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SD Burman Pioneer in Creating Tune First (HD)

S. D. Burman - Pioneer in Creating Tune First By Moti Lalwani Preamble: In the early days, a director would narrate the scene to the songwriter, who would then write lyrics based on the scene. The director and the songwriter would then go to the music director who would compose the tune based on the scene and the meter of the lyrics. S. D. Burman realized that this system had a handicap for the music director who could not use his creativity freely. He believed that for the song’s popularity, it was necessary to have a good tune, based on which the songwriter could always fill in the words to suit the tune. The majority of songs created with the tune first became more popular, remaining etched in the memory for a longer period. The trend caught on with other music directors too, creating tune first followed by lyrics. It became a norm thereafter for majority of the songs. Dada’s Bangla Music from 1932: Burman Dada started recording his songs from 1932. His friend and Bengal’s most popular writer Ajay Bhattacharya wrote for about 30% of Dada’s Bangla songs from 1933 to 1943. Unfortunately, Ajay expired in 1943, at the young age of 37. Besides personal loss, Dada felt the need for a writer who could write on his tunes. There were lyricists all over Bengal, queuing to write for Dada. But he was very selective. The poet, apart from the “music sense”, should be able to fit his words into Dada’s tune. When lyricist Mohini Chowdhury went to Dada’s house, Dada showed him a chair and said in Bangla, “Boshen ei khaney. Ei chair khanai Ajoy boito. Shurer opor gaan likhtey parben to?” (“Sit in this chair. Ajoy used to sit here. Can you write on tunes?”) “I will try”, said Mohini Chowdhury, who had tremendous respect for Ajay Bhattachrya. (‘Incomparable Sachin Dev Burman’ by HQ Chowdhury) Hindi Music from 1946: Music Director Uttam Singh: “Hamari industry mein ek asool tha, ki director, song writer ke paas jaaya karte the. Aur song writer se kehte the ki yeh mera scene hai, yeh meri situation hai, ispe aap gaana likhiye. Tab, us gaane ko leke, director aur writer, sangeetkar ke paas jaaya karte the. Aur phir sangeetkar gaane ki dhun banate the. Yeh silsila bahut saal tak chalta raha. Is silsile ko break kiya Shri S. D. Burman Saheb ne. Maine unke paas bahut kaam kiya, aur main unko hamesha ‘Baba’ kaha karta tha. Woh Dada ke naam se jaane jaate the, lekin main unko Baba kaha karta tha, jaise father hote hain. To (pehle) dhun banane ka jo silsila shuru hua hai, yeh Burman saheb se shuru hua hai.” (Source: Saragama 5 CD Series ‘Legends – S. D. Burman’) Some Protests: Naturally there were some protests too by lyric writers who were not used to writing on the tune. Well-known writer Kaifi Azmi, whose first Hindi film ‘Buzdil’ was released in 1951 with music by S.D. Burman, said in an interview: Kaifi Azmi, “S.D. Burman sahib ke saath raat ko jaake mile hum, aur unhonein tune di. Wahaan yeh hota hai, ki gaana tune par likhna padta hai. Pehle music director ek tune banaa leta hai. Bilkul waisa hai jaise kabar khod di, aur yeh ki murda lao, is size k murda le aao. To kabhi murda ka sar bahar reh jaata hai, kabhi paon bahar reh jaata hai. Magar hamaare us gaane mein yeh tha ki poora fit baith gaya tha. Us se log samajhe ki yeh achche-achche murde gaadh lenge is liya is ko is ko rakho.” (Souce: Kafi sahab's interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wo5Dxye1W-A&app=desktop) Support on Tune First: Though Burman Dada was the pioneer, much later some of the stalwarts supported the trend of tune first: Begum Akhtar: The queen of the Ghazals and melody has subsequently gone on record that, “The ‘sur’ (tune) of the singer should make the desired impact. Lyrics come later”. (Source: ‘A tribute to the queen of Ghazals’ an article by Amarendra Dhaneshwar in Mumbai Mirror dated February 22, 2009.) Gulzar: “I believe that in any song that becomes a hit, the primary factors are the rhythm and the tune. The words follow. In fact, the quality of the words depends on how much it matches the melody and the beat. That is why I consider the role of the lyricist as secondary to that of the composer.” (Source: ‘Bollywood melodies by Ganesh Ananthraman – Page 133) Conclusion: It has been an accepted fact that S.D. Burman had the highest number of hit songs as compared to his output during active period from 1946 to 1975. There were a number of reasons for that, tune first being this being one of them.

Durga Puja in The Land of S D Burman (Tripura)

This video should be seen in conjunction with the two earlier videos, namely ‘Sachin Dev Burman Memorial Govt Music College’ and ‘S.D. Burman Birth Anniversary Celebrations in Agartala’. This part is the culmination of our memorable trip to Agartala from October 1st to 3rd in 2011 which remains etched forever in our memory, to the land of Sachin Dev Burman. We were fortunate that our trip coincided with the start of Durga Puja period. After site seeing during the day time, we went around watching different pandals with Durga Ma installed in them. There was music everywhere, which sounded pleasing to the ears. People in their finest attire were on the road, visiting pandals after pandals. Sachin da has said in his autobiography, As the saying goes, “In the Royal Palace of Tripura everyone sings, from the King to the Servants. Nobody is born there who cannot sing: Farmers, boatmen, fishermen, weavers, labourers, all sing there while doing their jobs. People there have god-gifted voice and music-sense. I am from that soil of Tripura; probably that is why my life passed by singing. Music is my first love.” (Moti Lalwani and S. Natraj)

S. D. Burman Birth Anniversary Celebrations in Agartala

S.D. Burman Birth Anniversary Celebrations: That evening, the Department of Information, Cultural Affairs & Tourism, Government of Tripura, organized a wonderful presentation of SDB’s songs. The programme lasted almost four hours. There were more than twenty songs presented by various artistes from different districts of Tripura. There were a few dance items presented by children based on SDB songs that were played in the background. We enjoyed all the songs, some of which were well known songs from Hindi movies. Special mention needs to be made of the presentation of ‘Poochho na kaise’ by a senior artiste, and also ‘Srimati je kaande’ that was rendered passionately by Mr. Girindra Kumar Mazumdar, who is also Mrinal’s brother-in-law. Mr. Mazumdar has spent all his life studying the various aspects of SDB’s music, and he himself comes quite close to rendering the songs in SDB’s style. He is perhaps the most resourceful person when it comes to documenting SDB’s life and his music. We were to meet him again two days later for an exclusive sitting that lasted more than two hours. (More on that in another article.) Before the programme started, the Chief Guest, Hon. Minister of Cultural Affairs, Govt. of Tripura, Mr. Anil Sarkar, invited us for a chat, where he presented Moti-ji with a book that had been produced by the Department and released on the occasion of the Centenary celebrations of Burman Dada in 2006. The book in Bengali contains various articles on the life and times of SD Burman. It was wonderful and touching to realize the import of the efforts made by the Government of Tripura in preserving the legacy of the music developed by Burman Dada. While the centenary celebrations organized by them in 2006 themselves were reportedly most befitting, the government has continued the tradition by organizing such an event every year on the birth anniversary of Dada. The government has also instituted several awards in his name to students of music and performing artistes. The Hon. Minister, who was the Chief Guest, stated in his speech that the celebration of the birth anniversary of S D Burman was being organized not only in Agartala, but also in all the sub-districts. He also spoke of his dream of spreading the works of Tagore, the poetry of Kazi Nazrul Islam and the music of Sachin Dev Burman in all the 40 blocks of the state. This, he said, would include developing at least 5 artistes in each of the blocks (two hundred in all), who would be trained in the music of these three personalities and who would perform their works at various functions to keep alive their legacy and bring it to the young generations. The initiatives taken by the Government of Tripura, especially by the Hon. Minister are no doubt laudable. What is even more important is that this may be a singular reason that Dada’s music is talked about with such fervour 50 years from now. It is also significant that no other government, to my knowledge, so actively promotes the music of Sachinda. The Secretary of the Department, Mr. Santanu Kumar Das, and the nephew of Sachinda Mr. Ankur Dev Burman also spoke on the occasion. All the three speakers warmly welcomed Mr. Moti Lalwani and me, and were amazed that the love and passion for SD Burman could inspire us to travel all the way to Agartala to participate in the Birth Anniversary celebrations. Moti-ji, for all the passion that has gone into his documenting SDB’s life through all his writings and interviews of renowned personalities, naturally drew a lot of respect from the people all around. The minister too was very happy to learn about Moti ji’s activities, and was amazed at such passion. I, accompanying him, thoroughly enjoyed the various memorable moments and the attention. Dada has sung 131 Bengali songs. His unique style of music and singing– sometimes referred to as Sachin Dev Burman Gharana music – is a blend of classical music, ‘lok geet’ and ‘adhunik’. Although we, from outside Bengal, know him to be one of the greatest composers in Hindi films, whose compositions have remained popular even to this day, he is remembered in Bengal (which includes East Bengal and Tripura) for his 131 songs in Bengali. I have been lately listening to his Bengali songs, and during this function, listening to them again was indeed a treat. The beats (the thekas), the drawl, the nuances – how he would express the emotions by pronouncing a word in his unique way, all these I could understand and enjoy. Most importantly the love she and Mrinal showered on us throughout our stay is something that I would cherish throughout my life. So, would definitely Moti-ji. (The author S. Natraj was a banker in his active life. After retirement he shifted to Bangalore to pursue his long-time passion of teaching, and is presently as a consultant with Manipal Global Education Services in Bangalore.) *********

Sachin Dev Burman Memorial Govt Music College

Sachin Dev Burman Memorial Govt Music College Moti Lalwani-ji and I (S. Natraj), landed in Agartala around 1.30 in the afternoon on October 1, 2011, the 106th birth anniversary of Sachin Karta. On arrival, we were treated to a warm welcome from Mr. Mrinal Devburman, who was accompanied by his lovely daughter Anini. We were meeting Mrinal for the first time, but even as we shook hands, it was like we had known him for years. The family of SDB bhakts is amazing! Our host, Mrinal Dev Burman, kept the itinerary close to his chest. We thought we were going to the hotel to dump our bags and have something to eat, as it was past 2.00 pm. But when the car halted suddenly at an imposing building, it was thrilling to find that the Government Music College has been named ‘Sachin Deb Burman Government College of Tripura’. We were welcomed by the Principal of the College, Mrs. Monika Das, and other teachers. The College had organized a function earlier in the day to celebrate SDB’s birth anniversary, the students presenting many of dada’s songs. The programme had concluded before we arrived. Seeing that we were ardent fans of SDB, the Principal arranged with the boys to present three songs – ‘Takdum takdum bajai Bangladesher hol’ (which was composed during the Bangladesh war, and has become a second national song of that country), ‘Nishithe jaio phulo bone’ (on which is ased ‘Dheere se janaa bagian mein’) and ‘Mono Dilona bodhu’ (on which is based ‘Jaane kya tune kahee’). (I am sure that Mrinal, a passionate SDB lover and an influential host, arranged this, but he didn’t mention it). Our visit to the College was just a beginning to what turned out to be a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable three and a half days’ trip to Tripura. (The author S. Natraj was a banker in his active life. After retirement he shifted to Bangalore to pursue his long-time passion of teaching, and is presently as a consultant with Manipal Global Education Services in Bangalore.)

Anu Malik on Maestro Sachin Dev Burman (HD)

Anu Malik (born 2nd November 1960), son of Sardar Malik, is an actor, singer, music director, director and producer in Bollywood. He was very successful during the 1990s. He has been judging the popular television show ‘Indian Idol’ from its inception. In his interview here, Anu Malik narrates what he remembers personally about maestro Sachin Dev Burman, as well as what he heard from his son Pancham. Anu Malik calls Sachin Dev Burman, "A saintly person. I can’t describe that feeling". Anu goes on to add, "What he has composed, would take another 1000 years even to come close to any one song that he has composed".

Music Director Khayyam on S. D. Burman

In the beginning, music director Khayyam was struggling to create a footing in the film industry. Burman Dada, who liked composing style of Khayyam, advised him through writer Kaifi Azmi, not to be choosy initially, but to accept whatever he gets to survive. Khayyam liked the advice of Burman who was much senior to him and established in the industry. Rest is history.

Ameen Sayani on S. D. Burman (Part II) HD

S. D. Burman was one of the three most favourite music directors of Ameen Sayani, the other two being Roshan and Madan Mohan. Ameen ji was especially fond of Burman Dada, due to folk element present in Dada’s compositions. As per Ameen ji, Dada’s was a very beautiful personality. Ameen ji narrates how Burman Dada would take Kishore Kumar away from the hustle and bustle of Bombay, to natural surroundings in the fields and farms, to make him sing-along with Dada who himself. Dada was a highly trained singer, and he trained Kishore’s raw natural voice. Even though Kishore had no formal training, his voice became one of the best voices in the film industry.

Ameen Sayani on Binaca Geetmala and S. D. Burman (Part I) HD

Ameen Sayani has been the most popular radio announcer in India, and also the most imitated till date. His ‘Binaca Geet Mala’ hit-parade program in its peak time had become such a hit, that nobody ever bought a radio unless “Geetmala” could be clearly received on it. Film music was in its “Golden Period”, and anybody who was interested in Hindi film songs would never miss “Geetmala!” Hence, “Geetmala” became a part and parcel of Indian life. It was broadcast for over 36 years over two Short Wave transmitters of Radio Ceylon – covering the entire Asian continent and reaching right up to East and South Africa. It was estimated that, until the early seventies, Geetmala used to have almost Twenty Crore (Two Hundred Million) people listening to it every week! In this interview, Ameen Sayani unravels some of the challenges he had to face and how he solved them to the satisfaction of everyone. Some names have been edited out keeping in mind his request to us to do so. Part I deals mainly with Binaca Geet Mala and maestro S.D. Burman, while Part II, yet to be uploaded, will mainly deal with S.D. Burman and his music.

Gulzar on S. D. Burman – Part III

Gulzar on Sachinda: "Though he deserves to be called a legend, I would lovingly and respectfully still call Sachin Dev Burman as "The Prince of Indian Melody".

Gulzar on S. D. Burman – Part II

Every evening after his bath, wearing a crisp, starched, white dhoti-kurta, with a small drink by his side in which he would continuously add soda/water, a string of fragrant jasmine flowers on his wrist, accompanied by a harmonium, Sachin-da would be rehearsing music and creating tunes. This would continue till late in the evening. This was the 'nawaabi' style of Sachin-da, given his royal heritage as a blue-blooded prince, born and brought-up within the royal family. His father was a prince from the royal family of Tripura, and mother was a princess from the royal family of Manipur. In spite of all that he had inherited from the royal family, in real life he was a very simple and innocent person, with no airs of the royal family.

Gulzar on S. D. Burman (Part I) - ‘Mora gora and lai le’

Gulzar describes how he met Bimal Roy who explained the situation to him. Sachin-da used to visit Bimal Roy’s office to discuss the tune. Pancham used to accompany his father bringing along his ‘dagga’ (left side of percussion instrument tabla, also known as baya) for rhythm. Sachin-da asked Gulzar to write according to the tune, asking him not to sing it to Bimal Roy. Gulzar did not know how to sing, and won’t be able to bring out the emotions in the song. The song became a superhit, and remains so till date.

Sachin Dev Burman and his Aradhana (Part II)

Late Kersi Lord, a musical genius with over 5,000 songs behind him in which he had taken part in different capacities, loved to narrate to us an anecdote, that there was a book published from Pune on music. It had mistakes in it. Kersi, “I can vouch for it, that there were glaring mistakes. Other books, articles, etc. followed, giving reference of that book. All of them copying the same mistakes which were in that one book”. Human beings are not supposed to be like sheep, who simply follow the earlier sheep over the cliff! Or, are they? The same thing had happened to the music of Aradhana released in 1969. None of the arrangers, sitting members, solo musicians, lyrics writer, sound recordist, or anyone even remotely connected with Aradhana’s music said anything contrary to what is depicted in the movie-titles. As they say, the truth prevails in the end. Enjoy the video Sachin Dev Burman and his Aradhana (Part II). Part I was posted earlier. Part III is in the process.

Sachin Dev Burman and his Aradhana (Part I)

YouTube has each song uploaded multiple times. The statistics below are of the Aradhana songs uploaded only by M/s Rajshri, the copyright owners of Aradhana Songs. The data below is of ten years, i.e. from 2008 to 2018: ‘Mere sapno ki rani’ by Kishore: Viewed 64,484,590 times. ‘Chanda hai tu’ by Lata: Viewed 25,411,879 times. ‘Kora kagaz tha’ by Kishore: Viewed 24,392,101 times ‘Roop tera mastana’ by Kishore: Viewed 15,700,965 times ‘Safal hogi teri’ by SD Burman: Viewed 973,516 times ‘Gun guna rahe hain’ by Rafi: Viewed 7,246,771 ‘Bagon mein bahar hai’ by Rafi: Viewed 3,082,132 Shakti Samanta on music of Aradhana: “Subject and Bengali story. Sachin Karta had done super job in both Dev Anand films Guide (1965) and Jewel Thief (1967) and I really wanted to go back to him. Also, Nayyar was never a choice for a Bengali subject, neither was Shankar-Jaikishan.” “In Aradhana (1969), Sachin Karta gave me my life’s biggest hits. From the record sale of Aradhana, I made so much money that I produced next five films only from the music sale of Aradhana. Of course, the film was a huge hit also. You know, the record was dubbed and released in 5 languages, and was a hit in every language.” (Shakti Samanta in an interview with researcher Mr Peeyush Sharma) Javed Akhtar in one of the episodes of The Golden Years - 1950-1975: “There is something known as successful music. Then there is hit music. Then there is super-hit music and finally there is Aradhana’s music which is even higher than super-hit music… This film was a phenomenon in itself. This is the film which gave Rajesh Khanna his place in the sun actually.” (Shared by Deepa Buty in Sachin Karta Group)

The Golden Voice of Sachin Dev Burman (Part II)

Note: For our research, fair use of outside material has been done and credit given where known. In case of any missing reference, the needful will be done no sooner it is brought to our notice. Sachin Dev Burman in his autobiography, “I was born to the Tripura Royal family, in the era of luxury and affluence. I have seen bountiful of wealth, comfort, style and etiquette in our family. According to the Royal protocol, from early childhood, we were taught by elders to be conscious about maintaining sufficient distance from the so-called ‘common people’. Our elders used to keep a strong vigil on us so that we don’t mix with those, whom they thought to be ‘commoners’. I never could abide by their order. I do not know why, since the beginning of coming to senses, I felt attracted to the soil and liked to be in the lap of the nature. I felt very close to the people, whom our elders used to call ‘commoners’. Anyway, since my childhood, never bending to be ‘A Distinguished’, I became one of the commoners by mixing amongst them to the last drop. The Royal Family-members did not like this habit. But my father did not have any such Pride or Prejudice, though he was a Prince and Minister of the Tripura Raj, the only heir of late Maharaja Ishanchandra Manikya Bahadur.”

Aslam on S D Burman - 'Matlab jo samjhe' Barood 1976

Ace Composer S.D. Burman often added subtle nuances to the song which enhanced the mood of the song. Just like he added 'Ahh' to 'Chod do aanchal, zamana kya kahega' from Paying Guest (1957). In ‘Matlab jo samjhe’, Burman Dada asked his writer Anand Bakshi to add a deep breathing sound before the song begins, which turned out to be very pleasant to the ears.