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by Various Artists
Dil Se by Various Artists
Released: Jan 1999
Label: Venus
A.R. Rahman finally seized control of Bollywood's bloated and complacent music scene with his 1998 soundtrack for Dil Se. The film, though beautifully shot and starring heartthrob Shahrukh Khan, was never terribly popular: it dealt with unsavory (and un-Bollywood) topics like rape, suicide bombers and civil unrest. The music both reflected this seriousness and freed itself of it. Rahman's spare, bass-heavy arrangements added gravitas, but "Chaiyya Chaiyya" was a barnstorming global dance hit all the same. Nobody in India had heard anything quite like it, and to their credit, everybody loved it.
Sarah Bardeen
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