“Yaad hai Pancham, jab bhi koi dhun bana kar bhejte the toh saath keh diya karte the, ‘The ball is in your court.” Yeh kaun sa ball mere court mein chhod gaye ho tum, Pancham. Zindagi ka khel akele nahin khela jaata. Humari toh team hai. Aa jao ya bula lo.”

Gulzar wrote these words for his friend R. D. Burman, fondly known as Pancham Da, after he passed away in 1994.

R. D. Burman was a revolutionary in Hindi film music. His early years were spent training under his father, S. D. Burman, who was already an established music director at the time. It was then that he met Gulzar, who was learning under his mentor, filmmaker Bimal Roy. 

The two became friends soon after and decided that one day, they were going to work together. They fulfilled their promise when Gulzar directed Parichay (1972) and Pancham Da composed the music for the film.

The first song they created together was the iconic Musafir hun yaaron. Pancham Da was just taking a shower one morning and while he was humming, the music came to him. 

It’s said that when they started working together, they felt they had found a piece of their soul in each other.

Their collaborations in films like Aandhi (1975), Masoom (1983), Ijaazat (1987) and many others have given Hindi cinema some evergreen songs. With prolific lyrics and soulful music, all of their musical collaborations have resulted in songs that will remain with us for years to come.

Here are some of their best collaborations:

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

Listen to the full song here.

The duo gave Hindi cinema some of the best songs that we’re still listening to!

Design credit: Lakshya Vij & Saurabh Rathore