Celebrated Assamese singer, composer, poet and filmmaker Bhupen Hazarika, captivated generations of music lovers with his deep, soothing voice and touching lyrics. He performed countless Assamese, Bengali and Hindi songs about Assamese culture with socialist and humanist themes. Hazarika, who passed away in 2011, won the National Film Award twice. He also received the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna. On his 95th birth anniversary, we look at five of his well-known Hindi songs.
O Ganga Behti Ho Kyon (Bistar Hai Apaar) (1970)
Hazarika’s famous Assamese song, Bistirno Parore (1969), was also translated into Bengali and Hindi. It emphasises the contrast between the endless flow of the river Ganges and the chaos and suffering of humanity living along its banks. The song was based on American singer Paul Robeson’s show tune, Ol’ Man River (1927).
O Videsi Bandhu (1979)
This song is the Hindi remake of the original Assamese track, O Bideshi Bandhu, from the critically acclaimed Abdul Majid-directed Assamese film, Chameli Memsaab (1975). The romantic song was composed and performed by Hazarika in Assamese and Hindi as well as Bengali.
Dil Hoom Hoom Kare (1993)
Hazarika is the most remembered for this song from the film Rudaali (1993). He composed the music for this Kalpana Lajmi film and performed three of its seven songs, written by Gulzar. The story of Rudaali involves the lower caste mourners of Rajasthan who get paid to cry at funerals of upper caste people.
Haan Aawara Hoon (2001)
This melodious song about a vagabond singing of his bittersweet travels across the globe was originally written and performed by Hazarika as an Assamese song named Moi Eti Jajabor. The Hindi version of the song, Haan Aawara Hoon, was translated by Gulzar.
Gaja Gamini (2000)
The soundtrack of painter M.F. Hussain’s film Gaja Gamini, starring Madhuri Dixit, was composed by Hazarika, who also performed the title track.
The film is about Dixit’s titular muse, who inspires famous artists and individuals throughout history in different forms.