Veteran music composer and singer Bappi Lahiri passed away in Mumbai on Tuesday but for his fans, his legacy is immortal. Composing and singing some of the biggest hits of the 1980s, Bappi Da was known as the ‘Disco King’ of Bollywood. Bappi Da became known for his inimitable voice and even his musical style was so distinct that his fans could identify his beats in a few seconds. Bappi Da introduced Hindi film music to the trend of disco which gave us some of the best foot-tapping numbers of the 1980s.
Here are some of the lesser known facts about the ‘King of Disco’:
1. Bappi Da’s real name was…
Bappi Lahiri’s name has a certain musical rhythm to it but this wasn’t his official name. He was born as Alokesh Lahiri, and eventually adopted Bappi as his name.
2. Kishore Kumar was Bappi Lahiri’s maternal uncle
Bappi Lahiri got immense success as a musician but it seems like he was blessed by maternal uncle Kishore Kumar. On a musical reality show, Bappi Da had shared that even though they were not related by blood, (Kishore Da’s mother saw Bappi Da’s mother as a daughter) he was the closest to him, even more than his own sons Amit Kumar and Sumit Kumar. Bappi often narrated stories of his childhood years spent with his ‘mama’. In fact, every year, Bappi threw a small celebration in Kishore Da’s honour on his birthday. Videos from some of those gatherings are shared on Bappi Da’s Instagram handle.
3. Bappi Da made his film debut with Kishore Da
Bappi Lahiri was known for his signature style off-camera but not many know that he had a short stint as an actor too. In 1974, Bappi Lahiri made his debut in the movies in Kishore Kumar directorial Badhti Ka Naam Dadhi. Bappi Da had shared an archival photo from the shoot on his social media.
4. Bappi Lahiri sued Dr Dre in 2003
In a landmark copyright case, Bappi Da sued American rapper Dr Dre after he copied the tune of ‘Kaliyon Ka Chaman’ for his album Addictive. Later, Dr Dre credited Bappi Lahiri on the album. The Disco Dancer composer told Hindustan Times in 2009, “Dr Dre used my song Kaliyon ka Chaman in his album Addictive, for which I sued him. But he gave credits afterwards, so it’s okay and I am happy.”
5. Bappi Lahiri’s last composition
Bappi Da’s last composition was released in September 2021. The composer made music for devotional song Ganpati Bappa Morya and shared it on his social media handles. The track was sung by Anuradha Juju.
View this post on Instagram
6. Bappi Da’s stint in politics
Bappi Lahiri joined Bhartiya Janata Party in 2014. He contested from the Lok Sabha seat of Srerampur but lost to Kalyan Banerjee of the All India Trinamool Congress.
7. Bappi Lahiri started playing tabla as a three-year-old
Bappi Da’s music genius was discovered at a young age as he started playing table when he was only 3 years old. From then, he perfected his craft to reach the heights of popularity.
8. Bappi Lahiri sang for Vishal Shekhar in 2006, which was a first for him
Bappi Lahiri famously sang many of his own songs but up until 206, he had never given vocals for another composer’s creation. This changed when Vishal-Shekhar roped in for Taxi No 9211’s song Bambai Nagariya, which turned out to be a huge hit.
9. Bappi Da’s styling inspiration
In an episode of Indian Idol, when a contestant asked him about his unique style, Bappi Da revealed that he had gotten inspired from Elvis Presley.
10. Bappi Da’s world record
Bappi Lahiri earned a place in the Guinness Book of World records for recording over 180 songs for 33 films which were all released in a single year, 1986.