In conversation with Bappi Lahiri

He was the brother I never had: Bappi Lahiri mourns the death of Vishal Anand

Bisham Kohli, also known as Vishal Anand passed away on Monday. We can’t say he left a void behind. His contribution to Indian cinema was minimal as compared with his distinguished uncles Dev Anand, Vijay Anand and Chetan Anand.

But he did a leave a heartbroken iconic musician behind.

Bappi Lahiri wept inconsolably. “Jab dost chala jaata hai to dukh hota hai. I am glad you called to ask me about Bisham Kohli. He was the brother I never had. When I came to Mumbai from Kolkata to make a name for myself among stalwart composers like S D Burman , Naushad, Madan Mohan, Shankar-Jaikishan, Laxmikanrt-Pyarelal and R D Burman who would have thought of giving me a chance? Bhisham took a chance on me. That’s how Chalte Chalte happened.”

Every song in Chalte Chalte was a hit. “I poured my entire being into the soundtrack. It was a turning point for me. Bhisham(Vishal) not only produced the film he also played the lead.My song Chalte chalte mere yeh geet yaad rakhna which Kishoreda sang to perfection and which is my life and career’s signature tune was filmed on Bhisham. Two years later he starred in Dil Se Mile Dil and he also directed the film. This also had lovely music by me. But couldn’t be as successful as Chalte Chalte. Bhisham also directed Kismet with Mithunda in the lead. That too had my music. I was not only close to Bhisham but also to his two brothers . In Harsh Kohli’s Aap Ki Khatir I had the hit song Bambai se aaya mera dost. I owe that family a lot.”

Getting emotional again, Bappida says, “In spite of Chalte Chalte Bhisham couldn’t make a success of his career. People always compared him to his distinguished uncles . He changed his name to Vishal Anand. But that didn’t help either. No one can change destiny. Mere kismet mein Chalte Chalte likha tha. No concert of mine is complete without the title song from Chalte Chalte . Recently I performed in the US the entire audience joined in the song with their cellphones in their hands with lights on.And I suddenly thought, this is the song they will play when I die. Chalte chalte mere yeh geet yaad rakhna kabhi alvida na kehna.”

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