Rahul Dev Burman, one of the greatest music composers of all times, passed away on January 4, 1994. But he lives on in the hearts of the innumerable fans of his creativity. We thank god for sending RD Burman among us... where would film music be without his numerous unforgettable compositions? His death came just weeks before he was about to return to reckoning with his score for 1942: A Love Story. He left behind a legacy of rich, melodious, lively music that transcended the barriers of time and age.
Innovative and experimented a lot and hence tantalising and unpredictable -- that's our BOSS. He was studded with ideas that translated into outstanding compositions. To state that Pancham was different from the rest was, really, superfluous. He was effortlessly different from his father. Spontaneity and the ability of his music to connect with people, added his unique dash of pep and verve into Hindi film music starting with the 60s. RD was the first music director who brought Rock 'n' Roll to Hindi tunes, creating a brand of music so distinctly his own. He was capable of conveying the emotions of any lyric and situation.
We still feel his loss. We miss his music. If Asha ji is nominated for the Grammy today, you can imagine how far ahead Panchamda was in his work and his music.
He scored music for over 290 Hindi films. But more than the awesome quantity of his numbers, their timeless quality gave him an edge. The magic of RD Burman's music is endorsed by the fact that every successive generation relates to his music. He always showered us with a vast range of melodies and rhythms.
RD was born with music in his genes. Father Sachin Dev Burman, a descendant of the royal family of Tripura, the Eastern Indian state, was one of the foremost music directors in the Mumbai film industry. RD's mother was steeped in music and used to assist his father. Little Rahul cried in all five notes and was nicknamed Pancham. Pancham was initiated into the world of film music in his teens -- he was fond of playing the mouth organ and assisted his father.
RD had box office banners like Ramesh Sippy (Sholay), Nasir Hussain, Dev Anand, Shakti Samanta, Ramesh Behl and Gulzar regularly backing him.
His diverse scores for Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Amar Prem revealed his virtuosity. Just consider the range in the former's "Dum maro dum" and the latter's "Bada natkhat hai"... his rhythmic, hip-shaking chart-busters from Teesri Manzil, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin or Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai, etc. With Mukesh he emerged with a sparkling gem like "Jis gali mein tera ghar na ho" and Lata's "Lalla lalla lori" (Mukti) was the nation's lori (lullaby). "Kya hua tera vaada" won Rafi an award and was heard on almost every street corner in 1977.
RD's trendy yet melodious music made him the first choice of star fathers who launched their sons in teenage love stories like Love Story (Kumar Gaurav), Rocky (Sanjay Dutt) and Betaab (Sunny Deol).
RD's most innovative and imaginative musical feats got lost in myriad worthless films, like Kishore-Asha's brilliant "Aao, aao jaan-e-jahaan" ( Gomti Ke Kinare), Kishore-Lata's "Ab ke saawan mein jee dare" ( Jaise Ko Taisa), Kishore-Lata's "Jana hai hamein to jahaan" ( Daulat Ke Dushmun) and, above all, the Kishore classic "O hansini kahaan udd chali" ( Zehreela Insaan).
Some of his great songs in a film were often dwarfed into obscurity by its one or more chartbusters. For example, Lata-Asha-Usha's "Dulhan maike chali" and Asha's "Chori chori solah singaar" ( Manoranjan), Asha's "Jaaoon to kahaan jaaoon" ( Anamika), Lata's "Oye buddho lambo lambo" and Manna Dey's "Aayo kahaan se Ghanashyam" from Buddha Mil Gaya, Kishore-Lata's "Bheegi bheegi raaton mein" ( Ajanabee), Lata's "Chalo ri" and Lata-Kishore's "Parbat ke peeche" ( Mehbooba) and Asha's "Ab jo mile hai" ( Caravan). This phenomenon of course went well into the 1990s with Shivaji Chattopadhyaya's "Yeh safar bahut hai kathin" (1942 - A Love Story).
RD composed soft and lingering melodies, often inspired by the classical tradition -- "Aayo kahaan se Ghanashyam" in Buddha Mil Gaya by Manna Dey. He found plenty of stimulation in Indian folk and traditional music. His scores for Chandan Ka Palna, Baharon Ke Sapne, Ghar, Kinara and Ijazzat.
Dil Padosi Hain has some of his most acquisitive compositions. He produced independent albums in which he included the samba beat and a rare collaboration with British pop star Boy George.
RD directed music for some regional films, including Bangla, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi.
RD Burman did playback in eighteen movies composed by him. He was famous for unique, grunting bass singing style. He also acted in the film Bhoot Bungla in 1965 and Pyar Ka Mausam in 1967... provide ample proof of his versatility and genius. He also acted in one of the Bengali film named Gayak (starring Amit Kumar and Debashree Roy), where RD plays himself and 'discovers' Amit singing on a beach.
Pancham's non-film music comprises of few albums, including Pantera - the international album for which he shares credit with Latin American composer, Jose Flores.