Bappi Lahiri, a celebrated Bollywood singer, composer and politician, died Wednesday in CritiCare in Breach Candy. He was 69.
Lahiri had been ailing from various health issues, including sleep apnea.
Lahiri’s music popularized disco in India in the 1980s and ’90s, long after it had left the West, with his music used in films such as “Namak Halal,” “Disco Dancer” and “Commando.”
Dressed in his trademark gold chains and glasses, Lahiri was an instantly recognizable figure around Mumbai. Born Alokesh Lahiri to a family of classical music singers in West Bengal, he relocated to Mumbai after composing music for Bengali films. His maternal uncle, Kishore Kumar, was a famous Bollywood singer and Lahiri arrived in Bombay, as it was known then in the 1970’s, with some existing Hindi film connections. After composing music for 1973’s “Nanha Shikari,” Lahiri broke out in 1975’s “Zakhmee,” directed by Tahir Hussain. The hit songs of 1976’s “Chalte Chalte” put him on the national stage after which he never looked back.
“Thoda Resham Lagta Hai” was used in R&B singer Truth Hurt’s 2002 number “Addictive,” leading to a copyright lawsuit by his label Saregama against Interscope Records. A judge ruled that copies of the CD could not be sold unless Lahiri was credited on it.
In 2016, Lahiri gave voiceover for Tamatoa on Disney’s “Moana” when it was dubbed in Hindi. He also forayed into politics as a Bharatiya Janata Dal (Indian People’s Party) member and ran for election in Srerampur, though his campaign only concluded with a loss.
Lahiri is survived by his wife, Chitrani, a son and daughter.
Tributes poured in throughout the day from various politicians, including Indian prime minister Narendra Modi, who said, “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.”
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. pic.twitter.com/fLjjrTZ8Jq
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 16, 2022