Monday, June 20, 2016

Mahesh Naresh / Shakila Bano Bhopali / Chris Perry: Maze Le Lo (1975)

Maz Le Lo

'Maze Le Lo' is a strange one. There's aren't many mentions of the film online*, and its soundtrack – curiously also released in France – was made by people that are all unknown to me.

Half of it is composed and performed by Mahesh Naresh, a duo comprising Gujarati brothers Mahesh Kumar Kanodia and Naresh Kumar Kanodia. 'Baankelal Ne Apne Ghar' and 'Aksar Koi Kadka' are both bizarre mashups of all sorts of musical styles combined with dialogue and snippets of other, more famous Bollywood songs. I have no idea what's going on in either but the YouTube clip labels the latter (which I prefer) a parody song. 'Mere Aangana Men' is more coherent; very percussive but interspersed with some cool organ bits. Mahesh Naresh seemed to be under the influence of RD Burman, just not as good.

Shakila Bano Bhopali is credited with composing the more traditional sounding 'Too Na Samjhe' and 'Aaj Ki Taza Khabar', as well as supplying vocals. From what I gather she used to be a famous singer of qawwalis.

Most surprising of all is 'Love Me Love Me Tonight', written by Goan jazz musician Chris Perry and performed by a singer named Fernando. It's a fuzzed-out garage-punk track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in a 1960s biker movie.

*A rather sleazy looking film with the same title is available in its entirety on YouTube, but I think that's a different one.

Track listing:
1. Mahesh Kumar: Baankelal Ne Apne Ghar
2. Shakila Bano Bhopali: Too Na Samjhe
3. Fernando: Love Me Love Me Tonight
4. Mahesh Kumar: Aksar Koi Kadka
5. Shakila Bano Bhopali: Aaj Ki Taza Khabar
6. Naresh Kumar: Mere Aangana Men


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Friday, June 10, 2016

Rahul Dev Burman: Manzil Manzil (1984)

Manzil Manzil

Sticking with mid-80s Rahul Dev Burman, here's one more containing a few decent if not entirely convincing tracks.

'Manzil Manzil' is quite varied; opener 'He Baba' is an energetic disco tune with some appeal, whereas the final 'O Meri Jaan' has a soft, soothing, almost dreamy sound. They might be the soundtrack's best know tracks. In-between we get a couple of cabaret (or cabaret-type) numbers. 'Mitwa' is OK but I prefer 'Yeh Naina Yaad Hai' for its odd droney quality and inclusion of a short harmonica bit nicked from Ennio Morricone's 'Man with a Harmonica' from 'Once Upon a Time in the West', hardly a bad thing.

There are interesting details in the arrangements and instrumentation throughout (I also like the countrified ending to 'Lut Gaye Ham To Rahon Men'), but that's not enough to make a really great score. Anirudha Bhattacharjee and Balaji Vittal in their book 'R.D. Burman - The Man, The Myth' describes it as "more technique than feeling". I'll go along with that.

Track listing:
1. Asha Bhosle: He Baba
2. Shailendra Singh: Jhalak Dikhake
3. Asha Bhosle & Shailendra Singh: Lut Gaye Ham To Rahon Men
4. Asha Bhosle & Shailendra Singh: O Meri Jaan
5. Asha Bhosle & Shailendra Singh: Yeh Naina Yaad Hai
6. Asha Bhosle: Mitwa
7. Chandrashekar Gadgil & Chorus: Man Re Pyar Hari Ke
8. Shailendra Singh: O Meri Jaan


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Friday, June 3, 2016

Rahul Dev Burman: Zameen Aasman (1983)

Zameen Aasman

'Zameen Aasman' might be one primarily for RD Burman completists. And to be honest I don't have a lot to say about it. Its songs are OK but none can be described as classics or essential. 'Mano-Mano Ya Na Mano' is kind of catchy, comes with a pleasant Caribbean flavour and a surprising country rock intro. 'Pyar Nagma Hai' (both versions identical I think) contains some nice synth bits and has an energetic, new-wavy feel to it, and the breezy 'Maine Dil Diya' rolls pleasantly along to a light ska rhythm. The loungy, rather elegant sounding 'Aisa Sama Na Hota' is the score's best track, the one I'm most likely to come back to.

Track listing:
1. Kishore Kumar: Mano-Mano Ya Na Mano
2. Lata Mangeshkar: Zameen Aasman Nahin Milte
3. Asha Bhosle & R.D. Burman: Pyar Nagma Hai
4. Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar: Maine Dil Diya
5. Lata Mangeshkar: Aisa Sama Na Hota
6. Asha Bhosle & R.D. Burman: Pyar Nagma Hai


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Monday, May 23, 2016

Bappi Lahiri: Maut Ka Saya (1982)

Maut Ka Saya

It is said about film-makers The Ramsay Brothers that they were Bollywood's prime exponents of low-grade, sleazy 1980s horror cinema. Similarly, Bappi Lahiri's music is often described as the epitome of tacky Bollywood disco. It makes sense then, that they would work together regularly. To Bappi’s credit, his scores were often far more sophisticated sounding than the pairing might suggest. And unlike its appealingly schizophrenic cover, there's not much musically on the soundtrack to 'Maut Ka Saya' that actually suggests horror.

Predictably, the out-and-out dancefloor tracks take centre stage. 'Aafat' is a rousing anthem performed by Bappi regular Annette Pinto and the composer himself, and 'Dance Music' is a percussive jazz dance number enhanced by teasing giggles and sighs. Both are great, but I'm actually even more fond of two of the album's non-disco tracks. 'Yeh Samundar' fuses flamenco with electro and again features Annette in addition to a series of wonderfully exotic solos, while 'Zulfon Tale' is mellow Caribbean flavoured lounge pop, accordion-led with sensuous vibraphone interludes. Shailendra Singh does the honours on this one.

Unusually, there doesn't seem to be a single song clip from this film on YouTube.

Track listing:
1. Bappi Lahiri & Annette: Aafat
2. Amit Kumar, Sachin & Chorus: Tum Phans Gaye
3. Dance Music
4. Annette: Yeh Samandur
5. Shailendra Singh: Zulfon Tale


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Monday, May 9, 2016

C. Ramchandra: Albela (1951)

Albela

I like C. Ramchandra. His name isn't one that gets dropped very often in my (admittedly largely 70s-centric) circles but having scored more than 100 movies he can hardly be described as an unknown. The previous soundtracks by him posted here have both been very good (one even included in the 100 Bollywood Soundtracks book) and the same can be said for 1951's 'Albela'.

It's all cheerful and sweet and sort of innocent sounding, full of tuneful songs, mostly performed by Lata Mangeshkar and Chitalkar, the latter being the composer in his playback singer guise. I could name any number of highlights; the dainty 'Dil Dhadke Nazar Sharmae', the carnivalesque 'Diwana Parwana', the children's song 'Dhire Se Aaja Ri Akhiyan Men' (Lata's version of which has actually been featured before), the addictive 'Bholi Soorat Dil Ke Khote'... your best bet though is to simply play the soundtrack from the beginning, close your eyes, relax, and let its wonderful old-world music envelop you.

Track listing:
1. Lata Mangeshkar, Chitalkar & Chorus: Shola Jo Bhadke
2. Lata Mangeshkar: Dil Dhadke Nazar Sharmae
3. Lata Mangeshkar, Chitalkar & Chorus: Diwana Parwana
4. Chitalkar: Qismat Ki Hawa Kabhi Naram
5. Lata Mangeshkar & Chitalkar: Teri Yaad Ne Mara
6. Lata Mangeshkar & Chitalkar: Dhire Se Aaja Ri Akhiyan Men
7. Lata Mangeshkar: Dhire Se Aaja Ri Akhiyan Men
8. Lata Mangeshkar: Balma Bada Nadan
9. Mohd. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar: Diwana Aagaya
10. Lata Mangeshkar & Chitalkar: Sham Dhale Khidki Tale
11. Chitalkar & Chorus: Haseenon Se Mohabbat Ka
12. Lata Mangeshkar, Chitalkar & Chorus: Bholi Soorat Dil Ke Khote


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Monday, April 25, 2016

Ramlal: Sehra (1963)

Sehra

Ramlal Choudhary's 'Geet Gaya Patharonne' from 1964 was one of last year's most pleasing discoveries, subsequently featured in the book '100 Bollywood Soundtracks Every Music Ought To Hear'. His previous score 'Sehra' is almost as good.

I'm not sure if it's his use of the steel guitar (or is it an Indian equivalent?) that gives songs like 'Taqdir Ka Fasana' and 'Hum Hain Nashe Men Tum Ho Nashe Men' a curious country & western tinge; regardless they are both superb. (On Mohd. Rafi's version of 'Taqdir Ka Fasana' the steel guitar is replaced by a snake charmer's pungi.) 'Ja Ja Jare Tujhe Hum Jan Gaye' and 'Tum To Pyar Ho' are perhaps more conventional, yet still great. And best of all, Lata Mangeshkar's 'Punkh Hote To Ud Aati', featuring both weird and wonderful instrumental details, is a song of hypnotic beauty.

There's not a lot of information on Ramlal to be found on the Internet. I think he worked in the industry as a flute player; could it be these were the only two films he scored himself?

Track listing:
1. Hemant Kumar: Na Ghar Mera Na Ghar Tera
2. Lata Mangeshkar & Mohd. Rafi: Ja Ja Jare Tujhe Hum Jan Gaye
3. Mohd. Rafi: Lagi Must Nazar Ki Katar
4. Lata Mangeshkar: Taqdir Ka Fasana
5. Lata Mangeshkar: Punkh Hote To Ud Aati
6. Asha Bhosle: Hum Hain Nashe Men Tum Ho Nashe Men
7. Lata Mangeshkar & Mohd. Rafi: Tum To Pyar Ho
8. Mohd. Rafi: Taqdir Ka Fasana


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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

S.D. Burman: Chhupa Rustam (1973)

Chhupa Rustam

1973 appears to have been a good year for SD Burman. I posted his excellent 'Jugnu' a little while ago; 'Chhupa Rustam' [review] [2] is of a similar vein. 'Jo Main Hota' is its first highlight, fresh and joyous, followed by the groovy 'Bolo Kya Ham Ko Doge'. Things are subsequently toned down a bit; Kishore's evocative 'Dheere Se Jana' and Lata's haunting 'Suno Suno Suno' are both lovely. My personal favourite though is Asha's sexy 'Jaloon Main Jale Mera Dil'; it was featured on a compilation of cabaret numbers but it doesn't actually look like one. Regardless, it's fantastic. And rounding off, 'Main Hoon Chhui Mui' has a cool and laidback jazzy vibe.

Unfortunately my copy of this album is somewhat trashed; I've cleaned as much as I can but you'll hear a bit of background noise on tracks 4-7. I'll be looking for an upgrade and will certainly post that should I find one.

Track listing:
1. Manna Dey & Chorus: Chhupa Rustam Hain
2. Kishore Kumar & Asha Bhosle: Jo Main Hota
3. Kishore Kumar & Asha Bhosle: Bolo Kya Ham Ko Doge
4. Kishore Kumar: Dheere Se Jana
5. Lata Mangeshkar: Suno Suno Suno
6. Asha Bhosle: Jaloon Main Jale Mera Dil
7. Asha Bhosle: Main Hoon Chhui Mui


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Monday, March 14, 2016

Laxmikant Pyarelal: Khilona (1970)

Khilona

A hunch that it wan't the most interesting of soundtracks is the reason I've passed on several copies of Laxmikant Pyarelal's 'Khilona' over the years. Finding a real cheap one I finally succumbed, but I have to admit my suspicions were confirmed.

Ok, it has 'Roz Roz Roz' which to be fair is a pretty cool jazzy rock 'n' roll number and the track that made me consider the album at all. It sounds like something Shankar Jaikishan could have done; good, upbeat fun, though not as memorable as either composing duo's best stuff. Apart from that there isn't anything here I find noteworthy. 'Khilona Jan Kar' is pleasantly atmospheric and might be growing on me, the rest, while not necessarily bad, fails to really grab me.

Track listing:
1. Mohd. Rafi: Khilona Jan Kar
2. Mohd. Rafi & Asha Bhosle: Main Sharabi Nahin
3. Kishore Kumar & Asha Bhosle: Roz Roz Roz
4. Mohd. Rafi: Khush Rahe Too Sada
5. Lata Mangeshkar: Sanam Too Bewafa
6. Manna Dey & Chorus: Yeh Natak Kavi


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Monday, March 7, 2016

Laxmikant Pyarelal: Kala Dhanda Goray Log (1985)

Kala Dhanda Goray Log

You don't generally compare Laxmikant Pyarelal to Bappi Lahiri, yet 'Kala Dhanda Goray Log' reminds me, at least in part, of the previous score posted. It isn't a career highlight – the mid-1980s was hardly the best period for great soundtracks – but there are a few good moments on it.

It's quite percussive, persistently so on 'Ye Dastoor Hai Hazoor Kisi Ka Kya Qasoor' and 'Jab Jab Kisi Ladke Ko Kisi Ladki'. Waltz-timed 'Bul Bul Yeh Desh Paraya Hai' has a pleasant melody and loud drums; 'Allah Hoo Allah Hoo' comes with a Middle-Eastern feel. But the real highlight is 'Sha Shangrila Sha Shangrila' with its booming disco beat, electro effects and Annette Pinto's powerhouse vocals. An excellent track, which I wish had been a bit longer.

Track listing:
1. S. Janaki: Ye Dastoor Hai Hazoor Kisi Ka Kya Qasoor
2. Annette: Sha Shangrila Sha Shangrila
3. Shabbir Kumar: Bul Bul Yeh Desh Paraya Hai
4. Master Aziz & Chorus: Allah Hoo Allah Hoo
5. Anuradha Paudwal & Shabbir Kumar: Jab Jab Kisi Ladke Ko Kisi Ladki


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Monday, February 29, 2016

Bappi Lahiri: Pataal Bhairavi (1985)

Pataal Bhairavi

Bappi Lahiri would throughout the 1980s make soundtracks that verged from tackily second-rate to the near sublime. 'Pataal Bhairavi' contains a little of both. Starter 'Mehmaan Majar Ki Ban Ja' is one I'm happy to skip; thankfully things pick up a bit after it. 'Tannana Tannana' is imbued with a touch mysticism (and contains a few delicate breaks), while 'Jhoom Jhoom Ke' is a typically loud disco stomper; not his best by a long shot but neither without at least some merit.

Salma Agha's 'Chumma Chumma' is the album's real standout, a wonderfully catchy track that avoids simply using the trappings of Western dance music, creating instead something approaching a uniquely Indian disco sound. It's impossible to sit still to, it's sexy, and it really is fantastic. And doesn't Dimple Kapadia look stunning?

Silk Smitha does the honours in the picturization of the frenetically percussive 'Ek Dubatti Do Do Mawaali'; of a similar mode and not half bad, but unfortunately lacking the magic of the above. 'Ek Bechara Phas Gaya' is a pleasant ballad, and 'Kalike Kapalike' has an odd folky quality.

Track listing:
1. Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar: Mehmaan Majar Ki Ban Ja
2. Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar & Chorus: Tannana Tannana
3. Asha Bhosle, Kishore Kumar & Chorus: Jhoom Jhomm Ke
4. Salma Agha: Chumma Chumma
5. S. Janaki: Ek Dubatta Do Do Mawaali
6. Yesudas & Chorus: Ek Bechara Phas Gaya
7. Anup Ghosal: Kalike Kapalike


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Friday, February 19, 2016

Music From The Third Floor: Vol. 10

Music From The Third Floor: Vol. 10

Presenting... the 10th MFT3F compilation. In terms of the number of music directors featured, this might be the most varied volume of them all. Only one RD Burman track? Ah, but there's as much if not more awesomeness on here as on any of the previous samplers, so what are you waiting for?

Track listing:
1. Title Music (from Haath Ki Safai)
2. Kitni Haseen Hai Meri Pyar Ki Nazar (from Mahraja)
3. Aao Sikhadoon Tumhen Khat Likhna (from Dimple)
4. Na Mai Hun Tera (from Wardat)
5. Bhool Gaye Sub Kuchh (from Julie)
6. Jane Kya Pilaya Tune (from Jugnu)
7. Ye Dil Muje (from Bhai Bhai)
8. Namaste Namaste (from Patanga)
9. Chhodo Sanam (from Kudrat)
10. Tere Khayalon Me Hum (from Geet Gaya Patharonne)
11. Pee Kar Sharab Khelunga (from Ganwaar)
12. Aa Kuchh Karen (from Chehre Pe Chehra)
13. Sabse Bada Rupaiya (from Sabse Bada Rupaiya)
14. Wah Re Naujawan Aaj Kal Ke (from Naya Zamana)
15. Meri Nazar Se Bacha Na Koi (from Chori Mera Kaam)
16. Yeh Jahan Tum (from Do Dil Deewane)
17. Aaeeye Baahon Mein (from Bhavani Junction)

Cover star: Hema Malini (from 'Jugnu', 1973)

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Salil Chowdury: Annadata (1972)

Annadata

I posted a shortened EP release of 'Annadata' [review] way back in 2007 and liked it enough to want to hear more. It took me a while to find the full length version; it was however worth waiting for.

The early 1970s was obviously a time of much innovation and experimentation in Indian film music, yet Salil Chowdhury belonged to an older school; of simple melodies, elegantly arranged. The pretty 'Raton Ke Saye', the cheerful 'Champavati Aja' and the joyous 'Guzar Jaye Din' combine classic songwriting with a warm and unaffected sound. Without the sonic gymnistics of Chowdhury’s colleagues they still seem modern; in a strange but very appealing way they remind me of Western easy pop and soft rock of the same period. The smooth-flowing, meditative (almost trippy) 'Yahan Ab Kya Rahna' is another understated gem. This really is a lovely and highly recommended soundtrack.

Track listing:
1. Lata Mangeshkar: Raton Ke Saye
2. Kishore Kumar: Guzar Jaye Din
3. Mukesh: Nayan Hamare
4. Music
5. Title Music
6. Lata Mangeshkar: Nis Din Nis Din
7. Manna Dey, Sabita Choudhury & Chorus: Yahan Ab Kya Rahna
8. Kishore Kumar, Sabita Choudhury & Chorus: Champavati Aja


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Monday, February 8, 2016

S.D. Burman: Jugnu (1973)

Jugnu

SD Burman scores from the late 60s to early 70s; it is often tempting to suspect some participation on the part of his son. I haven't found evidence of any direct involvement from Rahul Dev on 'Jugnu' [review] [2] yet this soundtrack is full of songs that could have been written by the younger music director. Really good songs at that; poppy, upbeat and forward looking.

'Jane Kya Pilaya Tune', 'Gir Gaya Jhumka' and 'Tera Peechha Na Chhodunga' are all cases in point; they're bright and melodious and instantly memorable. The enticing 'Meri Payaliya', with fewer Western touches than the above, sounds wonderfully seductive; Hema Malini looks ravishing in the song's picturization. 'Jugnu Chamke' is driven by a heavy and incessant beat, punctuated with great instrumental details; 'Deep Diwali Ke Jhuthe' is a charming kid's song.

Pushing 70, Sachin Dev was in 1973 as relevant as ever.

Track listing:
1. Lata Mangeshkar: Jane Kya Pilaya Tune
2. Lata Mangeshkar & Kishore Kumar: Gir Gaya Jhumka
3. Lata Mangeshkar: Meri Payaliya
4. Lata Mangeshkar: Jugnu Chamke
5. Kishore Kumar, Sushma Shreshtha & Chorus: Deep Diwali Ke Jhuthe
6. Kishore Kumar: Tera Peechha Na Chhodunga


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Monday, February 1, 2016

Shankar Jaikishan: Barsaat (1949)

Barsaat

One more Shankar Jaikishan soundtrack. 'Barsaat' [review] [2] is notable for being the duo's very first score, instantly successful and a first-rate beginning to an illustrious career.

Every elegantly arranged song, most of them performed by Lata Mangeshkar, is noteworthy; melodically sublime and rhythmically striking. 'Barsaat Men Ham Se Mile' and 'Patli Kamar Hai' were apparently (at least according to Wikipedia) the first title song and cabaret number respectively in a Hindi movie. Both are wonderful, but it's the dramatic, deliciously exotic sounding 'Bichhde Hue Pardesi', 'Ab Mera Kaun Sahara' and 'Chhod Gaye Balam' that I mostly come back to these days.

There's no filler here though. This is a top notch album, marred only by the slight truncation of songs to fit them all in. The full length versions can be heard on YouTube.

Track listing:
1. Lata Mangeshkar: Jiya Beqarar Hai
2. Lata Mangeshkar: Mujhe Kisi Se Pyar Ho Gaya
3. Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh: Patli Kamar Hai
4. Lata Mangeshkar: Bichhde Hue Pardesi
5. Mohd. Rafi: Zindagi Men Hardam
6. Lata Mangeshkar: Hawa Men Udta Jae
7. Lata Mangeshkar: Ab Mera Kaun Sahara
8. Lata Mangeshkar & Mukesh: Chhod Gaye Balam
9. Lata Mangeshkar: Meri Aankhon Men Bas Gaya
10. Lata Mangeshkar & Chorus: Barsaat Men Ham Se Mile


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Monday, January 25, 2016

Shankar Jaikishan: Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai (1961)

Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai

More of the same. And much like the previous post, 'Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hai' is a charmer. Bridging the old world nostalgia of the 1950s and earlier with the modern rock and jazz infused sounds of the new decade, Shankar Jaikishan's score contains infectious melodies, hooks and beats from start to finish. It's difficult to highlight any particular tracks on this one; 'Teri Zulfonse Judai To' and 'Uff Umma' are current favourites, along with the percussive 'Tum Jaise Bigade Babu', sadly missing the film clip's groovy East vs. West dance-off. And the 'Title Music', essentially an instrumental version of the album's title track, is very hard to resist.

Track listing:
1. Title Music
2. Lata Mangeshkar: Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai
3. Mohd. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar: Teri Zulfonse Judai To
4. Mohd. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar: Sau Saal Pahle
5. Mohd. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar: Uff Umma
6. Mohd. Rafi: Jab Pyar Kisi Se Hota Hai
7. Lata Mangeshkar: Nazar Mere Dil Ke Par
8. Lata Mangeshkar: Tum Jaise Bigade Babu
9. Mohd. Rafi: Mohabbat Isko Kahte Hain


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