The question of who gave music for 1969 Block Buster Aradhana, has been solved now, once for all. Their are proofs beyond any doubt, that SD Burman gave the music of Aradhana, and not RD Burman. The proof with me and my friends is following:
All official records do show in their credits music director as SD Burman. It is only that some people like to believe that such music could be given only by RDB, not realising that it was the father SDB who trained son RDB in and imparted nuances of fine music.
Panchamda's unforgettable, says Big B
Some are of the view that RD Burman surpassed SD Burman. Do you agree?
I disagree. SD Burman was divine. Pancham was more flamboyant and more youthful. I doubt if even Panchamda would have endorsed this.
Dada Burman was far too ill during the recordings of Aradhana to alter substantially the shape and direction RD gave to the film's tuning and orchestration. Insiders knew this, none more so than Shakti Samanta as the maker of Aradhana.
Kersi Lord: "Another thing about you people (He was talking about press, we were not press), I am going little bit off track now. Somebody wrote one book in Pune, years back, on Pancham. Whatever the mistakes in that book, - mistakes are there, hundred percent, I vouch for it, those mistakes still continue. Because when anybody writes a new book, he refers to that book, so the publishing of wrong information continues."
People who say or write anything different are telling untruth. I am mentioning I have proofs of what I say. Can those who write differently give any proof? 1. I have voice recording and signed text of my interview of Kersi Lord who is fortunately alive. 2. Manohari Singh is no more but I have voice recording and signed text of my interview with him. 3. Bhupinder Singh is alive and has gone on record about SDB having created Aradhana's music. 4. Shakti Samanta is no more but I can send Email addresses of those who have spoken with him, if you send me your Email address.
Those who write differently were not present. And lies have become truth, repeated hundreds of times.
How does it matter..? Why is this topic beaten to death now..? Yes may be music of Aradhana was done by SDB alone or with help of RDB as asst musician or a full assistance,
KL. My daddy was SD Burman's pet. When first Burmansaab came to Bombay, he was staying in Marine Drive 'Sea Green' Hotel and we were staying at Grant Road at the time. Outside our building was a wh**e-joint, a prostitute-joint, and Burmansaab had such a simple nature that despite this he would walk into that lane, and shout out "Cawas". Daddy would go down, "Kya Dada, kya ho gaya?" to which Mr. Burman would respond "Cawas, mere ko gaari lene ka hai, kya karega hum log?"
My daddy was very fond of cars. He said, "Hum log jaake dekhenge na."
A short while later, together they went and chose Mr. Burman's first car, a black Austin.
Q. Which year was that?
KL. I don't know. I was very young. I had not even started playing at that time. Then after about three months - four months, again he came,
"Cawas, neeche aao."
"Dada, kya ho gaya?"
"Yeh gadi kiska hai?"
"Dada, aap ka gaadi hai."
"Toh mere ko raaste ka tax kyon bharne ka, meri gaadi ka tax main kyon bharoon?"
He was that innocent. He didn't know he had to pay road tax. So, daddy had to explain to him that the reason he had to pay the tax was because he was using the roads. Like that, such a simpleton!
Mr. Burman always dressed in a white kurta with beautiful, starched Bengali pleated sleeves (rubbed with some stone), white dhoti and carried on his left shoulder a colourful 'Kapda ka Thaila.'
Q. Kapda thaila?
KL. You know, old people used to have.
Q. Artists and painters used to carry?
KL. Haan, correct, funny, funny colours, orange, yellow, etc., but clothes always white. He was always like that. That was Mr Burman.
The first time I met him was when he came to see daddy. Then when I got into the line, slowly, slowly, they found out that I also play, so whenever they required more musicians, they used to call me.
Q. Please tell more about your dad with Burman.
KL. They had gone to Madras also, for a couple of recordings. The first time daddy had gone to Madras was with Mr. Burman. The producer was from there. In the beginning, the producers used to call the important musicians there and a few musicians were taken from there for the work. Later, South companies had their offices in Bombay. Then most of the work was done here.
Q. You remember (for) which pictures your dad went to South? Bahar must have been one of them? It was an AVM production.
KL. Yeah, yeah, 'Bahar' definitely. 'Bahar' was which year? Because, if it was somewhere around '50s, it must be same picture.
Bahar was 1951.
KL. And 'Baazi'?
Baazi was 1950.
KL. I have also played in Baazi.
1950, you would have been about fifteen years?
KL. Yeah, I started my carrier by the age of fourteen. I was playing when I was fourteen. I started in late '47 or early '48. You got the release dates? Then, a film would normally take about one and a half to two years till the release.
I started with Naushad first. Then slowly, slowly, people came to know about me.
Q. Daddy was with him in 1950s?
KL. Yeah, yeah, daddy was his pet. Without daddy, Mr. Burman wouldn't do anything.
Q. How much age difference was there between these two gentlemen?
KL. I don't know. My dad was born in 1911.
Dada Burman was born in 1906.
KL. That old? He was older than daddy? He always looked like Dada, Bengali style.
Another thing, he was very 'kanjoos', very rarely he used to offer tea to anybody. So much so that, people working in his sitting room, all musicians, even his assistants, Anand Bakshi might be there or anyone else, around one o'clock, he would say "Chalo, mera khane ka time ho gaya hai. Aap log khana khake aaiye. Meera, mera khana lagao."
And, because of daddy, anytime, I or my dad used to visit him, he will offer tea also. And all those sitting fellows always cursed, "Kya hai? Hum log ko kabhi chai bhi nahin poochta, tum log kuch karte bhi nahin, tum log ko chai pilata hai." He was like that.
Then another habit of Mr. Burman was, he used to forget everyone's names, like Maruti Rao, Manohari, Basu, all were sitting. He would be so engrossed in his music, he would forget the names. He would call, "Arre, arre, arre, arre." Then we have to remind him, "Arre Basu, Basuda". "Haan Basu, suno, aisa, aisa."
So later on, when Pancham would visit Bombay during his school holidays, he would come for Dada's sittings. When Burmansaab would want to ask him something even though he was his son, he would say "Arre…Arre…Aree.." and . So we would remind him "Dada, Pancham." "Han, Pancham suno." He used to forget his son's name also. He was like that.
But this was mainly because he was all the time engrossed in the music. His mind would be only thinking of music, music, music.
Q. That was about your dad and Dada Burman. Tell us about you and Dada Burman.
KL. I played in all his pictures after '50-'51, mostly all the pictures.
Q. Till which year?
KL. Till he died.
Q. Which means it included lovely music of 'Aradhana'.
KL. In 'Roop tera mastana' I played the accordion.
Q. All songs of Aradhana are lovely. And how much part RD played in this?
KL. According to me, I don't think RD was present, I don't remember seeing RD anywhere in the studios.
But people say that he was there and 'Roop Tera Mastana' is his song, but I don't know. Even for the song recording, he was not there.
And I confirmed with Manohari also, who was his assistant. Manohari also said, "No, I don't think Pancham was involved."
Maybe, he must have been sitting there, I don't know, I'm not sure.
Everybody asks us whether RD was there, but I said, for the recording he was not there. And sitting I don't know. I didn't play only for Mr. Burman. I played for all the top music directors. So, we couldn't be involved in every recording.
So, I don't think RD's involvement was there in 'Aradhana'.
Q. There is an article written on you and Manohari, that Dada, when he was giving music, making music for 'Roop tera mastana', the start he wasn't getting right, and you played your Accordion, and Manohari played his Saxophone, and then the start was made (created) by both of you?
KL. (He starts shaking his head gesturing 'No'.)
Q. That's not correct?
KL. Nothing like that; nothing like that; absolutely nothing like that.
KL. Another thing about you people (He was talking about press, we were not press, only SDB lovers.) I am going little bit off track now. Somebody wrote one book in Pune, years back, on Pancham. Whatever the mistakes in that book, - mistakes are there, hundred percent, I vouch for it, those mistakes still continue. Because when anybody writes a new book, he refers to that book, so the publishing of wrong information continues.
Q. Even the start which is there, you know starting with 'Roop tera mastana', that is done by SDB only himself?
KL. Yeah! Yeah! S.D. Burman and his team.
See, I only go for the recording. So, when I went to the studio, it was at Famous-Tardeo, so Burmanda called me to one side, "Suno".
He always talked in mono syllables, not long sentences. "Kersi, yeh bahut romantic gana hai. Ek fire place hai. Ek hero ek heroine hai. Baarish mein bheege hue hai, aur ekdam romance mein hai. Tumko jo bhi karna hai, karo."
"Whatever you want to do, you do it." That is what he told me.
So, lots of things I played on my own. Most of the things were given by Manohari, but all the fillings in the song, some extra things in the music which I felt like playing, I played it. And they liked it. When they appreciate it, you feel like giving more and more.
Q. When you were called there, from that moment till the actual song was recorded, how long did it take for this song?
KL. Four hours, maximum. Nothing more than four hours, from scratch. We didn't know what we were going to play. Notation was given on the set, in the studio. Nine o'clock was the starting time and mostly by one o'clock we would pack up.
Q. But before you were called, they might have done some rehearsal?
KL. That work they would do in the sitting room itself. Making a song is a very difficult thing. First you have to get the lyrics written. Those days, songs were according to the situation in the picture. So generally, lyrics came first. The Producer and Director would also have to approve the lyrics. Then came the melody and then the music arrangement.
Q. SD changed the system in '50s only. First music and then the lyrics. That system is continuing even today.
KL. Yeah. Yeah. Maybe.
Q. Even for that style, Begum Akhtar, I have got somewhere written, that she said that music plays more important part than the lyrics.
KL. Begum Akhtar said that?
Q. I will send you the article. In fact I will send you two articles. SD said this earlier, and Begum Akhtar, much later said the same thing.
* * * * *
Kersi Lord - II
Q. When SD used to sing, can you tell us about his style of singing and what he used to do?
KL. According to my knowledge his style was typically East Bengal folk style. He was from that area. I believe, he was a Prince from a royal family.
One thing I will tell you, I didn't go for sittings but whenever he used to be in the studio, when he would sing his songs, he wouldn't allow anyone who was not required in the studios, no guests, only musicians who are playing. Those musicians who are not playing, they would have to go sit outside. Maybe he wanted to concentrate.
And you were asking me about 'Amar Prem' song, whether RD composed or SD composed? It had Mr. Burman's style but even if RD composed it, he will have composed it in his dad's style only, so that style and quality matches, goes hand in hand, you know that style of song.
When I used to do arrangements, so many musicians, like Raees Khan, - he is a fantastic musician - when you tell him to play something, he will say no, this is not Sitar ank. I am just giving an example. Because he is my friend, I can talk about him. Whenever I used to write for Raees Khan, I used to just write its outline, "Raees bhai, yeh aisa aisa hai, aapko jaisa bajana hai, kuch bhi change karna hai, freedom is entirely yours." So, that type of freedom. In the same way, being the great son of a great father, SD and RD although they had completely unique styles would still naturally have some similarities as well.
In reply to a question on 'Mili', Mr Kersi Lord talks about this interesting episode:
KL When you play for so many recordings, so many songs, how can you remember all these things? I don't claim these numbers but people who interviewed me have said, "You have done more than twenty five to thirty thousand songs". I tell every interviewer including you, "When you write this, you are saying this. I am not saying it".
Before that, interviewers claim that when I started in '48, I played four to five songs a day including Sunday, no Sunday holiday. They calculated that even playing and average of three songs a day would sum up this figure. Kushal (Gopalkar) of 'Swar Alaap' magazine had done this calculation and had mentioned it in one of his articles.
But, in '67 – '68, when I was the Chairman of the 'Cine Musicians Association', what used to happen was that out of 700-800 members, only those top, the cream used to play 4 to 5 songs a day. And the mediocre and below average musicians would not get any work.
So, I made a rule that no musician can play more than two songs a day. That rule is still valid now, morning and afternoon, or one and a half shift for background music, that's all. I got lots of abuses from my friends and made many enemies. But that's OK.
Q. You said that he used to stay in that hotel in Marine Drive, which hotel?
KL. SD used to stay in that hotel in Marine Drive, 'Sea Green'. We were in Grant Road, where he used to come. After 'Sea Green' he stayed in a Hotel in Khar. Khar is much afterwards. He stayed in 'Sea Green' when he was an established composer. Then they shifted to 'The Jet'.
* * * * *
Q. Will you please tell us some anecdotes?
He always wanted to learn Bongos. So, any time he was there, he would come and sit next to me, and I would show him something on the Bongos. This is how we became good friends. Then talking about 'Chote Nawab': Pancham, Mehmood, dance director Suresh and me, we all had a single chipped tooth (shows his upper middle teeth (incisors), with the corner of the tooth chipped off), exactly the same cut on the same tooth, same size and shape. Every time we four met, we would never say 'Hi'. We would smile showing our chipped teeth. Now, I am the only fellow left. Sad, no!
I have noticed that everybody from the Indian Film Industry, even you guys I am talking about the fans of '40s, '50s, '60s music, you guys only listen to one type of music. That's wrong. You always listen to only film music, nothing else. Why? It's true, 90% - 95%, it's true. One must make a habit of listening to all sorts of music, not only one genre. Especially musicians. Maybe, that's what made Pancham so different from everybody else, his wide exposure to world music.
In Bengali, gana is known as gaan. Geeta Roy (Dutt) used to come to the studios with her father or brother when she was not married to Guru Dutt. Sometimes we used to record two songs in one session. So, the full studio would be present and half the musicians were Bengali, half not Bengali. But, we all understood Bengali, especially the bad words. One time when we were in Mahalaxmi Famous, Geeta's father innocently asked Burmansaab, "Arre, Dada". He wanted to show he could speak Hindi also, "Dada, aap Lata ka gaan pehle lena hai, ya Geeta ka?"
It really happened, really happened.
(Kersi has a good laugh.)
* * * * *
Q. Tell us more about the musicians with SDB?
KL. I will tell you, those days, how we used to get information. Everybody didn't have phones also. Every Music Director had his one or two musicians, who play and also do the informing. That is, they would go to musician's houses and inform, "Parson gana hai Burmansaab ka in so-and-so studio. Aa jaane ka."
Q. Visit? Actually visit?
KL. He had two violinist- Antao and IC. They used to do informing and playing.
Q. What are the names you said, please?
KL. Antao and IC. We used to call him IC.
The regular group of Burmansaab would have a Rhythm Section of 10-15 musicians. Mostly, I was in rhythm only, till I changed over to other instruments. The string section would ideally be 30-35 violins, 1-2 Cellos, and other solo required instruments. Whenever brass section was required another 6-8 musicians would be needed.
Q. Total how many that would become?
KL. About 60-70, average 60-70 always.
When he used to sing, his songs had very few musicians: one flute, maybe little bit vibraphone and a very small rhythm section. He didn't want a crowd when he was singing songs. You will find very straight forward music in his songs, when he sings them.
Q. That way there are a number of songs which have less music.
KL. Sometimes budget is also there, some producers can't afford too much! Then certain styles like where a girl is singing in a room, why should you have an orchestra there. It doesn't make sense also.
Q. When you speak about rhythm, what do you mean by rhythm?
KL. Rhythm means everything. Tabla, Dholak, Naal, Duff, Dafli, whatever is there. So we don't have different players for, like: Tabla, Dholak, Naal: they are specialized. Few fellows only play. Then all other instruments like Manjira, Triangle, percussions, Indian and western percussions, any body plays anything. When I was playing Rhythm, I had to play everything. Not Indian rhythm, but all those Latin American instruments, everything. So like that we are regular and we didn't know what rhythm instruments we were going to use for each song until we reached there. For one song I may have to play Manjira, for some I may have to play Ghunghroo, then some songs I may have to play Bongos, I have to play Congas.
Q. Musicians are fixed, instruments are not fixed?
* * * * *
KL. One thing I also noticed about Burmansaab: I always observe people. My hobby is observing people. So when we used to record something – I told you how he used to dress with that cloth 'Thela'. He would squat on the studio floor, cover both ears tightly with his hands and listen to the music. At that time, I thought "Yeh kahin pagal to nahin ho gaya hai. Dada aisa kyon kar raha hai?" This remained in my sub-conscious mind.
When I started arranging, sometimes the speakers were kept too loud. Those days all the speakers were always kept loud. So, one day I was getting angry, "Why so loud? Why couldn't I hear what I wanted to hear! So, I just tried Dada's technique. I closed both my ears tight, and I was surprised to discover that I could hear the details of the things happening behind the song.
Even then, Mr. Burman was so advanced in his techniques. He knew that, "If I close the ears, all the 'faltu' noises fade into the background and only the details of the music come through. You try it, next time you listen to any song, keep it loud, then if you want to hear, "ki santoor or any other specific instrument barabar hai, sur mein hai ki nahin hai, kuch bhi aisa, close your ears tight, you'll find out, ke sur mein hai, besura hai. Tempo barabar hai ki nahi."
Q. You mean you can pick out easier?
KL. Yes, you can make out the details. Because when we record, we also know the details, what is going to go on the tape finally.
One day Pyarelal gave me a book. It was a book called Scoring for Films in which lots of composers like Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Elmar Bernstien, etc. etc. gave their individual views on scoring for a death scene. So, once somebody said, when somebody dies, they can build up the music till the death and follow it with complete silence, in Hindi sanatta, complete 'sanatta'. One composer, I forget who, said that they kept absolute silence before the death, and then give a bang followed by some sad music. Some people said, "We don't do anything, just let it go like that, and, silence itself has got more strength."
When I used to do my background scores, I always used to think 'How best can I treat a scene for maximum impact?' Reading that book helped me tremendously in my work.
Thirty or so years ago, we were playing for one of Mr. Burman's background recordings, one of the scenes was a death scene. We built up to the death, for e.g. 'da ra ra ra' and 'marne wala ho to bang, followed by a sad theme.
During the rehearsal Mr. Burman came from inside, "Quiet karo, quiet karo, quiet karo. Mereko suno, suno. Tum log ja rahe ho na, marne tak bahut accha hai, marnepe mujhe ekdam silence chahiye." Even at that time Burmansaab was already using silence as a part of music, thirty years before I had ever read that book. Look at that old man's thinking. Look at how advance he was for his age and time!
As I told you earlier, in December I never used to work. I used to go to Pune and Delhi to study western classical, modern and electronic music from various teachers including Professor Aslam from Delhi.
Much later in my career I learnt about cluster sound which has been used in modern classical music since the early '40s-'50s. You understand the notes C, C#, D, D#, E, F, F#, G; 7-8 close notes played together make a cluster sound, giving off a very eerie feeling.
One day during one of Mr. Burman's background recordings, we were rehearsing the piece and suddenly Mr. Burman came charging in saying "Nahin, nahin, nahin sorry, sorry. Bandh karo, bandh karo, bandh karo, bandh karo. Iske pehle tumlog kya bajaya? Violin section, what you were playing?"
Our violin section use to fool around all the time. If you ask them to tune also, give them A for tuning, one will play runs (running notes), one will play ku, ku ku, one will play something else. Instead of tuning, everything else but tuning. So, one fellow said, "I was playing this." Dada said, "No, no, no. Iske pehle kya?"
For fifteen minutes we were trying to recreate what Mr Burman had heard. Then I realized that they were tuning their violins and other instruments at the time which sounded very similar to what I know as cluster sounds now. So, I asked "Manohari, violin ko tune karo wapas."
I thought this was what Dada was looking for. And then the whole group started tuning like they done before and Dada said "Haan, yeh, yeh, yehi mere ko chahiye." He wanted that cluster effect.
After that, Anandji made cluster sound a standard for every background of Kalyanji-Anandji. He used to call it Odessy Tremolo. But, this had been used much before by Mr. Burman. Another example of his music being far ahead of its time.
Mr. Burman always was very modern. I realized, he was very, very modern. Each song of his was unlike any other composer of that time or before. Completely different than others, way ahead of his time.
Q. He was different. The same year in 1957 that he gave us 'Pyasa', he also gave music for 'Nau Do Gyarah' and 'Paying Guest'.
KL. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Completely different! Otherwise every body else had a similar style. '50s, '60, '70s. All had similar style except for him and Pancham. He gave variety also. I've always considered Mr. Burman a very modern composer for his age.
* * * * *
KL. One more thing, I just realized. Just before Mr. Burman died, couple of months before, Pancham did a show for the Bombay Police. That show was at Shanmukhananda Hall. In Pancham's shows, his entrance onto the stage was different every time. For this show, he came on stage through the aisle on a Police bike.
Why I am mentioning this is because when Burmansaab died, a few months after this show, the Police Department helped out so much. The Jet (Bungalow) is on linking road – the whole road was closed because of the funeral. For a couple of hours, they helped out so much. The police bandobast was out of the world for Burmansaab's funeral as we knew all the inspectors, who regularly came for the show rehearsals. They became very friendly with us musicians.
Pancham's father had died so they felt it their duty to help him out. It was first time I saw a very organized funeral. I'll never forget it.
October 30, 2009
Interview conducted by Moti Lalwani and Ms Richa Lakhanpal
Topic started by Researched
Last replied by Summer3