There could not have been a better way to honour RD Burman, says shoma a chatterji
'IF music be the food of love, play on.” Thus wrote William Shakespeare in Twelfth Night, 1602. Well, among those in India who have left the legacy of their music behind for generations to listen to, be captivated by and learn from, one name stands out – Rahul Dev Burman. And it was befitting that the Amit Kumar Fan Club of Kolkata conceived of a unique way to pay tribute to this musical genius and create a statue to enhance his infinity across death.
This is the first time ever that a music director has been so honoured, and the statue was installed in Kolkata recently. Amit Kumar, a singer in his own right, flew down to unveil it. He was the ideal person to do so because he has lent his voice to around 160 songs set to music by the unbeatable RD Burman, who used every inconceivable object to turn it into a musical instrument to highlight and enrich his passion for rhythm and beats in his compositions, whether sad, happy or somewhere in between.
The idea took seed in the mind of music composer Mithun Mallik, who happens to be a diehard RD fan. He approached the Amit Kumar Fan Club and shared his idea and, thanks to Debashish Kumar, the project was duly approved by the KMC under his guidance and the land at MIC Park, Garden Square Sports, was donated by the corporation. The approximate cost of the entire project of Rs 4 lakh came from donations and personal contributions. The fibre glass statue was created, shaped and sculpted by Sanjib Narayan Dutta. Maintenance will be looked after by the KMC.
Said Amit Kumar said, “I am speechless. He was my mentor. We spent many memorable moments together, and his music turned into a platform for humour and entertainment, filled with fun, jokes and merry-making, as if we were all on a holiday. I must congratulate the Amit Kumar Fan Club for taking this challenging initiative to pay a tribute to this legend. He may have passed on but the magic of his music plays on.”
Bickram Ghosh, master percussionist, said, “This is heartwarming! Panchamda is immortal in our hearts. This is the only way we Bengalis can pay him infinite tribute.”
Noted singer Indranil Sen said, “As far as modern soundscape and Oriental music go, RD was a pioneer. He will be remembered as a milestone by music lovers across the world.”
The celebration was timed to coincide with RD’s death anniversary on 4 January. In terms of rhythm, instrumentation, clarity of sound through incomparable recordings, RD stood out. Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle offered precious gems under his baton, the last two rendering the maximum number of songs for the genius. Pancham composed the music for more than 350 films and also gave music to non-film compositions in Bengali, Hindi and English. He was conferred the Filmfare Award for Sanam Teri Kasam, Masoom and 1942 A Love Story besides others like the BFJA Award.