MUSIC What’s Bappi da up to? More disco

It’s a big year for Bappi Lahiri: 2012 marks 40 years in the film industry for him. There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes across when, in a phone interview, he lists the big names in film music he has worked with. “Mukeshji. Kishore Kumar. Asha ji. Lataji. In the south – Yesudas, SP Balasubramanian, Chitra, S Janaki, Susheela ji,” he rattles off over the phone.

“I am very lucky I got to work with all of them – I don't think any other composer has worked with such legends. And in today’s generation, Shaan, Shreya (Ghoshal), Sunidhi (Chauhan), Kumar Sanu. I’ve enjoyed myself a lot.”

The sense of retrospective may be especially strong in his 40th year, but he isn't sitting back and doing nothing: it’s a busy time, with collaborations and even a film deal. After his playback singing in The Dirty Picture ’s ‘Ooh La La’, he is currently involved with a nationwide DJ hunt, where DJs are invited to send in remixes of popular Bappi songs and upload them on a website. “Today’s generation love mixes,” says Bappi, who will select the top five entries as winners. “I want everybody to keep the melody intact, but play with the beat,” he specifies, adding that numbers like ‘Disco Station’ and ‘Pyaar Bina Chain Kahaan Re’ are based on Indian folk tunes. “This is the charm that all the DJs should recreate.”

As the pioneer of disco music in India, what does he think of current trends? “Everything is the same. Today the name has changed, like hip-hop and house and trance mix. The beat is there, the disco beat is there,” he says. So what does he think of genres like hip-hop and house? “I just finished working with Snoop Dogg,” he offers, as proof of his affinity to everything with a ‘beat’. His single with the American rapper is called ‘Babaloo’.

And there’s also a film in the works: Dard-E-Disco , in which he plays ‘Disco King’, will be released soon. “I think it’s a great experience. All the things happening this year – the film, the DJ hunt – are related to disco.”

neha mujumdar

I am very lucky I got to work with all of them – I don't think any other composer has worked with such legends

Bappi Lahiri