After 53 years R D Burman finally gets credit for a song in Pyaasa


As the end credits of the delightful, visually stunning and life-affirming Road, Movie was rolling at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) last September, a journalist thought he detected a typo. A very old song called Sar Jo Tera Chakraye featured in the film was credited to R D Burman, not his father, S D Burman, who composed the original music in Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa.

But the journalist would soon know from the film’s writer and director Dev Benegal [ Images ] that there was no typo.

The fans of R D Burman or Pancham, as he was fondly known, should be rejoicing that 53 years after he composed the tune and 16 years after his death, he finally gets the long due credit — and that too in a film that could be the first sleeper hit of the year.

With an excellent world of mouth, the Benegal road movie could have a long journey. For it is one of those few art films that are very earthy and can touch anyone. The Pancham melody and the accompanying scenes are important to developing the film’s narration.

Pancham’s fans have long suspected that the feisty tune composed by him was fine-tuned by his father. In fact, it was one of the dozen songs — according to Pancham’s wife Asha Bhosle [ Images ] and friends — that he composed for the father which received the latter’s own touch and embellishments. ‘Pancham was too shy to ask for the credit and it did not strike Dada (S D Burman) to give Pancham the credit,’ Asha had said in an interview many years ago.

Johnny Walker sings Sar Jo Tera Chakraye in PyaasaSadly, no one associated with the classic song is alive now — not S D Burman, not the lyricist (Sahir Ludhianvi [ Images ]), not the singer (Mohammed Rafi [ Images ]), nor the film’s iconic director-producer (Guru Dutt). Even Burman’s assistants like the composer Suhrid Kar have passed away.

Dev Benegal was born three years after Pyaasa was released in 1957. He uses the song extremely well to enhance one of the story strands in Road, Movie.

‘It is such an iconic song and it is, in fact, like a character in my film,’ Benegal said in an interview at the TIFF. ‘I grew up listening to the song for many years.’ He added that he had heard long ago that it was actually a Pancham composition. He liked the energy in the song that would later become a characteristic of Pancham’s music.

So Benegal called the producer’s son Arun Dutt, who distinctly remembered his father saying that it was indeed an R D Burman composition. The filmmaker had no problem getting the permission to use the song and footage from the classic movie. The rest is an act of restoration of credit.

Road, Movie stars Abhay Deol [ Images ], Tannishtha Chatterjee [ Images ] and Satish Kaushik [ Images ], and will release this Friday.

371 Responses to “After 53 years R D Burman finally gets credit for a song in Pyaasa”

  1. You learn something new every day..


  2. Offside Says:

    Sometimes even nature can’t get its timing right – RD born a generation and a half too soon!


    • too soon?! He was born at the perfect time! He worked with the greatest voices, did some very fine films. What would he have got in the 90s?!


      • Vidhu Vinod ( Shut Up, Fuck off) Chopra !!!! LOL!!!


      • Offside Says:

        I’m talking more about the reception and the music.

        The kind of work he did then would have been great for this generation! RD would have loved to ‘tinker’ with technology. He was way ahead of his time. His songs’ countless remixes are a testament to this.

        I don’t think he got his due…


  3. I think a lot of SD’s later work was done by RD. For example, I think all songs of Premnagar are RD’s work.


    • salimjakhra Says:

      i would have thought its more likely that rd did more work for sd earlier on, because afterwards he wasn’t working as his assistant anymore.


      • I also think some sopmgs of aaradhana was composed by RD especially the “‘Roop tera mastanna”” one…


        • Offside Says:

          Mere sapnon ki rani WAS composed by RD… He played the harmonica himself in that song!


          • Not at all. Fortunately there are still a number of musicians alive and they will tell you that you are wrong. Even Shakti Samanta, the producer-director of the movie has said in his interviews that all the songs of Aradhana are by SD Burman.


          • After 1 minute..Shakti Samanta..If SDB composed everything why mention even RDB?

            After 1:00..Rajesh Khanna..


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            The reason is that SDB tried hard to promote his son. He refused movies which went to his son and even after that he was pained that RDB was not succeeding. So he saw to it that his son’s name appears as an assistant on the jacket. He even told Majrooh to talk to directors.


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            Can Shakti Samanta’s grand son know more than his grand father, and the assistants of both SDB and RDB who were common? How old was he in 1969, or a year earlier when the songs were recorded?

            I will give you as many proofs as you like to have:
            (1) During birth centenary celebrations of SDB in 2006, Mr HQ Chowdhury – a joint organizer – met Samantaji to invite him to attend. Samanta could not attend, but on being questioned, he categorically stated that music of Aradhana is indeed by father SD Burman. Even the selection of singers is by SDB. Mr Chowdhury has authored a book on SDB which is available in India. I can help u in getting it.

            (2) Mr Bheemsinh Rahangdale, who manages met Samantaji around same time. He got the same answer.

            (3) I have personally heard Shakti Samanta in repeat program ‘Aaj ke funkaar’ on Vividh Bharati broadcast at 9.30 pm some 2 years back. I have the date in my archives. He spoke about Aradhana, saying that two songs were recorded when Rafi left for foriegn tour. He suggested to Dada Burman that Dada had created beautiful songs with Kishore, why not take him, and Dada agreed.

            (4, 5, 6, 7…) I have recorded interviews with late Manoharida, Kersi Lord and 3-4 more musicians who got their bread from SDB and bread-butter-jam from RDB. They all have said that Aradhana was by SDB. In fact Kersi Lord went ahead and said that during the recording of ‘Roop tera mastana’ RDB was not anywhere to be seen. Anyone can contact me and read/hear it. I have printed, signed versions and now some video recorded interviews.

            I am glad you are seeking the truth. Seek like me, in a proper way.


    • Totally untrue. I have interviewed over half a dozen musicians who worked under SDB and RDB, all have confirmed that SDB did his own work and rejected RDB’s suggestions as far as his songs were concerned. At the same time, RDB copied SDB’s songs like “Baap ka maal”, including his last movie “1942, Love Story”. Have you watched Barhamanand’s movie on RDB, and heard what Vidhu Vinod Chopra has said?


      • Now I don’t have much knowledge of music but I can say for sure Aradhana’s Roop tera mastana or mere Sapnon ki Rani has RD written over it and Kora Kagaz is quintessential SD.



          “When S. D. Burman fell ill during the recording of Aradhana’s (1969) music, his son completed the music.”

          The Aradhana deal is well know. Have definitely heard this before also. In any case your point on RD’s style coming through here is absolutely on the money.


          • SDB did not fall ill during Aradhana. He was hale and hearty, and completed all the songs. Rafi had gone on a two months foreign tour and Shakti Samanta suggested to SDB, saying that he (SDB) had created so many good songs with Kishore, so why not use him. SDB readily agreed. This has appeared in ‘Aaj ke funkaar’ programme on Vividh Bharati, and I have heard it. I have also talked to Manohari Singh Kersi Lord, Homi Mullan, Amrut Rao Katkar, and others who say the same thing that Aradhana songs are all by SDB. Ask Bhupinder Singh, who has also gone on record about SDB having done Aradhana, and not RDB, as quoted on the net. Any one wanting more proof can contact me to see signed interviews of some of those involved in Aradhana.


          • I think many of the old-timers associated with the music are showing a certain gesture of loyalty toward the father. But see this:

            Saxophones and Seduction

            “Although Aradhana‘s soundtrack is officially credited to Sachin Dev Burman, the bass guitar, surging accordion, and sultry saxophone suggest that his son R.D. Burman may have had a stronger hand in this song.:

            The Aradhna Syndrome


          • Incidentally follow the second of these links.. SD fell critically ill at one point during Aradhna. Any number of sources confirm this. Amazed you’re saying otherwise.


          • The musicians who are still alive, got their bread from SDB, and bread with butter and Jam from son RDB, since RDB had a lot more work.
            Are you suggesting they are telling lies?
            Why should they, tell me one reason.

            SDB had a very good knowledge of western music, which has been appreciated by the iconic composer Bobby Darwin of ‘Come September’ much before RDB became a composer.


          • Not saying they are lying in the way you’re making it out to be but it’s a bit hard to accept the claim that every reputable account of this is a lie either. Specially when those elements in RD’s music are evident in some of his 60s work and in his post-Aradhna work as well. It’s not about sounding ‘Western’. Many composers took their inspiration from the West or produced their own fusion attempts. But this is like saying that Laxmikant-Pyarelal on Karz and RD Burman on Rocky sound the the same because they’re both attempting fusion. It’s like saying today that Rahman and SEL sound the same because both have many Western cues in their music. No one is denying SD Burman’s standing here. The debate is on a much more precise matter which has been well-documented. Suddenly if you have some of the musicians associated with the music arguing otherwise, that RD wasn’t even around when he is otherwise credited as being the ‘associate music director’ on the film it’s a bit hard to buy that! Frankly the absence of a Roop tera mastana hardly alters the RD biography, nor does the same do anything for SD Burman. But the question here is a lot more specific than that. And as I’ve pointed out the ‘tune’ of Roop tera mastana or some of the other stuff in Aradhna might well have been SD’s creation but the final result bears RD’s stamp. Much as many traditional bits of music are transformed in Rahman’s reworkings. This is not to argue that SD was ‘inferior’ (even if I consider RD the greater genius), just that the result was ‘different’ with Kishore instead of Rafi or with the introduction or privileging of certain other instruments. Not sure why this is such a hard argument to accept. Neither career depends on a couple of songs in Aradhna!


          • Our youngsters have been fed on fibs for the past so many decades that they are now willing to believe anything beyond RD. As regards “Assistant Music Director” or a photograph on the CD, the father again and again tried to promote his son. When RD took away the entire SD team to Madras for his recording, everyone else was driven away by him except his son, who in reality was to blame, if at all some one has to be blamed, since one song of Tere Mere Sapne was to be recorded. RD’s biography I have read and I’ll say ‘The Man’ is missing. An established writer has put it in different words saying, ‘The Soul’ is missing. If Shakti Samanta was wrong in saying that the music was by SDB, then no one can argue with RDB fans.


          • A song is not just about a ‘tune’ but also and often moreso about orchestral arrangements, variations in beat, interludes and so on. So a tune that originated with SD Burman could have been radically altered by RD. Munna is quite right though that the signature of RD is all over something like Roop tera mastana and Kora Kagaz tha seems quintessential SD. Again compare the Rajesh Khanna stuff RD did following this. There’s a straight line from stuff like Mere sapno ki or roop tera going forward. Alternatively consider even the rare Rafi song RD did for Rajesh Khanna — gulabi aankhen from the Train (followed Aradhna a year or so later) and it’s quite unusual for many of the same reasons.


          • Father and son had an unusual relationship. The father refused to accept suggestions from RD, as well as other musicians, if they did not suit the situation or the tune, the son looked forward to his dad’s approval.
            For example, when RD created the ‘Bada natkhat hai re’ for Amar Prem, father took over. Read in RDB’s words:

            “Dada took over the harmonium from me and proceeded to modify the tune. Dada stayed within the same Khamaj thhaat, stuck to the same Raag Khamaj, while imparting a new feeling to my tune. The tune ultimately emerging was, if I’m to be honest, more Dada’s than mine.”
            “I’d provided the base tune. It was left to Dada to give it a super-sensitive turn by which it unfolded the heart-tugging way it ultimately did on Sharmila Tagore – as Bada natkhat hai yeh Krishna Kanhaiya, ka kare Yashoda maiya ho.
            “In that moment, I learnt from Dada that a composer’s job doesn’t end with preparing a mundane tune for a situation mundanely outlined to him,” confessed R D Burman.
            “The music-maker – as underlined by Dada – must get involved in the film’s script, study the character for whom he’s composing and acquire the perception to project his composing personality into the character by venturing to experience her experiences. It was this one Bada natkhat tune as reshaped by Dada,” concluded Pancham, “that determined the tone I brought to the rest of the Amar Prem music – through numbers like Raina beetee jaaye, Chingaree koyee bhadke, Yeh kya huaa and Kuchch to log kahenge. The vocals of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar did the rest.”


          • not sure how this contradicts anything I’ve said.. ! But again on the Amar Prem music note how bada natkhat (though it is my favorite song of all time in its genre) is pretty simple and ‘traditional’ in its arrangements while Chingari despite again being a Bengali tune is given some interesting riffs which bear RD’s distinctive stamp.

            By the way when one is looking at the biographical record it’s always dangerous to just rip anecdotes or quotes out of context.


          • Pl don’t miss out what the son said in the end of the paragraph, ” It was this one Bada natkhat tune as reshaped by Dada,” concluded Pancham, “that determined the tone I brought to the rest of the Amar Prem music – through numbers like Raina beetee jaaye, Chingaree koyee bhadke, Yeh kya huaa and Kuchch to log kahenge. The vocals of Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar did the rest.”
            Pancham was a great music director, but he had all along Dada till 1975. After which he faltered in 1970 and again in 1980. To do magic of ‘1942Love Story’ he had to resort to his father’s music.
            Both were greats, but let’s give credit where it’s due.
            We had so many great music directors, why others could not become like RDB, ask yourself. In fact all of them became redundant, while SD continued on the top till his death.
            Best wishes.


          • Let’s agree to disagree on the subject of RD! Incidentally Rahman considers him the greatest practitioner of fusion in Indian commercial cinema.


          • That’s what gentlemen do when they stick to their guns. I would still recommend that you try and meet those who worked with RD for a much longer time than with his father. Time will come when they will be no more, and the RD fans will be in their dream world. Bhupinder Singh is a respected artist, try and meet him, or at least read what he says. Best wishes.


          • Moti ji…I guess you are stating your point here also


            But here is a counter article


          • My dear friend,
            Raju Bharatan is prone to day dreaming at times. Has he mentioned his source in this article? No.
            While I am willing to take you to at least 4 – 5 living RDB assistants and 2 fans of RDB, to convince you and any RDB fan that:
            1.SDB was not sick during Aradhana, 2. It was SDB who composed all songs of Aradhana, 3. RDB wasn’t even present when ‘Roop tera’ was recorded, 4. SDB didn’t take suggestions from his team when they didn’t suit the situation, 5. and many more discoveries.
            I don’t blame anyone as our youngsters have been fed on this w/o anyone having proofs.
            My interviews are voice recorded and signed by those who speak to me. Does Raju Bharatan have dictaphone recording.
            Don’t believe Wikipedia as anyone can write anything.
            When I started on this journey, my mind was open. I would have said it loud and clear if RD had given music for Aradhana and other films.
            I would request to keep your mind open, wipe out the past, and be ready for the truth. When the first person said that the earth is not flat, but round, even the god’s church denounced him.


          • Rajesh Khanna on ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’ and RD Burman.

            “Not surprisingly, Khanna admits that Panchamda was ‘instrumental’ in his take-off to stardom. “With all due respect to his music maestro father Sachin Dev Burman, the legendary number Mere Sapnon Ki Rani in Aradhana was actually composed by his talented son. Because I witnessed the song being ‘born’ during the sittings and even at the recording. Since Panchamda himself loved to play the harmonica, he has incorporated peppy portions of signature harmonica melodies in the Sapnon Ki Rani song, besides the foot-tapping train-in-motion rhythm something which gave him a creative high,” reveals the seasoned actor.”



          • thanks for this link.. and surely Rajesh Khanna is as canonical an authority on this as anyone else mentioned so far! And he’s specific enough here.


          • Please see my reply to Suhan.


          • I am thankful for the link that you have sent me. Now I am throwing a challenge. I can prove Khanna, or whoever wrote that piece on ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’ song, as wrong.
            This portion specially:
            Since Panchamda himself loved to play the harmonica, he has incorporated peppy portions of signature harmonica melodies in the Sapnon Ki Rani song, besides the foot-tapping train-in-motion rhythm something which gave him a creative high,” reveals the seasoned actor.
            Watch the video again, and tell me which instrument is being played in the three antras? Looks like someone is fabricating these portions.
            I will give details after you have watched the video and replied to me. Accept the challenge.


          • Moti ji – on Amar prem (I see your it is your interview on facebook)..

            Here is Manohari Singh’s interview


            Q. Amar Prem mein SD’s ka jo gana hai, kisne music diya hai?

            MS: Kaunsa, ‘Doli mein bithaike’. Woh, unka hi hai. Unka hi hai. Burman saab ne jo gaya hai na, who unka hi gaana hai, unka hi composition hai.

            Q. Us mein ek aur gaan hai, Bada natkhat nandlala?

            MS. RD ka hai.

            Q. Uska report hai ki SD ne woh gana liya tha?

            MS. Nahin.


          • I accept that is what MS told me. But please tell me, what happened at their home between father and son, how will Manohari know? If you the style of the song, it is SD style. But beyond that, I will accept that I have no proof. Thanks.


          • Moti ji – Here you are claiming that RDB didn’t assist SDB till Milli and Chupke Chupke

            “And RD did not assist his un-well father in Jewel Thief or Aradhana. He did that for Chupke Chupke and Mili”.


            Here is Dev Anand on SDB..

            “That according to Dev Anand, because of his poor health at that time, it was son RD who composed most of the mukhdas of Jewel Thief, while Dada worked completely on the antaras, orchestration, rehearsing and recording?”

            From same link

            “That according to playback singer Bhupinder, who was also a musician in those days, ‘Roop tera mastana…’ from Aradhana was not composed by Pancham as is commonly believed, but by Dada Burman himself. But Dada would very frequently ‘steal’ his son’s tunes, and tell him that he was testing them on the public?”


          • Munnaji, I have conducted some 14 interviews out of which some 7 are with living musicians of SDB-RDB, met and talked to 3 fans who have met Shakti Samant personally, heard Shaktida on Vividh Bharati myself. All this makes me says with authority that Dev or whoever says otherwise is incorrect.


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            SDB did not fall ill during Aardhana. These are lies and I have recorded and signed interviews with a number of musicians who worked with SDB and did roaring work with RDB. Anyone in Mumbai can meet me and see the evidence. I am not in a position to post it due to a book in the pipeline.


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      Premnagar was released in 1974, while RD was removed as an assistant of SDB in 1971 during ‘Tere mere sapne’, by his own mother Meera Devi Burman. In fact everyone was removed barring Maruti Rao Keer, who was devoted to Dada and worked for son too. The reason for such a drastic action was that RDB took away all the musicians (which were originally SDB’s) to Madras while one song of ‘Tere mere sapne’ was still balance. Dada got angry with everyone and Meera Devi did the rest.


      • Any comments on the Shakti Samanth video? I am not contensting your above assertion.


        • Moti Lalwani Says:

          Great! My comments are always based on my own research.


          • Alex adams Says:

            Moti uncle
            Wow what research -thanx for letting us know.
            How and why did u end up doing this research-just curious ….


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            Thank you Alex for your appreciation. I used to enjoy good music of every music director, but liked SDB’s music much more due to the different music genres that he created, even in the same year. Others, if good in ghazals, repeated ghazal, and those who were good in classical, repeated classical.

            Late Ashok Da. Ranade, a well known vocalist, musicologist, composer and a writer has divided SDB’s music in 15 divisions. He added, ‘SD Burman’s music often defies classification!

            Realizing that the net can spread falsehoods very fast, and simple minds starts believing the same, since a lie heard repeatedly becomes truth, I started my research in 2009. I met a number of luminaries who had worked with SDB and RDB, voice recorded what they said, typed and took their signatures. Later I bought a camcorder for the purpose.

            They were being honest when they shattered all the beliefs on the net, and all of them had earned a lot of money from RDB than father SDB, since father took a few movies at any given time.

            With my knowledge I started writing my findings, and slowly I was conferred co-administration of 3 SDB groups, with a total membership of over 15,000 fans.

            All my postings carry reference, and those who have open mind ask questions to gather more information. For others, I don’t blame them as for years they have been fed on lies. No one has so far done what I have done. And if someone wants, I am willing to show my material. It is free, waiting to be shared.

            I agree that RDB was an excellent musician, but who was responsible for that? Why no one else became RDB? SDB was responsible for the refinement of singers like Manna Dey, Hemant Kumar, Kishore, Geeta, Asha, Suman Kalyanpur, and others.

            I can go on, but let me stop here. One posting or even one life will not be enough to write all what he achieved in his lifetime.


        • Moti Lalwani Says:

          Great words of a great man, Shakti Samanta: “Mujhe bahut afsos hai ki aaj mera chotta bhai chalaa gaya. Aisa samajhta hoon, chalaa to gaya, magar woh immortal rahega, hamesha, uske father ke tarah. Burman Dada bhi kabhi bhule nahin jaa sakte hain, aur Pancham bhi kabhi nahin bhoola jayega. “


  4. This is a great, lovable song.


  5. Moti Lalwani Says:

    After 53 years, only lies have come out.
    I am sorry to disappoint RDB fans, but the truth is different.
    This is what Abrar Alvi, who was Guru Dutt’s right hand man for ten long years, had to say in his authorized Biography:
    “Guru Dutt had picked up a bunch of 78 rpm records of English songs during his visit to England. There was one tune he liked a lot, and he decided to graft it on to Pyaasa. It was from the film Harry Black and the Tiger, which, though Guru Dutt did not know it then, would be released later in India. S. D. Burman, who was composing the music for the film, was asked to copy the song note for note. Of course, Dada Burman was very upset by the instruction. He came to me and said, “What is this that Guru is asking of me, public mujhe marega. Please explain to him, he listens to you, let me put in a little of my own tune into the song . . . change it a bit . . .’
    But Guru was adamant– the tune would have to be copied hundred percent in the mukhda at least. ‘Let him do what he wants in the antara,’ he decreed and Burman Dada had to be content with that.
    However, the music director waved his baton effectively enough to blend the tune with his own melody in a such a manner that no one really noticed the surgery, and the song remains a hit even today. ‘In fact, later, when the producer of Harry Black and the Tiger visited India, he heard the song and not only failed to recognize the tune, but commended Dada on it’ Abrar laughs.”
    (Source: ‘Ten Years with Guru Dutt – ‘Abrar Alvi’s Journey’ by Sathya Saran, Pages 71 and 72)


  6. Moti Lalwani Says:

    Kersi Lord, a very senior musicians with SDB and RDB, in his voice recorded and signed interview with us in October 2009, narrated how mistakes carry on propagating:

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

    I have nothing more to add.


  7. RD Burman himself on ‘Aradhana’.

    “…”Coming back to my career. Till the end of 1964 I didn’t have much work. ‘Teesri Manzil’ was the only big hit to my credit. It was only after I assisted my father in ‘Aradhana’ that producers thought ‘Pancham ko bhi kaam dena chahiye’. Shaktida who had seen me work in ‘Aradhana’ gave me his ‘Kati Patang’. My assignments started picking up then on.””

    Click to access thatsmytune.pdf


    • Asha points out in the documentary how RD once passed off his own tune as his father’s to Shakti Samantha!


      • Moti Lalwani Says:

        Sorry to say, this is all garbage. Fortunately, there are still a number of musicians alive who worked with a RDB a lot more than SDB. Even they are not saying this.

        I have heard Shakti Samanta on a repeat program ‘Aaj ke funkaar’ on Vividh Bharati, where he said that Aradhana’s music was by Dada Burman.

        I personally know two-three fans who have met Samantaji and asked him this question, the reply was the same, ‘SD Burman alone created the music of Aradhana’.

        Read the biography on SDB by HQ Chowdhury. The author has met Shaktiji and written about it.


        • Alex adams Says:

          Wow Moti uncle
          Thanx for all this firsthand info
          Agree with this rumour of dad passing off sons tunes as a bit strange
          btw how do u have all this info
          Pray share with us


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            If you read about SDB’s life and his simplicity though directly coming from a royal stock, you can’t imagine such a man stealing his own son’s tunes. The fact is that the son kept on failing as everybody wanted father, and father kept on refusing films and pushing his son.

            How can a father, who came happily from his morning walk after he had heard people recognizing him as RD’s father, steal his son’s tunes! That morning, back from his walk, he called his wife and son and happily announced he was very happy that now he is known as RDB’s father.

            Have you read SDB’s autobiography? Besides creating excellent music, he was a great writer too. I am just quoting couple of paras from it,

            “There is no village or river in this part of eastern Bengal, which I had not visited. I used to collect songs during my holidays and in-between my studies. Whatever music is my capital today; is the result of the collected treasure of those days. Today, I am enriched with this one treasure only and my heart and soul still fills up with it. Now I am serving music through the treasure of my collection and sweet memories of those days.

            I have created all types of music, but my soul manifests through folk music. I have grown up in close contact with down-to-earth people, so the easy and simple folk tunes blossom in my voice naturally. Those tunes are my kingdom of imagination, they come automatically and my voice sings them spontaneously. For this, I need no practice as they have blended in my life. Regulations, formalities and protocol of the Royal Family were absent in me. One, who has felt the green of the open fields, whom mother nature has hidden in her lap in the shades of the large old trees, who has spent nights for reasons unknown in villages where humble kerosene lamps emit little light, watched the sky and loved it, who lost himself talking with village folks sitting on the earthen floor, how can the palace and its atmosphere restrict him?”


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      I have never tried to say that RDB didn’t work in Aradhana as an assistant. But to say that he did anything beyond an assistant’s job is incorrect. I don’t blame some of the fans who have been made to think that way due to a lot of misinformation on the net.

      Their are several instances where Father Burman admonished his son and other assistants on excessive music in his songs. I am reproducing what Majrooh Sultanpuri has said on this, which can be watched on Youtube:

      (Majrooh on how RDB and others were admonished by Sachinda on their excessive music)

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

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

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

      “Manohari babu yaad hai na aapko.”

      4.45 (All the time, Manohari Singh is shown smiling, and nods his head in affirmation, when in the end Majrooh asks him the question, “Manohari babu, yaad hai na aapko?)

      Notes: (1) Numbers on left are timings Of the video I watched. (2) ??? means not clear to me. (3) I have more recorded instances on the subject, all from the horses’ mouths. (4) Watch on


  8. Alex adams Says:

    “Their are several instances where Father Burman admonished his son and other assistants on excessive music in his songs”
    Hmm interesting–Moti uncle
    Think sdburmans own credentials and his contribution towards RDB are a bit under recognised (obviously RDBs talent and credentials are rightfully recognised and celebrate nowadays though)


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      About RDB’s training by father, country’s top notch musicians were arranged by him. No one else ever got training from such great masters in their own field.

      When SDB asked RDB to learn Tabla first, RDB reacted, ‘Why tabla?’, as he thought it as a lowly instrument. SDB told him to learn tabla and to know the importance of ‘rhythm’ in music.
      Later, the same RDB said how later he realized the importance of tabla in music.


  9. Moti Lalwani, it’s a bit odd that you would find Asha of all people an unreliable witness! But leaving this aside (and the others in the documentary who say similar stuff.. Shiv Kumar Sharma was example says that there were quite a few tunes passed off as SD Burman’s that were the son’s.. Shammi Kapoor says that even as far back as Guide Gaata Rahe was really RD Burman’s work…) I am not personally invested in this matter. For the simple reason that my estimation of either father or son does not rest with Aradhana. There are more than a few Rajesh Khanna soundtracks that are very comparable to this if not better (just restricting oneself to that specific ‘history’).

    But I am always interested in what such intense debates are a symptom of! In other words why is that important to have Aradhana as the site where a line must be drawn in the sand for SD Burman? Isn’t it because there is already an anxiety among the ‘partisan’ followers of the father about the ‘currency’ of the son?! In other words to even insist on this ‘competition’ one is accepting that the son was a giant as well. Otherwise why would one even bother?!

    Aradhana then becomes merely a way of keeping Rajesh Khanna’s breakout moment and a very iconic part of that history firmly in SD’s column and hence also connecting him with this ‘new wave’ that is otherwise firmly on the side of RD. It’s not just me, for any fans of either figure or both, the laurels each deserves hardly rests with this ‘one’ soundtrack (no matter how great). So why this great obsession with it to begin with?

    Here is my own ‘summary’ of the situation for what it’s worth:

    1)R D Burman was rather well-known in industry circles as something of a prodigy even before he became famous or successful. In more than one instance I have read or seen (as most recently in this documentary) anecdotes of how some SD Burman songs either owed a great deal to the son or were completely his. Now I have no means of verifying this but to say that somehow the musicians are more reliable witnesses where someone like Asha isn’t or where some of the other stars who used to sit in on the recording sessions and so on is simply not reasonable. Either one discounts all such ‘anecdotal’ info in which case what your musician sources say doesn’t mean anything either or else one does in which case Asha is about as good a witness for RD as I would anyone could possibly be! When Shammi Kapoor details his involvement with RD for Teesri Manzil and when he then discusses the rest of his career it’s surely a bit disingenuous to suggest or imply that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Or finally one must go down the route of complete verification in which case any bit of anecdote cannot be believed more than any other.
    Secondly were the musicians always present ‘at home’ whenever the father and son discussed ideas for a composition and its possible arrangements and so on?!

    2)But this brings me to the larger more important point. There is something called ‘collaboration’ in these matters and if ever there is the example of such it is probably this father and this son for very many years in the 60s. There are lots of RD tunes that could have been his father’s. And there are many SD tunes that bear the stamp of his son. It’s not just about the ‘tune’ here. Surely the musical arrangements make all the difference in the world (again in that documentary, I forget the song, but as the commentator says by just using a guitar riff where normally a tabla would have been used for that basic rhythm the song is completely transformed.. so it’s hardly enough to just talk about ‘tunes’ without all these other elements). Is it plausible that with such a gifted son who was venturing or had ventured into the same field, that the two never compared notes?! So my point it’s probably very hard to establish a firm dividing line specially during a certain period especially for certain soundtracks. Aradhana is the exemplary case here which is why there is this debate. In the documentary Shammi Kapoor says that Kora Kagaz tha was all R D Burman. When his father fell sick he had to prove that he could match the father’s level (and according to some of anecdotal evidence this was happening anyway..). And yet I’d be surprised if Roop tera mastana or Mere Sapno ki rani had no input from RD at all. It is easier I think to connect Aradhana to Teesri Manzil than to many of the father’s key moments. And similarly when Shammi says Gaata rahe was RD I don’t find this very surprising (even with respect to the rest of that soundtrack). So there is grey area here but the signature RD often comes through in many of these instances. But this doesn’t mean a giant like SD is simply put int he shade. Because there were already certain ‘tendencies’ in SD which the son then took further and brought to maturity and later created a truer fusion out of. There is no absolute dividing line between early RD and late SD. It is what RD eventually becomes that’s important though of course there are important hints of this in his earlier stuff as well. Within that same documentary any number of contemporary musicians discuss the RD style and revolution from Teesri Manzil onwards.

    Within this larger discourse one soundtrack is not earth-shattering either way but I think what you’re missing is this larger collaborative element. And moreover the father is not diminished by the greatness of the son even if the son is judged greater (which is of course a separate debate).


  10. Alex adams Says:

    Moti uncle has some reall nice points
    And seems the new uncle on the block!
    Also he seems to have done loads of ‘research’ on it
    Unless he is not a relative of burmans (!) or is not doing it for his own selfish reasons (PHD etc) that’s creditable
    Keep it up Moti uncle


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      I am spending my own money and time to do this for future generations. I have never made any money except in my profession, that too by rightful means. Even this material, so collected shall be handed over totally free, for a book by an author and a publisher.


  11. alex adams Says:

    “I met a number of luminaries who had worked with SDB and RDB, voice recorded what they said, typed and took their signatures. Later I bought a camcorder for the purpose.” Brilliant
    Seems i have a knack of picking this 😉
    From your very first post, i knew here is a person who knows his stuff and is not talking from hearsay.
    Btw what made u do all this –voice recording and camcorder bit (reminds me of something i indulge in lol)
    Is it as part of your job or just a hobby
    Dont mind the ‘tone’ osf some of the commentators here
    Satyam is a ‘fountainhead’ of movie knowledge 😉
    plz feel free to share your data–Will be an enlightening epxercise for most here
    Also as siad before, i have never bought into this premise of a dad taking claim for his sons works!! (belies logic besides common sense)
    also agree wiht u about the ‘depth’ of sd burmans works.
    Im looking from a much much more retrospoective view (from there even rdb is retrosective) but can not help but feel this paradox . sd burmans works def cannot be ‘pigeon holed’ into genres most of the time


  12. Beyond a point, this is a fruitless debate. Attempts at mischief making from the uusual culprits notwithstanding.
    RD remains a singularly gifted composer regardless of whether he did those songs or not and SD remainsa true giant even if RD did those songs. Satyam summed it up aptly.In the end, no one knows who to believe as there are different sources and the key players are not there any more.


    • The one claim that can definitely be made though is that RD is historically the more important and influential figure. Rahman has sometimes referred to him as the single greatest influence (he’s mentioned Ilaiyaraja in other contexts), certainly most of the generation that’s followed from the 90s onwards has been more indebted to him than anyone else (for better or worse). RD gave the industry that new revolutionary turn. The same cannot be said about SD (or for that matter a number of other titans).


      • Very true.
        And, RD has always been a favorite of mine. I also realise that Naushad,LP,SD,SJ all have their staunch supporters who become defensive when any assertion of this kind is made.
        Plus, I have noticed there are some just looking to stir trouble by playing up one side or the other without having any strong convictions or a particular view point in the matter.
        So best to just duck and let them be.


  13. alex adams Says:

    The line between ‘conviction’ and ‘closed mind rigidity’ is as thin as that between ‘lack of conviction’ and ‘openness’
    Most (maybe all) humans spend their lives trying to tackle this ‘thin line’ and grasp it
    Some like rajen uncle, master it very soon in life !!!


  14. Moti Lalwani Says:

    Hi Alex,
    I am reproducing an article by Mr Peeyush Sharma, who had met Shakti Samanta in 1991 and discussed all his films and music in them. Shakti da has discussed all his music directors which includes SDB and RDB naturally.
    If, even after this article, ‘closed mind’ fans think otherwise, then even god may not succeed with them.
    If anyone wants Email address of Peeyushji, I shall be too glad to share it.
    Enjoy the article to know more about music in Shaktida’s films, and about SDB and RDB in his films.

    Shakti Samanta – in conversation with Peeyush Sharma

    By Peeyush Sharma.
    I met Shakti Samanta (SS) in Calcutta during early 1990s Calcutta International Film Festival. We spoke on two occasions in and around the festival venues. Most of the conversation was in Bengali language and parts in Hindi. He asked my credentials and made sure I did not record our conversation. He asked me who else had I met during this festival, I informed him of a few names I had met like, Vijay Anand, Gulzar, Revathi, Supriya Devi, Basu Bhattachrya, etc. At the beginning he was a bit uncomfortable, snapping into short replies but later on became more relaxed. On our second meeting he was totally relaxed.
    Dada, my basic interest is in the music in your films….
    SS “What about it ?”
    From early on your films have had good music. The Hemant Kumar phase for Bahu, Inspector and Hill Station had all good music, when did you become aware of the music quality you wanted in your films ?
    SS “ Music is an important ingredient in our cinema and I was comfortable with Hemanta da as I knew him from before during my apprenticeship with Phani da (Phani Mazumdar).”
    Who selected the tunes, songs or singers ?
    SS “At first and mostly always, it was team work, a joint effort. The lyricist would bring the lyrics as the situation demanded and we would all sit to select a tune. Hemanta da would sing and play some tunes and we would choose. Singer was mostly the choice of the music director.”
    You only did one film with Madan Mohan.
    SS “ Yes, that was producer’s choice. Pachhi wanted me to make movies for him, we planned three of them, he suggested Madan Mohan, but the film did not do well at the box office. I thought no more work for Pachhi, but he came back with another project with Madhubala and Dev Anand and wanted O.P.Nayyar to do the music. At that time many producers were moving on to Nayyar as his music was being much appreciated.”
    That was Jaali Note, but you signed O.P.Nayyar even before in your home production, Howrah Bridge.
    SS “ No, No, Jaali Note was planned before, the release and even the shoot got delayed. Nayyar was introduced to me by Pachhi and Madhubala recommended him strongly. That was one of my biggest selling music, Howrah Bridge. For the first time I realized the strength of music sale.”
    Which was the third Pachhi film ?
    SS “ Never got made.”
    Howrah Bridge was truly superb music, even today it sound wonderful.
    SS “ Nayyar always gave good music in my films, he never let me down. That was a strong point for sale of my picture.”
    I think all your movies had a reputation of good music.
    SS “ In Howrah Bridge, I added two more songs than what we had originally planned only because I liked Nayyar tunes so much that I had to include it.”
    Which ones ?
    SS” One was the Sunder comedian song and the other Madhubala’s other song.”
    Yeh kya kar dala toone, dil tera ho gaya…?
    SS “ Yes, I think that was it.”
    What then made you switch to Sachin Dev Burman in Insaan Jaag Utha ?
    SS “ In Bengali circle, his was a very respected name, we addressed him as Sachin Karta. The subject of the film was different from all those crime films I made earlier and I thought I would approach him. He had a reputation of not accepting too many movies, but he accepted my offer and gave very nice music. But, the film was just a mediocre run.”
    I have read a story about his sketching the tractor tire gap scale in his drawing room and working on dance steps on that scale to pick the beat. Can you tell about it ?
    SS “That is absolutely true. We were shooting outdoors and the schedule for song picture-isation was ready but even after some twenty days the song was not finalised by Sachin Karta. So I went to his house. I can not tell you how amazed I was. I saw that the furniture was all pushed back to the walls and he had made some chalk marks on the floor. When I enquired what was going on, he explained, that these chalk marks are the distance from one tractor wheel to the other. Your heroine and her friend will dance around, I am still trying to figure out the exact number of steps, for both of them, in various dance forms before I can compose the rhythm . Sachin Karta then took some dance steps all around the chalk marks to explain his point. He even said, that if he made the marks spread out it will be easy for him to compose but you will find it difficult to place camera movements properly. I was stunned that some one can be so involved in creating the music. Actually, Sachin da’s understanding of the situation, the director’s job, the camera placements etc. was unparalleled. Some of it was imbibed by Rahul also, but Sachin da was unique.”
    That was for Jaanu jaanu re kaahe khanke hai tora kangana..
    SS “yes”
    How was it during Naughty Boy, another SDB film with you.
    SS “ During Naughty Boy songs Sachin da was not keeping good health, also there was some difference that developed between Kishore and Sachin da. So at the recording either Jaidev or Rahul Dev would go and record the song. I feel owing to his health he just finished the songs in a rush. Yet, they were appreciated and were good songs.”
    So, none of the songs were actually recorded by Dada.
    SS “ One duet, Ab to batla arre zaalim meri kismet.. was done by him prior to other songs.”
    Do you know what was the difference that had developed between them.
    SS “ I can not exactly tell this, but Kishore was going through Madhubala’s sickness problem and Sachin Karta himself was not well during this period. Must be something, I do not know.”
    Then you moved on to Shammi Kapoor and the music changed, so did the music directors.
    SS “ First was Singapore, producer FC Mehra was a relative of Shammi and he said as it was a international project the music must be by Shanker Jaikishen. The music and the film did good business. If I had my way I had made movies all my life with Shammi but he kept putting on weight. Everybody warned me that Jaane Anjaane and Pagla Kahin kaa would have problem but I never wanted to look beyond Shammi.”
    But you had China Town with Ravi and Kashmir Ki Kali with O.P.Nayyar and An Evening in Paris with Shanker Jaikishen again.
    SS “China Town was planned around the China town of Calcutta and Ravi did a good job with me, earlier in Shamsul Huda’s film, Isi Ka Naam Duniya Hai. So we had a sitting and both Shammi and myself liked the music. Kashmir Ki Kali had a bigger canvas and I needed a bigger name and what excellent music Nayyar gave for this film. It was a huge hit, the film and the music. We were excited about every song and loved to film them as the tunes were excellent. Evening in Paris was again an international project and Shammi’s confidence about Jaikishen was the real deciding factor, again both the film and the music was huge hit. Actually even today on stage shows people perform Evening in Paris songs and audience loves it.”
    Then why Sachin Dev again in Aradhana ?
    SS “ Subject and Bengali story. Sachin Karta had done super job in both Dev Anand films Guide and Jewel Thief and I really wanted to go back to him. Also, Nayyar was never a choice for a Bengali subject, neither was Shanker Jaikishen. In Aradhana, Sachin Karta gave me my life’s biggest hit. From the record sale of Aradhana, I made so much money that I produced next five films only from the music sale of Aradhana. Of course, the film was a huge hit also. You know, the record was dubbed and released in 5 languages, and was a hit in every language.”
    So, is that your all time favourite among all movies you made ?
    SS “Aradhana, Amar Prem, Evening in Paris, Amanush, Kashmir Ki Kali, are all my favourites.”
    You mean music wise or movies ?
    SS “Movies, movies. For music my all time favourite among all my films is Kashmir Ki Kali, for always. Personally I just love the musuc. The excitement we felt when we first heard the music, I feel even today when I listen to the Kashmir ki Kali songs. They are super compositions and sung excellently by both Asha and Rafi. So much life and feelings in them.”
    That does not surprise me, the music was really good. Then, what made you move on to RD ?
    SS “ During Aradhana, the way RD worked on orchestration, arrangements and recording, I was very impressed. Also, I was present when he recorded his Bengali puja song with Kishore, Aakash kaino daake.., I just loved the tune, so I booked it for my next project. Also, he was preparing another, Aaj gun gun gun…which too I booked. Then Sachin Karta suggested to sign RD for my next film. The songs were chosen even before we planned our next film. That is how Kati Patang came into being. Again, a huge hit, both music and the film.”
    (Aakash kaino daake.. is the original tune of Ye sham mastani. And, Aaj gun gun gun.. is of Pyar diwana hota hai..).
    Dada, this brings me to a very important question that has been in my mind for many years. How much of music of Aradhana was done or composed by RD ?
    SS “None. Every tune was composed by Sachin karta himself, RD only worked on orchestration, again every piece of instrument to be used was decided by Sachin Karta, RD followed his instructions. Sachin da did not like any interference, he accepted suggestions and encouraged Rahul a lot, he also trusted in Rahul’s talent, but his tunes were like his babies, some one can put a dress on it but not without Sachin da’s approval. They were all hundred percent Sachin da’s tunes.”
    What about the singers, I have heard and read that Kishore was RD’s choice when Dada Burman was unwell ?
    SS “No, No, (he gives out a laugh), this is all bad propaganda by some people who are now trying to push RD’s name and fame. Sachin da, when he composed a tune, did so with particular singer in his mind always, and no body could change it. He knew who will sing which song even before consulting me about the tune. All this was fully Sachin da’s work. RD only recorded the songs and controlled the orchestration, he always did this for his Baba. These are all false stories.”
    Well then, how about Sachin Dev ghost composing for Amar Prem?
    SS “ Another false story. Amar Prem was entirely RD’s work. We had planned the film music to sound like Sachin da type of music. Even the song that Sachin Karta sang is composed by Rahul. If RD asked, Sachin Karta would advise but they did not interfere in each other’s composing.”
    (We ended our first day conversation here. We met again after a day’s gap. He smiled at me and asked, what more you want to know? We sat down for tea at the Nandan cinema complex and started again.)
    What went wrong with Anurodh ?
    SS “ You mean music ?”
    Well, both music and movie.
    SS “L-P worked extremely hard to make the music of Anurodh, and the music was good, also appreciated, but when a film fails the music goes down also.”
    Why do you think the film failed ?
    SS “ I think public did not accept romantic pairing of Rajesh with his saali (sister in law), you saw the film, what do you say was wrong.”
    It was based on a very successful Bengali film Deya Neya which had exceptionally good music by Shyamal Mitra, I feel the Hindi version did not match in quality neither as a movie nor music. Not anywhere near your adaption of the Bengali Nishi Padma into Amar Prem.
    SS “ You may be right, but the all India audience had not seen the Bengali originals, so there can be no comparison.”
    How did you start casting Uttam Kumar for Hindi films ?
    SS “ That Nishi Padma you mentioned just now, I was buying the rights from the producer and Uttam had a share in the rights. When we met I told him I was waiting for right time and subject and we both wanted to work together.”
    Then why Shyamal Mitra in the Hindi version ?
    SS “ Why, he did a very good job, the songs were a hit.”
    Yes they were, I am just asking why not RD or some regular Bombay music director ?
    SS “ It was image shift to bring Bengal’s superstar to Bombay, I think the Rajesh Khanna type of music might not have worked here, so we had Shaymal da do the music.”
    Dada, how do you compare the composing styles of Sachin Dev and O.P.Nayyar ?
    SS “ Oh, diametrically opposite to each other. Sachin da would sit with harmonium on the floor of his drawing room and compose tunes. Some one, either Meera bou di or RD would take notations, he would use his own words or Meera’s words to fit the tune. After some 10 to 15 tunes we would start selecting. Later, when the lyrics were available, we had the sitting again, re-work the tunes and some times he would suggest new tunes. He would sing all his compositions, with RD and also Meera bou di joining him in singing, and I must tell you, you know this, Sachin da was a great singer. With Nayyar, I don’t think I have seen him with a harmonium, he would compose on piano, mostly and always had a tabla man by his side, very particular about the rhythm, he would mostly hum the tunes also sometimes sing them. But he would never work on tunes first. Sachin da needed a situation or the scene detail and the character who performs the song on screen and the point in story, and lyrics may or may not be available. Not so with Nayyar, he had to have the lyrics first, then the song situation, character, story line etc. Many times Nayyar would change the words here and there in the lyrics or ask the lyricist to re-write, he was particular about the lyrics. He would also provide 10 or 15 or more choices, many times Asha would be there and would sing along, but, he composed very quickly and when in mood he gave large variety one after the other. A little hum, he would start with, give instructions to the percussionist on the beat or rhythm and start on piano, puffing on his cigarettes. And produce such lovely tunes that always I ended up taking one or two extra songs than planned earlier in the film. Sachin da was more serious type though he composed light tunes also, but Nayyar was full of life, full of energy, always smiling. You know, even today, many youngsters approach me appreciating the Howrah Bridge songs or Kashmir Ki Kali or even Sawan Ki Ghata songs, like they do for Evening in Paris too. Also, let me say here, on the other side, the songs from RD and Kishore in Kati Patang and Amar Prem are unparalleled, it is their lifetime best work. All variety all quality one can ask for is there in these two film songs. They had the same tuning that Nayyar had with Asha once, that RD had with Kishore, it shows in their work. I am really lucky to have been associated with all these great artists for my films.”
    (We started walking towards the screening theatre, and I just commented his doing some 8 films with Sharmila and just 3 with Madhubala)
    SS “ Sharmila is like family, I brought her to Bombay, she did not care for story or cast or anything, she had full trust in me, only if the dates were available, she was available for me. Her best films are all with me. Madhubala, what to say, was an extremely good artist, very supportive, helpful, ready to listen and do accordingly, she was particular about not letting producer waste any money because of her. Very good attitude even with co-stars.”
    We wished each other well, did Namaste and parted.
    (Peeyush Sharma)

    * * * * *


    • “By Peeyush Sharma.
      I met Shakti Samanta (SS) in Calcutta during early 1990s Calcutta International Film Festival. We spoke on two occasions in and around the festival venues. Most of the conversation was in Bengali language and parts in Hindi. He asked my credentials and made sure I did not record our conversation.”
      hmmmmmm. I wonder why SS made sure that Peeyush Sharma did not record? Dhal mai kuch kala lagta hai…


      • Moti Lalwani Says:

        And what about 3 more gentlemen whom I know who met Shakti Samanta to invite him to attend ‘Birthday Centenary Celebrations’ of SDB in 2006?

        And what about ‘Aaj ke funkaar’ program on Vividh Bharati of All India Radio, where SS said the same thing?

        And even the recent book on RDB says the same thing on Page 234 about Aradhana songs. I have posted it in this forum today.


  15. Here is DevAnand confirming Gata Rahe mera Dil @3:30


  16. Moti Lalwani Says:

    I have heard it. By this Dev means music for mukhra by RD. Nothing new here.

    Dada used to sing the song and tell Amrut Rao Katkar or Maruti Rao Keer what rhythm to follow and play along with him, all at home. This is what I call composing the song, based on a particular raag, and rhythm.

    During this time RDB used to be at his home in Santacruz with his crowd, composing his songs.

    Then Dada will send word to RD to bring in the gang. RDB, Manohari, Basuda, and the rest of the gang will come on a Sunday to compose the music.

    Dada will give it to RDB and his assistants to fill in the music. He would be in and out of the music room in his bungalow. When ready, If the music is too loud or not to his liking, he will reject it.


    • “Dev means”? I think he says it quite clearly that RD did the mukhra. Without qualification!

      Anyway this is going nowhere but with all due respect I doubt you’d accept RD did some of this stuff even if SD himself said it! From Dev Anand to Asha Bhosle to a number of stars there’s all sorts of evidence to suggest what you don’t want to accept. The conspiracy (which is what you say it is) to bring down SD would be the strangest in world history! Most witnesses in these documentaries suggest RD had a tough time getting work because most wanted his father. You’re implying the opposite. That somehow everyone was in the tank for RD and decided to rewrite history in his favor. So Dev Anand waits months on Guide only because he wants SD to compose his music but then decides to ‘defame’ him and give credit to RD for the Gaate rahe mukhra (Shammi Kapoor also said this song was RD’s)? It just belies common sense. And a final word on the Aradhana argument, leaving aside the whole debate of how much RD did here from kora gagaz tha to mere sapno ki rani consider stuff like Kati Patang and Amar prem. The guy who did this right after was somehow not capable of those songs in Aradhana?! Not to mention all the other stuff he did in the period and after. In his very first big break he produces a Teesri Manzil where practically every song was a superhit and where some of these are still very iconic. Again as I said yesterday it (Aradhana) was probably a collaborative effort. The ‘tune’ isn’t everything. It’s about the arrangements and so on. But where is that ‘gap’ between father and son discernable (leaving aside who one prefers)?

      Once more as I said yesterday what is this debate really about? By insisting in the face of some strong evidence that it’s all a ‘lie’ you’re doing the exact opposite of what you think you are. You’re diminishing SD! Does his reputation and artistry really depend on a few such ‘disputed’ moments?! So what if RD did that one mukhra in Guide?! Isn’t the album titanic even otherwise?! And if he was quite sick during Aradhana and eventually had to give it up and RD completed it so what?! The fact that he was able to do this kind of album that late in life and essentially stay with the times already means a lot. The same goes for RD. His reputation hardly depends on these few moments. Fundamentally I find this whole debate a bit absurd. Why should one be that invested in it? I am not as I said yesterday but it’s also a bit frustrating to keep seeing facts to the contrary and be constantly told that it’s all a cover-up or a lie or whatever. With all due respect once more (and I mean this sincerely) one can be that loyal retainer of the king even more jealously guarding the king’s interests than the king himself.


      • Moti Lalwani Says:

        Satyamji, I am sorry that I am not able to understand why people keep on quoting Shammi Kapoor, son/grand son of so and so, etc. These people were not there when the music was being made.

        I am ready to take you guys to all living musicians who have worked with RDB, have made tonnes of money from RDB, and remain still loyal to RDB.

        Beyond this, I am unable to do anything.

        Warm regards,


        • Dev Anand was not there either? Asha doesn’t know these things? And why did the story even come about if no one was saying anything?

          The musicians could be SD loyalists who simply don’t want anyone but him to be credited. So when RD assists his father what kind of ‘assistance’ is this? It could be some very creative inputs but the musicians could keep saying that it’s only SD’s music. One can be loyal to both son and father but still feel greater reverence for the latter. This is not an unheard-of situation. It happens in many cases in life. Where the son himself does not wish to take too much credit and where the people surrounding them go with this because it matches their own instincts as well.

          There are some central questions here that are not being answered. It’s not just about this or that song.

          Anyway I don’t think we are going to convince each other. But thanks for your input in any case.


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            I can well understand your doubts. But do you mean to say that one musician rang up other musicians and dictated what to say?

            I am quoting excerpts from Late Manohari Singh’s voice recorded and later typed interview:
            Question. I talked to Kersi Lord that day, and he said that it was purely S. D. Burman’s music, and during the recording of song ‘Roop Tera Mastana’, RDB wasn’t even present.
            Manohari Singh: “Yes. That’s correct, what Kersi said.”
            Then he goes on to give credit to Kishore Kumar:
            “Woh ‘Roop Tera Mastana’, woh Dada ka hi gaana tha, woh gaane ko usne hi banaaya tha; Dada ne. Phir Kishoreda ne kuch idea diya, wajan diya, Kishoreda ne, ki aisa kuchh karenge gaane ke bol ko, ‘Roop tera mastana’ gaane ke bol ko thoda thoda wajan dekar phir baad mein Dada bola to “Arre Kishore accha us ko tune bana diya. Arre bahut achcha kiya tune Kishore, achcha usko bana diya.”
            Then my next question and his answer:
            Q. Par yeh normal hai, naturally assistants have to give suggestions to improve it. SDB aprove karenge nahin karenge, unke upar hai. That’s what I feel.

            Manohari Singh: “Correct. Wohi baat hai, assistants always suggestion denge, accha suggestion hoga to woh lelega, line daal bhi dete hain aisa, kuch gaane mein, do char sur ke liye gaane ka roop hi alag ho jaata hai. Aisa hota haina na, so why not accept it, aisa bhi hota hai.”

            “Credit goes to Burman. Haan, Kersi correct bolta hai.
            ‘Aradhana’ ka music sab S. D. Burman Saab ka hi hai. Poora music Burman Saab ka hai. Haan, RD is mein involve nahin hai. Nahin, RD is mein involve nahin hai.”
            And again next question and his answer:
            Q. That you are saying, because you were personally involved. ‘Aradhana’ mein aap Asst Music Director the.

            Manohari Singh: “Main Assistant Music Director tha ‘Aradhana’ mein. Mera poora arrangement tha us mein. Mera saath Basu Chakraborty bhi tha, mera partner. Main aur Basu music director bane the hum log, ‘Basu Manohari’. Hum logon ne music diya, ‘Sabse Bada Rupaiya’ aur kafi picture. Basu bhi tha. Humlogon ne milke kiya. Doosri baat yeh bhi hai, thora sa gaana sajana ke time mein, Burman saab ne humlog ke upar chod diya, ‘Usko Yeh hai, uska yeh roop batao, uska yeh roop dikhana. Thoda modern hai, aisa hai, yeh hai, who hai, thoda sexy banana. Burman Saab thora aise bolte rahte they.”

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

            “So it was team work. Hamara team bhi accha tha, bahut hi accha tha. SDBurman ka, RDBurman ka, dono ka team, it goes as a team work, aur assistant arranger sabhka, jo jitna ho sake, gaana ko khubsurat banana. That was their responsibility. Hum log karte the.”

            “To usme poora arrangement mera tha. Completely, gaane ka upar arrangement karne ke liye poora responsibility mera tha. Likhna, score banana, usko arrangement karna gaane ko aage peeche karna, that was my contribution. Yeh hi har assistant ka kaam hota tha jyada karke. Assistant log ka kaafi kaam hota hai, kaafi contribution hota hai. SD Burman ke liye kiya, RD ke liye bhi kiya.”
            I have presented my case. I can do no more. I don’t blame anyone. The lies have gone on for too long, and naturally it will take time to realise that fans have been fed on wrong information.

            You would like to hear his voice? That can be arranged too.


      • “one can be that loyal retainer of the king even more jealously guarding the king’s interests than the king himself.”
        Love this last (punch) line! Awesome.


    • If You read Rahul Dev Burman Fan group (which has fair share of SDB fans) on Yahoo groups , they have talked with Manohari and Bhanu Da who have acknowledged that “Kora kagaz tha” was RDB tune rest were SDB tunes( atleast the base). But music arrangement and other ground work are still matter of controversy as no one would say exactly the amount of work each one did.


      • Moti Lalwani Says:

        I have Manohari’s signed interview backed up by his voice recording. Do these fans have such evidence? If not, I would request you to tell such fans to stop spreading rumours.

        And if these fans do bot believe Shakti Samanta’s interviews with various fans (one posted by me earlier), and his own voice on Vividh Bharati, then how can we argue with such people? Can we?

        I have as a proof, several recorded interviews which put down facts in the proper perspective. Both SDB-RDB fan groups should wake up and realise that father and son were unique in their own ways, and not spread rumours of one against the other.


        • Moti ji,
          I have seen your comments around various blogs basically stating this case again and again with similar statements. Most of people didn’t oppose anything you said.

          Why don’t you scan different interviews and post it?
          Atleast I posted couple of videos and website links in support of my statements. You merely have been asserting without any proof.

          There are two sets of people; one set saying Aradhana compositions were SDB and there are others who state that RDB had significant hand in compositions/orchestration of Aradhana.
          What makes you think that one set is more truthful, when both sets were involved in making of the movie?


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            I have conducted some 22 interviews, most of them with those who had been in close association with SDB, RDB and the common team of their musicians.

            I am planning to give all my my material (I call it original research, neither from books nor from internet as both can be wrong), for a book to be published on our cultural heritage.

            I don’t intend to make even a rupee from it, its totally free. Hence I can’t post complete interviews, but one days they shall see light of day. In the meanwhile I keep on posting excerpts to let fans know the truth.

            Now about who is ‘more truthful’. I think any intelligent fan should not believe either of two views until each one is willing to show proof of their claims.

            I can’t post as explained above, but am ready for scrutiny of my material by anyone interested in seeing and hearing the truth. I am in Mumbai.


      • Moti Lalwani Says:

        The biography of RDB by Anirudha and Balaji has this to say about ‘Kora kagaz’ song.

        ‘During the recording of ‘Kora kahaz tha’ and ‘Mere sapnon ki rani’ , it was SD who dictated the number of musicians who would play in each recording. According to Shakti Samanta, Pancham had asked for twelve musicians during the recording of ‘Safal hogi teri Aradhana’, the title track of the film, while SD had mandated only eleven. The extra musician had to be paid off and relieved prior to the recording on SD’s insistence.’ (P 84)

        Now please tell me who was in command during Aradhana songs.


  17. It would seem RD had varying degree of contribution to a lot of SD songs, some more some less. At what point it becomes RD’s song versus SD’s is an arguable point. It would seen his input was certainly more than that of an assistant. My reading of Mr. Lalwani’s posts ( taking them at face value) is that RD regulalry contributed to SD’s compositions. May be not enough to call them his own but still substantilal. With SD at the helm, obviously he had the final say. And, probably rightly got the credit.


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      RD has himself claimed only 1 song as his, ‘Ae meri topi’, even if we take him at the face value.

      As regards his contribution, the contribution of any assistant is limited to what is approved by the boss.

      As they say, ‘Success has many fathers, failure only one’. When a lot of father’s songs failed to make a mark during RDB’s assistant-ship, does anyone say RDB failed?

      And when RDB was driven out by mother during ‘Tere mere sapne’ (1971) episode, did father’s talent take a beating? No, it did not. Mother did not allow RDB to even come to the recording studios, but father’s songs remained as popular as ever.

      In fact father took away award for ‘Abhiman’ (1973) when RDB was not his assistant otherwise some of the misguided fans would have falsely claimed ‘It was RDB’s work.’ Father won this award against competition from son RDB (Daag and Yaadon ki baraat), Kalyanji-Anandji (Zanjeer) and Laxmi-Pyarelal (Bobby). Did father need son?

      No, but the son needed his father. When Vidhu Vinod Chopra (1942, A Love Story) rejected RDB’s songs, calling them ‘Shit, bullshit.’ son started singing, ‘Rongila, rongila, rongila re’, a famous song sung by SDB, Vidhu said, ‘That’s the music I want’. And son had to copy father’s earlier tunes. This is all documented in Brahamanand’s documentary on RDB, which rightly brings out the best of RDB.


      • Motiuncle,
        I am interpreting that part of documentary (about VVC bit) differently from you. RDB was trying to compose contemporary music (“aaj kal yehi chalta hai”) and VVC “your composition is shit…I want SD burman”, which I interpret as VVC wanting something more on (hindustani) classical/folksey music and not contemporary. It is like a director telling his choreographer/dance director, that he wants a disco here and kathak here. The cues has to come from the director (no?). Anyhow, SDB was long gone, so you cannot give credit of “ek ladki ko dekka” to SDB, right?


        • Moti Lalwani Says:

          Dear Di,
          ‘Rongila, rongila, rongila re’ was sung by SDB, and that’s the music VVC wanted, or similar to that as interpreted by you. But If you have seen the documentary, VVC points to something above RDB (not in camera, but obviously SDB’s photograph), and says, “He is no more, now you are the best (biggest?) music director” or some such words.

          I am quoting here from the biography of ‘RD Burman – The Man, The Music’

          ‘1942 was a film where Pancham went back to the old order, where tune was given the top billing. In effect, he went back in time and filled in the spaces with sounds typical to the period. With ‘Ek ladki ko dekha’, he got on to the full-on mukhra-antara style his father had once pioneered in ‘Borne gondhe chhonde geetitey’ (the original tune for ‘Pholon ke rang se’ in Dev Anand’s Prem Pujari ), where the mukhra and the antara are merged as one. It also had a cadence that was deceptively fast in spite of the progression being very slow. ‘Kuch na kaho’ found Pancham fleetingly referencing the tune of SD’s ‘Rongila rongila’ and giving it a totally different colour and contour, with an orchestration bordering on symphonic.'(P 334)

          Here is another excerpt from the same book:
          ‘Sivaji Chatterjee who sang ‘Ye safar’ in 1942 reveals: In October 1992, while teaching me the song and test-recording my voice at Marylands, Pancham-da said that he had “Jaane woh kaise” (Pyaasa) at the back his mind while composing the song.’ (P 334)

          This book is written by a staunch RDB fan, I know him, and attended the book launch in Mumbai
          Do you still have any doubts that RDB took help of his father’s tunes even after ‘SDB was long gone’, as mentioned by you.


          • “He is no more, now you are the best (biggest?) music director” I know. Everyone has personal viewpoint on it and favourites. VVC has his. Maybe he was saying this to RDB because RDB had lost confidence or was at low point in his life.
            “Do you still have any doubts that RDB took help of his father’s tunes even after ‘SDB was long gone’, as mentioned by you.”
            You should read the piece by Satyam on how artist(s) are inspired. Inspiration and copying are two different things, no? IN my personal viewpoint, RDB was genius innovator. In a different era, different country he would be of equivalent of musical greats like Mozart/Beethovan (based on the documentary and also other stuff I saw on youtube).
            Anyhow, this *debate* has gone round and round in circles. I don’t want to judge music or musicians and have little understanding on technical music stuff (antara-mukda-notes etc). I am pretty sure SDB must be very-very proud of his son. I am sure every father wants his son/children to be better/superior than themselves. This is ultimate achievement for a parent. It is we (the people) who judge which tune belongs to which guy, that is ridiculous.


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            There are two separate things we are talking about:
            One is facts v/s fiction, like who gave music of Aradhana, etc where I have been posting facts from my research.
            The other is personal viewpoint, like you just said VVC has his, you have yours, and I have mine. No argument on this.

            You have written, “Inspiration and copying are two different things”. I don’t think I mentioned anything about this! Of course there are posts on the net mentioning who got inspired/copied from whom. For RDB, it was ‘Baap ka maal’ as mentioned in the recent book on him, but I didn’t even mention that.

            “This debate has gone round and round in circles”, is bound to happen if we don’t appreciate what the other is trying to say.

            “SDB must be very-very proud of his son.”
            Yes, that is very true. He expressed it several times, as narrated to me in my interviews. At the same time he expressed that he feared his son may not do well at all times. This did happen after senior Burman’s death in seventies and again in eighties.

            “It is we (the people) who judge which tune belongs to which guy…”
            From my side, I have not judged any tune, but produced facts, which can only be appreciated.


          • Motiji,
            Up until last few comments of yours, I thought you were genuine person. Having read last few comments, I get dishonesty and agenda based “facts”. It seems that you are financed by some factions to spread out the “facts” on one musician’s merit against another. It seems that posthumously someone is very jealous of RDB’s rise. It is not just about Aradhana piece, it seems that you are against RDB (where as no one else at SS has tried to pull down SDB and have only spoken positively).


  18. That’s an unfair remark about Moti Lalwani. He has written comments about S D Burman on other old film blogs too, and I have read them. He seems to be an SD Burman enthusiast, and I do believe him.

    I don’t understand these out of the blue pieces of information about who composed what, and trying to make it look as though SD Burman withheld what was his son’s. Horrible..

    It’s *there* I find some agenda.


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      Nowadays one has to prove one is honest, and I am willing to undergo any test, I have said that time and again.


  19. i think i will go with oldgold on this one. can’t comment on the rdb/sdb issue but motiji does not come across as a dishonest man with ulterior motives at all.


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      Saurabhji and other friends/fans,
      “Now, the mid-1600’s was not that long ago. Thus, as recently as 400 years ago, the best minds in the world held that the earth was the center of the universe and anyone who questioned that belief was hauled before the church courts and forced to renounce his “heresy.”


      • Motiji,
        time for you to go underground.


        • Moti Lalwani Says:

          I would request you to refrain from being personal.

          The Barahamanand’s video has a lot of disturbance. If you can help me in pointing out the particular timings that u would like me to watch his interview, I’ll be thankful.

          He is a very fine man, I have met him twice and interviewed him, but not written it down as yet. But I remember what he said, which is why I am interested in listening to what exactly you would like me to hear.


          • When fans get insultingly personal, you have succeeded in making your point.


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            I am sorry to point out this but what we say or write, and the way we do, in a way shows our upbringing.


          • yes, criticising young ‘ones on the blog, making sarcastic comments above and taunts are also sign of same (superior) upbringing or culture.


  20. Motiji, i have read all ur comments and the amount of sincere effort u have put in gathering first hand info abt rd and sd, just cannot be dismissed. sir i am completely blown away by ur knowledge abt these matters. and sir do keep up the great work without caring ant naysayers. “veer tum badhe chalo,dheer tum badhe chalo, saamne pahaad ho, singh ki dahaad ho…”


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      I have been digging out material, meeting those who have been in the thick of it all. They have got a lot of love and respect for both father and son, and to doubt their sincerity is like insulting them.
      Initially, I was voice recording and taking signatures, now I am using a camcorder. All this material will be given away one day, totally free. I am not in it for money or name. My questions are more about SDB’s achievements than about finding out what RDB did, or did not do.

      This I am doing for our future generations to appreciate our greats, for what they achieved in their life time.

      Thank you for your understanding and appreciation.


  21. Moti Lalwani Says:

    Di, my child,
    I have never taken a bribe, and tried to avoid giving one, even though I was in a very senior position, awarding contracts. Those who know me personally, are aware that I have led an honest life, all of my 73 years.

    I can only repeat what was said 2000 years back, ‘Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do’ (or say).

    Have people lost courage to find out and face the facts?


    • Father will forgive you also Sir. I have lot of trust. SDB was a good father and capable father. If RBD’s last song is also composed by father up above that we all should know the “truth”. Thanks for bringing it out so ably and competently!!


  22. moti sir, u don’t have to justify/prove anything to anyone. the honesty in ur work is showing thru.atleast i can see it clearly


  23. @Bliss on another thread (and only for bliss): The don’t think the analogy of bhakt is appropriate (for all gods are the same and equally gr8). However this is an analogy I would give:
    Mozart and Beethovan: Both are gr8s. Both are respected. If you were to watch documentary on both legends, then you will know that Beethovan redefined (music ko ulta kar diya), he broke norms (what was done up until then, he changed it and the western music was changed forever due to his contribution). If you read books and see documentary on B, you will see the same “ADD”, the same energy, the same (almost a) compulsion to create music (as if it was coming from up above) and getting it all out of system (before death makes its claims). Some of the musicians (just like RDB’s documentary) comment on how nearly impossible it is to play the pieces (etc) due to complexities. So in that B was innovator, genius (though one can use musical genius word also for others like Mozart), gifted. I would think other musical gr8s (as SDB) and RDB as desi-beethovan.


  24. Bliss:

    Moti Ji…

    This whole debate, as our own Satyam will say is like going in circles, reminds me of Old Puranic times when Shiv bhakts would say Shiva is the greatest, Vishnu bhakts will say Krishna/Vishnu is the one and Brahma bhakts say same about Brahma and wrote books about there own faiths and views known to us Puranas…

    You say Trust my word but Don’t Trust Dev anand, Asha and others bcoz I hv talked to each of them and You know the Truth…

    SD burman is great, no doubts about that but his son has touched higher greatness and Time is the best Judge and this is visible everywhere after 4 decades in remixes, his songs being used in Ads and Young generation still knowing his name and song…


    I don’t know the intricacies and technicalities of Music but do trust my own sense and what gives joy and pleases me and in such case I would trust the words of other greats like Lata, gulzar, Nusrat fateh ali khan( he said give me one song from Aandhi and take my all songs and this was confirmed again by his nephew that in there home its was only RD who used to be played 24 hrs) and many more…. RD sang few songs and to know what he was capable is clear from the doc when Taufiq wonders how pancham used to do that breath sound …

    Again its the Time and with which you Grow up….


    • Oldgold:

      I wouldn’t take Asha Bhonsle’s word at all. They fell in love and she married him.
      DevAnand’s word cannot be trusted. He **would** support a son who is *younger* and making modern/westernised music as opposed to the older father 😉

      Yes, I think you have responded in the wrong thread.
      If satyam moves it, I hope my comment will be moved too. Thanks


  25. alex adams Says:

    been quite hectic @ work
    @ Moti uncle: couldnt resist but ‘pat u on the back’
    read your first commment and like most instances, my impression is unchanged. Dont know about RDB and SDB and who did what but your ‘passion’ seems inspiring.
    Hope me and most here retain that @ your age
    btw –would like to hear your views on films OTHER than RDB and SDB as well

    foreg who are your favorite heroines and those from today and why 🙂

    and di- u rock
    lol @ ‘going undeground@ –typical di 🙂
    also lol @ ‘di child’
    anyhow agree somewhat that ‘people in love’ lose a bit of discretion and their ‘judgement’ needs a ‘pinch of salt’


  26. Alex adams Says:

    Hail Moti uncle-he’s the new ‘star’ on the blog
    Folks -suggest u welcome him instead
    Of making him ‘uncomfortable’
    Uncle Moti as mentioned above-do tell us about your filmi tastes (other than burmans plz)
    Ps-satyam –what’s ‘n’


  27. Alex adams Says:

    Basically Moti uncle has ‘forced’ me today to pen some more posts lol
    Humor is ok but let’s not doubt an elderly gentlemans ‘integrity’ rtc
    As if al the rest here (including myself) are ‘angelic Samaritans’
    Go Moti uncle go… 🙂


    • lexy, do you know who the below person is? I wonder….
      ” But yes some do get carried away indulging in such innuendo in each and every sentence. Spelling words certain ways consistently and so on.”


  28. alex adams Says:

    yes di–u should not get ‘carried away’ like that and learn from me 🙂
    “lexy, do you know who the below person is? I wonder….”-which person
    ps–oldgold–good point about ‘lack of judegment’ when ‘in love’
    also reminds me of some srk fans 😉


    • >‘lack of judegment’ when ‘in love’
      also reminds me of some srk fans

      Of course, I know that my opinions are coloured with fandom.

      But the reverse s also true;

      ‘lack of judegment’ when hating someone
      also reminds me of some srk/Amir haters here. LOL


  29. alex adams Says:

    good point oldgold
    “Of course, I know that my opinions are coloured with fandom”
    ya–but ‘fandom’ is still not bad as ‘when in love’
    eg as pointed above about asha bhonsle
    Hope u dont ‘love’ srk? 😉
    cmon……give us a break !!


  30. I’ve been following this discussion more or less and it’s time to make another extended point (!):

    1)First of all I’d reiterate what I said elsewhere which is that the ‘collaborative’ aspect here is not being considered by many. It’s a fact of life in many instances throughout the arts.

    2)I think that the whole debate largely seems to follow a generational split. I’m not talking actual ‘age’ here necessarily. If you relate more to a certain era you attribute everything good to the representatives of the same and vice versa. There is no ‘critical’ point made either way. In other words something is ‘good’ simply because it belongs to a certain period whether it’s a film or a person or whatever. An analogy here would be political polls where you ask people all sorts of questions about character and religion and morality and so on and when one supports a certain side for ideological reasons one is very likely to think the same person more moral or more religious or what have you. Similarly here if you’re on SD’s side no one who speaks for RD composing some of the music is ‘plausible’ even though these are people intimately involved with the music of both. Specially in an older period directors and even the stars used to be around for all the recording and sit in at an even earlier stage of the process. The idea that no one but the person who actually plays the instruments ‘knows’ what’s going on is a bit strange. But in any case depending on what side one favors witnesses become either plausible or implausible. Again there is not only no deeper aesthetic argument being offered here, there is also no consistent position on the ‘trust’ question. So any number of industry luminaries could be questionable but do we then doubt them similarly when they make other pronouncements?!

    3)Beyond a point these debates resemble ones on faith where increasingly each side takes dogmatic positions. Contradictory evidence can always be explained as actually confirming the original position. Notice the shift that often occurs in such debates:

    a)I am right and this is the evidence
    b)the contrary stuff also proves I am right because it also suggests a conspiracy to conceal what is ‘correct’

    4)A more general point to be made here on ‘honesty’ — I think that we can always account relatively easily for lack of honesty when it occurs ‘consciously’ but it is harder to do so when a person isn’t himself (or herself) aware of the same. In other words a lie is what we engage in consciously but what is the status of a lie that we tell ourselves? One could call it a delusion but the point is that there is a difference between this and a lie one advances knowing that it is a lie.

    The reason all of this is important is because first of all we shouldn’t be questioning motivations of people without knowing enough about them or at least interacting enough with them. But secondly I think that second ‘grey’ area often offers the greater challenge. I have been in debates many times with people in all sorts of contexts where I have felt they were acting on bad faith but equally often I have felt that they genuinely believed what they said and it was impossible to get them out of their corners in this sense.

    Note my position here isn’t about some pretense of neutrality (this is an absurd dream anyway) but about accounting for one’s assumptions. Let me just offer my own example here — I love the movies of the 70s among other reasons because I find them ideologically more apppropriate and certainly more interesting. But this is because I have a certain ideology to begin with. Someone with a very different set of political parameters would find them unacceptable for the very same reasons. The question however is: am I aware of just this fact? If I am I can proceed questioning not just the movies but also my own ideological pre-suppositions. Which is why I’ve offered very strong criticisms of both Amitabh Bachchan and his films on his blog. Because whatever ideological axis I operate around it is not the same as the films. I like the films because these raise certain questions I’m sympathetic to. But where there deviate from the same (as I define the field) I am quite ready to question the very same. Here one could question my politics and we could have a debate on this but I would hardly be supporting those films in any knee jerk fashion nor would I have been unaware of why I was supporting them. As an aside I should add here that I am not at all suggesting I like these films simply because I’ve put them through a political litmus test and these have come out ‘shining’ on the other side. No! There are also other more personal reasons why I like the films but that’s strictly speaking not relevant in a ‘critical’ debate. If I say Awara is one of the greatest Hindi commercial films I should be able to make a case for what that ‘greatness’ rests on. And so forth.

    The problem is that in many instances people are emotionally ‘over-determined’ with respect to their choices. In other words there is no space of real awareness in them with respect to their choices. They might say they are but in all their argumentation there is no sense that they are ‘aware’ of what drives these choices. Once again my point here isn’t about what one personally likes or dislikes but why one does so. Of course one doesn’t have to go through life ‘defining’ every choice for oneself in this conscious way but it becomes more necessary in a debate of the sort we’re seeing in this thread. We’ve all grown up with parents who felt that their generations films and sports figures and ‘values’ were the very best. And then the generations that followed felt the very same about their own. Neither position is right or wrong. The real question once again is whether one accounts for the ‘relativity’ of one’s positions or the pre-suppositions that go into determining these. This doesn’t lead one to a position of neutrality (such isn’t possible) but it gives one a greater sense of ‘awareness’ about one’s beliefs.

    And this is what is often missing on either side of most debates.


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      This is my reply to all postings so far.

      Whatever I have written here is from my own recorded interviews for which I have the proof.

      Hence, I have only mentioned truth as spoken by all those who knew both the Burmans personally, in fact they worked longer and made more money from the younger Burman.

      I have written nothing against anyone, then why has this ruckus been created, I do not understand.

      Whenever I write from articles by others, I always mention my source, Just like I did in case of Peeyush Sharma’s interview of Shakti Samanta, so that, that source could be questioned further.

      Even that interview was considered ‘Dhal mein kuch kala hai’. Shakti Samanta in that interview has given elaborate answers on all his films and his music directors, which none of us can do.

      Regarding Shaktiji not allowing recording of the interview, it has happened with me once, when Ameen Sayani requested me not record our 2nd meeting. I have it the first meetng though.

      The explanation or reason for this was that Ameenji had said something in the 1st meeting which he would not like to disclose normally. I always take the draft for approval, before making it final. He requested me to not to disclose/publish it, and I obliged willingly. I have his voice recording on that which I shall never disclose.

      Shaktiji may have some similar reason, that he might say something off guard.

      About ‘1942’ song inspired by ‘baap ka maal’, I had quoted from the RDB biography even mentioning the page number.

      The biography is written by RDB fan who is knowledgeable about music, but that is also not acceptable. RDB fan may be considered biased for him but never against him.

      About Asha, the RDB book has this to write, ‘He used to feel lonely as even Ashaji would not come to see him often.’

      All his producers, directors, friends, HMV, family, everybody left him and he had no support from anyone.

      About Dev Anand I have written that composing of all songs was done at home by SDB. What Dev implied must have been that the mukhra music was composed by RDB, which I don’t doubt at all. At the same time, I want to add here that anything assistants do has to be approved by the boss.

      Majrooh Sultanpuri, who has praised RDB many a times, has said in one interview that Burman Dada was extremely ‘khud-daar’ man and would never accept any charity from any one, no chance of a tune of one of his assistants. Every tune he composed was totally his.

      Yes, the assistants did their job and kept composing and suggesting and learning. Whether it was, N.Dutta, Suhrid Kar, Jaidev or RDB, they all were given situation and lyrics and asked to come up with tunes. Dada would at the most accept one line of notes here and there and appreciate and show them how to build on this one line. Thus far and no further.

      I personally like melodious music. One of the assistants of SDB-RDB, in reply to my question, “Aur aap sunte hain puraane gaane?”

      ‘Haan, puraane sunte hain. Bajaya hi puraane hain, hum to pachchaas saal puraane hain music mein. Abhi to bajaana kahaan hai? Abhi to sabhi machine ka ho gaya. To abhi kya sunenge! Abhi to sun-ne ke liye, na to gaana raha, na composition rahi, na lyrics. Lyrics sabse pehle gaya, yeh bhi bataa doon. Sabse pahle lyric gaya, uske baad composition gayi.

      If I have missed to clarify any of my utterances, please do let me know.

      In the end I am sorry if I have inadvertently offended anyone. That has not been my intention.


  31. Sorry, but I don’t find motiji very credible. He says that all he has is an audio interview which he did not even present.
    I find Ashaji, Shammiji, Dev saab, Pt.Shiv Kumar etc much more credible. In “that’s my tune” RDB himself says that he Aradhana was one of his most satisfying works and he does say that he had created many of father’s tunes from an early age. Even Shakti Samantha admits that RDB had a major role in Aradhana’s arrangements, SD just gives it an OK.

    And BTW, Rongila Rongila is a bengali folk tune, not SDB’s tune.


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      Dear Anand and other friends,
      Let us put an end to this discussion once for all.

      I am challenging anyone who doubts my claim to meet me personally in Mumbai. Those who are not in Mumbai, may tell their friends to join others in this quest to find truth for themselves.

      I will take this group to all the living musicians in Mumbai who worked with RDB much more than they worked for father SDB, who used to compose for only 2-3 movies a year.

      In addition, I will show them Late Manohari Singh’s signed interview with me where he has clarified who gave music of ‘Aradhana’ and other movies.

      A wise man has said, ‘Aap Ganga ko dekh rahen hain, Gangotri ko to dekhiye, ki Ganga nikli kahaan se hai’.

      Those who do not take up this challenge, have no right to doubt in future.


  32. Moti Sir, I have full faith in u. Sir people with ur kind of passion towards things r very rare. Bolne waalne ko bolne do Sir, don’t care for them


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      Dear Saurabh,
      My passion is towards bringing out truth for the fans of both father and son, jointly or individually. A number of my friends are fans of both.

      I started my research 3 years back and have interviewed almost all living musicians who worked with father and son, in addition to those those who knew the family closely.

      As I have said before, all my interviews are voice recorded initially, and later camcorder recorded. After printing my voice recorded interviews, I usually take signatures of my subjects.



  33. If RD himself said in that interview “that’s my tune” that he did create tunes for his father and goes as far as to say that Aradhana was one of his “most satisfactory” works, I see very little reason to ask anyone else. Especially, considering that the likes of Rajesh Khanna and Amit Kumar who were on the sets have already confirmed it. In fact, there were quite a few RDB’s co-workers present in that RDB documentary and some of them are old enough. None of them refused RDB’s contribution in SDB films.

    In fact, sometimes RDB passed his own ideas as his fathers. This is also something that can be learned from the documentary. This can also lead to some misunderstanding.

    Moreover, I don’t think even your interviews actually discredits RDB, even if they were true. In those interviews what they seem to be saying was that RDB wasn’t present during “Roop Tera mastana” recording. But even if that were true, RD might have already given the ideas for arrangement before the recording since his father was ill. Recording is a one day event, but rehearsals continue for days. It’s possible that while the tunes were mostly SDB’s, the arrangements and singing style were largely decided by RDB and KK. And those assistants have to be at least around 70 years old since Aradhana released more than 40 years ago. I doubt they will be able to remember every detail since they were just recording. Also, everyone seems to agree that RD did some important work as an assistant.

    We know very well that there was a lot of politics going on against RDB towards the end. Some betrayed RDB, some blackmailed others to not work with RD . And sometimes lesser musicians might like to take credit for things falsely and become famous. I simply don’t find your evidence strong enough,even if you are telling the truth about the interview, sorry.

    RDB was also an assistant in Bandini and Guide. And some sources say that all the mukhdas in Jewel Thief were RD’s idea.


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      Yes, they are in their 70s. But these greats in their 70s will tell you everything you want to know about each and every note of each song composed in Aradhana, or for that matter, any movie they took part those days.

      Did you know in reality which instrument is being played in ”Mere sapnon ki rani’ in 2nd and 3rd interludes, when Sujit Kumar moves mouth organ over his lips. Now that I have aroused your curiosity, you might try and find out. But before this only these gentlemen in 70s knew.

      You want to live in your world of fantasy. You don’t want to face the truth. I have no time for you. Bye.


  34. Alex adams Says:

    Hiya Moti uncle
    Am v busy but just came to say hello to u 🙂
    Keep it up
    Btw y don’t u comment in anything other than sdb or RDB lol
    Would be gud to hear from u


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      Thanks Alex. Glad u r back. I don’t like to be ‘Jack of all’. My interviews continue to keep me busy. I expect to meet Shiv Kumar Sharma soon, and Waheedaji after that. I am trying to meet Amitabh Bachchan too.

      Incidentally, this is what Amitabh has said in one interview:

      Panchamda’s unforgettable, says Big B.

      Question, ‘Some are of the view that RD Burman surpassed SD Burman. Do you agree?’

      Amitabh, “I disagree. SD Burman was divine. Pancham was more flamboyant and more youthful. I doubt if even Panchamda would have endorsed this.”


  35. Alex adams Says:

    “Thanks Alex. Glad u r back. I don’t like to be ‘Jack of all’. My interviews continue to keep me busy. I expect to meet Shiv Kumar Sharma soon, and Waheedaji after that. I am trying to meet Amitabh Bachchan too.”
    Hmm Moti uncle
    So do u meet these for interviews as part of your job or just hobby
    How do u arrange it
    Pray tell us


    • Moti Lalwani Says:

      It is not a job, but a hobby for me. Internet contains good and both. Anyone can write anything and in a jiffy it reaches all over the world.

      Finding contrary information about SDB & RDB, I took it up upon myself to get to the bottom and find out the truth for our future generations. One of my first interviews was with Mr Kersi Lord (Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner), who has been in the film industry for over 60 years. It was an eye opener. I decided to voice record my interviews, type and get it signed.

      What Kersi said was that RDB wasn’t even there during recording of ‘Roop tera mastana’. Subsequently, I have recorded his interview on camcorder. He lives in Bandra and anyone can meet him.

      Subsequently, I met Manohari Singh whose interview I am reproducing here. Except Manoharida, rest all are alive, but those who have been bought up on lies, can’t fathom truth.

      Manohari Singh’s Interview – October 13, 2009

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

      Q. When did you meet him first? Can you please tell us?
      MS: I met him in 1958, when I came to Bombay from Calcutta. Salil Choudhary brought me here. Salilda was very fond of me. We met in Calcutta when I was working for HMV – Calcutta. I was very young, some 24-25 years of age. 1958 he brought me here. He used to tell me every time when he used to come from Bombay1958. Salilda used to tell me that there is nothing left in Calcutta now. See all this partition and all. Not much picture also. Everything is finished in Calcutta. “Come with me” all the time he used to say.

      In 1958 I came with him and he introduced me to every Music Director. We started from Juhu side. In Juhu there was nothing, only some Bungalows of Anil Biswas, Kishoreda and song writer and dancer Prem Dhawan. Salilda lived in Andheri (East) across the level crossing. He had a music room in Bimal Roy’s Mohan studios.
      Then Salilda brought me and said let’s go and meet all the music directors. First he took me to Anil Biswas, then to Kishoreda who was staying next to him.

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

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

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

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

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

      So, after playing flute for ‘Sitaron Se Aage’, I was called by Burman Saab once or twice for some other picture. Then after that for sometime I wasn’t called. Then I went and met Pancham. There Laxmikant was there for some sitting. Laxmikant asked me “Aap Mandolin bhi bajate hain na”. I said yes. “Accha aap Mandolin leke aao kal. Kal aap Mandolin leke aayenge Navketan mein.” So I went there with Mandolin. Then I played that song of ‘Kala Bazaar’ Laxmikant and myself, ‘Achcha Ji Main Haari, Piya Maan Jao Naa’.

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

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

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

      Q. I talked to Kersi Lord that day, and he said that it was purely S. D. Burman’s music, and during the recording of song ‘Roop Tera Mastana’, RDB wasn’t even present.
      MS: Yes. That’s correct, what Kersi said.
      Aapko Main batata hoon, that gaana, bante bante finally uska jab finishing banta hai na, finishing mein aata hai na, uska kuch shape alag ban jaata hai, bol aata hai, bol ka wajan ho jaata hai, bolon ko wajan mein daalne se, idhar udhar karte karte, gaana shuruaat hota hai ek type ka tune mein; aur usko sajaate sajaate, usko banaate banaate, finally uska shape change ho jaata hai.

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

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

      Q. Par yeh normal hai, naturally assistants have to give suggestions to improve it. SDB aprove karenge nahin karenge, unke upar hai. That’s what I feel.
      MS: Correct. Wohi baat hai, assistants always suggestion denge, accha suggestion hoga to woh lelega, line daal bhi dete hain aisa, kuch gaane mein, do char sur ke liye gaane ka roop hi alag ho jaata hai. Aisa hota haina na, so why not accept it, aisa bhi hota hai.
      Credit goes to Burman. Haan, Kersi correct bolta hai.
      ‘Aradhana’ ka music sab S. D. Burman Saab ka hi hai. Poora music Burman Saab ka hai. Haan, RD is mein involve nahin hai. Nahin, RD is mein involve nahin hai.

      Q. That you are saying, because you were personally involved. ‘Aradhana’ mein aap Asst Music Director the.
      MS: Main Assistant Music Director tha ‘Aradhana’ mein. Mera poora arrangement tha us mein. Mera saath Basu Chakraborty bhi tha, mera partner. Main aur Basu music director bane the hum log, ‘Basu Manohari’. Hum logon ne music diya, ‘Sabse Bada Rupaiya’ aur kafi picture. Basu bhi tha. Humlogon ne milke kiya. Doosri baat yeh bhi hai, thora sa gaana sajana ke time mein, Burman saab ne humlog ke upar chod diya, ‘Usko Yeh hai, uska yeh roop batao, uska yeh roop dikhana. Thoda modern hai, aisa hai, yeh hai, who hai, thoda sexy banana. Burman Saab thora aise bolte rahte they.

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

      So it was team work. Hamara team bhi accha tha, bahut hi accha tha. SDBurman ka, RDBurman ka, dono ka team, it goes as a team work, aur assistant arranger sabhka, jo jitna ho sake, gaana ko khubsurat banana. That was their responsibility. Hum log karte the.

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

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

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

      Uske baad to hum log karte gaye, kafi kya kya picture, ‘Teen Deviyaan’, ‘Dr Vidya’, ‘Teri Surat Meri Aankhen’, ‘Talash’, etc. ‘Jewel Thief’ mera hi hai, ‘Guide’ mera hi hai.

      Last unka picture humne kiya, ‘Tere Mere Sapne’. Because thoda sa khat pat hua. Us time mein RD ka accha kaam chal gaya tha. RD establish ho gaya tha. To hum log ko Madras Jana para, background music ke liye. Gemini ki picture, “Lakhon mein ek’. Us time tak hum dono ke liye kar rahe the.

      Uske baad kuch aisa crisis ho gaya ki unka (SDB) bhi background chal raha tha, ‘Tere Mere Sapne’ ka, aur humlog ko ‘Lakhon Mein Ek’ (RDB) ke liye background mein Madras Jana para. And both were urgent. To humko unko chod ke jana pada. Dono ko: Basu ko aur mujhe. To Burman Saab naraz ho gaye, kyon ki purane zamane ke aadmi hai na., “Hamara kaam kaise chod ke jaa rahe ho”, aisa, waisa, halan ki unka hi beta ka kaam hai. Man mein zara hota hai na, purane zamane ke aadmi ko, baap ho ya beta ho.

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

      Then after some time ek do gaane ke liye hum log ko bulaye bhi the. Basu ne arrangement kiya tha. I went for playing also. Barood ka gana thaa……..
      Baaki that was the last picture, baad mein chod diya.

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

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

      So that was his prime, naam karke gaye duniya mein, jaate jaate bhi unka accha kaam karke gaye. Bhabhiji bahut taqleef mein thi. RD jaane ke baad paralyse ho gayi thi.

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

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

      Q. Dada, SD ki team mein kul kitne musicians the:
      MS Team mein hum log. Orchestra alag thi, jab rehearsal hota tha na, bahar se hum violin, flute, cello, sab lete the na, sab milakar 60 – 70 hote the musicians. 20-25 violin, tabla, dholak, Sab milake 50-60 hote the.

      Q. ‘Hum bekhudi mein pukare chale gaye’ mein kitne the?
      MS: Tabla and that’s all. Different, different type ke gana pe hai, char musicians bhi hai, paanch bhi hai.
      Musicians itna kum bhi nahin lete the hum log aane ke baad. Jaisa jaisa thoda bhara hua chahiye. Burman saab kum Violin lete the, 15-20 violin lete the. Hamare taraf sen unko bol bol ke, achha bhara hua karte the.

      Music bhi 8 second 10 second karte the. “Tum log lamba music mat karna. Hamara gana koi sunega nahin, tumara music sunega.” Yeh Burman saab ka bolne ka tha.
      Hum log unko bolte the, “Dada, aaj kal dekhiye, kitna bhara bhara music karte hain Shankar Jaikishan, OP Nayyar saab, Sab ka naam lete the hum log. 8 second mein Kya hoga. Bolke bolke khali 10-12 second tak bus.

      Kar kar ke kabhie 15 second kisi kisi gane mein, jaise ‘Guide’ mein, ‘Jewel Thief’ mein, kar kar ke badaya. To matlab, aisa unka nature tha. Woh bolte the, “Jyada music lamba nahin karna, mera gaana koi nahin sunega, khali 7-8 second karo. Hum log 7-8 second bolke chale jayenge. Burman saab, as a practice, Orchestra kum lete the.

      Us ‘Jewel Thief’ ke gane ‘Hoton pe aur aisi baat’ mein unhon ne kam se kam 20-25 Rhythm tha, Ruby, Tarang, Bangla Dhol, Bhaaz, tabla tarang, – kitna type ka rhythm dikhaya hai, usmein dikhaya. Dance ke time mein, item ke time mein, har type ka rhythm dikhaya. Bungla dhol, Burmese dhol, sab tha. Sound ke liye, effect ke liye. Tibetan type ka who sab music bhi bhara hua. Kya dance music.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Q. Aur kuch aap kehna chahenge SD ke bare mein?
      MS: Unke liye hame shabad nahi hai, aise great composer The. Aur jab tak main hoon, unka yaad rahe ga hamen. Aur aisa composer nahi honge kabhie, aisa mera bolna hai. Guni aadmi the. Bahut accha, Bahut acche the. Ek gifted bhi hota hai. Mehnat se bhi hota hai.

      Q. Any anecdote ya kuch yaad ho, hansi mazak, choti moti baaten?
      MS Hansi majak aisa hi tha, kabhi bas khush ho jate the, “Theek se karo, ek paan khilaonga tumko.” Ek paan khila dete the. (Laughs) Achha khush ho gaya to. Nahi to paan ekdam chhupa ke rakhte the (everyone laughs). Haan aisa. Calcutta paan ekdam woh udhar se, Shivaji Park ka who dukan tha, wahan se unka paan dabba mein aata tha. To chhupa ke rakhte the usko dabe mein. Kissi ko denge nahi. Yehi sab tha unka nature wise, aur khush hone ke baad ek paan khila dete the, “Lo, paan kha”, Majrooh saab ko bolte the, “Mojrooh, ek paan lele”.
      Yeh sab hansi mazak to theek tha, accha hi tha. Zara simple se the, koi aadmi kuch bola to bolenge, “Hatao.” Koi bola na uske bare mein toh bolenge,” Hatao,

      Dil ke saaf the, jo sunege woh believe karenge. Purane zamane ke aadme the. Mati sen unka connection tha, aisa type ke the. So pure, so pure. Purane zamane ke aadmi, chalaki chuturai nahi jaante the.

      Q. Thank you very much, God bless you, and give you good health.
      MS. Accha laga aap aaye,

      * * * * *

      Other Inputs by Manohari Singh and His Family Members:
      Visit to Hindustan Recording Company in 1945-’46:
      Manohari Singh had visited the office of M/s Hindustan Recording Company sometime in 1945-1946 for work, and found two photographs hanging there , one of K. L. Saigal and the other of a gentleman wearing a turban (a saafa), looking regal. He asked them as to who was the turbaned gentleman in the photograph, and was told that it was Kumar Sachin Deb Burman, being from the Royal family of Tripura, he was wearing a turban.
      Sachinda, in his autobiography has written this about ‘Pagri’:
      “There is a proverb in Hindi, ‘Raag, Rasui and Pagri, kabhi kabhi ban jaye’ (good music, delicious food and properly tied turban are made accidentally).

      Meera Dev Burman:
      Manohari Singh’s daughter Mithu had this to say about Meera Dev Burman,
      We (she and some of her siblings, in all there were five sisters and two brothers), studied in boarding schools and stayed in Hostels. Whenever we came to visit our parents in Bombay for our holidays, Mrs Burman would insist that we go over to her large house and enjoy ourselves. She would regularly send over her car with driver to fetch us so that we had no excuse whatsoever. We would all go over to spend the day. Mrs Manohari Singh, who used to accompany the kids, agreed with this statement.
      SDB’s height: On being asked, Manohari Singh said that he was very tall, and his height would be about 6 feet.
      Manohari Singh’s health: Unfortunately, both his kidneys have failed and he is on dialysis thrice a week. Otherwise, he is very active and regularly plays Saxophone, Flute, etc., and gets standing ovation in performances all over India. His memory is very sharp and he is a very mild mannered gentleman.
      * * * * *

      Manohari Singh, he assisted SD Burman in the following movies:

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

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

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


      • Alex adams Says:

        Moti uncle- thanks for that indepth interview
        Ps-who is Richa by the way, if u don’t mind 🙂


        • Moti Lalwani Says:

          Richa is daughter of my dear friend, my business partner and my colleague who assists me in these interviews.

          The interview posted by me was signed by Manoharida.

          I realize why a few youngsters are not able to believe what is being said even by these stalwarts like Manoharida and others. Because they have been fed on misinformation all their life, and are not able to think differently and accept the truth.

          I remembered an anecdote which is not about music, but does tell you why some people don’t believe when confronted with the truth.

          Years back, two of us were visiting a dry state where there was strict prohibition. Our local contact, a young guy in his late twenties, offered to treat us to hard drinks in the evening – a choice between IMFL and Scotch.

          Naturally, we preferred scotch. No sooner we all said ‘cheers’ and took a swig, the 2 of us spat it out, as it was some Indian whiskey (IMFL – Indian made foreign liquor). The host was surprised and wouldn’t believe it was not real thing. He had paid the price and was used to it, having never tasted the real thing.

          Next time my friend took sealed Scotch bottle which he had brought personally from Frankfurt. This time we were in for a surprise, as our host insisted that it was not testing good at all, as compared to the real thing he had offered us.
          The fact was that he was used to his stuff all his adult life, and faithfully believed his taste buds.


          • Alex adams Says:

            Moti uncle
            Who are u interviewing next?
            Why don’t u publish these interviews or post them here
            Sure satyam will happily create a permanent link for them on the sidebar
            Ps-when u interview bachchan plz take satyam along (& Richa as well..)
            Ps2- by the way there is a girl here called Di who is your Die hard fan girl


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            Who is going to be next? It all depends on their schedules. Sometimes it takes months to get a date, cancelled at the last minute due to some other urgent assignment. After all they are meeting me for the love of the maestro, of their own accord. There is no payment here.

            Satyam is welcome to join me, but I get a days notice sometimes. But too many people may not be a good idea.

            Di is an intelligent girl, but is she ready for the real scotch?

            Out of 30 odd interviews, I can share only some which have appeared earlier in a book on SDB, published from Bangladesh. The rest are being handed over by me, completely free, to be published into a book from India in a year’s time. I am unable to share the unpublished ones.

            Here is another interview which Neeraj ji (lyricist of ‘Prem Pujari’ and other movies) gave me, and is already part of the book. (I had to add Question: or We: as there is no way to have questions in bold text, like it is in original text.)

            Interview of Padma Bhushan Kavi Neeraj on August 9, 2010
            (By Moti Lalwani and Ms Richa Lakhanpal)

            After introducing ourselves, “We have come to meet you. We are S.D. Burman’s fans, and would like to know about him from you.”
            Neeraj: “I too, am S. D. Burman Saheb’s fan.”

            Question: How did you meet S. D. Burman?
            I had a great desire to write lyrics for Dada S. D. Burman. I took a chance once and tried to meet him, but was not allowed to enter. Then, one day I met Dev Anandji. Mr G. B. Jhunjhunwala, a friend of mine, had arranged this meeting. He was the Income tax Commissioner here.

            Dev Saheb said to me, “Neeraj, I like your language. We will work someday together.” When ‘Prem Pujari’ was launched, I read S. D. Burman’s name as its Music Director. I wrote to Dev Saheb, “You had promised me”. Dev Saheb replied immediately, “Please come over”.

            When I went and met Dada, he played a tune for me and said, “Write lyrics to this tune. I want simple lyrics that are easily understood. I don’t want Gul-o-gul or Shama parwana words to be used! The song should begin with the words ‘Rangeela re.’
            I replied in affirmative.

            Question: Did Dev Anand say this, or Dada?
            No, Dada had said this. Dada continued, “She is singing, holding a glass of alcohol. The situation is that she has come all the way from Khemkaran. Seeing Dev Saheb with another girl, she is very upset and loses control, pours her heart out while singing.” I replied that I had understood the situation.
            He played the tune for me. I came back and wrote down the lyrics.

            Dev Saheb had told me, “Narrate the lyrics to me first. Dada has told me to get the lyrics written to synchronise with his tunes. Otherwise he won’t use them!”
            To which Dev Saheb had replied, “I have already reserved his return train ticket. He is a Professor and could always return to his job. It doesn’t matter, if his lyrics are not acceptable.”

            Dev Saheb once again said, “Do recite the lyrics to me first”.
            After listening to the lyrics, Dev Saheb was all praise and exclaimed, “Neeraj, fantastic! I have never heard such lyrics before! What a beautiful song you have written. Wah! Wah! Wah! Wah!”

            He picked up the telephone and called up Dada Burman, “You must hear his lyrics, what splendid words he has written”. Burman Saheb heard the song and was completely memerised. “Wah! Wah!”, he was all praise.

            Next day, while I was sitting with Dada, Dev Saheb called and said,” I am going to bring Neeraj with me.” Dada replied, “He is already here, you come over.”

            Dev Saheb came over. Dada inquired as to where I was staying? “Santa Cruz”, I replied. To which Dada said, “My car will come there in the morning, every morning the car will come at nine to fetch you. You come here and we both would work together.”
            I said fine, and the work started therafter.

            Dada was very pleased with my work. Whatever tunes Dada gave me, I wrote my lyrics perfectly to match them. All his songs became big hits.

            I get royalty for my poetry from all over the world. It is amazing that the maximum royalty I get is for my lyrics written to Dada’s music. It is worth mentioning here, that I get royalty to the tune of one lakh for Dada’s songs!

            Question: You get royalty of Rupees One Lakh for lyrics written to S. D. Burman’s music?

            The lyrics which I wrote for S. D. Burman’s music get me a royalty of Rupees One Lakh every year!

            Question: I see, so you get the maximum for Dada’s music?
            Only for Dada’s music! His songs are played the most. Songs by others are played sometimes once, maybe twice. Somewhere ‘Bhai zara dekhke chalo’ is played, elsewhere some other song is played, but mostly Dada’s songs are played.

            There never has been another Music Director like him! He was a phenomenon, a music director par excellence!

            Question: Your lyrics which we have heard…………
            Such poetry has never been composed. ‘Sapno ki geetanjali, mandir masjid’, such words have never been written (Neeraj exclaims ecstatically).

            Question: Please tell us, would Dada create the tune first and you would write lyrics to fit in?

            I used to write to his tunes. All songs have been written that way.

            Question: You would not have written that way earlier. Did you have any problem in doing so?

            No, I had no difficulty. On the contrary I preferred it that way, because tune is a metre (rhythm). The poetry that we write is written according to the metre.

            The difference is that poetry by itself is static writing (with no melody, but with rhythm). There is no music in it. And the tune has action (expression oriented) in it. On screen it is enacted upon. The tune has breaks (meaningful gaps) in it, and there is timing involved. I have written this song:

            ‘Ae bhai zara dekh ke chalo.
            koda jo bhookh hai’
            Noticed the gap here?

            ‘Koda jo paisa hai.
            Tarah tarah naach dikhana hai yahaan.’

            One has to put gap (timing) into it, how small a gap is given, how many matras (beats)are there, one matra, or two matras, that too the way I mentioned.

            Neeraj Sings:
            ‘Rang mein pighle sona,
            Ang se yun ras chalke,
            Jaise baje dhun koiyee,
            Raat mein halke halke,’

            See, Dada has given a gap here, this is the gap, understand?
            Poetry is serious, I am reciting and you are listening to it. There is no acting involved. In other words poetry has no acting in it.

            Question: There is no acting in poetry?
            No, how will there be acting in poetry? It is simple. I am reciting it, and you are listening to it.
            In cinema, the action is on the screen. If the audience does not follow, in case of a mistake, they can’t ask the screen. That’s why simple words can be easily remembered. ‘Ae bhai, zara dekh ke chalo’, and ‘Rangeela re’ can be easily recalled.

            Dada used to experiment, what others would not dare! For instance, the song, ‘Phoolon ke rang se, dil ki kalam se’, starts with the antra (subsequent stanzas after mukhda), the mukhda (beginning) comes later!

            Question: The antra Is at the beginning?
            The antra is at the beginning, (he replies smilingly). Antra is in the beginning only!

            Neeraj recites (as if in a trance):
            “Phoolon ke rang se, dil ki kalam se,tujhko likhi roz baati,
            Kaise bataaon, kis kis tarah se, pal pal tu mujhe satati,
            Tere hi sapne lekar ke soya, teri hi yaadon mein jaaga,
            Tere khayalon men uljha raha yun, jaise ki mala mein dhaga,
            Badal bijli, chandan paani, jaisa apna pyaar,
            Lena hoga, janam hamein, kayee kayee baar,
            Itna madhir,

            (Neeraj stops and says excitedly),
            And now here comes the mukhda:
            ‘Itna madhir, Itna madhur,’

            The mukhda is from here onwards.
            You see, after six lines the mukhda begins.
            Yes, after six lines the mukhda has come!

            Then Dada experimented further, ‘I don’t want mukhda. I don’t want Mukhda at all’
            And this he experimented in ‘Gambler’:

            “Dil aaj shair hai,
            Gham aaj naghma hai,
            Shab yeh ghazal sanam,
            Gairon ke sheron ko sunne wale,
            Duniya se jeete par tumse hare,
            Par khud se hare.’

            There is no mukhda in this at all (giggles).
            This is poetry, it is poetry, (He says with the excitement of a child).

            He further broke away from the existing trends, saying,
            “Now Neeraj, in one mukhda, we will introduce four genres of music:
            First two lines would be based on folk,
            The third line will be based on classical,
            The fourth line on pop,
            The fifth line on qawwali”

            Question: Really! Which is this song?
            I am going to tell you.

            Neeraj sings:
            ‘Gham pe dhool dalooooooo
            Kahkaha lagaloooooooo
            Arre Kaantoki dagariya, zindagaani hai
            Tum jo muskarado, Rajdhani hai
            Yeh honth sookhe sookhe, yeh baal rookhe rookhe,
            Chaayi udaasi kyon yaaron,
            Arre yaaron neelaam karo susti, hum se udhaar lelo masti,
            Arre hasti ka naam tandurusti,’

            Before composing the music, Dada would try to understand the story, and create music according to the situation. To get to the heart of the scene, sometimes he would even enact the role of the actor on whom the song was to be picturised.
            I remember one such instance when his car came early to fetch me. I reached his home before ten in the morning. No one was allowed to visit him before ten in the morning.

            Question: No one was allowed before ten in the morning?
            No one before ten (giggles)! Because, he used to do his morning chores.

            It so happened that when I came downstairs, the servants opened the door for me. I saw Dada topless, in shorts only; dancing like this (shows dance movements).

            I greeted him, “Dada, Namaskar”
            He said, “quiet, quiet, quiet”
            I repeated, “Dada, Namaskar!”
            Dada: “QUIET, I am about to create a tune. It is coming to me. Quiet!”
            What could I say! I had to sit down quietly.

            After some time, Dada called out to me, “Come, come, sit closer.”
            I moved nearer. That’s when he created the tune of ‘Megha chhaye aadhi raat, bairan ban gayi’.

            Question: I see! So this is the story of the song ‘Megha chhaye’? That song has a combination of both western and Indian classical music!
            He combined western with Indian due to the situation, he did that!

            Dada and bhabhi (elder brother’s wife) used to invite me over for dinner. Dada would say, “Look, one and a half pegs are all that you will get. One and a half pegs, no more!”

            Question: No more?
            No more!

            Once what happened, Dada, Bhabhi and I sat down for a drink. Dada used to drink ‘Old Smuggler’ whisky. He poured one peg. We continued chatting. After that he poured half peg more, saying “Enough, now no more, no more, that’s it.” We all drank one and a half pegs each.

            Then what happened – it was a rainy evening – Bhabhi said, “Let’s go up to the terrace to see what’s there.” We went upstairs when she asked me, “Have you seen our Manidhar snake?”
            “Manidhar snake? No, no Bhabhi, I have not seen it”
            “Come, I’ll show it to you.” she said.

            Question: What is a Manidhar snake?
            Manidhar snake is one that has a mani (a precious stone) in it’s hood.
            It had just rained, and the grass in the back garden would shine every time the lightening struck. The wet grass would glisten in different places and she would exclaim, “See, there it goes, there it is now!” (Neeraj giggles)

            Question: So did you finally see the snake?
            (Laughs) Nothing was there. When the reflection of the lightening was falling in different places on the wet grass, she understood it as the movement of the Manidhar snake!

            Question: Bhabhi said this to you?
            Yes, She was a bit high (giggles).

            Question: Bhabhi used to drink?
            Yes, Bhabhi, Dada and I, we three used to drink together.

            Question: Each got a peg and a half?
            One and a half pegs each. No more, not an ounce more (giggles)!

            Bhabhi was very fond of me. She loved me like her own child. I would touch Dada’s feet as a mark of respect. Dada was like my elder brother, no…, I used to respect him like my Guru.

            Question: How old were you as compared to Dada?
            I was very young at that time. I must have been about forty years old.

            Question: Dada was born in Nineteen Hundred and Six.
            I was born in Nineteen Hundred and Twenty-Five. What would be the difference?

            Question: Nineteen years.
            Nineteen years!

            There has never been, and will never be, a Music Director like Dada.

            Question: There has never been such a Music Director?
            No, never! Dada had this quality, a great quality, that he would be completely immersed in music all of twenty-four hours. Not interested in his own publicity or in any gossip, he would not go anywhere to promote himself. All day long, you go in the evening he is at his home, in the afternoon also he is awake, always involved in his music.

            Question: Involved In his music?
            Yes, creating tunes! And what immortal melodies he created!
            His speciality was that he would not bother to stick to the tune of the mukhdas and the antras.
            After the Mukhda, he would give the break of the antra’s tune.

            Question: After the Mukhda?
            In Shankar Jaikishin’s style, the tune is from beat to beat.
            From beat to beat?

            Neeraj Sings:
            ‘Kehta hai joker, sara zamaana,
            Aadhi haqiqat, aadha fasaana,
            Chashma utaaro, phir dekho yaaro,
            Duniya nayee hai, chehra puraana,
            Apne pe hanskar, jag ko hansaya.’

            Neeraj States:
            The same tune is going on!

            Question: He (SDB) used to break!
            SDB used to break.
            I asked Dada, why did he give a break?
            He replied, “Else it becomes monotonous. If you keep one tune of both Mukhda and Antra, one tune only for all, it becomes monotonous.

            So what he does is:
            ‘Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye, phoolon ka shabab,
            Us mein phir milaayee jaye, thodi si sharaab
            Arre, hoga yun nasha jo taiyaar,
            Haan hoga yun nasha jo taiyaar,
            Woh pyaar hai
            Shokhiyon mein ghola jaaye phoolon ka shabab’

            Now he changes:
            ‘Hansta hua bachchpan woh, behkaa hua mausam hai,
            Chhedo to ek shola hai, choo lo to bas shabnam,
            Raah mein, mele mein, gaon mein, akele mein,
            Aata jo yaad baar baar, woh pyaar hai.’

            Question: How often he breaks the tunes!
            Often he breaks the tunes.
            So, it is necessary.
            This style, this was S. D. Burman’s signature style.

            There is a difference in the tune of the Mukhda and the antra.
            There was a difference in the Mukhda and antra!
            In each Antra itself he changes the tune. He gives the variation in the tune of the same antra.
            Otherwise it would become monotonous!

            Neeraj: Now listen to this:
            (He sings the cabaret song from 1971 film Sharmilee)
            ‘Reshmi ujaala hai, makhmali andhera,
            Aaj ki raat, aisa kuch karo, aisa kuch karo, aisa kuch karo
            Ho nahin, ho nahin, ho nahin saveraaaaaaaa

            Neeraj: Now it changes (he sings again):
            ‘Aisi toh raat, roz nahin aaye,
            Aankhon se koi, roz na pilaye’

            We: I think you worked together with Dada on five films?
            Yes, five films.

            We: Prem Pujari, Gambler, Sharmilee, Tere Mere Sapne and Chuppa Rustam.

            Question: After that?
            I went away. I left and went away.

            Question: You left and went away! Why?
            There was no work. S. D. Burman had stopped working. Shankar Jaikishan’s group had split up. Roshan was no more. I had become successful with them all. Iqbal Qureshi had died. All my songs with Iqbal Qureshi had been successful. ‘Subah na aayi, shaam na aayi, jis din teri yaad na aayi.’ ‘Woh hum na the, woh tum na the’ (1964 Film ‘Cha Cha Cha’), that was my song!

            Question: You remember all of your songs?
            No, I don’t remember all. Only those I spoke about, the special ones I remember. None of my songs ever flopped.

            Question: None of your songs, with any music director, ever flopped?

            Question: When did you start working for the film industry?
            In 1960, a programme ‘Neeraj ki Gunjan Samaroh’ was held. Chief Minister Y. B. Chauhan gifted me a purse of Rupees Five Thousand. R. Chandra, who had made ‘Barsat ki Raat’ was present there. His assistant had taken tuitions under me. He wanted to become a hero in the movie. He told me, “We would like you to write the lyrics for our movie.”

            I replied that since I didn’t have lyrics ready for them, they could use my existing poetry. I couldn’t leave my existing job and stay in Bombay.

            So they used my entire poetry for their film, ‘Nai Umar ki Nai Fasal’. The song ‘Carvan guzar gaya’ was a huge success. After that, I became well known in the industry. Subsequently, Dev Saheb approached me.

            Question: Which year did you say?

            We: Which songs of S. D. Burman did you like then?
            I liked all of his songs. ‘Kaun hai tera, musafir, jayega kahaan’, ‘Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai’. There is not a single song which I didn’t like!

            That’s true!
            Excellent, superb, he was a brilliant Music Director! He was the Music Director of the learned people.

            We: Yes, music director of the learned!
            That’s why his immensely popular tunes are evergreen.

            We: The anecdote narrated to us about his dispensing one and a half pegs, is really interesting!
            He used to offer me a drink, with a lot of love. Dev Saheb used to say, “He is benevolent with you. He invites you for a meal, and offers a drink as well (giggles)! He used to love me a lot.

            We: How were the relations between the father and the son?
            Very good! They loved each other very much.

            We: Any other anecdotes?
            That’s all. Bhabhi would call me over for a meal and serve Macher Jhol (famous Bengali way of cooking fish).

            We: Neeraj ji, we are very grateful to you.
            It was very nice meeting you.

            * * * * *


  36. I don’t know who exactly is living in the fantasy world. The film itself credits RDB as an associate composer. RDB himself states that Aradhana was one of his most satisfactory works. There were other notable witnesses for RD. And you are saying that RDB had no contribution in the film at all! Why would anyone ever call a work satisfactory if he didn’t do any notable work ? Aren’t you kind of accusing RDB and others of lying , but maintain that you and your musicians are honest?

    By the time, Aradhana released, RD had been working as an assistant for more than a decade and had already done some successful independent films with his own signature style. Are you saying that a 30 year old man of RD’s caliber was sitting there and watching his father and team work without giving any serious input and yet his signature style was present in the film? Sorry, but you are the one who is being unreasonable.

    And if you went that far to take their interview and autograph, you should have taken a video. Wouldn’t a video be a much stronger proof? Autographs and voices can be faked quite easily. And on top of that most of the notable assistants that worked in Aradhana team are already dead.

    I am not saying that you are lying, but even if your interviews were true, it’s really hard to conclude anything from it.

    There isn’t any film of SDB where the style is unmistakably RD’s but RD wasn’t even involved as an assistant.


      • an interesting piece.. I skimmed through portions but read most of the SD stuff. It seems to me that case isn’t quite as clear cut as even the author makes it because he acknowledge RD’s role as much more important for years leading upto this album than many would like to believe.

        But leaving this aside I think it is the whole ‘collaborative’ aspect that hasn’t been focused on enough. Is it for example plausible that father and son were never completely alone or when they were that they never ever discussed much of the work each was doing even though RD was very involved with his father’s work. Again this piece seems to suggest there were debates but it is very hard to separate individual contributions to a collaboration and even moreso decide how much an idea counts for? The author’s claim that the album was attributed to RD because it just sounded like the work he did after this or was more consonant with a newer India’s youth aspirations is not one I find entirely convincing. In fact the question should be read in reverse! Why is there much more continuity between Aradhana and RD’s work rather than between this and SD’s work that preceded it?! Note how Shammi Kapoor said in an interview that Gaata Rahe was RD’s composition. So there is a certain continuity of signature.

        To be honest I am not heavily invested in whether the father composed the soundtrack or the son. Neither composer’s career depends on this. But to the extent that there is doubt and conflicting testimony (I do not necessarily consider the word of musicians loyal to SD as the final statement.. since I don’t think that from Asha to Shammi to whoever people are just making up stuff!). The most reasonable explanation to my mind (and following on some of these debates in other contexts elsewhere in the arts.. in the West) is that there is collaboration at work here and probably before this. Separating contributions then becomes a very thorny problem. Note how the piece says that RD convinced his father to retain Roop tera mastana. How many other such debates happened? For example they might have had debates on the arrangements, SD might have accepted suggestions on various ‘tunes, so on and so forth. The idea that there is a ‘pure’ SD here who does not owe anything at all to his son or never really took valuable inputs from his son just because the latter was more attuned to ‘Western’ sounds is a bit hard to swallow. and this really is the crux of the matter. It does not have to be this absolutist position where either SD composed all of Aradhana or RD did. I can think of plenty of midway positions. And getting back to the author here I think he is weakest on his claim that the confusion occurred because RD was more naturally associated with the newer kind of music. So he seems to chalk this up to a ‘sociological’ bias.

        Recall that Asha anecdote where she says that Shakti samantha valued SD far more when RD hadn’t of course reached his peak. In one instance after RD’s compositions were constantly being rejected by Samantha as not good enough he got a bit frustrated and on the next suggestion just told the latter that this was actually a tune from his father. Instantly Samantha approved it! There is a lot of grey area here. One really has to look at all the testimony.


        • Agreed. The point is how many songs SD did which were remotely similar to Aradhana (after he left assisting his father)? and How many songs RD did were similar to Aradhana and you will get your answer 🙂

          I will listen to Abhimaan and say in heartbeat it is SD’s.It is his signature. I am willing to concede tunes of Aradhana might be SDs but orchestration is definitely RDs.


          • Moti Lalwani Says:

            (Watch live Majrooh Sultanpuri, on how RDB, Manohari and others were admonished by Sachinda on excessive orchestration.)

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

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

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

            “Manohari babu yaad hai na aapko.”

            4.45 (All the time, Manohari Singh is shown smiling, and nods his head in affirmation, when in the end Majrooh asks him the question, “Manohari babu, yaad hai na aapko?)

            * * * * *
            (Nos are timings when the dialogue appears. Read the entire interview at


    • Alex adams Says:

      Thanks on behalf of those who read and liked this Moti uncle
      “satyam is welcome to join me, but I get a days notice sometimes. But too many people may not be a good idea.”-satyam IS v keen to go with u..

      “Di is an intelligent girl, but is she ready for the real scotch?”
      Di -just are what Moti uncle is saying …. 🙂


      • Moti Lalwani Says:

        I am posting my interview of Kersi Lord here:

        Q. Mr Kersi Lord, please tell us when did you meet Dada S. D. Burman, how did you meet him, and something about him?
        KL. My daddy was SD Burman’s pet. When first Burmansaab came to Bombay, he was staying in Marine Drive ‘Sea Green’ Hotel and we were staying at Grant Road at the time. Outside our building was a whore-joint, a prostitute-joint, and Burmansaab had such a simple nature that despite this he would walk into that lane, and shout out “Cawas”. Daddy would go down, “Kya Dada, kya ho gaya?” to which Mr. Burman would respond “Cawas, mere ko gaari lene ka hai, kya karega hum log?”

        My daddy was very fond of cars. He said, “Hum log jaake dekhenge na.”
        A short while later, together they went and chose Mr. Burman’s first car, a black Austin.

        Q. Which year was that?
        KL. I don’t know. I was very young. I had not even started playing at that time. Then after about three months – four months, again he came,
        “Cawas, neeche aao.”
        “Dada, kya ho gaya?”
        “Yeh gadi kiska hai?”
        “Dada, aap ka gaadi hai.”
        “Toh mere ko raaste ka tax kyon bharne ka, meri gaadi ka tax main kyon bharoon?”

        He was that innocent. He didn’t know he had to pay road tax. So, daddy had to explain to him that the reason he had to pay the tax was because he was using the roads. Like that, such a simpleton!
        Mr. Burman always dressed in a white kurta with beautiful, starched Bengali pleated sleeves (rubbed with some stone), white dhoti and carried on his left shoulder a colourful ‘Kapda ka Thaila.’

        Q. Kapda thaila?
        KL. You know, old people used to have.

        Q. Artists and painters used to carry?
        KL. Haan, correct, funny, funny colours, orange, yellow, etc., but clothes always white. He was always like that. That was Mr Burman.
        The first time I met him was when he came to see daddy. Then when I got into the line, slowly, slowly, they found out that I also play, so whenever they required more musicians, they used to call me.

        Q. Please tell more about your dad with Burman.
        KL. They had gone to Madras also, for a couple of recordings. The first time daddy had gone to Madras was with Mr. Burman. The producer was from there. In the beginning, the producers used to call the important musicians there and a few musicians were taken from there for the work. Later, South companies had their offices in Bombay. Then most of the work was done here.

        Q. You remember (for) which pictures your dad went to South? Bahar must have been one of them? It was an AVM production.
        KL. Yeah, yeah, ‘Bahar’ definitely. ‘Bahar’ was which year? Because, if it was somewhere around ‘50s, it must be same picture.

        Bahar was 1951.
        KL. And ‘Baazi’?

        Baazi was 1950.
        KL. I have also played in Baazi.

        1950, you would have been about fifteen years?
        KL. Yeah, I started my carrier by the age of fourteen. I was playing when I was fourteen. I started in late ’47 or early ’48. You got the release dates? Then, a film would normally take about one and a half to two years till the release.
        I started with Naushad first. Then slowly, slowly, people came to know about me.

        Q. Daddy was with him in 1950s?
        KL. Yeah, yeah, daddy was his pet. Without daddy, Mr. Burman wouldn’t do anything.

        Q. How much age difference was there between these two gentlemen?
        KL. I don’t know. My dad was born in 1911.

        Dada Burman was born in 1906.
        KL. That old? He was older than daddy? He always looked like Dada, Bengali style.

        Another thing, he was very ‘kanjoos’, very rarely he used to offer tea to anybody. So much so that, people working in his sitting room, all musicians, even his assistants, Anand Bakshi might be there or anyone else, around one o’clock, he would say “Chalo, mera khane ka time ho gaya hai. Aap log khana khake aaiye. Meera, mera khana lagao.”

        And, because of daddy, anytime, I or my dad used to visit him, he will offer tea also. And all those sitting fellows always cursed, “Kya hai? Hum log ko kabhi chai bhi nahin poochta, tum log kuch karte bhi nahin, tum log ko chai pilata hai.” He was like that.
        Then another habit of Mr. Burman was, he used to forget everyone’s names, like Maruti Rao, Manohari, Basu, all were sitting. He would be so engrossed in his music, he would forget the names. He would call, “Arre, arre, arre, arre.” Then we have to remind him, “Arre Basu, Basuda”. “Haan Basu, suno, aisa, aisa.”

        So later on, when Pancham would visit Bombay during his school holidays, he would come for Dada’s sittings. When Burmansaab would want to ask him something even though he was his son, he would say ”Arre…Arre…Aree..” and . So we would remind him “Dada, Pancham.” “Han, Pancham suno.” He used to forget his son’s name also. He was like that.

        But this was mainly because he was all the time engrossed in the music. His mind would be only thinking of music, music, music.

        Q. That was about your dad and Dada Burman. Tell us about you and Dada Burman.
        KL. I played in all his pictures after ’50-’51, mostly all the pictures.

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Q. Even the start which is there, you know starting with ‘Roop tera mastana’, that is done by SDB only himself?
        KL. Yeah! Yeah! S.D. Burman and his team.
        See, I only go for the recording. So, when I went to the studio, it was at Famous-Tardeo, so Burmanda called me to one side, “Suno”.
        He always talked in mono syllables, not long sentences. “Kersi, yeh bahut romantic gana hai. Ek fire place hai. Ek hero ek heroine hai. Baarish mein bheege hue hai, aur ekdam romance mein hai. Tumko jo bhi karna hai, karo.”
        “Whatever you want to do, you do it.” That is what he told me.
        So, lots of things I played on my own. Most of the things were given by Manohari, but all the fillings in the song, some extra things in the music which I felt like playing, I played it. And they liked it. When they appreciate it, you feel like giving more and more.

        Q. When you were called there, from that moment till the actual song was recorded, how long did it take for this song?
        KL. Four hours, maximum. Nothing more than four hours, from scratch. We didn’t know what we were going to play. Notation was given on the set, in the studio. Nine o’clock was the starting time and mostly by one o’clock we would pack up.

        Q. But before you were called, they might have done some rehearsal?
        KL. That work they would do in the sitting room itself. Making a song is a very difficult thing. First you have to get the lyrics written. Those days, songs were according to the situation in the picture. So generally, lyrics came first. The Producer and Director would also have to approve the lyrics. Then came the melody and then the music arrangement.

        Q. SD changed the system in ‘50s only. First music and then the lyrics. That system is continuing even today.
        KL. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe.

        Q. Even for that style, Begum Akhtar, I have got somewhere written, that she said that music plays more important part than the lyrics.
        KL. Begum Akhtar said that?

        Q. I will send you the article. In fact I will send you two articles. SD said this earlier, and Begum Akhtar, much later said the same thing.

        * * * * *

        Kersi Lord – II

        Q. When SD used to sing, can you tell us about his style of singing and what he used to do?
        KL. According to my knowledge his style was typically East Bengal folk style. He was from that area. I believe, he was a Prince from a royal family.
        One thing I will tell you, I didn’t go for sittings but whenever he used to be in the studio, when he would sing his songs, he wouldn’t allow anyone who was not required in the studios, no guests, only musicians who are playing. Those musicians who are not playing, they would have to go sit outside. Maybe he wanted to concentrate.
        And you were asking me about ‘Amar Prem’ song, whether RD composed or SD composed? It had Mr. Burman’s style but even if RD composed it, he will have composed it in his dad’s style only, so that style and quality matches, goes hand in hand, you know that style of song.
        When I used to do arrangements, so many musicians, like Raees Khan, – he is a fantastic musician – when you tell him to play something, he will say no, this is not Sitar ank. I am just giving an example. Because he is my friend, I can talk about him. Whenever I used to write for Raees Khan, I used to just write its outline, “Raees bhai, yeh aisa aisa hai, aapko jaisa bajana hai, kuch bhi change karna hai, freedom is entirely yours.” So, that type of freedom. In the same way, being the great son of a great father, SD and RD although they had completely unique styles would still naturally have some similarities as well.

        In reply to a question on ‘Mili’, Mr Kersi Lord talks about this interesting episode:
        KL When you play for so many recordings, so many songs, how can you remember all these things? I don’t claim these numbers but people who interviewed me have said, “You have done more than twenty five to thirty thousand songs”. I tell every interviewer including you, “When you write this, you are saying this. I am not saying it”.
        Before that, interviewers claim that when I started in ’48, I played four to five songs a day including Sunday, no Sunday holiday. They calculated that even playing and average of three songs a day would sum up this figure. Kushal (Gopalkar) of ‘Swar Alaap’ magazine had done this calculation and had mentioned it in one of his articles.

        But, in ’67 – ’68, when I was the Chairman of the ‘Cine Musicians Association’, what used to happen was that out of 700-800 members, only those top, the cream used to play 4 to 5 songs a day. And the mediocre and below average musicians would not get any work.
        So, I made a rule that no musician can play more than two songs a day. That rule is still valid now, morning and afternoon, or one and a half shift for background music, that’s all. I got lots of abuses from my friends and made many enemies. But that’s OK.

        Q. You said that he used to stay in that hotel in Marine Drive, which hotel?
        KL. SD used to stay in that hotel in Marine Drive, ‘Sea Green’. We were in Grant Road, where he used to come. After ‘Sea Green’ he stayed in a Hotel in Khar. Khar is much afterwards. He stayed in ‘Sea Green’ when he was an established composer. Then they shifted to ‘The Jet’.

        * * * * *

        Q. Will you please tell us some anecdotes?
        • Like, because you mentioned ‘Chote Nawab’. Mehmood, a very old friend, he used to learn Bongos from me, when he was not even an extra. When we used to work at Filmstan, his sister was Minu Mumtaz, the famous dancer, and he used to come and work as an extra.
        He always wanted to learn Bongos. So, any time he was there, he would come and sit next to me, and I would show him something on the Bongos. This is how we became good friends. Then talking about ‘Chote Nawab’: Pancham, Mehmood, dance director Suresh and me, we all had a single chipped tooth (shows his upper middle teeth (incisors), with the corner of the tooth chipped off), exactly the same cut on the same tooth, same size and shape. Every time we four met, we would never say ‘Hi’. We would smile showing our chipped teeth. Now, I am the only fellow left. Sad, no!

        • When Pancham used to come down from Calcutta during his school holidays and whenever I used to be free, he used to be with me. I had a varied collection of LPs, so Pancham’s interest indifferent styles of music probably started with me. He used to love music. Afterwards, he got so involved into it, then he became popular, he used to go abroad, first I had to make copies from my LPs, and give it to him. Then he used to buy CDs from there, he used to make copies and give it to me.
        I have noticed that everybody from the Indian Film Industry, even you guys I am talking about the fans of ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s music, you guys only listen to one type of music. That’s wrong. You always listen to only film music, nothing else. Why? It’s true, 90% – 95%, it’s true. One must make a habit of listening to all sorts of music, not only one genre. Especially musicians. Maybe, that’s what made Pancham so different from everybody else, his wide exposure to world music.

        • A little naughty story!
        In Bengali, gana is known as gaan. Geeta Roy (Dutt) used to come to the studios with her father or brother when she was not married to Guru Dutt. Sometimes we used to record two songs in one session. So, the full studio would be present and half the musicians were Bengali, half not Bengali. But, we all understood Bengali, especially the bad words. One time when we were in Mahalaxmi Famous, Geeta’s father innocently asked Burmansaab, “Arre, Dada”. He wanted to show he could speak Hindi also, “Dada, aap Lata ka gaan pehle lena hai, ya Geeta ka?”
        It really happened, really happened.
        (Kersi has a good laugh.)

        * * * * *

        Q. Tell us more about the musicians with SDB?
        KL. I will tell you, those days, how we used to get information. Everybody didn’t have phones also. Every Music Director had his one or two musicians, who play and also do the informing. That is, they would go to musician’s houses and inform, “Parson gana hai Burmansaab ka in so-and-so studio. Aa jaane ka.”

        Q. Visit? Actually visit?
        KL. He had two violinist- Antao and IC. They used to do informing and playing.

        Q. What are the names you said, please?
        KL. Antao and IC. We used to call him IC.
        The regular group of Burmansaab would have a Rhythm Section of 10-15 musicians. Mostly, I was in rhythm only, till I changed over to other instruments. The string section would ideally be 30-35 violins, 1-2 Cellos, and other solo required instruments. Whenever brass section was required another 6-8 musicians would be needed.

        Q. Total how many that would become?
        KL. About 60-70, average 60-70 always.
        When he used to sing, his songs had very few musicians: one flute, maybe little bit vibraphone and a very small rhythm section. He didn’t want a crowd when he was singing songs. You will find very straight forward music in his songs, when he sings them.

        Q. That way there are a number of songs which have less music.
        KL. Sometimes budget is also there, some producers can’t afford too much! Then certain styles like where a girl is singing in a room, why should you have an orchestra there. It doesn’t make sense also.

        Q. When you speak about rhythm, what do you mean by rhythm?
        KL. Rhythm means everything. Tabla, Dholak, Naal, Duff, Dafli, whatever is there. So we don’t have different players for, like: Tabla, Dholak, Naal: they are specialized. Few fellows only play. Then all other instruments like Manjira, Triangle, percussions, Indian and western percussions, any body plays anything. When I was playing Rhythm, I had to play everything. Not Indian rhythm, but all those Latin American instruments, everything. So like that we are regular and we didn’t know what rhythm instruments we were going to use for each song until we reached there. For one song I may have to play Manjira, for some I may have to play Ghunghroo, then some songs I may have to play Bongos, I have to play Congas.

        Q. Musicians are fixed, instruments are not fixed?
        Yeah. Yeah.

        * * * * *

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

        When I started arranging, sometimes the speakers were kept too loud. Those days all the speakers were always kept loud. So, one day I was getting angry, “Why so loud? Why couldn’t I hear what I wanted to hear! So, I just tried Dada’s technique. I closed both my ears tight, and I was surprised to discover that I could hear the details of the things happening behind the song.
        Even then, Mr. Burman was so advanced in his techniques. He knew that, “If I close the ears, all the ‘faltu’ noises fade into the background and only the details of the music come through. You try it, next time you listen to any song, keep it loud, then if you want to hear, “ki santoor or any other specific instrument barabar hai, sur mein hai ki nahin hai, kuch bhi aisa, close your ears tight, you’ll find out, ke sur mein hai, besura hai. Tempo barabar hai ki nahi.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        One day during one of Mr. Burman’s background recordings, we were rehearsing the piece and suddenly Mr. Burman came charging in saying “Nahin, nahin, nahin sorry, sorry. Bandh karo, bandh karo, bandh karo, bandh karo. Iske pehle tumlog kya bajaya? Violin section, what you were playing?”
        Our violin section use to fool around all the time. If you ask them to tune also, give them A for tuning, one will play runs (running notes), one will play ku, ku ku, one will play something else. Instead of tuning, everything else but tuning. So, one fellow said, “I was playing this.” Dada said, “No, no, no. Iske pehle kya?”
        For fifteen minutes we were trying to recreate what Mr Burman had heard. Then I realized that they were tuning their violins and other instruments at the time which sounded very similar to what I know as cluster sounds now. So, I asked “Manohari, violin ko tune karo wapas.”
        I thought this was what Dada was looking for. And then the whole group started tuning like they done before and Dada said “Haan, yeh, yeh, yehi mere ko chahiye.” He wanted that cluster effect.
        After that, Anandji made cluster sound a standard for every background of Kalyanji-Anandji. He used to call it Odessy Tremolo. But, this had been used much before by Mr. Burman. Another example of his music being far ahead of its time.
        Mr. Burman always was very modern. I realized, he was very, very modern. Each song of his was unlike any other composer of that time or before. Completely different than others, way ahead of his time.

        Q. He was different. The same year in 1957 that he gave us ‘Pyasa’, he also gave music for ‘Nau Do Gyarah’ and ‘Paying Guest’.
        KL. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Completely different! Otherwise every body else had a similar style. ‘50s, ’60, ‘70s. All had similar style except for him and Pancham. He gave variety also. I’ve always considered Mr. Burman a very modern composer for his age.

        * * * * *

        KL. One more thing, I just realized. Just before Mr. Burman died, couple of months before, Pancham did a show for the Bombay Police. That show was at Shanmukhananda Hall. In Pancham’s shows, his entrance onto the stage was different every time. For this show, he came on stage through the aisle on a Police bike.
        Why I am mentioning this is because when Burmansaab died, a few months after this show, the Police Department helped out so much. The Jet (Bungalow) is on linking road – the whole road was closed because of the funeral. For a couple of hours, they helped out so much. The police bandobast was out of the world for Burmansaab’s funeral as we knew all the inspectors, who regularly came for the show rehearsals. They became very friendly with us musicians.

        Pancham’s father had died so they felt it their duty to help him out. It was first time I saw a very organized funeral. I’ll never forget it.

        October 30, 2009

        Interview conducted by Moti Lalwani and Ms Richa Lakhanpal


  37. oldgold Says:

    I don’t understand all this confusion. Assistant music directors are there to assist….or what?
    So RD Burman must have assisted.
    Every music director has assistants, but we always hear only the music director’s name.

    RD himself must have had assistants.

    Here is a link to another excellent SD Burman song from Bandini, and how it came about. This was in 1963 (Aradhana in 1969).

    It is interesting to read.
    At one point SD Burman hums the tune ..Lalalala. to the lyricist Gulzar, and RD Burman changes it to… Dadadaa…. and Gulzar understands the tune will be….. laladdaadaladda.
    Now should we say the song was set to music by RD?

    SD had two other assistants, Debu and Saran.

    Here too we see a lot of conflict regarding the situation of the song..inside the aangan or outside.
    There are situations where there is disagreement initially.
    So the fact that he persuaded his father to keep/compose the song in Aradhana