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Sight & Sound

Prantik Deka

recalling the literary contributions of departed scholars 

The 13th Principal Bhabananda Deka-Nalini Prava Deka Endowment Lecture was successfully organised by the Assam Foundation-India in a solemn function held at the Guwahati Press Club, recently. The function also coincided with the release of three books – Principal Bhabananda Deka Rachanawali, Nalini Prava Deka Rachanawali and Arnab Jan Deka Natyawali – a compendium of the stage and radio plays written by storywriter-novelist Arnab Jan Deka.

The programme was presided over by Dr Narendra Nath Sarma, eminent historian and former Professor and Head, Department of Library and Information Science, Gauhati University, and attended by noted personalities like actors Pranjal Saikia and Dinesh Das; former Editor of Natun Dainik, Dr Rohini Kumar Barua; Satyendra Prasad Deka, founder-president of All Assam Lawyers’ Association; writer  Momi Borah; poet-physician Dr Sikha Sarma; poets Purabi Barua, Purabi Devi, Nizara Deka, Rinu Devi; scholars Dr Indrani Medhi, Rajib Hari Kaushik and Girindra Nath Deka, cine-journalist Arun Lochan Das; journalist Mukut Kumar Choudhury; adviser and president of the All Dimasa Students’ Union Prafulla Hafila, and Nabin Johori, respectively, among others.

The speakers, on the occasion, recalled the scholarly contributions of the eminent literary couple of the Awahon-Ramdhenu Era of Assamese literature – Bhabananda Deka and Nalini Prava Deka, and their selfless contribution in propagating and advancing the interests and glory of Assamese people. Guests of honour – Dr Rohini Kumar Baruah and Satyendra Prasad Deka, spoke about Bhabananda Deka’s pioneering works as an economist, his immense contributions to Sankari literature and ethnic communities like the Hajongs, Dimasas, Tiwas and the Karbis. They also spoke of his historic achievement in introducing Assamese as a subject, as well as a language in the all-India level competitive examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and Delhi University during his stint in New Delhi, where he worked as a Senior Research Officer in the Language Unit of the Commission, in the late ’60s. Other speakers recalled the couple’s significant role in the making of the first film on the great 15th century Vaishnavite saint and social reformer, Srimanta Sankaradeva, which was globally premiered in 1997 at Atlantic City and Somerset in the United States of America.

The book by Arnab Jan Deka, which was released in memory of his parents – Bhabananda Deka and Nalini Prava Deka, is a precious resource. As popular Assamese film actor Pranjal Saikia recalled during his speech, Deka has always been inventive and conscientious. A long-time associate of Deka, Saikia felt that it was youthful passion and enthusiasm that ultimately led him to accomplish the arduous task of authoring several stage and radio plays that he wrote as a school-going boy during 1980-81, at the peak of the Assam Movement. The actor also recalled his experience of working with Arnab Jan Deka as a co-artiste in films and television serials. He described Deka as a meticulous person, who learned the craft of writing and filmmaking through perseverance and years of dedicated practice.

Senior film actor Dinesh Das spoke about Arnab Jan Deka’s work, both as an author and actor-filmmaker, and his absolute commitment in bringing out the works of his departed parents.

Poet-physician Dr Sikha Sarma and Purabi Barua read out two self-composed poems, eulogising the finer qualities of eminent scholar Principal Bhabananda Deka. All the speakers praised Arnab Jan Deka for painstakingly recovering and editing the complete works of the departed scholars and bringing them out for the public through a series of books.

 

dr krishnakanta handique chosen for ‘bokulbon award’ 

Noted folk artiste of the State, Dr Krishnakanta Handique, has been selected for the 2020 Bokulbon Award.

The award is given annually by the Bokulban Trust here in memory of noted poet late Ananda Chandra Baruah, who was popularly known as ‘Bokulbanar Kabi’ and was also a former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha. The award carries a cash prize, a citation, a seleng sador and a packet of books.

A press release issued by the Trust stated that Dr Handique has been selected for the award for his valuable contributions throughout his life to promote and preserve state’s folk songs, music and culture outside Assam and abroad leading to enrichment of the Assamese treasure-house of art and culture.

“He (Dr Handique) has extensive knowledge about bhaona and has carried out wide promotion of the art in the country and also in Thailand,” it said.

The note further stated that Dr Handique founded the well-known Bihu troupe named Jhanjiparia Bihudol, which is a popular Bihu group across the State. Dr Handique has also authored several books on Assam’s folk art.

The release stated that the award will be conferred on Dr Handique at a function to be held on January 27 at the Danbir Radha Kanta Handique Bhawan located within the premises of the central office of the Asam Sahitya Sabha in Jorhat.

dramatist ashim sarma awarded 

Recently, the 69th Silpi Divas was celebrated under the joint aegis of Dhemaji Zilla Sahitya Sabha and Dhemaji unit of Marwari Yuva Manch, in which dramatist Ashim Sarma was awarded the ‘Hariram Khandeliya Memorial Award’.

While attending the programme held on the occasion at the Jyotiprasad Agarwala Smriti Bhavan, renowned writer Devi Prasad Bagrodia of Dibrugarh described Jyotiprasad Agarwala as ‘the best Assamese of all times’, who made immense contributions to the Assamese community. He lamented that Jyotiprasad’s social, literary and cultural contributions towards Assamese society were no less important than those of Kavi Guru Rabindranath Tagore, but the genius has not received his due national honour by successive governments.

Stating that the book ‘Silpir Prithivi’ authored by Jyotiprasad reflects all the realities of life of the artistes, Bagrodia urged the organisers to preserve his creations for the future generations. The programme included a ceremony of ‘Hariram Khandeliya Memorial Award’, which the Marwari Yuva Manch confers on a person who has made rich contributions in the field of literature, culture and fine arts. The award, this year, has gone to renowned artiste-cum-director of Song & Drama Division, AIR Ashim Kumar Sarma, serving at the All India Radio, Dibrugarh Regional unit.

 

village rockstars, bulbul can sing on netflix 

Village Rockstars and Bulbul Can Sing – directed by Rima Das, is now streaming on the popular over-the-top (OTT) platform Netflix.

Village Rockstars, which won the National Award for Best Feature Film in 2018 was also India’s official entry to Oscars at the Best Foreign Film category in Oscars 2019. It was Rima Das’ second directorial venture.

The film was shot entirely in her native village in Chaygaon in Assam’s Kamrup district. Village Rockstars tells the story of a young girl who aims to become a singer someday.

Bulbul Can Sing was also loved and admired by the audience and critic and won the National Award for Best Assamese Feature Film in 2019 and a host of other awards. It also narrates the tale of a bunch of youngsters and it was also shot in Chaygaon.