S. D. Burman: The Prince-Musician
SD, or Sachin Dev Burman, the man who gave Hindi film music its grammar is perhaps the most enigmatic figure in Indian cine history. As the young scion of the Tripura royal family, SD struck out into the world of cinema and popular music. The early years were difficult, professionally and personally. His unconventional choice of profession and marriage to a ‘commoner’ caused his family to ostracise him, and his formal training was not enough to stave off rejections.
This well researched biography—by the authors of the best-selling R.D. Burman: The Man, The Music—is both a tribute to a great artist, and a deep inquiry into what made his music great. Going well beyond merely listing his greatest songs, it explores hitherto unknown stories about the creation of each gem: Mera sundar sapna beet gaya (Do Bhai, 1948); Thandi hawaein (Naujawan, 1951); Yeh raat yeh chandni (Jaal, 1952); Babu samjho ishaare (Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, 1958); Meet na mila re mann ka (Abhiman, 1973), and more.
The book is packed with insights into SD’s life, work and his astute understanding of Hindi cinema. Despite the fact that he was an outsider who spoke little Hindi or Urdu, SD was the man who introduced Sahir Ludhianvi to the world, and the one who gave Kishore Kumar’s musical brilliance its due. His readiness to adapt to modern sounds and techniques, his unwavering faith in Lata Mangeshkar’s virtuosity, his closeness to Dev Anand that was seen as nepotism, charges of plagiarism—S.D. Burman: The Prince-Musician provides unmatched insight into both the genius of one of India’s most significant composers and a crucial aspect of its glorious cinematic history. An essential addition to every film music aficionado’s library.