Kalyanji Virji Shah and his brother Anandji - collectively known as Kalyanji Anandji - were two of the most unlikely Bollywood composers you could imagine. Relaxed and laid-back in person, their music was vital and exuberant. From scoring some of Hindi cinema's most iconic soundtracks, to a string of 'exploitation' movies in the 70s where a crazed psychedelia mixed with jazz, funk and wah-wah guitars, they always made their own unique mark.
Their story began in 1954 when older brother, Kalyanji, imported one of the first claviolins - in some ways an early version of a synthesiser - into India and managed to play it on the soundtrack of hit movie 'Nagin' (snake). There it imitated the sound of a snake-charmer's been and gave Kalyanji entry to other commissions. After a brief period composing alone he was joined by younger-brother Anandji and they very quickly established themselves as the ones to watch. In 1970 they composed music for 8 films - all of them hits.
Today their work has been sampled or remixed with worldwide success by artists as diverse as the Black Eyed Peas, Bally Sagoo or cult DJ, Dan The Automator. In fact, the Black Eyed Peas used not just one, but two Kalyanji Anandji tracks ("Aye Naujawan Sab Kuchh Yahan" and "Yeh Mera Dil Yaar Ka Diwana" both included here) for their single: "Don't Phunk With My Heart" which went on to win a Grammy in 2006. Dan the Automator was even more blatant, simply stringing together a bunch of Kalyanji Anandji tracks, twiddling a few knobs and then claiming the credit.
These 2CDs contain the originals, they tell the story and reveal the manic creativity of Kalyanji Anandji: two true Bollywood brothers.
Also contains comprehensive liner notes that give full background and context to the music, people and times.
Having brought us an extraordinary disc of the music of Ananda Shankar, Saregama have once again delved into the archives to unearth some more splendid 1970s kitsch. Four figures dominated the Bollywood of the early 70s: the great music directors Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal; and the two brothers Anandji and Kalyanji Virji Shah. Their joyous and unashamed eclecticism plundered scores from blaxploitation movies such as Shaft as well as Latin jazz and the spaghetti westerns of Ennio Morricone. It was all topped off with the well-established Bollywood vocal style to produce some of the most wonderfully brash and exuberant songs ever written. All their greatest hits are here, including Kalyanji's amazing early use of electronic keyboard on `Been Music', from the 1954 film Nagin. Performed by a star list of singers, including Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle and Mohammad Rafi, the songs are truly evocative of their time, and for lovers of Bollywood there are some real treats here. Among the very best are Mukesh singing `Dum Dum Diga Diga' and Lata in full flight on `Yeh Sama, Sama Hai Yeh Pyar Ka'. Perhaps best of all, however, are two from Asha Bhosle: `Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' and the improbable but incomparable `Oh Mr Jolly, Mera Naam Hai Miss Dolly'.
Maria Lord -- Songlines magazine, June 2008 issue (#52)