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Remembering Rahul Dev Burman The Singer On His Birthday

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Music was a gift bequeathed to Rahul Dev Burman by his father, Sachin Dev Burman. If Burman Dada immortalised himself with his two manjhi songs — O re manjhi (Bandini) and Sun mere bandhu re (Sujata) — Burman Baba belted out O manjhi teri naiyya se chhoota kinara in that long-forgotten river-bank(rupt) bilingual Aar Paar directed by Shakti Samanta.

This timeless manjhi song proved that Papa and Burman Jr were sailing in the same boat. Sadly, by the time RD’s boat sailed into the 1980s, it developed a leak. If the song hadn’t gone unnoticed, RD would surely have sung more such reflective quasi-philosophical songs.

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Doubtless, the distinctive voice of R.D. Burman was capable of conveying the emotional of a lyric as well, if not better than some male playback singers who sang for him. This is specially true of RD’s tunes for Amit Kumar. In the popular Bade achhe lagte hain (Balika Badhu), Amit’s voice synchronises so well with RD’s that listeners can scarcely tell when Pancham stealthily slips into the number with the boatman’s clarion call O manjhi re jaiyo piya ke des… R.D. Burmanoften contributed key lines to his compositions without claiming credit. Though the legendary cabaret number Piya tu ab to aaja in Caravan is credited only to Asha Bhosle, Pancham’s banshee cries of Monica o my darling have rooted the number in the public’s mind.

In the hauntingly bare Kishore Kumar-Lata Mangeshkar love duet Hum dono do premee duniya chhod chale (Ajnabi), the composer chips in as the bystander at the railway station to ask where the fugitive lovers are off to.

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In Lata’s version of Phoolon ka taron ka sab ka kehna hai (Hare Rama Hare Krishna), Pancham sings for ‘Daddy’ Kishore Sahu — with Daddy ka mummy ka sabka kehna hai ek hazaron mein teri behna hai… These incidental vocal appearances verify Pancham’s casual yet unforgettable artistry.

Recalls Gulzar, “Pancham was an excellent singer. He knew the nuances of classical singing. For my films, he sang only a couple of songs. But he lent his voice even so often. For instance, in Jabbar Patel’s Musafir, the boatman’s voice-over, is Pancham! As a singer, he would perfect a tune by singing it repeatedly. In the album that I did with him in 1994, listen to how well he has sang the numbers Raah pe rahte hain and Koi diya jale kahin (later rendered by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, respectively).

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Then in Dil Padosi Hai, the original soundtracks by Pancham before they were dubbed by Asha Bhosle are superb. They show his range as a singer.

The solos and duets that R.D. Burman sang in the ’70s asserted his growing reputation as a rock-`n’-roll renegade. Somehow the serious songs sung by Pancham (such as the manjhi number in Aar Paar) never got their due. The hits that Pancham sang were almost invariably gimmicky.

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With Mohammed Rafi, RD was heard in his element in the yummy Yamma yamma number in Shaan. RD’s most memorable duet of male bonding was the zany jazz-tinged title song of Gol Maal. Sung with Sapan Chakravarty, the song’s verve is unmatched by any other song of male bonding in the ’80s except perhaps Jaan-e-Jigar, the groovy Goan gaana that RD `dared’ to duet with his favourite male singer, Kishore Kumar in Pukaar.

Whenever R.D. Burman went solo, he made sure it was a song that needed his voice, and no one else’s. Incredibly, the all-time favourite Mehbooba oh mehbooba (Sholay), might not have been sung by Pancham at all. At first, this vibrant sexy titillator was to be sung by Asha Bhosle. When Jalal Agha was brought into the picture to lend a vocal drizzle to Helen’s sizzle, R.D. Burman was considered by Javed Akhtar, Anand Bakshi and Ramesh Sippy as the best bet for this number inspired by a Demis Roussos chart-topper.

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Equally accomplished was Pancham’s interpretation of the locomotive rhythms of Dhanno ki aankhon mein raat ka surma. Gulzar’s words in Kitaab were transported to a wonderland of images. It became a voyage of self-discovery for Pancham. Equally devil-may-care was RD’s interpretation of the number Kal kya hoga kisko pataa (Kasme Vaade) and Samundar mein naha ke (Pukar).

PAIN GAINS

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And how elegantly Pancham wore the shirt of hurt into the two Nasir Hussain musicals Hum Kisise Kam Nahin and Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai. In the ever-young songs Tum kya jaano mohabbat kya hai and Dil lena khel hai dildar ka, R.D. walked tall over a terrain of pain.

The most meditative solo melody that Pancham sang was Yeh zindagi kuchh bhi sahi in the flop Kumar Gaurav-Poonam Dhillon starrer, Romance, containing some of RD’s best compositions ever. The emotional grip of the lyrical delivery rivals Kabhi palkon pe aansoon which Kishore Kumar sang for R.D. Burman in Harjaee.

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ROMANCE SOULS

With his singing soul companion Asha Bhosle, R.D. created a dense romantic atmosphere. Though they sang no more than seven or eight full-fledged duets, the slender repertoire created a voluminous impression because of their impact.

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The first duet that R.D. and Asha sang was O meri jaan main ne kahaa (The Train). The Rajesh Khanna-R.D. Burman team that bloomed in the ’70s was in its infancy when R.D. composed and sang with Asha for The Train. The film had two strikingly original-sounding solos Gulabi aankhen by Mohammed Rafi and Kis liye maine pyar kiya by Lata. Inadvertently, the RD-Asha duet was left out, sidetracked.

R.D. Burman and Asha Bhosle had their revenge the very next year when their uptempo number outpaced all other chartbusters of Apna Desh. Their heat-and-run number? The high-pitched ode to raunch — Duniya mein logon ko dhokha kabhi ho jaata hai. The number stressed the outlandishness of Pancham’s vocals. Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz were dressed as a couple of freakos in this climactic song.

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Just when you thought they were the ’70s version of Sonny and Cher, belying all expectations, the RD-Asha pair hit an all-time high of emotional expression in Sapna mera toot gaya in Khel Khel Mein. While Kishore Kumar accompanied Asha in all the frothy fun duets in the film, R.D.Burman stepped in to create waves in this memorable song of parting and remembrance.

Peculiar, passionate and palpably Pancham is Na jaa jaan-e-jaan that largely ignored, scene stealer RD-Asha duet in Joshilay. Here and in the disco-very-very special of the ’80s, Jaan-e-jaan o meri jaan-e-jaan in Sanam Teri Kasam, Pancham stepped back into the shadows to let Asha `squeal’ the limelight. But his contribution to the two duets is like a mistletoe decorating a Christmas tree.

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The last duet that R.D. Burman sang with Asha was Yeh din to aata hai (Mahaan). Sadly by then R.D. Burman’s career was under a cloud.

There’s an interesting end-game associated with R.D. Burman’s career as a singer. In the selective, reluctant and meagre repertoire of songs that the chameleon composer chose to sing, one song is extra-special. Kya bhala hai kya bura in Gulzar’s unreleased Libaas. It’s one of the few film songs that dares to make light of the burden of existence.

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The song is special for another reason. It’s the only time, Rahul Dev Burman dared to face at the microphone with the singer who had seen him as a child fooling around in shorts at his papa’s recordings… and whom the young adult-Pancham hesitantly approached to sing the first song that he ever composed.

That duet with Lata Mangeshkar was the last song R.D. Burman ever sang in a film.

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Jamuna Had A Love-Hate Relationship With  Bollywood

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Jamuna

Veteran  Telugu  actress  Jamuna who passed away on Friday, shared an uneasy relationship with  the Hindi film industry.She did eleven Hindi films including the iconic Milan in  1967 where Jamuna  agreed to play the  second lead, or the  supporting role if you will, to Nutan.

 Jamuna as Gauri was the Other Woman who craved for the hero Sunil Dutt’s attention whereas  he had  eyes and devotion  only for Nutan. In later  years  Aruna Irani played a similar  role in  Caravan.

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 In Milan Jamuna  was not keen to  do a supporting role. Producer L V Prasad tempted her with three chartbusting songs. Besides, Jamuna had played the same role in Mooga Manasulu, the  Telugu original  of  Milan. But it  was the songs composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal  which convinced  Jamuna to  take up the second lead in Milan.

 While  Nutan had no solo songs  in Milan, she did have the chartbuster duet  Sawan  ka mahina . Jamuna on the  other hand,  had two  splendid Lata Mangeshkar solos: Tohey saawariya naahin khabariya  and   the magnificent Ghazal Aaj dil pe koi  zor chalta nahin.Not only  these, Jamuna  also had a  hit duet  with Mukesh  based on her character  Gauri:  Bol Gauri  bol tera kaun piya.

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But  then, fate  intervened. After the film released  one of Jamuna’s solos, the poignant and memorable  Aaj dil pe koi zor chalta nahin was  snipped  out of the film.

Here is what  happened:  the  Ghazal , one of Lataji’s all-time greats, was very much a part of Milan when  it released on 17 March 1967. But then  it was seen to hamper the  flow of the  film and  edited  out. The  beautiful song occurred right after intermission. Producer  Prasad, a shrewd  filmmaker, got to know that audiences prolonged their  loo breaks as there was  a song after the break. Hence the sacrifice  of  a seriously  sonorous melody.

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Jamuna hardly did  Hindi films after Milan. Her last  Bollywood appearance  was in  Raj Kumar  Kohli’s Raj Tilak  where she  was lost in a multistarrer as  the royal  queen.

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Karan Johar Moves Alia Song From Switzerland To Kashmir

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Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani

The  romantic duet in  Karan Johar’s Rocky Aur Rani  Ki Prem Kahaani  which was to be  shot in Switzerland and which was  delayed  due to the film’s leading lady Alia Bhatt’s motherhood, is now being relocated to  Kashmir.

Purely out of  the  love for  new mom Alia.

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Says a source in the know, “Karan loves Alia  like his own daughter. He would do anything for her. He postponed  the  release of Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani as the love duet could not be shot before Alia’s maternity leave. Karan had decided to shoot the song in Switzerland  after Alia’s maternity love. But now he has relocated the song to Kashmir  as Alia doesn’t want to leave her  baby girl behind for  long stretches.”

And as Karan Johar argued, snow is  snow. How does it matter whether it is  Switzerland or Kashmir?

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This  song would be Karan Johar’s tribute to  his  idol Yash Chopra. Alia would be dressed in chiffon sarees while  Ranveer, for  a change, would be seen in  formals.

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Bobby Deol’s Switchover To Villainous Roles

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Bobby Deol

After  Prakash Jha’s webseries Ashram where Bobby  played a sleazy  godman, and Love Hostel  where  he was a ruthless assassin,   he is playing the villain to Ranbir Kapoor in  Sandeep Vanga’s  Animal.

Bobby says it is not conscious career decision to play negative characters  but a conscious  decision to play interesting characters. “ I don’t look at  characters as positive or negative.When I watch  films there is always  one character  that stays  with you. I want to play that  character.”

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Prakash Jha’s Ashram proved a gamechanger for Bobby.  He admits finding  challenging roles is tough.  “I am trying. I  am doing Sandeep Vanga’s Animal with Ranbir  Kapoor , Parineeti Chopra. Then I am doing the family film Apne  2 which I am  very excited  about.”

 In an  earlier  interview with  this writer Bobby spoke  about his   long absence  from screen  before Prakash Jha’s Ashram.  “My fans   would ask why I wasn’t being seen on the screen.And I couldn’t tell them it was  because  I wasn’t getting good roles. But my fans  stood by me. They gave me  the strength  to  keep looking for the right roles. Thankfully I found the roles I liked. My new  films have given  me  some new fans. I am  thankful  I am still here. Yeah , I am in a good space right now.”

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Pathaan Collects 55 crore nett in India On Day 1

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Pathaan

YRF’s Pathaan has apparently wiped out all previous records as it collected 55 crore nett in India and recorded the biggest ever Day 1 for a Hindi film. The total collections of Pathaan on Day One is 57 crore nett (Hindi – 55 crore and dubbed versions 2 crore).

It is the widest Hindi release of  all  time in India and also the highest grossing 1st Day for a   Hindi film.It is  also the  highest grosser  on the  first first for a  non-holiday release. Pathhan is  also the highest  opener for Shah Rukh Khan.

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Akshaye Widhani, CEO of Yash Raj Films, says, “It is a historic day for Indian cinema and we are humbled to see the love and appreciation that is flowing for Pathaan globally. For Pathaan to shatter records in this fashion on a non holiday, just proves that the theatrical business is here to stay, provided we make films that entice people to come to the cinemas to witness a never seen before experience that entertains them thoroughly.“

He adds, “We, at YRF, are thrilled with the start that the film has got across India and we are hopeful that Pathaan brings joy to cine-goers globally in the days to come! Pathaan is the fourth film of our YRF Spy Universe and we are thrilled that we have been able to elevate the cinematic experience of audiences with each film from this franchise. We humbly share this moment with all the stake-holders of the film who have given their blood, sweat and tears to give people a movie-going experience like never before.”

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