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When RD Burman Created Magic

January 04, 2024 16:24 IST
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Subhash K Jha doffs his hat to the musical genius R D Burman on his 30th death anniversary.

IMAGE: Asha Parekh and Shammi Kapoor in the song O Mere Sona Re from Teesri Manzil.

If there has ever been a music composer as endearing as Rahul Dev Burman, it is equally true to say that there will never be a film-maker as energetic as Nasir Hussain.

A box office wizard, Nasir Hussain spun true blue musical hits from 1957 to 1985.

His cinema stood out for three attributes: They were almost always frothy musicals, most of them starred Asha Parekh (with whom the film-maker shared an intimate relationship in real life) and the music of R D Burman.

Shammi Kapoor, with whom Nasir Hussain had done two hits -- Tumsa Nahin Dekha (1957) and Dil Deke Dekho (1959) -- wanted Shankar-Jaikishan to score the music of Teesri Manzil.

Nasirsaab told Shammi (who was known to get his way), 'Ek naya ladka hai. Burmandada (S D Burman) ka beta. Zara sun toh lo.'

Shammi reluctantly agreed.

When he heard RD's tunes, he was blown.

Teesri Manzil was a musical hit.


IMAGE: Asha Parekh and Shammi Kapoor in the song O Haseena Zulfonwali from Teesri Manzil.

Asha Parekh, who starred in Teesri Manzil, recalls the craze for the songs: "I think the songs played a big hand in the success of the films. It was a musical in the true sense. Pancham's O Mere Sona Re, Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera and O Haseena Zulfon Wali introduced a new youthful sound to our cinema."

"After Teesri Manzil, Nasirsaab wouldn't hear of any other music director. We worked together in Baharon Ke Sapne, which had lovely songs like Aaja Piya Tohe Pyar Doon, Kya Janoon Sajan and the all-time hit Chunri Sambhal Gori.

"Pyar Ka Mausam also had beautiful songs by Pancham like Tum Bin Jaaon Kahan and Na Jao Mere Humdum. Not many know this but Pancham played a comic role in Pyar Ka Mausam. Then there was Caravan, the all-time musical blockbuster."

IMAGE: Asha Parekh and Rajesh Khanna in Baharon Ke Sapne.

After Teesri Manzil (which Nasir Hussain only produced, and Vijay Anand directed and strangely never worked with RD again until Bullet), RD created uninterrupted sparklers for Nasirsaab.

In 1967, Nasirsaab produced and directed Baharon Ke Sapne, his only critically acclaimed film about unemployment. And what a magnificent score RD came up with!

Lata Mangeshkar's Aaja Piya Tohe Pyar Doon, Kya Janoon Sajan, Chunri Sambhal Gori (a duet with Manna Dey) is on every RD addict's playlist.

In 1969's Pyar Ka Mausam Nasirsaab and RD came together again for a musical blockbuster, best remembered for the two-version Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan by Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar.

Interestingly, it was Rafisaab who sang for the film's hero Shashi Kapoor, not only in the soulful Tum Bin Jaaon Kahan but also in the other chartbuster, Ni Sultana Re (a duet with Lataji).

The Kishore Kumar version of Tum Bin Jaaon Kahan was filmed on the hero's father, played by Bharat Bhushan.

IMAGE: Aruna Irani and Jeetendra in the song Dilbar Dilse Pyare from Caravan.

In the 1971 blockbuster Caravan, it was Lataji and Rafisaab all the way with Asha Bhosle chipping in with the trippy songs, Piya Tu Ab To Aaja and Ab To Mile Hain.

Lataji's Dilbar Dilse Pyare was a seduction song that blew the lid off the charts.

By the time Nasir Hussain directed his next blockbuster Yaadon Ki Baraat, the tables had turned on Rafisaab.

He was replaced by Kishore Kumar in almost the youthful score with numbers like Aapke Kamre Main Koi Rehta Hai and Meri Soni Meri Tamanna.

But the film's biggest hit Chura Liya Hai Tumne still had Rafisaab pitching in with Asha Bhosle.

IMAGE: Rishi Kapoor in the song Bachna Ae Haseeno from Hum Kissise Kum Nahin.

1977's blockbuster Hum Kissise Kum Nahin was again dominated by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle.

But the films's two biggest hits, Kya Hua Tera Vada and the qawwalli Hum Kisise Kum Nahin, went to Rafisaab.

Fun fact about Kya Hua Tera Vada: The music for the opening line was the interlude of another R D composition, Tum Mujhse Roothe Ho in the film Phir Kab Milogi.

IMAGE: Padmini Kolhapure and Rishi Kapoor in the song Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun from Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai.

Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai came four years after Hum Kisise Kum Nahin.

It was too much of the same thing: The same hero (Rishi Kapoor) and the same dancefloor ditties, including an unauthorised version of ABBA's Mama Mia.

But Dil Lena Khel Hai Dildar Ka and Hoga Tumse Pyara Kaun were hits.

In the last-mentioned song, Shailendra Singh, who was Rishi Kapoor's voice in Bobby, got to sing for Rishi again, apparently on Nasirsaab's insistence.

IMAGE: Rajeev Kapoor and Rati Agnihotri in the song Jab Chaha Yara Tumne from Zabardast.

The last two R D-Nasir Hussain collaborations Manzil Manzil and Zabardast were box office failures, but each had its glorious moment of musical majesty.

O Meri Jaan in Manzil Manzil and Jab Chaha Yara Tumne in Zabardast speak volumes of a brilliant partnership.

It is believed that R D Burman never got over his disenchantment when Nasir Hussain's son Mansoor Khan chose Anand-Milind for his directorial debut.

An era had ended for both the film-maker and his composer.

When Nasir Hussain was tempted by other film-makers, he would say, ' Jab tak main hoon, Pancham hai.'

Mansoor says he couldn't connect with RD: "My father did advise me to work with Rahul Dev Burman, and I even met him. But I felt he was too senior for us to work together as colleagues. I did have a music sitting with RD, but it didn't work out."

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