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Last Updated: Monday, 29 January 2007, 08:28 GMT
Veteran Bollywood composer dies
OP Nayyar
His music made listeners go crazy
One of India's best-known music composers, OP Nayyar, has died aged 81.

Nayyar was known for his soulful numbers and lively beats and composed music for many hit Bollywood films over almost six decades.

Doctors said he died from a massive heart attack in Thane, near the western city of Mumbai (Bombay) on Sunday.

Senior members of the Bollywood music fraternity say Nayyar is irreplaceable and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has offered his condolences.

"He was a creative and innovative musical genius who endeared himself to many generations," the prime minister said in a statement.

'Signature hoof beats'

Bollywood's best-known female lead singer Lata Mangeshkar said: "His work was different from his contemporaries. One could always identify an OP song. He left his distinct mark on his songs."

Ravi Chopra, son of director BR Chopra, told the Indian Express newspaper: "His music had a signature feel of its own, it made listeners go crazy - remember those signature hoof beats?"

BR Chopra directed the hugely successful Naya Daur (A New Era) which stood out not just for its star cast including Dilip Kumar and Vyjantimala Bali, but also for its foot-tapping music.

Nayyar, who was born in Lahore in undivided India in 1926, is survived by his wife, son and three daughters.

But he was living with a friend's family after having split from his own more than a decade ago.

His lawyer and friend, Shailesh Sadekar, told the BBC that Nayyar went about his normal routine during the day.

"Around the afternoon, he went to the bathroom where he suddenly became unwell and collapsed," Mr Sadekar said.

He said Nayyar had often told them that on his demise, his family should not be called and they have respected his wish.

All-time favourite

Nayyar got his first break in films in 1949, and his career was at its peak in the 1950s and 1960s when he composed music for scores of Bollywood films.

As well as Naya Daur (A New Era), other hits included Tumsa Nahin Dekha (Never Seen Anyone Like You), Howrah Bridge, Kashmir Ki Kali (Kashmir's Bud), Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (I've Come Back With the Same Heart) and Mere Sanam (My Love).

Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo (My Name is Chin Chin Choo) - a dance number from film Howrah Bridge - became an all-time favourite and can still be heard at parties and discos.

His pairing with the legendary singer, Asha Bhonsle, created magic and they worked together in around 70 films.

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