Bappi Lahiri: 'People love me and my music!'


Mumbai, June 29 -- There's no stopping Bappi Lahiri. At 60, he has as much to look forward to in his music career as any successful young, upcoming composer. 'Ooh la la' from The Dirty Picture (2011) might have given his four-decade-long career a fresh lease of life, but then, things had never really slowed down for him before that. Bappi da had never really taken a back seat. In the past few months, he's sung in almost half a dozen films and performed many concerts around the globe.
Recently, he was felicitated at UK's House of Lords for composing and singing an anthem, titled 'Justice for widows' on the occasion of the International Widows Day. In this interview, he talks about his long innings in the industry, and projects he is currently working on.
Tell us more about the anthem and your association with the charity.
It is a great honour for me to receive an award at the House of Lords. It was presented to me by Cherie Blair. I was approached by Lord Raj Loomba, who requested me to come up with an anthem for International Widows Day. So I composed one song; it was sung by me and arranged by my son, Bappa. We recorded the song at the famous Abbey Road Studios. This is the same place where, about 30 years ago, I recorded an album with (veteran Bangadeshi singer) Runa Laila. This is the first time an Indian composer has sung in English and received such an honour.
You recently collaborated with Bappa on a song for the film Enemmy. How is it to work with you son?
Bappa has done a great job. The music of Enemmy is getting popular. This year, I sang songs in the Akshay Kumar-starrer, Special 26, and Jolly LLB. Some of my old songs were used in Ajay Devgn's Himmatwala. Even though the film didn't do well, its music was much appreciated. I have been in the music industry for 40 years. I have composed music for around 500 films and introduced pop-disco songs to the film industry. My songs are disco numbers that have beautiful lyrics and melodious tunes. People love me and my music. That's why all my songs are getting popular all over again.
What projects are you working on currently?
Besides being part of many movies, there is something really big that I've worked on recently. I have recorded a song for the Queen (Elizabeth II). It is called 'Long live our Queen' and it has come out very well. I have sent over the song to Buckingham Palace. No Indian has ever composed a song for the Crown. Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney are the only ones who have done that so far.
What made you sing for the British Crown?
It's not a celebration, it is just a tribute. Sometime ago, I had composed a song on Mother Teresa. Now, I want to make more and more tribute songs. These will be for a good cause and not for any commercial purpose.
Which are your favourite music composers from the current crop?
AR Rahman is fantastic. He has made it big not only in India, but internationally too. Shankar Mahadevan is another great musician. Also, Vishal-Shekhar are extremely talented and are doing some great work.