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Sachin Dev Burman

Sachin Dev Burman's 45th death anniversary

Sachin Dev Burman was one of the most celebrated music composers for Hindi movies and a Bengali singer and composer. Sachin composed music for 100 movies, including Bengali films.

The legendary figure was born in Comilla (then East Bengal), to Nirmala Devi and Nabadwipchandra Dev Burman. He began his training in classical music under his father, who was a sitarist and dhrupad singer. He did his B.A. from Calcutta (now Kolkata) University and started his formal music education under K.C. Dey. In 1932 he came under the tutelage of Bhismadev Chattopadhyay. This was followed by training from Kahifa Badal Khan (sarangi player) and Ustad Alauddin Khan.

Sachin started working as a radio singer on Calcutta Radio Station in 1932, where his early work was based on East Bengali folk music, and soon made a reputation for himself in folk and light classical music. His film compositions were often influenced by his huge repertory of folk tunes from the Bhatiali, Shari and Dhamail traditions.

In the following decade he reached his peak as a singer, cutting as many as 131 songs in Bengali, and also sang for composers like Himangsu Dutta, RC Boral, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Sailesh Das Gupta.

In 1934, Sachin attended the All India Music Conference, at the invitation of Allahabad University, where he presented his Bengali Thumri, to an illustrious audience, with the likes of Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit and the inimitable Abdul Karim Khan of Kirana Gharana.

As a music composer, Sachin started with Bengali plays, "Sati Tirtha" and "Janani", and eventually gave his first score in film, "Rajgee" in 1937. He continued composing music for Bengali films, even after he moved to Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1944.

In 1950s, SD Burman teamed up with Dev Anand's Nav Ketan Productions to create musical hits like "Taxi Driver" (1954), "Nau Do Gyarah" (1957) and "Kalapani" (1958). With the success of their second film, Baazi (1951) he made it to the top. While every song in the film was a hit, one stood out for special appeal -- "Tadbir se bigdi hui taqdeer", a ghazal that was occidentalised into a seductive song.

Sachin's thin yet powerful voice was often used as bardic commentary to haunting results -- a typically Bengali trait -- as in "Orey maajhi mere sajan hai uss paar" (from "Bandini", 1963), "Wahaan kaun hai tera" (from "Guide", 1965) and "Saphal hogi teri aradhana" (from "Aradhana", 1969), for which he received the National Film Award for Best Male Playback Singer for the year 1970.

Bengali music and sensibilities remained Sachin's muse throughout his illustrious career in the Bombay film industry. In 1963, he composed songs for "Meri Surat Teri Aankhen" and Manna Dey sang the song "Poochho na kaise maine" in raaga Ahir Bhairav. The song was based on a Bengali composition by Kazi Nazrul Islam, "Arunokanti ke go jogi bhikaari".

Burman died in 1975 in Bombay in India.

  • Sachin Dev Burman
  • Bengali films
  • Bengali singer and composer

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