Sing sing, bling, bling sone ki jhappi Bappi
Singer-composer Bappi Lahiri is proud to be known as, (in his own words) "the gold chain man". Bappi immediately conjures up a certain kind of image of a person, "swathed in gold" says the composer on the phone who adds that gold is his "lucky charm."
He adds, “Many of the chains that I wear around my neck have Siddhivinayak, Ganpati, Krishna, Balaji charms and some are plain. I wear at least seven to eight gold chains every day.
I do not wear rings, that is not my style. I wear a thick, gold bracelet with ‘Bappi’ inscribed on it on my wrist. People think I wear so much gold because I am vain or want to show off but it is not what they think. I wear it because of luck and also because my chains have pendants of the divine on them.”
When told that gold jewellery has become synonymous with him, Bappi says proudly, “Gold is so lucky for me, it is a trademark, it is so famous, Bappi Lahiri, bling, bling Bappi Lahiri,” he almost croons on the phone.
The flamboyant composer explains, “I have created an image that singer-composers do not usually have. Actors have a certain image, but, few singers have an image they can be identified with. Elton John and Michael Jackson have an image, only a few performers can create this.”
Bappi says that at least 40 years ago, a movie called Zakhmee starring Sunil Dutt became a hit and in which his song Jalta hai jiya mera bheegi, bheegi raaton mein was a big draw too. “At that time, in 1974 my mom made me wear a gold chain with a Hare Krishna, Hare Rama pendant and that is how I realised that gold is lucky for me.”
In a fickle industry when you are the flavour of the month one moment and in the doghouse the next, Bappi stays loyal to gold. “No silver or diamonds for me,” he scoffs. Sometimes, his fans who he says, greet him here and even at airports like New York and London, may need sunglasses when they see him, but they will be unable to take the ones on Bappi’s nose. “I wear gold chains, gold bracelet and gold sunglasses -- even my shades are Louis Vuitton and they are gold plated, given to me by my son, Bappa,” signs off the singer, who believes gold puts everything else in the shade.