LOS ANGELES – A huge crowd comprising Indian American and Bangladeshi American fans attended music legend Bappi Lahiri’s concert, which was held April 23 at the Aratani Theater here.
The concert, presented by CM and SM Entertainment, was the first in a multi-city tour to celebrate 45 years of the legend’s musical journey.
The opening dance of the concert featured kids of the Revolution Institute of Performing Arts, who danced to the super hit tunes of ‘Bappi Da,’ including “Tamma Tamma.”
Two talented local artists, Mahima and Mithil, selected by Lahiri’s son, Bappa Lahiri, for his new reality program, “3iii,” or “International Indian Icon,” for which Bappi Lahiri is the grand master, opened the show.
Mahima, started with “Jawani Janeman,” a popular Asha Bhosle number, and “Jiya Jiya Re” from “Jab Tak Hai Jaan.” Mithil, wearing a hat, glided onto the stage singing “Bang Bang” and ended with a zesty rendering of “Buleya” from “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.” His cool dance moves were greeted with enthusiastic cheers and claps by the audience.
Mahtab Azamee, the local promoter from the Bangladeshi community, entertained the audience with Bengali and Hindi songs before and after the interval. Saying that Bappi Da is his icon and lifelong inspiration for his own musical training, he paid respect to the veteran music director who in turn blessed him on stage.
Shohel Rahman Badal, a Bangladeshi American community leader, said that people in Bangladesh love Bappi Lahiri and his music.
Petite Garima Khiste of “The Voice of India” fame, who was dressed in a blue gown, sang “Zid Na Karo” from “Lahu Ka Do Rang” and “Raat Baaki Baat Baaki” in her mellifluous voice.
Compere Shazia Haq Mimi introduced Bappi Lahiri as the pioneer of disco music in India during the ‘70s, and as a musical genius way ahead of his time, someone who invents himself time and again with relevance.
Dressed in black with his signature glittering gold chains, bracelets, rings and a shiny watch, Lahiri walked onto the stage and greeted the audience warmly. Knowing that the audience was overwhelmingly Bengali, he spoke in Bengali, thanking the audience for coming to the show and expressed his happiness to perform for them. The “disco king” started off the show with “Jaanu Jaanu,” singing in Bengali and Hindi alternately, and followed it up with “Yaad Aaa Raha Hai” and “Koi Yahan Aaha Nache Nache.”
Inviting Garima on to the stage to sing duets with him, he sang the foot tapping “Tune Maari Entry Yaar,” a super hit number from “Gunday.” Then he belted out the song that made Mithun Chakravarthy an overnight sensation, “I am a Disco Dancer,” followed by a medley of Amitabh Bachchan hits such as “Paga Gungroo Baand Meera Naache Re,” “De De Pyar De,” “Rang Barse Bheeghe Chunarwali,” “Yaar Bina Chein Kaha Re” and his personal favorite, “Inteha Ho Gayi Intezar Ki” from “Sharabi,” and the crowd favorite “Ooh La La” from “Dirty Picture.” Garima concluded the first half with “Nagada Sang Dol Baje,” “Ram Chahe Leela Chahe” from “Ram Leela.”
The legend opened the second half after changing into a blue overcoat and a glittery scarf. Although he is an Indian first, he said as a Bengali it is imperative to sing Rabindra Sangeet and pay respect to the great poet Rabindra Nath Tagore from Bengal. He talked about his long musical journey in the Indian film industry spanning four decades and various Indian languages by thanking God and his fans for his success. He went on to sing another string of medleys such as “Jo Bhi Hoga Dekha Jayega” from “Ghayal,” “Mumbai Se Aaaya Mera Dost,” “Takki Re” and “Tamma Tamma Loge Tamma,” one of his signature songs recreated for the recent film, “Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya.” He ended the show with “Chalte Chalte Mere Yeh Geet Yaad Rakhna Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna” to thunderous applause.
Bappa Lahiri was brilliant on the drums and was ably assisted by Hitesh Khiste on the keyboard, Rishi Thakkar on the octopad and tabla, Asif Ali on the lead guitar, and Imran Ali on the bass guitar.
Earlier, speaking to India-West, the music director shared about his foray into Hollywood with his track, “Come Closer,” in the movie “Lion,” his music tracks in the Indian version of the movie “Moana,” and the track “Jhoom Jhoom Baba” in the upcoming movie, “Guardians of the Galaxy 2.”