Nirode Chaudhury is hailed as one of the most significant short story writers to have emerged from Assam. A master story-teller with a flair for authoring classic love stories, this prolific litterateur, who once cut a dashing figure in his customary white kurta-pyjamas, acquired a distinct voice and style that was truly his and his alone. Chaudhury was also one of the most prominent journalistic figures of Assam. His works like the classic ‘Chameli Memsaab’ and ‘Banahanxa’ have even been made into movies. The 1975’s ‘Chameli Memsaab’, a love story set in a tea estate in Assam, between a British tea estate owner and local tea garden worker, became a huge hit, and fetched National awards for Best Music Direction for Dr Bhupen Hazarika, as well as Best Feature Film in Assamese. His works continue to attract countless dedicated readers not just in Assam but also outside.
It was high time that some group or organization shoulders the responsibility of carrying forward his legacy, and keeps it alive in public consciousness.
Recently, the life and oeuvre of this celebrated writer was commemorated by Nirode Samudra.., a Nirode Chaudhury Foundation, on the occasion of his 15th death anniversary at the Rudra Baruah Auditorium of Jyoti Chitraban, Guwahati on February 10. With an aim to generate more visibility for the Assamese film, television and the media industry, the Foundation, instituted in memory of the celebrated writer, presented the ‘Nirode Chaudhury Awards 2016’, by acknowledging and honouring a few personalities.
Incidentally, the award ceremony was graced by Binita Borgohain Mitra, who is still fondly identified with Chameli, the character she played in ‘Chameli Memsaab’. A stellar line up from the Assamese film industry as well as journalists from the print and electronic media gathered on the occasion to remember Chaudhury. The editor of Asom Bani, Dilip Chandan and noted filmmaker, Pulak Gogoi spoke about the writer, and the kind of influence his work had on the cultural fabric of Assam. The Nirode Chaudhury Lifetime Achievement Award was conferred on noted artiste Kulada Kumar Bhattacharjee for his contribution in the field of drama and movie. Veteran actor Nipon Goswami was presented with the Nirode Chaudhury Award for his special contribution in the field of Assamese cinema. The other awardees in various categories (Film and TV) are : Best film – ‘Ahetuk’ (Raj Rani Production), Best director – Ashok Kumar Bishaya (‘Khel – The Game’), Best actor – Ankur Kumar Bishaya (‘Khel – The Game’), Best actress – Meghranjani (‘Anuradha’), Best serial – ‘Osin – Chinaki’ (Jonak Channel), Best comedy serial – ‘Beharbarir Outpost’ (Rengoni Channel), Best actor – Mridul Baruah (‘Dahan’, Rang Channel), Best actress – Gayatree Mahanta (‘Osin-Chinaki’, Jonak Channel), Best comedy actor – Siddhartha Sharma (‘Beharbarir Outpost’, Rengoni Channel), Popular comedy actor – Deepjyoti Keot (‘Beharbarir Outpost’, Rengoni Channel) and Pranab Baruah (‘Moromor Potni’, Jonak Channel), Best supporting actresses – Sagarika Goswami (‘Bharaghar’, Rang Channel) and Moni Bordoloi (‘Xahu-Bowari’, Rang Channel) and Special award (serial) – ‘Chameli Memsaab’ (Rang Channel). The awardees in the categories of cine-journalism are : Best film critic – Utpal Dutta, Best cine-journalist (Print media) – Prafulla Kumar Dutta, Best cine-journalist (Electronic media) – Gautam Hazarika (DY 365). The Best cine-journalist award (Youth) went to Hemanta Sarma and Kalyan Kumar Kalita. On the occasion, a souvenir titled ‘Nirode-Smaran’, conceptualized and edited by Pankaj Kumar Dutta, was also released. The souvenir contains the life-history of this multi-talented person with some limited photographs that allows a closer understanding of the person, regarded as one of the foremost exponents of the short story. Its heartening to know that the ‘Nirode Chaudhury Foundation’, which had organized the Nirode Chaudhury Awards for the first time, has decided to continue it as an annual event.