Ten of my favourite S D Burman songs

Sachin Dev Burman was born on October 1, 1906, a scion of the royal family of Tripura—and a king in the world of Hindi film music. From his first major hit—Mera sundar sapna beet gaya (Do Bhai, 1947)—on, Burman made a name for himself with songs that ran the gamut from folk to Western, from hauntingly poignant to unbeatably seductive (remember Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam? Remember Kya ho phir jo din?) To celebrate Burman Da’s music, therefore, this post.
To narrow down my list of S D Burman favourites to a mere ten, I’ve had to resort to a few self-imposed restrictions. All of these songs are, as always, from the 50’s and 60’s, and from films that I’ve seen. In addition, they’re songs that don’t just sound good, but are wonderful in other ways too: songs that I value not just for the music, but also for the lyrics, the picturisation, the feel of the song. Enjoy!

Sachin Dev Burman stamp released by the Indian Postal Department

These are in no particular order:

1. Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai (Pyaasa, 1957; Sung by: Mohammad Rafi; Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi): There are some songs that give me gooseflesh every time I listen to them. This is one. The cynicism of Sahir’s lyrics is palpable, and S D Burman’s music complements them perfectly. The song starts off very slow and soft (Rafi’s voice literally trails over the first few lines), then gradually gathers momentum, building up till the finale, when the dead-alive poet Vijay’s fury boils over in a thunderous denouncement of the world, with voice and music reaching a sudden peak.

Pyaasa - Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye toh kya hai

2. Piya tose naina laage re (Guide, 1965; Sung by: Lata Mangeshkar and chorus; Lyrics: Shailendra): A very different song from the dark Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye, this one is lavish, a celebration of life and love that chronicles the rise to fame of the dancer Rosie/Nalini, and her simultaneously growing intimacy with Raju. Waheeda Rehman’s dancing is reason enough to admire this song; what I also like is that despite the length of the song—it’s over 8 minutes—it doesn’t get boring; Burman manages to introduce a slightly different touch in each stanza. The stanza about Holi, for instance, has a cute `squirty’ sound in the beginning very like pichkaaris! And the combination of tabla and paayals at various points is lovely. A feast for the eyes and the ears.

Guide - Piya tose naina laage re

3. San san san woh chali hawa (Kaagaz ke Phool, 1959; Sung by: Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle and chorus; Lyrics: Kaifi Azmi): Kaagaz ke Phool had one breathtaking song after another, and choosing just one was a problem. I’ve solved it by saving one of my favourites for another post, and putting the other one here. I adore the sheer joie de vivre of this song: Waheeda Rehman’s hair streaming in the wind, the papers flying, the happy crowd (including Mehmood in a cameo) in the truck in front—and the song, of course. I like how everything in San san san woh chali hawa comes together: the whistling, the chorus singing in parts (or ooh-ing and aah-ing), even the musical `screeching’ of tires at the start.

Kaagaz ke Phool - San san san woh chali hawa

4. Raat akeli hai bujh gaye diye (Jewel Thief, 1967; Sung by: Asha Bhonsle; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri): I so love this song. I love Tanuja’s sparkling eyes and her irrepressible vivacity. I love Asha’s voice and the way it flows seductively through low notes and then powerfully through very high notes, seemingly without any effort (S D Burman had apparently told her to sing the song “as if she were going to whisper in somebody’s ear, and then decided to shout instead”!) And I love the music: soft, slow and enticing, then rising into a joyful crescendo—before dropping into a whisper again.

Jewel Thief - Raat akeli hai bujh gaye diye

5. Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat (Teen Deviyaan, 1965; Sung by: Kishore Kumar and chorus; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri): Another film of fabulous songs, also starring Dev Anand—here as the pianist at a party, singing in praise of—whom? The ethereal Simi Grewal, or the pretty Kalpana?
This is a wonderful song, and I especially like the way it starts: Kishore’s voice is beautiful by itself, without any musical instruments to support it. After that, in sharp contrast to the beginning, the song is a rollicking, fast-paced but still romantic tune. And I love the piano notes between the stanzas!

Teen Deviyaan - Khwaab ho tum ya koi haqeeqat

6. O re maanjhi (Bandini, 1963; Sung by: S D Burman; Lyrics: Gulzar): This song is a gooseflesh-inducing one, with Sachin Da’s wonderfully nasal and somewhat ‘raw’ voice blending superbly with the sweet notes of a flute and the seemingly incongruous sounds of a train’s piercing whistle and the sonorous boom of a boat’s foghorn. Gulzar’s Shailendra’s lyrics are very poignant, and the combined effect—music, voice, words, the chance meeting between two separated lovers, now destined for different paths—never fails to give me a lump in the throat.

Bandini - O re maanjhi

7. O nigaah-e-mastaana (Paying Guest, 1957; Sung by: Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhonsle; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri): Paying Guest had a superb score, and this is my favourite song of them all. It’s fabulous to look at, with a handsome Dev Anand serenading a gorgeous Nutan with a wonderful song, romantic and playful at the same time. The tune in the background is subdued, rippling and lilting until it swells in a way that’s almost mischievous in its change from gentle to swift. The words are all sung by Kishore, with Asha’s humming used at strategic points. Very nice. And do listen till the end: O nigaah-e-mastaana fades gently out on a glorious combination of whistling and humming.

Paying Guest - O nigaah-e-mastaana

8. Dil se milaake dil pyaar kijiye (Taxi Driver, 1954; Sung by: Lata Mangeshkar; Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi): His score for Taxi Driver won S D Burman the Filmfare Award for Best Music Director. Though the most soulful—and well-known—of the film’s songs was Jaayein toh jaayein kahaan, I personally prefer the excellent `club’ songs featuring the stunning Sheila Ramani. This one is in a class by itself: a simple, uncluttered tune that stays true to its picturisation: the tiny ‘orchestra’ in this bar room consists of a piano, a guitar, a clarinet and maracas—and that’s just about all the music itself seems to comprise.

Taxi Driver - Dil se milaake dil pyaar kijiye

9. Chupke se mile pyaase-pyaase (Manzil, 1960; Sung by: Mohammad Rafi and Geeta Dutt; Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri): Not one of my favourite Dev Anand-Nutan films (I remember it as having an end I didn’t like), but with fantastic music—especially this romantic tune that combines humming, music, and vocals with sections half-recited, half-sung by Geeta. I love the way the two voices come together, then drift away, one humming while the other sings the words, and then blending back in again. Sublime.

Manzil - Chupke se mile pyaase-pyaase

10. Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana le (Baazi, 1951; Sung by: Geeta Dutt; Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi): According to this informative site on Geeta Dutt, the singer listed this as one of her ten favourite songs from those she’d sung till 1957, when the list was compiled. It’s also the song that changed her from a singer (largely) of bhajans and classical tunes, to one who could handle Western tunes—a genre she was soon dominating. Not that Tadbeer se bigdi hui is strictly Western: the tabla and the general tone of the music is very Indian. But the guitar strummed between the stanzas? Genius. The combination: S D Burman’s music, Majrooh’s lyrics, Dev Anand, and the two Geetas—the luminous Geeta Bali onscreen, and her `voice’, Geeta Dutt (then Roy)—is unforgettably inspirational yet alluring.

Baazi - Tadbeer se bigdi hui taqdeer bana le

134 thoughts on “Ten of my favourite S D Burman songs

  1. LOVE your post, and the whole list is “gooseflesh-inducing”. :-) I love all the songs on your list and pretty much everything from the SD Burman stable. (I would pick Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam rather than San san san woh chali from Kaagaz Ke Phool, though.)

    SDB certainly was the King of Hindi film music – he composed for pretty much every mood and blended Western and Indian music so well (I think RD got that talent from his Dad!).


  2. TheBollywoodFan: Making this list was very tough. S D Burman was really awesome – there are so many films for which he scored music that was uniformly superb. Pyaasa, Kaagaz ke Phool, Paying Guest, Guide, Teen Deviyaan… brilliant. And that’s not counting some of the 1970’s films for which he composed, like Abhimaan or Tere Mere Sapne.

    Bollyviewer: Yes, I’d have picked Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam too – but I’m saving it up for the Geeta Dutt post! That is one of her best songs, I think.


  3. I don’t remember who played Mrs Bennett in Trishna, unfortunately. But I have seen that actress in other films as well (she looks like Ratna, the woman who played Shyama’s sister in Barsaat ki Raat).


  4. Replays? When? Where??! I want to see! I loved Trishna (have been remembering it with great fondness recently, since I’ve just finished – ten minutes back – rereading Pride and Prejudice). And yesterday I rewatched the 1995 Colin Firth-Jennifer Ehle P&P. Was thinking how I like Trishna as an adaptation of P&P. Better than the 1940 Greer Garson-Laurence Olivier version, better than the 2005 one, and miles ahead of the Aishwarya Rai one (which anyway I thought was awful).


  5. Well, it was repeated on DD afternoon telecast once, a couple of years after the original telecast – just when weekday afternoon telecast began on DD. And then perhaps once, on one of the newer channels (or was it DD again? not sure…) in the late 90s.

    And I did love Bride And Prejudice inspite of its glaring problems – it was so masala-y and pretty! The Colin Firth one was pretty good too, inspite of him taking sudden leaps into watery-terrains and inspite of Elizabeth smiling waaaaay too much!


  6. I must keep an eye open for Trishna!

    Bride and Prejudice somehow just didn’t appeal to me. I don’t mind masala at all, but there was something (Aishwarya’s lack of acting ability?) that didn’t appeal to me. Am now trying to get hold of the 1980 TV series of Pride and Prejudice, starring David Rintoul and Elizabeth Garvie.


  7. While so many of his compositions are of the “gooseflesh” variety, I have a cassette with all the songs he sung in his own voice and that is one album that is not for the faint-hearted or depressive!

    I would not even attempt to start with a top 10 list for such a composer, but you are a brave woman memsaab!


  8. Yes, S D Burman’s voice makes for some lovely songs – O re maanjhi, of course; also Allah megh de, Wahaan kaun hai tera and also Doli mein bithaaye ke kahaar (which, of course, was composed by R D Burman). His voice has an amazing poignancy to it – unforgettable.

    Here, by the way, is another song in his voice – a Bangla tune that was the basis of Hum bekhudi mein tumko.

    No problem about the ‘memsaab’! ;-) A slip of the tongue (or typing fingers?), as someone once told me, “is no fault of the mind, and those who remark it are rather unkind!”


    • ‘Doli mein bithaayke kahaar’ is not composed by RDB. Manohari Singh told me in his interview with me that Dada Burman composed it. Besides, RDB Burman, in his interview, had given credit to his father for the bhajan ‘Bada natkhat hai re’, adding that he (RDB) created rest of the song based on Dada’s advice. I can send you the complete interview, if you have not come across it yet.


        • Thanks. A lot of misinformation has been posted on internet, and it spreads w/o fans applying their mind. I am posting an extract from my interview with Kersi Lord on the subject:

          Q. There is an article written on you and Manohari, that Dada, when he was giving music, making music for ‘Roop tera mastana’, the start he wasn’t getting right, and you played your Accordion, and Manohari played his Saxophone, and then the start was made (created) by both of you?
          KL. (He starts shaking his head gesturing ‘No’.)

          Q. That’s not correct?
          KL. Nothing like that; nothing like that; absolutely nothing like that.

          KL. Another thing about you people (He was talking about press, we were not press, only SDB lovers.) I am going little bit off track now. Somebody wrote one book in Pune, years back, on Pancham. Whatever the mistakes in that book, – mistakes are there, hundred percent, I vouch for it, those mistakes still continue. Because when anybody writes a new book, he refers to that book, so the publishing of wrong information continues.

          Q. Even the start which is there, you know starting with ‘Roop tera mastana’, that is done by SDB only himself?
          KL. Yeah! Yeah! S.D. Burman and his team.


    • Want about – sun mere bandu re sun mere mitua sunmere sathi re film Sujata it’s one of the finest song sung by Sachin karta.S.Tendulkar s dad was very much fond of Sachin Karta.I have heard that is why he kept his son s name as Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar


      • @Dr M. Hossain
        This is how Sachin Tendulkar got his name:
        How Sachin (Tendulkar) Got His Name
        God of cricket, Sachin is Mr Ramesh Tendulkar’s youngest son. Eldest son Nitin works for Air India, second son Ajit, who is first guru and idol of Sachin, also worked for Air India for some time, and daughter Savita is married and stays in Pune (Savita Palekar).

        Mr Ramesh Tendulkar was professor of Marathi. He was a very popular teacher, and a good Marathi poet. He was a very humble and cultured man. I think Nitin has inherited his quality as poet, and has written some excellent Marathi poems.

        Ajit played some cricket at school, college and university level, but unfortunately could not play at Ranji or test level.

        Like a typical middle class Marathi family during 60s and early 70s, topics of discussion in Mr Tendulkar’s family were Marathi literature, poetry, and music.

        But Mr Ramesh Tendulkar was a big-big fan of S. D. Burman, and among the Hindi film music, he used to listen to mostly S. D. Burman songs.

        Sachin was born on 24th April 1973 in Thakur Hospital near Shivaji Park in Dada, Bombay (now Mumbai). When his mother was discharged with the baby boy and they came home, discussions were on about naming the baby boy.

        Finally, their father Mr Ramesh Tendulkar asked Nitin, Savita and Ajit (15, 13 and 10 years elder to Sachin respectively), “Lahaan bhawaach naav kaay thevaaycha te tumhich saanga!” (You all decide the name of your younger brother.)
        They all knew that their father was a big fan of Sachin Dev Burman. Unanimously, all the three shouted loudly ‘Sachin Dev’.

        But, as Sachin Dev sounded too long a name, after discussions finally they all decided on Sachin.

        Today the whole world says that god of cricket is Sachin Tendulkar, but we can say, he is Sachin Tendulkar ‘coz of Sachin Dev Burman.
        Contributed by Dr Ajit Deval, a family friend of Tendulkars

        November 3, 2012


  9. S D Burman! Great composer! At times I don’t know whom I love more father or son. To hell with the comparative I love both!

    All the songs are awesome.
    Will send you my list if possible.

    Just like Bollyviewer I also prefer Waqt ne kiya kya haseen sitam over San san san woh chali from Kaagaz Ke Phool.

    Great list!
    Thanks for reminding me of all these beautiful songs!


    • RD was indeed very good, quite innovative and experimentative [especially with Gulzar and Asha in the later years], but when the likes of Roshan or Madan Mohan or Naushad or SJ would require a very different specific platforms for comparision with Sachinda, RD can not even be taken up in that race, even considering the number of years he ably played the second fiddle to SDB and may have played a stellar role in conceptualizing many of the tunes of Sachinda.


      • Let’s not say, “… (RDB) may have played a stellar role…” Once again I’ll rely on my research, based on interviews with those who were present there.

        Each and every tune was conceived by SDB himself, supported by Amrut Rao (1963-’75) with just one tabla for rhythm. Maruti Rao Keer did the the subsequent rhythm work.

        Manohari Singh and Basu Chakravarti were the the other 2 assistants for music filling-in after the rhythm was over.

        The entire team, besides names mentioned above, was a common to both SDB and RDB.

        Being son of Dada, RDB automatically assumed role of number two, but whenever he, or Basu-Manohari put more music, Dada put his foot down and removed it.

        I’ll quote Manohari Singh here:
        Music bhi 8 second 10 second karte the. “Tum log lamba music mat karna. Hamara gana koi sunega nahin, tumara music sunega.” Yeh Burman saab ka bolne ka tha.

        Hum log unko bolte the, “Dada, aaj kal dekhiye, kitna bhara bhara music karte hain Shankar Jaikishan, OP Nayyar saab, Sab ka naam lete the hum log. 8 second mein Kya hoga”. Bolke bolke khali 10-12 second tak bus.

        Kar kar ke kabhie 15 second kisi kisi gane mein, jaise ‘Guide’ mein, ‘Jewel Thief’ mein, kar kar ke badaya. To matlab, aisa unka nature tha.

        Woh bolte the, “Jyada music lamba nahin karna, mera gaana koi nahin sunega, khali 7-8 second karo. Hum log 7-8 second bolke chale jayenge. Burman saab, as a practice, Orchestra kum lete the.
        I can quote a lot, but let’s wait for the book.


  10. It WAS Ratna Bhushan, who played Mrs. Bennett in the TV-Serial. She is/was the Bharat Bhushan’s wife. She was a regular on Bombay DD plays.


  11. I totally forgot he did the songs for Jewel thief, he came to my attention ever since i heard his masterpiece work for Aradhana, that is one film where i cherish each and every one of the songs. This one being one of my favourites


  12. SD’s music had a new improved sound when RD started assisting him in late 60s and early 70s (RD had made his debut till then, but despite his success with Teesri Manzil, he had few offers). Abhimaan had great songs, but not sure how much RD contributed to that. Aradhana obviously had the mark of RD’s orchestrization, and we all know the story of ‘roop tera mastaana’. A lot of people (including SD and you, M) asserted that the era of good music ended with 60s, but there’s a story about RD going against his dad when the latter said the same, for RD had just got started in the late 60s, and I still believe that SD himself gave a lot of great numbers in 70s only. In fact, I’m of the opinion that most of Rafi’s best songs are with SD and RD (quite contrary to the belief that RD brought about Rafi’s downfall) and these were in 70s and some in 80s with RD. Rafi actually became a new singer with ‘Tumne mujhe dekha’ (RD), ‘Maine poocha chaand se (RD, 80s)’, ‘Mera mann tera pyasa’ (SD), ‘Dil ka bhanwar kare pulaar’ (SD), ‘Diwana mujh sa nahi’ (RD), and many more such songs.

    I also wish that SD and RD chould have worked as a team for longer than they did. But I dont agree with those people who assert that RD lost melody in 80s. He did Maasoom, Ghar, Sawere waali gaadi, Saagar, ijaazat, Rocky (for just that one number), Parichay, Golmaal, Khoobsoorat (for piya baawari), Jeeva, Samandar (aye saagar ki lehro), and many more. He was the only great composer in the 80s, while Rajesh Roshan, Jaidev, Khayyam also kept bringing something great during the period. Again, I think Khayyam and Jaidev gave their best in 80s only (Umaro Jaan, Razia Sultan, Baazar, Gharonda, etc.).

    Yes, music did die in late 80s (87 onwards when Pancham was literally begging for work. And people were so happy with the Laxmi-Pyare crap (Karma, Ram Lakhan, Tezaab, Khalnayak, and stuff. It was just Karz and Hero that was good, but nowhere comparable to RD. Way of the world!)

    Someone rihgtly noted that while SD did all his struggle in the initial part of his career (he once returned to kalcutta and then had to be brought back), on the other hand RD did his struggle in his last years (but still cant believe that he had to beg for work, and still didnt get it! He almost successfully begged Subhasg Ghai for Ram Lakhan and Nassir Hussain for QSQT, only to be kicked out later. Hmmm…. way of the world! But doesnt matter. I believe RD was sometimes much more better than even his dad, forget about the other lesser mortals!

    Please excuse the verbal diarrhea :) I tend to have too many things all coming up together to my mind, sometimes a new one almost knocking the existing one out of the queue:)


    • @Count SDB was his own man, and not dependent on RDB. Majrooh Sultanpuri has said in his program on YouTube:
      Tribute to SD Burman Part – 5B Speaker Majrooh Sultanpuri Video

      (The figures are timings relevant to the subject)

      “3.59 Manohari maaf Karen, ek latifa yaad aa gaya mujhe. Ek gaana unhonein (Dada Burman) banaya, aur unhonein Manohari se aur Pancham se kaha is ka opening music banao, mukhre ka.

      In logon ne badi mehnat karke aur khoob jamaa jamaa ke le aaye, aur khoob janaab dhoom dharaak karke unhonien jo sunaya, to kursi pe baithe hain to bolte hain, “Taat, sab kharaab kar diya. Khoobsurat aurat ko itna jhevar pahnaya, itna jhevar pahnaya, to kuchh nahin dikhta”.

      Matlab yeh hai ki jab ??? tune itni khoobsurat hai, to uske liye itna gorgeous music opening nahin hona chahiye, aur simple si koi baat honi chahiye.

      “Manohari babu yaad hai na aapko.”

      4.45 (All the time, Manohari Singh is shown smiling, and nods his head when, in the end Majrooh asks him the question, “Manohari babu, yaad hai na aapko?)
      During the recording of ‘Roop tera mastana’ RDB wasn’t even present as told to me by Kersi Lord who played accordion, the same was reconfirmed by Manohari Singh. Both have played for both father and son.
      Anyone wants any more information on father and son, don’t rely on internet. All my information is based on my interviews with musicians who have worked with SDB and RDB.
      Shakti Samant in his interview with 3 different fans has confirmed that Aradhana music was by SD Burman and “You can quote me”, he said to them.

      I have heard Shakti Samanta on Vividh Bharati ‘Aaj ke Funkar’ program, and he has said that, “Rafi had gone on leave, he suggested to Dada Burman, “You have given beautiful songs with Kishore Kumar. Why not use him now. He readily agreed.”
      All my interviews are voice recorded and signed by the interviewee.

      Contact me on amkon1@yahoo.co.in
      Moti Lalwani


      • Interesting… that story about RDB having composed Roop tera mastaana has been doing the rounds for so long, it’s now become almost accepted fact.

        I also like that bit about “Khoobsurat aurat ko itna jhevar pahnaya, itna jhevar pahnaya, to kuchh nahin dikhta”. Superbly put.


        • They say when you speak a lie many a times, people start believing it. I am reproducing an excerpt from my interview with Kersi Lord, who is fortunately still alive. Subsequently, I have video recorded him saying the same thing for future generations to know the truth.
          “Q. That was about your dad and Dada Burman. Tell us about you and Dada Burman.
          KL. I played in all his pictures after ’50-’51, mostly all the pictures.

          Q. Till which year?
          KL. Till he died.

          Q. Which means it included lovely music of ‘Aradhana’.
          KL. In ‘Roop tera mastana’ I played the accordion.

          Q. All songs of Aradhana are lovely. And how much part RD played in this?
          KL. According to me, I don’t think RD was present, I don’t remember seeing RD anywhere in the studios.
          But people say that he was there and ‘Roop Tera Mastana’ is his song, but I don’t know. Even for the song recording, he was not there.
          And I confirmed with Manohari also, who was his assistant. Manohari also said, “No, I don’t think Pancham was involved.”
          Maybe, he must have been sitting there, I don’t know, I’m not sure (about his sitting there).
          Everybody asks us whether RD was there, but I said, for the recording he was not there. And sitting I don’t know. I didn’t play only for Mr. Burman. I played for all the top music directors. So, we couldn’t be involved in every recording.
          So, I don’t think RD’s involvement was there in ‘Aradhana’.”

          In my interview with Manohari Singh signed by him, he has said, “Kersi theek bolta hai. Aradhana ka sara music Burman Dada ka hai. Ismein RD ka haath nahin hai”.

          Both these senior musicians, and many others who have confirmed the same story with me in writing, got a lot more work from RDB than SDB, as Dada was selective in choosing movies.


          • I wonder how that story about RDB having composed Roop tera mastana actually began… another story I’ve heard was that RDB (who was credited as the associate composer) didn’t actually compose the tune. He just changed SDB’s existing tune slightly while his father was ill; and that when SDB recovered, he liked the changed version enough to retain it.


            • Research could be of 3 types. From the books in earlier days, from the books and internet nowadays, and from those who were present at that time. The last type of research (I like to call it as original research) is bound to be accurate .

              In the last type of research too, if one person has gone on record and said something, it could be wrong, as the person could be biased, but not if there are many who are saying the same thing again and again

              I have carried out original research, and all my sources were witness to the creativity of both father and son – SDB and RDB – and they are saying the same thing, that not only Aradhana, but all songs of SDB were created by SDB alone, whether it was Aradahana, or Guide, or any other movie.

              Most of these people are in Bombay, old but alert, and I can take anyone personally to them.


                • No need to sorry between friends. I am happy I came across this site, where I met knowledgeable guys.
                  I have interviewed about 18-20 personalities connected with the film world, majority of them have worked with SDB, and, the rest admire him.
                  I have collected so much of data on him, all of it complimentary, that no one else seems to have done it earlier.


  13. harvey: I didn’t know Ratna was Bharat Bhushan’s wife! Now I have to watch Barsaat ki Raat again. :-)

    bollywooddeewana: Yes, Aradhana had some great music too – I especially love Gunguna rahe hain bhanwre, and the song in S D Burman’s own voice – Safal hogi teri aradhana.

    The Count: I don’t actually assert that the era of good music ended with the 60’s, it’s just that I think the era of films that really appeal to me ended about then! ;-) Not that I don’t find good films after that, or even good music – I agree with a lot of the films you’ve suggested as having excellent music, both in the 70’s and the 80’s. The proportion of films with good songs had dipped by the late 70’s and the 80’s (I dare not yet talk of the 90’s!), and even then the number of songs in a film that were really worth listening to were far less than earlier… I can count on my fingertips films from the late 70’s or 80’s where I thought each song was amazing (Chhoti si Baat and Umrao Jaan come to mind). There were plenty of films with passable and even good music, but few songs that I can listen to again and again. Sad.


  14. What is this Trishna you speak of?! I must see it! I have often mourned the lack of Jane Austen remakes in Hindi cinema (Bride and Prejudice doesn’t count, it is too abysmal). The only Trishna I can find is a Shashi one (Shashi as Darcy? Would ROCK!) but the plot described of that film doesn’t sound much like P&P?

    Please do tell!


  15. Trishna, if I remember right, was a TV serial based on Pride and Prejudice in the late 80s.
    lots of beautiful people!
    Kitu Gidwani played the elder sister.
    I can’t remember who the other actresses were except for Ratna Bhushan.


  16. memsaab: harvey’s right about the Trishna I’m referring to – this was a TV serial in the late 80’s, and (in my opinion) a very good adaptation of Pride and Prejudice – it managed to translate the ethos of the original into an Indian milieu very effectively. I remember Tarun Dhanrajgir acting as the Darcy character – he looked awesome! ;-)

    Unfortunately, it seems to be impossible to get hold of copies of any of the 80’s TV serials (there were some excellent ones back then), other than a few of the comic ones, most of which can be viewed on youtube. Trishna is one which I’d love to lay my hands on!


    • Trishna!!!! Madhu, I was googling Trishna (I had a bout of nostalgia – rewatched Dhoop Kinare recently and wanted to watch this) and your post came up as one of the results and I wondered what is the connection between SDB and Trishna? :-) Trishna was really good, wasn’t it? Tarun Dhanrajgir (hmm, he was good!) and Rekha Handa made a nice pair. Is it available anywhere???


  17. This is a fantastic post dustedoff!!!
    Not only because it is quite a major undertaking, but also for choosing some of the best from the cream. Congratulations on both counts. :-)

    I especially love the songs sung by SD Burman himself. Such a plaintive voice.

    Talking about P&P.
    I bought a boxset of all the 6 adaptations by BBC of the 80s/late 70s, but can’t seem to find any now. Most can be bought separately though from amazon. Here’s a link to amazon.uk for the 1980 P&P


    I like this equally if not more, than the 1995. David Rintoul makes a noble looking, handsome proud Darcy with his high cheekboned face as compared to the chubby one of Colin’s ;-)
    For me Elizabeth Garvie is the definitive Elizabeth Bennet. I love it inspite of its dated look, and theatrical ways (I love theatre)


  18. Harvey, I didnt know she was Ratna Bhushan and Bharat Bhushan’s wife! I just remember her from Trishna and have seen her here and there in some old films. As to the cast of Trishna, the younger characters were all played by models. I’ve forgotten the name of the actress who played Jane (she played older sis to Suchitra Krishnamoorthy in a Haseena Moin serial on Star TV a few years later), but Elizabeth was played by Sangeeta Handa and Kitu Gidwani was Lydia. It was the first Jane Austen adaptation I’d ever seen and as you can see, it made a BIG impact! :-D

    Sorry for the long tangent, Dustedoff! More on topic, I must say that I much prefer 50s and 60s music, probably because the songs had better lyrics, and also because I think all the major singers werent all that young and dynamic by the 70s. Kishore, for example, was sooooo much better pre-Aradhana. Looking back at Kishore songs that I love, I think he got his best 50s and 60s stuff with SD Burman. From Jeevan ke safar mein rahi, Hum hain rahi pyar ke, Mana janaab ne pukara nahin, O nigaahen mastana, Khwaab ho tum ya to the songs of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi – all were with SDB and usually for Dev Anand! Sometimes I feel like SD gave the best songs to Kishore and not Rafi. I think the latter had much better songs with Roshan, Ravi, Naushad and OP Nayyar.


  19. pacifist: Thank you for that link! I am currently seeing the 1980 Pride and Prejudice, and I agree that Elizabeth Garvie makes for a very convincing Eliza Bennet – better than Jennifer Ehle, I think. Somehow, though, I find Colin Firth the best Mr Darcy there is! David Rintoul’s a bit stiff and his hair looks like a wig – which it probably was. ;-)

    bollyviewer: I do wish I could find Trishna somewhere – DVD, VCD, whatever! Unfortunately, the only TV series I’ve seen in shops are Malgudi Days and Mirza Ghalib, and the mythological serials… none of the good romances. Sniff!

    More on the topic at hand, I agree that some of the best music in Hindi cinema is from the 40’s through the 60’s, but I don’t agree that good music went completely out after that. I think the 70’s had some great music too, though the number of songs from that period – and beyond – that I like are significantly fewer. Here’s a comparison: on my laptop, I have music folders for old Hindi songs, divided by era. The 50’s and 60’s folder has 346 songs. The 70’s folder has 76 songs. Hah!

    And yes, Kishore did have some awesome songs with S D Burman – all those lovely ones, especially, that are picturised on Dev Anand. Superb!


  20. @ bollyviewer: yeah, now I remember! Kitu Gidwani was Lydia. Kitu Gidwani was so beautiful. Was nice to see her in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na after so many years, although her role was gloomy! Remember her in that awful serial Air Hostess. I think they aired only six episodes of it and then ….
    But there were sure some more serials, in which she acted.
    A good adaption of an english novel (Little Women), which I fondly remember was Kachchi Dhoop by Amol Palekar, with Bhagyashree, Ashutosh Gowariker and Palekar’s daughter and Bharati Achrekar.


  21. Love love the post :-) and love SD who was amazing until he died. What a great list you’ve put together.

    Here are a couple of absolutely lovely numbers IMO from “Tyaag” which he probably composed for around 72-74 though it had a very delayed release around 76-77.


  22. What a wonderful post! I share your love for SDB and all the songs you’ve listed. “Piya tose naina lagey re” is my 4-year old little boy’s favorite song. He’s being brought up properly.8-D

    Let me point out one lesser heard but absolutely divine song, “chanda ki chandini ka jadoo” from Sitaron Se Aagey(an Ashok Kumar starrer for all you Dada Moni lovers).


  23. harvey: I remember the name Kachchi Dhoop, but somehow am just not able to recall anything of the serial itself. I did love all those delightful old serials they showed way back in the 80’s and 90’s, though – even the very Mills & Boon types like Farmaan or Kashish! I wish Doordarshan would put them on the retail market…

    Suhan: Thank you – and thank you also for introducing me to that lovely song! Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore look so beautiful together. I thought I’d seen all their films together, but it’s good to discover another! From the way she looks, I’d think this was probably shot even earlier than 1972 or so.

    Shalini: You are a very good mother!! A 4-year old whose favourite song is Piya tose naina laage re is definitely being brought up very right! Well done. ;-)

    Thank you for that song – there’s something so languorously romantic about it. Very S D Burman, I think, and it reminded me of another awesome song, Sochke yeh gagan jhoome, from Jyoti… and a little research showed that S D Burman was the composer for that too!

    If I’d seen Jyoti, I’d probably have listed that song in my top ten; on the other hand, if I’d seen Mashaal, I’d probably have listed the stunning Upar gagan vishaal. There are just so many superb SDB songs out there!

    P.S. Have just realised that the person who posted Sochke yeh gagan jhoome on youtube is an srazdan – Shalini, is that you, by any chance? :-)


  24. @dustedoff: [David Rintoul’s a bit stiff and his hair looks like a wig – which it probably was. ;-)

    Awwww! Why would you say that?
    I know he’s quite bald now, but 29 years ago at about 30 years of age he must have had a head of hair :-)
    Here’s a picture of him with his hairstyle a replica of the style he sported in the 80’s version. The thinning hair speaks for its authenticity then (I think, I may be wrong though) and much later when that photo was taken.

    A great SD Burman song


  25. I had forgotten all about Sujata! Thanks for the reminder, pacifist. I love LOVE, Jalte hain jiske liye and the rest of the songs, too.

    Shalini, Sitaron Se Aage has been on my to-find list for Dada Mani. I saw it years ago (on DD) and all I can remember is my disappointment at not finding the Lata song Kahan le chale ho bata do musafir, sitaron ke aage yeh kaisa jahan hai, in the film!

    Dustedoff, Kachchi Dhoop is up on Rajshri, if you want to check it out. I found that it didnt quite live up to my memories (I remember going to watch Maine Pyar Kiya because I loved Bhagyashree so much in her role in the series) – some TV serials just dont! And I would love to see Farmaan and Kashish too (was the latter the one with Malvika Tiwari as an actress and Sudesh Beri as a director?) – even though they were so Mills and Boon-ish.


  26. Loved this as usual, what with the Burmans being my favorite Music Directors & Dev Anand being my favorite Bollywood hero. I could add several DA songs, but I am sure that most if not all readers here know them anyway. Nevetheless, I shall add one —
    Phoolon Ke Rang Se, from Prem Pujari

    The song; lyrics, music, & singing; are great, but the picturization could have been better. This was DA’s first film as a director, and although he selected a great locale (Switzerland, Meiringen to Grimsel Pass); he kept the focus on himself a little too long.

    A complete list of S.D. Burman songs can be found here

    Thanks for a wonderful list.


  27. Suhan: Now I have to get hold of Tyaag! Lovely song. Thank you :-)

    pacifist: He actually looks better in that photo of his, thinning hair and all! I think as a wig goes, the one in P&P was bad – they were probably trying to achieve the slightly windblown look, but it didn’t quite make it. Colin Firth’s hair was his own – the men on the cast for the 1995 P&P had supposedly been told to let their hair grow longer than usual before shooting was to start, so they’d get a more 19th century look without trying too hard. I’ve also just discovered another rather dishy Darcy: Elliot Cowan, who acts the part in the P&P-centred time travel series Lost in Austen:

    Elliot Cowan as Mr Darcy in Lost in Austen

    And yes, thank you for that song from Sujata – it had some lovely songs too (and one of my favourite lullabies).

    bollyviewer: Yes, Kashish was the one with Malvika Tiwari and Sudesh Beri – enjoyable serial, even though it was pretty standard romance novel fare! The same goes for Farmaan – I thought Kanwaljeet pulled off the arrogant hero bit pretty well in that.
    Hmmm… if I can find the time, I just might check out Kachchi Dhoop on Rajshri. Would like to at least see what it was; I’ll probably remember it if I see a couple of episodes.

    Samir: I love Phoolon ke rang se. Really nice music, and the lyrics are wonderful too! I wish the film had been better – somehow I found Prem Pujari to be rather disjointed and with plot holes in places.


  28. @dustedoff – Guilty as charged. :-)

    @bollyviewer – I think I have Sitaron Se Aagey somewhere on videotape. Shall try to find it for you.


  29. Love this… because I don’t know most of the songs (or a lot about SD Burman’s work in general), and now I can really get stuck in. I adore ‘Piya Tose’ – beautiful song and picturisation.


  30. Unfortunately, S D Burman was past his prime by the time I was old enough to appreciate his music – which is why I’m grateful to my parents (especially my father) who’s a fan of old Hindi film music, and used to play songs from the golden oldies a lot!


    • SD Burman was never past his prime. In 1975 when his body was lying in his The Jet bungalow in Khar-Bombay, Mili had been released and the songs were playing. Manohari Singh, his assistant, told me, ‘Sab log bol rahe the, dekho kitna achha music diya hamesha inhonein, marne dum tak itna accha kaam kiya hai. Aisa music director phir kabhi nahin hoga’


      • You know, I think it’s all a question of perception. I think S D Burman was past his prime, because I personally like SDB’s music from the 50s and 60s far more than his music from the 70s.


        • I respect your views, but reproduce his movies for you reconsideration:

          Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970) 5 Star
          Prem Pujari (1970) 5 Star

          Gambler (1971) 5 Star
          Naya Zamana (1971)
          Sharmeelee (1971) 5 Star
          Tere Mere Sapne (1971) 5 Star

          Anuraag (1972)
          Zindagi Zindagi (1972)

          Abhimaan (1973) 5 Star
          Chhupa Rustom (1973)
          Jugnu (1973)
          Phagun (1973) 5 Star

          Prem Nagar (1974)
          Sagina (1974)
          Us Paar (1974) 5 Star

          Chupke Chupke (1975)
          Mili (1975) 5 Star

          Arjun Pandit (1976)
          Barood (1976)
          Deewangee (1976)
          Tyaag (1976)

          Many of them from the list above are 5 star material.


          • Absolutely. But isn’t the number of stars you allot to anything also a case of perception? When I said I didn’t much care for SDB’s music in the 70s, I was looking at his filmography – I didn’t just make that statement off the top of my head. For me, only some of these films – like Prem Pujari, Abhimaan, Chupke Chupke or Mili have good songs, and those too not all. For me, they’d certainly be more around the 4 star or even 3 star mark.

            (Note: I say ‘for me’; you are very welcome to your opinions. But, then, I have the right to stand by my opinion, too!)


  31. Awesome post!! Gone are the days of these creative geniuses!! Why don’t we have songs like this anymore? Anything for these lovely songs than the cacophony of what is called music today!!


  32. I wouldn’t even call most of what is passed off today as ‘music’ music! I have three folders on my computer in which I store music: 50’s and 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, and 90’s and 2000’s. Guess which folder is the largest and which the smallest?! ;-)


  33. Given my classical bias, this song ranks among the very top of SD’s music in my view. It had Meena Kumari, ashok Kumar and Shakeel, all the makings of Roshan music, no Roshan but SD. The music also sounds so Roshan’ish :-), but Lata’s voice is so sweet and Tanuja, aah!! :-)


    • This one is new to me – I’d never heard it before. But yes, a beautiful song, and wonderful lyrics – and I love Tanuja. :-) Wasn’t Shashi Kapoor in Benazir as well?


  34. well, lists like these will never be the same…since probably all my favorite 10 songs of S. D. Burman will be different ones…that is why i am putting my list here (well, that speaks about the greatness of the man itself)
    1. Hum Bekhudi Main (Kalapani)
    2. Phaili Hui Hay (House No. 44)
    3. Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par (Pyaasa)
    4. Waqt Ne Kiya (Kagaz Ke Phool)
    5. Jate The Japan (Chalti Ka Naam Gadi)
    6. Mora Gora Rang Le Le (Bandini)
    7. Tum Na Jane Kis Jahan Main Kho Gaya (Sazaa)
    8. Chand Fir Nikla (Paying Guest)
    9. Jalte Hai Jiske Liye (Sujata)
    10. Jane Kya Tune Kahin (Pyassa)


  35. You’re right, lists will never be the same. But, frankly speaking, I’d say SDB’s corpus of work was all so very good, it would be close to impossible to pick out just ten great songs. All the ones you’ve listed, for example (other than, perhaps Phaili hui hain) are also favourites of mine. Each of them is a fantastic song.


  36. SD is my all-time favourite with his everfresh, youthful music. RD added to the youthful appeal of SD and showed that he too can creat fine melodies like his father. Still Burman the senior is my favourite. He was great in his own right but he also had additionally the good fortune that most of his songs were picturised by very competent directors like Guru Dutt and Vijay Anand. They attached their visual magic to the great music.


    • True. S D Burman had that extra something – he was so brilliantly versatile, and so gifted. I generally steer clear of attaching tags like ‘my absolute favourite’ to people in any field, but if I were asked to name my five favourite Hindi film music directors, SDB would certainly be one of them.


    • In competent directors include the names of Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherji, Shakti Samanta, OP Ralhan, Chetan Anand, amongst others.


      • I gave names to emphasize the point , in fact, You are right, the list can be longer. From all the points you raised in the discussion about whether some songs/music was the creation of SD or RD, you have conclusively shown that SD was not just the king of melody, he was equally at ease using western instruments. He was the superior creative genius of the two.


        • Here is an extract from my voice recorded and signed interview with Kersi Lord:

          KL. One thing I also noticed about Burmansaab: I always observe people. My hobby is observing people. So when we used to record something – I told you how he used to dress with that cloth ‘Thela’. He would squat on the studio floor, cover both ears tightly with his hands and listen to the music. At that time, I thought “Yeh kahin pagal to nahin ho gaya hai. Dada aisa kyon kar raha hai?” This remained in my sub-conscious mind.

          When I started arranging, sometimes the speakers were kept too loud. Those days all the speakers were always kept loud. So, one day I was getting angry, “Why so loud? Why couldn’t I hear what I wanted to hear! So, I just tried Dada’s technique. I closed both my ears tight, and I was surprised to discover that I could hear the details of the things happening behind the song.

          Even then, Mr. Burman was so advanced in his techniques. He knew that, “If I close the ears, all the ‘faltu’ noises fade into the background and only the details of the music come through. You try it, next time you listen to any song, keep it loud, then if you want to hear, “ki santoor or any other specific instrument barabar hai, sur mein hai ki nahin hai, kuch bhi aisa, close your ears tight, you’ll find out, ke sur mein hai, besura hai. Tempo barabar hai ki nahi.”

          Q. You mean you can pick out easier?
          KL. Yes, you can make out the details. Because when we record, we also know the details, what is going to go on the tape finally.

          One day Pyarelal gave me a book. It was a book called Scoring for Films in which lots of composers like Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Elmar Bernstien, etc. etc. gave their individual views on scoring for a death scene. So, once somebody said, when somebody dies, they can build up the music till the death and follow it with complete silence, in Hindi sanatta, complete ‘sanatta’. One composer, I forget who, said that they kept absolute silence before the death, and then give a bang followed by some sad music. Some people said, “We don’t do anything, just let it go like that, and, silence itself has got more strength.”

          When I used to do my background scores, I always used to think ‘How best can I treat a scene for maximum impact?’ Reading that book helped me tremendously in my work.

          Thirty or so years ago, we were playing for one of Mr. Burman’s background recordings, one of the scenes was a death scene. We built up to the death, for e.g. ‘da ra ra ra’ and ‘marne wala ho to bang, followed by a sad theme.

          During the rehearsal Mr. Burman came from inside, “Quiet karo, quiet karo, quiet karo. Mereko suno, suno. Tum log ja rahe ho na, marne tak bahut accha hai, marnepe mujhe ekdam silence chahiye.” Even at that time Burmansaab was already using silence as a part of music, thirty years before I had ever read that book. Look at that old man’s thinking. Look at how advance he was for his age and time!

          As I told you earlier, in December I never used to work. I used to go to Pune and Delhi to study western classical, modern and electronic music from various teachers including Professor Aslam from Delhi.

          Much later in my career I learnt about cluster sound which has been used in modern classical music since the early ’40s-‘50s. You understand the notes C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G; 7-8 close notes played together make a cluster sound, giving off a very eerie feeling.

          One day during one of Mr. Burman’s background recordings, we were rehearsing the piece and suddenly Mr. Burman came charging in saying “Nahin, nahin, nahin sorry, sorry. Bandh karo, bandh karo, bandh karo, bandh karo. Iske pehle tumlog kya bajaya? Violin section, what you were playing?”

          Our violin section use to fool around all the time. If you ask them to tune also, give them A for tuning, one will play runs (running notes), one will play ku, ku ku, one will play something else. Instead of tuning, everything else but tuning. So, one fellow said, “I was playing this.” Dada said, “No, no, no. Iske pehle kya?”

          For fifteen minutes we were trying to recreate what Mr Burman had heard. Then I realized that they were tuning their violins and other instruments at the time which sounded very similar to what I know as cluster sounds now. So, I asked “Manohari, violin ko tune karo wapas.”
          I thought this was what Dada was looking for. And then the whole group started tuning like they done before and Dada said “Haan, yeh, yeh, yehi mere ko chahiye.” He wanted that cluster effect.

          After that, Anandji made cluster sound a standard for every background of Kalyanji-Anandji. He used to call it Odessy Tremolo. But, this had been used much before by Mr. Burman. Another example of his music being far ahead of its time.

          Mr. Burman always was very modern. I realized, he was very, very modern. Each song of his was unlike any other composer of that time or before. Completely different than others, way ahead of his time.

          * * * * *
          About Mr Kersi Lord:

          RESUME of KERSI LORD November 2009

          KERSI LORD, one of the leading and most innovative musicians in the Indian Film Industry, began playing music professionally at the tender age of 14. His legacy of a career, which has been going strong for more than 60 years now, has been driven by his passion and desire to learn about and contribute to the music industry on a whole.

          Kersi was born in Bombay on February 14, 1935 into a family of musicians. His father, the pioneering Indian percussionist Mr. Cawas Lord, is known today as a legend in the Indian music industry. Kersi’s younger sister, Hilla Lord, a talented pianist and younger brother, Burjor Lord (better known as Buji), an ace percussionist also inherited the family genes. Kersi’s mother, Banubai, and most of her brothers were also musicians.

          Right from the get go Kersi chose music over everything else; skipping school in order to play at the legendary song recordings of Mr. Naushad. Under the guidance of his father, he began his professional career by mastering various Latin-American percussion instruments, which had incidentally been introduced to India by his father. Cawas also taught Kersi how to play the drums.

          In those days, Kersi was considered a very fine Jazz drummer with a novel, fresh style of drumming which incorporated Indian rhythms. This unique combination made him stand out from the rest.

          His father’s persistent encouragement, led Kersi to pursue a vast and varied education in his field, beginning with piano under the guidance of Miss Roda Khodiaji. Although he never took up the piano professionally, he naturally progressed to the Piano Accordion which he soon became proficient at playing. In fact, his expertise at playing rhythmic as well as melodic instruments allowed him to develop his very own technique of accordion playing which incorporated Jazz harmony as well as Latin rhythmic phrases. This unique style became apparent with the extremely famous song “Roop Tera Mastana” by the late Mr. S. D. Burman.

          To further improve his knowledge, Kersi began studying Jazz Harmony from various teachers like Mr. Hal Green, Mr. Dizzy Sel and a few others.

          Despite already being a well versed musician, Kersi decided to continue his musical education. He learnt Indian Classical Music from the famous P. Madhukar (Harmonium) and Inam Ali Khan (Tabla) for a year or two but also continued learning theoretical aspects of Western Classical Music including Traditional Harmony, Counterpoint, Composition, Orchestration and Conducting from Dr. Coelwriter, Prof. Bueller of Germany, and Prof. Herbert Haslam of USA. This expert classical training from both fortes was extremely helpful later, during his experience as an arranger in the Indian Film Industry and as a composer for ad films, documentaries, TV serials and jingles.

          Kersi was a principle percussionist with the Bombay Chamber Orchestra and the Bombay Philharmonic for almost three decades. He was also the Chairman of the Bombay School of Music and the Cine Musicians Association for a few years.

          During this period, Kersi and his brother Buji performed a very difficult piece of Western Classical Music Repertoire along with two famous American pianists – Bartok’s ‘Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion’. Later, Kersi also performed great classical works, including Carl Orff’s ‘Carmina Burana’ and Beethoven’s ‘Ninth Symphony’ twice, with two different conductors, his previous teachers Dr. Coelwriter and Prof. Bueller. These are just the highlights of his Western Classical Repertoire.

          During the same time Kersi introduced the Glockenspiel to India, taking it to the studios of Bombay (now known as Mumbai). This instrument gained tremendous popularity with the songs of the late music director Mr. Jaidev from his film ‘Hum Dono’. Kersi was behind the enigmatic musical lighter theme which featured throughout the film.

          From the early seventies, Kersi delved deeply into electronic music and made popular his style of playing the Electric Organ, using lots of electronic guitar gadgets like the Wow-Wow Pedal, Phasers, LFOs, Flangers, SFX units, Tape Echoes, etc.; a very unique sound for Indian film music.

          Kersi was the first to introduce the ‘MOOG’ synthesizer in India, only three months after it was marketed in the USA. He also popularised the Echo Chamber (popularly known as the Echolite), a variety of synthesizers and the Rhythm Composer (Drum Machines); playing with the famous and most innovative composer of the Indian Film Industry, Mr. R. D. Burman.

          Since 1967, Kersi has composed and arranged music for numerous films and has assisted many famous music directors like Naushad, Usha Khanna, Madan Mohan, Kalyanji-Anandji, Brij Bhushan, R. D. Burman and Vanraj Bhatia.

          He accompanied Kishore Kumar for a concert tour of the whole of the West Indies in 1969. From 1977 to 1982 Kersi also accompanied Asha Bhosle and R. D. Burman for concert tours to the UK, Holland, USA, Canada, Mauritius and Dubai; performing in the most prestigious halls including the Royal Albert Hall, Carnegie Hall, Fisher Hall, Radio City Hall, etc.

          Another outstanding achievement of his career was when he composed music for the famous play ‘Tughlaq’ which was directed by Alyque Padamsee; staring Kabir Bedi in the lead role. Alyque wanted the score to consist of mainly percussion instruments. The recording was done on a very tight budget and used three percussionists, Kersi and even Alyque. A review given in the Times of India said – “strange but extremely appropriate music by Kersi Lord”. He was also called ‘Mad’ by his friends and family as his modern and futuristic conception couldn’t be digested by everyone.

          In more recent years, Kersi did the string arrangement for two French singers, Princess Erika and Damien Saez. These works were very well appreciated in France.

          At the beginning of 2006 he was contacted by composers Didier (Didier Le’plae) and Wong (Joe Wong) of USA. They were coming to India to record the music for the film ‘The Pool’. The special requirements for the project were that the music should be recorded with a group of live musicians, including the famous Manohari Singh, and on an Analogue Tape Recorder. Always drawn to a challenge and being a big fan of analogue sound, Kersi took up the difficult task of arranging the soundtrack and recordings sessions which were completed in 2006. ‘The Pool’, which was shot in Goa, received the ‘Critics Award’ at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival; among many other award shows in the U.S.A.

          Today, Kersi is happily retired from the busy schedule of playing, recording, arranging and composing in Indian studios. But, he continues to enjoy studying and analyzing the changing trends of the latest in World and Indian music.

          * * * * *


        • About SD Burman knowledge of western music:

          “Ranjan Das Gupta in his article titled ‘Missing Maestros’ in Times of India dated February 21, 2009 has said:

          ‘Earlier compositions by Naushad, S. D. Burman, Salil Chowdhuri and Shankar-Jaikishan prove their command over western melodies. Even Bobby Darwin, the iconic composer of ‘Come September’ appreciated Sujata, Guide and Parakh. He became aware of them through a British music critic, James Stewart, who was well informed about Hindi melodies.”
          (Two of the three movies mentioned above have music by SDB)


            • Nareshji,
              Thanks for the compliments. I never copy-paste. You will find that all my posts are credited to their source, or from my own interviews.

              You are right, I am sitting on a treasure trove. All of it is authentic, voice recorded and signed, and now last 2-3 interviews video recorded too. Recently, I met Uttam Singh (MD of Gadar-Ek Prem Katha) and Hari Prasad Chaurasia. Both of them have worked with SDB and RDB.

              SDB was a genius, much ahead of his times. He gave youthful music, and was responsible for many geniuses including his own son RDB, Kishore Kumar and many others.

              This is my passion after retirement, to unearth treasure-troves for our future generations.


                • First and foremost, I haven’t had time since I started my research in 2009. In addition I am managing 3 SDB groups on internet with a total membership of about 15,000 fans. I have to feed them anecdotes, and clear their cobwebs. All my personal matters have taken a backseat.

                  Besides, I am not that computer savvy to think about website or blog. Perhaps blog could be easier, but again time is the constraint. It is urgent to meet the remaining greats who knew SDB, before it is too late.

                  Then, I have to come back, listen and type (with my speed), listen and translate into English for larger audience, go back wherever audio is not clear, get it approved and signed, and now video record, transfer and take a backup, etc, etc.. It is a never ending work.

                  A book in English on SDB has already been published from Bangladesh, containing some of my interviews. Since then I have conducted a lot many more interviews, and even added more information from the people whose interviews have appeared in that book.

                  I am thinking of a book on SDB, and one day god willing, a film on him. I do not know how. Single-handed, with some help from my friend’s daughter, I have been doing all this at my cost, and I don’t have any intention to make money out of this.


  37. Lot of people rated SD Burman as the best composer of his era, purely for his range and versatility. It is a risky venture to narrow it to top ten for him, but you have done a fair job. I probably would not venture into it.


    • Read the title of my post – Ten of my favourite S D Burman songs. I’m not saying these are his top ten songs. I’m just saying these are ten of his songs that I especially like. It would be silly and presumptuous to label anything by anyone as ‘top’ for everybody. Tastes are very subjective, no?

      But thank you for saying I’ve done a fair job of listing my ten favourites! ;-)


  38. Friends,
    I am overwhelmed. I am in the process of actually handing over all my material to an author – free of cost – for the book on SDB. So far, some 900 pages have been handed over, some of it collected over decades. When the book is out, this will be the 1st place I’ll announce it.
    Every word of what SN Tripathi (music director) has said about SDB is true, and more.
    Moti Lalwani

    Jaimala Gold – S N Tripathi (1972)
    “Sangeet ke mahaarathi Burman-dada film sangeet ke bheeshma-pitaamah (grand father) ki tarah poojya hain. Aaj tak aisa koi gaanDeev-dhaari naheen huya, jo unke sangeet ko lalkaar sake.

    Sangeet mein sadaarang, adaarang, manrang, har-rang praacheen-kaal se hote rahe hain. Burman-dada ka sangeet ekrang hai. jaisi bhi aavashyakta ho, unka sangeet waisa hi
    hota hai. unka sangeet unnees-bees ho sakta hai, aThThaarah kabhi naheen. ab unka ek geet suniye jo unnees naheen, bees naheen, ikkees hai. is geet ko sunte hi ek baar aur sun lene ki ichchhaa prabal ho uThti hai.

    Film ‘Meri Surat Teri Aankhen’ ka geet, swargiya Shailendra ka likhaa huya, Manna Dey ki manjhi huyi aawaaz mein

    Song: Poochho naa kaise maine rain bitaayi (Meri Surat Teri Aankhen)


    • I particularly liked that bit about “unka sangeet unnees-bees ho sakta hai, aThThaarah kabhi naheen.” That is quite a tribute to SDB’s skill! And what a fine song to choose… Poochho na kaise maine rain bitaayi is a favourite of mine.


  39. Glad that the book is already being planned. SN Tripathi has paid tribute in glowing words. I liked this:”Aaj tak aisa koi gaanDeev-dhaari naheen huya, jo unke sangeet ko lalkaar sake.”

    When SDB himself presented Jaimala, the only song of his own was Puchho na kaise.. It is not just SDB’s, but film music’s immortal song.


    • Seems you know good Hindi. I had to get it translated through a friend in Delhi. Not interested in films, he could not relate to the subject.

      Do you have that Jaimala text, what he spoke? I too may have it, somewhere in my archives, but just in case.


      • Unfortunately, no, Motiji, I doon’t have the text but SD being my favourite, many details have remained in my memory, like his listening at classical concert “jhan jhan jhan payal baje, kaise jaun pi se..” and creating a song (in Lata’ voice) in which the mukhda is same but antara are different.


      • I wish you could have felt the force of S N Tripathi’s words first hand. Gandiv was Arjun’s powerful, divine dhanush that made him invincible. Gandiv-dhari is Arjun. Loosely translated, it would mean: There has been no one mighty enough to challenge his music till today. This of course sounds weak compared to the original. :)


  40. It is no wonder that such a well-presented post on SDB would have more than 100 comments!
    The entire gamut of discussions have added to the aura of SDB.
    I would only add this: I have no specific disrespect or dislike for KishoreKumar, but I would find it very difficult to include any of his songs in my SDB favorites in comparison to his non-Kishore songs.


    • I find your comment very interesting. Almost no one would agree with you, but this is a free country – I hope so – so go ahead believe in your belief.

      At the same time, it once again proves that SDB alone could take it to the pinnacle twice in KK’s life. The 2nd time being Aradhana.


  41. I happily clicked here, landing (somehow) from your post on Saheb Bibi Aur Ghulam. And I was giggling and giggling nonstop because… you know why, right? ;)


      • YES. :D

        I came here expecting something of that sort and wasn’t disappointed. :D

        But where’s Gaata Rahe Mera Dil? Or Dil Ka Bhanwar? Or Khoya Khoya Chand? Maybe ten is too little.


            • Sorry for butting in, but I could not resist. Request to be excused.

              I agree with bombaynoir but when dustedoff says ‘they’re my ten’, u can’t even argue.

              What about SDB’s Bangla songs, a language which I don’t understand. I would recommend two for the uninitiated, ‘Ghum Bhulechi’ and ‘Alo chhaya’. ‘Hum ‘Bekhudi’ is based on the first one and ‘Pawan Diwani’ is based on the second. You will love them, as you keep on hearing them. And what a superb voice he has, no need to understand the language.


  42. @Moti Lalwani: You’re welcome to butt in! That’s what discussions are for.

    Yes, my blog is meant for my favourites, as I keep telling people again and again. Many have asked, “How could you have left out so-and-so song?”, and I always say that this is my blog, so my opinions are what are expressed here. What you’ll find here are ten (not twenty, fifty, hundred – though I’m sure for some of my favourite composers/actors/etc, I would probably be able to list many more) songs that I count among my favourites. But I love seeing other suggestions people offer. Sometimes I’ve been introduced to some wonderful ‘new’ songs that I’d never heard before, and have fallen in love with them.

    Thank you, therefore, for the songs you’ve recommended – I especially loved Ghum bhulechi (possibly because I really love Hum bekhudi mein. Here’s a Youtube video which includes both:

    Even Aalo chaaya was lovely.


    • Dada ke gaane ke baare mein kuch bataaiye.
      Dada gaana jab gaate the, to bahut devoted jisko bolte hain, waisa gaate the. Hamesha koi bhi gaana gaate the, aankh band karke hi gaate the. Maine bhi dekha hai, kyon ki maine bhi unke saath kaafi picture ka kaam kiya hai, as a violinist aur baad mein arranger. Burman Sahib, gaane ke baad jab aankh kholte the, to saamne waale log ek hi baat bol sakte the, ‘It’s a mind-blowing song’. Yeh hi bolte the sab log. Burman Sahib gaana gaate-gaate, gaane ke andar ghus jaate the, kho jaate the!

      Dada Burman ka gaaye hue gaane jab bhi aap sunege, to us mein hamesha naye rang aur naye andaaz mehsoos honge. Aur, aisa lagta tha ki sun-ne waalon ke liye nahin gaa rahe hain, jaise swayam Bhagwan ke liye gaa rahe hain!

      Haan, Dev Sahib bhi ek din bol rahe the mujhse, “Dada Burman jab gaana gaate hain, to hamesha aankh bandh karke gaate hain. Aur, gaate samay itna involve ho jaate hain ki unko koi hosh nahin rehta – na jagah ka, na waqt ka, aur na hi kisi ki maujoodgi ka!”

      “Aur jab woh aankh kholte hain, to jaise woh kisi nashe (trance) mein hain. And, he never looks at us for our reaction. Woh gaana gaate hain to matlab kho jaate hain kahin – aur hi kahin!”

      (This is from one of my recorded interviews with an assistant of SDB who worked with him. This and more of my research is going to be in a book which will come out in a book.)


        • This is what Music Director Uttam Singh (‘Gadar Ek Prem Katha’ fame) said about ‘Yeh Dil Diwana’ song in the 5 CD series from Saregama taken out as Tribute to SD Burman.

          “Hamari industry mein ek asool tha, ki director, song writer ke paas jaya karte the. Aur song writer se kehte the ki yeh mera scene hai, yeh meri situation hai, ispe aap gana likhiye. Tab us gaane ko leke, director aur writer sangeetkar ke paas jaya karte the. Aur phir sangeetkar gaane ki dhun banate the. Yeh silsila bahut saal tak chalta raha.
          Is silsile ko break kiya Shri S. D. Burman saheb ne. Maine unke paas bahut kaam kiya, aur main unko hamesha baba kaha karta tha. Woh Dada ke naam se jaane jate the, lekin main unko baba kaha karta tha, jaise father hote hain. To dhun banane ka jo silsila shuru hua hai, yeh Burman saheb se shuru hua hai. Ek gana tha, ‘Dara ra dada ri”. Char note mein yeh gaana compose hua hai. It’s beyond imagination, ki yeh gaana kaise banaya hai.”

          Song played: ‘Yeh dil diwana hai, dil to diwana hai , diwana dil hai ye, dil diwana’ from Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970), singers – Lata and Rafi


  43. Motiji, reading your post brought to mind the lovely picture of Burmanda I saw in the titles of the film Ishq Par Zor Nahin. The picture shows him with eyes closed and a small violin-like instrument in his hands – truly representing the mood described in your post. And with that memory came to mind the song of Rafi from that film: Ye dil diwana hai, dil to diwana hai, diwan dil hai ye dil diwana, picturised on Dharmendra. And a gem – Mehbooba teri tasvir, kis tarah main banaun, also sung by harfanmaula Rafi.


  44. What a coincidence! When I was mentioning the song Ye dil diwana hai.. you were also quoting Uttam Singh mentioning the unusual way SD often composed that song. You will find many more novel ideas and experiments in his compositions, and that is the reason of the ever-freshness and youthfulness of his music.


    • Nareshji, Since I am collecting all the material on SDB, I would be grateful if you know anything on the subject of many novel ideas and experiments in his compositions’, as mentioned by you.


    • Listening to it now… beautiful. Just listening to SDB’s voice gives me gooseflesh. And since the Hindi version is a favourite of mine, this one naturally appeals to me. Thank you!


      • SDB’s Bangla song based on folk tune “KALO SAAPE DONGSHE AAMAY…” listen to the song and enjoy the song. Now play the song DOLI MEIN BITHAKE KAHAR in double speed. See the magic. Thats great SDB who loves playing with rhythm and experiment new styles.


  45. top 10 will feature badi sooni sooni hain. dil ka bhawar kare pukar, phoolon ke raang se, roop tera maastana, yeh dil na hota bechara, ek ladki bheegi bhagi si, kya se kya ho gya, aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hain, jalte hain jiske liye, poochona kaise maine can also feature. It’s a personal choice I feel


  46. I am a latecomer and find this post truly a goldmine for an SDB fan.
    Couple of years ago I had been to one of Amit Kumar’s stage shows. He had narrated an anecdote about “Roop tera mastana.” According to him, one late evening KK, his father, received a call from SDB asking him to come immediately, that there was this new Nepali hero (this was guaranteed to get the audience laughing) in this new film and a song was being finalized for him. Upon arrival (Amit was presumably accompanying him) KK was greeted eagerly by SDB. RDB, Shakti Samant, Anand Bakshi, and Rajesh Khanna were also sitting there, all in a somber mood. SDB explained to KK the situation, that this was the most romantic scene in the film with the hero and the heroine alone out there in the night … , that he had just the right tune for the occasion, and he burst enthusiastically into a bhatiyali song (audience laughter). KK immediately understood the reason for the downcast faces. He took SDB to one side and told him, “Dada, why don’t you use one of your old Bengali tunes: ‘Aami jaeebo shoshuro baari’?” SDB immediately realized the greater potential of that tune and canceled the meeting saying that they should meet again next evening and he would have the final tune ready. The rest is, as you all know, history. Unfortunately, I have not been able to locate that old Bengali SDB song. Moti Lalwani ji, Arup Bhanj ji, and other visitors to this blog appear to be much more resourceful and I would be grateful if any of them could direct me to it.

    Naresh ji’s recollection of SDB’s Jaimala seems correct. I believe it was broadcast sometime in 1968 (the latest song in that Jaimala was from Milan, 1967). If my memory serves me right, he began the programme singing the opening lines of his Bengali song “Rongila, rongila, rongila re” (“Aan milo, aan milo shyam sanware” in Devdas is based on that tune). He probably played 10 songs, and I thought his choices showed “politically” savvy in that he played one famous song of each of the major composers and played two each of SJ and LP! Here is the list (I do not vouch for it as my recollection is vague):
    “Tu ganga ki mauj” (Baiju bawara; Naushad)
    “Yeh zindagi usi ki hai” (Anarkali, C Ramchandra)
    “Jo wada kiya wo” (Tajmahal, Roshan)
    “Kankaria maar ke jagaaya” (Himalaya ki god mein, KA)
    “Mera joota hai japani” and “Sab kuchh seekha hamane” (Shri 420 and Anari, SJ – “Dhunen to ham bhi banaate hain par dhunen banaane mein Shankar Jaikishan ka jawab nahin” is what he said)
    “Tu jahan jahan chalega” (Mera saya, Madan Mohan)
    “Sawan ka mahina” and “Raam kare” (Milan, LP – “Naye sangitkaaron mein Laxmikant Pyarelal bahut mehanati hain aur bahut aage jaayenge” or something to that effect were his comments)
    “Poochho na kaise maine” (Meri surat teri aankhen, SDB – “Apani sabhi rachnaon mein yeh mujhe sabase adhik pasand hai” is the gist of what he had indicated).
    I would love to listen to that Jaimala again or read its transcript if Nareshji or Moti Lalwani ji are able to make it available.


    • How can anyone think that SD Burman, or for that matter any of our music directors, create a bhatiali tune for a sexy song? If Amit Kumar wants to become popular by his anecdotes, they should be based on truth, not fiction.
      Before accepting such garbage, I also think that fans should ask themselves that, is it possible that SDB, who created so many romantic songs for Dev Anand in the 1950s, can think of a Bhatiali tune when a romantic cum sexy song is required.

      I am posting here my complete interview with late Manohari Singh, conducted before his death. It is voice recorded, later printed and signed by him. He mentions about Aradhana and Kishore’s contribution.

      Manohari Singh on Sachin Dev Burman

      Q. Please tell us about your association with Dada Burman.
      Manohari Singh: He (SDB) always maintained a style of his own. He always gave good music and his songs used to be like nature, like ‘matti’ smell, like earth smell. His music used to be like that. Folk tunes, Bhatiali, all this sort of east Bengal Bhatiali and east Bengal folk tunes also, all tunes of our nature, not ready made composed but natural songs. From that kind of tunes he used to develop and make songs.

      Q. When did you meet him first, can you please tell us?
      MS: I met him in 1958, when I came to Bombay from Calcutta. Salil Choudhary brought me here. Salilda was very fond of me. We met in Calcutta when I was working for HMV – Calcutta. I was very young, some 24-25 years of age. In 1958 he brought me here. He used to tell me every time when he used to come back from Bombay, Salilda used to tell me, ‘There is nothing left in Calcutta now, see all this partition and all. Not much pictures also. Everything is finished in Calcutta. Come with me’, all the time he used to say.

      In 1958 I came with him and he introduced me to every Music Director. We started from Juhu side. In Juhu there was nothing, only some Bungalows of Anil Biswas, Kishoreda and song writer cum dancer Prem Dhawan. Salilda lived in Andheri east, across the level crossing. He had a music room in Bimal Roy’s Mohan studios.

      Then Salilda brought me and said let’s go and meet all the music directors. First he took me to Anil Biswas, then to Kishoreda who was staying next to him.

      After that Salilda took me to Naushad Saab, he was staying at Carter Road. Then he introduced me to C. Ramchandra, staying in a Bungalow in that corner. Anna was staying there. He used to be called ‘Anna’. Chitra Gupta and Madan Mohan were also staying in Khar area. Then he took me to Mahalaxmi famous Studio and introduced me to Shankar-Jaikishan and then Nayyar Sahib.

      * * * * *

      Then he told me let’s go to Burman Dada’s house. Then we went to Dada’s house, ‘The Jet’. Burman Saab was told, ‘He plays Flute, he plays Saxophone’ and he said “Good, send him tomorrow. I have some background work in Bombay Lab.”

      After one or two days I was called to Bombay Lab by Burman Saab for background music of ‘Sitaron Se Aage’ (1958). I played some key flute, but couldn’t get chance to play the saxophone because the situation was like that, the music was like that. Laxmikant (of the Laxmikant-Pyarelal fame) was playing the mandolin, and Sumant Raj was there for flute, and Jaidev was there very much as an assistant, and Pancham was also there,

      After I played whatever was given to me, then Laxmikant came to me and asked me, ‘Accha aap kidhar, Calcutta se aaye. To, kya-kya bajate hain’. I told him. RD and Sumant Raj also came, all musicians came to me. They all said very good, very good, ‘Aap aisa-aisa bajate hain, bahut accha hai. Aap idhar rehne wale hain?’ I said yes, yes.

      * * * * *

      Those days all the musicians used to come and they never used to stay here for long. They used to come and go. From Calcutta so many musicians came, after one month or so, ‘bhag gaya’. Those days in ’57, ’58, ’59 so many musicians came for one month, one and half month and go back. Unless and until they get a good break, then only they will have confidence and stay back. Again they used to come back. Musicians like Shiv Kumar; he came once, and went back. And again he came back. Away from home, they were all scared and unhappy in new surroundings.

      * * * * *

      So, after playing flute for ‘Sitaron Se Aage’, I was called by Burman Saab once or twice for some other picture. Then after that for some time I wasn’t called. Then I went and met Pancham. There Laxmikant was there for some sitting. Laxmikant asked me ‘Aap Mandolin bhi bajate hain na’. I said yes. ‘Accha aap Mandolin leke aao kal. Kal aap Mandolin leke aayenge Navketan mein.’ So I went there with Mandolin. Then I played that song of ‘Kala Bazaar’ (1960), Laxmikant and myself, ‘Achcha ji main haari, piya maan jao na’.

      * * * * *

      Q. So he had a heart attack?
      MS. Attack he had.

      Q. Which was the first time?
      MS. First time…, once he had eye operation at that time he had a little problem. Then after that, in his last year he had a heart attack, when he died.

      Q. Dada, ‘Aradhana’ (1969) picture I will come to. In Aradhana, Kersi was there, and you were also there?
      MS: Yes.

      Q. I talked to Kersi Lord that day, and he said that it was purely S. D. Burman’s music, and during the recording of song ‘Roop Tera Mastana’, RDB wasn’t even present.
      MS: Yes. That’s correct, what Kersi said.

      Aapko main batata hoon, that gaana bante bante finally uska jab finishing banta hai na, finishing mein aata hai na, uska kuch shape alag ban jaata hai. Bol aata hai, bol ka wajan ho jaata hai, bolon ko wajan mein daalne se, idhar udhar karte karte, gaana shuruaat hota hai ek type ka tune mein; aur usko sajaate-sajaate, usko banaate-banaate, finally uska shape change ho jaata hai.

      Woh ‘Roop Tera Mastana’, woh Dada ka hi gaana tha, woh gaane ko usne hi banaaya tha; Dada ne. Phir Kishoreda ne kuch idea diya, wajan diya, Kishoreda ne, ki aisa kuchh karenge gaane ke bol ko, ‘Roop tera mastana’ gaane ke bol ko thoda thoda wajan dekar phir baad mein Dada bola to “Arre Kishore, achcha us ko tune bana diya. Arre bahut achcha kiya tune Kishore, achcha usko bana diya”.

      Kishoreda bhi great composer, great actor, no doubt about that. Unhonein kuch bol ko karke, kuch upar neeche karke, wajan idhar udhar daalke, gaane ko ek meter mein laya. Sur was not there, then after that ahiste-ahiste usko sur improve hua, usko sur mein laya.

      Q. Par yeh normal hai, naturally assistants have to give suggestions to improve it. SDB approve karenge, (ya) nahin karenge, unke upar hai. That’s what I feel.
      MS: Correct, wohi baat hai. Assistants always suggestion denge, achcha suggestion hoga to woh le lega, line daal bhi dete hain aisa kuch gaane mein, do-char sur ke liye gaane ka roop hi alag ho jaata hai. Aisa hota hai na, so why not accept it, aisa bhi hota hai.

      Credit goes to Burman. Haan, Kersi correct bolta hai. ‘Aradhana’ ka music sab S. D. Burman Saab ka hi hai. Poora music Burman Saab ka hai. Haan, RD is mein involve nahin hai. Nahin, RD is mein involve nahin hai.

      Q. That you are saying, because you were personally involved. ‘Aradhana’ mein aap Assistant Music Director the?
      MS: Main Assistant Music Director tha ‘Aradhana’ mein. Mera poora arrangement tha us mein. Mere saath Basu Chakraborty bhi tha, mera partner. Main aur Basu music director bane the hum log, ‘Basu-Manohari’. Hum logon ne music diya, ‘Sabse Bada Rupaiya’ aur kafi pictures. Basu bhi tha. Hum logon ne milke kiya.

      Doosri baat yeh bhi hai, thoda sa gaana sajana ke time mein, Burman saab ne humlog ke upar chod diya, ‘Usko yeh hai, uska yeh roop batao, uska yeh roop dikhana. Thoda modern hai, aisa hai, yeh hai, woh hai, thoda sexy banana. Burman Saab thoda aise bolte rahte the.

      To hum logon ne socha, chalo theek hai. Uska rhythm pattern fix kiya. Usmein kaun: main, Basu, Maruti, Pancham. Pancham bhi assistant hi tha full. Sab hum log wahaan baith-ke rhythm ka pattern set karke aur uske baad tune ke upar aisa, filler hota hai, aisa banaya. Hum log sab milke usko sajaya. Is sajawat mein contribution sab ka hai, mera hai, RD ka hai, Basu ka hai, Maruti ka hai. Maruti rhythm section ka poora dekh bhaal karta tha.

      So it was team work. Hamara team bhi accha tha, bahut hi accha tha. S. D. Burman ka, R. D. Burman ka, dono ka team. It goes as a team work. Aur assistant arranger sabka, jo jitna ho sake, gaana ko khubsurat banana. That was their responsibility. Hum log karte the.

      To usmein poora arrangement mera tha complete. Gaane ka upar arrangement karne ke liye poora responsibility mera tha. Likhna, score banana, uska arrangement karna, gaane ko aage peeche karna, that was my contribution. Yeh hi har assistant ka kaam hota tha jyada karke. Assistant log ka kaafi kaam hota hai, kaafi contribution hota hai. S. D. Burman ke liye kiya, RD ke liye bhi kiya.

      * * * * *

      Q. Aur kaunsi kaunsi picture aapne SD ke saath ki?
      MS: Maine shuroo kiya in 1958 ‘Sitaron Se Aage’ se, as a player shuroo kiya. Baad mein mujhe bulaate rahe, Kala Pani’ (1958), ‘Kala Bazaar’ (1960), aisa hi karte rahe.

      Phir baad mein unhonein mujhe assistant banaya, woh hai Shakti Samant ki picture ‘Insaan Jaag Utha’ (1959) with Sunil Dutt and Madhubala. So ‘Insaan Jaag Utha’ picture se hum logon ko, main aur Basu bhi tha saath mein, as an assistant arranger ke tarike chance diya .

      Uske baad to hum log karte gaye, kafi kya kya picture, ‘Teen Deviyan’ (1965), ‘Dr Vidya’ (1962), ‘Teri Surat Meri Aankhen’ (1963), ‘Talash’ (1969), etc. ‘Jewel Thief’ (1967) mera hi hai, ‘Guide’ (1965) mera hi hai.

      Last unka picture humne kiya, ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ (1971). Because thoda sa khat pat hua. Us time mein RD ka accha kaam chal gaya tha. RD establish ho gaya tha. To hum log ko Madras jana pada, background music ke liye. Gemini ki picture, ‘Laakhon Mein Ek’ (1971). Us time tak, hum dono ke liye kar rahe the.

      * * * * *
      Uske baad kuch aisa crisis ho gaya ki unka (SDB) bhi background chal raha tha, ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ (1971) ka, aur humlog ko ‘Laakhon Mein Ek’ ke liye background mein Madras jaana pada. And both were urgent. To humko unko chod ke jana pada. Dono ko: Basu ko aur mujhe.

      To Burman Saab naraaz ho gaye, kyon ki purane zamaane ke aadmi hai na., “Hamara kaam kaise chod ke ja rahe ho?” Aisa, waisa, halan ki unka hi beta ka kaam hai. Man mein zara hota hai na, puraane zamaane ke aadmi ko, baap ho ya beta ho.

      Q. So Dada Burman’s work was held up midway?
      MS. Haan, ek hi shift baaki tha. Uske liye unko gussa ho gaya. To humlog ko bola, ‘Nahin bulayenge abhi’. Anyway, unke bete ke liye gaye the. But he was alright hum logon ke saath uske baad. Bahut respect, maan dete the unko humlog. Baat cheet karna, sab kuch theek tha.

      Then after some time ek do gaane ke liye hum log ko bulaye bhi the. Basu ne arrangement kiya tha. I went for playing also. Barood (1976) ka gana tha.

      Baaki that was the last picture, baad mein chod diya.

      Q. And Meera Burman took over as an assistant?
      MS: Woh assistant to thi pehle se, unka gaana hai.. Indirectly, unka bhi haath tha. She was a good singer. Love marriage thi. She was a radio singer. Burman saab bhi radio mein gaate the. Aisee baat nahin hai, woh guni thi kaafi.

      * * * * *

      Burman saab theek the. Body pada hua tha ‘Jet’ mein, aur ‘Mili’ (1975) mein release hua tha, unka gaana baj raha tha. Bahar sunai de raha tha uske ghar mein. Log bol rahe the, ‘Dekho, guzar gaya, aaj uska body pada hua hai, aur picture abhi release hua. Isko bolte hain Music Director. Last dam tak aisa kaam karke gaya’. Kehne ka matlab, ki abhi release hua, inka naya picture.

      So that was his prime, naam karke gaye duniya mein, jaate-jaate bhi unka accha kaam karke gaye.

      * * * * *

      Bhabhiji bahut taqleef mein thi. RD jaane ke baad paralyse ho gayi thi.

      Burman Saab expired in Jet. After he died, then Raheja took over the ‘Jet’ and he gave one small flat here, very good flat it was, where Pancham and his mother were staying. Pancham ka wahan ek ‘Odina’ tha, flat liya idhar, us ‘Odina’ mein kaam hua. Accha remarkable kaam hua ‘Odina’ mein. So Odina was there.

      Q. ‘Odina’ was the name of the building?
      MS. Yes. Jahaan woh rehta tha ‘Maryland’ mein, uske just opposite mein woh school hai na, usika chowk ke opposite side mein. Uska Chowk bana hai na, uske opposite side mein. Wohi building se, usne baad mein, yehi Maryland liya. RD expired in Maryland, Odina bechke. In between another one building (flat) liya tha, woh building Khar mein hai, near that Madhu Park. Woh building mein Asha bai rehti hai, jyada idhar hi rehti hai. Peddar Road mein kam rehti hai. Yeh Maryland, is mein RD Burman rehte rehte guzar gaye, woh bhi poora floor unka tha.

      SDB died in Jet, during release of ‘Mili’, his body was lying there.
      * * * * *
      Q. Dada, SD ki team mein kul kitne musicians the?
      MS: Team mein hum log. Orchestra alag thi, jab rehearsal hota tha na, bahar se hum violin, flute, cello, sab lete the na, sab milakar 60 – 70 hote the musicians. 20-25 violin, tabla, dholak, sab milake 50-60 hote the.

      Q. ‘Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukare chale gaye’ (Kala Pani) mein kitne the?
      MS: Tabla, and that’s all. Different-different type ke gaana pe hai, char musicians bhi hai, paanch bhi hai.

      Musicians itna kam bhi nahin lete the hum log aane ke baad. Jaisa-jaisa thoda bhara hua chaahiye. Burman Saab kam violin lete the, 15-20 violin lete the. Hamare taraf se unko bol-bol ke achha bhara hua karte the.

      Music bhi 8-10 seconds karte the. “Tum log lamba music mat karna. Hamara gaana koi sunega nahin, tumhara music sunega.” Yeh Burman Saab ka bolne ka tha.

      Hum log unko bolte the, ‘Dada, aaj kal dekhiye, kitna bhara-bhara music karte hain. Shankar Jaikishan, OP Nayyar Saab, sab ka naam lete the hum log. Aath second mein kya hoga? Bolke-bolke khaali 10-12 second tak bus.

      Kar-kara ke kabhi 15 second kisi-kisi gaane mein, jaise ‘Guide’ mein, ‘Jewel Thief’ mein, kar-kar ke badhaaya. To matlab, aisa unka nature tha. Woh bolte the, “Jyaada music lamba nahin karna, mera gaana koi nahin sunega, khali 7-8 second karo. Hum log 7-8 second bolke chale jayenge. Burman Saab, as a practice, orchestra kam lete the.

      Us ‘Jewel Thief’ ke gaane ‘Hoton pe aisi baat’ mein unhonein kam se kam 20-25 rhythm tha, Ruby, Tarang, Bangla Dhol, Bhaaz, Tabla Tarang, kitna type ka rhythm dikhaya hai, usmein dikhaya. Dance ke time mein, item ke time mein, har type ka rhythm dikhaya. Bangla dhol, Burmese dhol, sab tha. Sound ke liye, effect ke liye. Tibetan type ka woh sab music bhi bhara hua. Kya dance music!

      Woh dance music kya hai, “Hoton pe aisi baat”. Arre baap re. Aaj ke zamane mein koi kar nahin sakta hai. Ek misaal ke taur se hai. Kaisa situation mein, kaisa music diya hai. Dekho, Yeh sab misaal hai.

      Q. How many musicians are in that song?
      MS: Bhara tha. Kam se kam 60-70 musicians honge, aram se. Usme bhi tha, Guide mein bhi tha, ‘Piya tose naina lage re’ mein, bhara-bhara hua tha.

      * * * * *

      Q. Achha aap ‘Amar Prem’ mein the kya?
      MS: Haan haan. Main RD Burman ka all the pictures mein tha last tak. ‘1942 A Love Story’ background complete kiya maine. I started from ‘Bhoot Bungla’ (1965) background music. Pehla picture uska hai ‘Chote Nawab’ (1961).

      ‘Chote Nawab’ mein Mehmood ne kya chalaki kiya. Pancham humko rakhte the. Unhonein Laxmikant-Pyarelal ko rakha to unko bhi kaam milega aur in log to hai RD Burman ke saath, player bhi hai, solo jo hai Manohari bajayega. So naturally unko liya assistant. Unhonein bola ‘Theek hai, don’t worry, tum log ho, yeh ek do picture ke liye bhaijaan, uska iccha hai, woh chahta hai, sab ka maal mile, tumhara mile, hamara mile, Laxmikant-Pyarelal sab ka contribution mile.’

      Toh wo zara idea laga ke matlab usne LP ko bulaya, equal as an assistant. Baad mein ‘Bhoot Bungla’ mein unka picture mein LP ne khud ne bola, “Dekho hum zara busy ho gaye hain to hum ko zara mushkil hoga aap ka saath hamara bhi picture karna equal as an assistant. Hum ko apna kaam karne mein zara dhyaan dene mein zaroorat padegi. Tumhara kaam karne ke liye hamara time nahin de sakte to hum ko zara chod na padega. Basu Manohari se zara kaam karwaalo.”

      Phir mujhse baat hua, main bola theek hai, theek hai. Usko (Mehmood ko) maloom padh gaya, confidence mil gaya, ki bhai in log kar sakte hai. Dekh liya ek picture mein, kya hua, kaisa hua. Sab kuch samajhne mein aa gaya usko, ‘Chote Nawab’ mein, so naturally, ‘Bhoot Bungla’ mein bhi ek do gaana LP ne liya tha.

      Background gana, title song, ‘Bhoot Bungla’ us mein thoda sa western type tha. Woh gana se humlog ka entry hua. Uske baad ‘Bhoot Bungla’ back ground music se last tak mein RD ke saath tha.

      * * * * *

      Q. Aur kuch aap kehna chahenge SD ke baare mein?
      MS: Unke liye hamein shabd nahin hai, aise great composer the. Aur jab tak main hoon, unka yaad rahega hamein. Aur aisa composer nahin honge kabhi, aisa mera bolna hai. Guni aadmi the. Bahut accha, bahut acche the. Ek gifted bhi hota hai, mehnat se bhi hota hai.

      Q. Any anecdote ya kuch yaad ho, hansi maazak, choti moti baatein?
      MS: Hansi majaak aisa hi tha, kabhi bas khush ho jaate the, “Theek se karo, ek paan khilaaoonga tumko.” Ek paan khila dete the. (Laughs) Achha khush ho gaya to. Nahin to paan ekdam chupa ke rakhte the (everyone laughs). Haan aisa. Calcutta paan ekdam woh udhar se, Shivaji Park ka woh dukaan tha, wahaan se unka paan dabba mein aata tha. To chupa ke rakhte the usko dabbe mein. Kisi ko denge nahi. Yehi sab tha unka nature wise, aur khush hone ke baad ek paan khila dete the, “Lo, paan kha”, Majrooh saab ko bolte the, “Mojrooh, ek paan lele”.

      Yeh sab hansi mazaak to theek tha, accha hi tha. Zara simple se the, koi aadmi kuch bola to bolenge, “Hatao” (Forget it). Koi bola na unke bare mein to bolenge, “Hatao”.

      Dil ke saaf the, jo sunenge woh believe karenge. Puraane zamaane ke aadme the. Matti se unka connection tha, aise type ke the. So pure, so pure. Purane zamane ke aadmi, chalaaki-chuturai nahin jaante the.

      Q. Thank you very much, God bless you, and keep you in good health.
      MS: Achcha laga aap aaye,

      * * * * *

      Other Inputs by Manohari Singh and His Family Members:
      Visit to Hindustan Recording Company in 1945-’46:
      Manohari Singh had visited the office of M/s Hindustan Recording Company sometime in 1945-1946 for work, and found two photographs hanging there, one of K. L. Saigal and the other of a gentleman wearing a turban (saafa), and looking regal. He asked them as to who was the turbaned gentleman in the photograph, and was told that it was Kumar Sachin Deb Burman. Being from the Royal family of Tripura, he was wearing a turban.

      Sachinda, in his autobiography has written this about ‘Pagri’:
      “There is a proverb in Hindi, ‘Raag, Rasoi and Pagri, kabhi-kabhi ban jaaye’ (good music, good food and well tied turban are made accidentally).

      Meera Devi Burman:
      Manohari Singh’s daughter Mithu had this to say about Meera Devi Burman,
      ‘We (she and some of her siblings, in all there were five sisters and two brothers), studied in boarding schools and stayed in hostels. Whenever we came to visit our parents in Bombay for our holidays, Mrs Burman would insist that we go over to her large house and enjoy ourselves. She would regularly send over her car with driver to fetch us so that we had no excuse whatsoever. We would all go over to spend the day’.

      Mrs Manohari Singh, who used to accompany the kids, agreed with this statement.

      SDB’s height:
      On being asked, Manohari Singh said that Dada was very tall, and, his height would be about 6 feet.

      Manohari Singh’s health:
      Unfortunately, both his kidneys have failed and he is on dialysis thrice a week. Otherwise, he is very active and regularly plays Saxophone, Flute, etc., and gets standing ovation in performances all over India. His memory is very sharp and he is a very mild mannered gentleman.

      * * * * *

      Manohari Singh was interviewed on October 13, 2009
      By Moti Lalwani and Ms Richa Lakhanpal

      Manohari Singh has assisted SD Burman in the following movies:

      Sitaron Se Aage (1958)
      Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
      Kalapani (1958)
      Lajwanti (1958)
      Solva Saal (1958)

      Insan Jaag Utha (1959) (Asst Arranger from this movie)
      Kagaz Ke Phool (1959)
      Sujata (1959)
      Apna Haath Jagannath (1960)
      Bambai Ka Babu (1960)
      Bewaqoof (1960)
      Ek Ke Baad Ek (1960)
      Kala Bazar (1960)
      Manzil (1960)
      Miya Bibi Razi (1960)
      Baat Ek Raat Ki (1962)
      Dr. Vidya (1962)
      Naughty Boy (1962)
      Bandini (1963)
      Meri Surat Teri Ankhen (1963)
      Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963)
      Benazir (1964)
      Kaise Kahoon (1964)
      Ziddi (1964)
      Guide (1965)
      Teen Deviyan (1965)
      Jewel Thief (1967)
      Aradhana (1969)
      Jyoti (1969)
      Talash (1969)
      Ishq Par Zor Nahin (1970)
      Prem Pujari (1970)
      Gambler (1971)
      Naya Zamana (1971)
      Sharmeelee (1971)
      Tere Mere Sapne (1971)
      Anuraag (1972)
      Zindagi Zindagi (1972)


  47. Geeta Roy had sung only one line in a bhajan when her voice caught attention of sd burman who went to her house in Dadar Bombay and sought her father’s permission. That was in 1946 and next year Mera sunder sapna broke all records and then onwards she became popular singing weepy songs. This images was again changed by sdb when he made her sing Tadbir se bigdi after which she never looked back.


  48. This is in response to Canasya’s post.
    I have the links to SDB’s ‘Jaymala Gold’ programme. It was broadcast in 1972 in 2 parts. I have yet not got the link of one more program of 1969 broadcast. SDB has refrained from giving too many of his songs, but mentioned others’ songs. He had a wonderful relationship with Naushad whom he used to call Naushad bhai. Madan Mohan, his one time assistant who used to adore him, Shankar, Kalyanji-Anandji, and all others had a high regard for Dada.

    Enjoy the program:
    Part 1

    Part 2


      • Vinay Hegde,
        For thosr who are interested, they may visit my channel on YouTube. They will get to see many interviews with our past musicians and others who worked with Dada or studied his music. If one subscribes to my channel, one will get intimation for any new uploads.


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