RD Burman Death anniversary: Usha Uthup remembers the music icon

RD Burman Death anniversary: Singer Usha Uthup needs absolutely no introduction. Born with ‘blessed vocals’, she has lent her voice to many hit songs in many languages.

Even though she has worked under many music composers, her association with the legendary R D Burman was truly special. It was under his `musical association`, that she had belted many hit tracks including the evergreen ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’, and `Doston se pyaar kiya’ amongst others.

A year ago, on RD Burman`s death anniversary, Mid Day Online spoke to Usha Uthup where she walked down memory lane and shared a few interesting anecdotes about him.

Which is your fondest memory about Panchamda?
Since I have so many fond memories, it’s difficult to pinpoint just one. I think that one of the most amazing memory about Panchamda was his art of explaining things. Once, what had happened was that, he was very keen that I should be there at the premiere of ‘Shaan’ where I was supposed to come up from the flight deck and get onto the main deck and sing ‘Doston se pyaar kiya, dusmanon se…’ Although the whole thing did not get materialized but, the excitement with which Panchamda had explained the whole concept was totally awesome. There is one more memory that will always be evergreen in my mind. Then, there was a Bengali song ‘Aagaami shishura’, which was recorded in Mumbai’s Madhur Dhwani studio. After the recording, he said that he was happy that he could exploit the range of my voice.

Panchamda has created an ocean of songs. Can you tell your top 4 songs which has been composed by him?
Again, I would say that it`s really difficult to pick up any one or four tracks from the legacy of gems that Panchamda has created. I would say that my top 4 songs will include `Humein Tumse Pyaar Kitna` because of the lyrics. Then, there’s ‘Chinagri Koi Bhadke’ because of the fact that it touches the heart so emotionally. The third one will be ‘Bina dekhe bina jaane’, the very song which was sung by Amitabh Bachchan in the film ‘Mahaan’. The fourth song will be ‘Dukh sukh ki har mala kudrat hi piroti hai, Haathon ki lakeeron mein ye jaagti aur soti hai’ from the film ‘Kudrat’.

What is that one quality of Pachamda that you admired the most?
I really admired his capacity to realize how to bring about the best in any artist and where to give any suggestion and where to allow the artist to put in his/her input. He allowed the artists to grow.

If you were to dedicate one song in his remembrance from his own repertoire of songs, which will that track be?
It has to be the track ‘Dukh sukh ki har mala’ and also ‘Humein tumse pyaar kitnaa’.

You have recorded many tracks with him. Can you recall any incident/s from the recording?
Panchamda always gave me the kind of songs which he believed that I would be able to sing well. One of incident about Panchamda was that, he had told me to chew the lyrics of the Bengali song ‘Premey pudey jaaaye’. Otherwise, he always let me to sing the way I wanted to.

If you had to describe the legacy of Panchamda, what will that be?
It’s actually very difficult to describe legacy of Panchamda in just a few words or sentence. That’s why I would say that, Panchamda was all about the quality of work more than the quality of work.

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