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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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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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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The charismatic children in the world of Ray

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Apu & Durga (Pather Panchali & Aparajito), Kajal (Apur Sansar), Ratan (Postmaster), Mrinmayee (Samapti), Mukul (Sonar Kella), Ruku (Jai Baba Felunath), Pikoo (Pikoo), Dingo (Shakha Proshakha), Satyaki (Agantuk), or the ‘Two’ kids…

Just these characters can continue reminding us for decades to come how brilliant a film maker the Maestro was… It takes a genius to get the best and most natural out of children in cinema, and He did it every single time with each one of them. The characters above have become legendary, not just with their writing, but also with the kind of performances these kids could deliver under the guidance of Ray..

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Happy Birthday Basu Chatterjee!

The world of Hindi Cinema has got a lot of its simplistic and heart felt beauty courtesy the warm and endearing cinema of Basu Chatterjee. Along side Hrishikesh Mukherjee, he made those evergreen everyday commoner stories that we could all relate to, revolving around protagonists who were so very you and me. A Chhoti si Baat, Baaton Baaton Me, Khatta Meetha or a Rajanigandha hence become any time watches for many. At the same time, there is the brilliantly adapted Ek ruka huya faisla, or Swami, or Apne Paraye, which have their own emotional and cinematic appeal. With Kamla ki Maut, a story and a style was chosen much ahead of the times. That is the versatile talent of the man, as much as we try to box him within a sugary sweet zone.

Happy 89th birthday Basu’da! The treasure chest of Hindi cinema looks far more richer for the gems you added to it.

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Copyright ©2019 Jayashree Chakravarti. This article cannot be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL can be used instead.

Amol Palekar- celebrating simplicity!

One Man! Many Moods! One great filmography!

Happy 74th Birthday to the quintessential common man next door! Yet each character made so memorable by sheer craft!

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