Bappi Lahiri just can't stop beaming. And it's not without a reason. His latest Bollywood number Ooh La La is on everyone's lip; Walking On Love Street, his international project (a jazz album) has made it to the top ten on US charts; and he's just completed 40 years in Bollywood. "I owe all of this to my fans, and to the grace of God," says a humbled Bappida. Amidst a zillion congratulatory calls, he speaks to CS about his latest golden phase:
Who: Bappi Lahiri
What: Talks about his latest hit number belonging to the 80s era
Where: At his residence
Back in the 80s, I had rendered numbers like Bambai Se Aaya Mere Dost, Samandar Mein Nahake, Raat Baaki, which were quite naughty. So, when Vishal- Shekhar came to me and said that they were composing for a film set in that era, I could identify with their requirements. I learnt to bring the naughty element in a song from my mama (maternal uncle) Kishore Kumar. He had sung the number Ek Aankh Maroon for Jeetendra in Tohfa, which was full of fun and masti. Other naughty songs I've enjoyed singing are Mumbai Nagariya and Ji Le Le from Tarzan. They're melodious and the lyrics are easily understood by one and all. Even my three-year-old grandson, Swastik sings Ooh La La (laughs out loud).
For my better half
I had a dream that my songs would feature in London and Billboard (American) chartbusters. My song Habiba did that in 1989 when it came on UK's top ten. This latest American project has completed my dream. It is a special dedication to my wife Chitrani, who has been my biggest support and lucky mascot as well. When I turned a film producer and made my first Bengali film in 1997, Lal Darja, under her banner, it fetched me a Golden Lotus award. Her presence is my life is like magic. She loves music, however she favours the melodious numbers. Amongst my songs, her favourites are Imtihaan Ho Gayee (Sharabi), Pyaar Chahiye Mujhe Jeene Ke Liye (Manokamna) and Chalte Chalte.
I came to Mumbai when I was 19-years-old, and have been working since then. I feel my biggest achievement has been to sing for generations of actors, father-son jodis like Dev Anand-Sunil Anand, Amitabh-Abhishek, Dharmendra-Sunny, Mithun-Mimoh and with my latest film, Jeetendra and Tusshar. In fact, it is my 465th film. Can you believe that? My only desire is to keep on working, and make good music like my idols Kishore Kumar and Elvis Presley.