TOP 20 SOUNDTRACKS:
Dil Se ±
2. Asoka #
3. Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam *
4. Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge!!
5. Daag (1973) **
6. Taal ±
7. Pakeezah >
8. Raja Hindustani <>
9. Dil To Pagal Hai ??
10. Devdas *
11. Doli Saja Ke Rakhna ±
12. Jeans ±
13. Umrao Jaan ^
14. Zubeidaa ±
15. Lagaan ±
16. 1942: A Love Story ()
17. Gadar ??
18. Kuch Kuch Hota Hai !!
19. Dil Chahta Hai ***
20. Thakshak ±
# Anu Malik
* Ismail Darbar
> Ghulam Mohammed
?? Uttam Singh
() R.D. Burman
*** Shankar Ehsaan Loy
a short guide to the filmi music scene
it that when the director of Hollywood's Moulin Rouge fell in
love with the "Chamma Chamma" song from China Gate,
he tried to contact the "singer" -- actress, and lip-syncher
extraordinaire, Urmila Matondkar.
course, we doubt that BollyWHAT? visitors are so clueless. Most
of us have long since accepted that the siren's voice belongs
to a geriatric, and that the hunk's melody issues from the lips
of a pudgy, balding fiftysomething. But how easy it is to forget
-- and to forget, too, that in Bollywood, successful playback
singers and composers wield as much clout as hit actors.
Party to murder?
and Shravan are the songwriting pair who have penned hits like
Raja Hindustani, Ek Rishtaa, and Dhadkan. They also star in one
of the music industry's biggest scandals: Nadeem Saifee
has been implicated in the 1997
mafia murder of film producer Gulshan Kumar. His Indian passport
has been revoked, and he is currently residing in London, where
a British court has denied an extradition plea by Indian authorities.
Despite the enforced separation, the duo continues to work together.
Nadeem explains, "We
keep in touch over the telephone; besides, [when] the producers
come here we discuss work and compose music together here in London."
once publicly promised never to lift a melody, the pair recently
came under fire for a track from 2001's Kasoor that sounds suspiciously
like Celine Dion's Titanic ballad. Such talk exasperates Nadeem:
"There are seven music notes.... there's bound to be some
similarity somewhere between what has come and what's going to
come. I try my level-best to make sure that we do not sound like
any previous composition. But sometimes it just so happens that
some notes do sound familiar. There's bound to be some flavour,
some cheeta, of the past in the present. That's unavoidable."
Malik: don't borrow money from him!
agrees withNadeem's take on allegations of plagiarism: "Eventually
all music is permutations and combinations of those same seven
notes. No music director is original, but I became a favourite
whipping boy to the press. If you hear R D Burman, Shankar Jaikishan,
Naushad saab, all great composers, they're 'inspired...' Aur mere
saath, 'copy' word aa gaya. [And with me, the word 'copy' is used.]"
(source: music.indya.com) For such a prolific composer,
it is perhaps inevitable that his scores vary dramatically in
quality; yet fans find it difficult to credit the same man that
scored 2001's exquisite Asoka with 1999's massive dud Jaanam Samjha
Malik has featured in headlines for reasons more nefarious than
plagiarism. A Delhi businessman has filed a complaint against
Malik and his brother, alleging that when he asked repayment on
a loan he had given them, they sent goons to threaten him. Malik
denies the charge, but legal action is pending.
At war with Karan Johar!
duo Jatin-Lalit wrote their first film score in 1989, but it was
1995's Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge that thrust them into stardom.
Karan Johar, who worked on that film as assistant director, subsequently
hired them with spectacular results for his 1998 directorial debut,
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. The duo then signed on to score his follow-up
film, Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham.
brothers did score several of K3G's songs, they had a serious
falling out with the Johar after he signed on two other composers
to write "Deewana Hai Dekho," "You Are My Sonia,"
and "Say Shava Shava" -- the film's biggest hits. Lalit
told G Magazine about the pair's experience working on K3G: "Well,
there was a lot of tension. We were not comfortable at all. We
would understand if the final result was fantastic but that is
not the case. What others have done, we feel we would have done
better. We think we were on the right track. But Karan did not.
So there was a definite difference of opinion there. We feel cheated."
The loss, we fear, may be Karan Johar's!
Rahman: The New McCauley Culkin?
A.R. Rahman now sells more records than Madonna and Britney combined,
he began his career composing music for commercials -- surprisingly
undistinguished employment for the boy who'd won a scholarship
to pursue a degree in Western Classical Music from Oxford University,
and had played with maestro Zakir Hussain on stages worldwide.
first break in the film world came from South Indian director
Mani Ratnam, for whom he composed the score for the Tamil film
Roja. This, as well as his soundtrack for Ratnam's subsequent
film Bombay, were dubbed into Hindi and became huge hits. He then
began to receive assignments in Bollywood, and his first composition
for a Hindi film was 1995's smash success Rangeela.
has recently come to the attention of international musicians,
recording a single with Michael Jackson and co-composing the British
(and now Broadway-bound) musical Bombay Dreams with England's
Andrew Lloyd Webber. As a result, his film compositions have stalled
-- but in light of criticism regarding his recent soundtracks,
the break might be a beneficial one. In January 2002, he admitted
to Tatanova.com, "I think my first film Roja was very futuristic.
After that I have tended to be repetitive and stereotypical because
most of my films had numbers which were dance-oriented."
was born Hindu, his birth name 'A.S. Dileep Kumar.' When his sister
recovered from a near-fatal illness shortly after his parents'
visit to a Muslim place of worship, the entire family converted
The trio of Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy
is one of the up-and-coming forces in Bollywood music, having
signed for a high-profile Hollywood/Bollywood co-production directed
by Willard Carroll of "Playing By Heart" fame. Shankar
Mahadevan, one of the members of the trio, is also renowned for
his playback singing, which is ably demonstrated on the trio's
hit soundtracks for Dil Chahta
Hai and Mission Kashmir. Meanwhile, Ismail Darbar, who
was "discovered" while playing violin for Jatin-Lalit's
1996 Khamoshi soundtrack, has written four soundtracks, two of
which -- Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam and Devdas -- have been hailed
as instant classics. Rajesh Roshan was born to a famous
music director and has successfully continued the tradition, composing
some of his best scores for his brother, director Rakesh. Arguably
his most notable score is 2000's Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, since the
movie also served as a vehicle for the now-mythic acting debut
of his nephew Hrithik. Sandeep Chowta can't thank actor
and kinsman Sunil Shetty for his success: he did it the hard way,
landing in Mumbai with little more than $400 and a dream. Director-producer
Ramgopal Varma took a shine to Chowta and has used his tunes to
great success in films like Satya, Pyaar Tune Kya Kiya, Jungle,
in conclusion, you may ask, where are all the women? Certainly
not with the next group...
The recent death
of Anand Bakshi elicited a wave of grief from a nation
that grew up singing to his dreams. Born in pre-Independence Rawalpindi
(now part of Pakistan), Bakshi penned the words to some of Bollywood's
most popular soundtracks of the '60s and '70s. More recent works
like Mohabbatein, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, and Dil To Pagal
Hai have impacted a fresh generation and ensure him a prominent
place in film history.
is another famed lyricist who hails from what is now Pakistan.
Born as Sampooran Singh on August 18, 1936, he and his family
were forced by the upheavals of Partition to migrate to Delhi.
Widely considered to be the finest film lyricist living, his verse
for the soundtrack of 1998's Dil
Se attests to his poetic genius.
Akhtar, the son
of famous poet and film lyricist Jan Nisar Akhtar, has scripted
lyrics for some of Amitabh Bachchan's most famous movies, including
Sholay, Zanjeer, and Deewar. He met his future wife, Honey Irani,
while scripting the 70s film Seeta Aur Geeta, and their son, Farhan
Akhtar, has recently made his directorial debut with the 2001
hit Dil Chahta Hai -- the score of which naturally boasts his
father's eloquent and evocative prose. Akhtar is now married to
actress and activist Shabana Azmi, and his former wife is planning
her own directorial debut.
name can begin such a discussion: Lata Mangeshkar, born
September 28, 1929. Her voice has graced the greatest Indian films
of the last five decades. She holds the Guinness World Record
for number of songs recorded -- according to Guinness, over 50,000
at last count!
survey of her earlier recordings reveals a voice of surpassing
sweetness and an incredible three-octave range. Mughal-e-Azam
(1960) and Pakeezah (1971) are two highlights of her unparalleled
career. Nevertheless, newcomers to film music may wonder what
all the fuss is about: in recent releases Mangeshkar's voice sounds
markedly shrill. Devdas composer Ismail Darbar has stated in interviews
that he does not even consider Mangeshkar for his own work because
she can no longer comfortably handle the high notes he favors.
Of course, Lata-ji
herself might discourage you from listening to her recent releases.
Recently, she told interviewer Subhash K. Jha, "In my opinion,
what's being made these days isn't really music. Actually we don't
even have many music directors. Earlier, there were so many distinguished
names who thought deeply about their music. They had the time
and the inclination... Now it's time for re-mixes. I believe a
new film album has re-arranged and re-recorded old film hits by
me and Kishore Kumar. But I want to know what's the contribution
of the music director in Dil Vil Pyar Vyar [a film soundtrack
featuring new recordings of classic RD Burman tunes]. I've said
it a thousand times and I'll say it again. There's nothing original
about re-mix. You're just churning out what's already been done
to perfection..." (Times of India,
favors a return to traditional inspiration: "Right now we're
too much into copying western music. I wouldn't say it didn't
happen earlier. But back then even when western elements were
adapted there was an essential Indianness about our music. Today,
we're blindly aping the West. Look at the clothes, dances and
gestures on television... It's becoming difficult to even reach
the listeners. Music companies are in the doldrums. I remember
a time when Rhythm House [a leading music shop in central Mumbai]
would tell me that my RPM discs sold out the minute they arrived.
Now listeners don't bother to buy music. They hear it all on television.
" (Times of India, 9/29/02)
Ironically, those listeners *are* hearing Lata Mangeshkar on television,
and from the unlikeliest of sources: an American rap artist called
Truth Hurts. The musician incorporated a sample from one of Lata's
performances into the hit song "Addicted," and Lataji
is currently in court, suing for a multimillion dollar share of
equally talented sister, Asha Bhosle, struggled to emerge
from the shadow cast by her famous sibling. The recent film Saaz
was a thinly veiled account of the difficulties their relationship
endured due to this tension. But Bhosle's voice assured her a
rightful place in the limelight, as did her second marriage to
legendary music director R.D. Burman. Never were her vocals more
sublime than in the 1981 film Umrao Jaan.
Krishnamurthy Subramaniam is the prime prospect to inherit
Lata Mangeshkar's mantle of greatness. Praised by composers like
Ismail Darbar, who lauds her as the only playback singer in Mumbai
who regularly does riyaaz (drills in classical technique), she
has distinguished herself throughout two decades of work with
her mastery of intricate sequences and her comfort in the high
end of the vocal range. Her performance in 2002's Devdas has brought
her particular acclaim.
Narayan is, without
a doubt, the reigning king of male playback singers. Born to a
farmer on the border of India and Nepal, Narayan got his start
singing for Nepali radio. When a scholarship from the Indian Embassy
offered him the chance to study classical music at a prestigious
school in Mumbai, he wasted no time in moving. But success did
not come instantly. Only after years of study and several unnoticed
recordings did he hit gold with his vocals for Aamir Khan in 1988's
Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak. Fans marvel at his versatility, but his
trademark is his"golden smile," so called because, during
upbeat songs, one seems to actually *hear* the smile on his lips.
occupies a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for having
recorded the greatest number of songs in one day -- 28 of them!
Such drive helps to explain how a man who earned a BA in business
from Calcutta University managed to perform a career about-face
and become one of the top playback singers in Bollywood. His multilinguality
hasn't hurt, either: Sanu sings with equal comfort in Hindi, Tamil,
Telugu, Brij, Kannada, Malayalam, Bengali, and Punjabi.
Yagnik, the daughter of a classical singer, started singing
for radio at the age of six. She shot to fame with her vocals
in Madhuri's "Ek Do Teen" dance number from Tezaab.
Along with Kavita K. Subramaniam, she is now widely considered
to be the top female playback singer in Bollywood.
is one of the only playback singers to work successfully in both
Bollywood and South Indian films, where she dominates the competition.
Her linguistic dexterity is awesome: she has recorded thousands
of songs in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Oriya, Telugu, and Malayalam.
Most recently her performance in "Raat Ka Nasha" in
2001's Asoka earned a shower of praise from critics and fans alike.
She is a particular favorite of composer A.R. Rahman's.
singer who has worked a great deal with Rahman -- and who, indeed,
owes him his current status as highest-priced singer in Bollywood
-- is Sukhwinder Singh, who shot to fame with his vocals
for Dil Se's "Chaiyya Chaiyya." Singh composes as well,
having worked with Mychael Danna on the Monsoon Wedding soundtrack
and penned lyrics for various songs including the Punjabi "Thaiyya
Thaiyya" in Dil Se.
hit paydirt with her vocals in 1998's Pyaar to Hona Hi Tha, and
has continued to receive praise for her earthy renditions of hits
like "Bumbro" from Mission Kashmir. Despite the demands
of her flourishing career, she is also pursuing a Ph.D. in musical
studies from the University of Delhi.
Das's English vocals for Rachel Shelley in Lagaan, and her
performance in "Shakalaka Baby" for another A.R. Rahman
soundtrack, Nayak, surely had you tapping your feet. But you're
probably more familiar with her as the reluctant bride in Monsoon
Wedding. One of the only people to have performed on both sides
of the screen, her balancing act will be interesting to watch.
Even as she protests that singing is her first love, the international
success of Monsoon Wedding ensures that acting offers will continue
to pour in.