Assamese Music Legend Bhupen Hazarika No More!
We have been born listening to his songs, we grew up with his songs and we are still living with his evergreen songs. He is a way of life for the people of Assam, a state in North East India, and he has been an integral part of their existence. The golden voice of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika has ceased today after a span of over sixty years. The people of Assam and also of India, particularly West Bengal, have now to accept this fact.
He has been a singer par excellence, a top class lyricist, a writer-journalist, a music director and a filmmaker. His songs are characterized by unique literary words, phrases and expressions. He has shown that melody can still be kept with complex literary words of the highest order. It has always been a pleasure to try singing his songs because of the complex yet beautiful lyrical compositions. His lyrics and tunes have the earthy native fragrance of the land he belonged to. He has been the dearest Bhupenda (‘da’ meaning dear elder brother) for all of the people in Assam.
Apart from scores of Assamese songs he also sang Hindi and Bengali songs. He is so popular in Bengal that many Bengalis claim him to belong there. He had also sung an English number of the Leadbelly-Paul Robeson fame ‘We Are in the Same Boat Brother’. In many stage concerts Bhupenda showed his mastery by switching languages effortlessly, that is to say singing the same in different languages.
He had directed Assamese films in various genres in the mid-fifties and also wrote and composed the songs. His foray into Bollywood started in 1973 when he gave music to a Hindi mainstream film ‘Aarop’ directed by Atam Ram. Afterwards he had been the music director for several Kalpana Lajmi movies namely ‘Rudaali’ (1993).
The 85 year old legend Dr. Bhupen Hazarika passed away today afternoon at Kokilaben Dhiru Bhai Ambani hospital in Mumbai. He had been fighting death since June, 2011 and in August recovered almost completely. But his multi-organ dysfunction continued and he was admitted again in October. For the past two days he had been in a critical condition. Finally a grand musical era came to a close at around 4.40 pm today. His body will be taken to Assam maybe tomorrow or day after and the last rites will be performed with full state honors at his hometown Guwahati.
Our tributes to the Legend. May his great soul attain eternal musical bliss!