Forty years of musical innings, and singer-composer Bappi Lahiri's sheen is still intact. "I have just returned from a New Zealand tour, and I am surprised to see the way audiences responded to my recent song, Ooh La La," says Bappi, who was in Panchkula on Wednesday. Brimming in his trademark gold ornaments, Bappi couldn't stop raving about his recent hit and the many others that he delivered. Ooh La La, from the film The Dirty Picture, reminds him of music of the '70s and '80s, says the singer, adding, "Such tracks can't be repeated. Look at Pancham Da's (music director R D Burman) song, Dum Maro Dum, or one of my old tracks, Jimmy Jimmy or I Am a Disco Dancer. So many songs came out later, but nothing could beat these classic numbers."
His style, he says, has remained versatile. "Many of my songs, such as Kisi Nazar Ko Tera Intezaar Aaj Bhi Hai, were well appreciated. But people associate me with disco music because it was more famous."
However, he believes today's music is following what he started thirty years ago, albeit lacking in good lyrics. "It may be different in its approach, but it lacks good wording for which Indian music has always been famous. My songs, which include Yaad Aa Raha Hai and Yaar Bina Chain Kahaan Re, had disco beats as well as effective lyrics. This combination is missing these days," he rues.
The music director says a film's subject decides the kind of music it will incorporate. "Movies such as Baiju Bawra and Mughal-e-Azam are no longer made today, and so, classical music lost its popularity. I miss the era of Rafi sahib (singer Mohammad Rafi) or Lata ji (Lata Mangeshkar), when melody was at its best. It stopped after the '90s, but I believe it will change. Melody will come back because we are a music-loving country and relate with music that touches our hearts," he says.
Set to perform for a concert at Panchkula's Indradhanush Auditorium on Thursday evening, the singer adds with a smile that he is excited to be in city beautiful. "I have performed in Punjab earlier, but this will be my first musical concert in Chandigarh. Bappi's performance means a happening rock show."
Soon, he promises, he will also be seen in the role of a disco king in the film, Dard-e-Disco. "It
is a comedy, and Kishore Kumar (iconic singer, also Bappi Lahiri's maternal uncle) is the inspiration behind my acting. I am nothing in front of him, but I have tried my best to act like him in the film," informs Bappi.
Next, he has his fingers crossed for his 2011 international project, Walking on the Love Street's entry in the Grammy's.
Meanwhile, his love for gold stands untarnished. "This gold is my lucky charm. One of my gold chains has Ganpati in it. I even refused to give it to Micheal Jackson when he came to Mumbai for a concert in 1996."
Bappi has also been a judge on music reality shows on TV, which he says are good to spot young talent. "I always supported new talent such as Salma Agha, Alisha Chinoy and Usha Uthup, and continue to do so even today."