Human Interest

Bappi Lahiri, ‘gold-man’ of the Indian entertainment industry, dies at 69

New Delhi, Feb 16 (EFE).- India’s legendary singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, known as the “gold-man” for his flamboyant clothing and jewelry style, has passed away at the age of 69, sending the Indian film industry in a pall of gloom.

Fondly known as Bappi da, Lahiri died Tuesday night in the CritiCare Hospital in Mumbai, India’s entertainment and financial capital.

“It is a deeply sad moment for us. Our beloved Bappi Da left for heavenly abode last midnight,” his family said in a brief statement.

The singer-musician was in the hospital for multiple health issues and breathed his last due to a respiratory disorder, local media quoted a doctor at the hospital as saying.

Credited for pioneering the fusion of Indian music and disco beats, Lahiri became a household name for cinema lovers with his superhit soundtracks for films like “Disco Dancer,” “Dance Dance,” “Chalte Chalte,” and “Namak Halaal.”

His title track for the 1982 movie “Disco Dancer” still resonates in Indian discotheques these days, apart from being widely popular among fans abroad.

The genre earned him another nickname of the “Disco King” of the Indian film and music industry.

He also carried an image for his inimitable dressing style, trademark sunglasses, and love for the bling.

He would always be seen in public wearing thick gold chains, bracelets, and rings studded with stones.

“Old is always gold,” the musician wrote three days ago in his last Instagram post to his followers, attaching a black-and-white photo from his younger days.

Lahiri revealed the reason behind his obsession for gold in an interview with an Indian English daily, The Hindustan Times, in 2009.

“Gold is my lucky charm. When I recorded “Zakhmee” (1975), my mom gave me a gold chain with a locket that has god’s name. When I got married, (my wife) said that gold is very lucky. As my married life passed by, my gold chains got bigger. The gold Ganpati (the elephant-headed Hindu god) around my neck keeps me safe,” Lahiri said.

“Today, if someone wears gold chains, they say why are you copying Bappi da. Only few people have such an image. Elvis Presley had a gold cross, Michael Jackson has sunglasses and Elton John has a hat.”

Lahiri was born in the eastern Indian city of Kolkata in 1952 into a family with a rich tradition in classical music.

According to a bio on his official website, he began his career as a music director when he was 19.

“Bappi rose from strength to strength, and the music (he composed) was tremendously popular, placing him on the pedestal of stardom, making him the youngest music director of his time,” said the bio.

He also had a brief stint with reality shows on television.

In 2006, he appeared on the popular musical TV show “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa L’il Champs” as a judge on Zee TV.

A year later, he judged the “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Challenge 2007.”

He was also a judge for Sony TVs “K For Kishore” reality show.

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