“After he got award for Abhiman he said ‘Shankar, thank you. But there is one thing I will tell you, I did not spend any money. I got it genuinely.’ Maybe it was in his mind that Shankar-Jaikishan must have done something, bought a huge number of copies of Filmfare to fill in the votes, or something like that, as they had won in the previous years rather frequently. There was an interview on the Internet with Pyarelal in which he admits that Lakshmi-ji had told him to buy copies of Filmfare and fill the forms, nominating themselves. He said, ‘It made kachra of us, devalued our worth and integrity a lot, but after the award, we got a lot of work.’

This is SD Burman in Sathya Saran’s latest book, ‘Sun Mere Bandhu Re- the Musical World of SD Burman.’ I anchored Sathya’s session on her two well-researched and riveting biographies at Lucknow Literature Carnival last weekend and to the audience shock came to know that even greats like SD Burman had doubts about the credibility of awards in the good old days. Then why should we raise questions over Aamir Khan or Ajay Devgan’s decision to stay away from award ceremonies.

Sathya Saran has authored two brilliant biographies on giants of the film industry – SD Burman and Guru Dutt (Abrar Alvi’s journey). Incidentally, both the stalwarts had to wait for recognition even after giving several hits to Indian cinema. Abrar had directed Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam and was not merely a front man for GD, as many had so believed, he was also the guy who discovered Waheeda for Pyasa.

Of course, the books also talk about their personal lives – GD’s relationship with all-time popular Waheeda Rehman and SD’s with his son RD Burman who many thought had composed ‘Roop Tera Mastana’ for Aradhana. SD was even accused of lifts, of plagiarism.

These facts are revealed in Sathya’s book in Burman’s words, ‘‘You have heard my famous song in Aradhana, ‘Safal hogi teri aradhana, kahe ko roye’. It is composed on a simply Baul melody. Then there is the famous Guide song, ‘Wahan kaun hai tera musafir jayega kahan’. That too is done on Bhatiali lines. What’s more surprising is that the rather jazzy sort of hit song ‘Roop tera mastana’ sung by Kishore Kumar is but a beautiful folk melody that I happened to hear a long time ago. I remembered the tune because of its peculiar effect. It merely uses two notes and has a very special influence on the senses.”

So how did RD get to compose music for ‘Hare Rama , Hare Krishna’.

Despite media reports to the contrary, it was not Dev Anand who chose Pancham for the film’s musical score. It was SD Burman who decided his son would handle the film. For one, the elder Burman disapproved of drugs and the filming of such scenes. He was not sure of its impact. Besides, he felt someone younger would be more in tune with the kind of scene Dev would shoot and be able to deliver the music better.

After the session Sathya left for Mumbai – to finish her another first – a book on Jagjit Singh.

While I attended the session with the giant of Indian cinema Shyam Benegal – an adorable guy who is going to turn 80 in two weeks time. We, the fans of his films like Junoon and Ankur, couldn’t have asked for more when he shared with the audience his ambitious plan of making a film that will touch the knotty issue of land acquisition, most probably one to be shot in Uttar Pradesh. Since then I have been wondering if another Mother India in the offing? The wait, for me, begins.

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