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In popular culture, public decides hits and flops: Bappi Lahiri

Bappi Lahiri, who has sung a song called Shona, a song from a Hollywood film Moana. He also adds that it is futile criticising today’s hit songs.

music Updated: Nov 16, 2016 17:39 IST
Bappi Lahiri,Shona,Moana
Bappi Lahiri has sung Shona, a song for an upcoming Hollywood film Moana.(AFP)

Celebrated singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, who has stepped into the Disney world with Shona -- a song for Hollywood film Moana -- says he has always made music for the public instead of dwelling on giving a track an archival value.

“I make music for the public. If they like it, it’s a hit song. There is no point in criticising if today’s songs are creatively good or bad. When I compose anything for a film, the audience experiences and makes it popular and a hit. We should respect that,” said Bappi, lovingly called Bappi Da in Hindi filmdom.

Having said that, he added: “It is like a comparison between Test cricket and an ODI. You still remember songs like Raat Baaki, I am a Disco Dancer, Bombay Se Aaya Mera Dost, Aaj Rapat Jaaye and Pag Ghungroo..., and you forget new film songs within a year or two. But in popular culture, public decides hits and flops, and I respect that.”

Known for his signature style of dressing up in a lot of gold ornaments, Bappi Da is excited about Shona, which is an attempt on Disney’s part to localise their Hollywood content for the Indian market.

He has thus voiced the dialogues and sung for the character of Tamatoa, a giant crab with a fondness for shiny treasures which he hoards.

“My family and I have been big fans of Disney. From its characters to its music, it has always been iconic. It’s a great pleasure to associate with Moana. I am always looking forward to doing new things.

“This is the first time I have dubbed for an animated character and I had a lot of fun doing that. I am hoping that people will enjoy this avatar of mine and shower their love on me like they have always done. It’s truly a ‘golden’ memory,” quipped the 63-year-old.

Giving an insight into the character, he said: “The character of Tamatoa has a similarity with my personality. He likes gold and is happy-go-lucky just like me. So when I lent my voice for Tomatoa, I felt like I am talking about my character.

“Though I have sung in western films before, I am very excited about this film because I have done voice acting here for an important character.”

In Indian films, Bappi Da is known for bringing in the use of synthesized disco music in the 1980s era.

Asked about his western musical influence, he said: “My foundation is based on Indian classical music as I learnt tabla and was surrounded by Hindustani vocal music thanks to my parents, Aparesh Lahiri and Bansari Lahiri. However, from the age of 12, when I started learning piano and listening to jazz music, I got the exposure to western music.

“Naturally, when you get exposed to the best of both the worlds, it shapes up the composer in you and that reflects on my musical compositions.”

Moana, stars Auli’i Cravalho as the titular heroine and Dwayne Johnson as Maui. The film showcases the life-changing journey of a tenacious 16-year-old who teams up with the mighty demigod Maui to fulfill an ancient quest. The film releases in India on December 2.

First Published: Nov 16, 2016 17:37 IST