Interview: A Musical Afternoon with Iconic Singer Song-Writer Composer Music Director BAPPI LAHIRI

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English: Bappi Lahiri at Will to Live Music La...

English: Bappi Lahiri at Will to Live Music Launch. Photo: FilmiTadka. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kolkata, June 26, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) Few Indian singer-composers can rival the immense respect that Bappi Lahiri enjoys among listeners around the world. In an exclusive video interview with WBRi, Bappi-da talks about his long and successful musical journey, his forays into the disco genre, his views on the current musical trends, and much, much more with Senior American Bengali journalist Devasish Ray.

Also check out our exclusive interview with Kumar Sanu >

Bappi Lahiri, who is on the verge of completing 40 years as a composer, reels off the names of some of his latest blockbusters to set the tone for the discussion. Apart from the cult hit Ooh La La, Bappi-da also mentions Le Halua Le and Bikram Singha as two of his most successful recent albums. The music maestro also plays down the controversies that surrounded the Jhinka Chika-track from Bikram Singha.

Bappi-da is currently a jury member for the Grammy. In this context, he names World Peace Love & Harmony (2010) and Jai Ganesha (2011) as two of his albums that had been sent to the Grammy. More recently, Bappi Lahiri’s latest offering, Walking On The Love Street, has been making waves in the international music circuits and has also been listed as the top album in the jazz section at a countdown in Washington.

Born to a background of classical music, Bappi Lahiri recounts his journey towards becoming one of the top music composers and directors of India. Versatility has been the premier hallmark of his long career. After starting out with melodious numbers like Inteha ho gayi and Naino mein sapna, he had first experimented with disco music in 1979 for the soundtrack of the Mithun Chakrabarty-starrer Suraksha. Mausam hai gaane ka had been the first Bollywood song with disco beats, and Lahiri had followed it up with the iconic I am a disco dancer.

Bappi Lahiri had started out his career with Nanha Shikari (1973), but his talents received greater recognition with his next two projects, Zakhmee and Chalte Chalte. Lahiri proclaims proudly that he is, perhaps, the only Indian male playback singer to have sung for two generations of Bollywood superstars. Amitabh Bachchan (Sharabi) and Abhishek Bachchan (Guru) being a case in point.

The composer marks out the senior Bachchan as the actor who is the best when it came to portraying just the right expressions for his songs. He fondly recounts the immortal 12-minute long Pag Ghungroo (Namak Halal) and is justifiably confident as he says that, no other similar song has ever been, or is likely to be, created in the world of Indian music.

Bappi-da explains the general popularity of Indian music worldwide as a celebration of folk-based tunes. His own Ooh la la and De de pyar are based on folk music, as is A. R. Rahman’s Ring Ring Ringa (Slumdog Millionaire).

He likens modern-day music to limited overs cricket, stating that the songs of the present generation have a limited shelf life. The pride in the musician’s voice is evident as he remarks that his is probably the only family in India that boasts of three generations of composers. Bappi Lahiri’s father, Aparesh Lahiri, had composed the famous Ekbar biday de ma, while his son Bappa Lahiri is currently working on big-banner Bollywood projects.

The conversation rounds up with Bappi Lahiri singing his signature Chirodini Tumi Je Amar, along with its Hindi rendition. Lahiri’s singing voice can also be heard many times over the enchanting interview, including a romantic number from the Bengali film Om Shanti currently showing successfully in theaters in Kolkata. We definitely hope to hear more from this multi-talented musical genius!

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