Raga Based Gems from Legendary SD Burman

SD Burman is a legendary Indian film composer, who has composed for more than 1000 films. He was born on September 21, 1925 and died on December 8, 1994. SD Burman’s work can be broadly classified into four phases: pre-1960s; 1960s to 1970s; 1980s to 1990s; post-1990 until his death in 1994.

SD Burman is a legendary Indian film composer

The first phase of his career as a music director was the most prolific where he composed over 400 songs in Hindi cinema alone! He also wrote several popular songs under various pseudonyms including S D Batish, Ravi Raja and Robin Chatterjee among others. His memorable compositions include “Babul Mora Naihar Chalega” from the movie “Upkaar

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Royal family of Tripura

The King of Manipur and married the princess of the royal family of Tripura. They had five children. When the youngest prince was born on 1st October 1906. The prince was named Sachin. He was barely two years old, his mother passed away. Sachin grew up in boarding schools but his obsession was music.

 SD Burman

1924 after graduation he decided to get trained in music. The legendary musician KC Dey was the first musical guru for SD Burman.

He also learned from Bhishmadev Chattopadhyay and Ustad Allauddin Khan. SD Burman was a very successful composer and singer in Bengali cinema when he decided to move to Bombay to try his luck as a composer for Hindi films – a language he barely knew.

He brought in the sound of folk music of the East to Bollywood. I would love to know which five songs of SD you would choose as the finest examples of folk music in popular melodies?

some raga based gems composed by SD.

1. Raga Jhinjhoti: The film Guide (1965) has a few raga based gems. SD was nominated for the Filmfare award for the Best Music Director but never won. This film has two Jhinjhoti based songs – Kya se Kya Ho Gaya and my favorite, Saiyyan Beiman is one of the finest examples of this evening raga.
2. Raga Patdeep: This raga sounds at its best between 4pm and 6pm and depicts the pangs of separation from the beloved. SD used it in the film Sharmilee. The song Megha Chhaye Aadhi Raat is a good example of Rag Patdeep.

The song begins with a Western sound and then moves to a classical sound with the sitar leading. The antara has  a small segment of the Rabindra Sangeet Laho laho tule laho in the antara.

Megha Chhaye Aadhi Raat
3. Raga Pilu: During the years 1958-62, SD Burman and Lata Mangeshkar parted ways. During this time Asha Bhosle sang one of the finest examples of Raga Pilu.

According to folklore, SD Burman asked him to imagine the feeling of isolation and homesickness a woman feels when she is not allowed by her in-laws to visit her parents.

4. Chhayanat: This is a late evening raga that sounds its melodious best between 8pm and 10pm at night. SD Burman gave us one of the gems that Manna Dey sang to perfection. This song from Talash is one such example

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5. Ahir Bhairav: According to legend, this raga was inspired by the sound of the cowbells as the Ahirs take their cattle to the fields to graze. Read more about the Charm of Ahir Bhairav This song.

Puchho Na Kaise Maine Rain Bitayi written by lyricist Shailendra and set to Raga Ahir Bhairav by SD Burman and sung by Manna Dey for the film Meri Surat Teri Ankhen (’63) will always remain the best example of this raga being used in Bollywood.Let me end with a small quiz:

This Raga Pahadi based hit Bengali song was later adapted by SD for Dev Anand’s film Prem Pujari. It is the MOST popular song sung by Kishore Kumar fans. Name the Bengali song.
For the answer listen to the first track in this compilation of SD compositions.