Though Bappi Lahiri is mostly known for his Hindi and Bengali songs, he had also composed several songs in the south that became big hits.

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Flix Music Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 15:57

Bappi Lahiri, the king of disco in India, has passed away at 69. While the musician was known for several Bengali songs, his Hindi hits like 'Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Aaja', ‘Yaad Aa Raha Hai’, ‘Bambai Se Aaya Mera Dost’, ‘Tamma Tama Loge’ and others made him popular in Bollywood. He also had a body of work in the south Indian film industries. Kids who grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s in Tamil Nadu, for instance, would certainly be familiar with ‘Naan Oru Disco Dancer’, the evergreen Anand Babu song in which the actor performs wizardry on the dance floor. Sung by SP Balasubrahmanyam, the music of Paadum Vaanampadi, a remake of the Hindi film Disco Dancer, was composed by Shankar-Ganesh and Bappi Lahiri.

Before Paadum Vaanampadi, Bappi had composed music for Apoorva Sahodharigal (not to be confused with Apoorva Sahodharargal) in which Urvashi performed a disco number ‘My Name is Rosy’. Characteristic of the period, the song features a glitzy stage and dancers in shiny costumes breaking into English lines in between. It was sung by SPB and S Janaki, a combination that Bappi Lahiri repeated in several songs. KS Chitra and SPB was another combination that frequently featured in Bappi Lahiri albums. 

Though Bappi’s songs in Tamil became popular, it was in Telugu that he did a string of films, starting with Simhasanam in 1986. Megastar Chiranjeevi condoled Bappi Lahiri’s death by recalling his association with the music director, who gave him several hits. “He gave numerous chartbusters for me which contributed immensely to my films’ popularity. He will always be remembered for his unique style & his great enthusiasm for life which reflected in his music,” Chiranjeevi tweeted.

One of their popular collaborations includes the 1991 film Gang Leader, which also had Vijayashanti in the lead. Chiranjeevi is known for not only his acting but also his dancing skills and he played a dancer in this film. With Bappi Lahiri’s disco music, Chiranjeevi set the dance floor on fire with numbers like ‘Papa Rita’ and ‘Sunday Ananu Ra’.

Other films that became big hits because of the music and dance include State Police, Rowdy Alludu and Big Boss. Here’s Chiranjeevi and Radha grooving to ‘1 2 3 4’ from State Police:

Another song with a high recall value is ‘Number 1 Number 2’ from Big Boss.

Bappi Lahiri ventured into Kannada with Africadalli Sheela in 1986. Directed by Dwarakish, the film was remade as Kizhakku Africavil Sheela in Tamil. The first Indian film to be shot in African forests, Africadalli Sheela was a fantasy film about a doctor who goes to Africa along with his family to help the tribal people. However, he and his wife get killed, and their daughter is raised by apes. She grows up to become Sheela (Sahila Chadha), and the rest of the film is about an expedition with vested interests and is tied to Sheela’s fate. Here’s the ‘Sheela Sheela’ song that even has the heroine riding a zebra!

Krishna Nee Begane Baro with Vishnuvardhan and Bhavya also had music by Bappi Lahiri and featured popular songs like ‘Mummy Mummy’.

‘Nanu Garam Garam’ from Police Matthu Dada, starring Vishnuvardhan and Sangeeta Bijlani, and with music by Bappi Lahiri, is a Kannada party song that became a superhit. ‘Nanna Manadali’ from the same film, sung by SPB and KS Chitra, was also a hit with the audience.

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