R.D. Burman joined his father S.D. Burman in 1955. He was just 18 years and began as an assistant music director with Guru Dutt‘s classic film Kaagaz Ke Phool and continued assisting his father till 1975 when his father expired. The highpoint of R.D. Burman was that though he had become an independent music director in 1961 with the film Chote Nawab and earned stardom after the huge success of Teesri Manzil but he kept assisting his father in his films. Pancham assisted in several hit films like Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958), Kaagaz Ke Phool(1959), Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962), Bandini (1963), Meri Surat Teri Ankhen (1963), Guide (1965), Jewel Thief (1967), Aradhana (1969) and Talash (1969).
What is interesting is that in many films which have music by S.D. Burman, one can find the hidden contribution of his son, R.D. Burman. For instance, everybody knows that Dev Anand and S.D. Burman was a hit pair. However, when Dev Anand started his most ambitious film Guide, suddenly, S.D. Burman, fell sick. He was so sick that doctors advised him bed rest for many months. Hence S.D. Burman humbly persuaded Dev Anand to opt for another music director. But Dev Anand was adamant. Watching their attachment R.D. Burman created the song Gaata Rahe Mera Dil… to help Dev Anand start the film’s shooting. Incidentally, the song turned out a chartbuster of the year.
Similarly, the path-breaking sensual number Roop Tera Mastana… from the film Aradhana (1969) that made Rajesh Khanna a superstar is actually a composition of R.D. Burman. In an interview, Amit Kumar exposed the truth. Recalling his younger days Amit Kumar said that he had accompanied his papa (Kishore Kumar) for the sitting of the song at S.D. Burman ‘s residence. However, on reaching home he saw that filmmaker Shakti Samanta was not convinced by a folk tune composed by S.D. Burman. Samanta wanted a sensual and romantic tune while S.D. Burman ‘s tune did not suit the scene where the hero and heroine are trapped in a house on a rainy night at a hill station.
While Samanta and S.D. Burman were involved in a heated argument, R.D. Burman, coolly created a tune and cajoled Kishore Kumar to sing. When Kishore sang the song, Shakti Samanta jumped into excitement and was bowled over by the genius of R.D. Burman. Later, Shakti Samanta, signed R.D. Burman for all his further films like Kati Patang, Amar Prem, Mehbooba, Ajnabee, Balika Badhu etc.
In the mid-70’s R.D. Burman was at his peak with hit films like Yaadon Ki Baaraat (1973), Aap Ki Kasam (1974), Sholay (1975) and Aandhi (1975) becoming big hits. He was so busy that film producer made a beeline to sign him. Suddenly his father S.D. Burman went into a coma and soon died. After his death despite busy schedules, R.D. Burman completed the incomplete music of S.D. Burman in Amitabh –Jaya hit film Mili (1975). R.D. Burman recorded 3 songs for Mili and interestingly, he lived up to his father’s music standards!!