Sunday, September 30, 2007

Dal se taal mila

Dr Bhupen Hazarika and Asha bhosle share their birth date, september 8. asha invited elder sister lata mangeshkar and hazarika to her home on peddar road for a quiet dinner. afsana ahmed was witness to the conversation as they took a stroll down memory lane. the cosy living room of asha bhosle offered an ideal occasion for the rebonding for three luminaries in indian music.

Asha spoke glowingly about dr bhupen hazarika, the dada saheb phalke recipient, while elder sister and bharat ratna recipient, lata mangeshkar smiles away quietly as they take their respective seats. “i was lucky to be born on the same day as the legendary hazarika,” says asha. hazarika acknowledges her comment with a smile addressing lata and asha as “living saraswatis”. the singer-cum-music director completes 75 glorious years today, while ashaji turns 68. “hey, don’t call me ancient like them, abhi bhi mein ek youthful ladki hunh,” says the gregarious asha breaking into peals of laughter.

Lata replies with the same dynamism, “you shouldn’t forget that the modern time still needs us. we were the architects of modernism.” it was a nostalgic trip for the trio, considering the fact that their association dates back to the year 1957. that was the year when lata first lent her melodious voice for junakore raati, an assamses song written by hazarika. “those days were wonderful days. they are firmly etched in memory,” reveals lata, reminiscing of the days gone by.

Hazarika, it is apparent, is fond of the two sisters. and the three have nothing but respect and love for each other. so it is no surprise when hazarika adds, “my fondness for lata grew after this first association with her and our association gained energy thereafter. infact, my respect and liking for her grew so much that i composed many songs especially for her.” for instance, when lata was angry once hazarika wrote ‘o abhimaani bandhu’ (o my proud friend), and mone rekho mone rekho’ (please bear in mind).

Lata and asha sang innumerable songs in different languages under the guidance of hazarika. so close was their friendship that, hazarika today solely credits lata for educating him on maharastrian culture. at that point, however, asha’s presence was insignificant in hazarika’s record. “i never paid any attention to her (asha),” he recalls. ironically, when hazarika scored his first hindi film music for aarop, in 1975, asha lent her voice for the song naine mein darpan hai darpan mein koi. that set the trend for hazarika and asha to work together till darmiyaan. “but he still prefers didi over me,” complains the young-at-heart singer playfully.

The conversation then veers off to different subjects ranging from lata and hazarika’s friendship to their honey sweet voice. hazarika, besides the singing of lata, was also witness to her photography and culinary skills. “i felt like a model everytime lata experimented with her camera, clicking me from various angles. i always compared her with the renowned photographer cycil beaton.”

Hazarika also remembers one incident distinctly when lata tried to cook chicken, the assamses way while they were in kohlapur. “lata took me to her native place in kohlapur and cooked chicken for me. she wanted to prepare it in the assamese style, but it didn’t come out the way she wanted it to. nevertheless it was very delicious,” reveals hazarika. while asha freaks out on pickle and spice, lata loves chilly and ice-cream. “it’s a myth that spice and pickle ruin the voice. my mother asked me to stop singing when one day i refused to eat pickle. since then it’s become my favourite.” says asha.

The trio lament this era of plagiarisation, and loss of originality. like asha puts, “ek tune idhaar se uthao, aur dusre ke saath jodo, and we sing those. the soul is missing. we sing, because we cannot live without singing. but we know that we sing like zombies — motor- skilled, and dead brained.”
Source : The Times of India , 7 Sep 2001

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lata on Bhupen Hazarika

Lata on Bhupen Hazarika , exclusive interview
Source : Sadin , 28th Sep, 2007




Bhupen Hazarika on Lata's 78th Birthday

Source : The Hindu .28 Sep,2007
Mumbai, Sept. 28 (PTI): Lata Mangeshkhar, the doyen of playback singing, turned 78 today, and the film industry wished her good health to continue mesmerising generations with her voice.
As the Nightingale of India celebrated a quiet birthday, it was time for other leading musicians to shower praise on Lata.
"I worked with her as a junior artiste. But she brought me up to the position that I am today. My compositions from films like `Rudaali' are still remembered because of her," veteran singer and music composer Bhupen Hazarika told PTI.
"I was a famous Bengali singer and known for my Assamese tunes. But it was after she lent her voice to my compositions that I got universal recognition," Hazarika said.
"I could not go to wish her today but through you I am sending her wishes and pray she lives long to continue singing," Hazarika said.
For singer Manhar Udhas, Lata Mangeshkar was an institution in herself.
"I have sung a few hit songs from films like `Abhimaan' and `Hero'. I feel proud of the fact that I have been her colleague. Times may change but she will remain untouched. Her glory will live on," Udhas said.
Lata Mangeshkar's global fame can be gauged from the fact that the Royal Albert Hall, London, has recorded the graph of Lata's voice with the help of a computer which is by far the "Most Perfect" in the World.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Play your fav Songs of Bhupen Hazarika



Assamese Playlist-1

Assamese Playlist-2

Assamese Playlist-3



Assamese Playlist-4

Thursday, September 20, 2007

I AM

Bhupen Hazarika
Source : The Times of India , 23rd Oct 2005

Ibelieve in religion only when it serves as a uniting factor. Otherwise, I do not believe in religion as such. However, I believe in the existence of a supreme power and I am in awe of that. I do know there is a power that is guiding all the movements of the solar system. Somebody is up there regulating all these movements. I have a strong connection with the Almighty through my music. For me, it is important to keep in touch with that power to gather courage. However, I do not follow any ritual to be in touch with that being. In fact, I hate everything that is ritualistic. But at the same time if a ritual can act as a tool to unite people or act as a symbol of love or peace, it touches me and that, to me is divine art. But not just for the sake of it. There have been instances in my life where I felt touched by the power of the divine. Recently, I was shooting for my documentary film in the backwaters of Kerela when the tsunami struck. I was on a boat and the cameras were all on me. Suddenly, a gush of waves shook my boat. From a distance I could see waves after waves approaching. Instantly I jumped from the boat to the shore. I could have died just as I saw people consumed by the waves. A lady came and told me: "Dada no, go, dada. Later I found out that she was the popular Amrit Anandi Ma popularly know as Amma or the ‘hugging saint’. I learnt that she saved about 17,000 people during the tsunami. I am not the kind who would wear lucky stones. Now, on my ring I have her picture. Not because it is mandatory but because I believe in the calm presence of a being that is protecting me. I subscribe to the philosophy of understanding. Only when you understand others well, peace and harmony follows. I believe in being positive. It makes life simple and easy. (As told to Hoihnu Hauzel)

Music can change the rhythm of life, says Bhupen Hazarika
(As told to Anubha Sawhney )
Source : The Times Of India , 15 Feb 2004

My life has been resonant with undulating rhythms. I grew up in a family of teachers and was initially inclined towards journalism. As a child, I grew up listening to tribal music — and its rhythm saw me developing an inclination towards singing. Perseverance is the key to all success. I believe that if you want something badly, you will find a way to get it. Life is not about having it easy. It is only when one experiences the pain of failure that he can actually value the pleasures of success. Once in France, I had a strong desire to meet Picasso. An elderly guard informed me that if I managed to get up at 4 am, I might catch Picasso taking a walk with his friends. I did what I was told and, to my surprise, I actually saw Picasso. I went up to him and said, ‘Sir, this is the best day of my life.’ Picasso wanted to test my knowledge and asked me which of his paintings was my favourite. I told him I liked his works from the Blue period. He was pleased and blessed me. Religion was never meant to divide people. My son Tej has adopted Buddhism and stays in the US with his American wife. I have never ever felt any different towards him after his decision. People of all religions should live together in peace and harmony. It is pointless to carry out feuds in the name of God. I’m sure God did not mean it to be so. I am a communicator and not a performer. The process of setting one’s thoughts to tune is like savouring creativity in birth. Music is such an incredible form of art. For me, music is the greatest movement. When I sang Ganga Behti Hai Kyun for Indira Gandhi, the song conveyed a message of silent rebellion against the system. Music elevates me to an indescribable feeling — a time when I feel weighty, yet modest. I am grateful to God for whatever I have attained. I only hope that music and the lyrical aspect of my life grows further



Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Interview with Bhupen Hazarika

TUNES from deserted paths

Bhupen Hazarika’s ‘Manush manusher janne...’ was recently voted the ‘Best Song Of The Millennium’ by the BBC’s Bengali service. In a free-wheeling interview, the celebrated singer-composer-filmmaker whose entry into the BJP has triggered off much resentment in his state, takes a stroll down memory lane to justify his decision to change colour

Your decision to join the BJP has sparked off disappointment and dissent in the state with Assam Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi openly dubbing you an “opportunist”. How do you react to the antagonism?

I’ll convince everyone, including the Chief Minister who has respected me for so long, that my motives are altrusic. I’m not in politics for material gain. You can check my bank balance. The little money I made from Kyun? went to the income tax department (Smiles). My only reason for joining active politics is to work towards the betterment of the North-East. I’m not interested in how states are run, I only want to save the land of my birth from neglect and ruin. To quote from one of my songs, Ami ek jajabar...I am an eternal traveller. But that doesn’t mean that I have to be homeless. My home is North-East India where all development work has virtually come to a standstill. And only if I’m in Parliament, can I open up the treasury and ensure that the money allotted to the state is properly dissemated.

This is not your first brush with politics. In ’67 you were elected to the legislative assembly as an independent candidate and immediately announced a a three-point agenda...

Yeah, the agenda was to set up a film studio for the North-East, to lay the foundation for the Jatya Natya Shala to preserve Assam’s drama tradition and construct a National Art Gallery. Despite ethnological differences, the problems of the state are not so much political as cultural. In two years, I was on the way to accomplishing my goals. Then the Indo-Pak war broke out. I went with the Indian army to the border town of Naubohisha where in the olden days boats used to be built to vanquish the Mughals. In the early ’70s, it was a refuge for fleeing East Pakistan refugees. They were seething from the ruling party’s indifference towards them. I fought to safeguard the lives and interests of these Bangladeshi refugees and earned the fond endearment of ‘Qawwali Babu’. A song I composed at the time, `Joi joi naba jata Bangladesh...’ on every Bengali lips.

Yet, you lost when you contested the ’71 elections and were even held responsible for the defeat of Hem Baruah, Assam’s well-known politician.

(Smiling) That was part of a well-planned political strategy.

You’re expecting to be back into power after being away for over three decades?

I hope I do win because you may be doing good work outside Parliament but unless you are a giant in political circles, you have little power to bring about social change.

So what’s your three-point agenda this time?

The BJP has assured me that I will have full freedom to identify problems in the state and seek solutions. I’ve already started studying and analysing the ten constituencies in my ward that stretches into Meghalaya and skirts the borders of Bhutan. I’ve met rebel tribal groups and their leaders. They have assured me of their support. I’ll be bringing out an album of eight songs in Bodo bhasha soon. My writings ... my poetry will be translated for them. I know they’ll be able to identify with my thinking. Certain political parties may be belittling my efforts and my popularity with my people, but within my party consensus is strong. The other day a prominent BJP leader openly declared that North-East India doesn’t belong to either the BJP or the AGP. It was the legacy of Bhupen Hazarika.

Yet, it was the same BJP who denied you a nomination to the Rajya Sabha last year, dropping you from the list at the last minute. And at the time it was the AGP and the Assam Students Union who backed you, vehemently protesting your humiliation.

What happened last year was unfortunate. Without my asking for it, my name was announced as a probable Rajya Sabha candidate, and then withdrawn. People were hurt by the “injustice”. I shrugged off the episode with a laugh. Even this time, I didn’t send out any feelers. I was invited to join the party by the Prime Minister, the Deputy PM and Sushma Swaraj.

What prompted you pitch in your lot with the BJP?

My idea of the BJP has changed in the last five years. It began when I was offered the honorary post of President of the Sangeet Natya Academy. It was an honour but I was apprehensive, fearing government pressure. Things were in a bad way at the academy. As I told the President, till now there was only dust and rust. Murli Manohar Joshi gave me the go-ahead to clean the organisation and assured me that the only colours I would be wearing were my own. In two years we were able to popularise neglected dance forms like the Jhau Nritya of Orissa, the Shankar Dev Kshatriya dance of Assam and uplift Kerala’s age-old Kodiattam, give them the status they deserved. I was able to successfully take Indian culture to countries like Egypt, Korea and Yugoslavia. I took the Sangeet Natak Academy from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the streets of Mumbai, Telangana, Guwahati and Imphal. People from Nagaland, Kashmir and Ladakh wrote to tell me that for the first time, thanks to our efforts, they were made to feel a part of India. My work with the Sangeet Natak Academy is my biggest success to date and proved that the ruling party doesn’t impose its views on everyone. Their objective is to do good work. Period.

The buzz is that you will be contesting from Tejpur?

No, I’ll be contesting from Guwahati. Guwahati is not a simple town, it’s a growing city, politically significant on the world map because it is the gate to South-East Asia. (Smiling) When I was in Guwahati recently, I was asked if I would be having tea with Sonia Gandhi. My answer was that I had had breakfast on the plane and Sushma Swaraj had given me puri bhaji for lunch. My stomach was too full to accept an invitation to tea.

You’ve never been a supporter of the Congress. One remembers you singing ‘Ganga behti hai kyun...’ in the presence of Mrs Indira Gandhi, the then PM, as a seething rebellion against the system.

(With a misty smile) That was in ’67. A policeman escorted me to a meeting, informing me on the way that Mrs Gandhi wanted to hear me sing. I sang ‘Ganga ...’ and it amused me to see top Congress leaders clapping for a fiery Marxist who using the Ganga as a metaphor, was ranting against prevailing injustices.

So, how did a Marxist shrug off his Red ideologies and allow himself to be saffronised is the question uppermost on many minds?

I’ve never served any political party, only humanity at large. I’m a sarva bharatiya...a vishwa Bharatiya. As someone once said, an international figure. The influences on me have been too many and varied to subscribe to any one particular ideology. I was born in Sadia, the meeting place of Burma, China, East Pakistan and India. By the time I was nine, I was penning songs, drawing my muses from the different cultures as also the trees, the mountains and the rhythm of the singing brooks.

When did the son of a school teacher become a singer?

Beaming proudly) I sang my first song when I was 5-years-old and Laxmikant Bezbarua, the doyen of Assamese literature, described me as the second Madan. Master Madan was a 10-year-old musical prodigy whose ghazals had the whole country in a thrall then. My mother was also a very good devotional singer. I used to go to sleep listening to her lullabies.

Didn’t you use one of those lullabies in Rudaali?

(Nostalgically) Yeah, ‘Betain na betain na raina ...’. My mother sang like a gramophone record... Harimoti kirtans and Rabindra sangeets. She was greatly influenced by Bengali literature. We spoke Bengali as fluently as Assamese. For me Bengal is my second home. I’m even on the state’s voting list. It was here that I met Salil Chaudhury whose ‘Na jeeyo na ...’ remains one of my favourite songs even today. He was brought up in Assam. SD Burman was also from a neighbouring state, Tripura, and another of my role models. I bumped into Satyajit Ray at many of the small stores lining the streets outside Lighthouse Cinema, browsing through records and books like me. I was a part of the pro-Pather Panchali camp. Ray loved my first film, Era Bator Sur (Tunes From The Deserted Paths). He gave me a pat on the back and said, “So neo-realism has come to Assam too.”

What was the film about?

It was about the dreams and hopes of tea garden labourers. My hero was greatly moved by their plight. The film was in some ways autobiographical and shot in real tea gardens. It took one year to make and cost me Rs. 60,000. I would sing songs to buy negatives. The film’s message is that music can be an instrument for social change. That’s my political motto today. Give me a harmonium, a tabla and a microphone and I’ll talk to a lakh of people in the language of society. In the North-East I am fondly called manu ...man.

Has the endearment sprung from your popular song, ‘Manush manusher janne...Insaan insaan ke liye...’ that was voted the ‘Best Song Of The Millennium’ by the BBC Bengali service?

Yes. I sang the song for the first time in ’64. The North-East was burning at the time. Mizoram, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur ... there was rebellion everywhere. The Christians invited Reverend Scott from Scotland to calm the hot-headed youths. The Chief Minister and Jaiprakash Narayan, an important national leader, did their bit too, without any success. Finally, the CM sought my help. I was singing for peace in some jungle. I arrived in Kohima, surrounded by cops. Through the security cordon I spotted a man staring at me. I beckoned him over. He bended enough to tell me that the rebels didn’t like me being a house guest of the CM. Without a moment’s thought I got on the scooter with him and he took me away.

Where to?

To a small rebel village where I was flooded with requests for a song. I had penned this song, ‘Manush manusher janne...’ in Assamese. I got a Naga boy to translate the song in Nagamese which is a mix of Assamese, Urdu, Hindi and even Bambaiya Hindi. I told the assembled gathering that I had been sent by the government of India to initiate peace talks. Then I sang the song. The next day news was buzzing that Manu had sung. And all was quiet on the Eastern front. My people are not unreasonable. They’ve fought for India’s independence and after ’47 not misbehaved on the language issue as other states. If they are upset today it is because their sentiments have been hurt. The BJP has assured me that Assam’s identity will not be harmed. It’s development is the party’s priority. I think I’ll sing this song on the election trail. ‘Manush manusher janne...’ Aastha rakho, keep the faith, Manu is coming...

Along with music, politics has also been an enduring interest. I’m told you have a degree in political science from the Benaras Hindu University.

That’s right. I took academic degrees like that (Snaps his fingers). I wasn’t interested in getting first class. But I had to be in the top five amongst the second class students. Those were heady days in Benaras. There was little money, just Rs 60 a month to take care of all expenses. Early mornings I’d cycle to the ghat, sitting at a distance listening to Ustad Bismillah Khan do his riyaaz. In the evenings it was the temples, to hear Siddeshwari Devi sing. I was like a boy possessed, collecting a garland of tunes. After BHU, I went to the Columbia University in the US to do a course in rural education and mass communication. This was in ’49, and on the way, I was allowed a three-day stopover in Paris. I was determined to meet Picasso. I did. He was a very good-looking man. We had a conversation on his art and he was impressed when I told him I liked his paintings from the Blie Period. I was reminded of that encounter when I was composing the music for MF Husain’s Gaja Gamini. Husain told me to think of my songs as paintings on the celluloid canvas.

Did Husain approach you for Meenaxi—A Tale Of Three Cities too?

He did, but I was very busy then. We enjoyed a great rapport during Gaja Gamini. I want him to work on my film. (With a naughty twinkle) And I’m not going to pay him much because he didn’t.

You’re planning a film?

Yeah, Joymoti will go on the floors soon after the elections. It’s a historical set in 1779. A huge academic project that has the backing of three financiers - a doctor, a professor and a secretary in the Home Department, Government of India. The love story of a 16-year-old Naga girl and a 54-year-old Assamese king, it will combine the simplicity of Nagaland and the aristocracy of Assam’s Ahum rulers. I’ll hire the best cameraman, the best set designer who can rebuild the ruin cities of Assam and yes, may be Husain. The four films I directed have won the President’s Gold Medal. I’ve presided over several international juries. I have given music to 122 Indian films. The experiences should come in handy now. Though in the ancient Assamese dialect, it will showcase the North-East to the world.

One last question. Though you’re better known for your fiery revolutionary songs, your songs of nature and your soothing ballad, in Assam your love songs have become a part of the courtship ritual. Which is your favourite love song?

‘Shoishobe ami tumare shange khele chilam...’ A young man is remembering the happy days of his childhood with his loved one. The beloved he spotted from afar at the bihu festival more recently. It was hard to recognise her though because she was covered in gold ornaments. She had betrayed her dream lover to marry a goldsmith. The betrayal still hurts but he refuses to cry or contemplate suicide. “I’ll live and build a society where a man’s worth is more than gold,” he tells her. I think I’ll sing this song when electioneering.

Does it bring back any memories?
Yeah, of a 16-year-old girl I met at the radio station.

And you married her?
No, she married someone else.

So, how did a Marxist shrug off his Red ideologies and allow himself to be saffronised is the question uppermost on many minds?

I’ve never served any political party, only humanity at large. I’m a sarva bharatiya...a vishwa Bharatiya. As someone once said, an international figure. The influences on me have been too many and varied to subscribe to any one particular ideology. I was born in Sadia, the meeting place of Burma, China, East Pakistan and India. By the time I was nine, I was penning songs, drawing my muses from the different cultures as also the trees, the mountains and the rhythm of the singing brooks.

When did the son of a school teacher become a singer?

(Beaming proudly) I sang my first song when I was 5-years-old and Laxmikant Bezbarua, the doyen of Assamese literature, described me as the second Madan. Master Madan was a 10-year-old musical prodigy whose ghazals had the whole country in a thrall then. My mother was also a very good devotional singer. I used to go to sleep listening to her lullabies.

Didn’t you use one of those lullabies in Rudaali?

(Nostalgically) Yeah, ‘Betain na betain na raina ...’. My mother sang like a gramophone record... Harimoti kirtans and Rabindra sangeets. She was greatly influenced by Bengali literature. We spoke Bengali as fluently as Assamese. For me Bengal is my second home. I’m even on the state’s voting list. It was here that I met Salil Chaudhury whose ‘Na jeeyo na ...’ remains one of my favourite songs even today. He was brought up in Assam. SD Burman was also from a neighbouring state, Tripura, and another of my role models. I bumped into Satyajit Ray at many of the small stores lining the streets outside Lighthouse Cinema, browsing through records and books like me. I was a part of the pro-Pather Panchali camp. Ray loved my first film, Era Bator Sur (Tunes From The Deserted Paths). He gave me a pat on the back and said, “So neo-realism has come to Assam too.”

What was the film about?

It was about the dreams and hopes of tea garden labourers. My hero was greatly moved by their plight. The film was in some ways autobiographical and shot in real tea gardens. It took one year to make and cost me Rs. 60,000. I would sing songs to buy negatives. The film’s message is that music can be an instrument for social change. That’s my political motto today. Give me a harmonium, a tabla and a microphone and I’ll talk to a lakh of people in the language of society. In the North-East I am fondly called manu ...man.

Has the endearment sprung from your popular song, ‘Manush manusher janne...Insaan insaan ke liye...’ that was voted the ‘Best Song Of The Millennium’ by the BBC Bengali service?

Yes. I sang the song for the first time in ’64. The North-East was burning at the time. Mizoram, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur ... there was rebellion everywhere. The Christians invited Reverend Scott from Scotland to calm the hot-headed youths. The Chief Minister and Jaiprakash Narayan, an important national leader, did their bit too, without any success. Finally, the CM sought my help. I was singing for peace in some jungle. I arrived in Kohima, surrounded by cops. Through the security cordon I spotted a man staring at me. I beckoned him over. He bended enough to tell me that the rebels didn’t like me being a house guest of the CM. Without a moment’s thought I got on the scooter with him and he took me away.

Where to?

To a small rebel village where I was flooded with requests for a song. I had penned this song, ‘Manush manusher janne...’ in Assamese. I got a Naga boy to translate the song in Nagamese which is a mix of Assamese, Urdu, Hindi and even Bambaiya Hindi. I told the assembled gathering that I had been sent by the government of India to initiate peace talks. Then I sang the song. The next day news was buzzing that Manu had sung. And all was quiet on the Eastern front. My people are not unreasonable. They’ve fought for India’s independence and after ’47 not misbehaved on the language issue as other states. If they are upset today it is because their sentiments have been hurt. The BJP has assured me that Assam’s identity will not be harmed. It’s development is the party’s priority. I think I’ll sing this song on the election trail. ‘Manush manusher janne...’ Aastha rakho, keep the faith, Manu is coming...

Along with music, politics has also been an enduring interest. I’m told you have a degree in political science from the Benaras Hindu University.

That’s right. I took academic degrees like that (Snaps his fingers). I wasn’t interested in getting first class. But I had to be in the top five amongst the second class students. Those were heady days in Benaras. There was little money, just Rs 60 a month to take care of all expenses. Early mornings I’d cycle to the ghat, sitting at a distance listening to Ustad Bismillah Khan do his riyaaz. In the evenings it was the temples, to hear Siddeshwari Devi sing. I was like a boy possessed, collecting a garland of tunes. After BHU, I went to the Columbia University in the US to do a course in rural education and mass communication. This was in ’49, and on the way, I was allowed a three-day stopover in Paris. I was determined to meet Picasso. I did. He was a very good-looking man. We had a conversation on his art and he was impressed when I told him I liked his paintings from the Blie Period. I was reminded of that encounter when I was composing the music for MF Husain’s Gaja Gamini. Husain told me to think of my songs as paintings on the celluloid canvas.

Did Husain approach you for Meenaxi—A Tale Of Three Cities too?

He did, but I was very busy then. We enjoyed a great rapport during Gaja Gamini. I want him to work on my film. (With a naughty twinkle) And I’m not going to pay him much because he didn’t.

You’re planning a film?

Yeah, Joymoti will go on the floors soon after the elections. It’s a historical set in 1779. A huge academic project that has the backing of three financiers - a doctor, a professor and a secretary in the Home Department, Government of India. The love story of a 16-year-old Naga girl and a 54-year-old Assamese king, it will combine the simplicity of Nagaland and the aristocracy of Assam’s Ahum rulers. I’ll hire the best cameraman, the best set designer who can rebuild the ruin cities of Assam and yes, may be Husain. The four films I directed have won the President’s Gold Medal. I’ve presided over several international juries. I have given music to 122 Indian films. The experiences should come in handy now. Though in the ancient Assamese dialect, it will showcase the North-East to the world.

One last question. Though you’re better known for your fiery revolutionary songs, your songs of nature and your soothing ballad, in Assam your love songs have become a part of the courtship ritual. Which is your favourite love song?

‘Shoishobe ami tumare shange khele chilam...’ A young man is remembering the happy days of his childhood with his loved one. The beloved he spotted from afar at the bihu festival more recently. It was hard to recognise her though because she was covered in gold ornaments. She had betrayed her dream lover to marry a goldsmith. The betrayal still hurts but he refuses to cry or contemplate suicide. “I’ll live and build a society where a man’s worth is more than gold,” he tells her. I think I’ll sing this song when electioneering.

Does it bring back any memories?
Yeah, of a 16-year-old girl I met at the radio station.

And you married her?
No, she married someone else.

One Article by Dr Dhrubajyoti Bora from June 1985 issue of Ajir Somoy



Monday, September 17, 2007

Ranga's Toon Tales


Source : The Tribune India , 25 August 2002

BHUPEN HAZARIKA is the multi-faceted genius from Assam, winner of many an award, including the 1992 Dadasaheb Phalke Award for outstanding contribution to Indian cinema, particularly through his folk songs.
A distinguished poet, singer, music composer, teacher, journalist and author, Bhupen Hazarika began his film career in 1939, when he appeared as a child artiste. He was in Delhi in 1993 to receive the prestigious National Award from the President and it was during this visit that I managed to meet him and prepare his sketch. A personality to reckon with, meeting Bhupen Hazarika was no problem. In fact, it was a delight to see him in his cap. A sketch of his was got ready as he was meeting mediapersons and answering their questions. He was extremely happy to see his picture and he promptly affixed his signature over it.





Cartoon by Sudhir Tailang

Source : Hindustan Times

Old man river... keeps rolling along

Source : The Hindu ,Monday, Nov 04, 2002

You don't have to be a rich man's son to move around the world. You don't have to compromise on your principles to carve out your own following in Bollywood. You can just be Bhupen Hazarika and watch fate take you places. ZIYA US SALAM speaks to the veteran composer, still singing aloud the song of life... . Photos: V.V. Krishnan.
Photos: V.V. Krishnan
IT SHALL remain one of the delicious ironies of fate that Anu Malik - now Maliik, now Mallik, now Annu as per convenient numerology - remains Bollywood dream merchants' favourite, notching up double digit films every year while an infinitely more talented Bhupen Hazarika still has to rely on "Dil Hoom Hoom Kare" from "Rudaali" (1993) to establish an acquaintance with posterity. Malik might copy "Come September," Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and others with bravado bordering on impudence, yet for the common man, he remains the king of Bollywood, probably its most identifiable music director after A. R. Rahman and Nadeem-Shravan. Yet, the original continues to languish in relative obscurity, working in an odd Kalpana Lajmi film here, an odd M. F. Husain film there. In niche cinema lies his following. As a well-known wit said: "One composes for the classes, the other for asses!"
 
In New Delhi recently, Bhupen Hazarika is picture of dignity and content. "I am happy with life. After all these years of struggle and all the awards and felicitations that have come my way, I have no regret. I never visualised it when I started out. I wanted to be a journalist, though I was a serious student of music. I am at peace with everybody, with the world. Now, I have just one message for the new generation: Simplicity always wins. You don't have to be the son of a rich man to see the world. You can be a schoolmaster's son and still be able to see the world. I may not be a rich man even now but I have never worked 9-5, never had to worry about the income tax. But whatever I have should last me for the rest of my life." Incidentally, Hazarika, 76, himself is the son of a schoolteacher and set out to see the world when India was just keeping its tryst with destiny.
 
"I have done 122 films in Assamese, Bengali, Hindi. I have got love from all over. I have got Dadasaheb Phalke Award after `Rudaali'. I cannot compose songs like `Khatiya' and `Choli ke Peeche'. I was happy when `Dil Hoom... ' beat such songs in the countdown shows. Film music is not marriage video or a Punjabi party. Movies have become a consumer product. Now, even when they talk of patriotism in Hindi cinema and the NRIs coming back home to the homeland, it is like commercialisation of patriotism. I cannot do that."
 
Yet, he is no old man yearning for retrospective contentment while cribbing about the present. He showers praises on Ilaiyaraja and A. R. Rahman. "I love all good things of life. I find Rahman and Ilaiyaraja on the right track. Whenever they go off the track, they know how to come back to the right path. I sang once for Rahman, he just told me to do what I wanted! I tell him to take it easy, take a break, avoid repetition of tunes. That is the way to last longer. He agrees but then there is the problem with directors. After one hit song, all of them want similar <243>songs!"

How come the man whose Assamese songs have been translated into Japanese, Nepalese and many other languages, is not seen more often in Hindi cinema: "I love Hindi but nobody brought me here. When I started out I did not have the money to stay in Delhi or Mumbai for a month and wait for work. Until one day Atma Ram - Kalpana Lajmi's uncle - gave me `Aarop'. I composed the song `Nainon Mein Darpan Hai, Darpan Mein Koi'. It became a hit. To tell you the truth, it is originally a cowboy song in the North-East. I heard this from a boy in Khasi Hills. I immediately learnt the tune but I did not copy it. I preserved the soil, the soul of the song and brought it to a wider audience. I basked in the glory of `Nainon Mein Darpan' for sometime until `Rudaali' happened."

Well, "Rudaali" too was sheer accident. "I was in the Capital with other film personalities, meeting at the National School of Drama. There Lajmi had sent her film proposal for `Rudaali' with my name as the music director and I did not even know! I did the film for free, actually one rupee which again, never came my way!"

Yet, again the man given to frequent bouts of nostalgia, lapses into the past. "The tune, `Dil Hoom... ', was actually composed way back in 1962 for an Assamese film `Moniram Dewan'. I used that tune for `Rudaali'," recalls this student of Jyotiprasad Aggrawalla, the man who made the first Assamese film in 1935, whose ancestors had shifted from Rajasthan to the Hill State in the early 19th Century.
Recalls Hazarika, a product of Cotton Collegiate Higher Secondary School in Assam, "I wanted to do many things when I started out. I wanted to be a journalist, so I did Ph. D in Mass Communication from Columbia University. I wanted to be a lawyer and sing in the bathroom. So I went ahead and did M.A. in Political Science from Banaras Hindu University. There I also learnt music for four years from Sangeet Bhuvan without having to pay any fees. I was enamoured of the rhythm and melody of the hills and the plains. I met luminaries of Indian People's Theatre Association and music possessed me. I did not know Marx but my first song was on Shankara Deva. Then and there I realised that a slogan could not be a song, it must reach out to the heart. Ragas cannot be distorted, they are the soul of music. In Guwahati, I was an Assamese. In Kolkata, I became a Bengali but I became an Indian after coming to Uttar Pradesh, particularly BHU. I was lucky to get in touch with people like Jyotiprasad and Narayan Menon who guided me."

I went to America in 1949. I went via Paris where I met my idol Picasso. I did not know how to react when I met the legendary painter. He wanted to know if I were really his follower and asked me about what quality I liked the best in his works! When I replied I liked the `Blue period', he was convinced. I had no camera, there was no proof of that morning meeting. I wanted to touch Picasso and his words stay with me: `Hazarika goes to America'! In America, I washed dishes, wrote commentary for short films in New York for 250 dollars. It was a lot of money for me. I became a Leftist in the land of Capitalism."

In America, he met another idol of his - Paul Robson and the rest, is `Old Man River, You Don't Nothing, You Just Keep Rolling Along... ' The song stayed with him and was transliterated into almost every Indian language. In Assam, the river was called Brahmaputra, in U.P. it was called Ganga by Narendra Sharma - `Oh Ganga Behti Ho Kyon...'

Though his memory is failing him and he frequently falls into the wistful lap of the past, he is still full of life, full of humour. In one interview, he gives you sufficient matter for a chapter or two of an authorised biography. Cool, composed, soft-spoken man from a family of singers - his brothers, sisters and even the next two generation members of his family are singers - is now busy wooing the next generation in Kalpana Lajmi's "Kyon", based on the problems of growing up and the responsibilities of parents. "I am also planning an Assamese film. It should be ready by the end of the year," informs the man who has composed for films like "Saaz", "Daman", "Mil Gayi Manzil Mujhe" and "Gaj Gamini" in the past. "Well, like `Rudaali' `Gaj Gamini' also happened by chance. M.F. Husain called up from a press conference in London to tell me that I was doing the film. I was not even given time to think. He just decided for me!"

Well, if life is an accident, this humble man with lofty deeds has had some sweet things happening to him. "No complaints. I am happy," signs off the man who has been at the helm of affairs of Assam Sahitya Sabha, Sangeet Natak Akademi and has also dabbled in politics.

Dr Hazarika honoured for lifetime achievement


Dr Hazarika honoured for lifetime achievement
Assam Tribune - 16 Sep 2007

By A Staff Reporter GUWAHATI, Sept 15 – Cultural icon of the State, Dr Bhupen Hazarika was today honoured with a lifetime achievement award by the Assam Government in the 2007 State Film Awards Festival. Dr Hazarika received an award named after the legendary Pramathesh Chandra Baruah.The festival saw 28 awards being given away to various artistes, directors, producers and technicians associated with the Assamese film industry. Speaking on the occasion, Gautom Bora, Minister, Cultural Affairs, said that the festival honoured those who had made significant contributions to the development of Assamese films.The Minister spelt out some initiatives of the State Government to encourage the State film industry and appreciated the role of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Bora said that Jyoti Chitraban was being developed into a mini film city. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has helped this initiative by allocating Rs 10 crore, he said.Bora said more encouragement would be provided to cinema hall owners so that they could promote Assamese films among a larger audience. Among those who received honour were several noted artistes, producers, directors and technicians. Among the films that hogged the limelight were Anurag, Laj, Monot Birinar Jui, and Six Days of Creation. Artistes and technicians associated with these films received accolades. On the occasion, a souvenir, Chalachitra Jyoti was released, a publication that dealt with some aspects of Assamese cinema. Among the highlights of the function was the attendance of eminent Hindi cinema actor Asrani, who was felicitated by the organizers.

Cartoon by Sandeep

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lovers from the silver screen

MUMBAI: Love, lust and all things exciting have always been part of India's largest dream factory. Through the ages, Bollywood's extramarital couples have attracted more cynosure than the married ones.

Director Guru Dutt and his prized discovery Waheeda Rehman were seen together often enough for people to look for one upon spotting the other. Later, when she moved on, the sensitive Dutt ended his life.

Such passionate togetherness wasn't rare even in the 1940s when Indian cinema was in its infancy. The debonair and rakish actor Motilal was invariably spotted in the company of the sophisticated Shobhana Samarth.

Though both were in comfortable marriages and claimed to be just buddies, filmdom looked on Shobhana and Motilal as the perfect match.

When 47-year-old filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi and septuagenarian Bhupen Hazarika are seen sharing an exceptional togetherness, people presume them to be the ideal couple.

Lajmi laughs throatily. "It isn't that way at all... Bhupenda has been a father figure and mentor for years and years. I can't imagine a life without him."

Though the music composer stays in Lajmi's house in Mumbai with her parents, she insists: "We're everything but lovers.''

Read the complete story : http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Entertainment/Bollywood/Lovers-from-the-silver-screen/articleshow/msid-496733,curpg-2.cms

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Mile sur mera tumhara?

NEW DELHI: Why is everybody angry with Bhupen Hazarika? Local Assamese newspapers have been flooded with mail: angry Assamese protesting Dada's 'betrayal'. So why has Hazarika joining BJP become such an emotional issue?

Because Dada has let them down; because Dada the progressive, Dada the Marxist-humanist bard who never sang anything without social meaning has joined a 'mandir party'; because Dada, a living legend, doesn't need to join politics.

"They are not angry. They love me so much, they are anguished," says the man in the centre of the storm. "Elections have taken a backseat, the focus is on Hazarika."

But then Dada has always been an emotional issue. Sometime back, when the BJP government suddenly announced he would be nominated to the RS and then backtracked - there was spontaneous anger back home. 'The BJP has insulted Assam,' read protest placards.

Now, the big question is why: why BJP, why politics. "Because everything is changing, even Marxism. Yesterday's BJP is not today's BJP," he says.

Also, because he was won over by another fellow poet. Hazarika says he's in love with Vajpayee's humanism. "That's why Musharraf is talking to him and he has a fan following in Pakistan." So, when he said, 'Come Dada, join me', there was no turning back.

"I'm going to serve the people of Assam with this new friend," says the neo-convert. "I'm going to open doors to the Northeast."

Actually, Dada says he was truly converted when he served as chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi and interacted with some of the party's top thinkers.

For many, politics is a dirty word, especially for someone of Bhupenda's stature. He himself admits he hated MPs and MLAs and never wanted to be one - though he was an Independent MLA from 1967-1972.

"I have never wanted to be active politics. I did an MA in political science so I could become a journalist. But then, music hijacked me."

But for him, even music is an instrument for social change; his first song ran: "I shall build Assam, I shall build India."

Can there be good men in politics? "I've met one, and I am holding his hand. If the Assamese people don't send me to Delhi, I will be hurt. But my work won't end. I have found an ally who will help me carry on till the end."

A political battle seems pre-determined. Dada is a formidable opponent for anybody. Perhaps, that's why no names are forthcoming to take him on.

Source : The Times of India , March 21 , 2004

Friday, September 14, 2007

Book to shed light on political lives of Kalaguru, Bhupen Hazarika

GUWAHATI, Aug 26 – We know one of them as the doyen of music and arts in the State while the other is a considered as a living legend worldwide in the identical field.

Though both Kalaguru Bishnu Prasad Rava and Dr Bhupen Hazarika have contributed immensely in the field of art and culture, their political lives have always been a subject of debate. Here comes a book, which will unveil the political contributions of both these legends of Assam for the first time.

If writer Nilomoni Sen Deka’s in-depth analysis of the subject is to be considered then both the revolutionary artistes of Assam can be credited for raising some of the core issues of the State in the floor of the Assembly during their stints as Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA).

The book Asom Bidhan Sabhar Majiat Bishnu Prasad Rava, Dr Bhupen Hazarika, arguably the first of its kind, will tell how Rabha and Hazarika spoke at length about the definition of Assamese and also why sale of liquor should not be banned in the State. Both the artists were against the ban of liquor in some of the districts of Assam.

“If sale of liquor is banned then our youngsters would move to bordering areas of Bhutan and there is every possibility that they would end up having illicit relationship with Bhutanese women there,” the book roughly quotes both these artistes endorsing the statement in the floor of the Assembly.

The book priced at Rs 75 will be released very soon under Journal Emporium, a Nalbari- based publication house.

“ I have worked day in and day out for the book and I am sure that the people of Assam would acquaint themselves with new things about both these legendry artistes,” said Nilomoni Sen Deka while talking to The Assam Tribune.

Deka has collected copies of all the speeches delivered in the floor of the Assembly by both these artiste- turned politicians from the State Assembly.

Both Rava and Hazarika enjoyed their stint as MLAs from 1967 to 1971 under the Chief Ministership of Bimala Prasad Chaliha.

“ I don’t say that they were successful politicians but they had contributed in one way or the other during their political career. It is up to the readers to decide once they read the book,” Deka opined.
Source : The Assam Tribune , 27 August 2007

Bhupen Hazarika

The legend unplugged
Do you recall your initial days as an aspiring composer in Mumbai?

I came to Mumbai to work in the Indian People’s Theatre Movement (IPTA) with Salil Chowdhury, Balraj Sahni and other Marxist intellectuals. At IPTA I once again met Hemant Kumar whom I had met earlier. He took me around to meet all the big music directors and singers in Mumbai. I remember my first meeting with Lataji. She took one look at me and said, Jitna naam hai utni umar nahin hai (laughs). I had just returned from the United States and I had never seen her. I wanted her to sing a song for my first film as a director, Tunes From The Deserted Path about a moonlit night in Assam. And she did it. The song became so famous she selected it as one of her personal favourites in her first golden disc.

And was it Hemantda who introduced you to Lataji?

Yes. I remember when Hemantda took me to meet her she was playing with her brood of puppies. She was sitting on the floor in her home in Walkeshwar. From her window I could see the sea. She was a petite girl. And she spoke to me and Hemantda in fluent Bengali. She immediately agreed to sing for me. The minute she sang for my film my distributors clamoured to buy my film. I didn’t have much money back then.

I shall never forget Hemantda’s generosity. He used to take me to his house and give me his son and daughter’s room. Hemantda, Lataji and I became friends. We would visit places like Pune together. Hemantda’s wife Belaji was also very nice. Whenever I came to Mumbai and needed a recording studio Hemantda would cancel his own recording to accommodate mine. Lataji would also go out of her way to help me. That sort of affection is very rare nowadays. In fact it’s gone. I remember Hemantda took me for a song in the Uttam Kumar starrer Jeebon Trishna although he was Uttam Kumar’s constant ghost voice. I became very famous singing for the Bengali superstar. Uttam Kumar insisted that I sing that particular song in his film. I tried to wriggle out, pleading I’d be assaulted if anyone but Hemantda sang for Uttam Kumar. But Hemantda insisted. Fortunately the song Sagor sangame became very famous. Later Gulzar translated it into Hindi in my album Main Aur Mera Saaya.

You were recently appointed the chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi. What does the job require you to do?

It means I’ve to act as the storekeeper for art and culture (laughs). I’ve to look after dance and music and drama in various parts of the country. The Akademi has earlier been chaired by some very eminent intellectuals. I’m the first person from the music world to be appointed as its chairperson. I don’t get paid for it. But to me it’s as big an honour as the Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Our duty is to take art and culture to the next millennium. If we don’t preserve our heritage we shall only have rust and dust to give to the coming generations.

Practically speaking, what are you doing to preserve our art and culture?

A millennium fellowship is being given to eminent musicians. We’ve already given the fellowship to vocalist Bhimsen Joshi and playwright Vijay Tendulkar. The honour is for people who have dedicated their lives to the arts.

And what about promoting fresh talent?

For that we are giving grants to young upcoming talent from all over India. Our motives are the documentation of knowledge pertaining to arts, honouring distinguished talent, encouraging new talent and promoting unrecognised Gharanas.

Don’t you think the classical heritage has somehow been lost due to popular entertainment?

It’s our good fortune that right from the ’30s onwards, All India Radio has recorded and preserved the voices of our classical artistes. Do you know, All India Radio was known as the BBC —- Short for the Bukhari Brothers Corporation. They have a whole audio treasure in their archives. Now we need to promote and market the audio treasures. We’re also thinking of computerising all the departments of Sangeet Natak Academy. Another thing we must do is help youngsters to recover the classical element in our music. There will always be a conflict between the old and the new. Take for example fusion music. It’s not as though it’s a ’90s phenomenon. A lot of it has been done in the past as well. But in an aesthetic manner. The only thing is, the audience should choose what to buy carefully. If they only buy new things then how do we encourage the older artistes?

But how do we encourage consumers to buy classical music?

Let me give you an example. When I was in the competition in the charts with Dil hum hum karey (Rudaali), I went by the need of the script. But I also hoped that the music in the film would be accepted by younger generations. You cannot create confusion in the name of fusion. The sitar of Ravi Shankar and the violin of Yehudi Menuhin have been fused beautifully because neither has sacrificed his classical roots in coming together. Likewise Hariharan and Leslie Lewis’ fusion is feasible - My own Dil hoom hoom karey was in the market alongside songs about the blouse and khatiya. I thought there would be no buyers for my songs. But the album sold to the tune of six crore rupees. The NFDC made that much money out of the music and the film.

And how much of that money did you make?

Not even two paise. I was a member of the board of directors at the NFDC. Board of directors paise lete hain kya? Nahin lete hain. I had told them I’d work for them only on condition that I don’t get paid. If the music company had decided to pay me later, tab theek hai. Finally I got so little money for Rudaali that I don’t even want to mention it. But I got the love and appreciation of listeners all over the world.

Do you think any of today’s composers have it in them to carry forward the tradition of film music initiated by people like you and Hemant Kumar?

Well there’s AR Rahman. People become immediately entranced by whatever he composes. Rahman is a phenomenon. He’s young and talented. And he has his fingers on the pulse of the young generation. Illayaraja too is a great composer. Like Salil Chowdhury he knows both Western and Indian musical styles. Rahman too belonged to that group until he was reduced to a consumer product. I remember once I went to Hyderabad after Rudaali was released. The South Indian press wanted my opinion on Rahman. I told them he should take it easy. He has even composed a song Take it easy policy (laughs). He’s a great talent but his talent shouldn’t be over-utilised. I’m glad he’s expanding his creativity, incorporating North Indian folk, and so on. Recently nine of us including Lataji, Ashaji and Jagjit Singh sang Jana gana mana under Rahman’s supervision. It’ll be released on August 15. The project has been produced by the Vande Mataram producer Raja Bala. I was like a chorus singer singing for Rahman. He told me to sing in my own way. He also joined us in the singing. He got so excited that he picked up the guitar and started playing impromptu during the recording. I could make out Rahman loves me.

Do you know Urmila Matondkar is a great fan of yours?

(Shyly) I’ve heard this. It feels very good when youngsters appreciate my music. A few years ago I was at the John F Kennedy airport in New York when a very handsome and tall Pakistani gentleman approached me and said, Hazarika saab, gaate jaiye aise nagme. He had heard my songs in Rudaali in Islamabad on pirated tapes. Do you know what he said, Hum log acchche cheez chori kar ke sun lete hain aur har Pakistani ke ghar mein dil hoom hoom karta hai. And then he disappeared into the crowds.

In London a Supreme Court judge from Pakistan organised a private concert with me. More than half the audience was composed of Pakistanis. And mind you, this was during the Kargil incident. The Muslims touched my feet just like the Hindus do to show their reverence for an artiste. I feel I’ve got the same love from Pakistani music listeners as my Indian fans.

It makes me so happy that youngsters who like Michael Jackson and Madonna loved my music in Rudaali. Indian composers should not ape Western styles. They owe it to today’s listeners to give them something original. Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain are legendary abroad. It’s considered prestigious to learn the sitar and the tabla in the United States. I feel melody will always triumph over cacophony in our own country. The jungle calls that today’s composers make in the name of music must be stopped.

Are you amused or disheartened by present day musical trends?

I’m a little sad. I’ve observed five decades of changing styles and trends. But you can’t kill a raga like Bhairavi or a clean melody by Hemant Kumar or Lata Mangeshkar. But why don’t they have music as a subject in all the schools? They teach Do re mi to the children in the schools out West. Why don’t they teach Sa re ga ma to our kids? Only then can the whole nation sing Jana gana mana in one voice. We musicians shouldn’t abuse youngsters for falling tastes. We should criticise music companies for marketing rubbish. There’s a lot of mediocrity in the name of music. My hopes are pinned on AR Rahman. There are other youngsters also coming up.

Such as?

Ah there you have got me! Yehin mushqil ho jata hai na. I find that spark in Hariharan. I also have great respect for Illayaraja. I have a feeling he’ll come back with some great music.

Let’s talk about your music in MF Husain’s Gaja Gamini.

I’ve completed the music score. It was an entirely new experience for me. Usually I’m given the script and song situations. But in Gaja Gamini, Husain bhai gave me only an abstract concept. We had to first tune into each other’s creative requirements. To do that, I had to work really hard. Husain Bhai has tried to explore 5,000 years of our culture in one film through several characters played by Madhuri Dixit. Her character jumps from one time frame to another, one ethos into another... I had to convey a sense of continuity through my music. I’ve used the services of big classical musicians for the songs. I had to synthesise styles in unusual ways to suit the unusual story telling, for example Leonardo di Vinci doesn’t paint Mona Lisa. He plays the violin and comes to Ujjain to meet Tansen.

So how did you synthesise all these influences?

I had to work really hard. I took help from a lot of great musicians. I had to compose a song in the Deepak Raag. For this I had to do a lot of research. There was a song by KL Saigal Jag mag jag mag diya jalao. But that isn’t really in the Deepak Raag. It’s a mixed raga, whereas I had to approach the Ustads and find out what a real Deepak Raag is. Then I caught hold of Hariharan and arranger Anil Mohile. The three of us worked the song out.

What have you enjoyed the most while composing in Gaja Gamini?

The jugalbandi between the East and West. The conflict was very inspiring. The impact of my music depends on the final product. The NRIs are waiting for this film. They’re all fans of MF Husain and Madhuri.

Not to mention you. Husain saab was inspired by Madhuri. Were you also inspired by her?

I didn’t know her before Gaja Gamini. But Madhuri turned out to be a very sweet girl. She’s very modest and respects Husain saab very much. Madhuri asked me once if I had the same difficulties as she did. Husain saab instructed both of us through abstract notions. One day after performing a dance she asked me if she did it okay. She was fantastic. Gaja Gamini was tough and challenging. I’ve given three of my best songs in this film. I think Kavita Krishnamurthy’s best song ever is Hansa re hansa in Gaja Gamini.

Didn’t you miss Lataji’s vocals in Gaja Gamini?

Very much so. But the time factor we had to record one song played ... villain within one night. Shah Rukh Khan could give dates only for one day. Overnight I had to record a song to be picturised on Shah Rukh and Madhuri. It’s a very modern song. Because Shah Rukh has enacted the song it may become popular.

So you enjoyed doing Gaja Gamini?

Husain told me, ‘Bhupen, you paint through your songs. But I can’t sing with my paintbrush. It’s up to you to fill this lacuna in my artistry. That’s why I’ve taken you.’ I asked Husain saab why he didn’t take a big Ustad for the music. He said he didn’t want an Ustad. He wanted a pagal like him.

What plans do you have for the future?

I want to make a film in Assamese. It’ll be a lyrical film. That’s my forte. I know only one language, and that’s music. Also a lot of musicians want to do fusion albums with me in Shubha Mudgal’s style. If I do fusion I won’t use parallel or contradictory ragas. Melodious fusion would help the cause of music in the coming millennium. Otherwise, the way things are going sometimes I fear music will get scared and run away from us.

Any other ambitions?

Tips has approached me for a project with Lataji. It’s being worked out. The album will contain songs selected by her. I have the highest regard for her talent. When I recently met her for Rahman’s recordings she recalled incidents from our past. We were both appreciative of Rahman’s gentle and humble attitude. Otherwise there’s too much arrogance all around us. And mediocrity sab aksham anukram ho raha hai.

Subhash K Jha , http://www.screenindia.com/old/dec17/music1.htm

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Birthday Article - Ajir Dainik Batori - 9th Sep ' 2007

Nizoraparor Bishwanagorikjon - Bimol Kr. Hazarika

Bhupenda -Buku Hoom Hom Kore ----Komal Kataki


Priya Bhupendaloi jonmodinor Shubhokamona - Anjan Dutta

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Best song of the millennium

SHILLONG: Eminent musician Bhupen Hazarika's famous Bengali composition Manush manusheri janya (man is for mankind) was selected as the 'best song of the millennium' by the BBC Bengali service.

This was announced by the singer himself, a Dadasaheb Phalke awardee, on Friday. He said he got a telephone call to this effect on the first January this year from BBC.

Hazarika, who was in Shillong to inaugurate a Rotary conference, also enthralled the audience with his rendition of the song first in Nagamese followed by Assamese and lastly in Bengali.

Recalling his experience, the eminent musician said he composed the song during the turbulence period in 1964 when Nagaland, Manipur and parts of Assam were burning.

The 77-year-old musician said he had been called by the then Assam Chief Minister B P Cheliha to go to Kohima to quell the mob violence as politicians 'failed' to bring peace.

"Although it is very difficult to translate Thowing to Nagamese but the effect was such that the curfew was lifted the next day," Hazarika, a culture icon of this region, said reminiscing.

When asked by political dignitaries what his 'trick' was, Hazarika smilingly said "It is affection disseminated by the music" which was behind this.

Hazarika's renditions of favourite numbers like Bistirno dupare , ami ek jajabor and dil hum hum kare did the talking in today's show where he was scheduled to deliver his inaugural speech as hundreds of rotarians listened to him with rapt attention

Source : The Times of India , Feb 6 , 2004