Producers and Directors

Have a look at what his colleagues say about him …

Teesri Manzil

A suspense thriller where Asha Parekh wants to hunt out her sister’s killers. All clues lead to hero Shammi Kapoor!
Big song and dance extravaganza that defined the sixties.

Aaja aaja mein hoon pyaar tera.
O mere sona re
Deewana mujhsa nahi
Tumne mujhe dekha
Dekhiye sahibon

Nasir Hussain:

” The music of Teesri Manzil made a major contribution to its success. When RD used to perform songs like O mere sona re on stage, the crowds used to go crazy and would sing along with him! RD had this natural ability to Indianise western tunes. The variations of rhythm in his music was what made it catchy. A lot of music directors today copy his style, both in orchestra and in making tunes. RD’s music is played till date. There was an intrinsic quality in his music that doesn’t die. Today a song may become popular for some time but it fades out as quickly. RD’s music is perennial.”

Shammi Kapoor:

“I heard Pancham’s compositions from Chhote Nawab, but I was very apprehensive about working with him as a music director for Teesri Manzil. Nasir Hussain was very confident of Pancham so he organised a special music sitting. There I heard some of the most beautiful music compositions ever, some of which we used in Teesri Manzil and some Nassir used for his film Baharon Ke Sapane. Uptil now I had worked only with experienced and top music directors like Shankar Jaikishen, but after hearing his compositions I agreed to work with a novice like R D Burman.
I think Pancham rose because he was in tune with the changing times. He opened the ears of the people to a new kind of music. His applications of different tracks and mixing of voices specially in the song ‘ Gori Ki Doli Chali’ from Manoranjan was excellent.
I felt sad later when western noise entered Indian songs. There were films like Disco Dancer which had music without melody. Then Pancham faded out, because there was no music left in the industry.”


Bhole (Sunil Dutt) who cant sing to save his life falls for a music mad girl (Saira Banu) who’s more infatuated with her music master (Mehmood)… until Sunil discovers a new voice in Kishore Kumar’s behin the scenes playback!

Ek Chatur Naar
Mere Samane Wali
Mein Chali Mein Chali
Bhai Batoor
Sharm Aati Hai Magar


” I’d met him last only a month ago. Raj Kumar Santoshi (at one time was a driver cum production manager to his father P L Santoshi) and I had gone to Panchams place to select songs for Santoshi’s next film and we had a great time inspite of the fact that we were meeting after 12 years.
Long ago, I was a great fan of S D Burman’s and used to sing in his chorus. That’s where I got to know Pancham. Once I found him humming a tune he’d just composed.Within no time his father used it as ‘Tel Maalish’ in Pyaasa and the song became a hit! So I knew his potential when a few years later I gave him a chance in my production, Chhote Nawab. Par yeh to nahi pata tha ki he would turn out to be a genius. He was only 17 years old then- the youngest music director in India ever. But what music he composed! After Lataji sang his ‘Ghar aaja ghir aayee’ she said,’Abhi mere samane yeh baccha tha aur ab mujhe sikha raha hai. Kisiki nazar na lag jaaye.’
I became very close to Pancham. I bought him his first car when he was 18. Perhaps because he used to dent the sides of all my 17 cars while playing tabala on the doors while driving with me until I had to threaten him: ‘Tere haath paav baandh doonga.’
Pancham, Suresh Bhatt (choreographer) and me became a team and we did Bhoot Bangla, Pati Patni and Padosan thereafter. In Bhoot Bangla I even convinced Pancham to act and he gave a terrific comic performance!
RD was from the royal family of Tripura (SD Burman was the son of the king) and his Hindi-Bengali mix of a language would make me laugh. He would say things like:’ main gayi thi toh mujhe Lata didi mila tha.’
Whenever Pancham and I met we never used to say ‘hello,’we’d greet each other with our code word- ‘Heee haaa khichi khichi.’ When I saw his dead body, I didnt want anybody to misunderstand my gesture as acting, so in my mind I looked at him and said for one final time:’Heee haaa khichi khichi.’

Kati Patang

A jilted in love Asha Parekh masquerades as her dead friend and poses as a widow. She meets a young man Rajesh Khanna and hesitantly reciprocates his gentle overtures. Soon however there’s trouble in paradise as her past catches up with her.

Pyaar Deewana Hoto Hai
Yeh Shaam Mastani
Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai
Na Koi Umang Hai
Aaj na chodenge
Mera Naam Hai Shabnam

Shakti Samanta:

“After the success of my Aradhana with SD Burman, when I took RD for my next film, Kati Patang people did actually wonder why. But I still hadbeen working with both father and son right from the 50’s when opancham uised to help his father. Even for Aradhana, RD had made his contributions, especially in the orchestrisations. People are always asking me what  RD’s contribution to Aradhana was but I thing its in bad taste to discuss this. Father and son helped me and both complimented each other beautifully. SD was very happy with RD’s Kati Patang score. Kati Patang started the whole string of films with Rajesh Khanna, Pancham and myself. I became very friendly with Pancham and practically every evening Anand Bakshi, Pancham, myself and sometimes even Rajesh would sit together late in the night.
Yes Kati Patang had three beautiful Kishore solos and one Mukesh song ‘Jis Gali Mein’ – All picturised on Rajesh. I think Kishore had gone out of India and thats how Mukesh came into picture. Incidently for Aradhana too, we had wanted Rafi for all the songs but because Rafi was out of the country we all decided on Kishore. Of course the songs became super hit and Kishore made his comeback.Kati Patang also bought to prominence Bindu in the song Mera Naam Hai Shabnam. Here the words had to be highlighted and the music had to be muted. Pancham understood thistotally and came up with an absolutely effective innovation.”


Poor little rich girl (Asha Parekh) stows away in Jeetendra’s caravan to escape an unwanted marriage. From thereon it’s a bumpy but fun filled  ride as she wins over Jeetu and the kabeela and contends with Aruna Irani’s jealousy.

Piya Tu Ab To Aaja
Kitna Pyaara Vada
Daiya Re Mein Kahan
Ab Jo Mile Hai
Dilbur Dil Se
Goriya Kahan Tera
Chadti Jawani Meri Chal

Nasir Hussain:

” I consire Panchams music in Caravan along with Dum Maro Dum to be his very best. After  Teesri Manzil, my Baharon Ke Sapne and Pyaar Ka Mausam didnt do too well and people asked me why you are taking RD again for Caravan? Well my films flopped not because of any weakness in the music, but because of the scripts. After RD came into my life there was no question of taking any one else. He would understand me, my language, my requirements, perfectly and match the songs to it.

Amar Prem

A prostitute (Sharmila Tagore) has two attachments in life: a married man (Rajesh Khanna) who seeks solace from a shrewish wife, and a neighborhood boy who she loves as her own. Fate contrives to snatch both of them from her. However life’s sunset hours have an upbeat ending for the fallen woman.

Yeh Kya Hua
Chaingari Koi Bhadke
Kuch To Log kahenge
Raina Beeti Jaye
Bada Natkat Hai

Shakti Samanta:

” People talk of being surprised at RD’s Indianised music in Amar Prem. But with films like Padosan he had already shown that he could compose songs witha classical base.During Amar Prem Pancham would be in his room from  9.00 in the morning till 9.00 in the evening. He had an indefatigable passion for music. He had a fantastic collection of music from throughout the world.So much so that even when he was sleeping he’d always do so with his ear phones on.
Of course I totally agreed with Pancham when he’d repeatedly tell me that Amar Prem was his best work. During this phase he scaled real heights of success but it didn’t change him. He was an incredibly nice person. I’ve directed 20 films with hi, 16 under my own banner and 4 with outside producers; so I should know. When I was giving Bengali directors Shyamal Mitra a break with ‘Amanush’, RD even allowed me to use his assistants as Shyamal was new to Bombay.”

Hare Rama Hare Krishna

The hippy cult is in full swing in swinging Kathmandu where Dev Anand comes in search of his lost estranged younger sister (Zeenat Aman). He Finds her – but as a junkie irretrievably lost to the pain-dulling highs of the chillum. RD’s synthesised disco set the tone for the decade.

Dum Maro Dum
I Love You
Dekho O Deewno
Phoolon Ka Taron Ka
Kaanchi Re Kaanchi Re
O Re Ghungroo

Dev Anand:

” I had noticed R D Burman when I worked with dada (SD Burman). He used to be present at all musical sittings, playing beautiful tunes on his mouth organ. So when dada was reluctant to do Hare raam Hare Krishna, because of its westernised story angle, I approached R D Burman.He composed the music for HRHK within 14 days. We put in a lot of effort for ‘Dum Maro Dum’ but while recording we had no idea that it would become such a cult hit.
After HRHK RD overworked himself by taking many trips abroad and by doing too many films.After Heera Panna and Ishq Ishq Ishq we drifted apart.”


A dal-bhat western shot in the ravines of the chambal. The story of two no-gooders (Dharmendra and Amitabh) hired by a Zamindar (Sanjeev Kumar) to avenge the massacre of his family by dreaded dacoit Gabbar Singh became the biggest money spinner ever.

Mehbooba Mehbooba
Yeh Dosti
Koi Tangewali
Holi Ke Din
Jab Tak Hai Jaan

Ramesh Sippy:

“Pancham played a very big role in my life and career. Pancham came up with some very innovative ideas for Sholay’s background score. I remember one particular score that he gave for the buggy chase scene in the film. He used only a tabla, a dholak and a ghungroo coupled with the horse hooves. It was very simple, but it gave a tremendous lift to the whole sequence. We were using stereophonic sound for the first time and it took 18 shifts to complete the background score for Sholay.

Love Story

Handcuffed together, the boy (Kumar Gaurav) and the girl (Vijayeta) on the run, fall in love. Parental opposition drives them to seek asylum in the hills – where they built an idyllic home, with pretty windows and cotton curtains. RD’s refrain ‘Aayeeee aayeee aayeee aaja…’ had the audience singing with the lovers.

Teri Yaad Aayee
Kaisa Tera Pyaar
Dekho Maine Dekha
Teri Yaad Aa Rahi
Yeh ladki zara si
Kya Gazab Karte Ho Ji

Rahul Rawail:

” My association with Pancham goes back to the time when I was assisting Raj Kapoor. Daboo and chintu were very good friends of Pancham’s. When I started making films Pancham and I made 7 films together including his favorite Love story and Betaab. What I liked the best about him was that he was totally absorbed in his work. Once I was waken up by the jangling of the telephone, at 2.00 in the night. It was Pancham, excited as hell. He said,’ I’ve just finished composing a song. Can you come over and hear it?”

Nilu Niranjana:

My Dear Soul Brother “Pancham”

My Dear Soul Brother Pancham,

I just got a phone call from Raj Nagul from Pune. They are arranging a function to honor your

memory on the 4th of January 2002. Raj and his two friends love you so much that they go all out

to arrange this function out of sheer love, affection and admiration for you. I kept the phone down

and started sobbing again. Where did the time go … my bro?

It was a hot summer afternoon. I was eight years old. My mother had made some white cotton outfits

for me. Were they comfortable? I was running around in the front yard, climbing a mango tree. My

little dress was all soiled and wrinkled. I had some dirt on my cheeks. My mother was making chakli

in the kitchen. And then you arrived with my big brother Pete. I had not seen you before. I wondered

who this guy with my big brother is. I climbed down the tree in a hurry and entered the house, running

after you. You turned around and took one look at me and started giggling. You pinched my dirty cheek

and wiped the little dirt. Then you gave me a little tap on my head and said, “Pagli”. Meanwhile my

brother had picked up and handful of Chakli and shoved them into your hand. Then you both left as

you came. My brother did not even introduce you to anybody. You were there only for a few minutes,

but stole my heart. My neighbor questioned “was that not S. D. Burman’s son?” I just shrugged my

shoulders and went back to my mango tree. I knew that I had found another big brother.

Then I started seeing you with my brother all the time till he went to the United States of America for

higher studies. But you never forgot us. You were always very polite and affectionate towards my

parents, never forgot to touch their feet. No matter, where you saw me on the road, you always stopped

your car and talked to me. These were other Rono Mukerji. Bhisham is Dev Anand’s nephew. Salim

is Ramniklal Shah’s son and Rono is S. Mukerji’s son. Later Bhisham acted in 17 movies as Vishal

Anand, and became a producer and director. Salim did not join his father to run their studio but

followed my big brother’s footsteps and went to the US of A for higher studies and stayed there.

Rono made ‘Tu Hi Meri Zindagi” and then dedicated his life to running his father’s established

Filmalaya studio.

Because you all were always hanging around together, I knew that the tune of the song “Ai meri topi

palat ke aa” from Funtoosh was made at age twelve, “Champi malish’ from Pyaasa was made at age

fourteen and so on. I used to know ahead of time which songs you had composed for your father.

Yes I remember “tum jiyo hazaaro saal” from Sujata and “Chanda mama mere dwaar” and “Ga mere

man ga” from Lajwanti. Afterwards I became so good in recognizing your songs though they

were published under your father’s name.

The first time I came to your house “the Jet” Linking Road in Bandra was not what it is today. From

Mayor S. R. Patkar’s house to the National College there was nothing much but trees and vegetable

patches. My mother was not so thrilled to allow me to walk all by myself to your house. It was a fun

walk through the flower fields. Your father Dada was sitting with some people. They looked important,

but I did not recognize them. Dada was playing his harmonium and chewing a betel leaf (Paan). He

said loudly, “a little girl is here to see you Pancham” then asked me my name. When he found out

that I was Pete’s sister, he welcomed me with a lovely smile, ignoring his important company. Then

you came and gave me a big tap on my head and called me “Pagli” and everybody laughed. I was

very proud, as you had just called me “your highness”. I did not mind you calling me “Pagli”, because

I was “crazy” about your big brotherly affection.

You started getting your own movies. “Teesri Manzil” and “Bhoot Bangla” were hits. You were on your

way to become famous and I went to the US of A for higher education. I missed watching your glory

days in person. You always kept in touch with Pete and my parents. I remember when you came with

Ashatai for shows, you called me from every city you were stationed. At that time I was working as an

Engineer at the construction site of a nuclear power plant in a small town in Pennsylvania. You also

invited my eight American friends to attend your concert in San Francisco. I missed that wonderful

show and I was envious of my friends. You were always generous with people.

In 1982, you arrived with Deepan Chatterji in San Francisco on Carnaval Day. All those beautiful

costumes, music and dancing on the streets, moved you very much. We both decided that we were

going to go to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to attend the Carnaval and going to dance all day — all night

long. We talked about it for years and finally decided to go in 1998, but my brother you already left

us to dance with God in heaven. I remember when Ashatai told me once, “Pancham was a Gandharva

sent to this earth by God. His work was done and he left all of us here behind pining for him. Now he

is making music for God.”

You were in San Francisco with us to make “Pantera”. My brothers conceived the idea and produced

the Latin Rock album. I knew all the musicians who worked with you. Jose Flores was my Conga

drum teacher. Something magical happened between you and Jose. It was like two musical souls

met. You guys worked very hard and partied very hard too. I witnessed that you never drank in the

morning or during the work. You concentrated on you work. After all the work was over the

evenings were light fun. Being your “Pagli” and the little sister of Pete I ended running around and

doing all the stupid errands. I had fun. The music was fabulous. All the songs were written in my

house before you arrived and we were ready. You guys made that album in a record time i.e. 10 days

only. All the musicians ended up loving you and they still cry thinking of your generosity and

kindness. You touched their souls! One day my best friend Nancy came to see you at the studio.

Not only did you carry her purse and a heavy package, you also opened the door of the car and waved

her a polite goodbye. That was so beautiful about you. You were a regular guy; there was never any

air about you. One day you went walking alone in the rough neighborhood of Mission district

without telling us. Oh God! What a dreadful afternoon it was for us. My brother was in tears; he

was even ready to go to the police asking for help. After many hours later, wearing a brand new

black Chicano jacket and smiling from ear to ear, you wandered back into the studio like nothing

had happened. My brother was ready to kill you. I never knew that my brother knew so many bad

words as he showered them on you. Thank goodness you had a good walk and nothing bad

happened to you. You sure had naive ways like a small innocent boy. I guess that is why everybody

ended up loving you.

In December 1993 I was transferred to Mexico as the head of the department to supervise five mega

construction projects in refinery chemical facilities. I did not know people that well in Mexico City, just

a few people from office. On the 4th of January 1994, my brother called to tell me the awful news. I cried

my heart out. Nobody knew your name there. For them Nilu lost her brother (hermano). Yes they were

right. I felt so lonely. I guess I really did not have any outlet to let my sorrow go. A few months later

my brother Pete came down to Mexico City to see me just for that reason. All we did in that whole

week is to talk about you for hours and cry together for hours. Since we never made it to Brazil for

Carnaval I decide that I was going to create my own music to dedicate it to you. Over the years the

idea grew bigger. I quit my job and came back to India to produce a movie.

Yes, I have completed “Aankhon Mein Sapne Liye”. It is a full feature adventure film with music that

you will be proud of. Your little sister worked very hard and against all odds to finish this movie.

This movie is dedicated to you. Everybody who loved you helped me along the way. Ashatai gave me

blessing by singing the first recorded song of this movie. Rono Mukerji and his whole family, Amit

Kumar, Ramesh Iyer, many of your musicians and Deepan Chaterji extended their kindness. They

all love you and miss you. All of them have made this movie kicking.

My sweet brother, we all love you and you are always with us.

Lovingly yours

Nilu Niranjana