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Monday, January 19, 2015

R. D. Burman

Rahul Dev Burman (Bengali pronunciation: Rahu Deb Bôrmon; 27 June 1939 – 4 January 1994) was an Indian film score composer, who is considered one of the seminal music directors of the Indian film industry.

From the 1960s to the 1990s, RD Burman composed musical scores for 331 movies. He was mainly active in the Hindi film industry as a composer, and also provided vocals for a few of compositions. RD Burman did major work with Asha Bhosle (his wife) and Kishore Kumar, and scored many of the songs that made these singers famous. In addition, he scored many timeless songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar. He served as an influence to the next generation of Indian music directors and his songs continue to be popular in India even after his death.


Burman's first hit movie as a film music director was Teesri Manzil (1966). Burman gave credit to lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri for recommending him to Nasir Hussain, the producer and writer of the film. Vijay Anand also said that he had arranged a music session for Burman before Nasir Hussain. Teesri Manzil had six songs, all of which were written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, and sung by Mohammed Rafi. Four of these were duets with Asha Bhosle, whom Burman later married. Nasir Hussain went on to sign RD Burman and lyricist Majrooh Sultanpuri for six of his films including Baharon Ke Sapne (1967), Pyar Ka Mausam (1969) and Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973). Burman's score forzsos Padosan (1968) was well received. Meanwhile, he continued to work as his father's assistant for movies like Jewel Thief (1967) and Prem Pujari (1970).
The superhit Kishore Kumar song Roop tera mastana from Aradhana (1969), though credited to his father, is rumoured to have been RD Burman's composition. Kora Kagaz tha Yeh Man Mera from the same film was also his tune. It is believed that when SD Burman fell ill during the recording of the film's music, RD Burman took over and completed the music. He was credited as an associate composer for the film.



RD Burman has been credited with revolutionizing the Bollywood music. He incorporated a wide range of influences from several genres in his scores. Burman's career coincided with the rise of Rajesh Khanna-starrer youth love stories. He made electronic rock popular in these popular love stories. He often mixed disco and rock elements with Bengali folk music He also used jazz elements, which had been introduced to him by the studio pianist Kersi Lord.
According to Douglas Wolk, RD Burman "wrapped sugary string swoops around as many ideas as he could squeeze in at once". Biswarup Sen describes his popular music as one featuring multicultural influences, and characterized by "frenetic pacing, youthful exuberance and upbeat rhythms".
RD Burman was influenced by Western, Latin, Oriental and Arabic music, and incorporated elements from these in his own music. He also experimented with different musical sounds produced from methods such as rubbing sand paper and knocking bamboo sticks together. He blew into beer bottles to produce the opening beats of Mehbooba, Mehbooba. Similarly, he used cups and saucers to create the tinkling sound for the song Churaliya Hai from the film Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973) For Satte Pe Satta (1982), he made the singer Annette Pinto gargle to produce a background sound.
On multiple occasions, RD Burman experimented with recording the same song with different singers. For Kudrat (1981), he recorded the light version of the song Hume tumse pyar kitna in the voice of Kishore Kumar, while the classical version was recorded in the voice of Parveen Sultana. In Pyar Ka Mausam (1969), he recorded the song Tum bin jaun kahan in the voices of Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi separately.

RD Burman sometimes used the Western dance music as a source of inspiration for his compositions. As was common in Bollywood, some of his songs featured the tunes of popular foreign songs. Often, the filmmakers forced him to copy these tunes for the soundtracks, resulting in allegations of plagiarism. For example, Ramesh Sippy insisted that the tune of the traditional Cyprus song Say You Love Me (arranged and sung by Demis Roussos) be used for Mehbooba Mehbooba (Sholay, 1975), and Nasir Hussain wanted to use ABBA's Mamma Mia for Mil gaya hum ko sathi. Other examples of RD Burman songs inspired by foreign numbers include Aao twist karein from Bhoot Bangla (Chubby Checker's "Let's Twist"), Tumse milke (Leo Sayer's When I Need You), and Zindagi milke bitaayenge (Paul Anka's The Longest Day) and Jahan teri yeh nazar hai (Persian artist Zia Atabi's Heleh maali) and Dilbar mere (Alexandra's Zigeunerjunge).



Several Hindi movies made after RD Burman's death contain his original songs or their remixed versions. Dil Vil Pyar Vyar (2002), which contains several re-arranged hit songs of Burman, was made as a tribute to him. Jhankaar Beats (2003), which catapulted the music director duo Vishal-Shekhar into the limelight, is also a tribute to him. In Khwahish (2003), Mallika Sherawat's character is an RD Burman fan; the movie features repeated references to RD Burman. In 2010, Brahmanand Singh released a 113-minute documentary titled Pancham Unmixed: Mujhe Chalte Jaana Hai, which received critical acclaim. The music of Lootera (2013) is a tribute to RD Burman. Other films which credit RD Burman include Gang (2000) and Monsoon Wedding (2001, for Chura liya hai).
A number of Indian remix albums feature RD Burman's songs, which are also popular in the country's pubs and discos. Several of his compositions were re-mixed by the South Asian DJs in the United Kingdom and North America, and feature in popular albums such as Bally Sagoo's Bollywood Flashback. Kronos Quartet's You've Stolen My Heart (2005) contains RD Burman's compositions sung by his wife Asha Bhosle. In the 2012 film Khiladi 786, the Himesh Reshammiya-composed song Balma is also a tribute to R.D. Burman.

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