BURMAN, S. D.





Composer and Musical Director. Nationality: Indian. Born: Kumar (Prince) Sachin Dev Burman in Comilla (now in Bangladesh), 1 October 1906. Education: Graduated from Calcutta University; studied Indian classical music with Bhishmadev Chatterjee, Badal Khan, Alauddin Khan, and others. Career: Served in the court of Maharaja of Tripura; 1932—radio singer on Calcutta station; also made popular recordings of East Bengal folk songs; 1934—small singing role in Urdu film Selima ; 1937—first film as musical director, Rajgi ; 1944—settled in Bombay; 1945—composed first songs for film, Shikari ; compiled collection of Indian folk songs. Awards: Sangeet Natak Akademi (Academy of Music and Plays) award, 1957; President of India Padmashree award, 1969; India National Film award for Aradhana , 1969; Zindagi, Zindagi , 1972. Died: In Bombay, 31 October 1977.


Films as Composer and Musical Director:

1937

Rajgi (mus d only)

1945

Shikari

1946

Aath Din

1947

Chittor Vijay ; Dil Ki Rani ; Do Bhai

1948

Vidya

1949

Kamal ; Shabnam

1950

Asfar ; Mashal ; Pyar

1951

Baaji ; Bahar ; Ek Naujawan ; Sazaa

1952

Jaal ; Lal Kunwar

1953

Arman ; Babla ; Jeewan Jyoti ; Shahen Shah

1954

Angarey ; Chalis Baba Ek Chor ; Radha Krishna ; Taxi Driver

1955

Davdas ; House No. 44 ; Madh Bhare Nain ; Munimji ; Society

1956

Funtoosh

1957

Miss India ; Nao Do Egarah ; Paying Guest ; Pyasaa

1958

Chalti Ka Naam Gaddi ; Kala Pani ; Lajwanti ; Sitaron Se Aagey ; Solva Saal

1959

Insaan Jag Utha ; Kaagaz Ke Phool

1960

Apna Haath Jaganath ; Bombai Ka Babu ; Bewaqoof ; Ek Ke Baad Ek ; Kala Bazar ; Manzil ; Miya Bibi Raji

1962

Baat Ek Raat Ki ; Dr. Vidya ; Naughty Boy

1963

Bandini ; Meri Soorat ; Teri Ankhen ; Tere Ghar Ke Saamne

1964

Benazir ; Kaise Kahoon ; Ziddi

1965

The Guide ; Teen Deviyan

1967

Jewel Thief

1969

Aradhana ; Jyoti ; Talash

1970

Ishq par Zor Nahin ; Prem Pujari

1971

Gambler ; Naya Zamana ; Sharmeelee ; Tere Mere Sapne

1972

Anuraag ; Yeh Gulistan Hamara ; Zindagi Zindagi

1973

Abhiman ; Chhupa Rustam ; Jugnu ; Phagun

1974

Prem Nagar ; Sagina ; Us Paar

1975

Chupke Chupke ; Mili

1976

Arjun Pandit ; Baroon ; Deewanjee

1977

Tyaag



Films as Actor:

1934

Selima

1935

Bidrohi



Publications

On BURMAN: articles—

Rangoonwalla, Feroze, in Screen (Bombay), 4 August 1978.

Rangoonwalla, Feroze, in Screen (Bombay), 11 August 1978.

Ragendran, Girija, in Screen (Bombay), 27 October 1978.


* * *


S. D. Burman migrated to Bombay early in his singing career (1944) and soon climbed to the top, despite the city's cut-throat competition. Burman stayed in Bombay for more than three decades, but he continued to hold Bengal dear and it is from there that he drew his creative sustenance. His childhood exposure to the vast paddy fields and swollen, serpentine rivers of East Bengal and to the folk music of Chittagong and Comilla influenced his slightly nasal, long-drawn style of singing, evoking mood and landscape. His name on a cinema poster or advertisement was enough to guarantee box-office success in the 1950s and beyond.

Burman sang or wrote the music for over 500 songs in Hindi films from Bombay alone, in addition to his numerous recordings in Calcutta and Bombay, and though he amassed a fortune, he remained a humble, unassuming man all his life. His fame in Bombay did not rest on orchestration like Anil Biswas's or on using Indian classical music like Naushad, but on giving haunting and inimitable tunes, rather like Hemanta Mukherjee, to the work of such lyricists as Gopal Singh Nepali, Harikrishna "Premi," Y. N. Joshi, Raja Mehdi Ali Khan, "Madhukar," Anjum Pilibhiti, Prem Dhavan, Qamar Jalalabadi, Narendra Sharma, Rajendra Krishna, Shahir Ludhianvi, Shailendra, Kaifi Azmi, P. L. Santoshi, S. Athaiya, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Gulzar, Hasrat, Shakeel Badayuni, Anand Bakshi, Neeraj, Vijay Anand, Fani Badayuni, and Yogesh.

S. D. Burman's memory will be preserved among millions of his admirers through his lilting tunes, whether it was a melancholy Bhatiali of East Bengal or a love song in an indifferent Hindi film. His tunes transcend space and time and transport a listener to a milieu of romance or nostalgia. He took five to six days to decide a tune, test and retest it, before going ahead with the composition. No wonder they abide.

—Bibekananda Ray

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