Veteran music composer-singer Bappi Lahiri says his maternal uncle, late Kishore Kumar, was his friend and guide. “Kishore Kumar ek hi the. Woh aaye aur chale gaye. Kishore Kumar kabhi dobaara nahi aayenge (There was just one Kishore Kumar. He came and went away. He will never come back again). I have so many beautiful memories of him that I can talk endlessly about him. I really miss him,” says Bappi, adding that the only song that comes to his mind when he thinks of Kumar is ‘Yaad aa raha hai tera pyaar’ (Disco Dancer; 1982).
Bappi says that today’s generation needs to learn dedication to one’s profession from the late singer. “Before coming to record my compositions, he would ask me to send the tunes, which were recorded on cassettes to his house. He would listen to the tunes and do the riyaaz a day before coming to the studio. The next day, he knew exactly how the song had to be sung. It was not like what happens today, when singers listen to the track for the to first time when they enter the studio to record it,” says Bappi.
Those who knew Kumar remember him as being a fun-loving person. “The day before he passed away, we were working in the studio. He made all of us — Ashaji (Bhosle; singer), me and others — laugh a lot. When he was resting, I told him, ‘Mama, aaj bahut hasaaya aapne (Uncle, you made us laugh a lot today)’. He said, ‘Jab main chala jaunga toh tum log yaad karoge ki woh kitna hasaata tha (When I won’t be around anymore, you will remember how much I used to make you all laugh)’,” says Bappi, adding that after his parents, Kumar was his only guide and friend.
“Mere maa-baap ke alaawa sirf Kishore mama ka aashirwaad mila mujhe. Aaj main jo bhi hoon, unki wajah se hoon (Besides my parents, Kishore uncle was the only one to guide me. Whatever I am today is because of him),” says the composer-singer.