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RD Burman in his own voice — birth anniversary special

On RD Burman's 78th birth anniversary today (27 June), we take a look at 10 songs that the great composer had a voice in.

Shriram Iyengar

Born to a pedigree of music, RD Burman was a true born genius. From backslapping to glass tumblers and combs, he could create music out of any instrument known and unknown to mankind. Yet, his voice was his greatest strength. On his 78th birth anniversary today (27 June), we take a look at 10 songs that the great composer had a voice in.

1. 'Hai Apna Dil Toh Awara' — Solva Saal (1958)

The composer's genius lies in his expertise in multiple musical instruments, including the harmonica. He played the tune to brilliance in this composition by his father featuring Dev Anand at his finest. Note the playful, almost rebellious tune of the harmonica that signalled a new star on the rise.

2. 'O Meri Jaan Maine Kaha'— The Train (1970)

If Kishore Kumar brought yodelling into Hindi playback music, RD Burman reinvented it. In one of his underrated numbers for Ravikant Nagaich's The Train, the younger Burman showed his unparalleled use of music to set the template with trumpets playing as horns in the city traffic, and his own smoky, rough voice providing a thrilling soundtrack to this noirish song.
3. 'Piya Tu Ab To Aaja' — Caravan (1971)

With his muse, Asha Bhosle, the composer created some of the more memorable hits of his career. This fever pitch cabaret hit was one of the more unforgettable ones, with the genius himself taking to the mike to croon the iconic 'Monica, oh my darling' section.

4. 'Kal Kya Hoga Kisko Pata' — Kasme Vaade (1978)

Another underrated number from Kasme Vaade, the song has become a memory milestone for many of the composer's fans. Starring Randhir Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, the film was just a semi-hit, but delivered a very hummable soundtrack.

5. 'Yamma Yamma' — Shaan (1980)

This was the perfect synthesis of Ramesh Sippy-Salim-Javed and RD Burman. While the film is still remembered as a iconic moment with a James Bond-esque villain, its only nomination at the Filmfare Awards was for Best Music for its composer.

6. 'Tum Kya Jaano Mohabbat Kya Hai' — Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)

While there is no dearth of soundtracks that mark the genius of RD Burma the composer, Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai was a rarity. Nasir Hussain's musical combined the pop fizz of the disco era with the jazz and style of the composer's music.

7. 'Dil Lena Khel Hai Dildar Ka' — Zamaane Ko Dikhana Hai (1981)

This song was hailed for its unique, and original mix of synthesized, minimalist mix of electronic and disco/pop music. To add, there was the very original voice of RD Burman at the playback. Three decades down, it is still a huge hit at parties.

8. 'Jaan E Jaan O Meri Jaan E Jaan' — Sanam Teri Kasam (1982)

Despite the stellar career he had, Sanam Teri Kasam was the first film for which RD Burman won his Filmfare Award for Best Music. He sang this song in his own voice, alongside Asha Bhosle to the tune of his own composition.

9. 'Pyaar Tumhe Kis Mod Pe Le Aaya' —Satte Pe Satta (1982)

This is one composition that stands out for its optimum use of multiple singers. Kishore Kumar, Gulshan Bawra, Bhupinder Singh and Sapan Chakraborty combined with RD Burman in this fantastic number. While it is always difficult to remember whose voice was synced to whom, there is no forgetting that ferocious yodel that brings the song to its fever pitch.

10. 'Yeh Din To Aata Hai' — Mahaan (1983)

By the arrival of the 1980s, the magic of RD Burman was beginning to fade. Though his music was still a hit, the failure of films marked him out as an 'unlucky charm'. This was one of the last songs he sung, before disappearing into anonymity for another decade.