RD Burman's MusicToday marks the 77th birthday of Rahul Dev Burman (27 June 1939 – 4 January 1994), an influential and iconic Bollywood music director. RD or Pancham as he was known forever changed the musical landscape of Bollywood film music. RD chased new music and introduced it in Indian films, specifically Bollywood films points out Prof Greg Booth. Besides Indian traditional and folk music, the two key influences on RD Burman’s music were American and Latin American music genres.

RD & his tight band of musicians introduced new sounds and Latin rhythms into Bollywood films says Prof. Booth. RD’s influence is so strong that you can hear his influence even today. His songs are regularly remixed and released as new tracks.

Here is a short selection of songs from RD’s extensive repertoire of music.

American music influenced RD Burman quite a bit and you can hear that influence in the 1965 Aao Twist Karein from the film Bhoot Bangla. The song was  inspired by Chubby Checker’s Let’s Twist Again. And here is a 2015 remix of Aao Twist Karein.

RD Burman’s hit song O Haseena Zulfaonwali from Teesri Manzil. Listen to the dense percussion rhythm in this track as Prof Booth points out in this interview.

Piya Tu Ab To Aaja from the Caravan is an evergreen favorite.

Dum Maro Dum is one of RD’s best known tracks from the film Hare Rama Hare Krishna. The song is sung by RD’s wife Asha Bhosle. RD shares the backstory of how they created Dum Maro Dum.

Here are a couple of tracks that RD sang. The first is Mehabooba Mehabooba from Sholay.

Here is a second song by RD along with Asha Bhosle called Duniya Mein from the film Apna Desh.

Finally, here is a song from RD and his Latin album called Pantera produced in the United States of America.

Here are a couple of RD Burman playlists from YouTube.

Podcast: Prof. Greg Booth on The Making of Bollywood Music Part-2

Greg Booth

Greg Booth

Prof. Greg Booth is a musician, author and teacher at University of Auckland, New Zealand.

In 2008 Prof. Booth’s book “Behind The curtain: Making Music in Mumbai’s Film Studios,” was published. It highlights the contributions of individual musicians, who were part of a larger Hindi or Bollywood music orchestra.

The musicians came from different background spanning British military brass bands to jazz and traditional Indian music. For example – quite a few of the musicians came from the Indian state of Goa, which had a strong Portuguese influence. Many musicians came from a Catholic background and learnt to read and play music as part of their education. What was the musical influence that the Goan musicians brought with them into the Hindi or Bollywood music? That is one of the strands that Prof. Booth explores and highlight in this book.

In Part-2 of the interview Prof. Booth  talks about Chic ChoclateJoe MenezesLeslie Gudinho and Kersi Lord, whose music you might recognize but not know they were the ones who played that musical refrain because they were always behind the curtain. The people who were in front of the curtain were the music directors like C. Ramachandra,Laxmikant PyarelalSD BurmanRD Burman and others.

LISTEN: Prof. Greg Booth on The Making of Bollywood Music Part-2

Coming up is Part-3 of the interview with Greg.

Music credits: Amar Akhar Anthony, Barsaat, Albela, Teesri Manzsil, Aradhana and Bhoot Bangla.

Photo credit: Greg Booth

Podcast: Prof. Greg Booth On Making of Bollywood Music Part-3


Greg Booth

Greg Booth

Prof. Greg Booth is a musician, teacher and an author. In his book “Looking Behind The Curtain Making Music In Mumbai’s Film Industry” he takes us behind the silverscreen to show us how music was (is) made in Hindi or Bollywood films.

In Part-2 Prof. Booth talks about the process of how songs were created especially in the 20th century. Big orchestras was a key part of the music making process. The situation in the film dictates the nature and style of music. In the book he highlights the music making style of music directors like NaushadShankar-Jaikishen, Lakshmikant-PyarelalSB Burman and RD Burman.

Cut to 21st century and the process of creating music for Bollywood films has changed with the introduction of digital technology. Oscar winner AR Rahman was one of the early music composers, who used digital technology extensively and pared down on the need for a huge orchestra. With the embrace of digital technology, the process of creating music has completely changed when compared to the 20th c. Another change that has come about is that today the musicians are in front of the screen, and not behind the curtain like their predecessors.

LISTEN: Prof. Greg Booth On Making of Bollywood Music Part-3

In case you missed, you might want to check our previous segments with Prof. Booth on Indian Wedding Brass Bands and The Making of Bollywood Music.

Music credits: Baiju Bawra, Barsaat, Farz, Caravan, Bobby, Roja and Aradhana