Kishore Kumar – A Playlist of Underrated Melodies

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If you are a cinema and music lover, you are bound to be in awe of Kishore Kumar! A Sampurna Kalakar with God gifted voice and talent, he has to be most popular playback singer across generations. In a career spanning 41 years, he sang to many beautiful compositions of the most respected music directors. My personally favorite phase of Kishore Kumar songs are the gems he produced with S.D. Burman, Salil Chowdhury, Hemant Kumar and others in the pre-Aradhana phase, but it was post Aradhana in a period of time in 70s to mid-80s where he almost single-handedly topped the musical charts of hindi films, being the voice of some of the most popular and evergreen songs. Naturally, there are so many of his songs which still dominate our playlists to date and offer a diverse listening pleasure.

However, there are so many beautiful songs of Kishore’da that are still less heard or remembered and can easily be part of best of his playlists. Many of these songs are from the post Aradhana phase of his career, where a host of more popular songs hogged the lion’s share of limelight. So on his 90th birthday, here is an attempt to list down 50 such less appreciated solo songs of Kishore Kumar – they aren’t necessarily all rare, but some of them are also in the list because they somehow don’t get remembered as much today because they weren’t either part of a popular film, or got overshadowed by a more popular song of that album, or just have not received as much love as they deserved.

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Jaidev – The Underrated Genius

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There is only one way to describe the immortal music composer JaidevThe underrated genius! For an artist whose entry into films was as a child artist, he induction as a composer happened as an assistant to stalwarts like Ali Akbar Khan and then Sachin Dev Burman. His first break as a music composer came in the year 1955, and over the next thirty plus years that he was active in, he score music for just over forty hindi films. And yet, he was the first music composer to be recognized with three national awards. That is the musical prowess of the man, who turned everything he touched to gold, and he didn’t need any big banner films to get attention and be heard.

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When Rafi Saab sang for S.D. Burman, Magic happened!

31st July marks 39 years since the greatest singer ever of hindi cinema and my ultimate favorite Mohammad Rafi left us for a world of eternal peace.. Incidentally 31st is also the tragic date (but that was October) when the world of cinema lost the most melodious music composer ever as well in S.D. Burman!

So, what else could be a more musical way to remember the two legends but recalling some of the best music that this duo created, melodious to the core, displaying a range of emotions that is mind boggling!

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A.R. Rahman – The Divine Connection

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A.R. Rahman is a musical revolution – and that is not saying anything new about him. Amongst the best music directors that India ever had, his music stands apart in the way he brought in fusion between traditional Indian classical music with electronic music, influences of world music. There is a very unique sound of his music that one can recognize just by listening to his songs, and all the national and international awards under his belt, or the legendary nicknames he has been given deservingly recognize his genius, his divine blessings.

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2019 Mid-Year Checkpoint – Bangla Films

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Continuing with the mid-year checkpoint discussion, here is taking a pause to look at the Bangla films of 2019. Personally, I think it has been a pretty good year for Bangla Films in 2019 so far and has been a big turnaround since last couple of years. There have been quite a few good films that made their mark, and the good thing was that we got to see a lot of promising new talent coming up with the best of the year. There were also films in relevant and refreshing themes, modern in treatment with a lot of soul. We still had some biggies that were disappointing, but then which year won’t have that in the mix.

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2019 Mid-Year Checkpoint – Hindi Films

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As the first half of 2019 is over now, it is a good time to take a pause and retrospect at what Hindi cinema had to offer so far for us this year. Overall, it has been a mixed bag year of a few brilliant films and a huge bunch of average and poor films so far.

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Top 30 Pancham Albums – Ranked!

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PANCHAM, the true successor of the genius of Sachin Dev Burman, was no less a magician by himself. The man who broke every conventional barrier through his music, and composed music that was way ahead of his time. He was at his sublime best when he was dealing with pure unadulterated melody unlike his more popular jazzy work. 60’s first felt the fire power of his music, the glorious 70’s and most of 80’s thrived with his golden compositions; and even when he was written off in 90’s, he created some of his finest work completely pushed against the wall. Challenging the status quo of every singer, he provided the flight beneath their wings for them to soar new heights, and with that his eternal music found its unbound skies as well. Too many classics, too many game changers, and then the trailblazer was suddenly gone too soon.

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Best of Madan Mohan & Lata Mangeshkar

The magic of Madan Mohan is beyond words. Possibly the best exponent of beautifully garnishing popular hindi film songs with influence of classical music and ghazals, it is appalling how underappreciated he has been in terms of recognition from mainstream hindi cinema. A treasure trove of brilliance, and yet there isn’t one single Filmfare award to his credit, the only established mainstream awards for the times he belonged to. He received a national award for Dastak (1970) but he deserved much much more.

The pathos that Madan Mohan brings to his compositions are unparallel, and though he has got unique gems with a range of wonderful singers from Mohammed Rafi to Bhupinder Singh, the name that has become inseparable from the magic of Madan Mohan is Lata Mangeshkar. Together they have created sheer magic in the world of soulful music. When you start listening to them, you do not stop for a long long time.

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10 Hindi Films that Boldly Brought the Caste Narrative to Center Stage

Anubhav Sinha’s Article 15 is ready for release on June 28th, and if the promos are anything to go with, it is going to be a hard hitting commentary on the darkest impact of caste based politics on basic human agency and living rights of the common Indian. In today’s date of extreme chaos and cacophony, where almost every other ism is exploited by a select few to evoke mass hysteria and dangerous results, Article 15 may be the film that India needs desperately, and what the Indian youth should watch in masses and retrospect about. Hoping for it to be a well made film just like Mulk was, one that hits it where it hurts and raises the right questions. As we prepare for this experience, here is looking back at a few other Hindi films that made a statement by raising the caste issues unabashedly in a format and tone relevant to their times and left long lasting impressions.

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Rabindra Sangeet in Films – This Millennium

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The songs composed by Rabindranath Tagore have always been a lifeline of Bangla films. For decades, they have been the voice of soul in our films, and when at the turn of the century a decision was taken to allow experimentation with the arrangement in Tagore Songs, there was a fear that it would be a disaster as far as preserving the sanctity of these songs was concerned. Has it really been the case in the whole?

Yes, there has been a Oo lala added to a Pagla Hawa in some cases, but Rabindra Sangeet has stood firm with its soul and its form preserved for the most, a few modern rhythmic adaptations like Jagorane jaaye bibhabori have actually worked, and in most cases even the form has remained as pure as possible. How much ever our storytelling might have changed, our filmmakers still fall back to the ever reliable and the deepest emotions of Rabindra Sangeet even today, and rightfully so.

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