|By Brian Santhumayor [ Published Date: August 8, 2012 ]|
Washington D.C: Despite the severe thunderstorm watch that was issued on Sunday, August 5, for parts of Maryland, enthusiastic fans of Bappi Lahiri thronged the venue in Beltsville, Maryland where the “King of Indian Disco” was set to captivate them with pulsating, high octane, and heart-stompin’ music. The event was presented by Shah, Udeshi Inc. & ISOPA and supported by India Samaj, GMM, Gujarati Samaj D.C. and Global Television Network.
Bappi Lahiri needs no introduction. He comes from a distinguished family of singers. His maternal relatives include the renowned singer Kishore Kumar. His wife –Mrs. Chitrani comes from a family of singers, his daughter Ms. Rema is also an excellent singer, and son Bappa Lahiri is a respected music director. Bappi is widely recognized throughout India as the sole originator of the disco beat in India. He first used disco in his film Suraksha in 1979 starring actor Mithun Chakraborty. As a renowned music director, singer and composer, he is part of the music fabric of Indian cinema. He has been lauded for his popular music that has satiated Indian cinema goers from around the world, thus landing him a permanent place on the pedestal of stardom in Bollywood.
Growing up in India in the coastal city of Mangalore renowned for its scenic beauty and a population that is fascinated by Indian cinema and music, I have immensely enjoyed watching the movies of yesteryears which include Chalte Chalte (1976), Namak Halaal(1982), Disco Dancer (1982), Sharaabi (1984), and many others. The wide appeal and success of these movies can also be attributed to Bappi Lahiri who scored the music for these films as well as many other Hindi films.
The well-known Master of Ceremonies - Nilima Mehra ceremoniously introduced the budding singer Ms. Dipanwita Choudhury (from Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar 2010) who is gifted with a melodious voice that can melt the heart of any fan. She rendered a song sung by the legendary Lata Mangeshkar –‘Ankhiyon Ko Rehne De’ followed by ‘Jhoom Jhoom Jhoom Baba’ from the movie Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki. Her act was followed by singer Sunny Jadhav who professed his admiration for late Kishore Kumar and dedicated a song to the late superstar Rajesh Khanna. His rendition of ‘Mere Sapno Ki Rani’ a popular Hindi song from the 1969 Bollywood movie Aradhana, transported many in the audience back into the Golden Age of Indian cinema and got them on their feet clamoring for more. The audiences were then treated to another star singer – Ms. Maampee Nair (Zee Saregamapa Singing Superstar 2010). She sang ‘Tere Bina Zindagi Se’ originally sung by Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar.
Finally, it was time for the “King of Indian Disco" to take the stage. He made a grand appearance with his trademark gold ornaments and sunglasses. He paid tribute to his Mamaji (uncle), the late Kishore Kumar and reminded the audience Kishoreji’s birthday was on August 4. He sang songs from hit movies – Disco Dancer and Namak Halaal followed by the very popular song “Ooh La La” from the movie – ‘The Dirty Picture’. Bappi Lahiri and Shreya Ghosal have lent their voice to the song. The crowd sprang to their feet chanting for an encore. Bappi also catered to the taste of a very diverse audience by also singing songs in Bengali and Gujarati. For the next two hours, Bappi and singers Dipanwita Choudhury, Sunny Jadhav, and Maampee Nair backed by a talented orchestra, sang songs from hit movies that included Kalakaar, Sharaabi, Namak Halaal, Agneepath, and many others. He also sang his song 'Sochana Kya' from the 1990 blockbuster 'Ghayal'.
Many in the audience reminisced of their nostalgic days in India witnessing the golden era of cinema which produced legendary singers, musicians and directors who became household names in India. Today, Indian cinema is influencing Western musical films, and has played a particularly instrumental role in the revival of the genre in the Western world. Bappi Lahiri continues to go beyond the barriers between the East and West and is striving to make history once more with his new album-My Love. Last year, he released an album ‘Walking on Love Street’ featuring American Idol winner Shaun Barrows.
Bappi should be lauded for providing newcomers with opportunities in the Hindi film industry. He continues his reign as a trendsetter in Indian music and his popularity with audiences’ world-wide especially his die-hard fans who can never forget his contribution to Indian music and cinema in a career spanning over 40 years.
About The Author
Brian Santhumayor is actively involved with Benefit Premiere Screenings and launches of Hollywood/Bollywood movies. He currently works for the U.S. State Department as a Liaison Officer and has won many leadership awards including U.S. President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award, Leadership Award from the U.S. State Department, and a Commendation from U.S. President Bill Clinton’s American India Foundation for his leadership. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.