Dev Burman, Sachin

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Sachin Dev Burman

Dev Burman, Sachin (1906-1975) singer, composer and music director was born on 1 October 1906. His father Nabadwipchandra Dev Bahadur is said to have been the son of Raja Ishan Chandra, the 180th successor to the throne of Tripura kingdom. His mother was nirupama devi. Sachin was popularly known as 'Sachin Karta' in the Mumbai film and music circle. Although he a member of the ruling family of Tripura, Sachin spent his childhood in Comilla and later part of his life, in Mumbai. His wife, Mira Devi, and only son, Rahul Dev Burman, were also well-known music personalities in the Mumbai film world.

Sachin took his early education (1911-12) from Kumar Boarding at Agartala. He then got admitted in Yousuf School, Comilla in 1912 and Comilla Zilla School in 1914.

Since his childhood he had been attracted to folk songs. He came up with a unique genre of songs – combination of folk and ragaas with his commendable command over classical ragas and mastery in modifying many of the folk songs based on these ragas. In 1915 Sachin sang for the first time, composed by his father Nabadwipchandra Burman on the occasion of saraswati Puja held his school ground in Comilla.

After passing matriculation in 1920, he got admitted at Comilla Victoria College and then started music direction for theater after completing intermediate in 1922. After receiving BA from comilla victoria college in 1924, he took music for profession and KC Dey was his first Guru (mentor). In 1926 he got admitted at the law college for studying law to accomplish his father's wishes, but could not continue due to his indomitable passion for music. At Calcutta, Sachin took lessons formally from towering classical maestros like Ustad Badal Khan, ustad alauddin khan, Ustad Faiyaz Khan Sahib, Ustad Abdul Karim Khan Sahib, Pundit Bhishmadev Chatterjee and Kana Krishna at different points of time.

Sachin's first song was aired in Calcutta Radio through 'The India Broadcasting Company' in 1928. In 1931 he was offered the post of Minister for Education of Govt. of Tripura after the demise of his father. But he refused the offer and left the ancestral 'Tripura House' at Calcutta and rented a house at Palit Street in Calcutta to concentrate on his pursuits in music.

His first gramophone record was released in 1932. He also recorded some nazrul songs. Later he recorded numerous Bangla and Hindi songs as well. Prominent among the songs he recorded: 'Jodi dakhina paban' (raga-based), 'premer samadhi tire' (ballad), 'nishithe jaio phulabane' (folk song), 'bandhugo ei madhumas' (folk song), 'ore sujan naiya' (folk song). In 1933 he tuned songs for Hindi films for the first time. In 1934 he won a gold medal for his rendition, for the first time outside Bengal, at the All India Music Conference organized by Allahabad University.

In 1935 he was awarded gold medal for the second time attended the 'All India Music Conference' held at Calcutta, organized by Calcutta University and nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore inaugurated the event. During this time, Ustad Alauddin Khan was his Guru and he came across Ustad Faiyaz Khan Sahib. In the same year Sachin worked as the music director, for the first time, for the film Sudurer Priya and acted in the film 'Selima' which paved his entry to the filmdom. Also, around the same time, he shifted to a house at Bashanta Roy Road and started his music school Surmandala.

He had a melodious, though slightly nasal, voice. He composed and tunes most of the songs those he sang. From 1937 Sachin directed music for a number of films, among which are notable: Rajagi, Chhadmabeshi, Jiban Sabgini, Matir Ghar etc. In 1938 he married Meera Dhar (later Meera Dev Burman). His first book Surer Likhon –collection of 25 songs was published in 1939. Rahul Dev Burman aka Pancham was born on 27 June in the same year.

Sachin started living in Mumbai from 1944 and directed music about 80 Hindi films that earned him special place in the filmdom and in the realm of music. Some of the notable Hindi films under his music direction: Shikari, Devdas, Sujata, Bandini, Guide, Aradhana, Baji, Shabnam, Do Bhai. Under his baton, artistes like Kishore Kumar, Manna Dey, Asha Bhosle, Hemant Kumar and others made debut in the Hindi filmdom. Besides he was involved in different cultural organisations in different capacities. As a member of Indian cultural troupe he travelled many countries including Britain, Russia and Finland.

Sachin had a noteworthy contribution in music. In 1954 he won the 'Film Fare Best Composer Award' as a music composer of 'Taxi Driver' film, Sangeet-Natak Academy Award in 1958, Swami Haridas Award in 1964, Padmashri award in 1969 from the Govt of India, National Film Award in 1972. In addition he was honoured by Asian Film Society (London) in 1958 and Tripura Fine Arts Center in 1963. He wrote an autobiography titled Sargamer Nikhad describing his music life. He died in Bombay on 31 October 1975. [Ali Nawaz]