On 4th of January 1994 R.D.Burman aka Pancham bade his final goodbye to this world. Since then Hindi film music has drastically and progressively changed in terms of song-compositions, orchestration, lyrics and singing styles. Audience tastes and trends have undergone a paradigm shift- more particularly in the post-millennium era. But despite all these shifts and changes, Pancham’s musical repertoire has retained its public appeal thanks to its verve, variety and versatility. The ingenious fusion of traditions and trends in his melodies and rhythms made many of his tunes all-time classics. Here is a round-up of 10 of his top soundtracks! Of course, in his vast repertoire there are many more great and popular soundtracks begging to be chosen but we have to stop at 10!
1. Teesri Manzil (1966): With Mohd. Rafi and Asha Bhosle’s super-hit sizzling songs like Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera, O Haseena Zulfonwali, Dekhiye Sahibon, Deewana Mujhsa Nahi and Tumne Mujhe Dekha this film first announced to the world the arrival of a special musical talent who could present trendy Rock N’ Roll tunes in a perfectly Indian garb.
2. Padosan (1968): A brilliant album showing the fun-side of Pancham’s music where comedy classics like Ek Chatur Naar, Mere Saamnewali Khidki Mein, O Mere Bhole Balam and Waango Waango rubbed shoulders with romantic gems like Bhai Battur, Sharm Aati Hai Magar, Kehna Hai and Main Chal Main Chali.
3. Kati Patang (1970): Despite Lata’s superb title-song, Asha’s exotic cabaret-track Mera Naam Hai Shabnam and Mukesh’s sentimental Jis Gali Mein, this album is mainly noted for the exquisite chemistry between the composer and his favouite male singer Kishore Kumar in the numbers- Yeh Shaam Mastani and Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai!
4. Caravan (1971): Asha Bhosle’s sensuous Piya Tu Aaja won the Filmfare award but even the rest of the songs like Asha’s Ab Jo Mile Hain and Daiya Re Daiya; Asha- Rafi’s Kitna Pyaara Vaada; Lata’s Dilbar Dilse Pyaare and Lata- Rafi’s- Chadhti Jawani and Kitna Pyara Vaada were equally appealing.
5. Amar Prem (1972): Just when everyone was classifying him as a westernized trendsetter, Pancham decided to show that he could equally do justice to traditional mellow Indian melodies. Sachinda’s Doli Mein Bithai Ke Kahar ; Kishore’s Kucchh To Log Kahenge, Yeh Kya Hua and Chingaari and Lata’s Raina Beeti Jaaye and Bada Natkhat Hai Re were true blue tender classics.
6. Sholay (1975): The soundtrack for this greatest Hindi blockbuster makes the list on account of its tremendous background music and Pancham’s own rasping rendition of Mehbooba O Mehbooba and not for its other rather ordinary populist situational songs like Yeh Dosti, Holi Ke Din, Koi Haseena and Jab Tak Hai Jaan!
7. Hum Kisise Kam Nahi (1977): This Nasir Hussain- film with a convoluted plot owed its huge success almost entirely to Pancham’s lively chartbusters like Bachna Aye Haseeno, Chaand Mera Dil, Humko To Yaara Teri Yaari and that incredible 15 minute song-and-dance medley.
Rafi started off the medley with a moody Chaand Mera Dil, then Kishore came up with a macho Aa Dil Kya Mehfil Hai Tere, which then was countered by R.D.’s own act Ho Tum Kya Jaano Mohabbat Kya Hai and finally Kishore and Asha rendered a fluffy teaser Mil Gaya Hum Ko Saathi. Four distinct songs presented as one stirring musical package!
8. Saagar (1985): This was the last big musical success of Pancham with his favourite singing triumvirate of Lata-Asha-Kishore. Lata sang the solo and duet-versions of Saagar Kinare Dil Yeh Pukare; Asha rendered the duets- O Maaria and Jaane Do Na and Kishore stamped his authority on Chehra Hai Ya Chaand Khila Hai.
9. Ijaazat (1987): After collaborating so evocatively with lyricist-film-maker Gulzar in earlier films like Parichay, Aandhi, Kinara and Khushboo, Pancham created the National award-winning soundtrack for Ijaazat, which showcased Asha Bhosle’s vocal brilliance through songs like Mera Kuchh Saaman, Katra Katra, Khaali Haath Shaam and Chhotisi Kahani Hai.
10. 1942 – A Love Story (1994): In a film that was released after his death, Pancham proved to one and all that his musical genius was still very much intact with memorable songs like Ek Ladki Ko Dekha, Pyaar Hua Chupke Se, Rimjhim Rimjhim, Rooth Na Jaana and Kuchh Na Kaho in the voices of Kumar Sanu and Kavita Krishnamurthy. It was one perfect swansong from this immensely talented composer!