10. Kya Hua Tera Wada – Hum Kisise Kum Naheen (1977)
Two aspects of composition have aided best in making this song work: Mohammed Rafi’s voice and RD Burman’s music. I have trouble labelling this as a happy or sad tune because funnily enough, this one makes me feel a lot of things. It is fun in a lot of ways, but kinda touching in others. Maybe that’s just me, but this is how Kya Hua Tera Wada has impacted my thoughts.
9. Mera Kuch Samaan – Ijaazat (1987)
Gulzar’s lyrics to Mera Kuch Samaan are some of my favourites ever written, and RD Burman gives his perfect wordings a heartbreaking soul with his masterful composition. This is one of the saddest songs Burman ever worked on. It’s so beautifully stirring with its overflow of painful emotions.
8. Aap Ki Ankhon Mein Kuch – Ghar (1978)
Aap Ki Ankhon Mein Kuch is a powerful romantic song, sung to perfection by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. The timeless music of the piece has since become one of RD Burman’s renowned works. I think RD’s best collaborations were with Lataji and Kishoreda, and this song is a good reason why.
7. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha – 1942: A Love Story (1994)
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha is among RD Burman’s final compositions, in the film 1942: A Love Story, which opened in theatres after the composer had passed. The song is already alluring, but with the knowledge of its history, it acquires more of an emotional weight, at least as far as I’m concerned. Terrible film, by the way.
6. Aaja Aaja Mein Hoon Pyar Tera – Teesri Manzil (1966)
In my opinion, this is RD Burman’s most fun song. It’s exciting, energetic, quick, and totally chaotic. Muhammed Rafi, with whom RD composed a lot of his most memorable songs, gives his all here, and Asha Bhosle is fantastic as well. The instrumentation at the opening is pure madness, but in Burman’s hands, that’s musical bliss. The western influences are quite clear here.
5. Do Naina Aur Ek Kahaani – Masoom (1983)
If Tujhse Naraaz Nahin Zindagi was RD Burman’s song for the dads, then he definitely must’ve meant to dedicate this one to the moms of the world. Do Naina Au Ek Kahani is a song that flows and takes you along with it. As immersive an experience as a song can get, the accompanying scenes in the film are excellently done as well.
4. Dum Maro Dum – Hare Krishna Hare Ram (1971)
One interesting aspect of RD Burman’s musical style is how much he liked to experiment. Dum Maro Dum is his foray into psychedelic rock, and it’s as surreal an experience as can be. With Zeenat Aman’s intoxicated dance moves and Asha Bhosle’s exhilarating voice, this one is a joy to listen to, while also being extremely addictive.
3. Ye Kya Hua Kaise Hua – Amar Prem (1972)
Kishore Kumar and Rajesh Khanna give life to Ye Kya Hua Kaise Hua with their respective expressions. This one’s so brilliant in how pleasant it is, I can’t help but close my eyes and let the transcending tune take me to its own world whenever I listen to this. I mean, how is it possible to compose simplicity this well? I’m stunned!
2. Chura Liya Hai – Yadoon Ki Barat (1973)
RD Burman improvises on his inspiration for this song, Bojoura’s If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (an excellent piece, if you’re looking to get an opinion), with such precision that he ends up creating probably his best-known composition. It’s sexy, seductive, melodious, mysterious, and memorable. Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi both kill it here, there’s simply no other way to describe how good they are.
1. Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi – Aandhi (1975)
This one’s a strong contender for the greatest Indian song of all time, which makes it one of the greatest pieces of music ever written. Tere Bina Zindagi Se Koi takes my breath way every single time I listen to it. Lata Mangeshkar does some of her best work ever here, and when Kishore Kumar kicks in, it’s like time has stopped. I can’t really say what I feel when I listen to this song, I guess I feel everything and nothing and the same time. This is, without a doubt, the greatest RD Burman song ever, in my opinion. Masterful stuff from one of the greatest musical minds of all time.
Read More: Best AR Rahman Songs