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Singer-composer Bappi Lahiri dies at 69

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The veteran, who began writing music as a teenager, died in a Mumbai hospital on 15 February.

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Our Correspondent

Singer and music composer Bappi Lahiri, known for incorporating disco beats into Hindi film music during the 1980s and 1990s, died on Tuesday night at a Mumbai hospital. He was 69.

The veteran composer had several health issues and had been in Breach Candy Hospital last April after testing positive for COVID-19. He was admitted to the CritiCare Hospital in Juhu a month ago and was discharged on Monday but had to be re-admitted the following day.

Dr Deepak Namjoshi, director of CritiCare Hospital, told the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, “Lahiri had been admitted to the hospital for a month and was discharged on Monday. But his health deteriorated on Tuesday and his family called for a doctor to visit their home. He was brought to the hospital. He had multiple health issues. He died due to OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) shortly before midnight.”

Born Alokesh Lahiri on 27 November 1952, in Jalpaiguri, West Bengal to Aparesh and Bansari Lahiri, both of whom were singers, he began playing the tabla from age three and got his training from his parents. As a teenager, he ventured into music composition and made his debut with the Bengali film Dadu (1969).

The next year, he composed music for his first Hindi film, Nannha Shikari (1973), but it was Tahir Husain's Hindi film, Zakhmee (1975), which was his real breakthrough. He also sang on the film’s soundtrack.

Over the years he became known for donning several gold chains and dark sunglasses. His hit film soundtracks over the years include Chalte Chalte (1976), Surakksha (1979), Shikshaa (1979), Disco Dancer (1982), Himmatwala (1983), Saaheb (1985), Geraftaar (1985), Dance Dance (1987), Sailaab (1990), Shola Aur Shabnam (1992) and Aankhen (1993).

He won the Filmfare award for Best Music Director for Sharaabi (1984) and was honoured with the Lifetime Achievement award at the 63rd Filmfare Awards in 2018.

In 2020, the composer's old tunes were remixed for the films Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (2020) such as a reboot of 'Yaar Bina Chayn Kahan Re' from Saaheb, while composer Tanishk Bagchi turned his hit 'Ek Ankh Marun To' from Tohfa (1984) into 'Bhankas' for Baaghi 3 (2020).

Bappi Lahiri is survived by his wife Chitrani, his daughter Rema and son Bappa. His grandson Rego-B followed in his grandfather's footsteps by singing the song 'Bachcha Party' last year.

In a statement, his family shared, "It’s a deeply sad moment for us. The cremation will take place on the arrival of Bappa from LA tomorrow mid-morning. We are seeking love and blessings for his soul. We will keep you updated."

The Indian film industry eulogized the singer-composer and paid tribute to his legacy.

Related topics

Indian cinema