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Bollywood Legend (The Best of the EMI Years)

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Album Review

If you've seen an Indian film made between the early '60s and the mid-'90s, chances are you've heard the music of R.D. Burman. Talk about prolific: it is claimed that his soundtrack work has appeared in more than 300 Bollywood films. But remarkably, despite the huge audience for Indian film in the United States, almost none of the composer's original recordings have been released here, save for the occasional track on a compilation. In 2005, his name received a higher profile when the legendary Indian "playback" singer, Asha Bhosle — who was Burman's wife (Burman died in 1994) — teamed with the adventurous Kronos Quartet and released the excellent You've Stolen My Heart: Songs from R.D. Burman's Bollywood, but this two-disc collection is the first truly comprehensive survey of Burman's output. Bollywood aficionados will immediately recognize the Bhosle tracks that occupy much of the first disc. Her high-pitched voice has been committed to tape literally thousands of times (some claim she is the most recorded artist in history) and the '70s and '80s recordings presented here, starting with the controversial "Dum Maro Dum," which became, and remains, hugely popular in India, are among her best known. (Why was it controversial? Because in English that's "take another toke."). If Bhosle is the most recorded artist ever, then her sister Lata Mangeshkar is in second place, and Burman worked with her, too (something his wife wasn't too pleased with — the two were rivals). Burman's work has kept samplers and DJs happy for years, but in its raw form has been a well-kept secret outside of India. This is the place to begin finding out who he was and why his music played such a vital role in the Bollywood industry.

Customer Reviews


Dum Maro Dum - means literally - 'Keep smoking pot'

Good song

What does "dum maro dum" mean anyway?


Born: June 27, 1939 in Calcutta, India

Genre: Bollywood

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

R.D. Burman has influenced the bollywood music more than any other music director of his times and brought glitzy dance-oriented music to the stagnated techniques of the '70s. His approach, which takes cues from Western rock and electronic music and amalgamates it perfectly with Indian chorus and rhythm-based melodies is unprecedented and years ahead of his time. The use of new recording techniques and instruments reflected upon the changing attitude of his audience and acted as a trendsetting innovation...
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