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Singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, who popularised disco music in India in the 80s and 90s, passed away following multiple health issues, a doctor treating him said on Wednesday. He was 69. Lahiri breathed his last on Tuesday night at the CritiCare Hospital in Juhu.
"Lahiri had been admitted to the hospital for a month and was discharged on Monday. But his health deteriorated on Tuesday and his family called for a doctor to visit their home. He was brought to the hospital. He had multiple health issues. He died due to OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) shortly before midnight," Dr Deepak Namjoshi, director of the hospital, told PTI.
Bappi Lahiri popularised the use of synthesized disco music in Indian cinema and sang many of his own compositions. He delivered major box office successes in Bengali films such as Amar Sangee, Asha O Bhalobasha, Aamar Tumi, Amar Prem, Mandira, Badnam, Raktelekha and Priya.
Bappi Lahiri, a familiar figure to many with his trademark gold chains that he wore for luck and his stylish sunglasses, was well known for his songs in several films of the late 70s-80s. He was popular in the 1980s and 1990s with filmi soundtracks for movies such as 'Wardat', 'Disco Dancer', 'Namak Halaal', 'Sharaabi', 'Dance Dance', 'Commando', 'Saaheb', 'Gang Leader', 'Sailaab'. His last Bollywood song was 'Bhankas' for the 2020 film "Baaghi 3".
In 2021, Bappi Lahiri’s Juhu home was bedecked for Christmas. The veteran singer-composer and grandson Swastik Bansal aka Rego B, a budding singer, celebrated the Christmas festival by belting out Yuletide carols. The 'golden Christmas celebration' was a huge family affair last year. Bappi Lahiri and grandson Swastik Bansal.
In an interview with mid-day.com, Bappi Da's grandson Rego B, who shared a warm relationship with his grandfather, said, " Grandpa is my idol, I learnt music from him. I’m honoured to have him as my grandfather and express gratitude to come from a musical family. At the age of two, I started singing shlokas. When I was five years old, I learnt western classical music. I’m currently learning from Rock School, London, my mom Reema Lahiri and Shameer sir. I make it a point to rehearse every day."
Bappi Lahiri tested positive for Covid-19 earlier in 2021, but the singer-composer recovered and got back into the groove within a few weeks. Rumours were rife that Bappi Da had allegedly lost his voice due to ill-health, but he proved shut down these rumours with his collaboration with Rituparna Sengupta for 'Durga Puja' in October 2021.
In an interview with mid-day, Bappi Lahiri cleared the air by stating, “I am familiar with Ritu’s work and voice. When I had this idea of [creating a song for] Durga Puja, Ritu was the first person who came to my mind. I thought, who could pull it off better than Ritu? We share the same sentiments for folk songs and the festival.”
Did you know Bappi Da made a cameo in the popular television show 'Ladies Special'? In the show, Bappi was shown working on a music album and is in search of soulful voices yet to be recognised by the industry. While searching for a singer, Bappi Lahiri comes across an online video of Prarthna (Chavvi Pandey), which has gone viral. He asks Prarthna to record a song with him.
"I have personally seen and heard Chavvi singing and I must say her voice is really soulful and can create magic. When I was asked to do this role, it didn't take me even a second to accept it," said Bappi Lahiri when asked about his role on the show.
Trivia: Many fans aren't aware that Bappi Lahiri's son 'Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Baba' was a part of a Marvel film. He made his Hollywood debut by lending his voice in the popular film 'Guardians of the Galaxy.'
"I am currently in talks with Marvel Studios. They had used my song 'Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom baba'. Chris Pratt, the hero of Guardians of the Galaxy, had really liked the song. So maybe a song (by me) will be used in their next film. I will go to Hollywood in April," Lahiri had stated in an interview with IANS.
Born in West Bengal, Bappi Lahiri's first composition was for a Bengali film, 'Daadu' (1972), followed by a Bollywood film 'Nanha Shikari' (1973). He arrived on the musical scene in a crescendo with 'Zakhmee' (1975) for which he composed music and also sang, pushing him to upper echelons at a very young age of 22.
During his career, Bappi Lahiri directed top legends like Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, his 'Mama' Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosale, Usha Uthup and many more to create waves with soulful, vibrant and rhythmic music. Lahiri created musical marvels with his compositions in 'Chalte, Chalte' (1976), 'Suraksha' with the pacy 'Gunmaster G9' becoming as popular as 007, and "Lahu Ke Do Rang" (both 1979).