On the peak of his fame within the Nineteen Eighties, “the disco king of Bollywood”, Bappi Lahiri, who died this week, was composing almost 15 soundtracks a yr.
Born in Kolkata in 1952 to a musical household (his dad and mom had been classically skilled musicians and the playback singer Kishore Kumar was his uncle), Lahiri’s first soundtrack was for a 1973 film referred to as Nanha Shikari.
However Lahiri, additionally lovingly referred to as Bappi “Da” (Bengali for brother), is greatest recognized for his songwriting on the movie Disco Dancer (1982). The film broke all information and led to an unprecedented increase in disco music in India and disco-themed Bollywood motion pictures. His soundtrack helped the movie grow to be a worldwide success and to at the present time it stays the highest-grossing international film within the Soviet Union.
The rating targeted closely on synthesizers, drum machines, string stabs and playful, attractive vocals. The movie’s most well-known track, Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja – that includes the little recognized Indo-Trinidadian singer Parvati Khan – can nonetheless be heard on radio and adverts and was sampled by the British-Sri Lankan rapper MIA on her 2007 album, Kala.
Elsewhere on Disco Dancer, Nandu Bhende, vocalist of the underground psychedelic rock band Atomic Forest and Velvette Fogg, sang his first Bollywood quantity, Krishna Dharti Pe Aaja Too. The famend singer Usha Uthup guested on Auva Auva Koi Yahan Nache, a Hindi remake of Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles, whereas Bappi himself produced and sang Yaad Aa Raha Hai.
On the Namak Halaal (1982) soundtrack, Lahiri continued his digital and funk adventures. Its breakout monitor, the Donna Summer time-esque Jawani Jan-E-Man, which featured the actor Parveen Babi dancing and crooning to the voice of Asha Bhosle, grew to become one other seminal Bollywood anthem.
That very same yr, Lahiri additionally helped Runa Laila, a younger Bangladeshi singer who was recognized principally as a ghazal and film playback singer, create a brand new pop avatar as Superuna. The groundbreaking album fusing disco, reggae, funk and Hindi vocals was a industrial and inventive success.
Lahiri’s output was prolific and in 1986 he entered the Guinness Guide of World Information for recording greater than 180 songs for 33 movies. It’s no shock that, as the person whose soundtracks gave Indian cinema a youthful injection all through the 80s and 90s, Lahiri had a way of fashion as loud as his music: black shades, gold chains, gold rings, ornate jackets and jumpsuits.
With the rise of hip-hop and break-dance tradition within the latter half of the 80s, Lahiri took up the problem and experimented with electro sounds on I Am a Break Dancer (Pyaar Karke Dekho), Break Dance (Kahan Hai Kanoon) and I Am a Avenue Dancer (Ilzaam), amongst others. Mithun Chakraborty and Govinda, two mega-stars in Bollywood recognized for his or her dance strikes, grew to become synonymous with Bappi’s compositions and vice versa. Govinda wrote on Instagram after Lahiri’s demise that he wouldn’t have grow to be a star with out his music.
A favourite of the cult horror and gore administrators the Ramsay brothers, Bappi wrote scores for a lot of of their shoestring price range horror motion pictures together with Visitor Home, Dahshat, Maut Ka Saya, Dak Bangla and Saboot. Meri Jaan and He Met Me within the Visitor Home are prime examples of him acing the horror side with the assistance of eerie Moog sounds and echo results.
Though Lahiri is thought for his disco stylings, his repertoire and portfolio is just not restricted to it. He was lauded for his ghazal, classical and folks compositions as effectively. For 1984’s Kamla, a film primarily based on the theme of human trafficking and slavery, Bappi delivered delicate ambient compositions primarily based totally on Indian classical devices.
Bappi’s profession was not restricted to scoring Bollywood soundtracks. He additionally wrote music for a lot of Telugu, Tamil, Gujarati and Bengali motion pictures. He stayed true to his Bengali roots and would commonly launch Bangla albums that will break the obstacles of the style by fusing folks and funk. He launched his very younger daughter Rema Lahiri in 1987 with the album Dance Songs For Kids, which featured nursery rhymes with a synth-pop taste. The daddy-daughter duo launched one other album, Dance Social gathering (1990), with an identical theme. In 1988, Lahiri additionally discovered time to launch an Indian-flavored home monitor referred to as Habiba.
His work as a mainstream composer fizzled out within the early 2000s however he continued to be related in Indian common tradition owing to his look as a panelist on TV expertise reveals, amongst different visitor slots.
His demise comes because the Indian movie business faces the passing this month of the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, “the nightingale of Bollywood”. Lahiri had been near Lata since his childhood they usually labored on quite a few initiatives collectively. He described her as “not simply an icon, however a pillar of the Bollywood business”.
One in every of their collaborations, Thoda Resham Lagta Hai from the Jyoti soundtrack, was illegally sampled by Dr Dre on Addictive by the US R&B singer Reality Hurts. Lahiri was finally listed on the track’s credit after his document firm sued Common Music Group for greater than $500m.
Bappi Da handed away on 15 February 2022 in Mumbai attributable to a lung an infection attributable to obstructive sleep apnea and is survived by his spouse, two youngsters and grandchildren.
Nishant Mittal is a music collector who may be discovered @digginginindia, the place he celebrates Indian music’s extraordinary archives