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Thursday, February 21, 2013

I listen to a song.  Sometimes I fall in love with the melodious tune . Sometimes, with  the words .   I usually do not remember the words.  I am just happy , humming the tune.  And that is it.  I do not take the trouble to find out who the singer is, nor the music director.  After a while I forget all about the song, till I happen to hear it again.  

All through the school and college years, when the parents were a major influence, I got to listen to their favourite music.  Marathi Abhangas  in the mornings , Marathi Bhavgeete in the evenings and ghazals in the night. Bhimsen Joshi, Ajit Kadkade, Asha Bhosale,  Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Arun Date, Suresh Wadkar, Rajinder and Nina Gupta, Pandit Hari Om Sharan, Anup Jalota, Sonali Jalota, A Hariharan, Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali , Bhupen Hazarika and my all time favourites Jagjit and Chitra Singh.

In my twenties I was introduced to the Beatles.  By friends.  The friends at work loved their Hindi film music.  I started liking some Hindi songs too, the dard bhare songs, which appealed to the broken heart.   :-)   That was the age of crushes and infatuations.  

English Pop took over in the early 90's. The husband had a good collection.  

As I grew older, and with newer responsibilities , music took a back seat.

It is only when the internet was introduced at home, that I went back to my songs.    Playlists were made.  Mp3's were copied.  The MTV  and Billboard hits were revisited.  Songs were downloaded. It was a happy time.  Some websites which catered to Hindi songs were identified.  While looking for Jagjit Singh Ghazals, I  browsed through Hindi Film music .  The Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosale songs became favourites.  And I started noticing the music director.  All my favourite songs were R D Burman songs.  I also noticed that I was preferring the R D  Burman Gulzaar combination.

When our school gang connected in 2011 , it was a good time  getting to know each other once again. Most of them were musically inclined.  Bollywood music, Ghazals, Marathi Bhaavgeet and Abhangas, Bhajans, English Pop .... Some friends were partial to one or then there were some like me... who liked it all.   At all times we always have  somebody or the other in the group to gush ,   about our favourite gaaana..... whatever the genre!

This was how I landed at a screening of the documentary film , Pancham Unmixed, by Brahmanand Singh.  This film is a National Award winning film.

He had interviewed several members of the film fraternity and had gotten them to share incidents from their interactions with the legendary composer.  Sachin Bhowmick, Asha Bhosle, Shakti Samanta, Manna Dey, Shammi Kapoor, Gulzaar, Gulshan Bawra, Mrs Bawra,  Goldie Anand , his mom and his sister, Bhupinder, Shailendra Singh, Rishi Kapoor,  Vishal Bharadwaj, Shankar, Eshan Loy, Taufiq Quereshi, Manohari Singh and several members from R D Burman's group of musicians.  

Each one had fond memories to share, about the icon that was R D Burman

R D Burman or Pancham as he was fondly called, loved to use different sounds in his music, in his compositions.  So there was the clinking glass, the miniature dholak, the sandpaper, a gargle.  They spoke of how he would notice and hold on to a rhythm his musicans were playing while they were warming up for the music session and incorporate it in a song, if it appealed to him. It was indeed revealing -  the madness which was RDB.  The film gave an insight into what goes into the making of a song.  

One associates a flamboyance with a personality like Shammi Kapoor.  And here he was, with his clear , light eyes, peering back into the past, remembering  and picking out incidents from memory.

Then there was Gulzar.  One associates a soulfulness, a serenity, a calm with Gulzaar.  And here he was talking about his friend Pancham.  His buddy Pancham.  Sharing anecdotes of how RDB saved some compositions exclusively for him, adding, "kya karoon, tera thobda saamney aa gaya ".  He narrates how RDB teased him when he wrote the song from Ijaazat - "Mera kuch saaman", commenting that it wasn't lyrics at all.  R D Burman had further commented,  " kal ko Times of India lekar aaogey and kahogey iski tune banaaa do.."  Such incidents of the camaraderie between the two, brought a smile to the lips.

 Gulzaar, R D Burman, Shammi Kapoor are all great personalities.  But  one got a glimpse of the person behind the persona and found them more likeable.   More closer to  you than when they were while on the pedestal  you had placed them on.  And in all this, the respect for them had only multiplied.

Taufiq Quereshi and Zakir Hussain.   For me, Zakir Hussain in concert was sheer magic.  His mastery over the tabla,  the joy he radiated when he played the table, the wild hair flying, the sweet and almost mischievous smile.... Taufiq Quereshi had always seemed dull in comparison.   I knew he was a master of percussion.  But  I was never as awe struck by him as I was by Zakir Hussain.  How ignorant I was !  In this documentary, he speaks so passionately about R D Burman's musical genius, he demonstrates some intricacies so effortlessly and clearly.... Taufiq Quereshiji - hum aapke gunehgaar hain !

There was one common sentiment that ran through each of the  reminisces.    They all spoke wistfully,   fondly and longingly of R D Burman, .. almost willing him to spring to life, before their eyes once again. 

It was a good experience sitting with a bunch of  Pancham fans and watching this film.  The collective energy was palpable.

One thing is for sure...whenever I will listen to a R D Burman song now , I will be feeling differently.  The ear will be picking out sounds, nuances... which make it a distinctive R D B song.   The song will sound different now.

tthe pain in their gulzar etc eyes...eys... the joy on the fan's faces remain with u long afttethe movue ends


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