The R.D. Burman special promises to take you back in time to a golden era
Date: November 21
Venue: Sir Mutha Venkatasubba Rao Concert Hall
Time: 7.15 p.m.
Sa re ga ma pa — Pa for Pancham. That's how maverick composer R. D. Burman was fondly referred to from his childhood. It is said that when he cried, it sounded like the fifth note on the musical scale. How apt for a man whose romance with swaras began very early in life.
He was nine when he composed his first song, Aye meri topi palat ke aa, (“Funtoosh”). Remember the famous maalish song Sar jo tera chakraaye (“Pyaasa”)? It was also composed by the junior Burman as a child. He played the mouth organ in the superhit number, Hai apna dil to awaara, featuring Dev Anand.
Though he had an illustrious music composer (S.D. Burman) for a father, Pancham was determined to chart his own musical course. And, he did it magnificently. He was a trendsetter, who brought in rock ‘n' roll to Hindi film music. His compositions were a wonderful amalgam of Western and Indian melodies. His repertoire includes songs that are peppy, romantic and pathos-filled.
His vast legacy has inspired many music-lovers, musicians and singers to hold concerts in tribute to the genius.
The finale at the November Fest is one such attempt. It will feature his robust and tender compositions that will be presented by singer Karthik with Bennet and the Band, along with singers Mohammed Aslam, Gopal Rao, Shweta Mohan and Kalyani Nair.
On stage will be the 18-member Chennai Strings section to provide full and rich orchestral sound.
The concert will showcase gems such as ‘Jaane Jaan', ‘Dekha Na', ‘Ye Shaam Mastani', ‘Beeti Na Bitayi', ‘O Mere Dil Ke Chain', ‘Mehbooba', ‘Naam Gum Jaayega', ‘Kuch Na Kaho', ‘Jai Jai Shiv Shankar' and ‘Tere Bina Zindagi'.
Although I've heard most of RDB's songs many times before, thanks to this concert, I am looking at them in a different light. The concert has given me an opportunity to understand the magic of his works and his amazing use of Indian and Western instruments.
Pancham-da is my all-time favourite composer, and it has been my cherished dream to sing at a musical nite dedicated to him. His numbers still sound fresh, years after they were composed. I will try to recreate that effect on stage.
I spent most of my childhood in North India, and so, grew up listening to classics. I remember singing many of R.D. Burman's numbers on stage, as a kid. For me, this show of retro numbers is a trip back to my childhood. There's a difference, though. I then sang the songs fearlessly; now, I realise what a challenging task it is to do justice to his compositions.
A die-hard fan of R.D. Burman, I was ecstatic going over the songs for the show. The process of drawing up the list with Karthik was fun and, at the same time, difficult. We had to stop ourselves from turning it into an impromptu jam session of Pancham-da's creations. I can't wait for November 21!
I've watched some spectacular performances at the Fest over the last couple of years, and am excited to be a part of it this time around, sharing the stage with some talented musicians. My parents are big fans of Hindi retro music, R.D. Burman in particular, and through them, I've learnt to enjoy the beauty of the melody and lyrics of these songs. I'm looking forward to an evening of good music.