Bollywood’s self-proclaimed disco king of the 80s and 90s, Bappi Lahiri, passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 69. Known for his flashy gold chains and blingy style, Bappi, was a musical icon for many.
Bappi started gaining popularity as a music composer in the early 70s with songs in blockbusters working big celebrities like Sharmila Tagore, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan, Lata ji and Kishore Kumar — this included films such as Chalte Chalte (1976) and Aagan ki Kali (1979). In 1975, he was working on soundtracks for Tahir Hussain’s film Zakhmee and decided that he would also dabble in playback singing.
By the 80s, he had arrived. He was known for his funky disco beats and vocals in Amitabh Bachchan’s Namak Halal (1982) and Sharabi (1984). But what really cemented him in the Indian film industry was Mithun’s 1982 film Disco Dancer.
Bappi Lahiri may be gone, but his music will live on. Here are my top five favourite songs from the disco king.
'I Am A Disco Dancer'
To be honest, all the songs in this film are amazing. There’s 'Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy', (also remixed by MIA) and Hollywood actor Jim Carrey once entered The Ellen Show while this song was playing in the background. Look at the power and spread of Bollywood!
Another hot fave from the film is 'Auva Auva koi yahan nache nache'.
'Yaar Bina Chain Kahan Re'
You won’t be able to get this song from Anil Kapoor and Amrita Singh’s film Saaheb out of your head. The dream sequence and bling has everything in it.
Jhoom Jhoom Baba
This song features Pakistani actor Salma Agha in 1984’s Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki (also starring Mithun). It is such a great reminder for the time when Pakistani artists would feature in Indian movies. Agha also starred in the hit film Nikkah and several others. Pakistani actors including Zeba Bakhityar, Sajal Ali, Mahira Khan, Meera, Veena Malik, Marwa Hocane and Fawad Khan have also starred in Bollywood films.
'Tamma Tamma Loge'
This song from 1991’s Thanedaar starring Madhuri Dixit, Jetendara and Sanjay Dutt is a dance floor scorcher. It became an instant hit owing to the dance moves and lyrics.
This Namak Halal hit has Bapi and Parveen Babi — need I say more?
'Aaj Rapat Jaye' — it was a great path-defining song for people who love rain. We saw Smita Patel, who did artsy and serious roles, in a new light. It has become a must on monsoon playlists now for most people. Second is 'Oh La La', like this song became the THING when The Dirty Picture was released and reminded people of the 80s when was Bappi was the king.
There is also 'Raat Baaki' from Namak Halal, 'Yaad Araha Hai', 'Bambai se Aya Mera Dost', 'Karate', 'You Are My Chicken Fry', 'Nothing is Impossible' and 'Taqdeer ka Badshah'.