San Francisco (California), USA – Love triangles, glitz, melodrama, music and tragi-comedy are all part of the hugely successful musical-movie genre known as Bollywood. The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold showcases the leading singers and revisits some of the most glamorous movies from this vast and ever expanding scene.
Compiled by DJ Ritu – renowned BBC radio presenter, club DJ and compiler of the Rough Guides to Bollywood, Bhangra, Bhangra Dance and Asian Underground – The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold takes a nostalgic trip down memory lane to the golden era of Indian film music. From Lata Mangeshkar to Mohd. Rafi and films such as Teesri Manzil, Bobby, Umrao Jaan and Andaz, it travels back in time to explore the sparkling playback voices who took audiences on a roller-coaster ride of emotion — pain, joy, hopelessness, mourning, humor and more.
The period between 1960 and 1980 was a vibrant, electric time for Bollywood. The world had opened up after World War II and more people than ever were crossing continents. Indian composers became influenced by Western sounds, cinema traversed from black and white to glorious Technicolor and playback singers became stars in their own right. Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Lata Mangeshkar and Kishore Kumar were the four great playback giants and this is well represented throughout the album with celebrated tracks such as ‘Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana’, ‘In Aankhon Ki Masti’, ‘Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyar Tera’ and ‘Chabi Kho Jaye’.
Aside from the four golden greats, the album also includes a track by Mukesh, often referred to as ‘The Man With The Golden Voice’ and best known for providing the playback voice for revered actor Raj Kapoor. Evocative singer Manna Dey is also represented here, as is India’s ‘King Of Strings’, Jolly Mukherjee, in the opening track ‘Chandni O Meri Chandni’. Furthermore, a rare outing of Rahul Dev Burman’s voice is highlighted in ‘Mehbooba Mehbooba’. This exceptionally popular track is still frequently requested by Asian clubbers and this is an exclusive copy of the ‘live’ version, pretty much unobtainable anywhere else.
This wonderfully sentimental music provided the backdrop to the lives of ‘first generation’ immigrants to the UK and North America and subsequently to their offspring, the diasporic second generation. The tunes made from 1960s and 1970s Bollywood are laden with memories, tastes of home and reminiscence of the past. To this day, they continue to inspire fans of the genre, including clubbers, remixers and producers. The beauty, hook lines, passion and drama of Bollywood’s ‘Golden’ era remain timeless, just as true gold should.
The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold contains a data track that includes an interview with the compiler DJ Ritu, music information from The Rough Guide To World Music book and travel information from The Rough Guide to India book.