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World Music CD Reviews South Asia

Various Artists

By Derek Beres
Published December 1, 2006

Bollywood: An Anthology Of Songs From Popular Indian Cinema
Silva Screen

Saregama Music has created a monopoly on music in India. With over 300,000 songs in their catalog, representing every imaginable style available to the billion+ population, perhaps their most impressive backlog includes the ever-growing (and now, in America, ever-popular) collection of Bollywood soundtracks. This two-CD collection, produced and released stateside by Silva Screen, is an excellent reference guide to both vintage and contemporary stars of filmi music. The 23 tracks contain a rather dreamlike quality, a perfect companion to the movies, which amount to musical theater on countryside buses and lavish sets. Classic cuts by sisters Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar, the funky Mohamed Rafi (“Chand mera dil,” the compilation’s Westernized cut, sounds influenced by Blaxploitation flicks), composer AR Rahman, and even a rare film appearance by the great qawwal Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan appear. India is home to a bigger movie industry than even Hollywood; an ironic twist, given the name borrowing. That the music is also bigger, and better, as this compilation proves, should be no shock.