RD Burman death anniversary: 5 finest self-rendered songs of Pancham Da you can hear on loop
Renowned music maverick Rahul Dev Burman who was popularly known as Pancham Da won millions of hearts owing to his unique style of composing music. Here are some of the best songs by RD Burman:
'Dhanno ki aankhon mein' (Kitaab):
R D Burman and Gulzar were indeed a very strange and stunning collaborative team. They experimented so deep into the recesses of Burman’s melodic ocean that one never knew what they would come up with. In this song filmed on a moving train, the rhythm is as unpredictable as the lyrics. Burman had once cribbed about Gulzar giving him newspaper headlines as lyrics. 'Dhanno' is a crazily written force of nature. R D’s singing is as zany and wild as the composition. Gulzar once told me this was his favourite RD composition from all the masterpieces that Burman Jr composed for his cinema.
'Mehbooba oh mehbooba' (Sholay):
To be honest I didn’t want to include this song among my favourite Pancham-rendered Pancham compositions. It is not original but copied from a Demis Roussos track 'Say You Love Me'. To be fair, RD gave the dance number his twist. By singing it himself he made 'Mehbooba oh mehbooba' all his own. It was the biggest chartbuster in Sholay sung on screen by Jalal Agha. RD’s peculiar voice could rarely be carried off by our heroes. Exception: Amitabh Bachchan lipsyncing RD’s 'Samundar mein naha ke' in Pukar.
'Yeh zindagi Kuch bhi sahi' (Romance):
This is one of those rare numbers composed and sung by RD which got lost after the film flopped. But it is a beauty, and a joy forever. This is not the first philosophical song that Pancham sang: remember 'Kisne Dekha hai kal' in Kasme Vade? The RD-rendered Romance track is special. It is extraordinarily ruminative and wistful. It is a sighing reminder of the unpredictability of life, almost as if RD could tell he had a short life to live.
'Aaja sunle Sada' (Guru Dev):
Actor Vinod Mehra passed away before his directorial debut could be completed. R D Burman had poured his best into the soundtrack for this Sridevi-Rishi Kapoor-Anil Kapoor starrer. Out of all the songs that RD sang with his better half Asha Bhosle, from 'Piya tu ab toh aaj' (Caravan) to 'Hum tum daddy mummy' (Gunehgar), their duet in Gurudev stood out. Why? Because it went unheard, unsung.
'Oh manjhi teri naiya se chota kinara' (Aar Par):
Whenever I hear R D Burman singing this soul-piercing ode to the vagaries of existence I am reminded of RD’s illustrious father Sachin Dev Burman singing 'O re manji mere sajan hain uss paar' (Bandini) and Kishore Kumar singing the RD composition 'O manjhi re' in Khushboo. In my opinion, this Aar Paar gem sung by RD is the best Hindi song the composer ever sang. Tragically it got relegated to oblivion when Shakti Samanta’s Mithun Chakraborty starrer sank without a trace.
Subhash K Jha is a Patna-based film critic who has been writing about Bollywood for long enough to know the industry inside out. He tweets at @SubhashK_Jha.
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