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Books > Performing Arts > Cinema > Sun Mere Bandhu Re (The Musical World of S.D. Burman)
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Sun Mere Bandhu Re (The Musical World of S.D. Burman)
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Sun Mere Bandhu Re (The Musical World of S.D. Burman)
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About the Book

 

S.D. Burman was singer, musician, composer and teacher all at once - a trailblazer in the truest sense of the term. He was a prince who lived a commoner’s life, a singer who created tunes instead, a classically trained musician who composed for the lay listener. His incredible career in Hindi cinema spanned three decades - through all the years of which his spirit was as fresh and young as when he started. His compositions were filmed on succeeding generations of stars to unflaggingly wonderful effect.

 

This chronicle of the life of S.D. Burman tells his story through a kaleidoscope of montages from the inner and outer worlds he inhabited. Fragmented memoirs of his days in the sylvan surroundings of Comilla, interviews, press clippings and archival material piece together the story of the man who created some of Hindi cinema’s most enduring songs. Facts and records are knitted into a multidimensional narrative that carries the reader into the little-known world of a man whose contradictions made him unique and gave him a place all his own in music.

 

Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical World of S.D. Burman is a biography unlike any you have read before.

 

Back of the Book

 

When Hrishikesh Mukherjee was making Abhimaan with Iaya and myself, we spent memorable afternoons at Burman dada’s home where he would sing and render the possible tunes that would form the music of the film. The songs of Abhimaan have been tested through the years and through time without ever seeming outdated or even forgotten. Burman dada gave some of the most melodious songs to our film industry, but the music of Abhimaan shall always remain special. We were never able to replicate to its fullest the originals sung by him. They were in a league of their own ... A simple man, with the most simple habits, in the simplest of environs. His passion was music and it came from his heart!

 

About the Author

 

Sathya Saran is one of India’s best- known journalists and editors. As editor, she made Femina the most successful fashion and lifestyle magazine in India. She is author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling biography Tell Years with Guru Dutt: Abrar Aids Journey. She is currently working on a number of books in her capacity as consulting editor with HarperCollins India.

 

Preface

 

One thing usually leads to another. The thread of destiny unravels in surprising ways, sometimes telescoping the past and present into a concrete moment.

 

I have never met S.D. Burman. I know his songs of course, have grown up singing them to myself. I had seen the rare picture of him somewhere, and held the impression of a calm, spartan face that could have been etched in solitude by a calligraphist’s pen.

 

Beyond a chance second-hand encounter with the composer through Abrar Alvi while researching my book on Guru Dutt, I knew nothing about S.D. Burman. And Alvi revealed him only as a gentle soul, possessive about his paan and careful with his money - not much to build an image from.

 

But one thing led to another. A young man who worked in the same building I used as an office for a while came up to say that his father had read my book on Guru Dutt. He wanted to know if I would take on the writing of a biography of S.D. Burman. His father, the young man continued, was a huge fan of the music director, and had collected clippings published about him for the past few decades, which he was willing to hand over to me.

 

And so it was that I met Moti Lalwani who came bearing his treasure trove. A meeting that resulted in two bulging files in my custody.

 

This was followed up by a series of interviews that had been conducted for the four fan-page web sites he administered, and an offer to continue to do interviews of prominent players in S.D. Burman’s musical world. Of course, I gratefully accepted.

 

For almost four months after this, I refused to look at the material on hand. Material that kept coming in, in the form of fresh interviews, and relentlessly stared at me from my inbox everytime I logged on. When I finally began to read, it was like entering a labyrinth. I could so easily be lost in this uncharted territory, where voices spoke from every direction; some echoing, some contradicting one another. Despite so many voices speaking about him, I could find S.D. Burman nowhere. The man was missing.

 

Adding to my confusion was a package that landed on my table one morning. From Bangladesh. A book on S.D. Burman by a venerable researcher of the composer’s work, H.Q. Chowdhury.

 

My heart sank. Was I heading to a dead end? Was there place for a second book? What could I say that was new about a man I had never met or known?

 

It was S.D. Burman himself who came to my rescue. His slim autobiographical note, Sargamer Nikhad, written with simplicity and a charming lack of self-consciousness was the first real insight into the person I had been looking for. His stories of his youth, his description of his interactions with those who mattered to him in his musical journey through life gave me the clue on how to shape his story.

 

I put aside everything I had read as notes and interviews. I listened to the songs, I let myself listen to the world around me as someone who heard only the music in every sound.

 

And the book began to take shape in my mind. I listened to the music of the birds, to the beat of a butterfly’s wings as it flitted past my window. The rat-a-tat of the local train, the shouted cadences of the fruit seller’s voice, the spoon hitting the side of the pot in the kitchen ... I imagined a musician listening to them and capturing the music inherent in every sound.

 

And destiny took me back to the days when I walked barefoot in the grass, chasing dragonflies, or lay in the shade of a spreading rain tree watching alternately the clouds or the brown tufts at the ends of the leaves of grass waving in the breeze while far away a man selling mud violins played a tune I knew the words of.

 

It was easy then to blend the real with the almost real. To let imagination colour the calligraphist’s portrait in the shades of music.

 

By the time this book went into edits, another book on S.D. Burman had come out, this time by an Indian, by someone who shared the surname. But by now I was no longer worried about the content. Another book wasn’t going to make a difference because I had decided on a new approach to the narrative altogether.

 

This narration of S.D. Burman’s life follows his journey through it and through his music faithfully. There is nothing in the book that has not been documented elsewhere in print or recorded through interviews for this book. It is only in the telling of the story that I have, like the subject of this book, let myself roam free. Just as he would take the seven notes of music and spin out of them an endless fabric of songs, I have tried to take the many facts and milestones of his life and weave a tapestry that reveals in its intricacies the genius of a man whose life was simply dictated by music.

 

In doing this, I hope to present S.D. Burman’s amazing story not just to those who have thrilled to his songs, but to a generation that can learn the blessings of a way of life dedicated so passionately to excellence. A passion that never waned and so touched the hearts of at least two generations of moviegoers.

 

On learning I was writing this book, a friend asked me why I chose to write on dead people. I replied that I seem to be so chosen. And take it on gladly because I could then try, through my writing, to make them come alive again.

 

Contents

 

Preface

ix

Part One: Beginnings

1

Part Two: Calcutta

21

Part Three: Bombay

55

Afterword

235

Sachin Dev Burman: The Man behind the Legend by Moti Lalwani

 

Appendix

245

Acknowledgements

257

About the Author

258

 

Sample Page

Sun Mere Bandhu Re (The Musical World of S.D. Burman)

Item Code:
NAI394
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
2014
ISBN:
9789350298497
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
270
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 400 gms
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

 

S.D. Burman was singer, musician, composer and teacher all at once - a trailblazer in the truest sense of the term. He was a prince who lived a commoner’s life, a singer who created tunes instead, a classically trained musician who composed for the lay listener. His incredible career in Hindi cinema spanned three decades - through all the years of which his spirit was as fresh and young as when he started. His compositions were filmed on succeeding generations of stars to unflaggingly wonderful effect.

 

This chronicle of the life of S.D. Burman tells his story through a kaleidoscope of montages from the inner and outer worlds he inhabited. Fragmented memoirs of his days in the sylvan surroundings of Comilla, interviews, press clippings and archival material piece together the story of the man who created some of Hindi cinema’s most enduring songs. Facts and records are knitted into a multidimensional narrative that carries the reader into the little-known world of a man whose contradictions made him unique and gave him a place all his own in music.

 

Sun Mere Bandhu Re: The Musical World of S.D. Burman is a biography unlike any you have read before.

 

Back of the Book

 

When Hrishikesh Mukherjee was making Abhimaan with Iaya and myself, we spent memorable afternoons at Burman dada’s home where he would sing and render the possible tunes that would form the music of the film. The songs of Abhimaan have been tested through the years and through time without ever seeming outdated or even forgotten. Burman dada gave some of the most melodious songs to our film industry, but the music of Abhimaan shall always remain special. We were never able to replicate to its fullest the originals sung by him. They were in a league of their own ... A simple man, with the most simple habits, in the simplest of environs. His passion was music and it came from his heart!

 

About the Author

 

Sathya Saran is one of India’s best- known journalists and editors. As editor, she made Femina the most successful fashion and lifestyle magazine in India. She is author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling biography Tell Years with Guru Dutt: Abrar Aids Journey. She is currently working on a number of books in her capacity as consulting editor with HarperCollins India.

 

Preface

 

One thing usually leads to another. The thread of destiny unravels in surprising ways, sometimes telescoping the past and present into a concrete moment.

 

I have never met S.D. Burman. I know his songs of course, have grown up singing them to myself. I had seen the rare picture of him somewhere, and held the impression of a calm, spartan face that could have been etched in solitude by a calligraphist’s pen.

 

Beyond a chance second-hand encounter with the composer through Abrar Alvi while researching my book on Guru Dutt, I knew nothing about S.D. Burman. And Alvi revealed him only as a gentle soul, possessive about his paan and careful with his money - not much to build an image from.

 

But one thing led to another. A young man who worked in the same building I used as an office for a while came up to say that his father had read my book on Guru Dutt. He wanted to know if I would take on the writing of a biography of S.D. Burman. His father, the young man continued, was a huge fan of the music director, and had collected clippings published about him for the past few decades, which he was willing to hand over to me.

 

And so it was that I met Moti Lalwani who came bearing his treasure trove. A meeting that resulted in two bulging files in my custody.

 

This was followed up by a series of interviews that had been conducted for the four fan-page web sites he administered, and an offer to continue to do interviews of prominent players in S.D. Burman’s musical world. Of course, I gratefully accepted.

 

For almost four months after this, I refused to look at the material on hand. Material that kept coming in, in the form of fresh interviews, and relentlessly stared at me from my inbox everytime I logged on. When I finally began to read, it was like entering a labyrinth. I could so easily be lost in this uncharted territory, where voices spoke from every direction; some echoing, some contradicting one another. Despite so many voices speaking about him, I could find S.D. Burman nowhere. The man was missing.

 

Adding to my confusion was a package that landed on my table one morning. From Bangladesh. A book on S.D. Burman by a venerable researcher of the composer’s work, H.Q. Chowdhury.

 

My heart sank. Was I heading to a dead end? Was there place for a second book? What could I say that was new about a man I had never met or known?

 

It was S.D. Burman himself who came to my rescue. His slim autobiographical note, Sargamer Nikhad, written with simplicity and a charming lack of self-consciousness was the first real insight into the person I had been looking for. His stories of his youth, his description of his interactions with those who mattered to him in his musical journey through life gave me the clue on how to shape his story.

 

I put aside everything I had read as notes and interviews. I listened to the songs, I let myself listen to the world around me as someone who heard only the music in every sound.

 

And the book began to take shape in my mind. I listened to the music of the birds, to the beat of a butterfly’s wings as it flitted past my window. The rat-a-tat of the local train, the shouted cadences of the fruit seller’s voice, the spoon hitting the side of the pot in the kitchen ... I imagined a musician listening to them and capturing the music inherent in every sound.

 

And destiny took me back to the days when I walked barefoot in the grass, chasing dragonflies, or lay in the shade of a spreading rain tree watching alternately the clouds or the brown tufts at the ends of the leaves of grass waving in the breeze while far away a man selling mud violins played a tune I knew the words of.

 

It was easy then to blend the real with the almost real. To let imagination colour the calligraphist’s portrait in the shades of music.

 

By the time this book went into edits, another book on S.D. Burman had come out, this time by an Indian, by someone who shared the surname. But by now I was no longer worried about the content. Another book wasn’t going to make a difference because I had decided on a new approach to the narrative altogether.

 

This narration of S.D. Burman’s life follows his journey through it and through his music faithfully. There is nothing in the book that has not been documented elsewhere in print or recorded through interviews for this book. It is only in the telling of the story that I have, like the subject of this book, let myself roam free. Just as he would take the seven notes of music and spin out of them an endless fabric of songs, I have tried to take the many facts and milestones of his life and weave a tapestry that reveals in its intricacies the genius of a man whose life was simply dictated by music.

 

In doing this, I hope to present S.D. Burman’s amazing story not just to those who have thrilled to his songs, but to a generation that can learn the blessings of a way of life dedicated so passionately to excellence. A passion that never waned and so touched the hearts of at least two generations of moviegoers.

 

On learning I was writing this book, a friend asked me why I chose to write on dead people. I replied that I seem to be so chosen. And take it on gladly because I could then try, through my writing, to make them come alive again.

 

Contents

 

Preface

ix

Part One: Beginnings

1

Part Two: Calcutta

21

Part Three: Bombay

55

Afterword

235

Sachin Dev Burman: The Man behind the Legend by Moti Lalwani

 

Appendix

245

Acknowledgements

257

About the Author

258

 

Sample Page

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