Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nation mourns death of legendary singer Bhupen Hazarika

Source : India Today , 5 Nov 2011
Assam went into mourning on Saturday after the news of the demise of Bhupen Hazarika spread with fans and well wishers of the legendary singer-composer gathering outside his residence in Guwahati to pay tributes.

Almost all houses in Assam have lighted lamps as a homage to the maestro.

The mortal remains of Hazarika, who died in a Mumbai hospital, was likely to be brought to Guwahati on Monday, his family said.

Hazarika's brother Samar said family members were discussing the future course of action and his body was likely to be brought for the last rites.

Samar, himself a popular singer in Assam, said the news of the death of his brother was yet to sink in.

"Bhupenda was a fighter and we hoped against hope that he will bounce back. What can I say now? There is a lot to say about him, but I just can put words to it," he said.

Members of All Assam Students' Union gathered near the maestro's statue at Dighalipukhuri area with people stopping to pay tribute to him by lighting lamps.

Popular singer Zubin Garg said the passing away of Hazarika has created a void in the cultural arena of the state.

"He was ailing for months but we all hoped he will recover and return home. Bhupenda will forever live among the Assamese," Garg said.

Hazarika's death was condoled by the music and intellectual world in Kolkata which was his centre of activities in the early 50s that saw his close association with Hemant Kumar, Salil Chowdhury and many others.

"I lost a great friend. I met him when he returned from the USA. He was suffering a lot. It is sad to think he is no more," filmmaker Mrinal Sen said.

Reminiscing that he was very fond of legendary music director Salil Chowdhury, Sen said the singer was to direct the film "Nil Akasher Niche", a Bengali feature film of 1955-56, but the responsibility ultimately fell on him.

Sen's wife Gita recalling Hazarika's attachment to their family while he was residing at Manoharpukur Road said, "All great ones are leaving one by one. It is difficult to accept."

Another music legend Manna De told a Bengali TV channel from Bangaluru that Hazarika's songs were a blend of folk.

"Whenever I used to sing music directed by him, I felt good. I used to tell him that there is a different feeling and sensation when I sang his songs at his direction. There was something in his songs," the 92-year-old De said.

"His talent spread from Assam all over India. His music enthralled everyone. What should I say? He was suffering for a long time. I thought he will overcome, but he has left us. I pray for the peace of his noble soul," he said.

Singer Usha Uthup said Hazarika had given a lot to Indian music. "His contribution is immense in integrating India.

"He belonged not only to Assam but to the whole of India," she said.

Singers of yesteryears like Banashree Sengupta and Nirmala Mishra recalled their association with Hazarika.