“R.D. Burman was like family to me. He used to come home and I used to visit him. Ashaji used to cook for us. Like me he was very fond of eating and drinking. At the start of my career RD did music in my Zehreela Insaan and Khel Khel Mein. These had evergreen songs like ‘O Hanseeni‘ and ‘Khullam Khulla Pyar‘. I had become a big star after Bobby. I wanted to work with Pancham. I vibed with him much better than with Laxmi-Pyare who did Bobby. Pancham was way ahead of times. Picture chale na chale RD’s music was damn good. His music suited my age and image. Pancham loved watching me shoot his songs. He told all my directors, ‘Chintu perform kar rahaa hai mera gaana? I want to see him do it.’ I’d get nervous. On the sets of Nasir Husain’s films Hum Kissise Kam Nahin and Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai he’d have lunch with Nasir saab and then watch me dance. It was a great compliment. For the song ‘Dil Dena Khel Hai Dildar Ka‘ in Zamane Ko Dikhana Hai Pancham came on the sets twice because the choreographer Suresh Bhatt was also Pancham’s buddy. He used to shout, ‘Buck up, buck up’. We were all a team.”
“Pancham (RD Burman) and I were great buddies. Just before he died, this was the time when Nadeem Shravan et al. had taken over; he called me and said, ‘I’m not short of cash. But I desperately need work’. I explained to him that producers came to me with pre-decided music directors. After Deewana and Bol Radha Bol I had succeeded with Nadeem Shravan and Anand Milind. These two became music directors in all my films,” says an emotional Rishi Kapoor.
“I remember I was working with Raj Santoshi in Damini which had music by Nadeem Shravan while Santoshi’s Ghaatak had music by RD. I remember how unhappy RD was about this. You know on Pancham’s birthday I got thinking about all the amazing work that we did together. A die-hard Pancham fan named Brahmanand was making a documentary on him. He spoke to all the people who’ve worked closely with Pancham, like Gulzar Saab and me.”
“I met this ardent fan of RD from Kalikat. And he happens to be a die-hard fan of the Rishi Kapoor-RD pair. He pointed out that I had done seventeen films with music by R.D. That fan has sent me all the songs from those 17 films on MP3. Now I’ve all the music composed for me by R.D. Burman on MP3. Imagine being given such invaluable gift on Pancham’s birthday! There’re rare songs for me by Pancham from my forgotten films like Raja, Naya Daur, Aan Aur Shaan, Gunehgaar which I had almost forgotten. Though my first filmBobby had music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal my maximum hit songs were by Pancham. There’s one thing that you must note about RD’s music. All of his youthful music was for Rishi Kapoor. The other heroes like Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan were older. But for Rishi Kapoor, Pancham could really unplug the grooviest sounds. Shah Rukh, Aamir, Salman to paida nahin huey. And there were filmmakers like Raveena’s dad Ravi Tandon, Ramesh Behl and Ramesh Sippy who made the kind of films where Rishi Kapoor and R.D. Burman fitted in.”
Rishi pauses in remembrance. “In his prime Pancham gave all his youthful music for Rishi Kapoor. In Naya Daur he used empty bottles to create a special effect in the song ‘Paani Ke Badle Peekar Sharaab‘ sung by Kishore Kumar and Danny Denzongpa.”