After film curtain raisers, there was one organised for a book on the legendary music composer from the 1970s, RD Burman, fondly remembered as Panchamda. RD Burman— The Man, The Music will not be in the bookstores until April, but authors Aniruddha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal, and the publisher decided to read from the book at the on-going Kala Ghoda in the city.
Written by first timers, the book focuses on the stories behind the music genius’s compositions. And if that’s not enough, there’s also a chapter on his background score, most notably from the cult classic, Sholay. At the book reading of their work-in-progress, the two authors opted to have a power-point presentation. “Just reading passages is too literary and niche. But Pancham-da’s music has its own charm, so we decided to have a music café kind of feel for the reading session,” says the Delhi-based Vittal, who works with the Royal Bank of Scotland.
On the choice of passages they were reading, Vittal revealed that they had picked different films from different decades to highlight the versatility of the music composer. “If there is Bhoot Bangla and Teesri Manzil from the 1960s, we chose Amar Prem, Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Sholay from the ’70s. For the ’80s, we opted for Namkeen, and the Pancham-Gulzar relationship during that decade,” he reveals.
Since no book is complete without extensive research, Vittal and Bhattacharjee met Panchamda’s close associates from the industry. “Shammi Kapoor has penned the introduction, while Javed Akhtar has written the foreword and Vidhu Vinod Chopra has helped us with extensive information about how Panchamda went about composing songs since 1942— A Love Story was the last film he worked on,” says Vittal, adding that the idea came about in July 2008. T he duo also sourced information from Rishi and Randhir Kapoor, Usha Uthup, Dev Anand, SP Balasubramanium and Kishore Kumar’s son, singer Amit Kumar. “Anirudha suggested a book on RD’s music, and I seconded his thought,” recalls Vittal, who along with his friend, met all the musicians in Burman’s team, including Sunil Kaushik, Homi Mullan, Kesri Lord and Ramesh Iyer, who also read a passage from the book at Kala Ghoda.