Rahul And I One of India’s most accomplished singers Asha Bhosle freewheels on her lfe and times with

the late RD Burman, who has been called the Mazart of Hindi film music... I first met Pancham somewhere in the ‘50s, when I was recording for his father SD Burman at Famous Studio in Mahalakshmi, Mumbai. He was a thin, wiry 15- years old who looked about 12 because o his short stature. Dressed in white, his outsized glasses and hair combed back with oil made him look quite quaint. He shyly asked me for an autograph and that was that. I must have been around 20 then. A few years later, he was back at the studios assisting his dad on Nate Do Gyaruh. He and the late jaidevji were assistents to his father. I remember him constantly playing table tennis whenever there was a free moment. So when he’d try to teach me mukhda from the song to be recorded. I’d be dismissive and say I prefer to learn the song from Dada Burman and not his novice son. Pancham came to me finally as a music director with Pati Patni for the Maar daiega dard e tiger song. Workong with Pancham, I slowly realised that Dada had used so many of his tunes, like Ae meri topi palat ( Funtfoosh) and Karie pyar karie ( Talash ). Dada being a classically trained singer knew the tecnical aspects thoroughly, he’d tell us where to fade-i, fade out during recording. Pancham was big on sound. If the words didn’t appeal to him, he’d add a taru para pup pup refrain to give the song zing. As I love challenges, Pancham always threw a challenge at me whether it was Aaja aaja ( Teesri Manzil ), Mera naam hai shabnam ( Kati Patang ), O meri jaan maine kaha ( The Train ), Meri nazar hai tughpe ( The Burning Train). Of course, we’d have our numerouse squabbles. Once I was recording the Ghadi mein tala ghadi mein masha duet with Rafisaab for Sabse Bada rupaiya. I reached at 10 am Rafisaab came in only by one pm. I was quite miffed with Pancham and insisted first and let me go as I had another recording after that. God,how he sulked that day ! Even when we were recording Mera naam hai shabnam. I hadlong lines of dialogue before I broke into te song. Once he tiked me off saying i was’t getting the words right. From the recording room. I yelled right back saying ‘ sab ki mein bolne hain’, this was the way I did it and he better learn to live with it. I don’t know when it turned into love. All that is in the books and fairytales. I think Pancam was in love with my voice and that was the basis of our relationship. Everything else came later. We’d hear music into the night, he’d constantly improvise with the form. Perhaps that’s why his music ounds so mint-fresh even today. Pancham kept his cards close to his chest, he knew he was good, but always looked for approval. I was a mother or three kids and had already undergone my privae hell, so I was outspoken and mercurial.... Somewhere along the line, we forged a bond of song and music. From ‘Asha II’ he started calling me babra and later shortened it to ‘Bub’. I too responded by calling him Pancham or Bub. I don’t know if an Abhimaan situation ever developed in our elationship. I never discussed the work I did with other music directors. Somtimes I’d tell him that some of the music guys were trying to imitate his style, and he’d retort with a laugh. ‘Karne do bub, apne paas bahut maal hat’. When I’d argue with him that he gave other singers all the melodious numbers, while I got the racy ones. He’d say, ‘ If you don’t sing my racy sons. I’ll stop composing them’. Pancham wax a true artiste and a

rangeela kalakaar. Caravan. When dada got to know that Pancham and I were together. Asha.... but as a daughter-in-law. Music is my heartline and Pancham was my soul. Some of Pancham’s so-called well-wishers wanted to shift her to mental asylum. who is mentally unstable. ect..they are a part of our memories together. I’m so happy that through his music. I’d always complain to him his driking and smoking . His mother. but he’d never listen.. his LP s and spools carefully in his house. So many chairmants have come and asked for these then away. Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Some people around him. But Pancham never complained. ( As told to . I’ve seen that she’s well taken care of if Pancham’s house even today. It’s sad that so many producers and directors who came to the house and behaved like friends. like his secretary.. he called me and said. is still alive. I only wish he hadn’t tasted the ignornlary of rejection in his last few years.. logon ka kaam hai kehna. he lives on forever. ‘I don’t know about you. Public memory is short.. tried to create a rift between us and I’d tell Pancham not to get influenced by them because kuch to log kahenge. Right from his tanpura to his harmonium.) . but I know my son wil be well looked after’. I’ve preserved his hirts.. short-changed him when it came to money and giving him films. It was sad that he never got awards for films like Teesri Manzil.. Ghar.. He’d get inspired by a woman’s eyes and he’d just take off to Khan dala in middle the night and compose a tune! He never cared about material things.. I just cannot bear to separate the two.

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