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Sunday, July 06, 2003

By Dr Rajiv Vijaykar (G magazine)

Amit speaks with some authority as he was one of the very few people privy to the information that Pancham was planning an album of his own songs that were to be 're-created' in the proper way. Says Amit, who had listened to some of the basic compositions, 'That album would have been 10 years ahead of today!'
Popular playback veteran Kavita Subramaniam (nee Krishnamurthi) looks at things from a different angle. Even though so many non-talents and music companies are earning parasitically from Pancham's treasury, she feels that even after death, Rahul Dev Burman is 'providing work (read livelihood and a possible passport to fame) to so many aspiring singers and musicians.' But she adds, 'I hate the videos. He was one of our greatest composers whose music communicated to every music lover. Imagine a 21-year-old composing a semi-classical in-depth song like 'Ghar aaja ghir aaye' (Chhote Nawab)! I personally preferred his weightier compositions.' She admits that it is 'reducing his worth' when all that his self-styled current bhakts love or know about Rahul Dev Burman is a couple of dozen 'trendy' or fast numbers. 'Pancham-da was not just about 'Dum maro dum', 'Piya tu ab to aaja' and 'Mehbooba mehbooba',' she points out.
Says Sonu [Nigam] wryly, 'I completely agree that most of his so-called fans even among the film music fraternity do not even know what Pancham was! If you played a '60s fast Shanker Jaikishan song to them, and told them it was Pancham, they would be ignorant enough to believe it! I happen to know that even when RD was alive, Jatin-Lalit were asked to compose songs 'like Pancham', while Pancham himself sat at home without work!'
R.D.Burman's one-time contemporary and friend Pyarelal sums up the situation aptly. 'I agree that it is very sad that his better songs are not being highlighted as much as his relatively ordinary ones. But times have changed and we have to accept this. The re-mixes are often done well musically, but where the singing and videos are often terrible. But finally we cannot afford to forget that within their limitations, all the people concerned are motivated by great affection for this great composer and they are showing their love and respect for him in the best way they can.'

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