#365DaysOfWriting — Day 146

Happy birthday SD Burman and Majrooh Sultanpuri

SD Burman would’ve been 110 years old today.

Now, RD Burman may be God to a lot of people, but SD Burman is the Godfather, quite literally. I won’t waste time in writing eulogies for him — there are millions of that already. I’ll just leave behind memories of two of his best works (in my opinion).

№1: Pyaasa

Everyone remembers this as Guru Dutt’s tour de force — a triumph in storytelling, so much so that it has been often featured in both Indian and global best films’ lists of all-time. What people miss out, sometimes, is that SD Burman’s music was another character in the film. Not an accessory, a CHARACTER. And evidence of SD Burman’s genius lies in my favourite song from the film — Yeh Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye Toh Kya Hai. I have written about this song at length even earlier, but I can never get enough of it. What SD Burman does here is keeps the music entirely in the background. It doesn’t overpower Sahir Ludhianvi’s heart-wrenching lyrics. The end effect being that it becomes Guru Dutt’s soliloquy against the cruel world. A perfect example of how to use music, without making it sound musical. Get it?

№2: Guide

Vijay Anand’s epic, based on The Guide by RK Narayan. The stars were aligned to make this a mega-success. On top of that you had Waheeda Rehman, who gave a stellar performance as the dancer Rosie (as usual), but Dev Anand (not many consider him to be a GREAT actor) gave his finest ever performance as the lovable, crooked guide, Raju. Although this is considered to be the highlight of SD Burman’s musical career, he didn’t win a Filmfare award for it — but when have those things started to matter anyway? My favourite song from this film is Tere Mere Sapne. Even in the melancholy that shrouds this song, SD Burman manages to make it a song about hope, about two souls bonding and finding love in each other.

Another magician, Majrooh Sultanpuri was born today.

We know him for his role in making Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander musical superhits. And the name Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander brings me to my next point — his association with Nasir Hussain. Together they’ve created magic with Teesri Manzil, Pyaar Ka Mausam, Caravan, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Hum Kisise Kum Nahin and the like, but my favourite movie involving Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics is the little-known Baharon Ke Sapne. The movie was an abject failure at the box-office, but Majrooh Sultanpuri combined with RD Burman to give us some of the most beautiful songs. My personal favourite from the movie though is Aja Piya Tohe Pyaar Doon. I’ve never heard Lata Mangeshkar sing better than this, and she’s sung a billion songs.

I’m glad that we’ve been able to help ourselves to their genius. Happy birthday, once again. Thank you for making Bollywood golden in the Golden Era.

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