RD Burman popularly knows as Pancham was before time for the music world in the 60s Hindi cinema but he was admired like no other musician. He was nicknamed Pancham by his father, SD Burman because it felt to him like little Burman always cried on the fifth note. With a passion for football and mouth organ, RD Burman left his grandparents house to stay with his parents in Mumbai. And we got our Pancham Da!
SD Burman, father of RD Burman used one of his tunes for Dev Anand. SD Burman exclaimed to RD Burman upon this, ‘Yes, I have used your tune, you should consider that an honor. It means you have really come up with something good. In any case, it was light comic one, let’s see how good you are in coming up with some serious compositions, that will be the day.’
Mehmood had come to SD Burman demanding for RD Burman to produce music for his film Chote Nawab. Mehmood was supremely respected and his desire to work with senior Burman’s son was a matter of great acknowledgment from the film industry. RD Burman roped in Lata Mangeshkar for his first and simultaneously ended the differences between SD Burman & Lata Mangeshkar at that time. Mehmood also got him to act in his film ‘Bhoot Bangla’. He had said, “It was laughter riot… with Mehmood you can’t remain serious.”
With Teesri Manzil, the 1966 Nasir Hussain film, RD Burman became an independent composer & rockstar musician as Mohammad Rafi lend his voice for the unforgettable Shammi Kapoor song ‘Oh Haseena Zulfon Wali’. RD Burman once said, “Wahi toh keh ra ha hoon, it depends on the heroes also, kis hero par kaun singer fit baithega. Rajesh Khanna par Kishore was perfect.” Kishore Kumar and RD Burman were like brothers from other mothers. They became an unstoppable trio in the 70s outset with the release of Kati Patang starring Rajesh Khanna in 1971. RD Burman said his father SD Burman first declared pride in him when the music of Amar Prem, 1972 released. Most of his songs were penned by Anand Bakshi, very few by Majrooh Sultanpuri and he credited them both for all his cherished songs.
RD Burman had met Gulzar during SD Burman’s Bandini days. Gulzar worked with Pancham in five movies. The songs of Aandhi & Parichay, considered at par with Amar Prem, is the outcome of a merger of the greatest of both Pancham’s and Gulzar’s worlds. The song Musafir Hoon Yaaron from Parichay directed by Gulzar (1972) was composed by RD Burman over a late night drive with Gulzar to Bandra during his separation phase from his first wife. Burman was truly humble, he knew he had to do justice to enchanting poetries of Gulzar and was very thorough with the music. Gulzar & Asha Bhonsle received the National Award for the song ‘Mera Kuch Samaan’ from Ijaazat.
RD Burman married illustrious & famous singer Asha Bhosle in 1979 who is the sister of quintessential & iconic Lata Mangeshkar. Their love story started with RD Burman sending flowers to her anonymously and Asha rejecting the gestures worried about a stalker. One day Majrooh Sultanpuri disclosed RD Burman’s secret to Asha, she could not abstain from reciprocating RD Burman’s admiration. Together, they recorded many knockout songs and also staged numerous live performances, they were the power couple of music in India. RD Burman’s personal favorite song is ‘Jaane Jaan Dhoondta’ where he thought Asha Bhonsle was hypnotizing.
RD Burman’s pathbreaking music and songs are exceptional treasures from the golden era of Hindi cinema. Every life story is composed of four pieces – the beginning, the middle, the almost ending, and the true ending but the most satisfying note was that all tunes of his life were musical and mesmerizing- and that made RD Burman a legend!