How do you remember Pancham? The pioneer of fusion in Hindi film music: the maverick composer who recognised Kishore Kumar’s versatility and helped create the Rajesh Khanna phenomenon in the swinging ’70s? Or the doubtful, forlorn figure who vanished to the periphery to public memory only to create one final golden score that would him back into the limelight, ironically, after his death? RD Burman aka Pancham, was all these and then some.
A new biographical tome on the popular music director borders on a hagiography. The author Khagesh Dev Burman, related to Rahul Dev Burman, glosses over his foibles and charges of plagiarism.
But he does manage to provide a few brilliant glimpses into what motivated the musical genius who gave us Chura liya hai, Dum maro dum, Duniya mein logon ko, Yamma Yamma, Ek chatur naar, Mere saamne wali khidki mein, Kuch na kaho, Tere bina zindagi se koi and Naam gum jayega, to name just some unforgettable numbers that continue to rule music charts and the people’s hearts 21 years after his death.
RD Burman: The Prince of Music, Rupa, 543 pages, Rs 795
From HT Brunch, September 6
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