The Best of Bollywood: 15 Classic Hits from the Indian Cinema
Can 15 songs from seven decades in the world's most prolific film industry really be the "best"? Leave aside the superlatives and you have one of the most accessible (to Western ears, at least) collections of Indian film music in recent memory. Culled from Universal's Indian soundtrack vaults, The Best of Bollywood samples the unique form known as filmi over the past 40 years. Typically scored for the elaborate production numbers that fill out the average film's three-hour running time, filmi compositions range from the frenetic ("Laila o Laila" from Qurbani) to the wistful ("Dil Aaj Shair Hai" from Gambler, delivered by megastar Kishore Kumar) and incorporate Technicolor pop elements as often as folkloric dance styles. The masters of the genre -- represented here by S. D. Burman and his son R. D. -- created a new pop music for the recently independent subcontinent that incorporated Western strings and rock instruments as well as the acrobatic vocals of "playback singers" such as Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, and her sister Asha Bhosle. (That Bhosle, a singer with thousands of songs to her name, is not included is one indication of how much more there is to discover in Bollywood.) Any given track is liable to morph from one rhythm to another, changing tempos, vocalists, and moods with delightful abandon. The hits are here, from Lata's exotic "Wada Na Tod" (from Dil Tujhko Diya) to the percussive "Mehbooba Mehbooba," sung by R. D. Burman himself. New initiates to this shiny, happy world will find an excellent jumping-off point. What's next? We recommend the excellent Rough Guide to Bollywood.
- Release Date:
- Hip-O Records
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