Dancing to the beats of Yaar Bina Chain Kaha Re, singing to the tune of Yaad Aa Raha Hain, both the young and the old could strike a chord with his electrifying voice. A dazzling performer who reinvented himself and his music with changing times. A trendsetter with love for glittering gold jewels, getting himself the title of the ‘The Gold Standard of Music’. A singer and performer who lit up the stage with his magnificent presence. Youthful in spirit and wild at heart. His melody and tracks will continue to thrive on Indian dance floors generation after generation. Bappi da struck a chord in every heart with peppy and heartfelt music. As we bid adieu to an unforgettable star who has left a gaping hole in the music industry, it’s time to celebrate our Disco King and imbibe the lessons from the life of this larger-than-life musician.
Seeds of love for music sowed deep
Bappi Lahiri was nurtured in an environment of music. Both his parents were passionate singers. His father, Aparesh Lahiri was a renowned Bengali singer, and his mother, Bansari Lahiri was a musician and singer who was well versed in classical music and Shyama Sangeet. Bappi Lahiri was the only child of his parents. He was the centre of attention and infinite love was bestowed upon him from everyone in the family. His strong grasp on music during his formative years built for a recipe of success in the music industry. At an early age, Bappi Lahiri dreamed big and had the ambition to earn a good name for his craft. At the age of 3 he showed brilliance in playing the tabla
He married Chitrani who also belonged to a family of singers and had two children with her. Like Bappi da, his children were also intrigued with music. His daughter is an exemplary singer and his son inherited a keen sense of music. He later joined the Hindi film industry as a music director.
His taste in clothing and jewellery attracted paparazzi. He wore glitzy gold chains and uber chic dark shades that made him camera friendly. Even when people commented on his fascination with gold, criticised his appearance and sometimes mocked him, he held his head high and stated that gold is good fortune for him. Once, he shared an anecdote about his mother giving him a gold pendant as a symbol of protection. Thus, gold was a style statement and held sentimental value for the late musician.
Bappi da embarked on his professional journey of music at the age of 19. He is fondly remembered as a pioneer of disco music and is also referred to as the Disco King. His vibrant, enthusiastic, and rhythmic music led the entire nation to groove and sing. He received his first opportunity in a Bengali film, Daddy (1972) and the first Hindi film for which he composed music was Nanha Shikar (1973). The film which strengthened his hold in the industry was Tahir Husain’s Hindi film, Zakhmee (1975), for which he ardently composed music and sang as a playback singer. Once he proved his worth, there was no looking back for the Disco King who went on to earn accolades for his work. Bappi da further rose to fame and fortune with films like Chalte Chalte and Surakshaa, making him the youngest music director to have attained inspirational success within a short career span.
Bappi da went on to sing with legendary singers of the Hindi music industry
A true artist never leaves anything to chance and always prepares and practises to hone his art. Bappi da reinvented his style of singing with the changing times. He sang with renowned singers like Mohammad Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. At the same time, he did his bit by launching talents like Vijay Benedict and Sharon Prabhakar. He lent his soulful voice to another composer for the first time with the song ‘Bombay Nagariya’ in 2006 which was an instant hit. Mani Ratnam’s soundtrack of the hit movie Guru was uplifted by Bappi da’s soulful voice.
His love for music took another form when he made his presence felt in talent shows like Sa Re Ga Ma, Sa Re Ga Ma Little Champs on Zee TV as co-judge with singers Alka Yagnik and Abhijeet. He was one of the most celebrated judges who gained immense popularity due to his moving remarks and encouraging dialogue to talent young and old.
In 2016, he walked an extra mile by voicing the character of Tamatoa in the Hindi dubbed version of Disney’s animated fantasy adventure blockbuster Moana. Bappi bagged the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award at the 63rd Filmfare Awards. He transcended borders, as he strived to make history with his album ‘My Love’. His voice over of Moana’s songs in Moana grabbed eyeballs in Hollywood.
Chalte Chalte Mera Yeh Geet Yaad Rakhna
As the nation mourns the loss of India’s nightingale – Lata Mangeshkar, Bappi da’s sudden demise continues the ongoing spell of darkness in the music industry, casting a cloud of unexplainable grief over countless fans. He touched a billion hearts with the voice of his music. We will continue to remember the legendary Bappi Lahiri with his vast literature of work. He will forever live in our hearts.