Dad's the spirit!


R.D. Burman was rehearsing with Mohammad Rafi for the song ‘Hum Bekhudi Mein', and he guided the singer to render the number in a way he felt was right. Apparently, after listening to the final composition, S.D. Burman was so annoyed that he admonished his son in public. A reflexive R.D. Burman immediately understood his lacunae, and followed his father's instruction, and the song, of course, went on to become a hit.

There are countless anecdotes of S.D. Burman and son R.D. Burman agreeing and disagreeing on compositions. The matchless singer and composer that he was, S.D. Burman wanted his son to be efficient like him. In fact, he'd sent R.D. Burman to learn Indian Classical music from Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and to Salil Chowdhury for the details of music arrangement.

R.D. Burman grew up surrounded by music. He strongly desired to become a singer and composer in the tradition of his illustrious father. A trained harmonica player, he played the instrument effectively for the numbers ‘Hain Apna Dil' and ‘Yaad Aa Gaye', composed by his father. When the bongo player was not able to do justice to the beats of the song ‘Aye Meri Zindagi', R.D. Burman himself played it to his father's baton creating a haunting melody.

He arranged music for almost all his father's compositions till “Guide” and “Jewel Thief”. When he ventured on his own to compose for “Teesri Manzil”, he succeeded immensely. So happy was S.D. Burman that he told his son that people pointed to him as R.D. Burman's father when he was out on a regular morning walk at Bandra.

From the late 60s, father and son started working separately yet maintaining the best of relations. R.D. Burman helped with the background score of “Aradhana” singing ‘Hey Hey' creating a mesmerising effect. He even helped his father by being around at the recording of ‘Meet Na Mila' and ‘Nadiya Kinare' as the latter was not keeping good health.

For a number of his own compositions such as ‘Sharm Aati Hain Magar', ‘Isi Liye Maine' and ‘Raina Beet Ja', he received the best guidance of his father. It was believed that father and son were not exactly on talking terms after R.D. Burman composed for “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”. It was a misconception. R.D. Burman wanted to follow his own line of creation he had mastered over the years. S.D. Burman never interfered, and gave his son the liberty to move on.

Father and son, along with Lata Mangeshkar, rendered the unforgettable number ‘Raina Soi Soi' with the ideal blend of Naga folklore and Western beats. Though R.D. Burman was very effective, he was said to be pleased that his father outclassed him and the nightingale in sheer singing ability and delivery of lyrics musically.

A different effect

S.D. Burman created a musical effect in the song ‘Pyase Do Badan' with saxophone, 12-string guitar and trombone, which spell-bound R.D. Burman, who agreed he could have never utilised Asha Bhonsle's voice so magically and sensuously. He's said to have listened to the song again and again to note the arrangement.

S.D. Burman and Salil Chowdhury apparently used to enjoy it whenever R.D. Burman declared Salil Chowdhury his musical guru, and not his father. Salil Chowdhury used to rebuke his student, and an apologetic R.D. Burman would look to his father for rescue, who would promptly bless his son and son's ‘guru'.

No wonder on October 31, 1975, when S.D. Burman breathed his last, R.D. Burman called up Salil Chowdhury and cried he had lost the banyan tree under which he grew. Salil Chowdhury obviously had no words to console him. When R.D. Burman passed away on January 4, 17 years ago, Salil Chowdhury is said to have cried in anguish: “Regal music in Hindi films has come to an end. The contribution of the Burmans to Hindi film music is unique in their own dimensions, very difficult to touch.”

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 4:41:01 PM |

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