On his 68th birth anniversary, the first thing one notes is the number of articles online paying tribute to the late great Rahul Dev Burman aka Pancham. One of the longest threads on RMIM (courtesy: Vinay) also ends up (fortuitously) discussing the numbers (useful when you get into debates comparing Pancham and the other great musical directors of yore).
It's been a long while since a compilation CD hit the stands with some of his minor works dusted and cleaned. It's not too much fun to take solace in MP3s ripped off vinyl by considerate fans. There's a certain glee in seeing that bespectacled cheerful enthusiastic face staring back at you on a spanking new CD on the shelves (not to mention the private ego boost at being the only one in the store to not just recognise the songs listed but also to have sat through the reeling wrecks that didn't really deserve them). But the day also makes listening to the scattered nuggets in his ouevre and marvel at the creative verve that makes them shine: the frenetic electric guitar giving way to a crooning Asha Bhosle in a.ndheraa a.ndheraa (from Rani Mera Naam); less-heard mujaraas like aap aaye GariibaKaane (from Sitara) and raajaa ke a.nganaa (from Yaar Meri Zindagi); the unreleased kisii Gariib ke dil se (from Sitamgar), the best song (perhaps) that Shailendra Singh ever sang; the creative hubris of ek hasiin gulabadan (from Karishma); the energy of sharaabii aa.Nkhe.n (from Madhosh); jaa re jaa mai.n tose na boluu.N (from Mr. Romeo), perhaps Pancham's only foray (ironically, given his nickname) into jhap taal... mahafil kaa ye ra.ng na TuuTe jab tak subah na ho. The list could go on. You've been gone over 13 years now, Pancham, but there's still a lot to cherish and discover in your musical legacy. Here's hoping that the fruit of your adventures in song survives the spate of Revivals and Rare Gems compilations and finds a host of new listeners. A high five to the sultan of song.
wo jinakii na_ii hai ye duniyaa, ma.nzil hai na_ii
piichhe nahii.n dekhaa karate mu.D\-mu.D ke kabhii
sajate hii chale jaate hai.n jiivan kii galii
The TOI version of Bawra's flashback includes an interesting note about the compilation that I've heard mentioned (perhaps at the PanchamMagic shows):
Then suddenly, in 1994, there was a void. So, I took out all the tapes of our dummy song recordings, which also included our informal conversations, arguments, fights and jokes, and began hearing them. Everytime I miss him, I take out the tapes and listen to them. Aur aankhon mein aasoo aa jate hai," recalls Gulshan.
It was these chats and recordings that gave Gulshan the idea to compile these moments into an album. A unique album that comprises not only R D Burman's classics, but also actual conversations between R D and Gulshan, the creative clashes the two had while making songs and a whole bunch of trivia on Pancham Da.
That's a CD worth looking forward to, if the snatches from the sessions for mai.n huu.N lily (Bond 303) the alternative melody for ruup teraa mastaanaa from the sittings for pyaar hame.n kis mo.D pe (Satte Pe Satta) are any indication.