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'Before RD died, he called me and said, "I desperately need work"'

Last updated on: June 28, 2021 14:39 IST
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R D Burman's music played a huge hand in shaping Rishi Kapoor's career. Rishi once spoke to Subhash K Jha about his close association with the master composer:

"R D Burman was like family to me.

"He used to come home and I used to visit him. Ashaji(Bhosle) used to cook for us. Like me, he was very fond of eating and drinking. At the start of my career, RD did music in my films, Zehreela Insaan and Khel Khel Mein. These had evergreen songs like O Hanseeni and Khullam Khulla Pyar. I vibed with him much better than with Laxmikant-Pyarelal, who did Bobby.

Pancham was way ahead of his times. Picture chale na chale, RD's music was damn good. His music suited my age and image. Pancham loved watching me shoot his songs. He told my directors, 'Chintu perform kar rahaa hai mera gaana? I want to see him do it.' I'd get nervous.

On the sets of Nasir Hussain's films like Hum Kissise Kam Nahin and Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai he'd have lunch with Nasirsaab and then watch me dance. It was a great compliment.

For the song Dil Dena Khel Hai Dildar Ka in Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai. Pancham came on the sets twice because the choreographer Suresh Bhatt was also his buddy. He used to shout, 'Buck up, buck up'. We were all a team.

Pancham and I were great buddies. Just before he died, he called me and said, 'I'm not short of cash, but I desperately need work.' I explained to him that producers came to me with pre-decided music directors.

After Deewana and Bol Radha Bol, I had succeeded with Nadeem-Shravan and Anand-Milind. They became music directors in all my films.

Raj Santoshi's Damini had music by Nadeem-Shravan while his Ghatak had music by RD. I remember how unhappy RD was about this.

You know on Pancham's birthday, I got thinking about all the amazing work we did together. A die-hard Pancham fan named Brahmanand was making a documentary on him. He spoke to the people who worked closely with Pancham, like Gulzarsaab and me.

That fan pointed out that I had done 17 films with music by RD, and sent the songs to me on an MP3. Imagine being given such an invaluable gift on Pancham's birthday! There are rare songs from my forgotten films like Raja, Naya Daur, Aan Aur Shaan and Gunehgaar."


On R D Burman's 84th birth anniversary, Subhash K Jha lists Pancham's best songs for Rishi Kapoor:

Khel Khel Mein, (1974)

IMAGE: Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh in Khel Khel Mein.

For a star who kicked off his career on the high notes of Laxmikant-Pyarelal in Bobby, it is astonishing how Rishi Kapoor gravitated towards RD.

Khel Khel Mein was their second collaboration after the failed Zehreela Insaan (which contained sparkling gems like O Hanseeni and that under-rated Kishore-Asha duet Mere Dil Se Yeh Nain).

In Khel Khel Mein, every song rocked.

Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle became the voices of Rishi and Neetu as they sang their way into our hearts with Khullam Khulla Pyar, Ek Main Aur Ek Tu and Aye Lo Pyar Ke Din Aaye.

Shailendra Singh, who was RK's voice in Bobby, sang Humne Tumko Dekha.

The album ended with the dreamy Sapna Mera Toot Gaya.


Hum Kisise Kam Nahin (1977)

IMAGE: Rishi Kapoor in Hum Kisise Kam Nahin.

Hum Kisise Kam Nahin is a kissable contoured album from the word go.

From the ABBA-inspired Aa Dil Kya to the original and thoughtful Chand Mera Dil to the rumbustious title track, this album showed why the RD-RK team had so much steam.


Yeh Vada Raha (1982)

IMAGE: Rishi Kapoor and Poonam Dhillon in Yeh Vada Raha.

Though the film flopped, the Kishore-Asha duets are hummed to this day, from the haunting Tu Tu Hai Wohi to the rhythmic Ishq Meri Bandage Hai to the under-rated Maine Tujhe Kuch Kaha Tha and Jeene Ko To Jeete Hain Sabhi.

Every song was laden in luminosity.

Interestingly, RD seemed more inclined to use Asha Bhosle's voice in Rishi starrers than Lata Mangeshkar's.


Bade Dil Wala (1983)

IMAGE: Rishi Kapoor and Tina Munim in Bade Dil Wala.

A rare RK-RD album with Lata Mangeshkar's voice.

Songs like Jeevan Ke Din, Aaj Kahin Mat Jaa, Kaho Kaise Rasta Bool Pade and Tujh Mein Kya Hai. An absolute gem of a soundtrack which did not get its due.


Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)

IMAGE: Rishi Kapoor and Padmini Kolhapure in Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai.

A follow-up to the musical extravaganza Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin, this soundtrack also dazzled with a variety of songs from the catchy Pucho Na Yaar Kya Hua to the folksy Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun to the intense Dil Lena Khel Hai Dildar Ka...

Rishi lip-synced in this film in the voices of Mohammed Rafi, Shailendra Singh and R D Burman. He could sing on screen as though the words belonged to him.

He felt the music. And the music felt for him.

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/

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