Nearly 71 summers ago when the Raja of Tripura Nabadweep Chandra Dev Burman disowned his youngest son Sachin and ended his right to inheritance of the royal property, the ruler of the princely state was hardly aware that was offering a real treasure to the musical world of Bollywood.

Yes. If the Raja of Tripura had not done that, the Hindi film industry would have been devoir of such rhythmic musical-bonanzas like “Gata Rahe Mera Dil….” of Guide or Bandini’s “O Re Maanjhi ….Mere Sajan Hai Us Paar…..” Yes. We hardly can prolong our suspense for the readers for they know now we are talking about the very famous” Burman Da” of Bollywood: Sachin Dev Burman.

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But we still retain a part of the suspense. Why the Raja disowned his son and deprived him from the royal treasure? Guess what could have happened in 1938: the days of the British Raj? Well, a difficult note of interrogation. Is not it?

Nearly 71 summers ago, the Zaminders and Rajas across India would disown their sons if they married girls of non-royal and non-zaminder families against their wishes. Our very own “Burman Da” had exactly done that. He had married a girl of his own choice. But she was a “non-royal”. Do the real lovers really care power, pelf or “paisa” (money)? Not, really.

Revisiting the Melodious SD Burman Legacy

Image Source: i ytimg (The legendary Burmans: father-son duo)

Once a “Sapno Ki Raani….” hits their heart, they turn willing even to forsake the royal wealth. Interestingly enough, 30-years after in 1969, Rajesh Khanna in Aradhana hummed in Kishore Kumar’s voice “Mere Sapno Ki Raani Kab Ayegi Tu……” Soon the youngsters in India started humming it with utmost gusto. Yes, “Burman Da” had created this song’s rhythm.

Naturally, when 31-year old Sachin saw Meera at the All India Music Conference in Allahabad, the city of “Sangam”, he lost his heart. It was so much so that the property of Tripura Raj meant nothing for him. Sachin married Meera in 1939 prompting his Raja-father not only disown him but deprive him of any property of Tripura State.
Born on 1st October, 1906 in Comilla (now in Bangladesh), Sachin came to Mumbai in 1944 along with  Meera and son Rahul: then a five-year old toddler.

With this, the era of “experiment” in filmy music dawned. “Burman Da” would really create miracle by experimenting music in songs. Hindi film industry’s perhaps first musical experiment took place in 1951 when “Tadbir se bigdi hui taqdir Bane le, apne pe bharosa hai to yeh dau laga le….” came to be hummed by every lip. This most rhythmic song of Guru Dutt’s classic film “Baazi” still makes people crazy. But the anecdote behind behind this song, perhaps, is not known to all.

Revisiting the Melodious SD Burman Legacy

Image source: i ytimg

This song not only made Geeta Dutt as a singer of sensuous songs but also paved the way for the experiments in the generic-nuances in them. In fact, “Tadbir se…” was a Urdu-Hindi mixed lyric that was originally meant for a mellowed Ghazal.  But in film Baazi, “Burman Da” really acted a “Bazigar” (magician) to convert the song into a hyper-musical cum sensuous-seductive-scintillating party song.

The rest is a history. The song was so dear to Guru Dutt that he would hum it always. Before this song, Geeta Dutt mainly sang Bhajans and devotional songs not the jazzy-ones. This song established her in the Bollywood.

The Golden Composition of SD Burman

“Burman Da” gave music in nearly 76 Hindi films. However, the most prominent ones are Baazi, Taxi Driver, Munimji, Paying Guest, Jaal, Nau Do Gyarah, Kalapani, Pyasa, Kagaj Ke Phool, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Guide, Bandini, Meri Surat Teri Aankhen and Devdas.

The songs of “Pyasa” like “Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhij Jaye to Kya Hai…..” or “Jinhe Naaz Hai Hind Par ….” became so much powerful that the famous “Sight and Sound”, a magazine published by the British Film Institute, rated it as “The Best Music in Films” in 2004: 29-years after “Burman Da” sailed “Us Paar…” (his death).

Just as the mood of the listeners of Sachin’s songs swings with the exotic rythms, “Burman Da” too was a very moody person. An episode can illustrate it. In 1950 when the path-breaking movie “Mashal” was getting prepared, the moody son of Tripura’s Raja suddenly felt that Mumbai in as a whole and Bollywood in particular, have been bitten by the bug of hyper-commercialism.

He suddenly decided to leave Mumbai and move to Kolkata. He straight away told the director Nitin Bose that he is not giving any music to the film and going to catch the next fast train available for Kolkata. It created massive panic in Bollywood and Nitin Bose, Manna Dey and others of the Hindi film industry entreated him no change his decision. He, ultimately, agreed.

Where is the Legacy?

This decision gave a brilliant singer to the Bollywood: Manna Dey. He firmly established himself after singing the very powerful song “Upar Gagan Vishal, Neeche Gehra Pataal….” in Mashaa. Incidentally, after “Mashaal”, Sachin burned his desire to get back to Kolkata and leave hyper-commercial Bollywood.

“Burman Da’s” super-“Dadagiri” in Bollywood is well known. But two persons wielded extraordinary influence on him: ever-youth Dev Anand and tragedy king Guru Dutt. Both handled “SD” (Sachin) in a very delicate ways. No wonder, “Navketan” (Dev’s film company) offered such musical memorabilia like Taxi Driver (1950), Munimji (1955), Paying Guest (1957), Nau Do Gyarah (1957), Kalapaani (1958), Bambai Ka Babu (1960), Tere Ghar Ke Samne (1963), Tin Deviyan (1965), Guide (1965) and Jewel Thief (1967).

Revisiting the Melodious SD Burman Legacy

Image source: Rediff (SD Burman and RD Burman in Single frame)

Moody but melody Mughal, “SD” has rolled into the Bollywood history as the maker of musical icons. If he added tunes to the titans like Lata Mangheshkar, Geeta Dutt, Md. Rafi, Shamsad Begum, Talat Mehmood and Mukesh, he also added rhythms to the careers of Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle (who later on, became his daughter-in-law).

Melodious Homage to Sachin Dev Burman

After his quarrel with Lata in 1957, he opted for Asha as his leading singer. He used to treat her as his own daughter. It was only in 1961 when they again came closer: thanks to Rahul Dev Burman. During the making of “Chote Nawab”, Sachin-Lata duo patched up their differences. The excellent result was “Piya Tose Naina Lage Re….” of Guide.

“SD” also chiseled the career of Gulzaar, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Anand Bakshi. During the filming of Bandini, he took fancy for a young man named Sampooran Singh as he liked his style of lyrics. Bandini firmly established Sampooran. We today know him as Gulzar.

“SD” is no more. But “Gata Rahe Mera Dil…..”remains.

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