Dev Burman (27 June 1939 – 4 January 1994), commonly
known as R. D. Burman and nicknamed Pancham da or simply
Pancham, was an influential Bollywood music composer. He
was the only son of singer and Bollywood music composer
Sachin Dev Burman and his wife Meera. He is credited with
revolutionizing the filmi music in Hindi films, and his
style and techniques continue to be followed by the composers
did playback in eighteen movies he composed. He was famous
for unique, grunting bass singing style. He also acted in
the film Bhoot Bungla (1965) and Pyar Ka Mausam (1967).
his death, in the late 1990s, the remix versions of R D
Burman's hits ruled the Indian music scene. Even today,
most of the Indian remix songs are his tunes remixed.
Rahul Dev Burman was born in Calcutta. According to stories, he
was nicknamed Pancham because, as a child, whenever he cried,
it sounded in the fifth note (Pa) of the Indian musical scale.
The word Pancham means five (or fifth) in Bengali and Sanskrit.
Another version is that when the veteran Indian actor Ashok Kumar
saw a newborn Rahul Dev Burman uttering the syllable Pa repeatedly,
he nicknamed the boy Pancham. After coming to Mumbai, he learnt
sarod from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan.. He received his early education
at Ballygunge Government High School, Kolkata.
he was nine years old, he composed his first song, Aye meri topi
palat ke aa, which his father used in the film Funtoosh (1956).
The tune of the song Sar jo tera chakraaye was composed by him
as a child. His father loved the tune and included it in the soundtrack
of Guru Dutt's Pyaasa. In 2004, the soundtrack for Pyaasa was
chosen as one of "The Best Music in Film" by Sight &
Sound, the British Film Institute magazine.
a child, Pancham also played the mouth organ in the famous song
Hai apna dil to aawara (from film Solva Saal - 1958, starring
Dev Anand). Pancham began his music career as an assistant to
of his 331 released movies 292 were in Hindi, 31 in Bangla, 3
in Telugu, 2 each in Tamil & Oriya and 1 in Marathi. RD also
composed for 5 TV Serials in Hindi and Marathi. He also scored
a large number of non-film songs in Bangla (also known as Pooja
songs or modern songs), which are available in different albums.
D Burman started his career as assistant to his father, Sachin
Dev Burman. He assisted his father in Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959), and his first music interlude, in
his father composition, was for the song, Jaane Kya Tune Kahi,
sung by Geeta Dutt, for film Pyaasa (1957). His first film as
a music director was Guru Dutt's Raaz (1959). However the film
was shelved after some shooting and recording of few songs.
Burman's first released movie as a music director was Mehmood's
Chhote Nawab (1961). Mehmood once said that he gave the movie
to Burman because he got tired of Burman denting his car with
the persistent drumming of his fingers. The first song to be recorded
for the movie, "Ghar aaja ghir aaye", was sung by Lata
Mangeshkar because Burman wanted her to. The song brought together
S. D. Burman and Lata Mangeshkar who had stopped recording together
continued to work as his father's assistant in movies like Bandini
(1963), Teen Deviyaan (1965) and Guide (1965). Mehmood gave him
his second movie as a music director in 1965 - Bhoot Bangla. The
soundtrack is notable for a sedate "Jaago sonewalo"
sung by Kishore Kumar and a contrasting "Aao twist karein",
sung by Manna Dey, a Desi version of Chubby Checker's "Let's
Twist". In the movie, Burman also acted alongside Mehmood.
He also composed the music of Teesra Kaun in 1965.
first hit movie was Teesri Manzil (1966). Burman gave credit to
lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri for recommending him to Nasir Hussain,
the producer and writer of Teesri Manzil. Vijay Anand also said
that he had arranged a music session for him before Nasir Hussain.
After hearing his music, Nasir Hussain made him the music director
of Teesri Manzil. Initially, Shammi Kapoor (hero of the movie)
was unhappy over choice of Burman. He wanted the tried and tested
Shankar-Jaikishen, who had composed music for most of his films.
However, after hearing R. D. Burman's music, he had no problems.
The songs "O haseena" and "Aaja aaja" belonged
to a genre that Indian music lovers were unaware of. Mohammed
Rafi sang all six songs, four of them were duets with Asha Bhosle.
Nasir Hussain went on to sign R D Burman and lyricist Majrooh
Sultanpuri for six of his films including Baharon Ke Sapne (1967),
Pyar Ka Mausam (1969) and Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973).
1967, Burman composed music for the movies Chandan Ka Palna and
Baharon Ke Sapne but neither film did particularly well at the
box office, even though Burman's compositions were much liked.
Meanwhile, he continued to work as his father's assistant for
movies like Jewel Thief (1967) and Talash (1969).
1968, Burman had his second major box office hit after Teesri
Manzil titled Padosan. His music for the comedy film was much
1969, Waris and the musical hit Nasir Hussain's Pyar Ka Mausam
(where he also acted in a supporting role) were released. For
Aradhana (1969), Burman was credited as associate composer. When
S. D. Burman fell ill during the recording of Aradhana's (1969)
music, his son completed the music.
R D Burman was India's most popular composer in 1970s (Bollywood's
superstar era), famous for his peppy tunes. He teamed up with
singers Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar
and others to churn up some of the biggest hits in the Bollywood
1970, R D Burman composed music for six movies, of which Kati
patang (a Rajesh Khanna starrer) was a musical hit.
more movies with R D Burman as music director were released in
1971. Of these, Amar prem, Buddha mil gaya, Caravan, and Hare
Rama Hare Krishna were musical hits. Amar prem is noted for intricate
songs based on Indian classical music such as Raina beeti jaaye
(sung by Lata Mangeshkar) was also in this film. Buddha mil gaya
had simple, peppy numbers like Raat kali ek khwab mein aayee and
Bhali bhali si ek soorat. It also had a classical song Aayo kahan
se Ghanshyam?. Caravan had the best Bollywood cabaret ever - Piya
tu ab to aaja, picturized on Helen and sung by Asha Bhosle and
R D Burman ("Monica! O my darling"). He also received
his first Filmfare Best Music nomination for "Caravan."
The title song of Hare Krishna Hare Rama sung by Asha became the
hip-hop anthem for the youngsters. The song is used in Grand Theft
Auto: Liberty City Stories soundtrack, titled Dum Maro Dum for
Radio Del Mundo in 2006. Other songs like Phoolon ka taaron ka
and Kaanchi re were also popular.
1972, R D Burman composed music for nineteen films. Seeta aur
Geeta, Rampur ka Lakshman, Mere jeevan saathi, Bombay to Goa,
Apna desh and Parichay were musically successful. The high-pitched
Asha-R D Burman duet Duniya mein logon ko from Apna desh became
popular. Songs like Beeti na beetayi raina and Musafir Hoon Yaron
from Parichay marked the beginning of a fruitful association between
R D Burman and lyricist Gulzar. Rajesh Khanna's Mere jeevan sathi
had beautiful evergreen Kishore Kumar numbers like O Mere Dil
Ke Chain. Also released in 1972 Jawaani diwaani was a hit[citation
needed]. Songs like Abhi nahi, Jaan-e-jaan dhoondhta phir raha
and the title track were all chart-busters that year.
saw fourteen more R D Burman soundtracks, of which the most successful
ones were Nasir Hussain's Yaadon Ki Baraat, Shareef badmash, Heera
panna and Anamika. In 1974, sixteen movies with R D Burman music
were released. Aap ki kasam and Ajanabee were major hits.
1975, there were nine movies with R D Burman soundtracks including
the superhit Sholay, Deewaar ,Aandhi, Khushboo and Dharam karam.
In Sholay, he sang Mehbooba mehbooba, picturised on Helen and
Jalal Agha and for which he received his sole Filmfare nomination
for playback singing. Aandhi had classic Gulzar songs sung by
Kishore-Lata - Is mod se jaate hain, tum aa gaye ho, Tere bina
zindagi se koi and others. Khushboo was another R D Burman-Gulzar
masterpiece with songs like O manjhi re.
did a song for a small documentary film called Maa Ki Pukaar,
D Burman also completed the music of Mili (1975) after his father
went into coma and died. In 1976, there were 8 movies with R D
Burman as music director, of which Mehabooba (1976) was a classic
musical film based on reincarnation, where Rajesh Khanna played
double role as Singer (Classical and Modern) with a very sophisticated
way. Nine more movies were released in 1977. Naam gum jaayega
(Kinara, 1977) is another of R D Burman-Gulzar gems, but it was
"Kya Hua Tera Wada"(Nasir Hussain's Hum Kisi Se Kum
Nahin, 1977) that revived Mohd. Rafi's career and became one of
the most popular songs ever. Although, Kishore Kumar still continued
to be the dominant male playback singer for R.D. Burman's songs,
the success of "Kya Hua Tera Wada" enabled Burman to
use Rafi more frequently.
1978, nine more R D Burman releases, including Shalimar and Kasme
vaade. Shalimar included hits like Hum bewafa hargiz na the (Kishore
Kumar) and the title track (Asha Bhosle). The title track, Mile
jo kadi kadi and Aati rahengi baharein of Kasme Vaade were very
popular. The title track and Raju chal Raju of Dharmendra-starrer
Azaad were also moderately popular. Ghar was a huge hit for R.D.
Burman-Gulzar duo with songs like Tere bina jiya jaaye na, Aaj
Kal paon zameen par, Phir Wohi Raat hai.
was a relatively full year for R D Burman, although he composed
music for ten films. His biggest hit was Golmaal. The most popular
songs were Aanewala pal (Kishore Kumar) and the title track (Golmaal
hai bhai sab golmaal hai) sung by R D Burman and his assistant
Sapan Chakraborty. Few other R D Burman hit songs in 1979 were
Jeevan ke har mod pe (Jhoota kahin ka), Rim jhim gire saawan (Manzil),
Saawan ke jhoole pade (Jurmana) and Do lafzon ki hai dil ki kahani
(The great gambler, sung by Asha Bhosle and actor Sharad Kumar).
In 1980, there were ten releases. The film Kudrat ( RD, Majrooh
Sultanpuri, 1980) was a musical hit. The song "Humein Tumse
Pyar Kitna" was recorded twice with a male singer (Kishore
Kumar) and a female singer (Parveen Sultana), who received the
Filmfare Best Female Playback Award. R D Burman churned out musical
hits like The burning train and Shaan, which were not successful
at the box office. The burning train included popular Sahir Ludhianvi
qawwali sung by Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi - Pal do pal ka
saath hamara. The film is also noted for Teri hai zameen, sung
by Sushma Shrestha and Padmini Kolhapure as child-singers. Shaan
had sizzlers like Pyar karne wale pyar karte hain shaan se (Asha
Bhosle), Doston se pyaar kiya (Usha Uthup) and Yamma yamma (duet
sung by Rafi and R D Burman). R D Burman also composed for Alibaba
aur 40 chor, an Indo-Russian collaboration. Actor Rekha made her
singing debut under R D Burman with the songs Kaayada kaayada
and Saare niyam tod do in Khubsoorat (1980). The lyrics were penned
by Gulzar. Other popular songs included Sun sun didi tere liye
(Asha Bhosle) and Piya bavari (Asha and Ashok Kumar). The songs
of Abdullah (1980) also became popular. The score is noted for
Rafi-song Maine poocha chaand se, in which R D Burman modernised
his father Sachin Dev Burman's tune. Mohd. Rafi's death stuns
R.D. Burman, as it does the entire nation.
year 1981 saw R D Burman composing for fifteen films. He created
two hit soundtracks with lyricist Gulshan Bawra and Universal
Music India (then called Music India) - Satte pe satta and Yeh
vaada raha. Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Satte pe satta was a story
of 7 brothers and their 7 brides. The songs picturized on the
seven brothers were sung by R D Burman, his assistants Basu and
Sapan Chakravorty, lyricist Gulshan Bawra, Bhupendra, Anand Kumar
C and Kishore Kumar. The songs for the ladies were sung by Asha
Bhosle, Annette and Dilraj Kaur. The hit songs include Dukki pe
dukki ho, Pyar hamein kis mod pe, Dilbar mere and Zindagi milke
bitaayenge. R D Burman's major hit in 1981 was Sanam teri kasam.
The hit soundtrack included Kitne bhi tu kar le sitam, Jaan-e-jaan
and Dekhta hoon koi ladki haseen among other songs. He received
his first Filmfare Award for Best Music for this film, after being
nominated for 12 years. received In 1981, R D Burman also composed
music for Rocky (Sanjay Dutt's debut movie) and Love story (debut
film of Sanjay Dutt's brother-in-law, Kumar Gaurav). The songs
from both the movies were popular. However, Rocky was a semi-hit
at the box office, Love story was a superhit. Jahan teri yeh nazar
hai from Amitabh-starrer Kaalia (1981) also became very popular
more R D Burman soundtracks were released in 1982. The team of
Nasir Hussain, R D Burman and Majrooh Sultanpuri (which had started
with Teesri Manzil (1966)) presented Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai in
1982. The songs Poocho na yaar kya hua and Dil lena khel hai dildar
ka became fleetingly popular, but the consensus was that Burman
didn't deliver as strongly for Nasir Hussain this time as he had
done previously. The film wasn't a hit either, and it was the
last time the late Mohd. Rafi would be heard in a Nasir Hussain-R.D.
Burman-Majrooh Sultanpuri collaboration. Ashok Kumar's last song
Chalo haseen geet (Shaukeen, 1982) was composed by R D Burman.
Angoor (1982) is noted for R D Burman's spoof on the O. P. Nayyar
hit Preetam aan milo, sung by Sapan Chakravorty. Bemisal had good
music but the film did not do well. In 1983, there were fifteen
R D Burman soundtracks, of which Masoom and Agar Tum Na Hote are
considered classics. He also received his second consecutive Filmfare
Award for Best Music for "Masoom."
1984, fourteen R D Burman soundtracks were released. This year,
Gulshan Kumar's T-Series made its entry into the arena of original
film soundtracks. The company's first major music rights acquisition
were for Pramod Chakravorty’s bi-lingual Jagir(Hindi)/Teen
Murti(Bengali). The film's music was composed by R D Burman. This
year, R D Burman came with somewhat disappointing scores. But
he introduced a plethora of talented new singers in these years.
Kumar Sanu was given his first break by R D Burman in Yeh desh
(1984) as voice of Kamal Haasan. Abhijeet was given his major
break by R D Burman in Anand aur Anand (1984). Although he made
his debut a long time ago, Hariharan was first noticed in a duet
with Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hai mubarak aaj ka din (Boxer, 1984),
which was composed by R D Burman. Nasir Hussain's Manzil Manzil
tanked, and critics commented on decline on Burman's music for
1985, R D Burman had only two music hits among his 12 soundtracks,
Saagar and Alag Alag. Mohammed Aziz, a popular Rafi clone of 1980s,
made his debut with Shiva Ka Insaaf (1985) under R D Burman. Nasir
Hussain's Zabardast (1985) became his third flop in a row, along
with Burman's music. Hussain defended Burman to the press: "I
disagree that RD gave weak music in Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (1982)
and Manzil Manzil(1984). He was passing through a lean phase during
Zabardast." Hussain stopped directing films and handed the
reins over to his son Mansoor Khan, who hired other music directors.
Hussain put a positive spin on it at the time by saying, "We
did not ‘drop’ Pancham – Mansoor felt that he
could not possibly tell Pancham Uncle to change his style for
him. Pancham will come back the day I direct again, which I plan
to do soon." But that never happened. The partnership between
Hussain and Burman which had started so strongly nearly twenty
years ago with Teesri Manzil (1966) ended with a thud.
is said to be the worst year of his career. None of his 9 soundtracks
made a mark that year. After 1986, he started getting less work.
The producers who gave him patronage suddenly seemed to have disappeared.
Bappi Lahiri's ' plagiarized ' or lifted, Western Disco tunes
had taken their toll on R D Burman. The year 1987 saw only 5 releases
including the brilliant Ijaazat, which failed to prevent his downfall.
Ijaazat is still considered a matchless score, with classics like
Choti si kahani se, Khaali haath shaam aayi hi, Katra katra and
Mera kuch samaan (which won Asha Bhosle the National Award as
a rare feat, noted lyricist, Gulzar, R.D. Burman and Asha Bhosle,
came together in 1987, to create a double album, titled, Dil Padosi
Hai, which was released on 8 September 1987, Asha Bhosle's birthday.
R D Burman also produced private albums, including one based on
the samba, and also collaborated with Boy George. He has also
composed music for an album called Pantera produced by Pete Gavankar
in 1987 whose lyrics were written by Jose Flores.
saw some four more R D Burman soundtracks of which Libaas had
good songs, but the producer refused to release the film. R D
Burman gave music for 6 more movies in 1989, of which Parinda
and Joshilaay were successful.
R D Burman's last years were not very pleasant. The few films
he composed music for flopped at the box office. Subhash Ghai
promised him Ram Lakhan but gave it instead to Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
This greatly upset Pancham. He suffered from a heart attack in
1988 and underwent heart surgery. During this period, he composed
many tunes, which were never released.
D Burman gave music for few mediocre movies in 1990 (two), 1991
(three) and 1992 (six). In 1994, there were four more releases,
of which 1942: A Love Story (released after his death) has an
unforgettable score. The film won him the third and last of his
Filmfare Awards. The music of Janam Se Pehle (1994) was also composed
by R D Burman. After his death, Ghatak: Lethal (1996) was released.
(2000) was released long after R D Burman's death. He was also
credited for music of few more films after his death. For example,
Monsoon Wedding (credit for Chura liya hai) and Dil Vil Pyaar
Vyaar (2002), which had R D Burman songs "recreated"
by one of his assistants Babloo Chakravorty.
Beats (2003 movie)starring Sanjay Suri, Rahul Bose, Juhi Chawla
& Rinke Khanna was sort of a tribute to RDB, wherein Suri
& Bose play musicians who revere RDB & his music &
whose music is influenced by Burman. There was a remixed version
of Burmans popular Kishore Kumar number "Humein tumse pyaar
kitna" which was integral to the film. Both the films, Dil
Vil Pyaar Vyaar and Jhankaar Beats paid tribute to R.D. Burman,
and his music."Jhankaar Beats" features one of his famous
tunes from the movie, Kudrat while paying tribute to him.
1995, Filmfare Awards, constituted a new award in the memory of
R D Burman, Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent, given
each year, to new music directors and singers in Hindi cinema.
Before that A Indian Television proramme Suuperhit Muqabala's
SUMU Award for R D Burman also started. Though that Award was
not continued in later years as producers of the programme had
some problems. The Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent
is awarded to upcoming music talents.
2008 on 26 April 113 Minute documentary film, titled 'Pancham
Unmixed - Mujhe Chalte Jana Hai', was premiered at IIFLA (ArcLight
Hollywood), in Los Angeles. The film takes an incisive look into
the Pancham’s reflective artistry and buoyant-but-also-lonely
inner being. Featuring a host of close friends, colleagues and
admirers, the film attempts to evoke awe, admiration and nostalgia
the way most of his music does, till date.
Pancham married Rita Patel in 1966, but they were divorced in
1971. He then married Asha Bhonsle in 1980. Together, they recorded
many memorable tunes and also staged many live performances. After
his father died in 1975, he took care of his mother. After Pancham's
death, his mother eventually ended up in an old-age home but returned
to her late son's house to die on 15 October 2007.
had financial difficulties, particularly later in his life. There
have been wide discussions about the disconnect between the success
of his music and his financial success.
Pancham was comfortable with all types of music, be it the romantic
Raat kali from Buddha Mil Gaya (1971), the sexy cabaret Piya tu
ab toh aaja from Caravan (1971), the ultimate hippie anthem Dum
Maro Dum from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1972) or the classical Raina
beeti jaaye. At times, RD doubled up as a singer too. His most
famous song as a singer was Mehbooba from Sholay. This song is
inspired from the song "Say You Love Me" by Demis Roussos.
was a very creative person. His percussion included a spoon against
a glass (Chura liya hai from Yaadon Ki Baaraat), desks (Masterji
ki aa gayee chitthee from Kitaab) a bamboo whistle with a balloon
(Abdullah) and bottles filled with water at different levels (O
maajhi re from Khushboo).
of Pancham's songs were inspired from popular western tunes. For
example,Aao twist karein (Bhoot Bangla) was a direct lift of "Come
lets twist again" by Chubby Checker while Tera mujhse hai
pehle ka naata koi (Aa Gale Lag Ja) is said to be a copy of The
Yellow Rose of Texas by Elvis Presley. Bhali Bhali Si Ek Surat
(from Buddha Mil Gaya) is inspired by "Jump in the Line"
(by Harry Belafonte). Another example is Mamma Mia by ABBA which
inspired the song Mil Gaya Humko Saathi Mil Gaya in Hum Kisi Se
Kum Nahin. The title song, "Bombay-Goa" uses the music
to the Beach Boys song "Help Me Rhonda" (1997).
also adapted folk music from eastern Europe in some of his tunes,
such as the songs in the movie Satte Pe Satta. There have been
discussions regarding the influence of the communist block of
the eastern Europe on Pancham's music.
has also directed music for some regional films, including Bangla,
Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. He also acted in one of the
Bengali film named Gayak (starring Amit Kumar and Debasri Roy),
where RD plays himself and 'discovers' Amit singing on a beach.
Pancham's non-filmi music comprises few albums, including Pantera
- the international album for which he shares credit with Latin
American composer Jose Flores. In the only experiment of its kind[citation
needed] he recorded the light version of Hume tumse pyar kitna
in the voice of playback singer Kishore Kumar while the classical
version in the voice of Parveen Sultana. He recorded a variety
of songs renderd by Kishore Kumar notably the classical song Mere
naina sawan bhado, the sad song Chingari koi bhadake, the philosophical
song Aanewala pal, the piano song Pyar diwana hota hai, the romantic
song O mere dil ke chain, the hummable wonder Raat kali, the separation
song Zindagi ke safar me, the rainy song Rimjhim gire saawan.
He recorded Tum bin jaun kahan in the voices of Kishore Kumar
and Mohd. Rafi separately. Notable musical assistants to Burman
include Manohari Singh and Sapan Chakraborty.
Best Music Director Award Nomination - Caravan (1971)
and meant for information only.
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Yaadon Ki Baraat
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Aap Ki Kasam (1974)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Khel Khel Mein
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Sholay (1975)
Filmfare Award Nomination for Best Male Playback Singer - for
the song "Mehbooba Mehbooba" in Sholay (1975)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Mehbooba (1976)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Hum Kisi Se Kum
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Kinara (1977)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Shalimar (1978)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Shaan (1980)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Love Story (1981)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Sanam Teri Kasam (1982)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award - Masoom (1983)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Betaab (1983)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Jawani (1984)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award Nomination - Saagar (1986)
Filmfare Best Music Director Award - 1942: A Love Story (1994)