It’s sad to think that the most influential Indian composer to ever have lived never got the farewell he deserved. RD Burman changed popular Indian music forever by bringing into it a language all of his own, a result of his inspirations, knack for experimentation, and immeasurable talent. I particularly adore the way Panchamda (as he was affectionately called) communicated intimate, personal feelings through his melancholic numbers. His upbeat, powerful songs have become iconic pieces of music that continue to be popular even today. If there’s anything we can do to tribute the master, it would be to talk about his craft, and so, here is the list of 20 of his greatest compositions ever.
Special Mention: Unni Aarariro – Avalude Ravukal (1978)
RD Burman’s music for the Hindi song Keh Rahe Hain Ye Aansoo from the film Jheel Ke Uspar (1973) was copied and turned into a lullaby in the Malayalam film Avalude Ravukal. S Janaki’s voice adds a perfection to this song that gives it an emotional depth far richer than the original, and the lyrics by Bichu Thirumala further evoke a sense of sadness. AT Ummer (a great musician himself, with songs like the classic Neelajalasayathil to his name) was wrongly credited as the composer of this song, which is why we have left it out of the list and included it as a special mention. This is one of RD Burman’s greatest works.