In the 90s, listening to RD’s brand of music was an iconic feeling. Because, way back then, I felt his music was ahead of his times. In terms of music arrangement, orchestra, background score or titillating vocals, RD was a master. Run down 25 years later, I still think RD’s music was much ahead of times. That, for me, is legendary. And, no wonder Pancham Da’s (as he is fondly remembered) compositions takes us on a frivolous ride of nostalgia and class.
I will not take the writing route to shower tributes on a composer who is known to us through his irreversible music. I will list down my Pancham favorites, and you tell me if we still don’t go gaga over their perennial presence in our compressed lives.
Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera – Teesri Manzil (1966)
Yes, years back before I was even born. But grew up crooning over this song as it was courageous combo of rock and melody. With Rafi’s histrionics as the vocalist and Shammi Kapoor’s ethereal movements, this remains an all time dance masti till date.
Musafir Hoon Yaaron – Musafir (1971)
This song is an embodiment of life’s melancholy, and so aptly condensed in to a soundtrack that could deliver the right moods. Kishore Kumar’s vocals and Gulzar’s words – just couldn’t get any better.
Kya Hua Tera Vaada – Hum Kisise Kum Nahin (1977)
Though this was nowhere near Rafi Saab’s finest, RD’s tunes bought back memories of his glorious rein in the playback industry. This was one amongst those numerous films that banked heavily on RD’s soundtrack and the juggernaut continued.
Mehbooba – Sholay (1975)
I love RD the composer. With Mehbooba, I fell in love with his voice. Husky, heavily smoked, thick vocal layers. But with this genre of his voice, he created magic and Sholay was never the same again. In fact, Sholay has some breathtaking background score – especially at the time when it was made. It’s shocking to know that RD never bagged an award for Sholay. The pity is entirely ours.
Dum Maro Dum – Hare Krishna Hare Ram (1971)
With the number remakes this song has gone through, I have reasons to believe that the original was truly a breakthrough number. The culmination of rock and Asha’s diaspora was Midas touch to RD’s ever kindling notes. Dum Maro Dum enjoys cult status today, and am not a bit surprised.
Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si – Anamika (1973)
Hugely underrated, this song is a devilish combination of Kishore’s genius and RD’s art. A dark number (unusual in those days), it had Kishore Kumar in full flow and RD’s score just takes my breath away. It still does.
Chingari Koi Bhadke – Amar Prem (1972)
If monologues had language, this would rate amongst the most eternal and undiminished. This song was quintessential RD and Kishore at their mellifluous best, and is a constant topper in my playlist. Not to forget Anand Bakshi, whose words remain immortalized till date.
Ye Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kati Patang (1970)
Another musical chartbuster from the RD camp. Beautifully rendered by Kishore Kumar, Kati Patang was the roller coaster ride RD never wanted to step down from.
Tere Bina Zindagi Mein Koi/Tum Aa Gaye Ho – Aandhi (1975)
One of the most accomplished soundtrack from RD’s successful stable. This Gulzar drama drew masses and critics alike as it released during turbulent times for the country. But amidst ruins, RD stood tall.
Kuch Na Kaho – 1942 A Love Story (1994)
My personal pick. Sung with aplomb by Kumar Sanu, this witnessed a fading RD at his usual best. He didn’t live enough to see the soaring business of this soundtrack and it became the final landmark in an otherwise glorious escapade.