Just a week after R D Burman’s 27th death anniversary, the lane which houses the grand building where Pancham grew up in Kolkata is going to be renamed Sangeet Sarani. West Bengal Heritage Commission chairperson Shuvaprasanna, along with Kolkata Municipal Corporation Board of Administrators chairperson Firhad Hakim, will be present during the renaming ceremony on Tuesday afternoon.
This news comes after years of campaign for renaming the lane housing the iconic building at 36/1, South End Park where the Dev Burmans used to live during their stay in Kolkata. Pancham’s uncle, Abhijit Dasgupta, has fond memories of the legend having spent his initial 15 years in this house. His father and SD Burman were friends. The veteran composer had married Dasgupta’s cousin, Mira, in 1938.
The Dev Burmans had moved into the house from a rented property at Hindusthan Park where Pancham was born in 1939.
“In 1945, my father and SD Burman had bought two adjacent plots. It took two years for the buildings with similar architectural styles to be completed. During those days, the Dhakuria railway crossing marked the south end of Kolkata. That’s how South End Park got its name. This locality was like a four-cornered park. There was a sugarcane field next to our houses,” Dasgupta recalled.
The Dev Burmans lived in that house till 1952 before shifting to Mumbai where his music direction in ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Munimji’ and ‘Paying Guest’ were landmarks. Later, he scored for Guru Dutt’s classics — ‘Pyaasa’ and ‘Kaagaz Ke Phool’. “Guru Dutt would often come to this house whenever SD Burman was in Kolkata,” Dasgupta said.
Tubloo, as Pancham was known in the para, lived there with his grandmother. “Initially, he used to study in Ballygunje Government High School. Then he shifted to Tirthapati Institution where he studied till Class X. However, he didn’t take his Madhyamik examinations,” Dasgupta said. After his grandmother’s death in the late 80s, Pancham sold the house, but would visit every time he was in Kolkata.
Some of the Burman’s iconic songs were also composed and sung by the duo here. “‘Takdum takdum’ was composed in this house. I remember Pancham had gone to the HMV studio in Dum Dum for his first recording as a percussionist,” Dasgupta added.
There are countless stories of stalwarts, like Ustad Allauddin Khan, Purna Das Baul, Salil Chowdhury, Hemanta Mukherjee and Asha Bhonsle, frequenting this house. “This renaming is our way of paying tribute to all the greatest musicians of India who lived and came down there,” Shuvaprasanna said.
Dasgupta is thrilled with this initiative. “This place is associated with many musicians. Arati Mukherjee used to stay in this para. And, for a brief period, Satinath Mukhopadhyay also lived here,” he said.
There are plans of approaching the present owner of the house so that a museum can be set up. “We will be putting up a blue plaque in front of the building where a brief history of the house will be displayed. It is our dream to set up a museum as well,” Shuvaprasanna said.