Pancham used to keep best romantic songs for my sister: Asha Bhonsle

Mumbai, Jan 5 (IANS) Singing legend Asha Bhosle reveals she used to often fight with her late husband, composer R.D. Burman, because he would give the best of the romantic songs to her elder sister, Lata Mangeshkar.

"He would give me numbers that used to have a lot of screaming notes like 'Piya tu ab tu aaja' and 'Aaja aaja mein hoon pyaar tera'. One day I confronted him with that. And he said that if I will refuse to sing those songs, then he will never compose such tunes ever. According to him, only I could do justice to those songs. So I had to give in," Asha said at function organised for naming a road after the legendary composer, also known as Pancham.

The road in R.D. Burman's name is located in front of the house he lived in North Avenue, Santacruz here.

Going down memory lane, she offered more glimpses into the trend-setting composer's private life.

She said: "As his wife, I knew the private Pancham like nobody did, even though we lived more like friends, as partners in our musical journey than as husband and wife."

She revealed that Pancham had only two passions in life.

"One was, of course, music and the other was cooking. Since I am also a good cook, we often used to have competitions at home. That was the way he used to relax himself after thinking about music, composing tunes and experimenting with sounds," Asha said.

She also disclosed that the composer was completely blind to the material side of life.

"So much so that, one day, when he saw me wearing a diamond ring, he wanted to know the name of the gem I was wearing in my finger. When I told him that it was a diamond, he asked if the diamond really looked like that. You see, that was Pancham," Asha recalled.

The seventy-five-year-old crooner, whose close association with the composer started in 1966 with "Teesri Manzil" culminated in their marriage in 1980, said that she had known Pancham from the time he had assisted his celebrated father, S.D. Burman.

"In those days, whenever Burman da (S.D. Burman) offered me a song, I would ask him what was the tune like and he would tell me to learn it from Pancham. That happened again and again. Naturally, I would be upset, because Pancham was not the music director of the films I would be singing for. It was much later that I learnt that the tunes for those songs had actually been composed by Pancham, but he never sought credit for the same," she said.

Asha said that they had a happy life together for 14 years till he died in 1994.

"But he died a sad man. Mostly, he was saddened by the changing trends in Bollywood music," Asha said.

As if to corroborate her statement, in the audio-visual (AV) presented at the function, filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra made a revelation.

Chopra said that when he signed Pancham for his "1942: A Love Story" in 1993, the music company he had first approached refused to buy the music rights of the film unless he replaced him with a new generation music director.

"But I stuck to my stand and the results are there for all to see," Chopra said in the AV.

Commenting upon the the present Bollywood music scene, Asha said that Pancham, who ushered in the modern trend in Hindi film music, seeps through in most of the songs being churned out today.

"Well, this is just my observation. Nobody should take it as a criticism. But when I hear these songs, I instantly recall where the notes and rhythms have been copied from. At such moments, I hum the original songs and become convinced that they have been copied from Pancham's music," Asha said.

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