A.R. Rahman

Mondo India

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One could reasonably call Mondo India Mondo Rahman, since composer A.R. Rahman contributes ten of the 12 tracks here, the other two coming from his mentor, R.D. Burman, and his disciple, Vishal. Still, there's nothing wrong with a collection of filmi songs by the man who's generally credited as being the greatest composer in the history of the Bollywood film industry. Perhaps the greatest shame is that they don't really offer a good career overview, all coming from the late '90s and the start of the millennium. Even Burman's contribution, "Ek Ladki Ko Dekha," dates from 1994, after he himself had been influenced by Rahman's developments, and the Vishal cut, "Suno Re," is from 1999. It's apparent, though, that neither quite has Rahman's feel for melody upon melody, his greatest trademark, along with his seamless blend of Eastern and Western ideas and technique. To see him celebrated is wonderful, although how representative he is of India -- even the Indian soundtrack industry (and from the sheer number of releases each year, it is an industry) -- is open to debate, as is the question of whether these are his very best compositions.

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