Should be reading more and writing less, but well...
Listening to music from Dil Se now, and thinking of the best movie album that I have heard....the most important criterion is that all songs must be good. All of them. Overall listening satisfaction must be high. As Jatin said, I should be able to play Side A and Side B of the tape without any need to forward/rewind/stop. To be fair to Indian Movie culture, the album should have at least 5 songs.
Ok, without further ado, here are the contenders for the top 5 favorite albums of all time:
Dil Se - But for Satrangi Re, this would have been a clear winner. Also, could have had a theme song. But the overall effect is incredible. Rahman has elevated music to true bliss in those five other songs. Classy Urdu lyrics in Chaiyya Chaiyya, also an element of abandon that hits me each time I experience this song, great fusion stuff in Jiya Jale, the absolutely haunting Ae Ajnabi, and the I-cant-place-my-finger-on-it-but-something-about-this-song-captivates-me title song....
Aaradhana - Legend has it that R.D has as much to do with this as S.D. Either way, father and son have come up with this truly evergreen music album that every romantic swears by. Sapnon Ki Raani is my personal favorite, with great romance, loads of attitude, and the echoing train jingles in the background. The romantic Kora Kagaz Tha Yeh Man Mera, the peppy Gunguna Rahi Hai, the seductive Roop Tera Mastana, and the pathos-filled Saphal Hogi Teri Aaradhana....probably any music director's best rendering of his own song ever....
Geeta (Kannada) - This is one incredible composition by Ilayaraja. All songs are top notch. Except for maybe the antara sections of Kelade Nimageega where the tribal stuff starts. One classy album, this. The best use of drums in Indian music. Check out the title song....Boy!!
Khamoshi (New) - I might be a little biased toward this one as I heard this when I was in the throes of first love. But I still like it, I love it. Jaana Suno, Bahon Ke Darmian, Ae Dil Sunraha Hai - All of these take me back to the glorious days of second year pre-university.
Rangeela - None of the songs are exceptional, but all of them are great. For overall satisfaction (at least for me), its up there at the top. I remember having listened to this tape over and over again, maybe Kya Kahe Kya Na Kahe more times than the last one in Side B that was sung by Rahman. But overall, this one makes it to my top-5. Maybe I am biased, but I do love this one.
Very close next-level contenders are Guide, Abhimaan, Bombay, Roja, Kati Patang, Phir Teri Kahani Yaad Ayi, Aashiquie, Raaja Nanna Raaja (Kannada), Kavi Ratna Kalidasa (Kannada), Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, Dil To Pagal Hai, Safar, Jewel Thief, Amar Prem, and a few more...Of coruse, its just my list, and overall satisfaction was the main criterion. If individual songs were to be considered.....I would be literally out of words.