The man with the ‘golden’ voice

Amrita Prasad
Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ahead of his May 18 concert in the city, Bappi Lahiri talks about the appeal his music has even today, the Pune audience and more

Think of Bappi Lahiri, and an image of a man with thick gold necklaces and rings, jazzy clothes and a pair of black goggles flashes in your mind but there’s a lot more to Bappi Lahiri than this appearance. The man, who is known to popularise the disco dance in Hindi film industry, has managed to entertain his audience for years now. 

Affectionately called Bappi da, the singer-composer became a rage in the ’80s and ’90s with his music score for films like Wardaat, Disco Dancer, Namak Halaal, Dance Dance, Commando, Sailaab, Sharaabi and so on. But it’s amazing to see that even in 2018, the audience — young and old — loves to listen to his music whether in the original or recreated form. 

The composer-singer is set to perform in the city on May 18 at an event called ‘Bappi Lahiri Live Yaad Aa Raha Hai Tera Pyaar’ at Phoenix MarketCity, Viman Nagar. Talking about the concert, the 65-year-old artist, whose iconic numbers Tamma Tamma, Zubi Zubi Zubi,  were recreated recently for Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya, and Naam Shabana respectively, says, “I am very excited that I will be performing in Pune. Whenever I have performed here, the audience has been amazing. I want everyone from the city to be a part of this event and sing and dance with me — it is going to be like any other Bappi Lahiri programme where people have fun and return home with a smile on their faces. I’m so happy that they have showered me with so much love. For me, Maharashtra has been a land where I worked and earned a name for myself. I want to salute this land for making me who I am today. From Disco Dancer, to Oo La La, Tune Maari Entriyaan, Tamma Tamma to Raat Baki and the popular Marathi number Dokyala Taap Nahi, many of my popular numbers have ruled hearts for generations.”

In a career spanning five decades, Bappi da has scored music for over 500 films. He feels that though a lot has changed in the way songs were made in the past and are recorded now due to technological advancement, the love for music hasn’t really changed. “If you see, right from grandparents to parents and even youngsters, everyone enjoys the songs from the ’80s and ’90s which means that music is not confined to a particular age group. If it is something that the audience connects to, it will stay with them. Although, there has been a lot of transformation in the way we create and produce music, the love for my music and songs hasn’t changed much and the example is Tamma Tamma Again and Mera Dil Gaye Ja,” says Bappi da who was awarded by London’s World Book of Records for his contribution to global music through his song Jimmy Jimmy Aaja Aaja. The song, picturised on Mithun Chakraborty in Disco Dancer, has been translated into 45 different languages across the globe and has been a part of the original score of Adam Sandler’s You Don’t Mess with the Zohan. 

“When I began producing music, I started using synthesiser and disco-tech for the disco genre. Tamma Tamma from Thanedar was the first computerised recording done in Bollywood, and, today you see all the songs are recorded in a computerised way. What I created three decades ago, is relevant even in today’s era; my music was ahead of time,” he says.

Bappi da further adds that youngsters are his biggest fans as they have helped immortalise his songs. He feels that Mithun Chakraborty and he were a great combination. But today, he is happy that he is doing playback for younger actors like Varun Dhawan and Ranveer Singh too. “I’m a sangeetkar and my work is to make the audience believe that the voice is actually of the actor that they are seeing on screen,” he adds. 

If you thought it was only Bollywood that is enamoured of this musician, then it’s worth noting that apart from Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja Aaja which was used in the  film Don’t Mess With Zohan, Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Baba composed by Bappi da was used in Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. In Lion, the film which received six Oscar nominations at the 89th Academy Awards, they used his track Come Closer. Then his composition Kaliyon Ka Chaman was used in the album Addictive. Bappi da has also contributed a song with rapper M C Hammer in the film Will To Live. The composer has also sung Shona for the Disney film Moana for its Hindi version.” 

“It is because of YouTube that music is breaking geographical barriers — it is like a magic wand which makes music more accessible,” he reasons.

ST READER SERVICE
Watch Bappi Lahiri perform live at ‘Bappi Lahiri Live Yaad Aa Raha Hai’, Tera Pyaar at Phoenix MarketCity, Viman Nagar on May 18, from 7.30 pm onwards. Tickets available on www.bookmyshow.com

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