Remembering Rahul Dev Burman : A gifted composer who became an inseperable part of Hindi cinema

'Pancham Da' was born on this day in 1939
Last Updated 27 June 2021, 05:01 IST

Rahul Dev Burman was arguably one of the most gifted and sought-after music composers in Bollywood during the 1970s. The perception is that his compositions often added a new life to films, helping them attain a cult status. On Sunday, as fans remember the maestro on his birth anniversary, here is a look at his professional journey.

The intial years

RDB, who was son of ace music director Sachin Dev Burman, composed his first song Ae Meri Topi at the age of nine and followed in his father's footsteps.It was later used in the 1956 release Funtoosh. He subsequently composed music for films such as Chotte Nawab, Bhoot Bangla and Teesra Kaun, carving a niche for himself in the industry.

A breakthrough

It was, however, his work in Teesi Manzil (1966) that established him as a force to be reckoned with. The O Mere Sona Re track, sung by Mohammed Rafi, became immensely popular. He subsequently garnered acclaim with cult films such as Deewar, Amar Prem, Ghar, Shalimar, Sanam Teri Kasam, Aandhi, Saagar and Abdullah, cementing his legacy.


He also composed the soundtrack of the evergreen classic Sholay. The Mehbooba number, sung by 'Pancham Da' himself, was one of the highlights of the biggie. His voice complemented the 'desi' setting, resulting in a magical experience for fans.

A dull phase

RDB suffered numerous setbacks in the 1980s as several films, which featured his compositions, failed to make an impact at the box office. He also faced competition from new composers. Around the same time, he received rave reviews with Rekha’s Ijaazat but the film did not garner much mainstream attention as it was a part of the parallel cinema movement.

Posthumous triumph

RDB signed his first Malayalam movie Thenmavin Kombath in a bid to revive his career. He, however, passed away in 1994 before he could begin work on the same. He had composed the soundtrack for Anil Kapoor’s 1942: A Love Story, which was released posthumously and emerged as a sensation. The Ek Ladki Ko Dekha number in particular, is regarded as a 'romantic anthem'.

Rich legacy

RDB remains a revered figure for young music directors even years after his death. Himesh Reshammiya’s Balma number from the Akshay Kumar-starrer Khiladi 786 is considered to be a tribute to the legend. The Aksar composer had previously recreated the iconic Mehbooba number for Aap Ka Suroor, which marked his acting debut. The Indian government released a postal stamp bearing his likeness in 2013, celebrating his contribution to the film industry

(Published 27 June 2021, 04:47 IST)

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