Multi-talented musician Bappi Lahiri is an admirable figure from India. His composing is iconic and era-defining, just like his unique vocals.
Bappi was born on November 27, 1952, in the charming city of Jalpaiguri, West Bengal, India. His birth name was originally Alokesh ‘Bappi’ Lahiri. His maternal uncle is the evergreen Indian playback singer, Kishore Kumar (late).
Both his parents, Aparesh and Bansari Lahiri, are famous Bengali singers, along with classical musicians.
Following his parent’s footsteps, at the age of three, Bappi began playing the tabla (drum). He was taught this tremendous instrument by his parents.
In terms of music, Bappi is famous for his up-tempo, dance grooving tunes. He would take inspiration from foreign music, sampling great tracks and implementing them into the Indian scene.
Bappi broke through during the 80s, showcasing synthesized disco in Indian cinema. His best work featured in movies such as Namak Halaal (1982), Disco Dancer (1982) and Saaheb (1985).
Besides music, he is the ‘King of Bling.’ Specifically, he is always seen rocking a lot of jewellery.
Owning over 754 grams of gold chains and bracelets, Bappi gets imagination from The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.
On January 28, 2018, Bappi was given recognition for his fine contributions to Bollywood. He won the respectable ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the 63rd Filmfare Awards.
His hits have seen remixes with a modern spin. We take a trip down memory lane, looking at his popular compositions and singing songs, which music lovers will cherish.
Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost – Aap Ki Khatir (1977)
‘Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost’ is a sweet song that is jolly and warming. Bappi Lahiri has done a good effort with this track, making it an instant gem. Bappi creates a superb positive vibe, which will lift the spirits of the listeners and viewers.
The beat itself is very euphoric, which ultimately prompts a carefree feeling. Notably, the dhol (drum) and harmonium aid in making this vibe possible.
The picturisation features Sagar (Vinod Khanna) greeting his good friend (Kuljit Singh) from Bombay. Singing and dancing, Sagar is full of excitement on the arrival of his mate.
The radiant Rekha is also present in the song, playing Sarita, the middle-classed wife of Sagar. She is seen comforting Sagar and following him with celebrations on the joyous occasion.
The lyrics by Shaily Shailendra are very cheerful. More so, the hook of the song is as follows:
“Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost, Dost Ko Salam Karo, Raat Ko Khao Piyo, Din Ko Aram Karo.”[My friend has come from Mumbai, Greet my friend, eat and drink at night and sleep during the day.]
In 2003, this evergreen track inspired a movie, titled Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost (2003). Namely, this picture features the likes of Abhishek Bachchan (Karan ‘Kanji’ Singh), Lara Dutta (Kesar) and Chunky Pandey (Sanjay Singh).
To this day, the love for ‘Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost’ is still present. It is played at parties to mark the various arrivals of friends and families.
Watch the lovely song ‘Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost’ here:
Dekha Hai Maine Tujhko Phir – Wardat (1981)
‘Dekha Hai Maine Tujhko Phir’ is a delightful track that has the era 80s written all over it. The song specifically, features disco lights, cool shiny jackets, colourful dresses, flare bottoms and much more.
Besides the unique vocals of Bappi, he has also taken on the composing. The song opens with various instruments, including the trumpet, with vocals kicking in after one minute and sixteen seconds.
More importantly, his composition on this track is outstanding, creating a whole different atmosphere. Putting together all these various sounds, instruments and vocals is very intriguing and revolutionary for its time.
Featuring the disco dancer himself, Mithun Chakraborty (Gunmaster G-9/Gopinath), makes his presence known with his flamboyant dance moves.
With a stylish silver-starred jacket on, feet doing all the talking, rocking black flare bottoms, Gunmaster G-9 dances with ease. Thus, it feels like he is dancing freely like there is nobody in sight.
Mithun is impressing actor-dancer Kalpana Iyer (Anuradha) with his steps, trying to attract her attention. On-screen, the chemistry flows well with the beat, making everything in sync.
The warm lyrics are by writer Ramesh Pant. Evidently, it will leave listeners wanting to sing the lines of this tune for their lovers. Particularly, the opening lines will instantly grab the attention:
[I’ve turned around to look at you once again, you have something in you that makes you unique.]
“Dekha Hai Maine Tumhe Phir Se Palatke, Haan Tum Mein Hai Baat Koi Auron Se Hatke.”
Watch ‘Dekha Hai Maine Tujhko Phir’ here:
Raat Baaki Baat Baaki – Namak Halaal (1982)
‘Raat Baaki Baat Baaki’ is a sweet and simple track, which allows the visuals, voices and beats to do the talking.
Bappi has arranged a skilful composition, which will have the listener wanting to break a move or two.
The vocals by the well-known Asha Bhosle are simply exquisite. Undoubtedly, the undertones of her voice project a flirtatious aura, working impeccably for this song.
Although Asha is the main focus of the track, the singing entry of Bappi is noticeable. Without a shadow of a doubt, he brightens up the room, which is represented well on the silver screen.
The glamorous Parveen (late) is so graceful with celebrated Shashi (late), contributing equally as much as the musicians.
Penning over 1,500 song lyrics, lyricist Anjaan keeps this one effective. The lines from the chorus are very captivating, communicating love both through the eyes and voice:
“Raat Baaki Baat Baaki, Hona Hai Joh Ho jane Do, Socho Na Dekho Toh, Dekho Haan Jaan-e-Jaan Mujhe Pyar Se.”[The night is still left and so are our talks, Let it happen whatever has to happen, Don’t think, just see, Just look at me my beloved with love.]
A rendition of this hit song was present in the movie Ittefaq (2007), titled ‘Ittefaq Se (Raat Baaki).’ The tempo is much lighter and slower, as singers Jubin Nautiyal and Nikhita Gandhi go creative with a modern take.
Watch the song ‘Raat Baaki Baat Baaki’ here:
Koi Yahan Aha Nache Nache – Disco Dancer (1982)
‘Koi Yahan Aha Nache Nache’ is a dazzling disco-electronic song, which will have listeners hitting the dance floor. This hit is sung by Bappi Lahiri and Indian pop-jazz playback artist Usha Uthup.
This was gold lover Bappi Lahiri’s key era of disco tracks. Composing and singing disco-dancing tunes left, right and centre, he became familiar as the ‘The Disco King of India.’
Rightly so, this record has all the disco glitz and glamour. This includes electric guitar and funky costumes.
The visuals features the pairing of actress-singer-model Kalpana Iyer (Nikki Brown) and actor-writer-director Karan Razdan (Sam).
To expand, the choreography and the overall rhythm are totally on the same page. The costumes for Nikki and Sam are very hip, adding effect to make the song and dance look superb.
The lyrics of Urdu poet Farooq Qaiser completes the quality of ‘Koi Yahan Aha Nache Nache.’ Moreover, the following lines are smooth and ecstatic yet affectionate:
“Kisi Ka Dil Aha Naache Naache, Kisi Ki Jaan Aha Naache Naache, Sare Haseen Aha Naache Naache, Sare Jaawan Aha Naache Naache.”[Someone’s heart is dancing, Someone’s life is dancing, All the beautiful ones are dancing, All the young ones are dancing.]
This party rocking song takes inspiration from English pop hit ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ (1979) by The Buggles.
Similarly, ‘Check It Out’ (2010) by American rappers will.i.am and Nicki Minaj also use samples from the 1979 single.
Watch Bappi Lahiri perform to the disco thrilling ‘Koi Yahan’ here:
Yaad Aa Raha Hai – Disco Dancer (1982)
‘Yaad Aa Raha Hai’ is another Bollywood chart-topper from the movie Disco Dancer (1982). It is particularly a high tempo, minimalist electronic disco song.
Starting off slow, the fast beat kicks will have audio lovers feet tapping to the disco elements. The video of the song features Mithun Chakraborty (Anil/Jimmy), rocking and grooving along with his guitar.
His white clean attire is very fashionable for its time, all shimmery and shiny. As well as Mithun, veteran actor Rajesh Khanna (late) (Master Raju) and Kalpana Iyer also appear in the video.
Projection of high and gentle pitches by Bappi go hand in hand with the lyrics, which are drafted by Anjaan.
Once again the music by Bappi is simply phenomenal. Catchy is probably an understatement for this excellence.
Disco dancer Mithun makes this song even more iconic. His dance moves are so dynamic that this movie made him into a household name in South Asia.
Critic Geeta Dayal, specialising in the music industry admires ‘Yaad Aa Raha Hai’, describing:
“disco anthem for the ages, and one of the best songs Lahiri ever did.”
Correspondingly, a remix to the original track is available in Golmaal 3 (2010), which also has Mithun (Pritam ‘Pappu’).
Overall, the soundtrack of Disco Dancer (1982) was a huge success, selling well over one million copies. Additionally, the album earnt Indian platinum status and received the ‘Gold Award’ in China.
Watch Bappi Lahiri perform to the high-tempo song ‘Yaad Aa Raha Hai’ here:
Jeena Bhi Kya Hai Jeena – Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki (1984)
Bappi Lahiri is an expert when it comes to disco dancing anthems. ‘Jeena Bhi Kya Hai Jeena’ is an electronic song, which mixes in with the romantic Bollywood theme.
Bappi takes the mic and controls the composing side to this thrilling track. Equivalently, British-Pakistani singer Salma Agha projects her vocals on this tune and also stars in the movie.
This quirky dance number is portrayed flawlessly by Satish Kumar/Avinash S. Kumar (Mithun Chakraborty) and Leena (Salma Agha).
Michael Jackson, needing no introduction, is one of the most famous, best-selling music artists of all time. Around the 80s era, he produced some great, timeless albums including Off The Wall (1979) and Thriller (1983).
Bappi took influence from MJ, basing this neat song on the quintessential ‘Billie Jean’ (1982). Also, some samples were taken from ‘Funky Town’ (1979) by American disco band Lipps Inc.
Set in a graveyard, this track takes the vision from the ‘King of Pop’ himself, Michael Jackson.
To clarify, there are two parts to the picturisation, both modelling the setting and sequence of the revolutionary ‘Thriller’ (1983).
Consequently, this picture takes on board a dark and ghoulish feel, combining with harmonising dance moves. Nevertheless, the Bollywood dance moves of Mithun and lyrics by Anjaan add some uniqueness and quirkiness.
Mithun also does great justice to ‘Thriller’ (1983) with his groovy fluid dance moves. Both Mithun and Salma wear red, with Chakraborty sporting the iconic red and black leather jacket from ‘Thriller’ (1983).
The backup dancers are worthy of a mention too. They do their job immensely as they pop out from the dead.
Listen to the spine chilling song ‘Jeena Bhi Kya Hai Jeena’ here:
Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re – Saaheb (1985)
‘Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re’ is a retro song, which contains a marvellous melodious beat to it. This tuneful piece is sung in a duet form by Bappi Lahiri and British-Indian singer-composer Sistla Janaki.
Bappi is a creative individual and clearly listens and appreciates a wide range of art forms. Initially, Bappi seeks audio insight from ‘Try Me, I Know We Can Make It’ (1976) by American Singer-songwriter Donna Summers.
Sistla Janaki, better known as S. Janaki, is an Indian playback singer who has recorded over 47,000 songs. The Nightingale of Indian Cinema’s work is widespread, with songs featuring in South Indian films, albums and TV shows.
Impressively, she has done all of this in more than thirty-seven languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Telugu, English, Japanese, Latin and Russian.
Bappi and Janaki bounce off of each other with ease. Hence, the picturisation between Sunil Sharma ‘Saaheb’ (Anil Kapoor) and Natasha ‘Nikki’ (Amrita Singh) is full of life.
The music video features flashing disco lights and swaying dance moves with the pair imagining a scenario. Sunil is donning a bold, glittery tuxedo, whereas Nikki is rocking an elegant white dress.
Following this theme of inspiration, Marathi film Balak Palak (2013), features a similar scene. More so, the lead cast watches Saaheb (1985) and envision themselves in the shoes of Anil and Amrita.
Anjaan works on another track with Bappi to come up with more literate lyrics. Anjaan cleverly draws the ears of the listeners with the opening lines:
“Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re, Pyaar Bina Chain Kaha Re.”[Where is peace, without a beloved. Where is peace without love]
All songs from the original motion soundtrack were outstanding, with the modern generation appreciating it. A remix for this song in Main Aur Mr. Riight (2014) was also made by DJ Akhil.
Watch Bappi Lahiri singing the funky song ‘Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re’ here:
Dil Mein Ho Tum – Satyamev Jayate (1987)
‘Dil Mein Ho Tum’ is a different song from Bappi Lahiri. This is especially gentle in tune with a slow tempo. It is not the typically fast pace song that Bappi is famous for.
The cinematography features the remarkable Vinod Khanna (Police Inspector Arjun Singh) and appealing Anita Raj (Vidya Kaul).
Surrounding lots of greenery, Arjun and Vidya express their feelings.
Anita plays a small yet compelling part in the motion picture. From the other three heroines, Anita was the only one to romantically share screen space with Vinod.
In terms of the soundtrack, it actually includes three different versions of this sweet song. One sung by Bappi Lahiri, another from S. Janaki and the sad version courtesy of Kavita Krishnamurthy.
Lyricist Farooq Qaiser was a great addition to the song, which is very warm in nature.
Some could say this is a different approach of composing by Bappi due to the steady melody.
This tune has been adored massively throughout the years. On September 15, 2019, addicted to the song and the pairing, a user on YouTube made a comment, saying
“This song works daily on me just like sleeping pill.. what a nice song and how beautiful pair and simple both Anita Raj and Vinod Khannaji.”
The song also had a remake in the Bengali picture Amar Sangi (1987), with the track being ‘Chirondini Tumi Je Aamar.’
Like the original, Bappi composes, whilst unforgettable artists Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle take the vocal lead in a male and female version.
Watch the soft song ‘Dil Mein Ho Tum’ here:
Tamma Tamma Loge – Thanedaar (1990)
‘Tamma Tamma Loge’ is a positively high tempo track. Listeners will want to break a move on the dance floor, in their bedroom and even in the shower.
This energetic song is sung splendidly by Bappi Lahiri and Anuradha Paudwal. Indian playback singer Anuradha is a recipient of the honourable ‘Padma Shri’ award (2017), which is India’s fourth-highest civilian award.
Besides the fabulous ballad, the composing of Bappi makes this song rememberable along with the peculiar lyrics written by Indeewar. This song did create controversy during its time as it was similar to ‘Jumma Chumma from Hum (1991).
Bappi expresses the vocals for Brijesh Chandar (Sanjay Dutt) very well, whilst Anuradha represents the footsteps of Chanda (Madhuri Dixit) effortlessly. The dance moves are similar to the routine in ‘Bad’ (1987) by Michael Jackson.
This was a rather complex dance routine, especially as Sanjay had to keep up with the dancing of Madhuri.
With choreographer Saroj Khan feeling Sanjay was not a natural, actor-comedian Javed Jaffrey had to play his body double.
This prosperous piece by Bappi and Anuradha became a chart-topper. This track was based on two songs from the album Akwaba Beach (1987) by Mory Kante. Creativity was taken from ‘Tama’ and ‘Ye ke ye ke’.
Watch the popular ‘Tamma Tamma Loge’ here:
Ooh La La – The Dirty Picture (2012)
‘Ooh La La’ is a rather odd but unique song for the Bollywood industry in many ways. The pace is fast, melodious and erotic, all at the same time.
The duet of brilliant Bappi Lahiri and the sensational Shreya Ghoshal absolutely rock together. Accordingly, the different pitches in vocals by Bappi and Shreya compliment each other, syncing well with the visuals.
Set in the 80s, the music video is vibrant and exaggerative, in typical Bollywood fashion. The picture itself involves the production of a movie taking place, showcasing the ongoings of the film industry.
On-screen, we see fine actors Naseeruddin Shah (Surya Kant) and Vidya Balan (Reshma/Silk) living in a fantasy. Oddly, in real-life, these two have an age gap of twenty-nine years.
Surprisingly, this pairing works well. Appearing up close and personal, the bond is tight between Surya and Silk. Composing this single and soundtrack is duo Vishal-Shekhar, with Rajat Arora writing the lyrics.
Receiving well with both the audience and critics, The Dirty Picture (2012) was a hit, including its soundtrack. Rating the movie 4/5, critic Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama praises the soundtrack, conveying:
“Vishal-Shekhar deliver a good soundtrack. ‘Ooh La La’ is easily the song of the year [rendered brilliantly by Bappi Lahiri and Shreya Ghoshal], while ‘Ishq Sufiyana’ has long legs too. Another striking track is ‘Honeymoon Ki Raat’.”
“The choreography of these tracks [Pony Prakash Raj], especially ‘Ooh La La’, is straight out of the 80s.”
“Bobby Singh’s cinematography is magnificent.”
Equally, ‘Ooh La La’ claimed ‘Critics Choice Award’ for ‘Item Song of the Year’ at the Mirchi Music Awards (2012). This track also features in American sitcom New Girl during the episode ‘Big Mama P’ (2016).
Watch the intimate tune ‘Ooh La La’ here:
Tune Maari Entriyaan – Gunday (2014)
‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’ is a lovely upbeat song, which will certainly have the hearts of listeners racing. The melody is very catchy and goes really well with the impressive vocals.
The on-screen chemistry between the trio Ranveer Singh (Bikram), Arjun Kapoor (Bala) and Priyanka Chopra (Nandita) is highly energetic. Similarly, the dance sequence to the hook will leave viewers wanting to shake a leg.
Shooting for this tremendous tune was done across various beautiful locations of India. Locations include the streets of Calcutta High Court and Dalhousie
The track is sung by Bappi Lahiri, KK, Neeti Mohan and Vishal Dadlani. Composer Sohail Sen has done a great job with this song.
Lyrics penned by Irshad Kamil are a delight. More importantly, the opening line with the ringing of bells draws the listeners in instantly:
“Tune Maari Entriyaan Re Dil Mein Baji Ghantiyaan Re.”[When you entered then bells started to ring in my heart.]
‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’ also had another version, more specifically in Bengali. This bonus track sees Bappi take the mic alongside Monali Thakur, with Lahiri and Susmit mastering the lyrics.
Overall, the soundtrack of Gunday (2010) received great reviews from music critics and fans. Being one of the most successful Indian music albums of 2014, ‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’ was topping charts all over India.
Furthermore, the collection of views for ‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’ on YouTube is well over 148 million views.
Watch the amazing song ‘Tune Maari Entriyaan’ here:
Tamma Tamma Again – Badrinath Ki Dulhania (2017)
Set in a nightclub in scenic Singapore, ‘Tamma Tamma Again’ is a scintillating song. Impressively, it has more than 295 million views across YouTube.
This track is a remake, giving its very own modern spin. More specifically, it is an adaptation of ‘Tamma Tamma Loge’ (Thanedaar: 1990).
Throughout the film, the allure between Alia Bhatt (Vaidehi Trivedi) and Varun Dhawan (Badrinath Bansal) is flawless.
This music number is no different, from the synchronised dance steps to the deep eye contacts.
With Bappi Lahiri, this song features the likes of legendary playback singer Anuradha Paudwal and rapper Badshah. Badshah and Indeevar have written the lyrics with Tanishk Bagchi composing this party anthem.
‘Tamma Tamma Again’ is a true masterpiece, which will have listeners reminisce about the original track. Admiring this awesome song, a fan went on YouTube to express his comments:
“This is what we can call a remix or recreating.”
“This is the way you can give respect to the original video, they didn’t only used the words but also used some original steps.”
At the Star Screen Awards (2018), ‘Tamma Tamma Again’ had a special LIVE dance display. The performance features Varun Dhawan and the dancing queen of Bollywood, Madhuri Dixit, creating a fusion of Bollywood’s past and present.
Funnily enough, this mashup sees Madhuri Dixit who appears in Thanedaar (1990) as Chanda. Furthermore, her dance moves are vibrant and on point, burning the dance floor with her majestic dance routine.
Watch the super hit song ‘Tamma Tamma Again’ here:
The hits of Bappi Lahiri will live on for many decades and centuries, seeking new listeners everywhere.
Bappi has many more sensational songs. Other honourable mentions include ‘Jaana Kahan Hai’ (Chalte Chalte: 1976) and ‘Bumbai Nagariya’ (Taxi No. 9 2 11: 2006).
We hope to see more high energy songs from Bappi Lahiri in future films.