Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar remembered her long association with noted Bollywood music director R.D. Burman, affectionately called Pancham Da, on his 21st death anniversary.

The 85-year-old singer has collaborated with Burman on several hit songs like ‘Aaja Piya Tohe Pyar Doon’, ‘Agar Tum Na Hote’, ‘Mere Naina Sawan Bhadon’, ‘Raina Beeti Jaye’, ’Tujhse Naraz Nahin Zindagi’ among others.

“Today is the 21st death anniversary of RD Burman. He was such a talented artiste… he used to compose songs and could also sing very well himself. He loved to try different methods and techniques while composing songs.

“I pay an emotional tribute to such a great artiste,” Mangeshkar posted alongside the links of two of her favourites songs composed by Burman- ‘Tere Bina Jiya Jaye Na’ and ‘Bahon Mein Chale Aao’

Burman died on January 4, 1994. His last work was seen in ‘1942: A Love Story’, which was released after his demise.


On his 21st death anniversary. 

 Little known facts 

– RD Burman was nicknamed as Puncham and was popularly addressed by most of his industry friends the same name. Apparently the nickname was given to him by actor Ashoke Kumar when he heard the newborn Rahul saying the word Pa repeatedly. Another story says that RD Burman could cry in five different notes and hence was called Puncham (meaning five in Bengali).

–  S. D. Burman used R. D.’s tune ‘ai meree topee palat ke aa’ in ‘Fantoosh’. R. D. Burman was only 9 when he composed the tune.

RD Burman did schooling from St Xavier’s School in Kolkata.

RD Burman’s first released film as an independent music director was Chhote Nawab (1961).

His first movie as a Music Director was ‘Raaz’, which was to be directed by Guru Dutt. The film was shelved, and 2 songs already composed for the movie was used in other films.

R. D. Burman made his first onscreen appearance in Mehmood’s ‘Bhoot Bangla’.

He was famous for having music sessions in his studio with various artists across the country. There one could find Santoor player Shiv Kumar Sharma, flautist Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Louis Banks, Kersy Lord and many others jamming together. He also freely took advice from them for his various compositions.

– Apparently some of the tunes credited to his father, the popular music director SD Burman, were actually composed by RD Burman. Some of such superhit songs include ‘Sar Jo Tera Chakraye (Pyaasa), ‘Mere Sapno Ki Rani Kab Aayegi Tu’ (Aradhana) and ‘Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Mann Mera’ (Aradhana).

– Popular music director duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal played in the orchestra of RD Burman.

RD Burman also gave break to several singers like Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet and Mohammad 

There were many films that were made after Pancham Da died in 1994.The list includes Dil Vil Pyar Vyar and Jhankar Beats.

RD Burman met his first wife Rita Patel in Darjeeling. 

In late 1980s RD Burman was overshadowed by disco music composers.


The music for the song “Mehbooba” by R.D.Burman for the movie Sholay was “inspired” by a Western tune, “Say You Love Me” by Demis Roussos, a singer-songwriter of Greek origin.

R. D. Burman and Lata Mangeshkar sang only one duet together. This was for the Gulzar starrer “Libaas”

Pancham introduced the sound of the flanger to Indian film music. The “twang” kind of sound you hear in songs like “dhanno ki ankhon” and “nahin lagta haye dil” was created by putting the flanger on a guitar.

Not many know that the mouth organ played in the song ‘Hai Apna Dil To Awara’ sung by Hemant Kumar in the film ‘Solva Saal’ is played by R.D. Burman himself.

R. D. Burman pioneered the use of electronic organ in Indian Films with the song ‘O mere Sona re’ (Teesri Manzil).

 In ‘Chura liya’ R. D. Burman used the sound of a spoon hitting a glass.

It is said that in order to get the sound of raindrops, R. D. Burman spent a whole rainy night in his house’s balcony recording the sound he wanted.

 R.D. Burman played the mouth organ for his friends Laxmikant-Pyarelal in a song in ‘Dosti’ and also in a movie for Kalyanji-Anandji.

 R. D. Burman’s song ‘Beeti Na Bitaayee Raina’ from ‘Parichay’, was composed by him in a hotel room. Both Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder won a National Award for it.


R. D. Burman was the first to introduce the Brazilian bossa nova rhythm in Hindi film music – the song was “Maar dalega dard-e-jigar”, sung by Asha, in “Pati Patni”.

 In ‘Abdullah’ R. D. Burman used the sound of a bamboo whistle with a balloon tied to it for a song.

Out of RD Burman’s 331 released movie scores, 292 were in Hindi, 31 in Bengali, 3 in Telugu, 2 each in Tamil and Oriya, and 1 in Marathi.

– RD Burman was nominated 18 times at the  Filmfare Awards in the Best Music Director category. Of these, he won  thrice for Sanam Teri Kasam (1983), Masoom (1984) and 1942 A Love Story(1995). Incidentally he won his last award posthumously.



Latin rock album Pantera., is an album that exemplifies World Music it is this. Pantera was Pancham`s collaboration with Jose Flores. It was a huge success in Latin America. It has some upbeat 80s English and Spanish tracks… although rarely heard in India it is a must have album for all RD fans.

The evening raga Khamaj happened to be RD’s favourite and most often used raga. This song in 1942 A Love Story set to Khamaj happened at a time when RD’s confidence as composer was at an all-time low, but the tune doesn’t reflect that at all. Kavita Krishnamurthy sounds as fresh as Manisha Koirala looks on screen, in what turned out to be RD’s swan song. Khamaj is a raga best enjoyed as the sun sets. This song was released posthumously after he suddenly passed away on January 4 1994. The song is a fitting tribute to the genius that Pancham truly was.