Happy Birthday, Pancham!!


rd Happy birthday, dear Pancham from your instruments standing around, waiting for you to cut your cake:

Santoor: “You made me rain happiness, soak your fans with bliss, sometimes I was sensual, sometimes poignant, sometime love, sometimes an unexpected filler in a pop song. Happy birthday!”

Trumpet: “How I swing and dance in your songs! But then you made me a distant voice in some numbers, that voice which was haunting, that voice which was sad, that voice which your fans are still discovering. Pa, pa, Pancham!”

Tabla: “You made me so many things I didn’t know I was capable of. A pause in beat here. A cry of anguish and frustration in a mujra there. A heart-stopping background splatter here. A joy-filled festive splash there. A twist in an interlude somewhere.  Mazaa aa gaya!”

Bongos, Congas in chorus: “ Jab bhi ye Latin baaje, jab bhi tu Jezebel maare, jab bhi tera man chaahe, bole mera beat ghadi ghadi tik tik tik…you made us Latin, you made us Indian, you made us vampish, you made us famous! Wah Rahul!”

Sitar: “When you called out to me with such love, how could I refuse, Pancham? I made the love in your songs even more passionate, I made your songs travel in dolis, I made your songs complain, I made your songs whatever you wanted me to make them into. You made me run outdoors, you made me dance indoors, you made me a s(i)tar! Oh Pancham!”

Bass: “My life in Hindi film music is pre-RD and post-RD. After you got me in, my life changed. You made me bounce, you used me to give Dolby surround a new meaning, you used me to provide such heft for sound, in rhythm, in drama, in seduction, in suspense, in comedy, and in every possible way. Who could ever say, ‘Ab bass, Pancham?’ “

Violins: “You made us realize there’s symphony in Indian film music too…you made us soar, you made us swoop down, you gave us vertigo with your swirls (as if you were swirling whisky in your tumbler), you made us fly, you made us the beautiful spaces in your musical landscape, you kept us at a distance, yet never far, you gave us a voice that was mellow, a beautiful murmur, a sigh, a call….a symphony…”

Madals: “Tak takum, tak takum, every beat accompanying the table, the drums, any rhythm…and tak tak takum, takum takum takum…..you made us bounce the rhythm, you made us jump, you made us dance…..wah Pancham……you were the only composer who we allowed to madal with us!”

Piano: “There was a time I was a beautiful living room piece in movies, where the hero or heroine came and pounded on my keys as if they were kneading dough or worse, drying their garments. Then you came along and made me run with your pace, just a tinkle there, a tinkle here, but using my sound ever so subtly to provide pep, bounce, an additional rhythm point, a surprise throb..and then sometimes you made me philosophical, sometimes homely, sometimes pining….Pancham, I’ll come running to you whenever you call out, ‘Pia-no, ab to aaja’..”

Drums: “How you made me drive the rhythm, sometimes slowing down an interlude, sometimes picking up pace, sometimes punching out, sometimes just a mellow thrust….sometimes just my hi-hats…sometimes just the bass….but everytime, oh so much fun Pancham! Happy birthday!!”

Synthesizers: “Only you realized that we liked working in  a team….even if you used us for electronica effect, you made us better by making us pace with other instruments…..we were your drama, your villainous twirl in background scores, we were your disco songs, we were your surprise pieces….we were not the song, we  were the arms around a love song, the pep in a friendship song, the mist in a dream sequence….jio Pancham!”

Electric guitar: “When you made me twang..”

Pancham: “Ab bas! Bahut pakaya sab ne! I’m hungry now, so let’s cut the cake and eat!!”

All instruments in chorus: “Happy birthday, Pancham, happy birthday to you!!”

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