On June 27, the nation remembered the music Monarch R.D. Burman on his 80th birth anniversary. As a tribute to the legendary music director, Indian Film Industry (IFH) salutes his genius and enlightens readers about the hidden facts of the R.D. Burman in a weeklong six-part series.
The key reason behind the genius of Rahul Dev Burman aka R.D. Burman in music was that he inherited music in the blood. He was the son of the Music Sensation S.D. Burman (Sachin Dev Burman) who gave immortal music in several hit films like Taxi Driver, Abhimaan, Paying Guest, Pyaasa, Nau Do Gyarah, Guide, Aradhana, Prem Nagar, etc. The list is endless.
R.D. Burman displayed his genius in music from his birth. Unlike other children, he cried in musical rhythm. Legends have it that veteran actor Ashok Kumar, who was also a singer and had knowledge of music happened to hear R.D. Burman crying and noticed him uttering the syllable ‘Pa’. It may be noted Pa is the fifth note on G scale of the music notation (Saregama…). Hence Ashok Kumar suggested the nickname Pancham, which became so popular that till his demise he was called Pancham.
As a kid, Pancham had a liking for music. Hence at a young age he started learning Sarod from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Pancham also learned to play Tabla from Tabla Ustaad Samta Prasad. He was also a huge fan of music composer Salil Chowdhury and regarded his guru. He honed his skills under the strict observant eyes of his legendary music director father, Sachin Dev Burman.
Interestingly, he was such a genius that at the tender age of 9 he composed his very own composition Aye Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa, which he played to his father S.D. Burman. He appreciated him. Incidentally, actor Dev Anand was also listening and he was excited at the tune. Since he was producing the film Funtoosh (1956) with music director S.D. Burman, Dev Anand asked him to use Pancham‘s composition in his film. The song was a huge hit.
Similarly, at the age of 10 years, Pancham had composed the super hit composition of the song Sar Jo Tera Chakraaye (Pyaasa). In addition, Pancham also played various musical instruments with élan. You must have heart the famous song, Hai Apna Dil To Aawara…. (Solva Saal) starring Dev Anand and must have been impressed by the mouth –organ. Well, the mouth –organ was played by Pancham when he was 12 years old!!! In fact, in the film Dosti (1964), the popular mouth-organ played by the handicap boy was played by Pancham for music director Laxmikant Pyrelal.
When he turned 18 years, his father asked him about selecting his career. He told his father frankly, “I love music and I have the ability to compose songs so I am definitely going to become a music director.” His father loved his confidence and made him his assistant. Thus from the age of 18, Pancham began his journey in Bollywood!