R D Burman : A Tribute

No orchestra is complete without his songs. No antakshari can leave out his catchy numbers. There is no person in India who hasn’t swayed to his songs. A music lover may not list him as a favorite music director, but a favorite song list will definitely have at least one of his songs. That is the charisma of Rahul Dev Burman, whose 68th birth anniversary falls on this day.

Pick any random college band and they would have surely played at least one of R D Burman’s songs in their program. The fast, catchy tune, relatively easy to sing songs, their still existing popularity – these are the reasons why orchestras feature his songs even today.

It’s hard to believe that someone who composed Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Ko, can also compose Tum Aagaye Ho Noor Aagaya. Or compare Pyar Mein Dil Pe Maar De Goli and Pyar Ke Is Mod Pe Chodoge Jo Baahein Meri. One is so mellow and soft and the other is loud and passionate. Both equally good songs and probably equally popular. It takes a versatile composer to churn out two drastically different songs. The whole range Chote Nawab to 1942 A Love Story will feature at least one of your favorite songs.

He brought in different sounds and instruments in his songs. While he used the sound of brushing comb in Mere Saamnewali khidki mein and Sach Mere Yaar Hai, he used the bottle’s sound in Ae Mungda. He loved experimenting and it is evident in his songs. He modulated his own voice for Mehbooba. He experimented with instruments, singers and even words. Be it Monica, Oh My Darling or Gili Gili Aaha. He even experimented with tunes – Mera Kuch Saamaan is so different – it’s almost verse like.

While many people are aware that R D Burman takes a lot of credit for Asha Bhosle’s popularity, it is equally true that most of his best compositions went Lata Mangeshkar’s way. Asha Bhosle sang the peppy Chura Liya Hai Tumne, romantic Tu Tue Hai Wohi, sensuous Piya Tu Ab To Aaja, and the philosophical Mera Kuch Saamaan etc. But, look at Lata’s share. While she managed to sing rustic Dilbar Dilbar Se Pyare with elan, she created magic with Ae Ri Pawan Dhoonde Kise Tera Man. All the songs of Aandhi (Tum Aagaye Ho Noor Aagaya Hai, Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi Shikawa, Is Mod Se Jaate Hain) got Lata’s voice. Naam Gum Jaayega, Tujh Se Naaraaz Nahin Zindagi too went to Lata Mangeshkar. Lata did justice to these songs, no doubt.

R D Burman had his head over his shoulders when he chose the singers for his compositions. While he recognized the energy in Asha’s voice, he chose her for all his peppy, foot-tapping numbers and occasionally gave her mellow songs. Lata’s voice was mostly used for classical based songs or soft songs.

The best part about R D Burman is that he started composing music in 1950’s and even after five decades, he is still so relevant to the current generation. I won’t be exaggerating if I said there is no person in India who hasn’t heard his song.

He had versatility, style and more importantly, he knew how to sweep his listeners off their feet.

R D Burman lists in my top 5 music composers. Hardly a day passes without listening to his songs. A heartfelt tribute to this versatile and highly skilled musician (should I say magician, he created magic, didn’t he?). Wish he had lived for a few more years and given us more gems to listen to.

How do I pay tribute to him? By listening to his compositions, of course. My iPod is hooked on Burman’s playlist.

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3 thoughts on “R D Burman : A Tribute

  1. thanks to you for remembering RD . my compliments to you on writing such a genuine piece of commentary.

    keep it up….RD deserves it
    rajeev
    Mumbai

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