Remembering RD Burman

Remembering RD Burman

RD HarmoniumRD Burman (27 June 1939 – 4 January 1994) is an influencer in Bollywood even today. Reality shows dedicate episodes to him, channels organize special RD Music shows, his songs are part of recent movies like Aisha, Tamanchey, Race, etc, TV serials are using cover versions of his songs, not to mention the remixes of his songs. Yet the same RD had long spells towards the end when he was without work. Success and failure perhaps have to be measured beyond the life span of an artiste.

The Charm of Raga Kedar

The Charm of Raga Kedar

Persian literature refers to seven stages of love that begins with attraction (dilqashi or hub); infatuation (uns); love (mohabbat) is the third stage; the fourth stage is one of reverence (aquidat); reverence gives way to worship (ibaadat) and evolves to the sixth stage of an obsession (junoon); death (maut) is the seventh and final stage of love. Worship is also stage of love. No raga exemplifies it better than Kedar […]

Book Review: On The Wings of Music

Book Review: On The Wings of Music

We were meeting after a long time. I remember Shantanu Moitra who used to be the guitarist in school and now a successful composer in Bollywood. We were all waiting to hear Shantanu tell us stories. He is now on a mission to save Indian folk music. The stories about his early attempts at composition and more. “Remember the rock show you pulled off. We actually sold tickets – and […]

RD Burman and Raga Khamaj

Happy birthday Pancham. You would have turned 75 today. Being the son of SD Burman was the biggest barrier that RD had to overcome for a long time. When a composition was good, critics often passed it off as SD’s craft. This was when SD’s gave some sage advice and told his son, “Whatever you compose sounds like a Madan Mohan or Roshan melody. You need to have a style […]

Ten Memorable Prayer Songs from Hindi Films

Ten Memorable Prayer Songs from Hindi Films

If you had to draw up a list of prayer songs from Hindi films, it would be a tough task. We have always had a long history of mythologicals and religious films. Should the choice be driven by the popularity of the song? Should one focus on the mood evoked by the song or should one look for a song that has a combination of great lyrics and music? Should […]

The Charm of Raga Yaman

The Charm of Raga Yaman

The next time you go to Delhi, take a stroll down to the final resting place of the thirteenth century poet and musician Amir Khusro and his spiritual guide Nizamuddin Auliya. Amir Khusro’s description of Kashmir was eloquent. He described it the way a poet would. Agar firdaus bar ru-e-zameen ast Hameen ast-o hameen ast-o, hameen ast (Trans: If there is paradise on earth; it is this; it is this; […]

10 Terrific Songs of Sahir Ludhianvi

10 Terrific Songs of Sahir Ludhianvi

Sahir Ludhianvi (8 March 1921 – 25 October 1980) had the gift of a genius and perhaps the curse of one as well. His poetry drew people to him and his ego ruined every working relationship sooner or later. Whether it was because he insisted on getting a rupee more than Lata to establish equality with her or his ascribing the success of his songs to his skill alone that […]

Dedh Ishqiya

Dedh Ishqiya

Sequels never do well – especially in cinema. There are very few exceptions to this rule. In recent times we had Munnabhai MBBS made in 2003 and then the sequel Lage Raho Munnabhai made three years later still managed to tickle the funny bone of the audience with Munnabhai and his sidekick Circuit. In 2010 we saw the introduction of two characters in Hindi cinema, “Khalujaan” Iftekhar played by Naseeruddin […]

Ten Terrific Songs of RD Burman – Raga Based

Ten Terrific Songs of RD Burman - Raga Based

RD Burman passed away on 4th January 1994.  That year saw the release of 1942 A Love Story, a score that was to get him one of his three Filmfare awards for Best Music Director. He got nominated 17 times for the award that eluded him. While we mostly associate a more western sound with RD, I think of him as a composer who simplified the most complex Hindustani classical music […]

The Ten Best Songs of Manna Dey

The Ten Best Songs of Manna Dey

Manna Dey began his career when he sang a duet with Suraiya in the film Tamanna in 1942. A year later he followed with his first solo “Gayi tu gayi Seeta sati” from the film Ram Rajya. He came to Bombay not to be a singer but to be a composer, inspired by his uncle Krishna Chandra Dey. Manna Dey assisted Anil Biswas and Khem Chandra Prakash before deciding to abandon his dream of composing music. In the fifties, when […]

Lootera

Lootera

The movie begins like a cup of flavored coffee. You cannot gulp it down. You have to sit back and unhurriedly sip the coffee. Enjoy the aroma and relish the flavor as it tickles your palate. The love story is narrated through the feast of music and visuals. But the last twenty minutes of the film felt like sipping coffee that had turned cold because it had been left too […]

Movie Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Movie Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is based on a novel by Mohsin Hamid. The author shares some similarities with the protagonist of the film. Both grew up in Lahore, attended Princeton and Harvard Law School before spending many years as a management consultant in New York. Mira Nair’s film is set in two times 2001 and again in 2011 and also straddles two cities – New York and Lahore. The protagonist Changez […]