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Kumar Shri Sachin Dev Burman (1 October 1906 - 31 October 1975), also credited as Burman da, Kumar Sachindra Dev Barman, Sachin karta or S. D. Burman, was one of the most famous music composers for Hindi movies and a Bengali singer and composer. His son Rahul Dev Burman also achieved great success as a Bollywood music director in his own right. S D Burman composed music for 100 movies, including Bengali films.

S.D. Burman's compositions have been mainly sung to a large extent by the likes of Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Geeta Dutt, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle and Shamshad Begum. Mukesh and Talat Mahmood have also sung songs composed by him. He also sang about 20 film songs (inclusive of Bengali films) for which he composed music though he may not have been the music director of the films.

Early life

S. D. Burman was born on 1 October 1906, in Comilla, British India, now in Bangladesh, to Nirmala Devi and Nabadwipchandra Dev Burman, the second son of 'Ishanachandra Dev Burman', Raja of Tripura, (r. 1849-1862). Sachin was the youngest of the five sons, of his parents, who had nine children in all.

He began his training in classical music under his father, who was a sitarist and Dhrupad singer. He did his B.A. from Calcutta University He started his formal music education by training under the famous musician K. C. Dey from 1925 to 1930; thereafter in 1932 he came under the tutelage of Bhismadev Chattopadhaya, who was only three years his senior. This was followed by training from Kahifa Badal Khan, Sarangi player, and Ustad Allauddin Khan. Eventually he got K.C. Dey, Ustad Badal Khan and Allauddin Khan into Agartala, noted Bengal poet laureate, Kazi Nazrul Islam also spent time in their family home, Comilla House, in Agartala.


He started working as a radio singer on Calcutta Radio Station in 1932, where his early work was based on East Bengali and Tripuri folk-music, and soon made a reputation for himself in folk and light classical music, consequently his film compositions were often influenced by his huge repertory of folk-tunes from the Bengali, Bhatiali, Sari and Dhamail traditions of Tripura Kingdom. In the same year, his first record was also released (Hindustan Musical Product), with "Khamaj" semi classical, E Pathery Aaj Eso Priyo on one side and the folk Dakle Kokil Roj Bihane on the reverse side" on 78 rpm for Hindustan Records. In the following decade he reached his peak as a singer, cutting as many as 131 songs in Bengali, and also sang for composers like Himangsu Dutta, RC Boral, Nazrul Islam and Sailesh Das Gupta.

In 1934, he attended the All India Music Conference, at the invitation of Allahabad University, where he presented his Bengali Thumri, at to an illustrious audience, with the likes of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and the inimitable Abdul Karim Khan of Kirana Gharana. Later in the year he was invited to Bengal Music Conference, Kolkata, which was inaugurated by Rabindranath Tagore, here again he sang his thumri, and was awarded a Gold Medal.

He built a house, in Southend Park, Ballygunge, Kolkata, and in 1937, at the All India Music Conference, Allahabad, he met a music student at Rabindranath Tagore’s Shantiniketan, Meera Dasgupta (1923-2007), the granddaughter of Justice Raibahadur Kamalnath Dasgupta from Dhaka; soon she became his student and they married on 10 February 1938 in Calcutta, though having married a non-royal, created a furor within the royal family, and subsequently he severed his ties with the family, and forfeited his inheritance. The couple's only child, Rahul Dev Burman was born in 1939, and later, both Meera Devi and Rahul assisted, S.D. Burman with some of the musical compositions. S D Burman also did a singing role in Urdu film Selima (1934) and another role in Dhiren Ganguli's film, Bidrohi (1935).

As a music composer, he started with Bengali plays, Sati Tirtha and Janani, and eventually gave his first score in film, Rajgee in 1937, his second film Rajkumarer Nirbashan (1940) became a hit, there was no turning back after that. He gave successful music in Bengali films like, Jevaan Sangini, Protishodh (1941), Abhoyer Biye (1942), and Chaddobeshi (1944), he continued giving music in Bengali cinema, even after he moved to Bombay in 1944, and started the second inning of his musical career, giving music for over 17 Bengali films in the all.

He made his film debut singing in Yahudi ki Ladki (1933) but the songs were scrapped and re-sung by Pahari Sanyal. His first film as a singer was finally Sanjher Pidim (1935).


In 1944, he moved to Bombay, at the request of Sasadhar Mukherjee of Filmistan, who asked him to give score for two Ashok Kumar starrers, Shikari (1946) and Aath Din, but his first major breakthrough came the following year with the company's Do Bhai (1947). The song Mera Sundar Sapna Beet Gaya sung by Geeta Dutt was her breakthrough song into the film industry. In 1949, came Shabnam, his biggest hit yet with Filmistan, especially noticeable for its multi-lingual hit song Yeh Duniya Roop ki Chor, by Shamshad Begum, which became a rage in those days.


Disillusioned with the materialism of Bombay, S D Burman left the Ashok Kumar starrer Mashaal (1950) incomplete and decided to board the first train back to Calcutta. Fortunately, he was dissuaded from doing so.

In 1950s, S D Burman teamed up with Dev Anand's Nav Ketan Productions to create musical hits like Taxi Driver (1954), Munimji (1955), Paying Guest (1957), Nau Do Gyarah (1957) and Kalapani (1958). The songs sung by Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar became popular. Burman da composed the music for Dev Anand's production company Navketan's first film Afsar (1950). With the success of their second film, Baazi (1951) he made it to the top and a long association with Navketan and Dev Anand was on its way. "Baazi"'s jazzy musical score revealed a new facet of singer Geeta Dutt, who was mainly known for melancholy songs and bhajans. While every song in the film was a hit, one stood out for special appeal - "Tadbir se Bigdi Hui Taqdeer", a ghazal that was occidentalized into a seductive song.

He also wrote music for the Guru Dutt classics - Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959). The soundtrack of Devdas (1955) was also composed by him. House No. 44 (1955), Funtoosh (1956), and Solva Saal (1958) were other S D Burman hits. In 1959 came Sujata, a masterpiece by Bimal Roy, and S D created magic again with "Jalte hai jiske liye" by Talat Mamood. When Guru Dutt made comparatively light-weight films like Baazi and Jaal (1952), Burmanda reflected their mood with compositions like Suno Gajar Kya Gaye or De Bhi Chuke Hum and when Guru Dutt made his somber masterpieces - Pyaasa (1957) and Kaagaz ke Phool (1959), he was right on target with Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind and Waqt ne Kiya Kya Haseen Sitam. In 2004, the soundtrack for Pyaasa was chosen as one of "The Best Music in Film" by Sight & Sound, the British Film Institute magazine.

In 1957, S D Burman fell out with Lata Mangeshkar and adopted her younger sister Asha Bhosle as his lead female singer. The team of S D Burman, Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle and lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri became popular for their duet songs. Thus, he was responsible along with O.P. Nayyar for shaping Asha Bhosle as a singer of repute, who became his daughter-in-law after she married Rahul Dev Burman .

In 1958, S D Burman gave music for Kishore Kumar's house production Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, the same year he was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Music direction, and remains the only music director to have won the prestigious award.


Early on in his career, he refused to allow his voice be lip-synced on film by actors, as a result, even later on, in Hindi cinema, his thin yet powerful voice was often used as bardic commentary to haunting results, as in Ore Majhi Mere Sajan Hai Us Paar Bandini (1963), Wahaan Kaun hai Tera from "Guide" (1965) and finally Safal Hogi Teri Aradhana from Aradhana (1969), for which he received the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the year 1970 .

Ill health caused a slump in his career in the early 1960s but he gave many hit films in late 1960s. In 1961, S D Burman and Lata Mangeshkar came together during the recording of R D Burman's first song for the movie Chhote Nawab (1961). They reconciled their differences and started working again in 1962.

The Dev Anand-S D Burman partnership, under Navketan banner, continued to churn out musical hits like Bambai Ka Babu (1960), Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963), Teen Devian (1965), Guide (1965) and Jewel Thief (1967). In 1963, he composed songs for Meri Surat Teri Aankhen and Manna Dey sang the song "Poocho Na Kaise Maine" in raga Ahir Bhairav. This song is based on a Bengali composition by Kazi Nazrul Islam, Aruno-kaanti ke go jogi bhikaari, based on raga bhairavi (morning raga).

Other S D Burman hits from this period were Bandini (1963) and Ziddi (1964). In Bandini, Sampooran Singh (well known as Gulzar), made his debut as a lyricist with the song "Mora Gora Ang lai le, mohe shaam rang daai de". Guide (1965) starring Dev Anand, was probably the best of his work during the time with all the songs super hit as well as the film; but unfortunately it did not receive the Filmfare award in best music director category for that year, which remained always a discussion among the Bollywood film pandits.

Aradhana (1969) is considered a landmark score in the Bollywood history. The music of the movie shaped the careers of singer Kishore Kumar, lyricist Anand Bakshi, filmmaker Shakti Samanta and R D Burman (associate music director). For the song "Mere Sapnon ki raani", Sachin Dev made R.D play the mouth organ[citation needed]. It was responsible in Kishore Kumar's second coming and went on to make him the top male playback singer of Hindi Films.

Dev Anand and S D Burman continued their musical partnership in Prem Pujari (1969).

S D Burman was a frank and outspoken man, with a strong sense of self-pride. He openly criticized people whom he disliked or whose abilities he suspected (like the singer Mukesh). But he was widely respected by the industry as a cranky genius.


Tere Mere Sapne (1971), Sharmilee (1971), Abhimaan (1973), Prem Nagar (1974), Sagina (1974), Chupke Chupke (1975), and Mili (1975) are other classics from this period.

S D Burman went into coma soon after recording the song Badi sooni sooni (sung by Kishore Kumar) for the film Mili. He died on 31 October 1975 in Bombay (now Mumbai).

On 1 October 2007, marking his 101st birth anniversary, India postal department released a commemorative postage stamp, in Agartala, where an exhibition on his life and work was also inaugurated; the state government of Tripura, also confers the yearly, 'Sachin Dev Burman Memorial Award' in Music.

Cultural references

British singer of South Asian heritage, Najma Akhtar, recorded a Shanachie Records CD of Burman's work, Forbidden Kiss: The Music of S.D. Burman, an album of covers of Burman compositions.

The Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar was named after the composer by Sachin's grandfather, who was an ardent fan of S. D. Burman.

The singer and mimicry artist Sudesh Bhonsle frequently parodies the nasal high-pitched voice and idiosyncratic singing style of S. D. Burman.


Rajgee (1937)
Jakher Dhan (1939)
Jevaan Sangini (1940)
Protishodh (1941)
Abhoyer Biye (1942)
Chaddobeshi (1944)
Shikari (1945)
Aath Din (1946)
Shabnam (1949)
Baazi (1951)
Jaal (1952)
Baaz (1953)
Taxi Driver (1954)
Munimji (1954)
Devdas (1955)
Pyaasa (1957)
Nau Do Gyarah (1957)
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
Solva Saal (1958)
Kaagaz Ke Phool (1959)
Sujata (1959)
Kala Bazar (1960)
Bambai Ka Babu (1960)
Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962)
Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963)
Bandini (1963)
Ziddi (1964)
Guide (1965)
Jewel Thief (1967)
Prem Pujari (1969)
Aradhana (1969)
Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970)
Sharmilee (1971)
Naya Zamana (1971)
Tere Mere Sapne (1971)
Anuraag (1972)
Phagun (1973)
Jugnu (1973)
Chhupa Rustam (1973)
Abhimaan (1973)
Phagun (1973)
Prem Nagar (1974)
Zameer (1974)
Sagina (1974)
Chupke Chupke (1975)
Mili (1975)

Awards and recognitions

1934: Gold Medal, Bengal All India Music Conference, Kolkata 1934
1958: Sangeet Natak Akademi Award
1958: Asia Film Society Award

National Film Awards

1970: National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer: Aradhana: Safal Hogi Teri Aradhana
1974: National Film Award for Best Music Direction: Zindagi Zindagi
1969: Padma Shri

Filmfare Awards

1954: Filmfare Best Music Director Award: Taxi Driver
1973: Filmfare Best Music Director Award: Abhimaan
1959: Filmfare Best Music Director Award: Sujata: Nomination
1965: Filmfare Best Music Director Award: Guide: Nomination
1969: Filmfare Best Music Director Award : Aradhana: Nomination
1970: Filmfare Best Music Director Award: Talaash: Nomination
1974: Filmfare Best Music Director Award: Prem Nagar : Nomination

BFJA Awards

1965: Best Music (Hindi Section): Teen Deviyan
1966: Best Music (Hindi Section): Guide
1966: Best Male Playback Singer (Hindi Section): Guide
1969: Best Music (Hindi Section): Aradhana
1973: Best Music (Hindi Section): Abhimaan


Sourced from wikipedia and meant for information only.
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