Bollywood: An Anthology of Songs from Popular Indian Cinema
Silva Screen (SILCD 1204)
Release Date: 2005
|1.||"Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu (Howrah Bridge)" - Geeta Dutt||4:25|
|2.||"Ina Mina Dika (Asha)" - Asha Bhosle||3:24|
|3.||"Jhumka Gira Re (Mera Saaya)" - Asha Bhosle||3:26|
|4.||"Ramaiya Vastavaiya (Shree 420)" - Lata Mangesgkar / Mohammed Rafi / Mukesh||6:01|
|5.||"Aayega Aanewala (Mahal)" - Lata Mangeshkar||6:51|
|6.||"Dum Maro Dum (Hare Rama Hare Krishna)" - Asha Bhosle & Chorus||2:35|
|7.||"Madhuban Mein Radhika (Kohinoor)" - Mohammed Rafi||6:03|
|8.||"Roop Tera Mastana (Aradhana)" - Kishore Kumar||3:43|
|9.||"Sawan Ka Mahina (Milan)" - Lata Mangeshkar||5:26|
|10.||"Chura Liya Hai Tum Ne (Yaadon Ki Baaraat" - Asha Bhosle & Mohammed Rafi||4:50|
|11.||"Kabhi Kabhi Mere Dil Mein Khayal Aata (Kabhie Kabhie)" - Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh||5:01|
|12.||"Chand mera dil (Hum Kisise Kim Naheen)" - Mohammed Rafi||3:15|
|1.||"Didi Tera Devar Deewana (Hum Aapke Hain Koun)" - Lata Mangeshkar & S.P. Balasubhramaniam||8:00|
|2.||"Ek Doosre Se Karte Hai (Hum)" - Sudesh Bhosle / Mohd Aziz / Udit Narayan||4:41|
|3.||"Ae Naujawan Hai (Apradh)" - Asha Bhosle||3:12|
|4.||"Come Closer (Kasam Paida Karnewale Ki)" - Salma Agha||5:33|
|5.||"Khamoshiyan Gungunane Lagi (One 2 Ka 4)" - A.R. Rahman feat. Lata Mangeshkar & Sonu Nigam||5:27|
|6.||"Ed Ladki Ke Dekha (1942: A Love Story)" - Kumar Sanu||4:36|
|7.||"Na Tum Jano Na Hum (Kaho Na Pyar Hai)" - Lucky All / Ramya||6:11|
|8.||"Chinna Chinna Asai (Roja)" - Minmini||4:54|
|9.||"Rang De (Thakshak)" - Asha Bhosle & Chorus||4:58|
|10.||"Jooma Chumma De De (Hum)" - Sudesh Bhosle / Kavita Krishnamurthy||8:22|
|11.||"Zindagi Jhoom Kar (Aur Pyar Ha Gaya)" - Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan||5:00|
|Total Album Time:||115:54|
|by Tina Huang
on December 8th, 2005
"What's Bollywood?" Those asking the question may be vaguely familiar with the featured frenetic dance clip of "Jaan Pehechaan Ho" in Terry Zwigoff's Ghost World. Slightly more knowledgeable folk will be acquainted with the art-house, semi-diluted depiction in Monsoon Wedding. And an overly cultivated portion of viewers will visibly balk and state that the word, industry - entire vibe - is synonymous with "kitsch", "commercial", or "bad cinema". But to many that relish Mumbai's masala marathons, lip-synched diversions with their characteristic love triangles, (dance) musicals, and Hindi mixed with lyrical Urdu, Bollywood is straight-up cultural identity. Every society (small or large) indulges in popular forms of "art" that may or may not be agreeable with purist minorities... and Bollywood is case in point. Since media and time stand still for no one, this Anthology of Songs from Popular Indian Cinema is a robust collection of highlights ranging from the glittering golden age to recent years.
The two-disc, near two-hour, album from Silva Screen is also a decent primer for newcomers to the famed (or infamous) industry. Included is a track-by-track liner booklet that lists basic artistic credits and explains why each song was selected in succinct terms. As the uber-expressive periods of Indian independence, the 1950s, 60s, and 70s are the focus of the first disc with a transitional mix of authentic Indian and energetic, Western styles. (Gaining independence means rebelling from the old and embracing the new, so imitation becomes a sincere form of flattery.) Even though the mostly excluded 80s go the way of traditional filmic intervals (aka intermissions), the second half of the set continues with strangely selective hits from the 90s and early 21st century. By then, the progressive styles develop into a unique Asian élan that works to great effect in the newer films.
The album's curious selection and arrangement reflect greatly on the marketing angle; to anyone unfamiliar with Bollywood, Anthology's total package would make it seem as though if the industry's naught but "high-brow" hipster material... which is an exaggeration. The trend to reach more Western standards of "art" is small, and the gradual movement has but a minor impact on the industry as a whole. The majority of the landmark works in the compilation are commercial (think mainstream Hollywood with a deluge of song/dance) or middle cinemas works (artsy films with song). Their productions still vastly outnumber the not-quite-in-vogue "art" features (film lacking songs).
Some of Anthology's choice of songs possess great cinematic value, e.g., "Dum Maro Dum" (Hare Rama Hare Krishna), "Joooma Chooma De De" (Hum), "Chinna Chinna Asai" (ROJA), and "Didi Tera Devar Deewana" (Hum Aapke Hain Koun) to list a few, but there are many that are chosen purely for their impressive musical merits. Any Bollywood initiate would benefit from hearing the original works of four vocals giants: the legendary Lata Mangeshkar, her sister, Asha Bhonsle, Mohammed Rafi, and Kishore Kumar. However, these classics - while wonderful to hear - suffer from poor remastering, the occasional out of tune or dawdling accompaniment, and slight vocal distortions caused by (what seems like) the original miking. Take Mangeshkar's breakthrough "Aayega Aanewala" for 1949's Mahal; the through-a-phonograph recording mars her impressive cadence and shimmering tones. And in "Jhumka Gira Re", Asha Bhonsle's performance is incredibly nuanced, but the recording is inherently low grade with the screaming strings, concussive percussion, and lack of overall headroom.
Several tracks appear to have been tossed in due to singer/playback singer popularity or light style imitation. For instance, "Come Closer" from the 1982 crime drama, Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki, doesn't offer much lyrically and has a vaguely bland, discotheque melody. One wonders why the impassioned and sensuously performed "Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka" from Devdas (2002) - the third film incarnation of a novel and one of India's most expensive productions - couldn't make an appearance instead. "Na Tum Jano Na Hum" is essentially a melodically undistinguished, upbeat romantic ditty from a popular flick entitled, Kaho Na Pyar Hai (2000); why a track from the U.S. Academy Award nominated Lagaan (2001) wasn't selected - or any of Lata Mangeshkar's later performances in Dil Se (1998) or Veer-Zaara (2004) - is a mystery.
The second disc attempts to offer songs that somewhat stray from the classics, but the offerings don't stray far enough... With modern, pop hits such as "Hai Mera Dil" and "Hum To Dil Se Haare" from Josh (2000) or "Tinka Tanka" from Karam (2005) - songs featuring multi-ethnic instrumentals and do "sensual" infinitely better than "Come Closer", there shouldn't be a need for random, flavorless fillers. Nevertheless, there are other worthwhile and technically solid songs to laud in the second half: Kumar Sanu's vocal purity in "Ed Ladki Ke Dekha", Minmini's flavorful Tamil original of the ROJA hit, the simplistic - yet hypnotic - orchestration of "Khamoshiyan Gungunane Lagi" (One 2 Ka 4), and the rapid modulations of Asha Bhosle and chorus in "Rang De" (Thakshak).
If you're in search of smooth, soothing songs, this shouldn't be the album of choice unless you happen to be new to Bollywood or want to sample renowned classics.
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