Rains and Remembering RD

Today’s another of those rainy days. In fact, it’s so wet and cold that I won’t be surprised if the Cullens decided to leave Forks and move to Mumbai! I’m sitting at my desk sipping on the nth cup of hot tea and coughing every 2 minutes. I’d be dead if there was no music but, thankfully, there is. 

And, like always, it’s managing to pull me back from the brink of utter helplessness. I spent the afternoon listening to yesteryears’ Bollywood classics, and couldn’t help but notice that most of the songs on my playlist were composed by RD Burman. There wasn’t one genre that he hadn’t attempted, and his repertoire had a song for every mood, every emotion. Had he been amongst us today, he’d have celebrated his 75th birthday on 27 June. So what if he isn’t? His music is, and it just celebrated a happy 75th! 

While it’s silly to compare one song of his to another, or try to rank them, I do have a few definite favorites that I like a wee bit more than the rest. Here are the 5:

Kuch Toh Log Kahenge- Amar Prem (1972)

The love story between a courtesan and Bengali bhadralok had some terrific songs, Raini Beeti Jaaye in Lata Mangeshkar’s voice being a particular favorite. But, it’s Kuch Toh Log Kahenge’s melodic pattern, where raaga Khamaj mixes with Kalaavati, coupled with Anand Bakshi’s philosophical lyrics about the contours of morality in Kishore Kumar’s intoxicating voice that makes it immortal. Of course, Rajesh Khanna’s charm only adds to it!

Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi- Aandhi (1975)

Rumoured to have been based on then PM Indira Gandhi’s life, it was Bengali superstar Suchitra Sen’s last Hindi film. But, what it’s best remembered for is its haunting soundtrack which had classics like Iss Mod Se Jaate Hain and Tum Aa Gaye Ho. Aandhi is, undoubtedly, one of the best Pancham-Gulzar collaborations! Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi conveys tenderness and regret rather poignantly, and Sanjeev Kapoor-Suchitra Sen’s unspoken chemistry only further brings out its beauty.

The Hum Kisise Kum Nahin soundtrack (1973)

Chaand Mera Dil, Yeh Ladka Haaye Allah, Bachna Ae Haseeno, Kya Hua Tera Waada, the list is endless. This was 70s’ music at its best! From qawwali to disco, Pancham covered multiple genres. And, who can forget the medley- dimpled Rishi versus two-left-footed Tariq! Yes, one of the songs was ‘inspired’ by the hit ABBA track, Mamma Mia. But, that doesn’t take away from the fact that the medley is one of THE most fun songs in the history of Indian cinema! 
Aajkal Paon Zameen Par- Ghar (1978)
Yet another RD-Gulzar collaboration, Ghar boasts of gems like Aap Ki Aankhon Mein Kuch, Phir Wohi Raat Hai, and Tere bina Jiya Jaaye Na. But, it’s the almost childlike innocence in Lata Mangeshkar’s pitch-perfect voice that makes this simple, melodious song immortal. 

Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyaar- Teesri Manzil (1966)

All of us, irrespective of the generation we belong to, have at some point shimmied and head-banged to this Shammi Kapoor classic. Teesri Manzil is the perfect B’wood film with a soundtrack, which is as good, if not better! But, it’s the infectious energy of RD-orchestrated madness, which is reflected in sRafi and Asha Bhosle’s spunky vocals that makes this an evergreen chart-topper!

Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon finish writing her debut novel and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy.
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