by Seema Sinha
Panchamda's favourites were the ones which he enjoyed composing and recording. Dum maro dum, Mere naina saawan bhadon, Mehbooba, popular numbers from Mere Jeevan Saathi, Aandhi, Kinara and Kati Patang were the creations he loved. He liked Shankar Jaikishan- Lata Mangeshkar combination, but found it difficult to choose between Lata, Asha Bhonsle and the lyricists he worked with. "If Latabai is Don Bradman of cricket, Ashabai is Gary Sobers. Majrooh in mood is at his best and Anand Bakshi when in his true element is superb," said Pancham diplomatically.
Rated as one of the most original composers, Pancham started his career with his father S.D. Burman in 1955 with Guru Dutt's Pyaasa and composed the famous song, Sar jo tera chakraye. In 1963, Pancham helped his father compose various mukhdas for the film Guide. Finally Pancham made his debut with Chhote Nawab in 1961.
In this endeavour to be different from his father Pancham was helped by Kersi Lord and Manohari Singh, India's leading saxophone player. Pancham popularised the brass element of the orchestra along with electric guitar resulting into some memorable numbers like Aaja aaja from Teesri Manzil, which is still a rage. Pancham wasn't very confident about the song as it had an unusual beat and approached Asha hesitantly. He knew Asha could do justice to it. "Pancham would be hesitant whenever he came up with a truly inspiring tune. He was shy, self-effacing and locked," Asha had observed.
When Asha heard it, especially the last portion O o aaaaja, oh oh aaaja, aaaaha she knew the song was going to be a trend-setter.
Recently he had expressed his desire to make a comeback. Ek dao aur marna hai (I want to make one more effort), he had said in his last interview. But unfortunately, by then it was too late.