Late Dr Bhupen Hazarika is the legendary music maestro, lyricist, writer, composer, film director and producer of Assam. He also taught Education in Gauhati University for a short period.
He is popularly known as Sudhakantha or the Bard of Brahmaputra.
He was born at Sadia in upper Assam on September 8, 1926 into a family of teachers. Hazarika was the eldest of the 10 siblings.
Hazarika completed his basic education in 1942 in Guwahati. He did his BA from Benaras Hindu University in 1944 and MA in Political Science in 1946. He pursued Mass Communications in Columbia University.
Hazarika penned his first song, ‘Kusumbor Putro Sri Sankar Guru’, at the age of 11 for All India Radio.
At 13 years 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’.
Bhupen Hazarika sang in Hindi films produced and directed by his long-time companion Kalpana Lajmi like Rudaali, Ek Pal, Darmein among many others.
Lata Mageshkar sang the popular song ‘Jonakore Rati’ for Hazarika’s film ‘Era Bator Sur’. He also made famous Hindi vocalist Suman Kalyanpur sing in Assamese the popular number ‘Oi Oi Aakash Subo’.
In 1975 he got the National Film Award for best music direction for his film Chameli MemSaab. Padma Shree in 1977, Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1987.
Dada Saheb Phalke Award the highest honour in Indian film world for his contribution to Assamese music, film and the world of art and culture of Assam in 1992.
In 2001 he was awarded Padma Bhushan. He got Assam Ratna in 2008. In 2012 he was honoured posthumously with Padma Vibhushan. He was conferred the Bharat Ratna in 2019.
The Bard passed away on November 5, 2011 at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai due to old age ailments at the age of 85.
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.