DARD HI DARD, Mohammed Rafi (Sa Re Ga Ma, Rs.42)

This compilation lives up to every Rafi fan's expectations - well, almost. If only the stereo beats were not there. But then the originality of his voice withstands even this test, and the result is a pleasant experience, bound to take you on a trip down memory lane. Thank heavens this isn't another one of those remixes!

This could well have been a Naushad-Rafi album, for half of the songs are Naushad's compositions. These include that eternal favourite "Suhani Raat Dhal Chuki" from Dulari, "Ye Zindagi Ke Mele" from Mela, "O Duniya Ke Rakhwale" from Baiju Bawra, that brilliant song, "O Door Ke Musafir" from Uran Khatola and "Tasveer Banata Hoon Teri" from Diwana.

Other ones to watch out for are "Maine Chand Aur Sitaron Ki" from Chandrakanta, "Ek Dil Ke Tukde Hazaar Hue" from Pyar Ki Jeet, "Toote Hue Khwabon Ne" from Madhumati and "Chal Ud Ja Re Panchhi" from Bhabhi.

And yes, there have been some glaring omissions to this `dard-hi-dard' genre. O.P. Nayyar, the king of rhythm and beat, has been given a blatant miss. Though most of his songs were about cadence and swing, some, like "Aanchal Mein Saja Lena Kaliyaan" from Phir Wahi Dil Laya Hoon and "Tukde Hain Mere Dil Ke" from Mere Sanam were so exquisite and un-O.P. like, they deserve to be part of this collection. They brought out the pathos in Rafi's voice.


Other notable omissions are: "Ye Duniya Agar Mil Bhi Jaaye To Kya Hai' from "Pyaasa", `Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil' from "Heer Ranjha", `Naseeb Mein Jiske' from "Do Badan", "Mohabbat Zinda Rehti Hai" from "Chengiz Khan", "Keh Do Koi Na Kare Yahan Pyar" from "Goonj Uthi Shehnai", "Kabhi Khud Pe Kabhi Halat Pe" from "Hum Dono" and "Rang Aur Noor Ki Baraat" from "Ghazal".

At Rs.42, this cassette is a big steal, so buy it and sit back to be overwhelmed by the intensity of Rafi's emotional renditions.

VANDE MATARAM An Electronic Exploration (Rs.295, Music Today CD)

In one sentence, this one is worth collecting. All the nine compositions are unique. We have heard of A.R. Rahman's version and felt good about a different treatment to the old song. But this one has gone a step further. With a superb use of electronic instruments, the accompanying music — be it Musarrat Ali Khan's sarod, Shailendra Kumar's flute, Asgar Hussain's violin or Rakesh Negi's tabla and percussion, has contributed immensely. Vocals by Shakti Singh and Radhika Chopra too have blended well into a single whole. You are bound to feel patriotic hearing the various versions of this national song.

KASAK (Tips, Rs.150 CD)

The combination of Lucky Ali and M.M. Kreem raises lots of expectations, but the duo leaves the fans craving for the Sur magic.

The quality expected of them is missing.

Here Kreem is a poor shadow of Rog and Lucky is low-key.

And if somebody thinks a Rajeev Babbar film demands popular music, Kreem fails to repeat the "Tum Mile Dil Khile" charm of Criminal. Sameer with his ordinary lyrics hasn't helped his cause either.

The only saving grace if one is forced to choose is "Jaana Hai Jaana Hai" in two versions - one by Lucky Ali and the other by Jagjit Singh.

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