The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold

World Music Network’s new Rough Guide CD release, The Rough Guide to Bollywood Gold, pays tribute to what is termed in the album’s liner notes as “the twenty-two carat era of Bollywood music,” or the time period from 1960 to 1980, when India’s brightly colored musical films and the exotic music featured in them were coming into increasing contact with Western viewers and the influence of Western composers such as Rodgers and Hammerstein and The Beatles. Bollywood musicals typically make use of “playback singers"—the talented and celebrated singers who provide the vocals for the actors and actresses who lip-synch on camera. Bollywood Gold is a very engaging combination of Indian tabla drumming and sitar strumming, Western-influenced yodeling and surf guitar, and the often deliberately distorted vocals from India’s most famous playback singers, including Asha Bhosle and Mukesh, “the man with the golden voice.” “Zindagi Ek Safar Hai Suhana,” from the film Andaz, typifies the Bollywood sound with its mix of fervent Western strings and Kishore Kumar’s yodeling laid over distinctly Indian sounds.