Its time for Bollywood music lovers to go down memory lane as they recall the lyrics of old songs through their remixes today. Veteran singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, who has given music to over 650 films in an over four decade-long career, feels this is happening because today’s lyrics lack the “catching power”, which make them forgettable.
Raat baaki baat baaki and Tamma tamma are a few of Lahiri’s popular hits that were recreated in the latest films like Ittefaq and Badrinath Ki Dulhania.
“Today’s music is not new for me. Though I have composed classical music also, my disco songs got more popularity. I never think that my songs have become old. They are recreated even today. That’s why I feel blessed that my songs are always ‘gold’,” Lahiri said.
“Today’s songs are like one-day cricket match. It gets released, gains popularity, but soon people forget it. Why? Because people remember lyrics. If you hear the song ‘Yaad aa raha hai’, you will connect instantly with that era (1980s),” he added.
The problem, he feels, is not with the singers, but lyricists.
“The music that we get to listen today — singers like Arijit Singh, Ankit Tiwari, KK or Shaan — they all have their own unique styles and are singing beautifully, but they (the songs) miss out on wordings.
“The wordings of today’s songs might be meaningful, but they lack the catching power. There are few renowned lyricists left of our era — Javed Akhtar, Gulzar and few others,” said Lahiri.
Lahiri, who gave music for films like Indu Sarkar and Ram Ratan this year, experienced the power of words through live shows in India and across the globe.
He explained: “When I do concerts in India, I am asked to sing few songs, which even I have forgotten. I really get surprised when I see that youngsters still remember those songs. When I perform at concerts in the US, I just sing first line of my song ‘Inteha ho gayi’ and the audience takes forward the song ‘intezaar ki…'”
Besides his melodious compositions, Lahiri has even sung tracks lip-synced by legendary actors Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand as well as young guns Varun Dhawan, Arjun Kapoor and Ranveer Singh.
He is also known for his unique style of being laden in gold.
Lahiri — flaunting his multiple gold chains — said: “Since childhood, I wanted to build an image for myself just like Elvis Presley – dark glass, hairstyle and chain. I also wanted to do something similar. I have aped Presley to be what I look now.
He also recalled his meeting with King of Pop Michael Jackson in the mid 1990s.
“When Michael Jackson came to India, he met me, took my chain in hand and said, ‘Oh God! What a chain.’ He thought I will give it to him. When I shook hands with him, it felt like meeting God.
“I didn’t give him the chain because I thought if I will give the chain (featuring Ganpati) to him, then I will lose God. He praised my song ‘Disco dancer’.”
Another interesting fact about Lahiri’s career is that he is amongst the very few who have sung for two generations of actors — Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan, Dev and Sunil Anand, Dharmendra and Sunny Deol, Sunil and Sanjay Dutt.
“I am even ready to sing for Sunny’s son Karan Deol,” he said.
For the future, Lahiri looks forward to working with young talent across the world.
“I always try to move on with the young generation and try to make myself look like a newcomer. ‘Indu Sarkar’ was my 651st film. I am known as a ‘gold man’ all across the world. My style is what people remember me for. I will soon complete 50 years in the Indian music industry.
“When I look back at my long innings in the film industry, I feel happy and satisfied. For me audience is my God. I will be working till the time they will like my songs.”