Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Bhupenda’s Zindabad Mandela archived

GUWAHATI, Dec 13 – As people from across the globe together with their political leaders pay tribute to the greatest political icon of the contemporary world, and feel connected to Nelson Mandela, Assam, too, can feel connected to Madiba in a befitting manner.
This has been made possible by Assam’s music maestro, the late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, when way back in 1990, in the presence of Mandela, Dr Hazarika sang (also wrote its lyrics and composed the music) Zindabad Mandela at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
The Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Literary and Cultural Forum, in a statement, said that at the initiative of the Forum, the ‘musical gem’ has been archived at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory (NMCM) with accession# NMAP 2013/002 since February 2013.
“So, any person visiting NMCM in South Africa can access and appreciate this song in praise of Mandela by the late Dr Hazarika.” Dr Sangita Choudhury, joint secretary of the Forum said.
Source : The Assam Tribune , 14 December 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Dancing In Calcutta

Mandela remembered dancing to the music of Bhupen Hazarika, and also managed to persuade Mrs and Prime Minister Gujral to the dance floor
By Balmiki Prasad Singh , Source : outlookindia.com

My first meeting with Nelson Mandela was when he visited India after his release from prison in 1990. I happened to be visiting Delhi from Assam and found out that he was to deliver the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Lecture at Teen Murti House. I had the good fortune of spending 7-8 minutes talking to him, as he was sitting alone in the front row, waiting for the arrival of the then Prime Minister V.P. Singh so that the function could begin.
My second meeting with him was in South Africa, when I had gone along with Prime Minister Inder Gujral's entourage, as union culture secretary in 1997— the first visit of an Indian Prime Minister after Mandela was sworn-in as President on 10th May, 1994. The courtesy call by Prime Minister Gujral on President Mandela was preceded by a ceremonial guard of honour. Secretary, MEA, V.K. Grover, High Commissioner Gopal Krishna Gandhi and I were ushered into the Presidential living room.
After exchange of pleasantries, President Mandela expressed his unhappiness that neither the President nor the Prime Minister of India had attended his swearing in ceremony. He also mentioned that after his release from prison, India was the first country he had visited. There was visible discomfiture. And then President Mandela went on to talk about the warmth that he had received in India during his visit there.
Seeing the unease of Prime Minister Gujral and sensing an opportunity, I mentioned that I had the privilege of meeting him at Teen Murti House at New Delhi on that occasion. Looking at me, he said that my face was familiar to him. I asked him what he considered as his most memorable public meeting in India. He promptly said it was at Kolkata where he had addressed nearly a million people at the maidan. President Mandela also remembered dancing to the music of a singer who had performed in his honour. I said that the singer, Bhupen Hazarika, was a friend whom I had known for a number of years. This helped change the atmosphere.
The rest of the visit of course went off exceedingly well. In fact, Prime Minister Gujral before being escorted to the waiting car was taken to a huge crowd which had assembled outside the gate. President Mandela introduced Prime Minister Gujral to the people with warmth. Subsequently, Prime Minister Gujral thanked me for my interjection that had earlier helped melt the ice. Later, at a dinner hosted in honour of Prime Minister Gujral, President Mandela persuaded both Prime Minister Gujral and Mrs Gujral to join him and his consort on the dance floor to the glee of the invitees.
Balmiki Prasad Singh is a former Governor of Sikkim

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sketch by Bhupen Hazarika

Source : The Assam Tribune , 05-11-2012

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Work to start on Bhupen memorial - lack of bidders to design Assam site hampers progress

Guwahati, Nov. 4: The Assam government will allocate work to construct the much-awaited Bhupen Hazarika memorial site within 45 days.
Tomorrow is the second death anniversary of the legendary singer.
Lack of bidders to design the memorial site was what pulled back the state government from starting work on the site on a fast footing, said Kumar Sanjay Krishna, principal secretary in the state cultural affairs department.
Talking to the media, Krishna today said the state government had to publish advertisements thrice in local and national newspapers seeking proposals from bidders before deciding on Guwahati-based Gautam Barua Associates.
“Only one firm responded to our first advertisement published on April 11 this year. As participation of at least three bidders is required to complete a bidding process, we advertised again on May 6 and got two bidders. We advertised for the third time on July 4 and got three bidders, two from Guwahati and one from Calcutta,” said Krishna.
The state government has faced criticism from different quarters for the delay in starting work on the memorial siteon the premises of Gauhati University at Jalukbari here.
Krishna said Rs 10 crore has been earmarked by the state government for its construction. Besides, the government has also requested the planning department to open a bank account so that people of the state can donate too.
The total area of the site would be 7466.78 square metres. “We are trying to restrict civil work and develop greenery as much as possible on the memorial site so that people can recollect the singer in a tranquil atmosphere,” Krishna added.
Among others, there will be an open-air theatre, audio-visual room, space to showcase various photographs of Bhupen Hazarika and parking area. Trees that had inspired Hazarika in his creations will be planted on the site.
The PWD will float a tender seeking parties for construction of the site. Krishna said construction would be completed by 2014.
The state government had to send a reminder to Gauhati University for getting the required land, Krishna added. When Hazarika passed away, the university offered the required land to cremate and develop the site.
On October 12, 2012, the state government had a meeting with the university, following which it sent a letter on November 2 seeking the land. As the university failed to take prompt action, Dispur on December 6 sent a reminder. On March 18 this year, the university finally handed over the land to the state government.
Source : The Telegraph India , 5 Nov 2013

Monday, November 11, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monday, October 14, 2013

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Source : The Assam Tribune , 05-11-2012

Not doing Bhupen Hazarika biopic: Irrfan Khan

New Delhi: Actor Irrfan Khan has denied reports that he is playing Bhupen Hazarika in Kalpana Lajmi’s upcoming biopic, saying the role was never offered to him.
There were reports that after enjoying critical acclaim for his performance in “The Lunchbox”, Irrfan has the Bhupen Hazarika biopic in his kitty.
“I was never offered the role. I would love to play him onscreen. He was a great human being with a huge body of work. People like him should be remembered always. But the script should be really strong,” Irrfan told PTI in an interview.
Filmmaker Kalpana Lajmi will direct the biopic on her relationship with the legendary musician, who died on November 5, 2011. It will be produced by Pooja Bhatt.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Irrfan Khan to play Bhupen Hazarika?

After enjoying critical acclaim for his performance in 'The Lunchbox', actor Irrfan Khan has another interesting project lined up. If sources are to be believed, Irrfan might play Bhupen Hazarika in Kalpana Lajmi's upcoming biopic.
A Mid-Day report says that the biopic will be based on the script written by both Kalpana Lajmi as well as Mahesh Bhatt. The film will highlight the love story between the veteran singer and Lajmi that continued for about 40 years. The project will be produced by Pooja Bhatt.

However, Lajmi has refused to confirm if Irrfan will play the lead character. She says that right now she is busy working on the script and will confirm its cast once the scripting is over.
Source : The Times of India , 27 Sep , 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Birthday tribute: Son Tej to release Bhupen Hazarika's thesis in US

The Times of India , Sep 5 , 2013

GUWAHATI: Call it a son's homage or a posthumous reproduction of his father's thesis. Music legend Bhupen Hazarika's son Tej, who is based in the US, will release a book based on his father's academic pursuits to commemorate his 87th birthday.
'Demystifying Dr Bhupen Hazarika: Envisioning Education for India', a 230-page special edition book in trade paperback will be released in the US on September 8.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Dispur selects design firm - Bhupen Hazarika memorial project on track

Guwahati, Aug. 28: Dispur has finally selected a local architectural firm for designing the Rs 10-crore Bhupen Hazarika Memorial after a delay of six months.  
Sources in the Assam culture department today told The Telegraph that it had floated national tenders in March to engage a design consultant for the project but had to extend it thrice owing to a lack of response.  
The “high and sensitive” profile of the project possibly intimidated the prospective firms. 
The department finally selected Gautam Baruah and Associates, an architectural firm, for the project. 
“There was a delay of about six months during the process for selection of the design consultant. We had to extend the tender period thrice as firms did not come forward. It may be because firms were worried about the sensitivity of the project. Many did not come forward because any mistake in the project may attract public criticism and eventually affect their business,” a source said. 
After Hazarika was cremated on the Gauhati University campus at Jalukbari in November 2011, Dispur had announced that it would develop the plot into a Rajghat-like memorial.
An estimated three-bigha (43,200 square feet) area has been earmarked for the Rs 10-crore memorial, of which Rs 4 crore has already been sanctioned.
Click here to read the full story The Telegraph , 29 Aug 2013

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Kalpana Lajmi: Bhupen Never Made Me Feel Fat or Ugly

.............. What intrigues is the pull of a man who could make a young girl alter the course of her life. “I was greatly influenced by my father the late Captain Gopi Lajmi. He was a brown sahib. He was an unusual Indian male – liberal, non-inquisitive and someone who never gossiped. Also my grandmother, a great raconteur, introduced me to the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Bhagwad Gita. My uncle, director Shyam Benegal was a surrogate father. I assisted him and grasped much from him. I found a combination of all these personalities in Bhupen,” she analyses her attraction to The Bard of Brahmaputra as the musician was called. ‘‘Bhupen’s detachment to the material world drew me to him. Moreover, he gave me financial and intellectual freedom. That was far greater than someone holding my hand and saying ‘Let’s get married’.”

Kalpana insists she was a one-man woman. “I did have admirers, but they understood I wasn’t focussed on them. I’m not trying to be a sant (saint) though. Whether he was a one-woman man, I don’t know (Laughs). That I’ll never know because whenever I’d confront him about something he’d say, ‘No, no, that’s not true, aisa kuch bhi nahin hai’. I’m sure there were others considering the field he was in. He was such a charming man and a gigantic personality. But he was not a womaniser. Also, I don’t like the phrase ‘women threw themselves at him’.
Unless a man responds, no woman can move ahead.”

Married to ArtAbout their easygoing equation she says, “Without the strain of marriage we lived the life of a married couple. I never wanted to get married, never wanted to have a child. Being an artiste, he was irresponsible. He’d go for a show at 10 pm and come back home the next day at 10 am. I didn’t want to harness my energies to harness his. And only if there’s peace, can one create. Also, I didn’t have to prove myself to him. I didn’t ever have to fit into the idea of a perfect woman; he never made me feel fat and ugly. It was never a male gaze.”

The age difference never bothered her. “He was young in mind and had super energy. Pahadis are genetically strong. While I’d climb up the stairs slowly, he’d run up!” His last words to me were, ‘What will you do without me?’ Surely, it’s lonely without him but I’m trying to be productive. Though I don’t have the urge to be in the rat race or to climb, gnaw, tear and chew into the social fabric of the world. Yet, one has to survive. I know he’s somewhere around. That’s reassuring!”

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ratan Thiyam to get 2nd Bhupen Hazarika award

IMPHAL: Noted dramaturge Ratan Thiyam added another feather to his cap after Sarhad - a Pune-based NGO - decided to confer him the 2nd Bhupen Hazarika National Award.
Thiyam has recently been appointed as the chairperson of the prestigious National School of Drama (NSD).
Sarhad, in a statement, said "His (Thiyam) contribution in the field of performing arts is unmatched. Through his plays he has always tried to underline the agony and fire rooted in the bellies of the deprived." The statement signed by Sarhad's founder president Sanjay Nahar added that the award ceremony will be held in Pune in September or October this year.
Read More : The Times of India , 21 August 2013

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Eid Mubarak

Source : Amar Asom , 31 August 2011

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Tweets by Kailash Kher

Kailash Kher (@Kailashkher)
My precious, Sri bhupen hazarika's harmonium. It's saath feels like he's watching over me. instagram.com/p/a6B5-dI-Gu/
Kailash Kher (@Kailashkher)
@promzzz his name was Hazarika but for me he was "Bhupen Lakho Ka" or "Bhupen Karodo Ka" such soul come to enlighten the planet earth


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Music for generation

Two year old Unnav enjoying Bhupen Hazarika’s music  

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Update : Construction of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika Memorial

Dainik Asam , 10 July 2013

Highlights of the project ( except from the letter ) :  
As part of the effort to commemorate the Legend Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, Government of Assam proposes to construct a Memorial with the following vision:
*Memorial would be symbol of serenity and respect like “Rajghat” evoking a solemn and divine feeling.
*Memorial will be a landscape monument with burning flame. Tree and greenery should be planned in a manner to give out the colors of the season year long. Local flowering trees which find frequent mention in Dr. Hazarika’s songs would be given preference.
*Songs in Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s own voice will be played in fixed hours in the morning and evening. The morning slots would be of devotional songs sung by Dr. Hazarika while evening slots go to inspiring songs sung by him. Recording of speeches will be played in special occasion.
*Lights and water bodies should be designed to complement each other to plan the changing colors in a programmed manner.
*Exhibition of photographs on life of Dr. Hazarika should be displayed in a memorial along with a souvenir shop. A reading room will also be setup to read books on Dr. Hazarika and written by him.
*There should be an adequate parking along with rest room facilities.
*A Small open air theater in the precincts.
*Gardens will have statues of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika in various poses – Singing, Composing, Shooting films. Etc.
*To maintain solemnity of the space, effective design should incorporate noise pollution reduction.
Project Budget
Govt. has provisioned a Budget of Rs.10.00 Cr. (Rupees Ten Crores) for developing the said Monument / Memorial.
Project Area
The proposed site of the memorial is located at Jalukbari covering an estimated area of 5 bighas & 3 Kakhas .

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Soul-stirring legacy

Interview with Bhupen Hazarika -from 2003 archive

By Jyoti Kalsi
He was 10 years old when he gave a performance over the radio for the first time. Over the last 66 years he has written, composed and sung over a thousand popular songs in Assamese, Bengali and Hindi. But his zest for music remains undiminished. His total involvement in his work, the deep sense of joy he derives from his musical talent and his childlike delight in the appreciation of the audience are a beautiful sight to behold. Such is the stuff that legends are made of - and Dr Bhupen Hazarika is indeed a legend in his native state of Assam, India.
Besides composing music for regional films and Hindi films like Rudaali, Saaz, Gajagamini, Daman and Ek Pal, Dr Hazarika has also produced tele-serials and documentaries, written books, travelogues, short stories and children's rhymes besides editing two monthly magazines. He has been on the board of numerous film-related government organisations and has served as a member of the Indian Parliament.
In addition to a number of national and international awards for his cultural, artistic and social contribution to society, he has also been awarded India's prestigious civilian honours - the Padmashree in 1977 and the Padmabhushan in 2001.
Bhupenda, as he is popularly known as, seems unaffected by the recognition and fame. On a recent trip to Dubai, he won the hearts of everyone he met not only with his music but also with his humble and friendly nature. During An Evening with Bhupen Hazarika, a concert organised by the newly-formed 'Asom Somaj', he mesmerised the audience with renditions of his lyrics imbued with a strong social message and his soul-stirring romantic numbers including the award-winning Dil Hum Hum Kare from Rudaali.
His sonorous, resonant voice has not aged. And he is not one to rest on his laurels. The septuagenarian is currently working on the music of Kalpana Lajmi's new film titled Kyun. In keeping with the film's story about youngsters and its cast of fresh new faces, the music he has composed is lively and contemporary. During a small, social gathering at the residence of Sanjana and Aswini Borkotoky, members of the Asom Somaj, Bhupenda announced the official international launch of the film's music.
While Kalpana Lajmi, the film's director, explained the situation of each song, Bhupenda listened to the music with eyes closed, hands waving in time with the music and his body swaying to the peppy tunes. Afterwards he asked for the opinion of the audience with all the enthusiasm of a child on his first adventure.
And it has to be said that though the songs sung by popular young singers Sonu Nigam, KK and rock band Silk Route are nice, the best number in the album is the title song sung by Bhupenda. Later we sat down for what was supposed to have been a short interview but went on for over an hour. Bhupenda walked down memory lane, recalling his childhood in Assam, his post-graduation in political science from Benares Hindu University, his experiences in the U.S. while studying for his doctorate in mass communication at Columbia University and his film career that he began as a child actor in 1939.
He described in vivid detail his meeting in 1949 with legendary American civil rights activist and singer Paul Robeson, who influenced the strong social consciousness in his own music. With gusto he sang Ole Man River, Robeson's song that inspired Bhupenda's own Ganga Kyun Behti Hai Tu.
Excerpts from the interview:
Jyoti Kalsi: You have won several state, national and international awards for your work. Which one do you cherish the most?
Bhupen Hazarika: I am indebted to the Indian and other governments for the laurels they have bestowed on me. Professionally and intellectually I value the Dada Saheb Phalke Award for Lifetime Contribution to Indian Cinema, which is like an Oscar.
The Lata Mangeshkar award for my contribution to music has great sentimental value because it was given to me by Lata, who sang my first Hindi film composition and encouraged and supported me in my career. But my most cherished award is the love and appreciation of people all over the world. On a trip to Hatta yesterday, I was touched when a Bangladeshi fruit seller recognised me and offered me a basket of fruits. Gestures like these make me feel that I have a friend in every corner of the world.
Which of your many artistic and social achievements do you feel is the most important?
I am happy that I have been able to use my songs as an instrument of social change and that through my work I have revived the neglected cultural heritage of North-eastern India and presented it to the rest of our country and abroad. I became a member of the legislative assembly only to achieve my dream of establishing the first-ever state-owned film studio, a national art gallery and a national theatre in Assam and consider the fulfilment of these goals to be major achievements.
What more would you like to achieve?
I want to write my autobiography. There are about 30 biographies written by others but I want to tell it my way. The other important task I want to finish is the recovery and dissemination of classic songs from the government's archives. As the chairman of the Sangeet Natak Academy, I have already begun the work and I hope that soon tapes of ghazals by Akhtaribai Faizabadi and other such lost treasures will be available to the public at reasonable prices. This is our heritage; it must be preserved and passed on to the next generation even if we have to put some pop songs on the cassettes to reach today's listeners.
Through your music you have always tried to bring Indian folk culture and music into mainstream cinema. How do you feel about the current trend of mixing folk music with western beats?
Change is inevitable, but I see a gradual erosion in our cultural heritage. Earlier, maestros like Pandit Ravi Shankar and Zakir Hussain experimented with fusion music; but they embraced western music while remaining rooted in our culture. Most of the music today sounds to me like "confusion" rather than fusion, but I do see some beautiful indigenous touches in the music of A.R. Rahman, Hariharan and Leslie Lewis.
How would you like to be remembered?
As a person who believed that songs can be instruments of social change.
Source : Gulfnews, April 08 , 2003

An Autograph by Bhupen Hazarika

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The voice that rebelled

Listening to Paul Robeson's rare recordings of two very special concerts, during a recent visit to the US, was an emotional experience for us. The first concert was at the AME Zion Church in New York on June 1, 1958. It was also his last concert in the US before his passport was restored to him, after nine years of legal struggle and official attempts to erase his singing career. The second concert was on August 10, 1958, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, his first abroad after his right to travel was restored.

The New York concert, at the church where his brother was a pastor, came at the end of a period during which concert halls across the US refused to rent their premises to Robeson, because he spoke on behalf of Black Liberation and for the cause of oppressed people everywhere. One of the remarks he made at the concert was, “I want the folks of Mother Zion to know that a [period of] hard struggle is over… this could not have happened without the strength and courage and help and the prayers of you all, not only in Mother Zion but also in many parts of America….” Because of the context in which the concert took place, the spirituals he sang on this occasion have an emotional quality. The rendition of Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, which he sang and recorded that evening, has a quality that is indeed special.
Click here to read the full story ..

When penance pays off

Dance historian Sunil Kothari on putting together his volume on Sattriya

Well known writers, even in this age of audio-visual technology, are often better recognised by their widely read words than by face. Sunil Kothari, though, is an exception. Among the community of dancers, dance audiences and writers, his is an easily recognised visage. With a younger author, one might have attributed this familiarity to a skill at manipulating the public relations industry. But with this septuagenarian dance historian and critic, the reason is much simpler. Over the decades, a boundless energy has propelled him to just about every dance event of significance, be it across the country or the world. Presenting a paper in Kolkata, introducing a group in Chennai, interviewing great dancers in Orissa, collecting material for his books that number over a dozen — besides editing memorable editions of Marg dedicated to various art forms — lecturing at institutions in the U.S. — a casual observation of his trajectory would make one believe the laws of time and space willingly dissolved before him.

Kothari’s career has straddled a century, right from the early days of India’s classical dance renaissance when Bharatanatyam was first prised out of its cultural isolation in the thatched cottages of devadasis and nattuvanars of South India, to the present, an era in which professionals of the dance form jet across the globe performing for eager audiences. If Bharatanatyam is no longer new on the cultural firmament, Sattriya, the umbrella term for the Vaishnavite dances associated with the monasteries (sattras) of Assam, is lesser known, and given formal recognition as a ‘classical’ dance of India by the Sangeet Natak Akademi only in 2000. Stands to reason then, that the latest book edited by this dance scholar who has been there, done that (Marg’s “Bharata Natyam”, which he edited, was first published in 1979 and has seen two editions and five prints), is “Sattriya: Classical Dance of Assam”. The book, with photographs by Avinash Pasricha, is due to be released this Sunday in New Delhi by Sangeet Natak Akademi Vice Chair Shanta Serbjeet Singh.
Click here to read the full stoty ...

Friday, June 14, 2013

One small song clip from the 1993 movie Papeeha

Directed by Sai Paranjape
Music Director Bhupen Hazarika
Cast :
Milind Gunaji
Veeni Paranjape Joglekar
Raghuvir Yadav

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Balladeer's Dreams : New Paperback & ebook on Bhupen Hazarika

Book Description :The Balladeer’s Dream is based on the controversial life and works of a musician, lyricist, singer, poet and film-maker from India. This work is a unique amalgam of eastern Indian psyche and nationalism blended with vivid word pictures that emerge from the mind of the versatile and sometimes reckless artist and romantic. The author has masterfully enacted each event, lyric or tale related to or rendered by the artist during his lifetime as episodes in dreams. After his death and at his funeral pyre, minute by minute, he experiences each episode that occurs in different worlds and events he has lived through. As these dreams progress, he redeems himself of all worldly responsibilities. Eventually, his confluence with the Luhit River, which is also his genesis, occurs - completing the cycle of life.
Author : Mr.Sujal Das
Paperback: 182 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (May 14, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1481929984
ISBN-13: 978-1481929981
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
More Details : amazon.com