Celebrated singer-composer Bappi Lahiri, who has stepped into the Disney world with “Shona” — a song for Hollywood film “Moana” — says he has always made music for the public instead of dwelling on giving a track an archival value.
“I make music for the public. If they like it, it’s a hit song. There is no point in criticising if today’s songs are creatively good or bad. When I compose anything for a film, the audience experiences and makes it popular and a hit. We should respect that,” Bappi, lovingly called Bappi Da in Hindi filmdom, told IANS.
Having said that, he added: “It is like a comparison between Test cricket and a ODI. You still remember songs like ‘Raat baaki’, ‘I am a disco dancer’, ‘Bombay se aaya mera dost’, ‘Aaj rapat jaaye’ and ‘Pag ghungroo…’, and you forget new film songs within a year or two. But in popular culture, public decides hits and flops, and I respect that.”
Known for his signature style of dressing up in a lot of gold ornaments, Bappi Da is excited about “Shona”, which is an attempt on Disney’s part to localise their Hollywood content for the Indian market.
He has thus voiced the dialogues and sung for the character of Tamatoa, a giant crab with a fondness for shiny treasures which he hoards.
“My family and I have been big fans of Disney. From its characters to its music, it has always been iconic. It’s a great pleasure to associate with ‘Moana’. I am always looking forward to doing new things.
“This is the first time I have dubbed for an animated character and I had a lot of fun doing that. I am hoping that people will enjoy this avatar of mine and shower their love on me like they have always done. It’s truly a ‘golden’ memory,” quipped the 63-year-old.
Giving an insight into the character, he said: “The character of Tamatoa has a similarity with my personality. He likes gold and is happy-go-lucky just like me. So when I lent my voice for Tomatoa, I felt like I am talking about my character.
“Though I have sung in western films before, I am very excited about this film because I have done voice acting here for an important character.”
In Indian films, Bappi Da is known for bringing in the use of synthesized disco music in the 1980s era.
Asked about his western musical influence, he said: “My foundation is based on Indian classical music as I learnt tabla and was surrounded by Hindustani vocal music thanks to my parents, Aparesh Lahiri and Bansari Lahiri. However, from the age of 12, when I started learning piano and listening to jazz music, I got the exposure to western music.
“Naturally, when you get exposed to the best of both the worlds, it shapes up the composer in you and that reflects on my musical compositions.”
“Moana”, stars Auli’i Cravalho as the titular heroine and Dwayne Johnson as Maui. The film showcases the life-changing journey of a tenacious 16-year-old who teams up with the mighty demigod Maui to fulfil an ancient quest. The film releases in India on December 2.