INDIA: The legendary singer-composer “Bappi Lahiri” died due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea around Tuesday midnight in a Hospital at Juhu in northwest Mumbai. He was 69 and survived by his wife Chitrani and two children, Bappa and Rema Lahiri. The last rites of Bappi Lahiri will be performed on Thursday.
Dr. Deepak Namjoshi, Director of the Criticare hospital where he was admitted, said that Obstructive sleep apnea is a breathing disorder. It happens when a person’s breathing repeatedly starts and stops during sleep. Bappi Lahiri was in the hospital for almost a month. However, he was readmitted to the hospital again on Monday night. He had survived from Covid last year.
His relatives include singer Kishore Kumar, his maternal uncle. Initially, he was trained by his parents. He was last seen in Bigg Boss 15 with Salman Khan. His last Bollywood song titled Bhankas was for the 2020 film ‘Baaghi.’
The iconic voice that brought disco flavors into the music industry gave many hit songs to Bollywood, and from the lot, the most popular one is ‘I am Disco Dancer.’ The singer cum composer worked with generations and remained one of the favorites.
After learning the basics of classical music from his parents, Bappi Lahiri went to Mumbai when he was very young (19 years old) when he started making music in the industry. It was under the influence of the melodies from RD Burman, Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and Kalyanji-Anandji. among others.
Born on November 27, 1952, in Kolkata, Alokesh Lahiri (Bappi Lahiri) began to play tabla at 3. His music came from his parents, who listened to Bengali singers Aparesh Lahiri and Bansuri Lahiri in Jalpaiguri in West Bengal, and Kishore Kumar.
He started his career with compositions for the Bengali film Daadu, but his Bollywood debut came two years with the Hindi film Nanha Shikari (1973) starring actors Deb Mukherjee and Tanuja. The film didn’t do too well on the musical charts. After a few unsuccessful attempts, Bappi Lahiri finally struck gold with three hit films in three years – Zakhmee, Chalte Chalte, and Aapki Khatir.
While the song ‘Aao tumhe chand pe le jaayen’ (Zakhmee) sung by Lata Mangeshkar was noticed, it was Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar’s ‘Jalta hai jiya mera’ that had the nation swinging to it. Then came ‘Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, the title song for “Chalte Chalte” that became the farewell song for years to come, followed by the fun ‘Bambai se aaya mera dost.
In the 80s, besides the chart-busting hits of Disco Dancer (1982), there was Namak Halal (1982), Himmatwala (1983), and Sharaabi (1983). Much of Amitabh Bachchan’s film success in the 80s can also be credited to Lahiri and his unique songs such as ‘De de Pyaar de’ and ‘Ke pag ghunghroo baandh’ (Namak Halaal).
Then, ‘ Kaliyon ka Chaman (Jyoti, 1981), the Lata Mangeshkar song, became more famous as a remix in the 2000s. Lahiri’s range also extended to ghazals, a genre that rose to popularity in the 80s in India. His composition ‘Kisi Nazar ko’ (Aitbaar, 1985) is still celebrated as one of the finest film ghazals.
Lahiri also enjoyed singing and often sang for himself and other composers. ‘Yaar Bina chain’ (Saaheb) remains one of his most popular ones, apart from ‘Ooh la la’ (The Dirty Picture) and ‘Bambai nagariya’ (Taxi no 9211), both of whom were composed by composer duo Vishal-Shekhar.
Lahiri won Filmfare Awards in 1985(Sharaabi) and 2018 (lifetime achievement award) and Mirchi Music Award in 2018 (Lifetime achievement award).
Lahiri was usually studded with gold chains and was also described as a “golden man” by his colleagues. He was also an avid devotee of Lord Ganesha and regularly visited Siddhi Vinayak temple in Mumbai.
On Wednesday, soon after the news of his demise broke out, several Bollywood personalities, including Ila Arun, Sadhana Sargam, Talat Aziz, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, and Mausami Chatterjee, reached his residence and offered condolences.
Speaking to the Transcontinental Times, the playback singer Kumar Sanu who has worked extensively with the legendary singer-composer, said that Bappi da was a music director who never taught the song to me. He would sing it and tell me, “Abhi tug ga” He used to make it so easy for the singers. He used to give singers space to experiment and be creative. The world is going to miss a lot. Bappi da was a good human being. He had a big heart. Disco King Bappi Lahri’s sudden demise has left a void in the Indian music industry that can never be filled.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to the late music composer-singer. He tweeted, “Shri Bappi Lahiri Ji’s music was all-encompassing, beautifully expressing diverse emotions. People across generations could relate to his works. Everyone will miss his lively nature. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.”. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Ajay Devgan, Anupam Kher took to Twitter to condole his death.