India’s jewellery obsessed disco king Bappi Lahiri passes away

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Saisaranyya Menon
Saisaranyya Menon
Saisharanya Menon is an intern at Frontier India. She religiously follows entertainment and lifestyle news and journalism in these beats are her interest.

Bappi Lahiri, a veteran singer and composer, drew his last breath today. The news agency PTI confirmed his death, writing, “Singer-composer Bappi Lahiri dies in Mumbai hospital, says the doctor.” He was 69 years old. 

Dr Deepak Namjoshi, director of the CritiCare Hospital hospital, told the news agency that Lahiri had been admitted to the hospital for a month and was discharged on Monday. His health deteriorated on Tuesday and his family called for a doctor to visit their home. Later he was brought to the hospital. Lahri suffered multiple health issues. He died due to OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) shortly before midnight.

Following the news of Bappi Da’s death, several fans took to social media to pay their respects to the legendary singer. Ashoke Pandit, a filmmaker, also took to Twitter to express his shock at the news. “I was shocked to learn of the death of rockstar #BappiLahiri ji.” I can’t believe my next-door neighbour is no longer alive.

“Your music will live on in our hearts forever,” he wrote. 

In April of last year, the veteran singer was admitted to the hospital after testing positive for coronavirus. Bappi Da, on the other hand, was soon released. “Despite all precautions, Mr Bappi Lahiri has tested positive for Covid 19.” He is receiving excellent care at the Breach Candy Hospital. “Bappi dada’s family requests that all those who have come into contact with him in the recent past get tested as a precautionary measure,” his spokesperson said at the time.

Bappi Lahiri is one of the singers who popularised disco in India. Among his many hits were Chalte Chalte, Disco Dancer, Tune Maari Entriyaan, Asalam-e-Ishqum, and Sharaabi. Bappi Da’s most recent Bollywood song, Bhankas, was featured in Tiger Shroff and Shraddha Kapoor’s 2020 film Baaghi 3. 

Lahiri worked with singers of all generations, including Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Vijay Benedict, Sharon Prabhakar, Alisha Chinai, and Usha Uthup, continued to work in the 1990s, providing music for Prakash Mehra’s Dalal.

In Indian cinema, Lahiri popularised synthesised disco music and even sang some of his compositions. Wardat, Disco Dancer, Namak Halaal, Dance Dance, Commando, Saheb, Gang Leader, Sailaab, and Sharaabi were among the musical blockbusters of the 1980s and 1990s. 

He began playing the tabla at the age of three. He was initially trained by his parents, both musicians, before receiving his first opportunity to score music in a Bengali film, Daadu (1972). Nanha Shikari (1973) was the first Hindi film for which he composed music. Lahiri made his mark in Bollywood with Tahir Husain’s Zakhmee (1975), in which he composed music and doubled as a playback singer.

Lahiri was known for recreating and sometimes even sampling popular sounds from the foreign market for his soundtracks, which were known to be fast and dance-worthy. Though he is best known for his disco-style songs, he has also contributed to softer soundtracks in Bollywood, including songs from Chalte Chalte and Zakhmee. 

Parts of Lahiri’s song “Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” were included in American R&B (rhythm and blues) singer Truth Hurts’ 2002 song “Addictive.” Following this, copyright holders Saregama India, Ltd. filed a $500 million lawsuit against Interscope Records and Universal Music Group’s parent company. A federal judge in Los Angeles later barred further sales of the CD unless and until Lahiri’s name was included in the song’s credits.

Lahiri has worked with singers of all generations, including Kishore Kumar, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Vijay Benedict, Asha Bhosle, Sharon Prabhakar, Alisha Chinai, and Usha Uthup. He continued to work in the 1990s, providing music for the Prakash Mehra-produced film Dalal, starring Mithun Chakraborty.

His songs were composed for movies such as Sharaabi, Himmatwala, Adventures of Tarzan, Commando, Satyamev Jayate, Aaj Ke Shahenshah, Thanedaar, Numbri Aadmi and Shola Aur Shabnam, among others. The singer-composer scored his first big Bollywood hit in the movie Zakhmee by Aamir Khan’s father Tahir Hussain.

Obsession with ornaments

Bappi da wore heavy jewellery on hands and neck. In the year 2014, he had submitted a claim in the Lok Sabha elections in which he disclosed he had 754 grams of gold and 4.62 kg of silver. But his wife has more jewellery than him as per his admission. 

Bappi Lahiri had once told an interviewer, that Elvis Presley used to wear gold chains in Hollywood, whom he adored. Lahri used to think that when he will be successful in future, he will celebrate his different image. Later when he became successful, he began wearing gold ornaments. “Gold is lucky for me,” he told the reporter. 


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