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NEW DELHI: Music composer Bappi Lahiri, best known as Bollywood’s undisputed disco king, died in early hours of Wednesday in Mumbai, the Press Trust of India reported. He was 69.

Lahiri popularised the use of synthesized disco music in Indian cinema and even sang some of his own compositions. A string of musical blockbusters in the 1980s and 1990s included soundtracks such as Wardat, Disco Dancer, Namak Halaal, Dance Dance, Commando, Saheb, Gang Leader, Sailaab, and Sharaabi.

Having learnt to play the tabla at the age of three and initially trained by his parents, both music artistes, he received his first opportunity to score music in a Bengali film, Daadu (1972) while the first Hindi film for which he composed music was Nanha Shikari (1973). Lahiri, however, came into his own in Bollywood with Tahir Husain's film, Zakhmee (1975), for which he composed music and doubled as a playback singer.

Famous for his fast and dance-worthy tracks, Lahiri was known to recreate and sometimes even sample popular sounds from the foreign market for his soundtracks. Though he is remembered for disco-style songs, Bollywood has also seen softer soundtracks from him, including songs from films like Chalte Chalte and Zakhmee.

Portions of Lahiri's song "Thoda Resham Lagta Hai" were included in the 2002 song "Addictive" by American R&B (rhythm and blues) singer Truth Hurts. Following this, copyright holders Saregama India, Ltd. had sued Interscope Records and its parent company, Universal Music Group for more than $500 million. A Los Angeles federal judge subsequently barred further sales of the CD unless and until Lahiri was listed on the song's credits.

Lahiri, who worked with singers across generations, including Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosle, Vijay Benedict, Sharon Prabhakar, Alisha Chinai and Usha Uthup, continued working through the 1990s when he provided music for the Prakash Mehra produced Dalal starring Mithun Chakraborty.

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