B Subhash, who directed films like Taqdeer Ka Badshah, Disco Dancer, Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki, Adventures of Tarzan, Dance Dance, among others, is among the fortunate filmmakers who had the opportunity to work extensively with Bappi Lahiri in the late 70s and 80s, during the golden days of the music composer's career. In an exclusive conversation with News18, Subhash, recalls his experience of working with Lahiri for the first time, and the bond they share over the years.
"I cannot come to terms that Bappi Lahiriji is no longer with us. Just last week we heard about Lata Mangeshkarji and now it is Bappiji. It is a great loss for the music fraternity. He earned the title 'Disco King' thanks to his work on films such as Disco Dancer, Dance Dance, Commando, Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki and I am glad that I was a part of his journey. In fact, he has played an immense role in the success of my career and somewhere I feel I have a lost a part of my life today.
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I first collaborated with him in 1978 for Taqdeer Ka Badshah and since then we kept working together. We worked on several successful films. Bappiji and I had always made a strong impact with the songs that we created in our career. He was all about music. He was the best singer, best composer and even better sound engineer. He had a unique technique and would change the composition of songs in an interesting way.
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Bappiji revolutionised the entire music genre. He not only gave India the best disco beats but also sang some hugely popular chartbusters in his unique and mellifluous voice. There are only few people who were aware of what 'disco' genre of music was. But it was Bappiji who introduced the Indian audience to this genre. Many composers tried to make songs in this genre, but the way Bappiji composed disco songs by bringing in the perfect melody, the music and the rhythm, was something no one could match up to. Even after more than 40 years people still remember the songs that he has composed, which speaks volumes about his work.
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Our chartbuster song Jimmy Jimmy from Disco Dancer was dubbed in 45 languages. From I Am A Disco Dancer to Auva Auva Koi Yahan Nache Nache, even Yaad Aa Rahai Hai, were a rage. I still have a vivid memory of shooting the title song I am a Disco Dancer at Natraj Studio in Mumbai with Mithun Chakrobarty. Be it restaurants or rickshaws and taxis and even homes, we would only hear songs from Disco Dancer.
In fact, there is an interesting story that I can share about Yaad Aa Rahai Hai. We were recording the song at HMV studios in Cuffe Parade. The song was going to be originally sung by Kishore Kumar. Bappiji and I had reached the studios and he had done the entire music arrangement. When Kishore Kumar reached, he realised the elevator wasn't working. He refused to climb the stairs as he was suffering from heart ailment and requested Bappiji to record the music and he would come in after a couple of days and record the song. Bappiji decided to sing the song in his own voice so that he could get the music properly. On my way back home, I heard the song and thought his voice suited the song perfectly. I told him about it and he said, we need to speak to Kishore Kumar about it. Kishoreji asked us to send him the song. When he heard it, he too felt that Bappiji had captured the emotions of the lyrics perfectly and asked us to retain it.
I last spoke to him a couple of months back. He could barely talk. It broke my heart that the man with a golden voice could not even speak. There was something so royal about Bappiji and yet, he was so humble. There cannot be another Bappi Lahiri in a million years.