Remembering A Legend: RD Burman


MUMBAI: No word could suit Rahul Dev Burman perfectly as the word ‘prodigy’ did. Music ran in his veins, after all his father was the legendary composer Sachin Dev Burman while his mother was lyricist Meera Dev Burman. But how many children could claim to compose their first song at the age of nine?


That’s exactly what RD Burman, the child, did.

‘Ae Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa’ was the first song RD Burman composed, which his father SD Burman decided to use in the film ‘Funtoosh’ in 1956. More famously, the tune for the famous song ‘Sar Jo Tera Chakraaye’ from the film ‘Pyaasa’ (1959) was also composed by RD Burman.

He also famously played the harmonica in his father’s orchestra and assisted him too.

From child prodigy to his first film as a composer in ‘Chhote Nawab’, RD Burman did not have to struggle his way up, but he did live in the shadow of his famous father. But not for too long, as he soon created a name for himself. He was also well-known for his associations.

RD Burman’s songs with Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle are thought to be seminal works even today. His best partnership, though, was with lyricist Gulzar. Who can forget “Mera kuch saamaan tumhare paas pada hai” from the 1987 movie ‘Ijaazat’ which won Asha Bhonsle her second National Award?

RD Burman spent his personal life with Asha Bhonsle who says that they spent their time more as friends and less as husband and wife.

Although he sang comparatively lesser than he composed, we find no other song better to describe him than this song he composed with Gulzar for the 1977 film ‘Kinara’.

“Naam gum jaayega, chehra ye badal jaayega,
Meri aawaaz ki pehchaan hai, gar yaad rahe”