'I sang... God knows how many songs I sang for him! Most definitely, 50-100 songs.'
"I owe my career to Bappida," says Alisha Chinai from her home in Alibaug.
"I sang... God knows how many songs I sang for him! Most definitely, 50-100 songs. In fact, just six months ago, Bappi called and asked me to sing a Bengali song for me. 'Aisa, tum karogi mera gaan? He always called me 'Aisa'. I would playfully correct him, Bappida, my name is Alisha, not Aisa, you must stop having so many rashogollas."
"Bappida was God's child. So pure and child-like, so free of guile and cunning. All he cared about was his music.
"I don't like doing playback singing. I've always hated the concept of the ghost voice. But who says no to Bappida? I agreed to sing his Bengali song although I didn't know any Bangla. He wrote the lyrics for me and I sang them. I don't even know which film it was for. That it was for Bappida is enough for me."
Recalling her long association with the super-prolific composer, Alisha says, "I was a brash, fearless girl, looking for a break as a singer when I met Bappida at a recording studio. He asked me to sing, and then immediately offered me a song then and there. I was zapped. I'd have been mad to refuse. Main pagal hoon par itni nahin (laughs). That's how I got my first song Tarzan My Tarzan in Adventures Of Tarzan.
"Bappida and I teamed up for lots of songs in B Subhash's film. I vividly remember the huge orchestra and the line-up of chorus singers for Tarzan My Tarzan. It was magical! I remember Asha Bhosleji was there. She asked Bappida who I was. She complimented me, and I touched her feet."
After Tarzan, the hits piled up.
"I was recording for Bappida almost every day. He had tremendous faith in my voice. Offhand, I can recall Zoobi Zoobie and Super Dancer in Dance Dance, Bad Girl in Guru and It's A Dance Party in Commando.
"With Bappida, there were no full stops. He was an unstoppable meteor, full of life and energy. It's hard to believe he is gone. Covid hit him hard last year. He never recovered."