Biography: Bupen Hazarika
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Dr Hazarika was born in Sadiya, Assam in 1926 and began his career as a child
artist in the film Indramalti singing Biswha Bijoy Noi Jawan.
A balladeer who composed his own lyrics and music, Dr Hazarika lent his voice to
the film Gandhi To Hitler, where he sang Mahatma Gandhi's favourite
bhajan, Vaishnava Jana To.
Dr Hazarika produced, directed, composed music and sang for Assamese films such
as Era Batar Sur (1956), Shakuntala (1960), Pratidhwani
(1964), and Lotighoti (1967).
A lesser known fact about the musical genius was that he was a trained
journalist, who had studied Mass Communications from the prestigious Columbia
University in the forties. As a reporter, he covered the Chinese War, which is
where he wrote the poignant Koto Juwanor Mrityu Hol sitting in the
Bomdila Club with a heap of dead bodies of Indian soldiers.
He was deeply involved in political and social issues and remained the peoples'
voice, bridging all gaps between an area which is otherwise seen as virtually
He composed the music for several outstanding Bengali films, such as Jiban
Trishna, Jonakir Alo, and Chameli Memsaab.
Involved in the Indian Civil Society Movement from his childhood, he continued
writing and composing masterpieces steeped in social consciousness, which
ironically are a striking contrast to the famous love songs for which he gained
Dr Hazarika, who had a genius for weaving a magical tapestry out of traditional
Assamese music and lyrics, was regarded as one of the greatest living cultural
communicators of South Asia.
Many in this country identify him with the song Dil Hum Hum Kare (Rudaali
1993), which was the Hindi version of the famous song Buku Hom Hom Kare.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan (2001), the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1992), the
Asom Ratna (2009) and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2009).
Dr Hazarika was also recognised as the first Indian music director for Best
Music internationally for the film Rudaali at the Asia Pacific
International Film Festival in Japan in 1993.
He was also the winner of the All India Critic Association Award for the Best
Performing Folk Artist (1979).
This year he celebrated his birthday, sadly, in the ICU of the hospital on
September 8 when he cut a cake with fans who sang his favourite numbers.
He died at the age of 85 after a multi-organ failure
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