What was the connection RD had with RK? It could be quite coincidental, but the movies which had RK as a hero always inspired Pancham more.
RK, who? Of course Rajesh Khanna!
An easy enough answer, except that this also holds true for two more heroes - Rishi Kapoor & and who else but one of Pancham's best friends in the industry - Randhir Kapoor.
Beginning with Rampur ka Laxman, Randhir Kapoor & Pancham did about 14 movies together. A large number of them did not really fare well. If Jawani Deewwani, Rampur ka Laxman, Dharam Karam & Kasme Vaade did extremely good business, there were movies like Khalifa, Harjaee, Dhongee and many more which turned out to be quite a damp squib.
Damp squib, only as far as their commercial success or artistic value is concerned. Their scintillating musical score was always the saving grace – perhaps the only reason for which even now these movies merit a recall.
Take Khalifa, for instance. This 1976 movie, directed by Prakash Mehra, had Randhir Kapoor, in double role - one good & one evil, along with Rekha. The movie had nothing much to write home about - except its compositions - specially this one.
The composition is very stylish – pacy and very unpredictable as it moves. If the interludes are sensuous – the structure of stanza, with its pulsating beats arrangement & high octave singing that effortlessly glides into seductive crooning, carries hallmark of what Pancham was famous for. Add to that Kishore Kumar in play-full yet romantic full- throated rendition & smooth as honey singing of Asha Bhosle – it was a perfect recipe for creating the magic. This was also the first movie where Gulshan Bawra, till then more of an actor & less of a lyricist, & Pancham collaborated first time. Later they went on to do many more movies, including Kasme Vaade, Harjaae & Satte pe Satta.
On screen, while RK’s acting fortunately does not really create a jarring note, what is worth noticing is Rekha – specially the nuances that she brings to her face while singing. Those were early days – “Ghar” was still a couple of years away - but watching her you would know for sure that the process had begun of her evolving into the beautiful swan that she went on to be.
Look at it yourself. I am sure you will agree too.