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Memory lane of R.D. Burman (Page 6)

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Remembering Pancham



Nine years ago this day, Rahul Dev Burman passed into the ages. His death came just weeks before he was about to return to the reckoning with his score for 1942: A Love Story.

Never has a composer been so missed as Pancham, and the timelessness of his compositions is reaffirmed by the RD remixes which hit the music stores every month.

Arthur J Pais salutes the man he calls India's most versatile composer.

"I adore the father," my friend Vidya Nayak said with firm conviction. "The son is a copycat. Bahut chori karta hain."

I told her Rahul Dev Burman was not the only Indian composer who lifted songs. His father had done so, too. For every song he lifted, the younger Burman composed five or six asli songs. Many were so enchanting that even more traditional composers like Madan Mohan did not hesitate to acknowledge the great young, emerging talent. 

"Didn't S D Burman base the song Jeevan ke safar mein raahi on a Western tune?" I asked Vidya.

From Naushad Ali to Madan Mohan to Shanker-Jaikishan to Salil Chowdhury, getting 'inspired' by a foreign tune wasn't anything unusual even in the 1950s. Only the number of times they did so differed, I argued.

Vidya was one of the few who didn't have a high opinion of RD and were beholden to his father S D Burman. They were vehement in their conviction:. RD was ruining his father's reputation. He is a copycat, one of them almost hissed.

Some members of the anti-RD faction accepted a test I offered to them.
RD Burman, Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar
I would play a few tunes composed by the father and son, and they had to identify the composer. They listened raptly to melodies from Amar Prem, Aandhi and Parichay. For the most part, they swore the numbers were composed by the father. They were wrong. I continued with the experiment.

When I played fast numbers from films like Chuppa Rustam, composed by the senior Burman, many identified them as composed by the son.

They could not believe that RD composed soft and lingering melodies, often inspired by the classical tradition. If only they had listened to the songs of Chhote Nawab, the first movie with Pancham's music, made about 37 years ago! There were several exquisite numbers in that film, especially a semi-classical Lata Mangeshkar number. RD must have been in his mid-20s when he composed those numbers.

Throughout his career, whenever he found inspiration in Western music, he also found plenty of stimulation in Indian folk, traditional and classical music. His scores for Chandan Ka PalnaBaharon Ke Sapne, Ghar and Kinara provide ample proof of his versatility.

In my book, R D Burman is among the most creative of Indian composers and was far more versatile than his illustrious father. Whether the son was creating mast songs to be sung by Kishore Kumar in Jawani Diwani, or the haunting, meditative melodies to be voiced by Lata Mangeshkar in Masoom or Asha Bhosle in Ijaazat, there was no denying that a genius was at work.

"He was a genius at composing semi-classical songs, just like his father," Manna Dey told me two years ago, recalling such songs as Aya Ghanshyam in Buddha Mil Gaya. "Despite many setbacks in the 1980s, he was determined to come back in a big way," the veteran singer added.
R D Burman
True, there were nearly two dozen movies in the 1980s that showed RD not even in creative mediocrity. In films like Manzil Manzil, his score was far from inspiring. Yet, from time to time, in films like Ijaazat and Namkeen, he would excel.

Not to forget the score for 1942: A Love Story. The huge popularity of the movie's soundtrack would have brought him back into limelight in a big way. But death was envious of this protean, truly magnificent composer.

While many out of work old-timers like Naushad composed miserable songs when they got an opportunity to return to glory and complained they did not find spurti (inspiration) in the movie's story and song situations, RD would have none of it.

That is why his non-movie album, Dil Padosi Hain, has some of his most acquisitive compositions.
  



Edited by Qwest - 25 March 2006 at 12:53am

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Asha BhosleAsha Bhosle dedicates Grammy nomination to Pancham
12th Dec 2005  14.37 IST
By Agencies  



Legendary playback singer Asha Bhosle says her nomination to the prestigious Grammy Awards for the second time was a tribute to her late husband and music director Rahul Dev Burman, popularly known as Pancham.

Expressing great admiration for Pancham's vast repertoire of film songs, Asha, who has been nominated to the Best Contemporary World Music category for her album You Have Stolen My Heart: Songs from R D Burman's Bollywood, said, "It is the dream of an artiste to get a Grammy Award.... I am having the pleasure of receiving the award merely by the nomination."


The singer, who has enthralled music lovers for seven decades, regretted the absence of Pancham who "she missed dearly," especially when he is not around to share with her the glory of fame and recognition.

"I was in San Francisco for eight days for the recording of the album where all technicians were of foreign origin. They were bewitched by the beauty of Pancham's mastery," a nostalgic Asha, who had earlier been nominated for the same award, along with Ustad Ali Akbar Khan for Legacy based on Indian classical music, said.

Her favourite number from the album was Mera Kuchh samaan tumhare paas pada hai..., which "is very close to my heart as it transports me back into time when I was with Pancham."

Reacting to these two nominations, Asha said she had not heard Norah but was all praise for her half-sister Anoushka about whom she had seen performing along with her legendary father. "At her age she is doing very well."

Queried on her celebrated 'competition' with her elder sister
Lata Mangeshkar , Asha was forthright in her admission that it did exist but was a healthy one.

"The urge to be like her made me work hard and to establish my own identity," she said.

Coming back to her late husband, Asha said that the present breed of composers is inspired by Pancham whose style can be seen in their work. This was a source of solace and spoke volumes about the craft of Pancham, which who was "ahead of his time."

The singer, who has lent her voice to many top stars, said she was happy and satisfied with what life had given her and wished "to dedicate her life to music." a beautiful piece is like a beautiful woman. Simplicity is the essence, not over-embellishment."



Edited by Qwest - 25 March 2006 at 1:08am
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Qwest ji,

Aapne is thread ko anmol kar diya. Clap


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Posted: 25 March 2006 at 1:11am | IP Logged

Originally posted by apparaohoare

Qwest ji,

Aapne is thread ko anmol kar diya. Clap


 No thanks you,

I really want to do this for a long time never came around to do it thanks to you for opening up the door for me and I will try to do  my best  for RDB Love him .

 

 



Edited by Qwest - 25 March 2006 at 2:06am
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The real Rahul

Rajiv Vijayakar
Posted online: Friday, January 16, 2004 at 0000 hours IST

January 4 was the 10th death anniversary of R.D. Burman. Here's taking a look at his classical-based compositions...

 

Ten years will have elapsed, come January 4, since Rahul Dev Burman cast away the shell of his mortal body and turned into an immortal soul. Today, sadly, his memory is restricted largely to the remixes that a whole generation of not-so creative men and women are churning out of his work, with alarming regularity and mediocrity. These remix specialists claim to pay obeisance to an icon of rhythm, and give a contemporary sound to his magical numbers. But can someone, whose music was as advanced as tomorrow is made any more modern at all today?

There is also a coterie of individuals that have made Pancham as some kind of god. But the trouble is, this is done not with genuine, knowledge-driven reverence, but with casual or distorted conformism. R.D. Burman, a man who was always dished out step-motherly treatment in life by a capricious kismat, has become a fashion statement after death, a brand akin of musical Versace or Swarowski, his songs as cool as the latest Reebok, or as hot as the latest McDonald fast food.

On the occasion of his 10th death anniversary, we wish to enlighten the present generation about RD's other works than just those songs which are hot remixes today. Genuine RD lovers are distressed to find that a giant composer is relegated to becoming a current sensation merely because his music had a vision far ahead of his time, and a canvas that extended far beyond Indian shores. Today, the need of the hour therefore is to introduce the real Rahul to this club, in the hope that they can explore the vistas of Panchamland.

R.D. Burman's basic identity as the son of one of Hindi cinema's greatest-ever ethnic composers, S.D. Burman, his training under him (and the resultant mammoth exposure to Rabindra Sangeet and East Indian folk) and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, all gave RD a solid Indian core that the composer never abandoned or allowed to be downplayed. For Pancham, Western (or any other non-Indian) music was a packaging, an embellishment, and at the most a significant segment of the personality of a song, and in final analysis the means to an end-product so individualistic that none of his subsequent wannabe clones can hope to imitate, let alone match. It was as if these Burman beauties were various thoroughbred Indians, one only dressed in a Western outfit, a second wearing a salwar-kameez with a cut similar to a Western suit, a third having lived abroad and adopted some of another culture's most refined or positive qualities that merged seamlessly with the Indian roots and values. And proof of this lay in the fact that everyone, from hardcore classicists to the rural masses loved his songs. To the genuine Pancham premee, RD was thus more about 'Jaaoon to kahaan jaaoon...' (Asha Bhosle) rather than 'Baahon mein chale aa...' (Lata Mangeshkar) in the Anamika context, superb though the latter number was. In Bhoot Bangla, we tangoed to a 'Aao twist karen...' (Manna Dey) but needed a 'Jaago sonewaalon...' (as RD's first-ever excursion with fave singer Kishore Kumar) to linger on as proof of RD's great potential as early as his second film.

These Pancham-ignoramuses, as we RD-lovers would like to term the fans who swear only by his remix-friendly songs, would be interested to know that RD first made people sit up and take notice of him, not with the zingy numbers of Teesri Manzil (1966), The Train (1970) or Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1972), but with the raag-soaked 'Ghar aaja ghir aaye badraa saanwariya...' from his 1961 debut film Chhote Nawab. And for RD, going as expertly shastriya as anyone else turned out to be a frequent exercise in films as diverse as Padosan ('Ek chatur naar...'/ Kishore-Manna-Mehmood), Buddha Mil Gaya ('Aayo kahaan se Ghanashyam...'/ Manna Dey), Amar Prem ('Raina beeti jaaye...'/ Lata), Parichay (Lata-Bhupendra's 'Beete na beetaayi raina...' and Bhupendra's 'Mitwaa bole meethe bain...'), Kinara (Lata-Bhupendra's 'Naam gum jaayega...') and all those semi-classical lovelies like 'Is mod pe jaate hain...' (Lata-Kishore/ Aandhi), 'Rimjhim ghire saawan...' (Kishore/ Lata separately in Manzil), 'Bhor bhaye panchhi...' (Lata/ Aanchal), 'Sajti hai yun hi mehfil...' (Asha/ Kudrat), 'Yeh faasle yeh dooriyan...' (Lata/ Zameen Aasmaan) and 'Saagar kinare...' (Lata-Kishore/ Saagar).

 

Perhaps RD-bhakts would also like to revisit some of Pancham's solid, but 'unfashionable' early beauties. Here are some 'Paar lagaa de mere sapnon ki naiyyaa...' and 'Sharaabi sharaabi mera naam ho gaya...' (both by Lata in Chandan Ka Palna), 'Kya jaanoo sajan hoti hain kya gham ki shaam...' (Lata-Usha/ Baharon Ke Sapne), 'Jawaani ne maare...' (Rafi from the same film), 'Waadiyaan mera daaman...' (Lata/ Rafi separately from Abhilasha), 'Nisultana re...' (Rafi-Lata), 'Chekhush nazarein...' (Rafi), 'Na jaa o mere humdum...' (Lata) and 'Tum bin jaaoon kahaan...' (Rafi/Kishore separately) - all from the music-fest called Pyar Ka Mausam, 'Bhai battur...' (Lata) and 'Kehna hai...' (Kishore), those two non-hyped lovelies from Padosan and the twin Lata-Rafi highs, 'Lehkraake aaya hai...' and 'Kabhi kabhi aisa bhi to...' from Waris.

Never a Mukesh fan (the style did not fit too well into the RD leitmotif), Pancham nevertheless went on some terrific Mukesh outings like 'Jis gali mein tera ghar na ho...' (Kati Patang/ Mukesh), 'Kahin karti hogi...' (Lata-Mukesh/ Phir Kab Milogi), 'Suraj se jo kiran ka naata...' (Lata-Mukesh/ Hungama), 'Suhani chandni raatein...' (Mukti), and finally 'Ek din bik jaayega...' (Dharam-Karam).

Pancham's compositions dominated over his unique arrangements and sound, rather than vice-versa. The freshness, the all-pervading innovation, and even the fusion lay primarily in the tune (the core) rather than in the sound (the packaging).

Let us also examine, to get to first base with the real RD, the music director's rarer experiments with other home-spun names like Suman Kalyanpur ('Suno ji tum, tum bade woh ho...'/ Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi with Kishore), Parveen Sultana ('Hamein tumse pyar kitna...' / Kudrat), Shivaji Chhatopadhyaya ('Yeh safar bahut hai kathin...'/ 1942 - A Love Story), S.P. Balasubramaniam ('Hum na samjhe the...' /Gardish), Suresh Wadkar ('Tumse milke...'/ Parinda and 'Saawan nahin bhadon nahin...'/ Kudrat, both with Asha Bhosle), Narendra Chanchal (the title song from Benaam), and Anwar ('Duniya badal rahi hai...'/ Hum Hain Lajawab) and Shabbir Kumar (Betaab) in their respective duets with Lata in these films.

Obviously, Pancham's vocal avenues in the Indian milleu (Pandit Vasantrao Deshpande, Faiyyaz, Peenaz Masani, Anup Jalota, Ghulam Ali, Mahendra Kapoor and Shamshad Begum could be added to this list, though the results were not as fruitful) much more frequently than his indulgences with Westernised voices like Annette, Ursula and Usha Uthup.

And how can we forget that if Rafi represented another youth icon called Shammi Kapoor vis-a-vis Shanker-Jaikishan and others, Pancham himself largely used Rafi differently, Teesri Manzil being one of the exceptions that proved the rule. Having ghost-composed Rafi classics like 'Sar jo tera chakraaye...' (Pyaasa) and 'Tu kahaan yeh bataa...' (Tere Ghar Ke Saamne) for dad, RD mainly loked at Rafi with a melodious angle, thus paving the way for the singer's relatively minor presence at the peak of his career as a youthful composer. Thus for R.D. Burman, Rafi meant the folk treasures of Caravan and Mela, the soothing Western all-timer 'Chura liya hai tumne...' (with Asha/ Yaadon Ki Baaraat), the waltz that was 'Aa raat jaati hai...' (with Asha/ Benaam), those incomparable qawwalis, 'Hai agar dushmun...' (Hum Kisise Kum Nahin) and 'Pal do pal ka saath hamara...' (The Burning Train), and those different RD numbers like 'Naag devta...' (Shalimar), 'Pyar hai ek nishaan qadmon ka...' (Mukti), 'Jab ek kazaa se gujro to...' (Devta), 'Maine poocha chand se...' (Abdullah) and 'Dukh sukh ki har ek mala...' (Kudrat).

Finally, what made RD stand out as a path-breaking maestro was that he did not need a frenetic number to demonstrate his wondrous beats. In an amazing synergy of compositional solidity and superlative orchestral genius, Pancham could effortlessly and incredibly work in rhythm into a slow number. Not for him the heavy pulsating beats, the high vocal pitches or the techno gimmickry. For Pancham could sway both our souls and soles with numbers as soft, or as tranquil as Kishore's 'O hansini...' (Zehreela Insaan), Lata's 'Dilbar dil se pyaare...' (Caravan), 'Do ghoont mujhe bhi...' (Jheel Ke Us Paar) and 'Jab tum chale jaaoge...' (Bullet), Asha-Kishore's 'Aao jaan-e-jahaan...' (Gomti Ke Kinare), 'Ek main aur ek tu...' (Khel Khel Mein), 'Aaya hoon main tujhko...' (Manoranjan) and the title-track of Yeh Waada Raha, Asha-Amit's 'Tu rootha to main...' (Jawaani) and that rare Asha-RD beauty, 'Aasmaan se ek sitara...', from the non-starter Raahi Badal Gaye.

And so, all we genuine RD-aficionados would like to say is that Rahul Dev Burman is mainly about content not form alone. We need to understand his genius before taking his name only because it is the 'in' thing to do. Being Pancham is not about being in or out. RD - the real, the original, the 'un'remixed RD - is forever.



Edited by Qwest - 25 March 2006 at 1:25am
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Is it 10 years since RD died? Can't believe it. His songs are as good as new.

These words ring absolutely true:
Pancham's compositions dominated over his unique arrangements and sound, rather than vice-versa. The freshness, the all-pervading innovation, and even the fusion lay primarily in the tune (the core) rather than in the sound (the packaging).

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Cinegoers seem to be intrigued as they watch the special effects of the twisted neck of the slain watchman in Bhoot (which is now being dubbed in Telugu).

But not many are aware that way back in 1965 there was a movie titled Bhoot Bangla (with Tanuja in the lead) in which the late composer Rahul Dev Burman (Panchamda) played a bumbling comedian who gets trapped in a haunted house.

R D Burman

After seeing ghosts prancing around him, his head starts twisting around.

 And RD, who had a wacky sense of humour, had shared with this columnist that in those days, they had nicknamed the special effect 'aao twist karen'!

This happened to be the refrain of the chartbuster rock 'n' roll song sung by acclaimed classical singer Manna Dey in the same spooky comedy.

The reason one is referring to the legendary RD is because it happens to be his birth anniversary tomorrow. And it is quite distressing for his die-hard fans (including this columnist) to observe how his 'gold mine' musical legacy is being plundered and distorted today in the name of lucrative 'remixes'.

Veteran actress and danseuse Asha Parekh, who had the privilege of playing the romantic lead in several mega-hit movies with chartbusting music by RDB like Caravan, Pyar Ka Mausam, Kati Patang and Teesri Manzil, confesses to being an ardent admirer of the music wizard.

Says Asha, "Actually I consider myself lucky that Panchamda was my co-star as a funster in Pyar Ka Mausam. He had a perfect sense of timing for slapstick comedy and even off-screen he was a lively, jovial man. This is evident in his hilarious composition Ek Chatur Naar from Padosan.

Nobody can replace Panchamda — he was ages ahead of his time. It really hurts to see how his classy songs are being badly tampered with and then it's so embarrassing to watch some of the visuals," grumbles the former chairperson of the Censor Board.

Incidentally, the current sensational music video of Kaanta Laga is originally an RD composition picturised on Asha Parekh in Samadhi where, in contrast to the westernised look of the video, she plays the ethnic gaon ki gori in the movie.

Veteran music composer Anandji (of Kalyanji-Anandji) recalls how RD was so unassuming and low-key. "Pancham always packed his signature punch in almost every song. He could have hit real big time, but being a shy person, he hated hyping himself in the media.

In fact his melodies were instrumental in launching star actors like Amitabh Bachchan in Bombay to Goa, Sanjay Dutt in Rocky and Sunny Deol in Betaab.

RD was a 3-D personality — a futuristic composer, an innovative singer and a gem of a human being. Very sad that a maestro like him had to go through traumatic times during his last few years. We will always miss him," asserts Anandji.


Edited by Qwest - 25 March 2006 at 10:54am
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Awww Ji,
Thanks for the pic.

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