What inspires him these days? The Godfather, a new reality show and Whitney
Mumbai, August 21: Bappi Lahiri’s eyeing a
Grammy. After 450 films, 100 platinum discs and a career that’s spanned 32
years, Bappida feels that it can’t be that difficult. ‘‘I’m trying to be
more international now. I’m even negotiating with Whitney Houston to sing a
duet on an album,’’ says Lahiri, seated at Rain, Juhu in a trademark deep
blue polyester suit, accessorised with seven gold chains, three armlets and
dark Chanel shades.
In his attempt to appeal to a Western audience, Lahiri’s also tweaking his
style to incorporate a touch of sophistication. ‘‘The theme tune for my new
film, Maine Gandhi ko Nahin Maara is along the lines of The Godfather
melody,’’ he grins.
But back home, he’s all set to host a musical talent hunt on television.
Tight-lipped about details, he claims that it’s a natural progression, since
artists junior to him—Ismail Durbar, Himesh Reshammiya, and Shankar
Mahadevan have already plunged headfirst into judging. ‘‘I have earlier been
a guest on Sa Re Ga Ma, and I am the original king of pop,’’ he boasts
digging into a mozzarella samosa and some scorched potatoes on a vegetarian
Since Kaliyon ka Chaman revived a flagging career, a number of remix albums
have made him a runaway hit on the disco scene. Up for release is Habiba
Remixed and a Gori Hain Kalaiyan mix. ‘‘Whenever I enter a nightclub, they
always start playing Yaar Bina Chain Kahaan Re and people compliment me on
my extravagant image,’’ he says, proudly showing off the numerous studded
rings on his fingers.
Lahiri fondly recalls the first time he came across the word bling
describing him in The Los Angeles Times. ‘‘Bling is glamorous and hip. Even
rappers abroad have started copying my jewellery and dark glasses,’’ he
Funk is so much a part of his persona, that often fans don’t recognise him
in plainclothes. ‘‘Recently in London, I had to actually convince a group of
boys that I was indeed Bappida because I wasn’t wearing my chains and
glasses,’’ he laughs.
A huge Elvis fan, it was watching the King perform that inspired him to get
snazzy. A session with a numerologist later, Alokesh became Bappi.
Seven neckpieces, each dedicated to a different god, have been glued to his
chest from the beginning. But recently, he donated one to be auctioned for
The showman claims that he’s also been approached to lend his name to
jewellery brands. But he looks forward to starting his own venture soon—Bappi’s
jewels. Anyone for a B-shaped gold pendant studded with rubies?
NEWSFILE: 21 AUGUST 2005