Book Review: Sathya Saran’s ‘Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical World of SD Burman’

To say that I am fond of Sachin Dev Burman is to put it mildly. Along with OP Nayyar, SD Burman was one of the first music directors I heard of—thanks to my father, who is a devoted fan of the music of these two very different composers. It was my father who, when I was still a pre-teen, first drew my attention to the beauty of Thandi hawaayein lehraake aayein, Hum bekhudi mein tumko pukaare chale gaye, O re maajhi, Dekhi zamaane ki yaari, Yeh mahalon yeh takhton yeh taajon ki duniya, and dozens of other songs, each more wonderful than the last.

That love for SD Burman has, instead of abating, increased over the years. With that love has arisen a deep admiration for the sheer versatility and genius of this man, without whom the face (or should that be ‘sound’?) of Hindi film music might have been very different. And much, much the poorer.

Not a surprise, then, that I should get so excited when I discovered that a biography of SD Burman had been published: Sathya Saran’s Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical Journey of SD Burman (Harper Collins Publishers India, P-ISBN: 978-93-5029-849-7, E-ISBN: 978-93-5029-850-3, Rs 499, 258 pages). I had read about and heard various anecdotes about SD Burman over the years: that he was a prince of Tripura, of his love for paan and football, and how he skilfully drew inspiration from just about every type of music: Baul, Bhatiali, Rabindra Sangeet… to actually read a biography of the man himself was something I looked forward to with great anticipation.

Sathya Saran's 'Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical Journey of SD Burman

Interestingly enough, I had been told about this book when it was still in the making. Moti Lalwani, who has spent years collecting published articles about SD Burman, interviewing people who had worked with SDB or knew him, and so on—had commented on my list of SDB songs, clarifying some fallacies that were floating around. He had also mentioned this book, which Sathya Saran talks of as having grown mainly out of the vast corpus of research material Moti Lalwani passed on to her.

Has Saran made good use of that material? Yes, and no.

The good part is that the book reveals a lot about the man SD Burman—‘Sachin Karta’—was. A man so devoted to his music that he would spend hours doing riyaaz (incidentally—and this was a gem of trivia I hadn’t known—one of the young boys who used to stand outside SD Burman’s home in Calcutta and listen to his riyaaz was Hemant Mukherjee). A man who believed staunchly in the power of his music; who had an uncanny ability to pick just the right voice to suit a song—even if that voice was an unknown (Manna Dey, whose uncle KC Dey had been SD Burman’s guru in his early days, got his first hit song, Upar gagan vishaal, thanks to SD Burman, whom he was assisting at the time: SDB thought Dey’s voice was perfect for the song).

There are heart-warming anecdotes of a man of immense integrity, a beguiling simplicity and generosity. The man who, though he had hiked his rates by then, offered to compose for Shakti Samanta’s film for much, much less than the director had set aside because he—SD Burman—realised that Samanta was not awash in funds. (The film was Aradhana). A man who was not just highly respected but so loved by his contemporaries that the Anands, Waheeda Rehman and others of the crew of Guide had decided to boycott the Filmfare Awards function when they found that SD Burman had not been given the Best Music Director Award for the film (the award went to the abysmal score of Suraj, a fact that baffles me).

That is where Sun Mere Bandhu Re scores: it shows us SD Burman. Not just his work—which anybody with perseverance and a love for research will probably be able to compile on their own—but the diligence, the love for music, the personality.

SD Burman
Unfortunately, I found things in the book that I didn’t like. There’s the (sadly common) problem about inconsistent and incorrect transliteration here and there, for one. Dard se tera koi na tadpa / Aankh kiski na roi (which should have been Dard se tere koi na tadpa / Aankh kisi ki na roi). There are (equally common) proofing errors. I still don’t know, for example, if the village in Comilla is called Charta or Chatra: it’s mentioned only twice in the book, and with two different spellings.

There is the occasional mystifying sentence: “He had words ready, a chakla, a song, and the metre was set.” Chakla, as far as I know, can mean either of two things in Hindi or Urdu: a base for rolling (used with a rolling pin, a belan), or a brothel. Neither of which seem to fit.

These, however, are minor problems and admittedly few: I tend to nitpick.

What did irk me more was the structure of the book and the style of writing. Sun Mere Bandhu Re is a chronological history of SD Burman’s life, beginning with his childhood in Comilla (in present-day Bangladesh) and up to his death. I had two problems with the chronology. One, dates mentioned, particularly in the first one-third of the book, are few and far between. I would have liked to know when SD Burman came to Calcutta to study law, or when he decided to move to Bombay; but no—these are not mentioned. (The rest of the book, since it focuses on his career in Bombay, is easier to piece together, because the release dates of films are often mentioned).

Several facts, too, are mentioned just in passing, so one is left a little in the dark about things: What was the court case all about? Why, despite being royalty, was SD Burman’s father obliged to work for someone else? What made the father do a volte face—after insisting that Sachin stay on in Comilla, what made him then send Sachin off to Calcutta to study?

Secondly, also while talking about chronology: there are some confusing statements here and there. For example, where Saran talks about the competition SD Burman faced when he first arrived in Bombay, she mentions Madan Mohan, Shankar-Jaikishan, etc. If you don’t know much about the timelines of Hindi film music, this wouldn’t make much difference to you; if you do know, you’ll realise there’s something wrong here. The fact that she later talks about how SD Burman gave Madan Mohan a break by taking him on as an assistant in Do Bhai makes this even more puzzling.

It’s similar with the case of the saxophonist Manohari Singh, who also worked as arranger for SD Burman. Manohari Singh is mentioned in passing—merely as ‘Manohari’, with no indication of who he was, how he helped SDB, etc—several times in the book before he’s actually pointed out as having been an arranger and assistant of sorts to SD Burman. Confusing, again.

One last grouse: the style of writing, and this I must admit is completely subjective. When I read a biography, I want it to be well-written, but in a factual, objective way. I hate to see the writer of the biography trying to get inside the subject’s head and putting words into his/her mouth. This was what irritated me about Robert Hutchison’s Garden of Fools, and this was what also irritated me about Sun Mere Bandhu Re. I don’t want to read what Sathya Saran thinks SD Burman was thinking; if I wanted to read SD Burman’s words, I’d sooner turn to his autobiography.

At the start of Sun Mere Bandhu Re, Sathya Saran explains that the research material from Moti Lalwani was so diverse, she decided it would be best presented as a mosaic—snippets from interviews, letters, articles, even SD Burman’s autobiography (Sargamer Nikhad), strung together with Saran’s own commentary, and places where she presents it in a semi-fictional style, as a first-person narrative from the point of view of SD Burman.

A lot of this (and much of the narrative as such, especially in the first half) is rather flowery prose, not exactly my cup of tea: “The blind singer K.C. Dey singing. Light dances on water with the same ease, a wisp of cloud slips over the moon with similar softness, the clear voice of the bird calling to its mate must have learnt the lilt from the clear notes of this singer. Is no one breathing? Eyes don’t blink, lips smile as if they have never done anything else, calm has cast its spell, a calm edged with ecstasy…”

To me, that is tedious. I will perhaps forgive it in fiction, if the story is remarkable; in a biography I find it plain old tiresome.

I will almost certainly return to this book; it offers a good insight into SD Burman’s life, and even though I’ll probably need to refer to IMDB or elsewhere to try and get an idea of what the timelines are, I suppose I’ll manage. But I just might skip all the purple prose and jump straight to the facts.


144 thoughts on “Book Review: Sathya Saran’s ‘Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical World of SD Burman’

  1. Thanks for the review, Madhu!
    Timelines, writers so often forget to mention them. “and then” seems to be enough of an indication, when a certain event occurred. Proper dates or even the year seem to be too much of precise information to reveal!
    As for Aradhana, in R. D. Burman’s biography by Bhatacharjee and Vittal, they write, “Samanta, who could not hire Shankar-Jaikishan to score the music of the film because of budgetary constraints, asked S. D. Burman, who demanded more renumeration than before. The producer-director offered one hundred thousand rupees. SD, who was expecting eighty thousand, jumped at the offer and promised a spectacular score for the film.”
    I think, I’ll get annoyed by the pseudo-poetism and the unprecise infor, but I’ll buy the book anyway, just to have something to read about Dada Burman, whose music, I can’t help but love.


    • A bio without timelines just seems so rootless to me, somehow. I don’t want a dry set of dates; that would be too boring – but at least some mentions of the years would have been helpful. For example, I guessed SDB arrived in Bombay perhaps sometime in the 1940s, just because I know Naujawan was released in 1951…

      But yes, SD Burman’s music is so wonderful, any fan of his should read the book. Incidentally, someone suggested another book – more accurate, more informative – about SD Burman: SD Burman: The World of His Music, by Khagesh Dev Burman.

      I was warned that it is written in a rather dull and boring style, but has loads of information.


      • A dry set of dates would be just too cumbersome. But the way for e.g., how you have weaved dates into your novel Engraved in Stone was a nice way, even though it was not essential for the plot, but being a historic novel, it helped the readers orient themselves.
        Even in Wikipedia bios, the authors are rarely particular about the dates, so one doesn’t really know whenw hat happened.
        SDB surely arrived in Bombay sometime in the first half of the forties or mid forties, if I remember right. The music for Aath Din was composed in Bombay, I think. So, surely before 1946.
        Thanks for the pointer towards that book, Madhu!
        Will surely look it up. :)


        • I wouldn’t turn to Wikipedia to look for really factual information, actually – maybe Google Scholar (does that still exist?). I think when someone’s writing a biography, while every date isn’t necessary, at least some dates, some sense of how much time passed, is good as a means of reference for the reader. I’d have liked to know how old SDB was when he got married, for example, or when he shifted to Calcutta.

          If you do buy the Khagesh Dev Burman book, do let me know how it was!


          • I was on the verge of ordering the book and few others, but then discovered, that they don’t deliver to Europe. So I thought, I’ll buy them at Strand Book Stall in Bombay, when I’m there. And I’ll surely tell you how it was.
            Google Scholar does exist still, but that is more for scientific articles, isn’t it? Or at least, I use it for that.


      • dustedoff
        Once again there are mistakes in that book. Before the book was printed, I had met the author twice as an SD fan. I tried to correct him on a major issue, but thought I had failed. Later, when the book was published, I found due care had been taken about that issue. But there still are mistakes.

        I will still recommend Khagesh Dev Burman’s book and the book by HQ Chowdhury from Bangladesh, titled ‘Incomparable Sachin Dev Burman’.


    • harveypam
      Against 47 of my recorded interviews with those who knew it first hand about SDB and RDB, the book on RDB is written by his fans and I dare say that it has a lot of inaccuracies.
      Even when Amitabh Bachchan had said in reply to a question that SDB was divine, while RDB was more youthful and flamboyant, the authors lambaste poor Amitabh Bachchan (without naming him) for his calling SDB as Divine.

      This is what Shakti Samanta has said in an interview about SDB never hiking his price:
      “He was a man who never hiked up his price. One day when I went to sign him for my next film he said, ‘I have hiked up my price. I cannot work for you at the amount you were paying me’. He lectured me for about 15 minutes then I asked him how much he would charge me. He asked me for Rs 5,000 more. I was amazed; it was such a small amount. He looked at me and said ‘is that too much? Okay, pay me what you paid me earlier’. He was such a lovable man and so innocent.
      (Source: ‘Composer With The Royal Touch’ by Nalini Uchil appeared in ‘Star & Style’ dated October 11 – 24, 1985)


  2. Thanks for the review. Greatness of Dada Burman – Apart from his music- is that his name was used for a later day Indian Hero – Tendulkar


    • Yes, of course! I keep forgetting that. Tendulkar’s parents had the right idea. :-) Ironic, though, that no footballer or tennis player – the two sports SD Burman was especially keen on – seems to have been named after him. Or not that I know of.


    • Ravi,
      That’s what even I used to think, till my research brought out at least one more person whose father being a die-hard fan of SDB, had named his son after the great maestro Sachin.
      That gentleman is actor Sachin Pilgaonkar, and he being older, was named Sachin even before the cricketer legend Sachin.


        • dustedoff,
          And there is a third gentleman named Sachin after the great composer SDB. He was born on August 14, 1969. His father Suresh C. Verma has been a great fan of SD Burman. Mr Verma and I have met each other and are FB friends. He told me that he has followed loved SDB’s music since Taxi Driver (1954). He was in Kuwait when he got the news from his family that he was blessed with a son. His wife told me that the family got no choice as he called up from Kuwait and told them that the son’s name be kept ‘Sachin’ after the great maestro’.


  3. Madhu, thanks for the review. I would buy the book because it would add something to my knowledge of SD Burman, but like you, the prose and the proofing/editing errors would drive me up the wall. (That bit you quoted about KC Dey’s singing, made me want to cut my throat – with a rusty blade.)

    I remember Mr Lalwani’s comments on your blog (and a couple of other places). He seemed to have copious notes, and had mentioned plans for a book as well. I do wish that someone who knew how to write a biography, had done the writing. I say that, not because I have anything against Sathya Saran, but because writing a biography is an entirely different form of writing from say, writing fiction.

    Thanks for the expressive review.


    • “(That bit you quoted about KC Dey’s singing, made me want to cut my throat – with a rusty blade.)

      Sadly, that’s how a lot of the book is written. Thankfully, in the latter half of the book, Saran seems to have had so much to write about his work that it becomes more fact and less faff. But the SD Burman death scene nearly killed me. :-(

      I haven’t read a huge amount of writing on cinema, but I’ve read my fair share of biographies, and yes – I do agree that writing a biography is a completely different ball game from writing fiction. Even while I was reading this, I kept thinking longingly of two very good cinema biographies I’ve read recently: Akshay Manwani’s book on Sahir, and Sidharth Bhatia’s sort-of-bio of Navketan. Both work excellently as bios, especially in the style of writing.

      Such a shame. She seems to have had excellent base material.


    • Anu,
      This blog is one place where there are a number of contributors whose comments I love to read, and you are one of them. Read my my reaction to the comments of ‘dustedoff’ a little after this.


      • Mr Lalwani, thank you. :)
        I have read your comments in a couple of other forums where you took the pains to set the record right, based on your interviews and all the information you had collated. It piqued my interest, and I was waiting eagerly for the book you had said was forthcoming.


  4. Great review….I may not buy the book, but SD Burman’s music is definitely a treat for the ears. As you rightly said, Hindi film music would have been poorer (much poorer) without SD Burman Dada’s music. He created music in a unique style (see Dada style in my post at More importantly, he created music that synchronizes perfectly with the visuals, moods on the screen and elevates them. If you listen to his music with eyes closed, you can easily imagine the visuals. Also, as you rightly pointed out, he was a master in selecting the ‘right’ singer for a song. He knew how to get the best from every singer. His music was ‘light’ and very appealing. Moti Lalwaniji did a great job by ‘getting facts’ about SD Burman directly from the ‘source’. Perhaps, just a collection of his facts, even if arranged randomly, may make for great reading.


    • “If you listen to his music with eyes closed, you can easily imagine the visuals.

      Very true! The book mentions that he took a very active interest in how the song was to be filmed, and often gave excellent suggestions – and good directors like Guru Dutt or Vijay Anand tended to listen to him.

      Talking about Moti Lalwani’s ‘facts’, the book has a delightful appendix with excerpts from interviews. I really loved that – wished there had been more of it.


      • dustedoff
        I do agree with you on your comments. I realized I had no control over the style of the author, a bit too late. A lot of original and authentic material I still have which could be put to good use, may be for the second book by someone who understands and loves the maestro like I do.
        As regards my ten page contribution, I saw to it that I pack maximum in to it, but here too I had limit of words.


        • “by someone who understands and loves the maestro like I do.

          I think that is the crux of the matter. While I was reading Sun Mere Bandhu Re, I kept remembering two other cinema-related ‘biographies’ I’ve read in the recent past: Akshay Manwani’s book on Sahir, and Sidharth Bhatia’s book (not exactly a bio, since it’s about a film company, but still – a history) on Navketan. In both cases, the obvious enthusiasm and love of the author for their subject shines through. This is what I found lacking in Sathya Saran’s book. I found it disappointing, because while it was clear that she had excellent (and vast) research material, that deep affection for SDB did not seem to shine through… just my perception, of course. Plus, it seemed to me that apart from the research material you had given her, she hadn’t done much to fill in the gaps – there were questions still remaining in my mind.

          I know this sounds like a crazy idea, but have you thought of collating your material and trying to get it published more or less as is? Just those few pages of the appendix were, for me, the best part of the book!


          • Yes, I have. But how do I get a publisher and market the books? I am not interested in money, infact I I have been spending my own money in the last 5+ years of my research on 3 laptops, camcorder, translation Bangla to English, travel, etc.
            I have posted couple of my interviews on YouTube, and intend to upload the rest. If you subscribe to me on YouTube you will know when I upload next one.


            • You could write up a synopsis (just about one page) of how you’d structure the book and what it would contain. Also some excerpts of interviews, along with your notes. Then submit it to various publishers – you can check online, all the major publishers have websites where they have submission guidelines along with whom you should mail your submission to. The publishers who I think would be likely to be interested in a book like this include Harper Collins India (of course!), Roli Books, and possibly also Westland – they do a lot of offbeat books, though I’m not certain if they’ve done anything on cinema. Also, recently, Om Books’s own publishing division have started doing books on cinema.

              You are unlikely to make much money; writing rarely does, really, as I’ve realised. But if, like me, you want to do it for the love of helping other people appreciate something that you are passionate about, I would strongly urge you to go ahead and do it. I, for one, would gladly buy your book!


              • Who wants money!? If I can get some help to convert my voluminous material into a readable and a easy flowing form, then only I can try to get it published even at my cost. Now it’s like ‘I am a one man army fighting against time’. Thanks for moral support. The present book does bring out a lot of facts from my research hitherto unknown.


  5. Madhulika once again with faultless ease you express our thoughts on SD so well. The reasons I adore his music is because in them I get the scent of the earth, the refreshing intoxication of a water body, the radiance of the sun, the …. and his songs he sung. Incidentally Aradhana was the 1st film I saw in the theatre then in Ahmedabad age 5. The song that appealed then was not the popular mere sapno ki rani.. but the pithy voice singing ” kahoke royein . with the nasal royein stretched the saphal with the quaint bengali accent with each syllable resonant . That started my love for SD Majhi.. and all his other songs . To sum it up he brought to us the city dwellers the scents and smells of the rural landscape which I am in love with and shall be…


    • Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed that. I didn’t really express too many of my thoughts about SD Burman in this post (I’ve written more about him in my compilation of some of my favourite songs of his), but you can imagine how disappointed I was by this book, considering how very fond of SD Burman I am.

      ” To sum it up he brought to us the city dwellers the scents and smells of the rural landscape

      Talking of which (and besides O re maajhi, which I think you allude to, as well), one of the most haunting SD Burman songs – of the ones he sang – to me is Allah megh de. There is much anguish, so much pleading in that song, without being melodramatic or weepy: brilliant.


  6. Your review has made me eager to buy and read this book. I’m sure it has its faults as outlined by you, but any book on SD Burman by a decent writer is welcome. I hope the book has covered some of the enduring partnerships SDB had – with Dev Anand (Navketan), Kishore Kumar and Sahir Ludhianvi, for instance. While on this subject, it struck me that there are very few biographies of the great playback singers of Hindi cinema – I’m not counting a recent book on Rafi by his daughter-in-law, which, though quite well-intentioned, does not really rise above mediocrity.


    • Let me disillusion you a bit regarding the book’s description of SDB’s partnerships with his contemporaries. The book is really rather unstructured, and moves in a strictly chronological fashion. So if in 1957 SDB composed the music of Pyaasa and also composed for Navketan’s Nau Do Gyarah, they’re discussed in about the same chapter. There aren’t separate compartmentalised sections for his associations with the Anands, Guru Dutt, or Sahir. Or even Kishore, Geeta, etc. I was also a bit surprised to note no mention of PWA (except when talking about Sahir and his antecedents) or IPTA.

      But do read the book.


  7. Excellent writing as usual, Madhu. This is how a book review should be – you’ve given the reader enough material to make an informed choice about whether to buy/read the book or not. And it’s a balanced review, with your views substantiated – so nobody can accuse you of bias. :-)

    Ok, so that was about YOUR writing. Well, you already know I rate your writing very highly. :-)

    Coming to the writing of the book, I could feel your frustration at all its weak points – they are exactly the aspects that annoy me when I read a biography.

    Like you, I like dates to be able to get a logical, chronological flow of events, especially significant ones. SDB moving to Calcutta, and then to Bombay were definitely significant events in his life – so I’m surprised one would omit mentioning the dates. Unless (a) the author doesn’t consider them significant, or (b) the author couldn’t get this information or (c) the author just doesn’t have an eye for such detail.

    Then there are the unanswered questions (like his father’s volte face). What’s the point if they still remain unanswered, after reading the book?

    The point about Madan Mohan being competition when SDB started his career in Bombay also sounds suspect.

    And then, putting words into the subject’s mouth! Annoys me no end.

    And lastly, the flowery language. Wrong place for it.

    All in all, despite the above, I might still go ahead and read this book (for my love for SDB) – but will keep all the above in mind, so that I scale down my expectations accordingly.


    • Raja, thank you for the compliment! :-) Made me beam, and will keep me going for a long time.

      While I was reading your comment about dates providing a logical, chronological flow of events, I also remembered one other thing which I felt should have had a place in the book: an index of the songs SD Burman composed. I mean, if Akshay Manwani could give a farily comprehensive listing of Sahir’s songs at the end of his biography of Sahir, why can’t Sathya Saran do the same for SDB?

      I am increasingly getting the feeling that apart from the material that she received from Moti Lalwani (which, consisting largely of articles or interviews, may have been more anecdotal than fact-oriented), Ms Saran didn’t spend too much time doing research of her own…


    • raja,
      At one time the Official site of Madan Mohan, maintained by his son Sanjeev Kohli, wrote about SD Burman as follows:

      He (Madan Mohan) continued his struggle. In the midst of all the heart-breaks and disappointments, he found a friend, philosopher and guide in music director S.D.Burman who met him at Filmistan Studios. S.D.Burman encouraged him and predicted that some day he would be a great music director. He was the first to assure Madan that he had the stuff in him to make it big on his own merit. Madan assisted S.D. Burman in the film Do Bhai.…/his_journey/his_journey.html

      Unfortunately, the site has now been revised and contains only 1 line on Madan Mohan having assisted SDB in Do Bhai.


  8. HA! HA! You are indeed a person after my own heart. Why? Your concluding paragraph says it all. Like you, I too get very irked when people want to show off their literary skills in a place where you want them to come to the point and get on with the facts. I consciously used the word ‘Show-off’ because I suspect that is what they are doing, consciously or otherwise. Prose is perfect in fiction, but not in a non-fiction.
    I have my own memories of S.D.Burman, he was my neighbour, as all of you have egged me on to continue with my blog, I will now recount my memories of Mr. Burman. He was quite fond of my father, I remember him once telling my mother, “Tarun is a very nice boy”. Yes he referred to my father as a boy.


    • “He was quite fond of my father, I remember him once telling my mother, “Tarun is a very nice boy”.

      How sweet! He sounds like – and this was the impression I got from the book too – that he was a warm-hearted person, even though his warmth and generosity could sometimes be hidden beneath a deceptively strict or gruff exterior. While I was reading the book, I kept thinking of two films in particular of which I like the music a lot, and as it happens, both films starred your father – Sujata and Bandini.

      Now I’m really looking forward to your memories of Mr Burman! That would be lovely. :-)


      • Yes, Madhu. It is going to take some time. You see I am feeling a bit down, spam comments have been driving me up the wall. They do go to spam, while deleting them I did something wrong and ended up marking all comments as spam. When I realized my mistake and went to retrieve them I found all my replies to all the readers’ comments had been deleted. Do not ask me how. I was in a rush so I must have done something wrong, now can you advise me should I just leave it as it is? After all of you have read my replies or should I post my replies again. Actually the conversation that you and I had on my 2nd list of songs now looks odd and one-sided, because you and I were replying to each other I am as it is so short of time.
        Sorry to burden you with my problem, it happened just now so was getting it off my chest.


        • Oh, that is such an irritating thing to happen! I have once or twice accidentally deleted a valid comment which WordPress had mistakenly sent to the spam folder, but never an entire bunch of comments. How awful. :-(

          But writing all the replies all over again will be too tedious, and I’m sure you have better things to do with your time. My suggestion would be that you copy the comment you’ve made above, and paste it into your blog, so that if a newcomer reads the thread, they will understand what happened.


  9. Superb book review, Madhu. I won’t be buying Ms. Saran’s book because patience isn’t my forte and all the flaws you’ve mentioned would drive me to throw the book in a shredder.:-) When it comes to biographies, I need clean, clear, objective writing – like yours!

    That said, I share your love of SDB’s music and find it remarkable that he maintained the quality level of his music AND managed to stay “current” for the entirety of his career. Can’t think of anyone else who’s duplicated that feat.


    • Greetings :)
      This review was a joy to read because your analysis was supported by sound argument at each step. I don’t have much to add because the comments of the other readers covered it all. Although I’d like to say that I discovered your blog from Memsaab’s story and have been a loving reader for thd last six months. I never commented on any of the posts because I always thought that a seventeen year old novice can’t adrld much to the discussion but then I realised that your blog taught me the importance of expressing oneself with abandon so I went ahead anyway.
      Dada Burman is one of my favourites to put it mildly. His music made characters and situations seem much more real and beautiful. When I stand in my balcony and feel the breeze against my face I always think of ‘piya kahe tu sagar mein hoti Teri nadiya, leher leher banke apne piya se mil jaati re, sun mere saathi re…’
      Let’s just say the way his music makes me feel can’t be described in words. And I know how this sounds but I don’t even care about all the contriversies regarding him having copied tunes from Rabindrasangeet. As far as the book goes i think i might still go for it and take the weaknesses with a pinch of salt. Also ive read elsewhere that SDB gave a break to Madan Mohan with Mera sunder sapna beet gaya.
      Thank you for the review it felt great to read it :D


      • Ritika, thank you so very much! (And what’s wrong with being a seventeen-year old who may not be able to add much to the discussion?! I have had seventy-year olds who’ve faffed on and on, and ungrammatically too, so no problems at all. Incidentally, for several months, one of my most active commenters was a thirteen-year old who has her own film blog – not been updated for a while, but it’s still there).

        I’m not sure if Madan Mohan was the original composer of Mera sundar sapna beet gaya (he is also rumoured to have been the composer of Jeevan ke safar mein raahi – which, by the way, is actually inspired from Mexican Hat Dance). Sathya Saran’s book doesn’t mention either of these controversies. Perhaps, if Moti Lalwani sees these comments and has any information, he’ll help us out.

        And your comment, even if long, was interesting and enthusiastic. That, as far as I am concerned, is more than enough reason to post a comment! Thank you. :-)


        • Ritika Ghosh,
          dustedoff has mentioned my name, and here are the clarifications on the two songs that you have heard composed by Madan Mohan. Before I proceed further, let me tell you that SD Burman was like a saint who would never ever take away someone else’s song and claim as his own.

          Now the proofs:
          1. ‘Mera sunder Sapna beet gaya’:
          Even the official website of Madan Mohan maintained by his son has this to say about SD Burman:
          “He (Madan Mohan) continued his struggle. In the midst of all the heart-breaks and disappointments, he found a friend, philosopher and guide in music director S.D.Burman who met him at Filmistan Studios. S.D.Burman encouraged him and predicted that some day he would be a great music director. He was the first to assure Madan that he had the stuff in him to make it big on his own merit. Madan assisted S.D. Burman in the film Do Bhai.

          (Unfortunately, the site has now been revised and contains only 1 line on Madan Mohan having assisted SDB in Do Bhai”.)

          2. ‘Jeevan ke safar mein rahi’
          Excerpt from Kishore Kumar’s tribute on Dada Burman’s death:
          (I have Kishore’s voice recording with me, courtesy Ameen sayani.)

          “Ek aadat unki yeh bhi thi ki ek baat jo woh kehte uska bilkul ulTaa ‘expression’ unke chehre pe hotaa. Mujhe yaad hai ek baar Munimji (1955) ka gaana ‘record’ ho raha tha. ‘final rehearsal’ huya aur Sachin-da guse se uThkar khaDe ho gaye aur chillaye ”stop this rehearsal’, band karo’, aur uThkar meri taraf lapke, maine sochaa, na jaane kya gaDbaD ho gayi mujhse. Sachin-da mere kareeb aakar gusse hi gusse mein pataa hai kya bole? bole “Kishore, agar aisa hi gaayegaa to mera gaana zaroor ‘hit’ hogaa, ‘wonderful”.
          Song played: Jeevan ke safar mein raahi (Munimji – 1955)

          (There is no mention of Madan Mohan here.)


        Your words, “…him having copied tunes from Rabindrasangeet.” have shocked me! Dada Burman did no such thing. I am posting an article written by H. Q. Chowdhury author of ‘Incomparable Sachin Dev Burman’, which clarifies the issue about SDB and Gurudev:

        Tagore and S. D. Burman
        By H. Q Chowdhury – Author of ‘Incomparable Sachin Dev Burman’

        In Bengal (Bangladesh and West Bengal), a song or “gaan” for long was considered a verse expressed in the form of a tune. The verse being primary, poets from Tagore to Nazrul used tunes from various sources to express their thoughts.

        Rabindra sangeet’s, ‘Ekoda Tumi Preeye’ (1917) in the strains of Kafi and then ‘Jodi tare nai chini go’ (1923) in Khamaj or Khambaj as is called in Bengal, ‘Hey khoniker athithi’ (1925) in Bhairavi, ‘Loho loho tuley loho’ (1925) and ‘Rodon Bhara ei basantey’ (1936) in the flavours of kirtan, have often been a subject of discussion amongst music lovers as these tend to have something common with the extremely popular Hindi hits, ‘Jalte hai jiske liye’, ‘Tere mere milan ki ye raina’, jaye to jaye kahan, ‘Megha chaya aadhi raat’ and ‘Mera sundar sapna beet gaya’, all composed by Sachin Dev Burman for films.

        A great composer is one who returns to the opening line of a song with ease, style and flair. The opening line could be from a raaga or a folk song, the snatch of any song or a tune that a composer senses in the gentle winds of monsoon, for example, as music is everywhere for one to tap. That being the case, we find songs of similar openings. But while most are forgotten, some attain immortality, thanks to the unique progression of the songs and their return to the opening lines. The bhairavi based Jnanendra Prasad Goswami aka Jnan Goshai’s Mon bole tumi aacho bhogoban, Burman’s own Prem Jamunarey parey and Bishmadev’s Nabaruna raage are classic examples of such unique products.

        The resounding success of Burman’s Hindi songs in question fall in that category; the way they took off and returned to the starting points; one marvels really at that. On the contrary, the internal musical routes, style of singing and orchestra of the corresponding Tagore songs were not adequate enough to have a firm grip in the listeners’ mind.

        In course of time, when Burman’s massive hits were identified with the Tagore numbers, mind you with respect to the opening lines or a stanza, the old Rabindra sangeets were re-recorded albeit with modern approach (which in fact was more Burman like than the originals!) to find listeners acceptance. This prompted Tagore ‘bhakts’ to label Burman’s ‘gifts’ as ‘lifts’!

        We, Bangalee have serious problems. We tend to look for Tagore in every phase of our lives. When Naushad composed in Malkaus, Man tarpat hari darshanko in “Baiju Bawra”, we accused him of a ‘Tagore lift’, as the song had semblance with Anando dhara bohichey bhuboney. Again, when Rajesh Roshan composed his Chhukar mere manko, we said it was Tagore’s, Tomar holo shuru, little realizing that Tagore’s piece itself was a European take!

        Tagore composed 2300+ songs, Nazrul around 2,700 and if we add the songs of Rajani Kanta, DL Roy and Atul Prasad (and others), about 6,000 Bangla songs came into play during the 1881-1941 period, with the large chunk sourced from Bangla folk and Hindustani classical music. Obviously, mukhdas and antaras of many songs composed by others have in common with the works of Tagore, Nazrul etc, because of the “same raw material”.

        One Tagore – SD Burman song however, is confusing though. Se din dujone composed by Tagore in 1927, while traveling by train from Bangkok to Penang and Burman’s Nain diwane sung by Suraiya in the film “Afsar” composed in 1949; both have a striking similarity throughout the song. Bishwa Bharati never objected to Burman’s use of this tune. Does it therefore mean; the tune is a traditional one from where both Tagore and Burman derived their music? Tagore sometimes used tunes “as it is’ and changed the lyrics as in the case of the Bangladesh national anthem, Amar sonar Bangla; so did Burman; Megh de paani de in “Guide” is an example, which of course sounds different from the original because of his ‘gayaki’.

        In other words, the songs of interest were the trans creations of Tagore and Burman tapped from common roots and in these cases, the former was not much of a success while the latter got through with flying colours. Tagore and Burman played with ragaas and folks and gave us independent schools of modern Bangla music, just as we have the stalwarts, Abdul Karim Khan, Faiyaz Khan, Allahdiya Khan and many others in Hindustani classical music.


    • ” When it comes to biographies, I need clean, clear, objective writing – like yours!

      All of you are being so flattering. Thank you, Shalini! :-) But, seriously: I cannot bear flowery language. I have little patience with it otherwise, and none in a biography.

      That, by the way, is a very insightful observation regarding SD Burman’s ability to stay ‘current’ all through his career. Very true. His music right through the 50s to the 70s fitted in perfectly with the era (and what different eras they were, too, all the way from Baazi to Abhimaan). And didn’t just fit in, but ruled.


      • The dispassionate book review by ‘madhu’ is stinging at a few wrong places. I wonder why “the award went to the abysmal score of Suraj, a fact that baffles me” should baffle any music lover. The score of Baharon Pholl Barsao has been one of the finest in the history of hindi cinema. Of course guide’s music was equally good. Both the movies would have run neck to neck for the award and ‘baharon phool’ would have pipped guide by a whisker.
        Further, Madhu perhaps did not have sticky fingers while turning the pages of the book. She seems to have overlooked Sachin’s letter to his brother where he expresses his wish to go to calcutta for further studies.
        Yes chronology of events needs to be clear in any bio. But this book is in a new stye. Chronology can still be dug out from wikipidea. The book in question keeps you glued to the man’s life being written about. The book is the best written hitherto on SD Burman.


        • Let me answer your accusations in the sequence in which they’re made.

          Firstly, whether or not the score of Suraj (the entire score of the film was given the award, not one song) was better than that of Guide is a matter of personal opinion. I, for one, think a score that boasted of Wahaan kaun hai tera, Piya tose naina laage re, Kaanton se kheenchke yah aanchal, Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain, Gaata rahe mera dil, Mose chhal kiye jaaye, Kya se kya ho gaya, Din dhal jaaye and Allah megh de far superior to the combination of Bahaaron phool barsaao, Dekho mera dil machal gaya, Titli udi, Kaise samjhaaoon etc… to be honest, even Bahaaron phool barsaao has always struck me as – at the best – rather ordinary. And Sharda is frightful.

          Talking about the letter which you say explains why SDB’s father let him go to Calcutta… I checked again. The letter mentions that SDB had been trying to persuade his father to let him go, but that his father said something to the effect that there were still years to go for that. “We will see“. I do not interpret this as meaning that he did cave in to emotional blackmail, or whatever it was.

          And, call me old-fashioned or whatever, but when I’m reading a book, I don’t usually sit with Wikipedia open on the side. I’m not even asking for much – a simple -19- (whatever year it was) under the chapter heading would have been sufficient.

          You are entitled to your opinion; please accept that I am, too.


          • Dear madhu
            Apropos your comments on my comments, I would like to clarify that none of them were accusations but only MY POINT OF VIEW and I hope no one knows it better than you to respect someone else’s opinion. Unfortunately when it comes to music, Personal Opinions are formed based on ‘Personal Taste’ and may be that’s the place where you could have a serious problem.
            I repeat I love Guide songs and can assure you that I can play them on piano and mouthorgan well enough for you to notice that in awe. To tell you my appreciation of Baharon phool barsao is not obnly based on personal opinion but also on research (which happens to be my middle name) . I do not make comments of the cuff and get into an endless argument just because I like something and I am in love with my mirror. Now please listen carefully ( I suggest for a while, please switch off your I pod as it could distract you).
            The ‘average’ score of baharon phool barsao was number 1 song of Binaca Geet Mala in the year 1966. I repeat it was Numero Uno. It was ahead of Gata rahe Mera Dil which was in the second position. I presume this was based on Number of Records sold for the movie sooraj and number of times the song played on the radio in that year. (Un)fortunately your personal opinion about the song did not matter for radio Ceylone and millions of admirers of shankar jai kishan. Also for your kind information the song Titli Udi sung by ‘scary ‘ sharda also figured in to 32 of Binaca Geet mala much ahead of Wahan kaun hai tera of Guide. Further, u might not know that Tiitli udi was one of the favourite picnic numbers of the gals of that era, irrespective of your personal opinion which I do respect. YES THERE are songs in BINACA list from guide too that year such as gata rahe, kanto se kheench ke anchal and wahan kaun hai tera but the bitter fact (for you) remains that BAHARON.. was the number one song in that year.
            I would proabaly love to know what Devanand and party did when the song came first in Binaca Geet Mala. Did they do KATTI with amin sayani or broke their radio sets. I know for sure , they did nothing like this for the simple reason that Baharon …remains one of the finest song ever sung by rafi ( not my personal opinion alone. I have indicated you the statistics of Binaca) and Devanand was a great fan of Rafi.
            Well you are entitled for your personal opinion but to tell you again that was the number 1 song of the year as decided by millions of genuine music lovers of this country.
            We are blessed that we had so many good composers in yesteryear…and each had respect for the other. Unlike you, they never termed a song average, or a singer scary and they were never ‘baffled’ by other’s music. They all had their personal opinion though. They knew it well that the popularity of songs was decided by PUBLIC opinion and not by personal opinion of people who wrote or reviewed books.
            Just an advice to you. It might not be correct to grade melody at all. In case it is unavoidable due to ‘personal opinion or Taste’ grade them as sweet, sweeter and sweetest as against, ’ scary, baffling and average’. This only shows utter lack of music sense in the listener.
            I would say all guide songs are really sweet, sweet as a syrup but Baharon stands out as honey (madhu) and if you do not like ‘madhu’, I am scared, it’s a dangerous personal opinion.
            You can put on your earphones now and listen to baharon Phool barsao ..errr Piya tose naina lage re.
            And regarding your comments on the book.. may be its your personal opinion,. Will pass that for now. As I have run out of space 


            • I don’t have the time to engage in a battle of words with somebody who doesn’t seem to respect other people’s right to their opinion, but I will say a few things:

              1. Beauty lies in the eye – or the ear – of the beholder.
              2. Popularity does not necessarily reflect quality. Some utterly mediocre people and works are extremely popular.
              3. “Just an advice to you. It might not be correct to grade melody at all. In case it is unavoidable due to ‘personal opinion or Taste’ grade them as sweet, sweeter and sweetest as against, ’ scary, baffling and average’. This only shows utter lack of music sense in the listener.” The ‘not having sticky fingers’ you’ve accused me of might be applied to you, it seems. Have you read pages 248-9 of the book? Do, please.
              4. I do not have an iPod.
              5. You are welcome to come back to this blog, and even to disagree – but try and be a little polite when doing that. Heaping insults on me (and my name) is not going to help convert me to your cause, whatever it is.


              • No question of being impolite. ..i shud never be madhu. Its the statistics which is hurting u….just accept the fact that baharon phool barsao was number one song.of the year whether or not its music to your ears. U are only beating around the bush…and the more u do so the hollower u sound..ur opinion on the book may be worth respecting. Ur music sense is not worth commenting upon…regards


              • no question of being impolite. I should never be but let the statistics not hurt you Madhu. baharon phool barsao.. remains the number one song of the year whether or not its a music to your ears…u are unnecessarily beating around the bush and more u do so the hollower you sound. I might still accept your views on the book but now your arguments on the song…u know it well, you have lost it badly on that pretext.


                • dear Madhu ji,
                  read page 248-9 of the book as suggested by you. i think you are talking about the nasal voice of Sharda as quoted by SD Burman. wonder what are you trying to tell me through that. Yes she had a nasal had MR SD Burman. i would suggest you to read page 41 para 2 of Ms Saran’s book and be educated on the fact that SD Burman was rejected by HMV for his NASAL voice. so that leaves everyone wondering what are you hinting at!! Nasal Voices were common in that era and era before. KL Sehgal, SD, Shamshad Begum and now himesh reshamia.. list is endless..that does not mean songs were not popular,, hawa mein udta jae mera lal dupatta..saiyan dil mein ana re and so an and so forth. Titlil Udi is one of them in the series…just to remind you again, the song made up to the finals of Binaca ahead of another nasal song, ‘ wahan kaun hai tera’ which you are trying to advocate… would suggest you to read more on BInaca Geetmala.. u will get a fair idea of the things.. or may be not a bad idea for you to come to Bandra Kurla Complex today evening and meet Amin Sayani and know his views on popularity of hindi music. we can discuss this further over there.:-)


  10. I would like to find out more about the lives and music of Shanker – Jaikishan. The musical duo that dominated Indian cinema during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Their music was innovative and unrivaled. Their songs, by Rafi, Lata, Mukesh or Manna Dey have remained immortal. There must surely be biographies of these 2 geniuses somewhere. Please help!


    • Haven’t ever come across any mention of any such biography, though I do remember that Ganesh Anantharaman’s Bollywood Melodies has a section on them (of course!). If you do find a bio, let me know too. Shankar-Jaikishan were very good.


  11. Madhu Ji,
    I received this book, Sun Mere Bandhu Re by Sathya Saran, a week back. Knowing my interest for film music, my book supplier had delivered this book. After leafing through few pages, I too felt that the author has weaved a fictionalized story on S D Burman. The author had Moti Lalwani’s personal collection, handed over to her on a platter. She had read the two available books on S D Burman and she was wondering if there is a place for another book. But she says that she could find S D Burman nowhere! In her own words she was trying to recreate the man, who was missing in all these write-ups! She is frank in admitting that there is nothing in the book that one would not find elsewhere in print or record and she was only trying to tell a story. To quote her,
    “It is only in the telling of the story that I have, like the subject of this book, let myself roam free.”
    While browsing through the pages (I have not yet read the book in entirety)I came to know that the idea for the form of this book was from a book by Michael Ondaatje titled ‘Coming through Slaughter’. I have not read this book. So I will not be able to comprehend what exactly she means. I will have to find out. She also thanks her Editor for supporting “her fantasy that a biography can be written in the form of a mosaic”.
    You are very clear about what you didn’t like about this book.
    “One last grouse: the style of writing and this I must admit is completely subjective. When I read a biography, I want it to be well-written, but in a factual, objective way. I hate to see the writer of the biography trying to get inside the subject’s head and putting words into his/her mouth……………… I don’t want to read what Sathya Saran thinks SD Burman was thinking; if I wanted to read SD Burman’s words, I’d sooner turn to his autobiography.”
    I have read the book by Khagesh Dev Burman. You are right about this book. It has lot of information, but the style may not be appealing. He too quotes extensively from ‘Sargamer Nikhad’. I am not sure whether Sathya Saran picked up the quotes from this book or she had the opportunity of reading ‘Sargamer Nikhad’. It was a serialised autobiography that appeared in the Bengali Magazine ‘Desh’ in 70s. There is one more book on S D Burman by H Q Choudhury.
    Thanks for the objective review. After all I will read this book, but not now, may be on a later date.


    • I haven’t read Michael Ondaatje’s book, either, Venkataramanji – I was also curious, when I read Sathya Saran’s admission about how it inspired her. I will look out for that book now and see how it compares, when it comes to style. Somehow, that first person narrative – at least in Sun Mere Bandhu Re – didn’t work for me. I’d like to see how Ondaatje does it.

      Since I haven’t read any of the other bios of SD Burman around (and not even his autobiography – have you read that?), I have no way of comparing this book to the others. But since you have read Khagesh Dev Burman’s book, I’d like to know your opinion on Sun Mere Bandhu Re, whenever you do read it: I’d like to know how you think they compare.


  12. After reading your review I don’t think I am going to read this book. Being a big admirer of SDB I read KDB’s book. As some of your readers have commented, it is rather boring but does fill in the timeline nicely. Especially his composition of Bengali songs which he continued to do even when he made it big in Mumbai.

    I read an anecdote related by Manna Dey somewhere, probably in his autobiography. You mentioned that SDB was a very generous person. Manna Dey had a different take on this. When SDB first arrived in Mumbai he was alone – he had left Meera and RDB back in Kolkata. Manna Dey and SDB met frequently since they were soccer fans. Once SDB invited him for lunch at his apartment. In many Bengali meals the first course is usually plain rice flavored with a little ghee with maybe mashed potatoes. SDB had been sent a tin of the finest home-made ghee by Meera. He did not share it with Manna Dey under the pretext that it would be bad for his health. He had no problems pouring a nice dollop of ghee on his rice and eating it while his guest looked on. Manna Dey also mentions that SDB was quite tightfisted about money too. But perhaps that was because he had just arrived and was yet to make it big.


    • Hehe! That’s an interesting anecdote. I’d never heard of it before. Poor Manna Dey.

      Talking of ghee and singers’ throats, I’m reminded of a long-ago music teacher in our school, who’d once said, “Have you ever noticed, there are very few Indian female singers who are really skinny? That’s because they consume lots of ghee and honey to keep their voices sweet.”

      Don’t know how correct that is, but it did make me think of Lata, Asha, Noorjehan and Shamshad Begum, all of whom certainly don’t fit into the ‘willowy’ category. On the other hand, there were ladies like Geeta Dutt and Suman Kalyanpur…


    • Soumya,
      Dada was a known i mentioned somewhere else,Gulzar came up with interesting anecdotes about that. soon after Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma who was also present in the book launch narrated an interesting incident and that was quite contrary to the belief about Dada’s Kanjoosi. SD gave Pandit sharma 100 Rs after he played Tabla in his song Piya Tose Naina Lage re in Guide. none of us would have ever imagined that Pandit Sharma could play such nice Tabla. The SD’s Musicians present during the launch of the book confirmed that SD was very generous with them.. he would always feed them ‘Macchi’ while composing his music.


  13. Satya Saran’s biography on Abrar Alvi was much better if you look at the comments that you have made. Yes, grammatical errors are a big eye sore.

    Regarding the comments of Praveen, I request you to take it sportingly. Hasn’t Praveen explained his stance? Bobby was trashed as rubbish by Bikram Singh Bedi. But the movie was a big success.

    Similarly what Praveen was saying was that regardless of what you were saying about Sharda or the songs from Suraj, the truth is that those songs were big hits during that time. Most of the bad publicity of Sharda was due to the Mangeshkar sisters who have hurt the careers of so many singers. Sharda’ s voice was different just like Shamshad Begum’s was. Mukesh did not sound like Kishore Kumar.That is where each person’s talent is different. Sharda has sung for “Seema” too [the 1970 movie that starred Simi, Bharti Vishnuvardhan, Kabir Bedi and Rakesh Roshan]. Her voice though different can’t be called frightful.

    Some of the music reviewers would have us believe that there are no comparisons to Lata and Asha but the fact is that these sisters monopolised playback singing. Today it is so refreshing to listen to a score by Suman Kalyanpur or Shamshad or Mubarak Begum or Suda Malhotra or Geeta Dutt or Sharda or Kamal Barot rather than listen to the same old fare of Lata and Asha dished out by Vivid Bharati and other radio channels day in and day out. I suggest watching Sai Paranjpye’s SAAZ.

    in bollywood there is far too much politics in music. Look at a talented singer like Sanjeevani Bhelande who was introduced by Vidhu Chopra in “Kareeb” but today she has started relying more on stage shows to eke out a living. Anupama Deshpande who sang in “Sohni Mahiwal”, Sadhna Sargam, Dilraj Kaur, Poornima aka Sushma Shrestha have vanished without a trace. I am not saying that the Mangeshkars had a role to play in their failure but there is strong evidence that they used arm twisting tactics to thwart competition.


    • Bhagyalakshmi, thank you for your comment. I shall keep in mind your recommendation of Sathya Saran’s biography of Abrar Alvi – I’d not known she’d written one. I’d like to read that; Abrar Alvi is a favourite of mine.

      See, the main point I’ve been trying to make to Praveen is that this is my blog, and the opinions expressed in it are mine. I do not like Bahaaron phool barsaao or Sharda’s voice. That does not mean others shouldn’t like them either. It’s a simple case – as I’ve tried to say earlier – of beauty lying in the eyes (or in this case, the ears) of the beholder. Just because millions of people adore Bahaaron phool barsaao doesn’t mean I should. And as far as Sharda’s voice is concerned, my dislike for it is not because Lata or Asha or anybody else makes disparaging remarks about it; it’s because I do not like it, period.

      Most of all, I do not appreciate the insulting way of expressing disagreement that Praveen has used. There is a polite, tactful way of disagreeing (as you show in your comment, which disagrees but does not insult). I am no saint; I can only take so much insulting in my stride.


      • madhu
        apologies again if i sounded otherwise. no question of insulting, i know its your Blog and opinion expressed are yours. i am only saying that millions made the song popular in that year. so just accept it na…u write so well and so critically. so please be mature enough to take some criticism. and accept it when you go wrong. YES do read Abrar Alvi’s Bio. Ten Years with Guru Dutt – Abrar Alvi’s Journey. that is master piece on film writing. you would have no complaints about chronology in that and you will also see how the word CHAKLA has come in this book from that book. yes regarding CHAKLA, i would explain to you the meaning of the word in this context.. all that if the saint allows me to be in this blog..:-. but whatever you say.. when saints come marching home, they always sing Baharon phool barsao mera mehboob aaya hai. no 1 song of Binaca in the the year 66 :-).i wish you allowed me to present to you Abrar’s Book. may be that would seal it with a book.


      • Bhagyalakshmi, I don’t think it was Lata who said that about Shankar’s infatuation with Sharda; if I remember right, it was one of the other music directors – I cannot offhand recollect whether it was Naushad, SD or OP Nayyar. As for Sharda’s voice not being frightful, that is a matter of subjective opinion. Can’t stand it myself. In a modern context, I would say the same of Himesh Reshammiyya. Hugely popular with younglings, has a vast number of hit songs to his credit, has definitely made a name for himself, I can’t stand his voice. Or his songs. I have no objection to others raving about him.

        Madhu, seconding the recommendation on the Abrar Alvi biography. (Ten years with Guru Dutt). Quite interesting. (Don’t review it. *grin*)


        • @Praveen: millions made the song popular in that year. so just accept it, na.

          No one here is denying that Baharon phool barsao was popular. But I do not have to accept that it was the ‘best’ song of that year. To me, it wasn’t. And I like SJ. ‘Popular’ and ‘good music’ are not mutually inclusive. SJ themselves have had far better songs than this.

          (Sorry; I decided at the last minute to make this a separate comment, and Praveen’s comment that I was quoting remained in my response to Bhagyalakshmi. Madhu, if you could fix that? Thanks.)


        • Anu, it was Lata who made the comment about Sharda and Shanker. While I wouldn’t go out of my way to seek a Sharda song, I don’t mind her. I suspect my tolerance is due to the fact that she has maybe a 100 songs to her name…I dont grudge her those.:-)


          • Shalini, I sit corrected. :) Lata, it is.
            I don’t grudge Sharda her successes either. As I said about Himesh Reshammiyya, she has her songs, and her fans. Fair enough. As long as someone doesn’t try to convince me that Sharda (or Himesh) is the greatest thing since sliced bread, I’m perfectly happy to agree to disagree. :)


        • “(Don’t review it. *grin*)

          Now my interest is piqued! Why, why? :-)

          Incidentally, when all that gushing about the popularity of Bahaaron phool barsaao was happening, I too was reminded of Himesh Reshammiya – oh, so popular, but oh, so irritating to my ears. Come to think of it, Salma Agha with her Dil ke armaan aansoowon mein beh gaye has about the same effect on me. That song was hugely popular once upon a time, and I hated it. Still do. Oh, and wasn’t Jumma chumma de de a big hit too?

          How sad. It turns out I do have horrible taste in music, no? I don’t seem to like any of these absolutely fabulous, very popular songs… :-D


      • Madhu, I think you’ve shown the patience of Job in dealing with praveen’s relentess blathering! I couldn’t stand “baharon phool barsao” to begin with but the endless, boring gushing about it makes me want to slit my wrist. If I ever find the “millions” who made it the #1 song on Binaca Geetmala…:-D


        • LOL! Shalini, you and I have disagreed more than once on songs and/or movies, but this time I’m in full agreement with you! Bahaaron phool barsaao has always been – as I’ve mentioned – never more than ordinary for me. Now, I hate it with a vengeance. :-D


              • And I’ve answered Shalini’s comment! No, not happening, simply because I can’t actually think of any pre-70s songs that I really dislike. But you don’t restrict your blog to any particular time period… *hint* :-D


            • Aarggh! I don’t even want to think about them. But, seriously, there are very few songs from before the 70s that I dislike – offhand, I can’t think of any which will actually make me leave a room (as Dil dance maare did, once when we were in Shimla). So, considering this blog focusses only on pre-70s cinema, I suppose that post will never happen. Even Bahaaron phool barsaao isn’t downright awful; just underwhelming, considering its immense popularity.


  14. Honestly why would Lata make disparaging remarks about Sharda [ Lata had said – Love is blind, but love is also deaf – referring to music director Shankar who was Sharda’s mentor]. Legends do not need to comment.
    Also many facts about legends that are published are not exactly what they are. I recall reading that meera burman was disturbed during her last years. is she still alive? it doesn’t look like the book has touched upon that aspect or how SDB groomed RDB.
    I also read that SDM spoke atrocious Hindi.


    • Thanks bhagya lakshmi. Though one does not need any support to prove the fact that ‘the sun rises from the east’. When it comes to popularity of a singer ‘ you don’t need a mirror to see a sore on your thumb’. “Hath Kangan ko Arsi Kya, Padhe likhe ko farsi kya.”

      U are so right about Mangeshkar sisters. Lata, to say so had problems with most of the people she sang with. That includes legend of Baharon Phool Barsao….Rafi. They did not sing for a long time together on the issue of royalty for the singers. Even SD had a serious issue with Lata. SD got lata to sing for him after a three year Gap in Mera Gora Ang lai le, mohe shyam ran dai de.. Runa Laila was also driven out of India by Lata as she was seriously threatened by her popularity. And of course Suman Kalyanpur. There is a duet by Lata and suman kalyanpur available on the you tube and its almost impossible for anyone to make out which one is Lata and which one is Suman. The rivalry of Usha with OP Nayyar is again a well known story… but anyways that’s a different topic altogether. Some one someday could write a book on politics of Bollywood.
      Yes SD had a very funny hindi. In fact he spoke Hindi like Bengali. He was a big Kanjoos also Gulzar sab during the launch of this book quoted some real funny incidents about Dada and his hindi and his Kanjoosi. .. while making a tune he would always chew a pan. While putting a Beeda inside his mouth he would always look around to the people and say… , “ Tum pan khayega?.. nahin khayegahe na…then look again towards someone else and say.. Tum Pan khayega, .. arey tum to nahin khata hai …and eat his pan all alone. Sathya Saran’s book on Guru Dutt also narrates a few interesting incidents about SD’s kanjoosi. He would sit through with guru dutt in his house to compose music of Pyasa. During Lunch time Dada would go inside behind a curtain and finish of his lunch. He would come back to Guru Dutt and ask him Khana khayega?Guru Dutt outa courtesy would invariably say ‘no thanks’ One day Dutt decided to say, ‘yes I am hungry and I will have lunch’ . Dada went out to his balcony and shouted at a Bhutta wala. Called for a Bhutta @25 Paisa and offered to Guru Dutt for lunch :-).
      but you will be surprised SD’s bengali was very strong. Much more than just being his mother tongue. The title of his Auto , SARGAMER NIKHAD has left bengali music and literary world in a spin. It is so difficult to make out the meaning of the title of the book. ..the word Nikhad coming from NISHAD in Sanskrit meaning Ni of the Octave ( Sa re ga ma Pa Dha Ni…) it has so much of Pun hidden in it… anyways all that later, only if I continue to stay in this Blog…someone is already learning ‘Been’ in this Blog to improve his/her sense of Music…enjoy reading the book.
      PS : Meera Burman is no more. She had a bad old age.


    • Bhagyalakshmi, the book does mention, off and on, about how SDB allowed RDB to assist him, and touches upon some scores – especially Aradhana – where there have been controversies regarding the composition of songs (notably Roop tera mastaana). No specific discussions on his mentoring of RDB, but some mentions, yes.

      I’m not surprised that SDB spoke atrocious Hindi; not too many people from the North-East or Bengal, more so back then, could speak good Hindi.


      • RD and SD, The father and son duo had an interesting professional relationship. both will steal each other’s tunes. it was an unwritten contract between two of them :-). son of legendary Anand Bakshi, who was present during the book launch brought out an interesting story. THE SONG MAINE POOCCHA CHAND SE KI DEKHA HAIN KAHIN MERE YAR SA HANSI from abdullah was in fact composed by SD Burman in 1966 but was rejected during that period. Sanjay Khan took this number from RD’s archives and inserted it in to his movie Abdulla.


        • Praveen, pls pls pls….I also many times disagree with the person whose space is being used here,but lets respect the fact that its her space and she is entitled to her personal views. In fact as lovers of hindi film music of 50’s and 60’s, we should be thankful to people like her that they are at least writing and in the process keeping the interest alive. If we think we know better, who stops us from writing our own blog. So lets be polite and mature. Lets appreciate the fact that hindi film music was not just filmy,,it was poetry,philosophy at its best. I am a big fan of Rafi and for me Kya se kya ho gaya or tere mere sapne or Din Dhal jaye are any day, far more superior than Baharon Phool Barsao. As far as Suraj songs or should I say SJ songs are concerned its public knowledge how, many times, their songs were number 1 or got filmfare awards.’Beimaan’ is a classic example. Anyways..lets drop the discussion here and i will look forward to your blog on hindi film music of 60’s and 70’s.


          • dear raj

            DROPPED DROPPED.. no more from my side, since u have hit the nail on the head calling this is a personal space. But before I close I would like to say a few things.. your friend can moderate it and not publish it in her ‘personal space’. please do not forget that the blog is open and not closed. It is visible to everyone on google. If you put a ‘ulta flag’ on top of your house people would observe, comment and request you to set it straight. Notwithstanding, Blog is good and I am sure writer is doing a wonderful job of covering music from yester years. My only point is that we should not confuse our personal opinion with statistics. No point in repeatedly cooing on top of our own dunghill like a rooster. Then we can have our own picture halls and screen our own movies and give our own FF and Binaca awards. I wish while requesting me to drop the discussion you did not in passing gave your opinion about SJ and talked about ‘common knowledge’. I would request you also to do some research before you form your opinion about any musicians or lyricist. I do understand songs are about various things and not only music directors. Like you, me too is a big fan of rafi and SJ for me is no god but I have maturity and alacrity to notice his popularity. And I am not even talking about BAHARON PHOOL BARSAO.. and SURAJ. I will talk about the 32 songs of 1966 Binaca Geet Mala. I am sure you would agree SJ did not buy votes for them. Out of 32 songs which made to the final in year 1966, SJ had 8, SD had 2, Madan Mohan had 3 Naushad had 2 Roshan had 5 kalyan ji Anand ji had 1, OP had 3 LP had 4 and Ravi had 2 . I am sure u don’t even have to read between the lines to see the popularity of the duo. You can do a similar research for other years and you will be shell shocked to know where SJ as a duo stand in the world of music popularity. in this blog of your friend , you can form a majority, give ‘duhai’ of politeness and request me to leave the blog since I do not subscribe to opinion of the writer but that will not change the statistics and facts.
            And this has nothing to do whether or not I have my own blog. Yes I would someday meet you in some book launch and may explain to you my point of view better.
            I am dropping the discussion as suggested by you because none of us are saying anything new. may be we are saying the same thing in different words


            • Praveen, again, and with the hope of getting this through, no one here is talking about the popularity of SJ. We all agree that they were extremely good music directors, who knew the pulse of the audience. It does not however, mean that we have to genuflect over every single one of their tunes. There were SJ scores that were brilliant, and there were other scores that were not a patch on the scores of other other music directors. Where the [redacted] does ‘statistics’ come into the picture.

              People are protesting your comments not because you disagree or because we all want to only praise Madhulika. Our dissent comes a) from the language you use, and the terms with which you deem fit to address her; and b) from the fact that Madhulika was not talking about the popularity of the songs of Guide vs. the popularity of that one song from Suraj. Besides, for your opinion to be right, all other opinions need not be wrong.

              A review, by its description, is a personal view of something. You may agree or disagree with what the writer says. But to pull in a strawman argument so you can hector and harass the writer? Eh. That leaves other readers with a sense of distaste.

              Madhu, my apologies for butting in.


              • Don’t apologise to me, Anu! In any case, I’ve given up trying to reason – there’s only so much one can go on saying, again and again. If someone’s not willing to accept that there can be opinions (and valid ones) other than their own, what can one say?

                Thank you for saying, far better than I could possibly have done myself, what I’ve been trying to say all this while. Considering it hasn’t drawn more harping on the same matter all over again, it has (hopefully) penetrated the ivory.


          • raj61, thank you. Both for standing up for me, and for standing up for the fact that all of us are entitled to our opinions.

            I appreciate the maturity of thought, and the good old common sense – I wish it were more common! :-)


    • Thank you! WordPress detected just the link in the earlier comment you had made and as a result automatically classified it – and this comment, above – as spam. I’ve just retrieved both from the spam folder.

      Thank you for the link – it sounds like an interesting book. I’m not so sure I’m keen on learning about the gossip behind Guru Dutt and Waheeda Rehman (I’m never keen on stuff like that), but the rest of it – especially the extent of Alvi’s involvement in Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam – sounds right up my street.


  15. Praveen, I do agree with Raj. This blog writer is doing so much for the cause of the music of the bygone era. Let us accept her honesty. She can have her own point of view, right? So let us leave it at that. You seem to be having lots of information that can be of interest, so please do not leave this blog and continue to share the information. The very fact that madhulika has posted your deviant comments should make you put all this behind. Her writing is brilliant, she says what she wants to say without mincing words and is passionate about Hindi movies like you and me are. I completely agree with Anu Warrier that every person can have his own choice and no one can say that they have to like something because others have liked it.
    Thanks also Praveen for the information on Mangeshkar sisters.

    Madhulika, I happened to see a song from a lesser known movie called – Banarasi Thug that was released in 1962 that featured Mallika [Mumtaz’s sister]. The dance was so elegant and the song was simple and sung by Usha Mangeshkar whom I understand Lata did not allow to sing much though she was her own blood sister.

    I listened to “Aye dil mujhe bata de tu kis pe aa gaya hai” today and Geeta Dutt’s voice was so mesmerising. Was the music by S D Burman? The movie was Bhai-Bhai.

    btw, i am a great fan of S D Burman and everytime I listen to the songs that he sung it is amazing how his inability to speak proper Hindi completely fades away due to the music and the soulful melody. For example – look at the picturisation of ” Mere Sajan Hai Us Par, Main US Paar” from Bandini. The song added to the appeal of the climax of the legendary “Bandini”. You can’t think of Bandini’s ending without this song.
    Listen to “Sun Mere Bandhu Re” or “Piya Bina Piya Bina” or “Wahan Kaun Hai Tera Musafir” and your heart melts. In the last song from guide, you can also visualise a dusty road and a traveller and you are taken back to a bygone era… what splendid music, what a soulful melody…

    Can someone tell me which was the last song that Dada composed? Was it for Abiman?


    • bhagyalakshmi
      I am not going anywhere :-). just went to the blood bank. some one here slit her throat and then wrist.. I donno what will she slit next.. have kept the blood bank standby for blood group ‘M negative..’ surprisingly cabby at 92,7 big FM was playing SJ songs.. seriously….


    • You’re so right about how SDB’s inability to speak Hindi properly completely fades away when you listen to the songs he sang. His voice is simply mesmerising – whether it’s O re maanjhi or Allah megh de (that’s another of my favourites, besides the ones you’ve already mentioned): he is hauntingly beautiful, rustic. Superb.

      The music of Bhai-Bhai was by Madan Mohan, assisted by Chic Chocolate. I love Ae dil mujhe bata de: such a lovely song!

      And, thank you for speaking up in support of me. For freedom of speech.


      • SDB had overcome his Hindi problem. Neeraj told me that SDB asked him to write on a tune, adding, “Mujhe ‘Shama parwana ya ‘Gulo gulzar’ nahin chaahiye. Mujhe ‘Rangila re’ chaahiye.
        Similarly, Yogesh lyricist told me that Dada had given him a tune and asked him to write a mukhda and return. He wrote some 7 different mukhdas and went back. Dada kept the book on his piano and kept on looking at the the first page for some time.
        Neeraj was worried about rejection so he got up and mumbled about more mukhdas on following pages but Dada shut him “Chup”.Then Dada started composing the song. I asked Neeraj whether Dada could read Hindi and Neeraj said it appeared so.


  16. anu
    I had already promised raj that I would drop of the argument which I am very clear was lost by someone at the first go. Because statistics do not lie..,,..but a blog thrives on responses and I am sure there are a few people who do not want this to die. I am not getting conned in to that anyway. My points was and is very simple and straight from the first go and remains so ..SJ duo is an extremely popular composer. Whether or not writer of the blog and her followers like it. Everyone is entitled for personal opinion and that includes millions of listeners outside this blog. You can revisit the previous comments and you will come to know who was beating around the bush…I never said SJ duo is God , I never said Suraj songs are better that guide, I never said popular means ‘best’. These are the counter arguments by people who are now looking for escape route and somehow want to keep this going..:-) I had only made a point that in the year 1966 Baharon ….was not only the song from movie which was awarded FF award, it was also most popular song of the year in Binaca geetmala….then someone came up as popular is not best..then someone offered expert opinion on SJ’s score in general. And then someone got sharda’s nose in between. ..and when stats and arguments fail its only obvious to start commenting on someone’s ‘choice of words’ ‘taste’ ‘manners’ etc. it does not make any difference to me since I have never intended to use harsh words towards the writer who now is being termed as a victim of my ‘onslaught’. I am sure in hearts of heart the writer knows very well that I am only putting an argument backed up by survey and solid research which this blog is hitherto not used to seeing.. And one can analyse the binaca list for last 20 years and prove me wrong. These are all facts and not my personal opinion. Neither Shankar nor Jaikishan nor SD Burman are my chachas..:-) they are simply the music directors which this country adores . So let’s not start demeaning others just because WE PERSONALLY DO NOT LIKE A SONG.
    and comments regarding taste and language and bla bla are just Chaff. and yes if you want to get some colour please do not slit your throat and wrist for baharon Phool Barsao… its not cost effective. just put ‘ o lali phool se mehadi laga in gore hathon mein…’


    • Talk about an ego! No, my friend, Madhulika’s blog does not need your responses to ‘run’ as you call it. It was chugging along quite fine until you came along to despoil a perfectly reasonable commentariat who agreed and/or disagreed with each other with grace and politeness. And it will continue to go on, and indeed, thrive, without your presence to grace its pages.

      Good day to you.


  17. Just to add some fuel to the fire and I have very little to say about SD except that he was a wonderful tunesmith, I think the best SJ score of 1966 was the one for Teesri Kasam. Since the film was released in September of 1966 it should have been in the reckoning for the best score. Compared to Suraj, Teesri Manzil’s music had real heart just listen to “Chalata musafir”, Suraj was for the best part a somnambulatory amble for SJ, a treacly sugary syrupy diabetic crawl towards the arms of Morpheus.
    Actually RD outSJ’d SJ in 1966 with Teesri Manzil, just as SJ outOP’d OP Nayyar with “paan khaaye saiyyan hamaro” in “Teesri Kasam”.

    While I do not find Sharada terrible, I would say that Titli udi is one song I would not take to a desert island with me. To think that this song should be elected by the erstwhile listeners of ’66 as number one , seriously makes me think the entire nation must have been smoking pot after 1965. I mean “seriously dude” (as a 7 year old once told us venerable ancients) we had
    “Tu jahan jahan chalega”., “Rahe na rahe ham”, “Manzil teri khoj mein” , “Piya tose naina laage re” by Lata, so many by Asha…not to forget scores for Dil Diya Dard Liya etc…
    Public opinion is nonsensus.
    for if there is a consensus
    the winner exists because of the tedium
    of between choosing mediocrity or medium.


    • SSW :-) no real fire here.. not even smoke. yes a very different angle from you. Young RD was so marvelous in Teesari Kasam. and Titlee Udi was never the no 1 song.. not even in dessert, nor in mountains nor deep sea. it was one of the songs which made to the finals of Binaca ( ahead of wahan kaun hai tera of guide). No 1 song was that sugary syrupy Baharon phool..which most of people here don’t seem to be liking. fair enough.This was Suraj’s score for which despite being out SJd by RD, SJ got a FF of the rare occasions may be when FF award and Binacal Top song award went to the same song


      • Dear Praveen, wiiipaedia states the followig….
        It so happens that the coveted Filmfare award for best playback singer had only one category (either male or female) until 1966. “Titli Udi” song, however, was tied as best song with Mohd Rafi’s song “Baharo Phool Barsao” which had never happened before.
        So it was inspite of the desert the mountain and the deep blue sea
        Tied for the number one song in its categoreeeee
        But I am sure Baharaon phool barsao had it for dessert
        That I cannot deny
        Since it surged ahead in a finishing burst
        What shall we do but cry…..

        Personally I did not like Binaca but the little animals that accompanied the toothpaste tubes were very appealing.


        • “Personally I did not like Binaca but the little animals that accompanied the toothpaste tubes were very appealing.

          Oh, yes! I remember being very fond of those as a child. Used to collect them, too, and look forward very eagerly whenever we opened a new tube to see which little plastic animal would pop out of the pack.


    • “To think that this song should be elected by the erstwhile listeners of ’66 as number one , seriously makes me think the entire nation must have been smoking pot after 1965.

      Haha! Well said, SSW. Really. What were people thinking?

      Talking about Shankar-Jaikishan, I agree about Teesri Kasam: their score for that was superb; Chalat musaafir moh liya re is one of my absolute favourites too. In fact, they created the scores of some of my favourite movies when it comes to music: Chori-Chori, Shree 420, Patita, Anari, Hariyali aur Raasta… but to insist that Bahaaron phool barsaao, simply because it was so popular, cannot be considered ordinary by anyone – ah, well.


        • Hah! No, no. You know my opinion of your poetry. :-) Brilliant. You should actually make Bahaaron phool barsaao the subject of a full-fledged pome, no? The first Hindi song – and oh, so fabulously popular, too – to actually have an ode to it.


  18. Winner and Nominees[edit]
    In the list below, the winner of the award for each year is shown first, followed by the other nominees. The films are listed by the years when the award was presented. The announcing of nominations became regular after 1956.

    1954 Naushad Ali – Baiju Bawra for the song “Tu Ganga Ki Mauj” [A]
    1955 S. D. Burman – Taxi Driver for the song “Jaaye To Jaaye Kahan” [B]
    1956 Hemant Kumar – Nagin
    C. Ramchandra – Azaad
    Naushad Ali – Uran Khatola
    1957 Shankar Jaikishan – Chori Chori
    O. P. Nayyar – C.I.D.
    1958 O. P. Nayyar – Naya Daur
    C. Ramchandra – Asha
    1959 Salil Chowdhury – Madhumati
    O. P. Nayyar – Phagun
    Shankar Jaikishan – Yahudi
    1960 Shankar Jaikishan – Anari
    S. D. Burman – Sujata
    Shankar Jaikishan – Chhoti Bahen
    1961 Shankar Jaikishan – Dil Apna Aur Preet Parai
    Naushad Ali – Mughal-e-Azam
    Ravi – Chaudhvin Ka Chand
    1962 Ravi – Gharana
    Naushad Ali – Gunga Jumna
    Shankar Jaikishan – Jis Desh Men Ganga Behti Hai
    1963 Shankar Jaikishan – Professor
    Hemant Kumar – Bees Saal Baad
    Madan Mohan – Anpadh
    1964 Roshan – Taj Mahal
    Naushad Ali – Mere Mehboob
    Shankar Jaikishan – Dil Ek Mandir
    1965 Laxmikant-Pyarelal – Dosti
    Madan Mohan – Woh Kaun Thi?
    Shankar Jaikishan – Sangam
    1966 Ravi – Khandan
    Kalyanji Anandji – Himalaya Ki God Mein
    Shankar Jaikishan – Arzoo
    1967 Shankar Jaikishan – Suraj
    Ravi – Do Badan
    S. D. Burman – Guide
    1968 Laxmikant-Pyarelal – Milan
    Kalyanji Anandji – Upkar
    Ravi – Hamraaz
    1969 Shankar Jaikishan – Brahmachari
    Ravi – Ankhen
    Shankar Jaikishan – Diwana


    • Dear Madhulika
      I could have caused certain heart burns and apologies for that once again. My only intention was to bring out that we often get swayed by personal opinions and wrong analysis. This is so typical of us Indians. And then we argue and bring in irrelevant issues to the fore. Music is not the only example, WE AS INDIANS FEEL THAT NANDA DEVI IS the SECOND HIGHEST PEAK IN THE WORLD when it in fact stands as 23rd highest in the world. We feel that during Dyanchand’s time India won a large number of hockey matches against pakistan. Nope we dint. We only won more medals and we hardly played pakistan during that period. Its our national character to accept and talk about things without doing analysis and research.
      I just happened to visit the blog through google and found your writing and comments of the members really passionate. It shows their love and passion towards the ‘songs of yore’. And I am sure credit goes to you. i think here we are talking about music of sixties . The post above will tell you who stood where in that era. Potential of Shanker Jaikishan as a music duo is more than visible there. i have already quoted statistics from Binaca Geet Mala, which show that he never had any competition. After this it is only left to classify the data as BEST, POPULAR or PERSONAL CHOICE. Don’t think I have anything else to say on Music now. Now on we can talk about Sushil Kumar’s bout against a pahalwan from UZBEKISTAN.
      Sorry for para dropping myself here :-). it just happened . I never introduced myself here and it was your large heartedness to publish my comments ‘as they were’.
      I am sure this is my last comment here. But rest assure I hope to see some of you during MY book launch. I will extend personal invitation to members of your blog. And that event will happen sooner than later.
      Till then,,, Baharon Phool Barsao….:-)


  19. dustedoff,
    Some information about Guide:

    • Time Magazine listed it at Number Four on its list of Best Bollywood Classics.
    Guide – 1965
    By Richard CorlissWednesday, Oct. 27, 2010

    • The soundtrack was listed by ‘Planet Bollywood’ as number 11 on their list of 100 Greatest Bollywood

    • National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi

    • Guide was also first film to win all four of the major awards (Best Movie, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress) at the Filmfare Awards.

    • Indian submission for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film

    • A 120-minute U.S. version was written by Pearl S. Buck, and directed and produced by Tad Danielewski,[4] The film was screened at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, 42 years after its release.[5]

    * * * * *
    Guide had led to another interesting episode. A local film-land publicist-cum agent approached Dada with a proposal that shocked and enraged him. “Give me so much and”, the man said, “and you will get the award”. He had come in connection with a popular award hoping that the old man would fall for the offer readily. He was in for a surprise.

    “Now look young man”, Dada told him, “I will be honest and tell you that I am interested in getting this award though I never knew it could be manipulated or bought. I can afford the money that you are asking for. And I also know that compared to the gains the award might yield the money you ask is nothing. But I would rather give it away to those who had acclaimed my music that buy the award….”
    Source: ‘The Maestro Who Was a Misfit’ By Ajit Merchant


    • Thank you for that! I do know a fair bit about Guide (I’ve read – and reviewed – Sidharth Bhatia’s book on Navketan, Cinema Modern: The Navketan Story, and it contains a lot of information on Guide). I didn’t however know about that episode of SDB’s that you’ve narrated.


    • moti ji, were u also involved in Khagesh Burman’s book? have you also read Sargamer Nikhad. whom do you think SD placed higher as a singer Kishore or Rafi. Madhulika, the book Sun Mere Bandhu flows better than Khagesh burman’s book. I have been a great fan of sathya saran and really enjoying the book.


      • snehal,
        The author had two books to his credit in Bangla, one each on SDB and RDB, before my two meetings with him as an SDB fan. He was gracious to present me with his book on SDB in Bangla, though I wanted to pay for it.

        We had some disagreement on who gave music for Aradhana, he without proof claiming RDB, while I with my several proofs about SDB. That was our first meeting, after which I posted on Facebook excerpts from the interview, only on what we had agreed. The second meeting was just a courtesy call, when he lamented about his having problems with the translation of his Bangla Book.

        Some RDB fans after reading the post were up in arms and commented on that post. Someone would have contacted him as he wrote to me claiming that he had never said what I had mentioned in the post. I wrote back that I had his recorded voice with me as a proof, to which he commented “When can we meet?” It is possible that he may have forgotten.

        I was pleasantly surprised, that when his English book on SDB came out, he had refrained from insisting that RDB had composed the songs of Aradhana or SDB was sick, unless I have missed something while speed-reading it. This could be the only contribution of mine to that book, if at all I have contributed anything. :)


        • I haven’t read the book thoroughly. I believe it says somewhere that Dada Burman walked away when RDB composed tune of ‘Dum maro dum’!
          There can’t be a bigger lie than this. Dev Anand himself has gone on record as follows:
          Dev Anand:
          (Dreamily) I still remember those Dum maro dum days. Dada (SD Burman), Pancham (RD Burman), Asha and I would squat on the studio floor while working on the song. These days we have electronic recordings.

          Source HT Café dated Sep. 26, 2008 in an article, “I won’t ever let a remake of Guide happen”

          This is not the only one. I have found more mistakes, and I am not talking about small ones.


          • moti ji thanks a lot. u have a wealth of info on the genius. I am almost at the end of sathya sarans book.. are u talking about the mistakes in her book or khagesh burman’s book? notwithstanding all books on SD are good. I wonder why some people here are mentioning negative things.


            • I was talking about Khagesh Dev Burman’s book on that particular episode. And there are more mistakes.

              I agree with you that all three books have a wealth of information. Because, the subject is such. SDB was a multi talented personality. Read my 10 page ‘Afterword’ from page # 235 onwards. I had a lot more to add, but had a constraint of allotted space.

              Yes, you are right. I have a wealth of information on SDB, having collected articles from decades and interviewed 47 persons who knew him or had studied his music.

              There are so many fallacies going around the genius which are wrong. For instance, he was a ‘kanjoos’, a miser. He was not a miser. Every musician has told me that he was well fed in Dada’s home. So much that they couldn’t eat anymore. “It’s not that Dada will eat fish and rice and we will get dal-bhat. We will get the same food”. This I was told by all. But at the same time he will fool Guru Dutt, Dev Anand and others and tell them to go and fend for themselves.
              About his paan he wouldn’t share, because they were from a particular shop made to order and how could he replenish his paans. Waheeda has narrated many anecdotes with us.


  20. I read the review of the book and then I started reading the comments, and decided I don’t have the time or the patience to go through all of them! Sorry, Madhu! In any case, that was a good review of the book (no surprise, there!) but I doubt if I would buy the book, simply because I would rather just sit back and listen to his music (if that day ever comes my way!) His voice has always fascinated me, the way it gives the right touch of nostalgia (Oh re maajhi…,), or grieving (kahe ko roye …) or a commentary on life (wahan kaun hai tera …). I could go on and on, but then I will sound like some of the comments here, so I will just thank you for an excellent review.

    By the way, I am glad that SSW included his pomes when he commented! They never fail to make me laugh!


    • Yes, Lalitha, the comments here got very long, especially as there were certain people who couldn’t stop themselves from rambling on and on, even going to the extent of copying and pasting large blocks of text (with ‘[edit]’ tags etc, all there) from Wikipedia or wherever. I don’t have the patience to sit and read the same old facts over and over again, either!

      But yes, SSW’s pomes are a pleasure, aren’t they?! He’s superb.


  21. Dustedoff, you certainly have enormous patience! Trolls like Baharon-phool-barsao-Praveen would go straight into my spam folder!!! I have seen fanatic fans of film stars, but I never realized that even music directors inspire such fandom.

    As to biographies – while I love Sachin da‘s music, I am reading his biography only if you decide to write it! I am glad you reviewed it, though. If I need more info about SD Burman, I know where I can find it, now!

    My major issue with biographies is that while they are excellent sources of personal information, they rarely supply context that helps you place the subject in his/her profession. For example, I have no doubts about SD Burman the music director, but where does he stand as a musician amongst his peers? What was his contribution to musical evolution? Did he revolutionize any aspect of music in the country? I had the same problem with the Sahir biography where I would have preferred a little more academic discussion of his poetry and where it stands in comparison to the likes of Urdu poetry giants like Faiz, Iqbal, etc.


    • “As to biographies – while I love Sachin da‘s music, I am reading his biography only if you decide to write it!

      Oh, very flattered, bollyviewer! Thank you. :-)

      I see what you mean about biographies. Akshay Manwani, after I’d published my review of his book on Sahir, mentioned that he was basically interested in the filmi angle of Sahir’s work, but yes – I do agree that since so much of Sahir’s non-film poetry was quoted, it would have been good to have some comparisons made to other poets of the period. I suppose that happens because not all biographers are clued into the more academic angles of professions.


  22. Yes, I know far, far more than anyone else. I don’t boast, neither I like dishonesty. That’s why I conducted 53 interviews with those who knew him personally. I am looking for an honest writer who takes this material to its logical conclusion, without twisting facts, in a simple English grammatically correct. This material is begging to be picked up for free.
    I could also write a book, at my cost, but I am immersed in more research on him. I have also started uploading videos of my interviews on YouTube. Join my channel, and see them. I also post gems on SDB group, which has now 6700 members from 600 when I took it.

    I am looking for a writer, who is necessarily in love with SDB and is willing to present honestly the material with me.


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