Today is RD Burman’s 68th birth anniversary. Diganta Guha speaks to Amitabh Bachchan who had a great association with him.
When did you first meet RD Burman and what struck you?
I think it was with Mehmood bhai. They were very close. It was Mehmood bhai who gave Panchamda his first break as an independent music director. Later, of course, he became close to Jaya (Bachchan). Many of his teams were from Bengal.
Jaya was in constant touch with them, particularly during the Puja. He was a very chilled out, funny and mischievous person. Extremely warm and endearing. Loved to joke and always had a smiling disposition.
People talk of the Rajesh Khanna-RD Burman or Dev Anand-RD Burman combinations. You did 21 films with him and he had some of his biggest hits with you…
People are right. His compositions in films with Dev saheb and Rajesh Khanna are legendary. They were pure magic.
They contain the subtlety, purity and aesthetic quality of Bengal, yet the exuberance of a modern world enveloped in the fantasised commercial Hindi cinema of Mumbai. I am fortunate to have had some very memorable hits from him, but his works with Dev saheb and Rajesh Khanna were far superior.
<b1>What made RD special?
He had the great quality of mixing classical, folk and modern music at will. Today his music lives on with even greater gusto — a recognised quality of a genius. Some during his lifetime perhaps were unable to appreciate or fathom his talent.
Some are of the view that RD Burman surpassed SD Burman. Do you agree?
I disagree. SD Burman was divine. Pancham was more flamboyant and more youthful. I doubt if even Panchamda would have endorsed this.
Five of your favourite RD tracks?
The ones with Hrishida (Hrishikesh Mukherjee), another with Basuda (Basu Chatterjee) and the Kaalia number Jahan teri yeh nazar hai. Very few know that this was a composition that he and I sat together on after I had heard a Persian tune and we worked to imbibe a few notes that we liked on that number.
You are in the
Sholay remake and RD is no more. There must be a vacuum...
Yes, of course. The original will always remain a masterpiece.
One film where RD scored the music you would have loved to be part of?
Amar Prem with Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore and directed by Shakti Samanta...the remake of the Bengali film, Nishipadma. Incredible music. Everlasting.