Guwahati: Assam is celebrating the 94th birthday of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, the legendary music maestro, lyricist, writer, composer, film director, and producer. A solemn function was organized at his Samadhi Sthal or memorial in Jalukbari near here. State Culture Minister Naba Doley and younger sister of Dr. Hazarika, Sudakshina Sharma, were present at the function among a lot of other eminent personalities and fans of the Bard of Brahmaputra.
Born at Sadia in upper Assam on this day in the year 1926 into a family of teachers, Hazarika was the eldest of the 10 siblings. Hazarika completed his basic education in 1942 in Guwahati. He completed his BA from Benaras Hindu University in 1944 and an MA in Political Science in 1946. He also pursued Mass Communications in Columbia University.
Popularly known as Sudhakantha, Hazarika penned his first song, 'Kusumbor Putro Sri Sankar Guru', at the age of 11, for All India Radio. At 13, he composed the music for his song 'Agni Jugor Firingoti Moi Natun Asom Gorhim' which became a popular number later on. He sang his first song 'Biswa Bijoy Nou Jowan' in the second Assamese movie 'Indramalati' released in 1939.
Hazarika composed, wrote, and sang numerous songs in Bengali and Hindi as well till the 1990s. Some of his popular Bengali numbers include 'Ami Ek Jajabor', 'Ganga Amar Ma', 'Hey Dola Hey Dola', 'Manush Manusher Janya'.
He was also an author and poet with over 1000 short stories, poems, and essays to his credit.
Hazarika directed and produced several Assamese movies, the prominent ones being 'Pratidhwani', 'Era Bator Sur', 'Loti Ghoti', 'Sakuntala'. His wife Priyam Patel Hazarika performed in the song 'Sagar Sangomot' in the movie 'Era Bator Sur'. Priyam Hazarika passed away in 2015, four years after the death of her husband Dr. Hazarika. Their only son Tez Hazarika is settled in the US.
Bhupen Hazarika sang in Hindi films produced and directed by his long-time companion Kalpana Lajmi like Rudaali, Ek Pal, Darmein among many others. Dr Hazarika has close associations with Gulzar, and the three Mangeshkar sisters - Lata, Asha, and Usha. In fact, Lata and Usha sang in the Assamese for Dr. Hazarika.
Lata Mangeshkar sang the popular song 'Jonakore Rati' for Sazarika's film 'Era Bator Sur'. He also made famous Hindi vocalist Suman Kalyanpur sing in Assamese the popular number 'Oi Oi Aakash Subo'.
Famous singers Shaan, Hari Haran, Kavitha Krishnamurty are some other popular artistes who were close associates of the late Bard who was an ardent fan of Paul Robeson, the prominent civil rights activist of New York and the inspiration behind the popular number 'We are in the same boat brother' and the popular Assamese song by Dr. Hazarika, 'Bistirna Parore'.
Sudhakantha was conferred many awards. In 1975 he got the National Film Award for best music direction for his film Chameli MemSaab. He was conferred Padma Shree in 1977, Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1987. In 1992 he was honored with Dada Saheb Phalke Award the highest honor in the Indian film world for his contribution to Assamese music, film, and the world of art and culture of Assam. In 2001 he was awarded Padma Bhushan. He got Assam Ratna in 2008. In 2012 he was honored posthumously with Padma Vibhushan.
His golden voice, his songs 'Manuhe Manuhor Babe', 'Dil Hoom Hoom Kore', 'Bistirna Parore', 'Moi Eti Jajabor', 'Mur Gan Haok', 'Jilikabo Luitore Paar', have inspired generations and will continue to do so forever.