R. D. Burman as an actor – An interesting facet of his multi-talented personality

R. D. Burman is that single music composer of Bollywood, who is extremely popular with both older and younger generations. His compositions have stood against the test of times, and many of them have been remixed several times and became chartbusters too. R. D. Burman who has inspired many youngsters to follow is credited to shape modern Bollywood music and giving it new dimensions blending Hindustani classic with Western. Occasionally sings for his compositions, in real life, he has been a very shy person. But how many of you know he has acted in two Hindi movies and one Bengali movie? It’s a less-known fact of the luminous career of one of the greats of Bollywood film industry. It’s only after his father’s advice he decided to completely concentrate on to his music career, and audience got less opportunity to see him onscreen.

Pancham da’s screen debut through Bhoot Bangla

The scene from Bhoot Bangla where Mehmood and R. D. Burman try to enter the haunted house

R. D. Burman got his first break as a music composer to Bollywood through Chota Nawab in 1961, and he received the offer through iconic comedian Mehmood. During his early days, Mehmood played a significant role in his budding career and also personal life. Mehmood also helped him to receive a few initial assignments in Bollywood.

Burman Da got his first acting role through Mehmood also, through the iconic comedy film – Bhoot Bangla. The movie was scripted, produced and directed by Mehmood himself, who also played the male lead. R. D composed the film music and also played the pivot role of Stocky, a Youth Club Member who enters the Bhoot Bangla (haunted house) alongside Mehmood in the film. His role appears somewhat in the interval of the film. He was also featured in the popular title track – Main Bhookha (Bhoot Bangla).

The ghost song – Bhoot Bangla fromBhoot Bangla

Pyar Ka Mausam – Slapstick comedy aside Rajendra Nath 

The movie is remembered for its everlasting melodious songs composed by R. D. Burman. It’s one of the rare movies where a single song (Tum Bin Jau Kahan) was recorded in two great voices of Hindi cinema – Mohd Rafi and Kishore Kumar, arch rivals of early 1970s.

Pancham Da’s introducing scene from the movie – Pyar Ka Mausam

A film known for its mistaken identity concept similar to several Nasir Hussain movies, Burman Da played a bit comic role of the sidekick of Jhatpat Singh, the character played by Rajendra Nath. Similar to the iconic comic duo – Laurel and Hardy, they were seen together in many funny scenes of Pyar Ka Mausam. Their face-to-face with a man with good physique in a club (or hotel) is one of the hilarious scenes of the movie, and also their final scene – rat-and-mice chase, where real Jhatpat Singh arrives.

The comedy scene at the club – Pyar Ka Mausam

The duo exhibits their comedy talents in reciting Urdu poetry, and in their limited scope as comedians, they gave full justice to their roles – an era known for similar kind of comedy sequences. R. D. played Rajendra Nath’s secretary role with perfection. In a sidekick’s role he appreciates his master’s blunders, imitates him and also praises him always. His name is not mentioned in the film.  

Padosan – The movie originally offered to R. D 

Padosan – The cult classic comedy is best known for the iconic role of a Tamil music teacher played by Mehmood and its classic songs composed by R. D. Burman. The movie was produced by Mehmood, who announced R. D. Burman as its lead actor. However S. D. Burman who knew the real potential of his son advised him to concentrate on to his music career, and it proved right too. Pancham da accepted his father’s advice and put a full stop to pursue his acting dreams. He later fully focused on music, though the bit role of Pyar Ka Mausam (for which he composed music) came on his way – exactly the same year when he completed his father’s unfinished project ‘Aradhana’, and very soon became the most sought music director of the industry.
Mehmood and R. D. Burman shared a great relationship in the 1960s, and associated for many movies since early 1960s. Mehmood included him in his inner circle of friends, and also gifted him his first car. Read here about stereotype Tamilian roles in Bollywood.  

He did a cameo role for a Bangla film 

He acted in two Bollywood movies for which he composed songs also. Quite co-incidence he played comic roles in both. Apart from two Bollywood films, he also appeared in one Bengali film – Anyay Abichar where he played a cameo role of himself. The movie was directed by Shakti Samanta of Aradhana fame, and starred Mithun Chakraborty in lead role.

R. D. Burman still remains one of the most celebrated Bollywood music composers ever. Go through the gallery below, and click on the links to read a few interesting topics of this iconic composer.


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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