Through a quarter century and more, so stand-out is the music that Asha Bhosle-R.D.Burman duo has made, with the one compositionally complementing the other to a T, that I felt it was time they were brought face to face, the one to speak on the other, interacting in a style that would prove tunefully rewarding to the reader.
In a manner of speaking, the relationship between this singer-composer team is a mere continuation of the process that RD’s father, S.D.Burman, had set in motion. Asha, remember, gave her vocal best to Sachin Dev Burman, before she came indelibly to be identified with Rahul Dev Burman for the uniquely infectious style in which she sang
Strangely, as the two admit, they have never before been asked to assess each other as a long-standing vocal-compositional pair who have come together in real life too. Whenever their names have been mentioned in tandem, it has been to pick up some unsavoury tidbit, contributing to the two’s real common interest: music. Hence this idea of getting them to tune with each other. The idea so appealed to the duo that both Asha and RD cooperated enthusiastically to offer an insight into their evolution as a singer composer duo with a niche distinctly its own in the annals of our popular music.
As Asha and Pancham came together specifically for this interview in
R.D.Burman’s music-room, I shot my first question at the singer: “When did you first come to realize that dada Burman’s son, in his own way, is as gifted a composer as his father?”
“Why, Pancham used to rehearse me right from the time I came regularly
to sing for Dada Burman with ‘Nau do Gyarah’, some time in 1956, revealed Asha. “I remember demurring and telling Dada that it was with him, and not with his raw young son, that I wanted to rehearse ‘Aankhon mein kya ji’ for ‘Nau do Gyarah’, all the more so it was a duet with the impish Kishore Kumar. But Dada disarmed me by asserting that Pancham was every inch as good a music person as himself.”