striking the spoon with teacup to create the tune for 'Chura liya hai', Pancham could create music during any activity. After SD Burman's illness and subsequent death, his wife lost her mental balance. And Pancham served his mother with a rare dedication.

Rahul Dev Burman alias Pancham was born in Kolkata (then Calcutta) on June 27, 1934. He gave music in 331 movies apart from four albums. The beat stopped on January 4, 1994.

Jai Prakash Chouskey
(This article was first published in a Hindi daily)

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