Mumbai: Singers Shaan, Udit Narayan and Abhijeet Bhattacharya on Thursday remembered Bappi Lahiri as a maverick singer-composer who never took his talent for granted.
Lahiri, who passed away following multiple health issues on Tuesday, was cremated at Vile Parle’s Pawan Hans Crematorium in the presence of family and friends from the industry. He was 69.
Actors Vidya Balan, Shakti Kapoor, Roopali Ganguly, Deb Mukherjee, singer Mika Singh, producer Bhushan Kumar, filmmaker KC Bokadia, who had worked with the composer in his 1990 Amitabh Bachchan starrer “Aaj Ka Arjun”, and Vindu Dara Singh were present at the funeral.
Narayan, who had worked with the composer in films like Dev Anand directorial “Awwal Number” (1990) and “Afsana Pyar Ka” both starring Aamir Khan, said the veteran went away too soon.
But just like the lines “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” from his popular song “Chalte Chalte”, it would be impossible to bid him goodbye.
“It is an emotional moment today. I believe a talent like him, a person like him shouldn’t have gone too soon. His death was shocking and made all of us sad. Bappi da was our beloved disco king. He worshipped music and was devoted to it.
“If you look at his career, his songs have created history. That doesn’t happen often. Woh ek jaadugar the (He was a magician),” the singer told PTI.
Narayan, 66, said he feels “blessed” that he got to collaborate with Lahiri, who he described as a musician with a childlike quality.
“He was a gentleman with incredible talent. My favourite song by Bappi da is ‘Chalte Chalte Mere Ye Geet Yaad Rakhna’. How can we say alvida to him? It would be impossible to forget him. I pray that his soul rests in peace,” Narayan said.
Shaan said Lahiri was a “genius” who didn’t show off his talent. The singer sang for many of Lahiri’s Bengali films, including “Hangover” and “Swabhoomi”.
“He was a genius, who never believed in showing off. He had a peculiar habit, whenever you sang for him, he would make everything around seem so warm, easy and say, ‘Bohot achcha gaya (You sang so well), superhit song!’ in his style,” Shaan told reporters.
The singer said his father and Lahiri’s father would make music together in Kolkata and so, he would always be greeted like a family by him.
“He would call me (in his thick Bengali accent) ‘Tum mere favourite ho’ (You’re my favourite). All we are left with now are his memories. He was a great soul, a wonderful personality,” he added.
Bhattacharya said he began singing Lahiri’s songs from his junior college days in Kanpur so the music veteran was a part of his singing career “right from the start”.
The singer said when he came to Mumbai in the early ’80s, he struggled for nearly eight years without a job or much money but found support in Lahiri.
“Everytime I would get a call from his secretary, Bharat bhai, I would have a sigh of relief that at least I’d get some money now.
“He would ask me to tag along with Bappi da for his stage shows and I knew at least that month’s expenses would be taken care of. He always blessed me. What hurts is, he said alvida to all of us and left.”
The 63-year-old said he knew Lahiri from the time when the singer-composer would not wear his signature gold chains.
“Despite the obvious difference, (even then) he was a superstar and I was a struggler. He was extremely nice to me. We would have our differences too. Even if we had an argument, the next day I’d be there at his party. That was our bond,” he added.
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