Bappi Lahiri composed a variety of songs during the 1970s but it was his dance numbers of the disco genre that gave him an edge in Hindi films. The disco wave that reached its peak in the 1980s with Disco Dancer started in the late 1970s as Bappi found inspiration for the same during one of his US trips.
In a chat with Salim Merchant and Vishal-Shekhar on the musical reality show Times of Music, Bappi Lahiri was asked about the title of ‘King of Pop’ that had been given to him by Indian fans. Bappi recalled his initial introduction with disco in the chat.
There is a story behind this. I had visited the US for the first time and was in a club in Chicago. There were no DJs at the time but there was a man who was playing records in the club. The song ‘Stayin Alive’ from Saturday Night Fever was playing,” Bappi Da recalled.
About Bappi Lahiri
Alokesh Lahiri (27 November 1952 – 15 February 2022), popularly known as Bappi Lahiri, was an Indian singer, composer, politician and record producer. He popularised the use of synthesised disco music in Indian cinema and sang some of his own compositions. He had delivered major box office successes in Bengali films like Amar Sangee, Asha O Bhalobasha, Aamar Tumi, Amar Prem, Mandira, Badnam, Raktelekha, Priya and so on. He was popular in the 1980s and 1990s with filmi soundtracks such as Wardat, Disco Dancer, Namak Halaal, Sharaabi, Naukar Biwi Ka, Naya Kadam, Masterji, Bewafai, Maqsad, Suraag, Insaaf Main Karoongaa, Dance Dance, Commando, Saaheb, Adhikar, Aaj Ka M.L.A. Ram Avtar. Bappi Lahiri joined BJP in 2014. He was declared a BJP candidate from Sreerampur (Lok Sabha constituency) in West Bengal for the 2014 Indian general election and lost.
Bappi Lahiri was born into a Bengali Brahmin family in Jalpaiguri. His parents, Aparesh Lahiri and Bansuri Lahiri, both were Bengali singers and musicians in classical music and Shyama Sangeet. He was their only child.
Bappi Lahiri began to play tabla at the age of 3. Initially, he was trained by his parents.
Bappi Lahiri has left behind two children, a son Bappa Lahiri and a daughter Rema Lahiri. His son is married to Taneesha Lahiri with whom he has a son Krishh Lahiri.
Apart from his popular disco-electronic music, Bappi Lahiri was also known for his signature look of his sartorial style that consisted gold chains, golden embellishments, velvety cardigans and sunglasses.
Though he was known for disco-style songs where he brought orchestration and fusion of Indian music with international sounds and youthful upbeat rhythms. Although most of his songs were written for discotheques and dance numbers, yet to his credits, there are several melodious songs as well from a list of movies like Chalte Chalte and Zakhmee.Lahiri (in right), with Babbar Subhash and Parvati Khan during the record of “Jimmy Jimmy” for Disco Dancer (1981).
Bappi Lahiri was popular in the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s for the film soundtracks composed by him from films such as Naya Kadam, Aangan Ki Kali, Wardat, Disco Dancer, Hathkadi, Namak Halaal, Masterji, Dance Dance, Himmatwala, Justice Chaudhury, Tohfa, Maqsad, Commando, Naukar Biwi Ka, Adhikar and Sharaabi. He came to Mumbai when he was 19. He received his first opportunity in a Cinema of West Bengal, Daadu (1974) where he made Lata Mangeshkar sing his composition. The first Hindi film for which he composed music was Nanha Shikari (1973) and his first Hindi composition was Tu Hi Mera Chanda sung sung by Mukesh. The turning point of his career was Tahir Husain’s Hindi film, Zakhmee (1975), for which he composed music and doubled as a playback singer. He composed a duet with Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi named “Nothing Is Impossible”, for the same film. His compositions Jalta Hai Jiya Mera (Kishore Asha duet) and Lata Mangeshkar solos like Abhi Abhi Thi Dushmani and Aao Tumhe Chand from the same film became popular and gave him recognition. The duet Phir Janam Lenge Hum sung by Kishore Lata became famous from the film Phir Janam Lengey Hum. All songs from the film Chalte Chalte (1976), became hits, thus bringing him recognition as a music director at national level.He sang duet with Sulakshana Pandit named Jana Kahan Hai which gave him recognition as singer. Songs from the films like Aap Ki Khatir, Dil Se Mile Dil, Patita,Lahu Ke Do Rang, Hatya and Ravikant Nagaichs Surakksha 1979 had soft music.Lahiri in August 2017
He also composed music for some ghazals, namely “Kisi Nazar Ko Tera Intezaar Aaj Bhi Hai” and “Aawaz Di Hai” for the 1985 film Aitbaar. He also composed melodious songs sung by Kishore Kumar either as duets with Asha Bhosle or Lata Mangeshkar in the films starring Rajesh Khanna in the 80’s in hit films like Naya Kadam, Masterji, Aaj Ka M.L.A Ram Avatar, Bewafai, Maqsad, Suraag, Insaaf Main Karoonga and Adhikar. After success of the film Himmatwala, Bappi regularly composed duets sung by Kishore Kumar for films starring Jeetendra like in Justice Chowdhry, Jaani Dost, Mawali, Haisiyat, Tohfa, Balidaan, Qaidi, Hoshiyaar,Sinhasan, Suhaagan, Majaal, Tamasha, Sone Pe Suhaga and Dharm Adhikari.Bappi Lahiri made a record by composing for 12 super-hit silver jubilee movies starring Jetendra as the lead hero in the period 1983-1985. He entered the Guinness Book of World Records for recording over 180 songs for 33 films in 1986.
Portions of Lahiri’s song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” were included in the 2002 song “Addictive” by American R&B singer Truth Hurts. Copyright holders Saregama India, Ltd. sued Interscope Records and its parent company, Universal Music Group for more than $500 million. A Los Angeles federal judge subsequently barred further sales of the CD unless and until Lahiri was listed on the song’s credits.Lahiri performing live on stage in Littleton, Massachusetts, 2012
In late 2016, Lahiri voiced the character of Tamatoa in the Hindi-dubbed version of Disney‘s 3D computer-animated fantasy adventure film Moana; he also composed and sang “Shona” (Gold), the Hindi version of “Shiny”. This was his first time dubbing for an animated character, and he also appeared in Ramratan song “Yeh Hai Dance Bar”