4 January: Remembering R. D. Burman on his Punya Tithi

OV Digital Desk
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R. D. Burman

R D Burman (27 June 1939-4 January 1994) was an Indian music director. One of the greatest composers of Indian Hindi cinema.

R. D. Burman’s full name was ‘Rahul Dev Burman’ and he was famous in the film world as ‘Pancham Da’. He composed music for about 300 films during his career.

Early Life and Career

R. D. Burman was born on 27 June 1939 in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. He had done schooling at St. Xavier’s School, Kolkata. His father S.D. Burman was a famous film composer.

He composed his first song at 17, Aye meri topi palat ke aa, which was used in his father’s Funtoosh movie. The great musicians of Mumbai like Samta Prasad and Ustad Ali Akbar Khan taught him Hindustani classical music. He started out working with his father in films like ‘Kagaz Ke Phool’ (1959), ‘Bandini’ (1963), and ‘Guide’ (1965).

His first feature film as an independent music director was Chote Nawab in 1961, produced by comedian Mehmood, who had first approached Burman’s dad for the job.

Teesri Manzil‘ was his first hit as a music director which was released in 1966. His career changed with “Tesri Manzil“. Majrooh Sultanpuri wrote the lyrics for the movie. Mohammed Rafi sang six songs for it. Some of the hits were “O Mere Sona Re Sona Re”, “O Haseena Zulfonwali Jaane Jahan” and “Aaja Aaja Mein Hoon Pyar Tera“. After that, his career soared, and he got to work on a lot of big movies as a music director. As a result, he got several hits, such as “Padosan” (1968) and “Waris” (1969). 

“Raina Beeti Jaaye”, “Rat Kali Ek Khwab Mein Aayi” and “Piya Tu Ab To Aaja” are just a few of Burman’s hits from the 1970s. In addition to Ap ki Kasam (1974) and Aandhi (1975), his music was a big part of Sholay, one of the biggest hits in Indian cinema. He kept getting hits with movies like “Gol Maal” (1979) and “Khubsoorat” (1980). His father died in 1975.

Later, when asked about his early days as a director, Burman said in an interview with Filmfare magazine: “I didn’t get a lot of work till the end of 1964.”. My only big hit was Tesri Manzil. Producers thought it was only after I worked with my father on ‘Aradhana’ that they thought ‘Pancham ko bhi kaam Dena chahiye’. Shakti da saw me working at ‘Aradhana’, so he gave me his ‘Kati Patang’. I got a lot more work after that.


He won three awards for Best Music Direction for Sanam Teri Kasam, Masoom, and 1942: A Love Story.


R D Burman died on 4 January 1994 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

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