| Bappi Lahiri at Hyatt Regency. Picture: Bhubaneswarananda Halder
What are you currently working on?
Again golden era has come. First of all 2010 was Golmaal 3. Disco Dancer song again. I am a disco dancer sung by me fresh with Mithun Chakraborty. In 2011 it was Ooh la la (Dirty Picture) and 2013 beginning was fantastic. I got Special 26... Akshay Kumar’s Dhar pakad song was very good and picture also become Rs 100-crore business. And then Jolly LLB... Mere toh law lag gaye song become superhit, picture also become hit.
Now Himmatwala song is rage all over the country, all over the world. My old songs Taki taki, Naino mein sapna, Dhoka dhoka sung by me. I am very much happy because song has very much appreciate. Everywhere song is going on. Abhi ek chiz bolna hai ke new age mein I completed 40 years in this industry. Approximately 500 films have released in Bengali, Tamil, Telugu... all these. One Tamil song Naughty Raja Raja in Karuppampatti become very big hit in Tamil, sung by Bappi Lahiri.
My voice immensely public has liking whenever I am singing. Every week I am getting four songs. I have got no time. Selected two songs I am singing. Like Zindagi 50-50 one picture is coming. I have sang the song... the title song.
War chhorna yaar, latest picture with Sharman Joshi and Soha Ali Khan... has a beautiful subject. The title song I have sang.
Lot of songs are coming like I have sang one song on Dev, the superstar of Bengal. Latest tune by Sri Pritam.
My ambitious project is coming because song has become a fantastic song composed by me, sung by me also and one song sung by Alka Yagnik.
Agnidev Chatterjee’s latest movie A Political Murder. Rahul-Priyanka and Rituparna Sengupta. Subject is fantastic. And I am creating all my old style. Like the ’70s style of music. There is a song Awesome Kolkata… khub bhalo gaan... will be superhit in A Political Murder.
Another thing, one of my song has released just, top in chart in UK, you have seen the video in YouTube, The Holy War — Bappi Lahiri and Jazzy B. Holiya me ude re gulaal, sung by Bappi Lahiri and Jazzy B, become craze in England. Jazzy B is a very topmost popstar from UK.
One more single has released in America, another English song called Jhoom. Sung by Elle Vee and Bappi Lahiri together. I have produced and composed, and it come out very well. Released 19th March in Los Angeles. Jake the Jewla does the rap and song by Elle Vee and Bappi Lahiri.
What happened to your single with Snoop Dogg?
It is a very good music. It will be chart topper. It will release in August. Very good album. Snoop Dogg is a big name. Bappi Lahiri and Snoop Dogg, in today’s time, create a rage.
Your take on contemporary Bengali music...
You know my journey from Ogo Bodhu Sundori, I am lucky I have done the last compose of Mahanayak Uttam Kumar. So ei je amar journey in Bangla chhobi... so many films and songs... Banglar itihaas hoye achhe.... Then there is Bangla album, Pujor gaan.
Akhonkar Bangla gaan okay. But it is same thing like Bollywood. Lyrics not like old. Today the writing is not like what it was in those days. Kobitar chhonde lekha, seta ektu komey gechhe... Today music is there but has no repeat value.
Who are your favourite music makers in Bengal today?
Jeet Gannguli. I sung his composed music, all superhit. Le Halwa Le, with Mithun Chakraborty, songs are superhit. Jeet Gannguli is doing very good work. I don’t know names of other composers of today. I love Bangla band. Chandrabindoo and Bhoomi are my favourite bands.
Do you listen to contemporary Bengali music that you are not a part of?
I do listen. I appreciate also. But I take time to appreciate. First I Google. I go online. It happens often that first I appreciate a song very much but later find that it is a copy of some other song. Tokhon khub dukkho pai.
Any upcoming vocalist/composer who reminds you of yourself in the early days?
Yes there is. One man who played the keyboard with me in Himmatwala. He is an international figure, A.R. Rahman. I really like his work. He also sings, composes. He is just like me. Gaaner moddhye dhuke achhe. Always busy with work, like me.
Many years from now when you look back, what will matter to you the most?
Recently one man asked me, Sachin Tendulkar is not retiring... you are also singing for 40 years, not retiring... why? Music is something you like more with age. Music becomes great with age. It can’t stop. As the son of Aparesh Lahiri and Bansari Lahiri I have come across great people of music. Fifty years back, when Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, he was then 60 years old, sang Ka karu sajani aaye na balam in a private mehfil, amra kende felechhilam, we seriously cried.
But one thing I must tell you... I have done a lot in my life. You can’t see the wall in my house... all covered with gold discs and platinum discs. No place to keep award. But that is not all. What you have done five years back, don’t see. What you are now doing? So I want what is my success today, we must discuss that. Many years after, I will be in music only.
You love Calcutta...
Calcutta is my city. Bhalobashar shohor. I completed 40 years in Bollywood. In Calcutta it is more. I am working here before Bombay. I was 11 years old when my father sang for Megaphone Records (78rpm). The song Siribhanga onker moto e jibon was my composition. (Starts singing) I am proud that I was born in Calcutta, Bengali film has given me the Golden Lotus Award. In the history of Bengali films I have such big name. Itihaase lekha thaklo....
Besides music, what do you do?
Now, nothing is there other than music. But at a time, chhotobelate... I loved to play cricket. I was a bowler. I was so mad about cricket that I said gaan bajna korbo na, cricket khelbo… but Baba said music is in your blood. So you will sing. You will break your hand in cricket. So it is better that you do music. So I started with tabla at the age of four. My life is tabla.
One thing people don’t know about you...
I always say I am a God believer. I am a spiritual man. Many do not know, I generally don’t tell, today I am telling you, I can read people’s faces. Astrology. If I go to someone’s house, I can feel if the house is good or bad. If there is any negative energy in the house. This is inborn talent. Karur face dekhle bujhte pari aage ki hobe... I have cultivated this power. Hidden talent.
Who would you like to go on a date with?
From yesteryears it is definitely Princess Diana. And from the latest, Katrina Kaif (bursts into laughter). Anek chhoto amar theke... ha ha ha (keeps laughing and then starts humming) Ei to jibon, jak na jedike jete chaye mon... beyara, chalao fowara…
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