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Kabhi alvida na kehna: 'Disco king' Bappi Lahiri dies at 69

Kabhi alvida na kehna: Disco king Bappi Lahiri dies at 69

Mumbai: Singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, famous for his disco beats in Hindi films of the 70s and 80s and also some soulful crooning, has died following multiple health issues. He was 69.

Lahiri died 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 on Wednesday.

The singer-composer, a familiar figure for many with his trademark gold chains that he wore for luck and his sunglasses, was known for his songs in films such as "Chalte Chalte", "Disco Dancer", and "Sharaabi".

Lahiri, who also ventured into politics when he joined the BJP in 2014, is survived by his wife Chitrani and two children -- daughter Reema, also a singer, and composer Bappa Lahiri.

He contested from the Lok Sabha seat of Srerampur in West Bengal but lost to Kalyan Banerjee of the All India Trinamool Congress.

In September last year, Bappi Lahiri, who is believed to have ushered in the golden age of disco music in India, dismissed reports that he had lost his voice and said such rumours were disheartening.

His last rites will be held on Thursday at Juhu's Pawan Hans crematorium on his musician-son Bappa Lahiri's arrival from Los Angeles, US, Lahiri's son-in-law Govind Bansal told PTI.

"It's a deeply sad moment for us. Our beloved Bappi Da has left for heavenly abode last midnight We are seeking love and blessings for his soul," the family said in a statement.

For many fans and colleagues, it is too early to bid 'alvida' to the music composer who scored the memorable "Chalte chalte mere geet yaad rakhna", penned by Amit Khanna.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was among those who mourned his death, saying Lahiri's lively nature will be missed by everyone.

"Shri Bappi Lahiri Ji's music was all encompassing, beautifully expressing diverse emotions. People across generations could relate to his works. His lively nature will be missed by everyone. Saddened by his demise. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti," the prime minister tweeted with a picture.

The musician, whose career spans over five decades, last worked on "Ganpati Bappa Morya" in September 2021. He gave the music to the devotional song, voiced by the US-based Indian singer Anuradha Juju Palakurthi.

Palakurthi said she had lost a mentor.

"Working with Bappi da was like seeing a magician at work - he could bring out tunes in a jiffy - both intricate and easy, classical and light, western and eastern," Palakurthi said.

Born Alokesh Lahir in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal in 1952 into a family of musicians, Lahiri's inclination towards music started when he was just three and started learning the table. Iconic singer Kishore Kumar, who sang popular songs for him like "Pag Ghunghroo" and "Chalte Chalte", was his maternal uncle.

Lahiri is credited as a pioneer of synthesised disco music in Indian cinema during 70s to 90s with songs such as "I am a disco dancer", "Pag ghunghroo", "Intehan ho gayi", and "Laal Dupatte Wali".

For every foot-tapping, dancing track, there were softer melodies like songs of "Chalte Chalte" (1976) and ghazals like "Kisi Nazar Ko Tera Intezaar Aaj Bhi Hai" and "Aawaz Di Hai" for the 1985 film "Aitbaar".

The song "Dil Mein Ho Tum", from the 1987 Hindi film "Satyamev Jayte", which he also sang and composed, was adapted in Bengali as "Chirodini Tumi Je Aamar" for the film "Amar Sangi", which released in the same year later.

In the 2000s, Lahiri lent his voice to hit songs like "Bambai Nagariya" from "Taxi No 9211" (2006), and "Ooh La La" from "The Dirty Picture" (2011).

He also was one of the singers who sang "Tune Maari Entriyaan" from 2014's "Gunday". The lyrics for the Bengali version of the song were penned by Lahiri and Gautam Susmit.

He is credited as singer and original composer of "Tamma Tamma" remix from 2017's "Badrinath Ki Dulhania".

He also gave music to films in Bengali, Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Gujarati.

His last Bollywood song titled 'Bhankas' was for the 2020 film "Baaghi 3".

The singer's death was mourned by many in the industry, who remembered the artiste for introducing a new style of music in Bollywood and his collaborators.

Bollywood star Ajay Devgn called 'Bappi da', as Lahiri was fondly known among fans and contemporaries, an "endearing" personality whose music had an edge.

Not just Hindi films, Lahiri was a popular name in the Bengali cinema too where he began his career with 1972 film "Daadu". His first Hindi film as a composer was "Nanha Shikari" in 1973.

There was no looking back after that for the musician who went on to work in "Zakhmee", where he composed and sang.

"Zakhmee" paved the way for films such as "Chalte Chalte", "Surakshaa" and others as his disco beats became popular among the youth, earning him the title of 'Disco King' in India.

The singer, in an interview with PTI in 2019, said he was grateful to have voiced for some of the biggest stars of their era.

"I feel so proud to have had this journey and to have worked with all the extremely talented people in the industry. Simply put, my life is Dilip Kumar to Ranveer Singh. From 'Dharm Adhikari' to 'Gunday' I've done it all," he had said.

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