Bappi Lahiri : The Disco King of India

 

Bappi Lahiri

Bappi Lahiri

I am a disco dancer
I am a disco dancer
Zindagi Mera Gaana, Main Kisi Ka Dewaana
To Jhumo, To Naacho, Aa Mere Saath Naacho Gaao
I am a disco dancer
I am a disco dancer

He is the pioneer of the disco theme in India. Towards the early 1980s, Bappi Lahiri came with his new, refreshing and out of the box disco genre in Bollywood. His ‘I am A Disco Dancer’ for the movie ‘Disco Dancer’ starring Mithun Chakraborty in 1982 flew high above the chart busters and the song almost carried the identity of the entire film. With this song, it was evident that Bappi Lahiri had arrived.

He was born on 27th of November 1952 in Kolkata to Aparesh Lahiri and Bansari Lahiri. Both his parents were experienced singers and he was the only child to his parents.

Bappi Lahiri appeared in Mumbai in 1971. His first movie as a composer was the 1973 release ‘Nanha Shikari’. But his real success came with ‘Chalte Chalte’ in 1976. The song ‘Chalte Chalte Mere Yeh Geet Yaad Rakhna, Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna’ by Kishore Kumar went on to top the charts that year.

Bappi Lahiri with Kishore Kumar

Bappi Lahiri with Kishore Kumar

In 1981, he composed another stupendous disco number ‘Ramba Ho Samba Ho’ for the movie ‘Armaan’. Rendered by Usha Utthup, the song became almost a rage among the listeners.

Mithun Chakraborty in 'I am a disco dancer'

Mithun Chakraborty in ‘I am a disco dancer’

In 1982, his music for ‘Disco Dancer’ and preferably the two songs ‘I Am A Disco Dancer’ and ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ created such a everlasting craze that it did spread to the far away nations of China and Russia. Bappi Lahiri happened to be the first Indian composer to win the China Gold Award for ‘Disco Dancer.. Even Russia embraced his music with open arms. During the 1980s, the on screen persona of Mithun Chakraborty and the disco theme of Bappi Lahiri became almost synonymous.

‘Ke Pag Ghungroo Baandhe Meera Naachi Thi, Aur Hum Naache Bin Ghungroo Ke, Ke Pag Ghungroo Baandhe Meera Naachi Thi’

- ‘Ke Pag Ghungroo’ from Prakash Mehra’s 1982 release ‘Namak Halal’ had a little bit of classical touch which was quite irregular to come from Bappi Lahiri. But the song turned heads due to the mellifluous rendition by Kishore Kumar and the long stretched play time of the song. It goes on to play for almost 12 minutes without boring the audience even for once. This musical piece is a happening example entertainment, fun, rhythm and beat, all mixed together.

Amitabh Bachchan in 'Ke Pag Ghungroo' from 'Namak Halaal

Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Ke Pag Ghungroo’ from ‘Namak Halaal

‘Jawani Janeman’, ‘Raat Baaki Baat Baaki’, ‘Aaj Rapat Jaaye To Humein Na’, ‘Thodi Si Jo Peeli Hai’, all were smashing hits at the charts from the same movie. Almost all the songs from this soundtrack has been remixed many times in the modern days and the tunes still rock the audiences with their charm.

‘Inteha Ho Gayi Intezaar Ki, Aayi Na Kuch Khabar, Mere Yaar Ki’

- The trademark song by Kishore Kumar from ‘Sharaabi’ was also composed by Bappi Lahiri. The song became such a huge success that it still remains to be one of the signature tunes among the current generation audiences. ‘De De Pyar De’, ‘Manzile Apni Jagah, Raaste Apni Jagah’ are another two extremely popular tracks from the movie. He received the Filmfare Award for Best Music Direction in 1984 for ‘Sharaabi’.

Amitabh Bachchan in 'Inteha Ho Gayi Intezaar Ki' from 'Sharaabi'

Amitabh Bachchan in ‘Inteha Ho Gayi Intezaar Ki’ from ‘Sharaabi’

Bappi Lahiri shared a very close rapport with Kishore Kumar. Their association remained intact until Kishore Kumar’s death. It is said that it was Kishore Kumar who influenced and inspired Bappi Lahiri to playback songs. Their association gave birth to evergreen songs like ‘Pag Ghungroo’, ‘Inteha Ho Gayi’, ‘Mazile Apni Jagah’, ‘Aaj Rapat Jaaye’.

Bappi Lahiri with Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

Bappi Lahiri with Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar

‘I am a street dancer’ by Amit Kumar for the movie ‘Ilzaam’ in 1986 was another disco theme by Bappi Lahiri that became immensely popular. The song gave birth to the dancing Govinda in Bollywood and still remains to be an evergreen number.

Bappi Lahiri with Vishal-Shekhar and Shreya Ghoshal

Bappi Lahiri with Vishal-Shekhar and Shreya Ghoshal

Bappi Lahiri’s magic started fading from Bollywood towards the end of 1990s. But he never vanished from the musical arena. He kept on proving his presence after long intervals and made headlines everytime when he came back with a bang. He composed for ‘Maine Gandhi Ko Nahi Maara’ in 2005. He rendered the famous song ‘Shola Hai Ya Hai Bijuriya Dil Ki Bajariya Bambai Nagariya’ for Vishal-Shekhar for the movie ‘Taxi No. 9211′ in 2006.

Bappi Lahiri and Shreya Ghoshal

Bappi Lahiri and Shreya Ghoshal

In 2006, he also did playback for A. R. Rahman for Mani Ratnam’s ‘Guru’. The song ‘Ek Lo Ek Muft’ from ‘Guru’ was a duet of Bappi Lahiri and Chitra. He was back with his ever-so-loved ‘Disco Dancer’ again in Golmaal 3 in 2010. The most surprising hit that came from Bappi Lahiri was ‘Oo Lala Oo Lala, Tu Hai Meri Fantasy’ from ‘Dirty Picture’ in 2011. ‘Oo Lala’ was again a collaborative result of Vishal Shekhar’s music and Bappi Lahiri’s rendition along with Shreya Ghoshal. The song with a retro feel immediately did hit the charts and became a massive success throughout.

‘Kaliyon Ka Chaman Tab Banta Hai, Thoda Resham Lagta Hai, Ho Thoda Sheesha Lagta Hai, Heere Moti Jadte Hain, Thoda Sona Lagta Hai’

Bappi Lahiri has been alleged with the blame of plagiarism a lot of times. But in 2002, similar tune of the song ‘Kaliyo Ka Chaman’ (originally composed for the movie ‘Jyoti’ in 1981) was found in an American album ‘Addictive’ by ‘Truth Hurts’. A copyright infringement case was filed against the album by Sa Re Ga Ma and Universal Music Group. The US court of Los Angeles barred any further sales of the album until Bappi Lahiri was listed as the original composer of the tune in the credits.

Bappi Lahiri with Anu Malik

Bappi Lahiri with Anu Malik

His ‘Zooby Zooby’ from the film ‘Dance Dance’, ‘Come Closer’ from ‘Kasam Paida Karne Waale Ki’, ‘I am a disco dancer’ from ‘Disco Dancer’ has influenced a lot of foreign musicians over the years which includes America’s Showbiz and A. G., Dabrye, Albert Johnson (Prodigy), Duval Clear (Masta Ace), Russia’s Ruki Vvreh and even France’s Arnaud Bernard (Onra).

His song ‘Jimmy Jimmy’ from ‘Disco Dancer’ was featured in the famous Hollywood flick ‘You Don’t Mess With The Zohan’ starring Adam Sandler in 2008. Lahiri was listed in the credits as the original composer of the song as well.

In 1989, he was invited at London for a live performance at BBC, marking him as the only Indian music director to get the opportunity. In 1986, his name was included in the Guinness Book Of World Records for composing 180 songs for almost 33 films in one single year, making him the only composer in the world to achieve that. The record still remains to be unbroken till date. He also remains to be the only composer who was invited by Michael Jackson to his concert in Mumbai in 1996.

Bappi Lahiri1

Not only as a music director but also as a singer, Bappi Lahiri has successfully pulled in audiences towards his music from different parts of the world. He has more than 10 albums on his credit and almost 500 films in different languages. In 1994, he founded his own music label company BL Music. In 1997, his wife produced the Bengali movie ‘Lal Darja’ which won the National Award for being the Best Feature Film Of India that year. Directed by Buddhadev Dasgupta, the film received tremendous national and international appreciation.

He judged television reality shows including Zee Tv’s Sa Re Ga Ma Pa and Sony Entertainment Television’s K for Kishore. In 2011, he launched his album ‘Walking On The Love Street’. The album features American Idol participant Shaun Barrows and the album rules the US chart for a long time.

Bappi Lahiri at Indian Idol Junior

Bappi Lahiri at Indian Idol Junior

‘Gunday’ – The most waited film from the Yash Raj Productions starring Ranveer Singh and Priyanka Chopra also is supposed to have a song rendered by Bappi Lahiri. The song is a cabaret number with the touch of jazz and composer Sohail Sen chose Bappi Lahiri to render the song. The film is scheduled to get released in February, 2014.

While Bappi Lahiri continues to give tremendous hits trough his compositions and renditions, it is undeniable that he is truly ‘The Disco King of India’.

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