Original Soundtrack

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani

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Bollywood musicals are famous for being a life force unto themselves. Many Western filmmakers have attempted to imitate their style, but none have truly been able to capture the heady mixture of broad comedy, overwrought melodrama, and gloriously anarchic musical numbers that makes them such unique cinematic experiences (actually, Baz Luhrmann got pretty close with Moulin Rouge). The music is such an integral part of the genre that it's often difficult to listen to independently of the movie. Fortunately, that's not a problem with the soundtrack to the popular Bollywood musical Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani. In fact, some songs play better away from the film, because they are incorporated into such bizarre sequences on-screen. That's one good reason why this album makes a good starting point for listeners interested in giving Hindi music a spin without any cinematic distractions getting in the way. Another is that the songs are actually a very diverse lot, which is rare for Bollywood, as most of their tunes tend to run together (a problem enhanced by the fact that the Indian film industry uses the same two or three singers to dub the songs for every movie). But far and away the number one reason to buy this record is that it contains one of the best Hindi songs to come along in recent memory, "I Am the Best." Sung in a mixture of Hindi and English (Hinglish?), this song is a hilarious pop number that at once celebrates and parodies modern Indian culture. Other good tracks include "Kuch to Bata," in which the film's hero desperately tries to get the phone number of the girl he lusts after, and the requisite love song, "Aur Kya." The latter song would tend to be the worst part of a Bollywood musical but, with its pretty tune and not too soppy lyrics, it's actually quite good (certainly better than the ballads cranked out by most American pop acts). And at only 33 minutes, this album is over so quickly, even if you don't dig it, you won't feel like your time has been wasted.

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