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R D Burman comes alive in film

Last updated on: November 26, 2009 16:45 IST

R D Burman comes alive in film

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Nithya Ramani in Mumbai

The legendary R D Burman may not be amongst us today but his music will always live on. Music composers like Vishal Bhardwaj and Shantanu Moitra claim to be greatly influenced by his works even today.

As a tribute to the legend, Mumbai-based director-writer Brahmanand Singh has made a film called Pancham Unmixed, unfolding Burman's life as seen through the eyes of those who have been inspired by his music.

At the launch of Pancham Unmixed, Nithya Ramani spoke to singers and composers who have been influenced by the veteran. Don't miss the videos, as film personalities sing their favourite Burman tunes.


Image: Launching Pancham Unmixed

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Amit Kumar, singer

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Panchamda was like my father, my friend, my everything. This film should have been made earlier. It has quotes from many celebrities who have been close to him and I was one of the lucky few. He used to come home and discuss music.

Most of his songs were sung by my father because he would make music keeping my father (Kishore Kumar) in mind. When dad passed away, he had come home and said that his innings was over. I was with Panchamda when he died.

I think he is the greatest musician of all time. There can't be anybody like Panchamda, just like there cannot be anybody like my father.

Panchamda was a peculiar man. I had sung a song called Yaad Aa Rahi Hai in the film Love Story. While recording it in Film Centre in Tardeo, he asked me if I liked the song. It was his song, I was just going to sing it. But he was concerned that I like it. He felt it sounded more like a mandir ka bhajan rather than a romantic song.

When the film released and became a superhit, I told him that the songs did so well, his fears were unnecessary. Still, he stuck to his stand that he didn't like it. He was his own critic. That's R D Burman for you.


Image: Amit Kumar

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Shantanu Moitro, music composer

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I have grown up listening to Panchamda. I've always believed that to be the son of a genius (S D Burman) and then go out and make a name of your own, and become a genius is very tough. He had to consciously move away from his father's shadow and create his own path.

The kind of world music that we understand today is something he did years ago. He used Latin American influences in his percussions and compose off beat songs -- things that no one else dared.

I have never met him and I wish I had.


Image: Shantanu Moitro

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Leslie Lewis, music composer

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Director Brahmanand Singh has done a great service to all music lovers (by directing a film on R D Burman). He has revealed so much about the person and his music.

I have grown up with R D Burman. My father P L Raj was a dance director -- he did films like Sholay, Sargam and Don's Kaike Paan Banaraswala. So I would go with my dad when they composed songs together. I got the opportunity to be with R D Burman and learn his music. When I grew up, I got to play with him and for him.

Once I had gone to Khandala (a hill station near Mumbai) with my guitar. I saw Ashaji (Bhosle) and Panchamda in one of those hotels. He asked me what I was doing in Khandala alone and we sat down to discuss music. Suddenly he called me a rock guitarist. And I felt wow. It felt fantastic to hear such kind of words from him.

We did not always only talk music. We would discuss food as well. He loved good food.

He was a very funny person too, always full of life. There were times when he would suddenly go quiet for a few seconds and you could be sure that some tune was in his mind. He would suddenly disconnect and go into a trance.

I did a remix album for R D Burman because Ashaji told me that Panchamda wanted to cater to the younger generation. I felt very privileged. He could have done it with anyone but he chose me. But before we could do that, he passed away. Ashaji asked me to go ahead because he had wanted to do it with me. So I did the first remix album which had songs like Piya Tu Ab Toh Aaja, Oh Mere Sona and Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Me.


Image: Leslie Lewis

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Vishal Bhardwaj, music composer

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R D Burman was such a great composer that it was impossible for any new composer not to be influenced by his work. The way he used his sur and taal, his energy, his vibes were infectious. I'd met him just once but my relationship with him has lasted years through his music.

I'd met him in an Abida Parveen show. Gulazarsaab had taken me there. The show was fixed by Panchamda and he was receiving all the guests. I met him for two minutes only.

I liked all his songs with Gulzarsaab. Tere Bina Zindagi Mein Koi Shikwa Nahi from Aandhi was the best.


Image: Vishal Bhardwaj

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Brahmanand Singh, director Pancham Unmixed

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Doing a film on Panchamda had been on my mind always but it just didn't work out. I wanted to explore his works and uncover his music. That would have been possible only if I got in touch with composers like Vishal Bhardwaj and Shantanu Moitra, who consider Panchamda as their guru.

It took me four years to collect all the information on R D Burman. I spoke to composers who had worked with him to show the real Panchamda.


Image: Brahmanand Singh

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