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Monday, February 10, 2003

A flautist returns to favourite studio, now a disco
Ronu Majumdar on Pancham in a recent article (Jan 25, 2003) in Mumbai Newsline..

But today's mood is special, as he's on a nostalgia trip to the place that housed his favourite recording room at Film Centre. It was also R D Burman's favourite haunt, and Majumdar was also Burmanda's fave flautist. The two worked together all the way until 1942 - A Love Story. "For 10 years, I toiled hours -- sometimes entire days -- at recordings with Burmanda, who had a soft corner for Raag Khamaj. It was his favourite, S D Burman's favourite and mine too. And it came out with a lilt on my flute. Many of his best songs were in Khamaj, like Bada Natkhat Hai Re, or Kuch To Log Kahenge, Logon Ka Kaam Hai Kehna. I remember the inspired tracks that we would play, after days and weeks of rehearsals, nothing like the track recordings of today," he laments, covering his face with both hands. "Now I never know who the singer is, or even what the other musicians are playing," he adds.

The studio has closed down now, but the area remains filled with music of a different kind. "Recording room? Ab to woh disco hai!" chides the watchman. At the very spot where Kalyanji and R D Burman used to record their ageless numbers, stands Velocity. But the evenings here swing to the kind of music they would have loved too. "This place has a lot of resonance, echoes of songs like Agar Tum Na Hote, songs from films like Love Story, Musafir in which the song Khaali Haath was almost a duet I did with Asha Bhonsle," says this international artiste.

He remembers spending months, at Rs 160 a day, at this recording room -- his bread and butter. He recalls R D's words, "A soloist�s job is to make the song better. But a beautiful piece is like a beautiful woman. Simplicity is the essence, not over-embellishment."

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