RD Burman’s 80th birth anniversary: Revisiting his evergreen compositions

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Rahul Dev Burman, fondly known as Pancham Da is a name that is scribbled in golden letters in the world of music. From an assistant to his father Sachin Dev Burman to being one of the most prominent music composers of the Indian film industry, RD Burman’s journey is one that is worth celebrating.

Pancham Da revolutionised music composition in Bollywood in his career spanning over 33 years. His music was considered as groundbreaking and something Indian industry did not witness before his advent. From 1960s to 1990s, he composed music for nearly 331 Indian films and five TV shows. He is a maestro who inspired the next generation music directors in India. Most of his works are immortalised and continue to earn national and global appreciation and acclaim. On the legend’s 80th Birthday, BizAsiaLive.com gives you a throwback to some of his most incredible magnum opus among countless similar others:

‘Teesri Manzil’ (1966)
Though Burman already worked as a music assistant and launched himself as an independent music director by then, it was through this film that he rose to fame. ‘Teesri Manzil’ was helmed as a “musical thriller” and is considered as Burman’s first big hits in Bollywood. The songs O Mere Sona Re, O Haseena Zulfowali and Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyaar Tera became instant record breaking tracks upon its release and remain popular to the day. The foot-tapping and rhythmic numbers are considered to be one of his best works in Bollywood.

‘Padosan’ (1968)
Ek Chatur Naar, Mere Samne Wali Khidki, Main Chali and Kehna Hai are some music numbers still highly popular among Bollywood listeners. The music of perhaps one of the finest Indian comedy films is credited to RD Burman. He teamed up with Kishore Kumar and Manna Dey to deliver some of the most amazing genre-bending soundtracks. The music of the film ranges from being simply effervescent to romantic and peppy to highly classical. The introduction of such variety for one single project resulted in another of Burman’s immensely successful projects.

‘Amar Prem’ (1972)
The renowned romantic drama is especially noted for its music and is one of Burman’s finest creations of all time. The emotionally surcharged melodious compositions of the film won countless hearts far and wide. A beautiful blend of Ragas-Khamaj and Bhajan, the soundtrack is nothing less than magical. The music of the film equally contributed in bringing the emotions, pathos and melancholy alongside that of the story. All of the six songs were equally well-received and earned both critical and commercial acclaim.

‘Yaadon Ki Baaraat’ (1973)
Yet another superhit RD Burman album from the 70s, the songs of this film continued to be celebrated throughout the years. The title track as well as numbers likes O Meri Soni and Lekar Hum Deewana Dil are some of the finest evergreen scores composed by Burman. The two variations of the same title song with different set of music artists showed his love for experimentation with singers. Whereas, the enormous hit Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dilko’s inspiration and adaptation from Bojoura’s If it’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium portrayed his skill in drawing influence from Western music and combining it with the expertise of his own.

‘Sholay’ (1975)
This epic action-adventure Indian film is nothing short of a classic. The music composed by Burman is also regarded as the same. From epic instrumentals, iconic sound effects and chart-topping numbers, the soundtrack received massive global appreciation. An incredible fusion of multiple genres and various global influences were noticed in the songs. Meanwhile, the sound helped in expressing the narrative of the film and intensifying the drama. The album sale of the film during the time reached an unparalleled high and was declared as a Platinum record. It became one of the highest selling Bollywood soundtracks of 1970s and also earned RD Burman his 5th Filmfare nomination.

‘Sanam Teri Kasam’ (1982)
After creating numerous masterpieces and earning mass appreciation, it was the soundtrack of this film that earned Burman his first official accolade. He won his first Filmfare Award for Best Music Direction and rightly so! Though the film was a “semi-hit” in most places, it was music that won over the entire country. The rocking Jaane Ja O Meri Jaane Ja, the romantic Kitne Bhi Tu Karle Sitam to the heart wrenching Sheeshe Ke Gharon Mein, the musical ensemble had it all.

‘Ijaazat’ (1987)
Hailed as one of Burman’s most sublime pieces of work, this film provided a proper musical extravaganza. It belonged to the genre of parallel cinema and earned huge critical acclaim all around the globe. The soundtrack had the same art-like quality with Asha Bhosle’s mesmerizing vocals on his music and Gulzar’s lyrics. The four songs in the movie each hold a fine quality of its own, completely identifying with the story and its characters. Burman received praises from individuals and critics worldwide for his unique and incomparable tunes.

‘1942: A Love Story’ (1994)
The final feather to his cap, this album was officially Burman’s last and final work. The patriotic romance film was highly acknowledged for its songs and music. The songs were mostly romantic melodies. The perfect sweet and serene tunes matched up to the love blooming between the lead characters. This album was released posthumously and garnered immense appreciation. Burman’s tunes in this film held the power to create a musical world of its own. It was probably the same magical power that led to his third and final Filmfare Award win. Even today the songs remain popular as the some of the best romantic scores in Bollywood.

BizAsiaLive.com hopes RD Burman’s legendary masterpieces continue to live on through the generations.

– Varsha Roy

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