R. D. Burman Age, Death, Wife, Children, Family, Biography & More

R. D. Burman

Full NameRahul Dev Burman
Nickname(s)Tublu, Pancham
Profession(s)Music Director, Singer, Composer
Physical Stats & More
Eye ColourBrown
Hair ColourBlack
DebutSinging (As a Composer): Ae Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa for Funtoosh (1956)
Singing (As a Music Director): Raaz (1959)
Awards, Honours, Achievements • Filmfare Award for Best Music Director for '1942: A Love Story' (1955)
• Filmfare Award for Best Music Director for 'Sanam Teri Kasam' (1983)
• Filmfare Award for Best Music Director for 'Masoom' (1984)
Awards/Places Named After Him• Filmfare RD Burman Award for New Music Talent
• The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation named a public square (chowk) in Santa Cruz after R. D. Burman in 2009
• On 3 May 2013, India Post launched a special commemorative 5 'Postage Stamp' featuring R. D. Burman's picture
R. D. Burman's Postage Stamp
• In 2016, on his 77th birthday anniversary, Google had a Doodle of R. D. Burman on its Indian Home Page
R. D. Burman's Google Doodle
Personal Life
Date of Birth27 June 1939
BirthplaceCalcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India
Date of Death4 January 1994
Place of DeathBombay, Maharashtra, India
Age (at the time of death)54 Years
Death CauseHeart Attack
Zodiac sign/Sun signCancer
SignatureR. D. Burman's Signature
HometownCalcutta (now, Kolkata), India
SchoolA School in West Bengal
Educational QualificationNot Known
Food HabitNon-Vegetarian
HobbiesCooking, Watching Sports
Relationships & More
Marital StatusMarried
Wife/Spouse• Rita Patel (m. 1966; div. 1971)
R. D. Burman's First Wife
Asha Bhosle (m. 1979)
R. D. Burman with his wife Asha Bhosle
• Hemant Bhosle (Stepson)
R. D. Burman's stepson Hemant
• Anand Bhosle (Stepson)
R. D. Burman's stepson Anand Bhosle
• Varsha Bhosle (Stepdaughter)
R. D. Burman's stepdaughter Varsha
ParentsFather- Sachin Dev Burman (Music Director)
Mother- Meera Dev Burman (Lyricist)
R. D. Burman's Parents
Favourite Things
Favourite Food(s)Biryani, Fish Kalia, Mutton Dishes, Crabs & Prawns, Goan Stews, Sarapatel
Favourite Singer(s)Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi
Favourite ColourRed

R D Burman

Some Lesser Known Facts About R. D. Burman

  • Did R. D. Burman smoke?: Not Known
  • Did R. D. Burman drink alcohol?: Yes

    R D Burman Drinking Alcohol

    R D Burman Drinking Alcohol

  • He was born into a music rich family.
  • His nickname was Pancham. There are two stories on how he acquired his nickname. Some say, as a child, his crying reminded his parents of the fifth note, ‘Pa’ of the Indian scale. Whereas, some say, once when, Ashok Kumar came to visit the newborn Rahul, he kept saying “Pa Pa,” then, Ashok Kumar decided to name him “Pancham.”

    R. D. Burman's Photo

    R. D. Burman’s Photo

  • When he was a child, his father, S. D. Burman asked him “What do you want to become?.” Then, he replied, I am good in cycling and playing mouth organs, and I can create my own tunes. This is where, his musical journey started.
  • After spending a few years of his life in Calcutta, he moved to Bombay (now, Mumbai) with his family. There, he began learning ‘Sarod’ from Ali Akbar Khan (a well-known Sarod player). He also learned to play a mouth organ named Harmonica.

    R. D. Burman with Music Instruments

    R. D. Burman with Music Instruments

  • He was just 9-year-old when he composed the first song of his life. He composed the song ‘Aye Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa’ for the movie, ‘Funtoosh’ (1956).
  • The tune of the song, ‘Sar Jo Tera Chakraye’ from the film, ‘Pyaasa’ (1957) was also composed by him as a child.
  • Then, he started assisting his father on films such as “Kaagaz Ke Phool” (1957), “Solva Saal” (1958), and “Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi” (1958).

    R. D. Burman with his Father

    R. D. Burman with his Father

  • He knew to play the Harmonica. He played this mouth organ for the song, ‘Hai Apna Dil To Aawara’ from the film, ‘Solva Saal.’

  • His professional journey began when he came into direction. Raaz (1959) was his first film as a Music Director, but due to some reasons, the movie was shelved in between.
  • In 1961, a film, “Chhote Nawab” was released; which became his first released movie as a Music Director.
  • During the initial phase of his professional career, he had tried his luck in acting in the films like Bhoot Bungla (1965) and Pyar Ka Mausam (1969).

    R. D. Burman in Bhoot Bangla

    R. D. Burman in Bhoot Bangla

  • In 1966, he became a part of a film, ‘Teesri Manzil;’ which was the first hit of his career as an independent Music Director. This movie marked a major milestone in his career and brought several other hit films including ‘Padosan’ (1968), ‘Waris’ (1969), and more.
  • In 1969, during the shooting of the film, ‘Aradhana,’ his father S. D. Burman fell ill. Then, he took over as an Associate Composer and completed the film music. The tune of the hit Bollywood song, ‘Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera’ from the same film was also composed by him.
  • In 1971, he got separated from his first wife, Rita Patel. The song, ‘Musafir Hoon Yaaron’ from the 1972 film, Parichay, was composed by him at a hotel, after his separation from his wife.

  • In the 1970s, he became very popular in the Indian Film Music Industry. In 1975, he penned lyrics for the English song, ‘I’m Falling In Love With A Stranger.’ The song was played in the background for a scene, where Parveen Babi and Amitabh Bachchan meet at a bar in the film.

    R. D. Burman's background music 'I am Falling In Love With A Stranger' from Deewar

    R. D. Burman’s background music ‘I am Falling In Love With A Stranger’ from Deewar

  • In 1975, he lost his father. After the death of his father, he continued to compose a number of hit songs for the films including Sholay (1975), Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977), Kasme Vaade (1978),  Gol Maal (1979), Khubsoorat (1980), and Kudrat (1981).
  • The popular song, ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’ from Sholay was sung by R. D. Burman. The song was listed at 24th position in 1975 and at 6th position in 1976 by Binaca Geetmala. For this song, he got his only nomination in the Filmfare Awards for Best Playback Singer.

  • In 1984, he introduced Kumar Sanu in the music industry with the film, Yeh Desh. The same year, he gave a chance to Abhijeet Bhattacharya in the film, Anand Aur Anand; which later became a major break of Abhijeet’s career.
  • He was the person who brought Hariharan into the limelight with the song, ‘Hai Mubarak Aaj Ka Din’ from Boxer (1984). In 1985, Mohammed Aziz made his singing debut in the film, ‘Shiva Ka Insaaf’ under R. D. Burman.
  • In the late 1980s, Pancham Da was overshadowed by Bappi Lahiri and several other music composers. All his compositions started getting flop at the box office, consequently, most of the film producers stopped choosing him as a Composer for their films.
  • In 1986, he composed four songs for the film, ‘Ijaazat;’ which were written by Gulzar and sung by his wife Asha Bhosle. He was highly appreciated for his work. Both Gulzar and Asha Bhosle received National Awards for Best Lyrics and Best Female Playback Singer for the song, Mera Kuch Samaan, from the film.
  • On 6 January 1987, his Latin American rock album, “Pantera” was released. This album was recorded in 1983 or 1984 in the US.

    R. D. Burman's Pantera

    R. D. Burman’s Pantera

  • At the age of 49, in 1988, he suffered from a heart attack and a year later, he underwent a heart bypass surgery in London. In 1989, he composed music for the film, Parinda. He also composed ‘Chod Ke Na Jana’ song for the film ‘Gang;’ which was released in 2000 after his death.
  • The last film Pancham Da signed was a Malayalam film, Thenmavin Kombath, but, he couldn’t compose for the film, due to uncertain death.
  • He also composed music for the film, ‘1942: A Love Story;’ which was released after his death. For his work in the film, he was awarded posthumously in the 1995 Filmfare Awards as Best Music Director.
  • In 1994, at the age of 54, he suffered from another heart attack and died on 4 January.
  • He was very close to Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar. The trio had worked together in 32 films.

    R. D. Burman, Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar

    R. D. Burman, Rajesh Khanna and Kishore Kumar

  • He released almost 331 films in his long career, which include 292 Hindi, 31 Bengali, 2 Oriya and Tamil, and 1 Marathi. He also composed for 5 television serials in both Marathi and Hindi.
  • He was highly fascinated by American jazz legend Louis Armstrong and his singing style was also inspired by him.

    R. D. Burman's favourite Musician "Louis Armstrong"

    R. D. Burman’s favourite Musician “Louis Armstrong”

  • He did playback singing in almost 18 films and composed the scores for all songs by himself.
  • He used to call Gulzar by ‘Safed Kauwa’ as he always wore white colour, and Gulzar called him by ‘Lal Kauwa’ as he loved the red colour.
  • Music was always there in his mind, even in his sleep. It is claimed that he composed the song, ‘Kanchi Re Kanchi Re’ from Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971), in his dream. According to a journalist, Chaitanya Padukone, Pancham Da was actually like that. Padukone stated,

“During the interview, Pancham Da would do this very often — stop mid-sentence, and then go and talk to Babloo-da and say, ‘Yahaan aisa music rakh, yahaan silence rakho’ and then return to the interview.”

R. D. Burman with Journalist Chaitanya Padukone

R. D. Burman with Journalist Chaitanya Padukone

  • He was very open and honest about his music sources. His song, Mehbooba Mehbooba from Sholay was inspired by ‘Say You Love Me’ (Demis Roussos’ version of the traditional Cyprus tune).
  • He used different techniques to create unique music for his scores. For Mehbooba Mehbooba song from Sholay, he blew into empty beer bottles to make a new rhythm. Whereas, for the song, Chura Liya from Yaadon Ki Baraat, he used saucers and cups to create the tinkling sound.
  • He is considered as the first music director to combine Indian semi-classical music with guitar strokes. In the song, ‘Raina Beeti Jaaye’ from the film, Amar Prem (1972), he combined Guitar and Santoor.

  • In 2008, a documentary, ‘Pancham Unmixed’ based on his life was released. This documentary was directed by Brahmanand S. Siingh.

    R. D. Burman's documentary Pancham Unmixed

    R. D. Burman’s documentary Pancham Unmixed

  • In 2016, a book titled ‘R.D. Burmania’ on his biography was published. The book is written by Chaitanya Padukone.

    A Book on R. D. Burmania

    A Book on R. D. Burmania

  • There are several Hindi films, which are made after the death of R. D. Burman, include Burman’s original songs or remixed versions. For example, songs such as ‘O Hansini (Instrumental)’ and ‘O Haseena Zulfonwali (Instrumental)’ from the film, Dil Vil Pyar Vyar (2002).