Rahul Dev Burman (राहुल देव बर्मन), also known as R. D. Burman, and Pancham da (पंचम दा), (June 27, 1939–January 4, 1994) was one of the great music composers of Bollywood. Commonly R.D. Burman is known as Pancham among his fans. He was the only son of singer and music composer Sachin Dev Burman and Meera, and the second husband of playback singer Asha Bhosle. He is credited with revolutionizing the music in Hindi films, and his style and techniques continue to be followed by the composers of today.
He started independent music composing for long. Out of his 331 released movies 292 were in Hindi, 31 in Bangla, 3 in Telugu, 2 each in Tamil & Oriya and 1 in Marathi. RD also composed for 5 TV Serials in Hindi and Marathi. He also scored a large number of non-film songs in Bangla (also known as Pooja songs or modern songs), which are available in different albums. He did a song for a small documentary film called Maa Ki Pukaar too, in 1975.
A good amount of his work, however, is still work in hand (the last 5-6 years of his life), but when he kept composing tunes and stored them.
R D Burman did playback in eighteen movies composed by him. He was famous for unique, grunting bass singing style. He also acted in the film Bhoot Bungla (1965) and Pyar Ka Mausam (1967).
He also used some of the popular western songs to compose his own tunes. His one of the super hit song "Mehbooba Mehbooba" is inspired from the song "Say You Love Me" by the Greek singer Demis Roussos
Pancham was comfortable with all types of music, be it the romantic Raat kali from Buddha mil gaya (1971), the sexy cabaret Piya tu ab to aaja from Caravan (1971), the ultimate hippie anthem Dum Maro Dum from Hare Krishna Hare Rama (1972) or the classical Raina beeti jaaye. It is said that Dev Anand did not include the complete version of Dum Maro Dum in Hare Rama Hare Krishna, as he was worried the song would overshadow the film. At times, R D doubled up as a singer too. His most famous song as a singer was Mehbooba from Sholay. This song is inspired from the song "Say You Love Me" by Demis Roussos.
Pancham was a very creative person. His percussion included a spoon against a glass (Chura liya hai from Yaadon Ki baraat), desks (Masterji ki aa gayee chitthee from Kitaab) a bamboo whistle with a balloon (Abdullah) and bottles filled with water at different levels (O maajhi re from Khushboo).
Some of Pancham's songs were inspired from popular western tunes. For example,Aao twist karein (Bhoot Bangla) was a direct lift of Come lets twist again by Chubby Checker while Tera mujhse hai pehle ka naata koi (Aaa Gale Lag Ja) is said to be a copy of The Yellow Rose of Texas by Elvis Presley. There are many such other examples available at itwofs. "Bhali Bhali Si Ek Surat" (from Buddha Mil Gaya) is inspired by "Jump in the Line" (by Harry Belafonte).
Pancham also adapted folk music from eastern Europe in some of his tunes, such as the songe in movie Satte Pe Satta. There have been discussions regarding the influence of the communist block of the eastern Europe on Pancham's music.
Pancham has also directed music for some regional films, including Bangla, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Marathi. He also acted in one of the Bengali film named Gayak (starring Amitkumar and Debasri Roy), where RD plays himself and 'discovers' Amit singing on a beach. Pancham's non-filmi music comprises few albums, including 'Pantera' - the international album for which he shares credit with Latin American composer, Jose Flores.