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Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Ek tha Pancham, Ek hain Asha
I saw Pancham (RD Burman) during the days when he reigned supreme. I saw him completely in control of the "surs", the "taals", the "sargams" and all that melody in which there was a certain kind of madness, music which was music like music was never or ever before. And I saw him create his own brand of music, music that set trends, music that brought new life to music, music that thrilled, music that brought glory to music, music that danced and swayed and swung before it could lead others to react to the rhythms and beats he created from somewhere deep within his soul. I saw him command the waves of music. I saw him control and tame the voices of some of the greatest singers of all times. I saw him transform into a genie, a magician and a mad man who could transform himself, the people around him and even the atmosphere. I also saw Pancham as calm and as peaceful and as lovable when he created music exclusively for his dear friend, Gulzar. He was several composers in one and I was lucky to see all those composers, all those Panchams in one Pancham.

And then I saw him when his heart slowly started betraying him and he was almost out of work till he sprang back to glory with his fascinating music in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's 1942 A Love Story. The unit of the film celebrated his music one night and he was in the seventh heaven and looked forward to a new beginning and the next morning before it was seven the phone rang and a voice said Pancham was dead. How could Pancham die? How can Pancham die? Pancham is still alive if you are alive to the madness that is going around the world even today, a time when men and entire groups are making a living just out of being inspired or directly imitating him and his compositions.

But the best thing to happen to Pancham to keep him alive is what he did with his companion forever, Asha Bhosle. There are times when I feel that Pancham passed on a part of his life to Asha. There is that life in Asha and she proves it even now when she is just 73! She has just come out with an album called Asha remembers Rahul. And try comparing what the two great music magicians created with the kind of music that is being created today and you will feel your heart sinking within yourselves. The Panchams and the Ashas don't happen all the time. They are once-in-several lifetime experiences which make life rich for all time. They make life feel proud.

j om prakash about R D Burman

Rajiv Vijayakar (Screen)
"When I told Sachin Bhaumick that I would produce Raja Rani for him - he had wanted to produce, direct and write and I felt that he could not have coped with the production hassles, R.D.Burman came in as a package, for he was committed to him. This angered L-P and in a huff they turned down Aap Ki Kasam though it was my debut film as director and Aaye Din Bahaar Ke was the first big film they had ever signed. So I signed Pancham for it. Around the same time, I had been fascinated by a story written by Kamleshwar and developed in collaboration with Gulzar. I asked Gulzar whether I could direct the film. When he said that he wanted to do it himself, I offered to produce it. And so was born Aandhi. The lyrics for this film were selected from among those I had marked out in their original book. Once again, R.D.Burman was my music director because he had formed a team with Gulzar.

"But for all the great music that he gave me, I always found Pancham belonging to a school that was a shade too modern for my tastes. I have always believed in the staying power of Indian music, and I would even guide my music director and thus retain control of my music while inspiring him to greater heights by stating precise requirements regarding dadra, keherwa, the raags and the instruments to be used. So I patched up with Laxmikant-Pyarelal with Aakraman and a new chapter began, which resulted in several more hits till various factors resulted in their losing form in my last films with them, Aap Ke Sath and Agnee.


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