Saturday February 24, 2018

Remembering Pancham Da: The man, the musician, the legend

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By Ankit Sinha

His death in 1994 left a void in the Indian film music industry, but even over two decades later, R.D. Burman’s lilting melodies and soulful tunes continue to inspire and influence musicians and music aficionados alike, members of the fraternity say.

Among the several veteran music directors who have graced the Indian film industry over the years, Burman, fondly called Pancham Da, would have turned 76 on Saturday. But he passed away when he was just 54.

Filmmaker Brahmanand S. Siingh, who has released his latest work “Knowing Pancham” – an extensive collection of anecdotes, insights and observations on Burman – says the interest around the seminal music director’s life and legacy continues to grow.

“Everybody is wanting to know more about R.D. Burman, the hunger never dies,” Siingh told IANS.

Talking about his new body of work on the legendary composer’s legacy, Siingh said: “People who are interested in knowing about R.D. Burman’s early life, or his first marriage, would like this collection.”

Burman’s youthful exuberance, his diverse interests and his personality, too, have been spoken of in great detail in “Knowing Pancham”, he said.

Siingh, who shares a “personal connect” with Burman’s timeless music, also said that he used his “own understanding of Pancham Da’s music” to create “Knowing Pancham”.

Having earlier directed a documentary film titled “Pancham Unmixed” on the famed music director’s life and music, Siingh said youngsters need to understand why Pancham Da is regarded as a musical genius.

“We often talk about Pancham Da’s genius, but we don’t exactly know why he was a genius. Youngsters need to understand music little better; have more time and patience and certain emotional intelligence to connect with his music,” he added.

Siingh’s insights about R.D.Burman’s vast body of work, which includes timeless classics like “Chura liya hai tumne jo dil ko“, “Ek main aur ek tu“, “Tere bina jiya jaaye na“, are shared by musicians Tochi Raina and Benny Dayal, who will be singing unplugged versions of the legend’s famous tracks on 92.7 BIG FM’s tribute show “Yadon Mein Pancham” on Saturday.

Benny Dayal, a recipient of R.D. Burman Award for New Music Talent, says he “grew up listening to Pancham Da’s music”.

He will be performing hit songs like “Sagar kinare dil ye pukare” and “O mere dil ke chain” at the radio station’s “Yadon Mein Pancham” tribute and says he has given his own “twist” to these numbers.

“I have given my twist to it, but the structure remains the same. Pancham Da’s music is very rooted to a lot of people’s lives and if you change it, people may not appreciate it. Nobody will deny, you can take a guitar or a piano and re-arrange Pancham Da’s music and people will like it,” he told IANS.

An attempt was made in the Bollywood film “Dil Vil Pyar Vyar”, which had an album full of re-arranged versions of Burman’s hit tracks. While it was musically appreciated, the movie didn’t fare too well at the box office.

Singer Tochi Raina, who has lent his voice for popular songs like “Iktara” and “Saibo”, says that there was a sense of “poetry” in all of Burman’s compositions.

“Pancham Da’s compositions, his poetry was amazing. We can’t have the same thinking as him, but we can take inspiration from him,” he told IANS.

During his heydays, Burman pioneered in bringing western music to an unprecedented level in the Indian film industry and Tochi believes that he was able to do that with his analytical style of composing.

“Pancham Da was a tabla player and then he learned western classical. He analysed the music and got inspired by poetry. And the lyrics had power. When I listen to his music, I analyse the kind of sounds he utilised,” he added.

Known for his knack for experimentation with sounds, the legendary composer, who is known for evergreen songs like “Yaadon ki baraat“, “Tum bin jaaun kahan“, gave legendary singers Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar some of the best tunes to lend their voices to.

-IANS

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Fiction Can’t Beat Facts: Rajkumar Hirani

"People make fictional stories to entertain the audience but a documentary filmmaker makes documentary which is closer to his or her heart."

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Rajkumar Hirani is one of the most talented indian filmmakers. facebook
Rajkumar Hirani is one of the most talented indian filmmakers. Facebook
  • Rajkumar Hirani is famous Indian film director
  • He is currently shotting Sanjay Dutt’s biopic
  • The biopic will star Ranbir Kapoor and is said to based on true facts

Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani, who is busy shooting for a biopic on actor Sanjay Dutt, says fiction can’t beat facts.

Hirani attended a special screening of the documentary titled “Raising The Bar”, hosted by filmmaker Onir and producer Mitu Bhowmick Lange in association with Australian Consulate General Mumbai on Thursday.

Rajkumar Hirani is working on Sanjay dutt's biopic.
Rajkumar Hirani is working on Sanjay dutt’s biopic.

Asked about the importance of making documentaries, Hirani said: “I feel why should we see only fiction? We should watch documentaries because they can be very interesting as well.”

“Earlier, they never used to get platforms but I think they should get a platform so that more and more people can come forward to make documentaries. I think documentaries are really engaging as they are real, and fiction can’t beat facts.”

The “3 Idiots” director said documentary filmmakers make films that are close to their heart.

“Documentary filmmakers choose subjects which they feel about, which they are affected by or which they have seen around them. So, I feel it’s nice that people come to know about these things,” he said.

Rajkumar Hirani has made brilliant movies like '3 idiots' in the past. Wikimedia Commons
Rajkumar Hirani has made brilliant movies like ‘3 idiots’ in the past. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots: 10 Interesting Fact You Should Know

“People make fictional stories to entertain the audience but a documentary filmmaker makes documentary which is closer to his or her heart.”

Will he ever make a documentary?

Hirani said: “I am really fond of it. I want to make it and I will definitely make it. I have many subjects to tell and when the time will be right, I will speak more about it.”

“Raising The Bar” is a poignant tale which follows awe-inspiring stories of six young individuals with Down syndrome from two different continents who all meet at the World Down Syndrome Congress in Chennai.

Rajkumar Hirani is famous for films which are out of ordinary. Wikimedia Commons
Rajkumar Hirani is famous for films which are out of ordinary. Wikimedia Commons

Also Read: Filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani Tweets about Bollywood Star Sanjay Dutt’s Biopic Shoot

The documentary aims to create awareness and emotionally engage the audience with the universal message of inclusion and diversity, celebrating the differences that make us all unique.

Helmed by National Award-winning director Onir, “Raising The Bar” is a 70-minute documentary which has won several awards internationally. IANS