The most underrated songs of R. D. Burman (Part 2)

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This series of three articles is an attempt to unearth some of R. D. Burman’s rare melodies, which never made it big, due to the fate of the film, or poor promotional reasons back in the era.

Collaboration with Kumar Gaurav and Amit Kumar

In the early ’80s – R. D. Burman’s music was the platform on which a host of newcomers were launched, namely Kumar Gaurav (‘Love Story’ (1981)), Sanjay Dutt (‘Rocky’ (1981)), Sunny Deol (‘Betaab’ (1983)). At the same time, R. D. Burman was belting movie after movie for the then chocolate boy Rishi Kapoor as well.

R. D. Burman gave music to around ten movies of Kumar Gaurav (‘Love Story’, ‘Romance’, ‘Lovers’, ‘Teri Kasam’, ‘Hum Hain Lajawab’, and ‘Sisayat’ to name a few). Unfortunately, most of the movies didn’t work that well – which meant the longevity of the songs was impacted. There were two constants in these numbers – melody and Amit Kumar. This combo of Amit Kumar – Kumar Gaurav with R. D. Burman – didn’t live up to the credentials of Kishore – Rajesh Khanna ‘jodi’, but some songs are a cut above the rest.

“Kya Hua Ek Baat Pe” ‘Teri Kasam’ (1982)
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri
Singer: Amit Kumar

Amit Kumar is in top form here and is behind the mike in this semi-sad song, in the genre of “Yaad Aa Rahi Hai” (‘Love Story’). The soulful lyrics, and the orchestration of Pancham take this song to another level. The highlight of this song is the verse “Unse milne ki ijaazat ek bus humko nahi – unse milne unke ghar, har apna begana gaya” with the soothing tabla in the background.

“Yeh Zameen Gaa Rahi Hai” – ‘Teri Kasam’ (1982)
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singers: Amit Kumar

The song starts with the famous yodeling and you think of Kishore Kumar. A string of instruments come into play, setting it up nicely and then surprise – it’s Amit Kumar who yodels “Yeh Zameen Gaa Rahi Hai” starting in lower notes. There is a constant reminder of the repetitive rhythm which R. D. Burman also used in ‘Shakti’s “Jaane Kaise Kab Kahan”, but the similarity doesn’t hurt. Anand Bakshi’s lyrics “Bhul kar raah koyi hasin aa na jaye, iss jagah koyi paradanashi aa na jaye, iss jagah aaj ek naujawan gaa raha hai” only add as they say “char chand” to the song.

The following three songs are part of a trilogy. All of them have a common melody, and one song reminds you of the other. If you like one, you are bound to like the other two.

“Maang Loonga Tujhe” – ‘Romance’ (1983)
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singers: Amit Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

This one is another simple, melodious song which fits the template very well. Hear it and it will stay with you.

“Kaisa Tera Pyar” – ‘Love Story’ (1981)
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singers: Amit Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

R. D. Burman blends his usual instruments with the sitar in yet another simple yet melodious tune. ‘Love Story’ had beautiful songs in “Yaad Aa Rahi Hai” and “Dekho Maine Dekha Hai Ek Sapna”, which were towering hits. This one possibly slipped under the radar.

“Hum Jis Raste Pe Chale” – ‘Teri Kasam’ (1982)
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singers: Amit Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

Another soothing melody – just hear the way this line comes in “Bhool gaye hum duniya kis ka naam hai”.

“Yeh Zindagi Kuch Bhi” – ‘Romance’ (1983)
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Singer: R. D. Burman

In a departure from his usual choice, Pancham himself is behind the mike in this soulful opening song of the movie. This was possibly to avoid any similarity to the “Yeh Zameen Gaa Rahi Hai”. R. D. Burman was known to sing in a grainy/husky voice like the famous “Mehbooba Mehbooba” in ‘Sholay’, but in this soothing piece, he has shown that he could give any contemporary singer a run for his money.

While researching for this article, I came across another dud movie of this combo – ‘Lovers’ (1983). If you have reached till here on this playlist, I will definitely suggest you listen to “Aa Mulakaton Ka Mausam Aa Gaya”, another song in the same genre.

(To be continued…)

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