A Memorial Tribute to Sudhakantha at the Rabindra Bhawan, Guwahati

Like the previous years, hordes of fans and admirers of Sudhakantha were treated to a fabulous evening of music and dance at the Rabindra Bhawan, Guwahati, on the evening of September 1. The function, titled ‘Upaja Mahot Sudhakantha Suwaran’, organised by Luitparia Sanskritik Gosthi in association with the Directorate of Cultural Affairs, Assam, practically kick-started month-long festivities in Assam and the rest of the country, marking the 91st birth anniversary of the legendary artist, falling on September 8.

Despite having to deal with constraints like inadequate funds and patronage, Luitparia Sanskritik Gosthi, a prominent city-based socio-cultural organisation, has been paying a glowing tribute to the legendary artist Dr Bhupen Hazarika by doggedly staging a cultural show for the last ten years, which has now become a prestigious annual event. The chief organisers, senior journalist and writer Jitumoni Bora and film producer Rosy Bora, and other resourceful members of the Luitparia Sanskritik Gosthi deserve big praise and appreciation for organising such a show every year, and at the same time, maintaining its standards.

Now in its tenth year, the Luitparia Sanskritik Gosthi, took things up a notch to make the cultural evening a memorable one. It has certainly measured up to the tastes and expectations it had generated among serious devotees and admirers of Dr Hazarika.

The programme was inaugurated by noted actor-writer Dilip Kumar Hazarika, who lit the traditional lamp before the portrait of Dr Bhupen Hazarika. The veteran artiste, who appeared as Piyali Barua, and on whom the famous song ‘Buku Hom Hom Kare..’ was picturised in the landmark Assamese film ‘Maniram Dewan’, composed by Dr Hazarika, and released in 1964, regaled the audience with a stirring key-note speech, tinctured with various anecdotes from his chequered career.

The cultural evening then kicked off with a scintillating display of dance by talented new-generation dancer-actress Rodali Bora to the evergreen melody by Dr Hazarika, ‘Sira Jugamiya Dhow Tuli..’. Soon after, several children and young dancers – Ragini, Priyana, Diya, Eepsita, Farnaz, Shristi, Darshita and Anchal danced to a medley of Dr Hazarika’s evergreen compositions, including ‘Kahuwa Bon Mur Ashanta Mon..’, endearing themselves to the audiences with their dancing skills. It was then the turn of dancers Sukanya Deka, Juri Das, Elizi Ojah, Unmana Das, Jyotilina Das and Himashree Kalita to perform to four of Dr Hazarika’s popular compositions that literally puts the dancers through their paces.

Music has a way of bringing people together. It was an unexpected surprise for the audiences when the eminent artiste and loving sister of Dr Hazarika, Sudakshina Sharma turned up on stage to be felicitated by noted filmmaker Chandra Mudoi. She was also presented with a citation on the occasion of Luitparia Sanskritik Gosthi successfully completing ten years in organising ‘Upaja Mahot Sudhakantha Suwaran’, honouring Sudhakantha. Sudakshina Sarma rendered the song ‘Kusumbar Putra Shreesankar Guruwe..’ in duet with son Rishiraj Sarma. After this touching presentation, prominent singer Samar Hazarika or ‘Kon Bhaiti’, as he was affectionately called by Dr Hazarika, and his son Dawar performed evergreen hits like ‘Bistirna Parore’, ‘Hu Hu Dhumuha’, ‘Liyeng Makao’, ‘Pratiddhani Hunu’ among other songs that kept the audience spellbound, receiving thundering applause.

Renowned physician Dr Anjanjyoti Choudhury’s another identity is that of a musician, and a very popular one at that. His capacity to engage the audiences with his musical shows is a well-known fact. He performed two of Dr Hazarika’s popular songs – ‘Sira Jugamiya Dhow Tuli’ and ‘Kahuwa Bon Mur Ashanta Mon’. His humourous and witty anecdotes in between his renditions livened up the ambience. Before Choudhury’s presentation, six dancing artistes and directors – Ranjumoni Saikia, Rinjumoni Saikia, Ranjit Gogoi, Sitarani Hazarika, Akashjyoti Sarma and Jintu Borpujari were felicitated with a phulam gamocha and a citation by Rosy Bora, Baby Bora and Pinky Jayanta Bora on behalf of Luitparia Sanskritik Gosthi.

The show host Prashanta Mena also elicited comments from a number of well-known personalities among the audiences, including GM Srivastava, former Director General of Police, former IAS officers Paramesh Dutta, Swapnanil Barua, and noted actor Sadhan Hazarika, who poured out their thoughts, while fondly recalling their association with the legend.

Indeed, Dr Bhupen Hazarika’s creations will never fade as long as human beings exist on earth. The songs with their eclectic mix of emotions, innovations and originality will continue to inspire and resonate for generations to come. The legend has rendered quite a few songs in Hindi, which continues to be a great source of inspiration to music aficionados from all over the country. A group of dancers, comprising of Rodali, Ankita, Jaya, Debangshi and Upasana danced to popular Hindi number ‘Sun Sun Guriya’ from the film ‘Daman’ and the evergreen ‘Samai O Dhire Chalo’ from ‘Rudaali’. An outmost satisfaction was visible in the countenance of everyone when dancers Raj, Shristi, Paramesh and Raj Basfor danced to the evergreen classic ‘Sagar Sangam’, which offered immense scope for creativity. It was followed by the rarely heard ‘Sunbor Nahibi Toi’, which was performed by dancers Bishal Gogoi, Barnali Basumatary and Gautam Phukan that truly evoked feelings of nostalgia. The next item showcased experimental display of three songs – ‘Polashare Rong’, Dolahe Dola’ and ‘Naino Main Darpan’, engagingly performed by Rini Barua, Sanjiv Basumatary, Chinmoy Das, Shristi Bora, Rodali Bora, Nitismrita Dutta and Akashjyoti Sarma.

The performances just showed how dance with its power of movement can say so much. Infact, all the performers threw themselves with a lot of passion and commitment to the Bard’s evergreen classics that spoke so much about humanity, love, compassion, universal justice, brotherhood, etc. The dances performed in the cultural show were directed by Ranjumoni Saikia, Akashjyoti Sarma and Jintu Borpujari. Biswajit Roychoudhury also engaged the audiences with some lucid interpretations of Dr Hazarika’s songs on violin. The evening’s last item featured renditions by Prandip Das on two of Dr Hazarika’s songs.

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