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The BEST of Bappi Lahiri

Last updated on: February 17, 2022 11:59 IST
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Bappi Lahiri was more than a musician.

He was an emotion.

The oomph in his score was as seamless as its soul and melody.

He didn't just create fine tunes; he took the listener on a journey.

There's a reason why some of his best songs belong to obscure movies that didn't need the trimmings of grand visuals or box office success to shine.

Though his flamboyant personality and love for bling, embodied in layers and layers of chunky gold chains, humoured his joie de vivre at its boldest, the legendary artist proved one can be fun, funky and still be taken seriously.

Baby-faced Bappida, birth name Alokesh Lahiri, started playing tabla at the tender age of three and went on to compose his first tune while barely 11. His career took upswing once he left West Bengal and arrived in Mumbai to helm film scores.

Free of pretensions and rules, Bappida introduced disco as a genre and encouraged a slew of fresh, talented voices like Usha Uthup, Vijay Benedict, Sharon Prabhakar, Alisha Chinai, Salma Agha to break the monotony of Bollywood music as we knew it.

While his Western influences as the Godfather of Disco ranged from blatant to internalised, their popularity soared under Bappida's zingy touches as well as his super iconic voice and its trademark drawl.

His path wasn't always strewn in roses. Big banners eluded him.

It didn't help to score for lyrics as absurd as Ladki Nahi Tu Lakdi Ka Khamba Hai or You Are My Chicken Fry.

Accusations of plagiarism never died down. Jokes caricaturing his flashy style and accent creeped into pop culture.

Trends and tastes changed but the timeless verve of his chartbusters, many of them getting the remix treatment or enjoying a retro rebirth through films like Gangs of Wasseypur, helped in making fans across generations.

With his passing the world is bereft of gold, not the one he wore so proudly but contributed through his exuberance as a music director and singer.

Bappi 'Bebaak' Lahiri, you will be deeply missed.

Sukanya Verma lists his most foot-tapping, heart-melting, sweet-sounding numbers over the decades.


I am a Disco Dancer, Yaad Aa Raha Hai Tera Pyaar, Goron Ki Na Kalon Ki, Auva Auva, Jimmy
Disco Dancer

Disco Dancer kick-started a glorious chapter in Mithun Chakraborty's career while Bappida ensured the entire nation is well-versed in the art of D-I-S-C-O.


Ramba Ho Ho Ho, Mere Jaisi Haseena Ka Dil

Be it Usha Uthup's frantic echoes in Ramba Ho Ho Ho or Sharon Prabhakar's lilting claims in Mere Jaisi Haseena, Armaan hits all the catchy notes as far as soundtrack goes.


Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Chalte Chalte

Kishore Kumar's haunting rendition of this Bappi gem is for the ages.


Yaar Bina Chain, Kya Khabar Kya Pata

Bappi and S Janaki bring the house down in Yaar Bina Chain, a cheerful classic that is even more admired with time while Kishore Kumar's existentialist expressions find a poignant outlet in Kya Khabar Kya Pata.


Inteha Ho Gayi Intezar Ki, Manzilein Apni Jagah Hai, De De Pyaar De, Jahan Chaar Yaar Mil Jaayen

Bappida's eclectic mix in Sharaabi brim in emotions rich in ardour, ada and mischief befitting of Amitabh Bachchan's larger-than-life allure as the reigning superstar of that era.


Jawani Jaaneman, Raat Baaki, Ke Pag Ghungroo, Aaj Rapat Jaayen
Namak Halaal

Cabaret, classical, Namak Halaal has it all.

One of Bappi Lahiri's most beloved albums, it gave Parveen Babi her most sassily choreographed songs and Big B his most animated ones.


Maana Ho Tum Behad Haseen
Toote Khilone

Bappi not only recognises the feeling and fervour of Kaifi Azmi's lyrics but also picks a pitch-perfect K J Yesudas to convey the needful.


Yeh Naina Yeh Kajal
Dil Se Mile Dil

You may not recall the movie but the lilting, lovey-dovey song is tailor-made for attention and repeat mode.


Gunmaster G9

Mithun's legacy of cool owes much to Bappida's brand of groovy resulting in some unforgettably hip collaborations.


Yeh Raat Mein Jo Mazaa Hai, Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki, Jeena Bhi Kya Hai Jeena
Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki

The floor-burning mania of Disco Dancer is carried on with double the passion and Salma Agha's surprisingly jolly vocals in Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki.


Halwawala Aa Gaya, Super Dancer, Dance Dance, Dance With Pa Pa Pa, Dil Mera Todo Na, Zoobi Zoobi
Dance Dance

Many of these songs don't score on originality but Bappida's zestful touches are hard to miss as they catch the fancy of Mithun's hard-core fans while he embarks on an avenging spree (yet again) against a vile Amrish Puri.


Pyaar Maanga Tha Tumhi Se
College Girl

The winning combination of Kishore Kumar's smooth voice and Bappida's silvery tunes does its magic once again in this evergreen beauty from a movie nobody remembers.


Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost
Aap Ki Khatir

A staple at all desi picnics and antakshris, Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost is an indelible part of our nostalgia and culture. And Bappida's joyous singing makes it all the better.


Aao Tumhe Chand Pe Le Jaaye, Jalta Hai Jeeya Mera Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein, Abhi Abhi Thi Dushmani

Quite early on in his career, Bappi Lahiri made it clear he is here to stay. The songs of Zakhmee confirm it mellifluously.


Shyam Rang Ranga Re
Apne Paraye

Bappida's incredible, indigenous tunes in Apne Paraye are a fitting reply to anyone who thought he is only capable of club music.


Mere Dil Mein Tu Hi Tu Hai

The song performed by ghazal duo Jagjit and Chitra Singh is another instance of Bappida's versatility.


Hari Om Hari
Pyara Dushman

Usha Uthup's husky sound doing that thing she does for Bappida's equally sultry number is all kinds of wow.


Chahiye Thoda Pyaar
Lahu Ke Do Rang

Kishore Kumar serenading off screen, Vinod Khanna on it, both perfectly embodying the breezy romance Bappida has in mind for this hit track from Mahesh Bhatt's film.


Thoda Resham Lagta Hai

Some of you must have heard it as remix, some as part of Dr Dre's ditty Addictive for which Bappida sued him and won, but the vibrant song performed by Lata Mangeshkar and performed on Aruna Irani is all kinds of naughty and nimble.


Kisi Nazar Ko Tera Intezaar

Bhupinder and Bappida join hands on this sublime ghazal from Mukul Anand's remake of Dial M for Murder.


Humko Aajkal Hai Intezar, Mujhko Yeh Zindagi Lagti Hai Ajnabee

The lazy thumkas and restrained sensuality of Madhuri's koli dancer moves in Humko Aajkal Hai Intezar has all our attention. But the gentle melancholy of Sailaab's other lovely track, Mujhko Yeh Zindagi deserves no less love.


Main Tera Tota
Paap Ki Duniya

Anyone who owned a radio in the 1980s will remember how regularly this popular track from the Sunny Deol-Neelam-Chunky Pandey masala potboiler played on the air waves.


Main Pyar Ki Pujaran

Bappida's upbeat romantic number is reciprocated with gusto in Govinda and Neelam's celebrated chemistry.


Tamma Tamma

IMAGE: Photograph: Kind courtesy Film History Pics/Instagram

Both Jumma Chumma from Hum and Tamma Tamma from Thaanedar lifted the basic tune of Mory Kante's Yeke Yeke.

Both went on to become chartbusters.

Also, Bappida's singing style is simply too 'aa-haa' to ignore.


Nainon Mein Sapna

Everyone associated with this superhit and its strictly '80s aesthetics ta-thaiya-ho-ho-ed their way to the bank.


Dil Mein Ho Tum
Satyamev Jayate

It's always nice to hear when a composer performs his own song and Bappida plays to the strengths of this enjoyable melody from Vinod Khanna's comeback vehicle.


Saanson Se Nahi

The ever reliable Bappida and his dear Kishore Mama strike gold yet again this dramatic declaration of all things Mohabbat.


Saiyan Bina Ghar Suna
Aangan Ki Kali

Another instance of Bappida's unsung versatility can be found in this classical offering from Aangan Ki Kali.


Bole Bole Dil Mera Bole
Shola Aur Shabnam

The man behind Auva shows he has still got what it takes as Govinda dances to his tune like only he can.


Dil Toh Dil Hai
Zindagi Ek Jua

Asha Bhosle's sexy seduction and Bappida's command on modern, electronic sounds are a match made in recording room heaven.


Sanwli Saloni
Hum Sab Chor Hain

Bappida's discography is full of terrific songs belonging to terrible movies. The ultra-pleasing Sanwli Saloni is no exception.


Tune Maari Entriyaan

Though he only co-sang this Sohail Sen composition, Bappida is, hands down, the soul and spunk of its infectious beats.

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