Dr. Bhupen Hazarika enthralls Dubai Audience

Assam Somaj, Dubai (www.assamdubai.org), organized ‘An Evening with Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’ on 27th March, 2003. The plush and glittering Al Thuraiya Ballroom of the Renaissance Hotel in Dubai reverberated with the passionate outpourings of this living legend.

The function had a multi-cultural audience from a cross-section of people of not only from India, but also from Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Chief Guest for the evening was the Indian Ambassador to UAE, His Excellency Mr. K. C. Singh, who paid a glowing tribute to Dr. Hazarika. He stated that even reading Bhupenda’s bio-data was a humbling experience. He termed him a complete Renaissance man for he embodies the unity of arts – music, poetry, films and art. Mr. Singh attributed his “remarkably young” looks to the fact that he has grown and transformed himself with the times and that he is content in the knowledge that he has excelled in what he has achieved.

The Consul General of India, Mr. George Joseph, was apologetic for not being able to speak in Assamese, having been away from Assam for more than three decades; he however appeared to have felt proud to sing the first lines of 'O mor Aponar Desh' in the native accent. He recalled the happy memories of the years he had spent in Shillong in the days before Assam became fragmented, when the sheer beauty of Nature was un-spoilt, when he used to take a week to travel from his native Kerala to Assam and the first “concrete monstrosity” he saw in Assam was the Barapani dam!

Accompanying Dr. Hazarika was the eminent film-maker, Ms. Kalpana Lajmi, who gave brief introductions to Dr. Hazarika's songs. The other artistes who accompanied him were Mr. Kamal Kataki on the guitar; Mrs. Asha Sharma Kataki who won the hearts of the audience by her sweet voice and pretty face; Mr. Paban Bordoloi on the tabla; Mr. Rupam Talukdar on the key board and Mr. Parameswar Basumatary, who caused a sensation among the audience when Dr. Hazarika introduced him, in a lighter vein of course, as a Boro rebel who put down his AK47 and picked up his flute!
After the traditional lighting of the lamp by Dr. Hazarika, the programme started with an inaugural dance by six senior students of Mrs. Ketki Hazra, a well known Kathak dance teacher of Dubai. They also performed a dance to the tune of Dr. Hazarika’s famous “Ganga Beheti Ho Kyun”.

Another young artiste from Assam, Diganta Bordoloi charmed the audience with his flawless rendering of Assamese and Hindi songs. Dubai-based Soumya Narayan Barua, nephew of the late Protima Pandey Barua, paid tribute to her memory by singing some of her well-loved folk songs. His powerful voice and subtle nuances of the Goalporia lokageet thrilled the listeners.

The function was also attended by Ms. Bobbeeta Sharma of 'Bideshot Aapon Manuh' fame. Ms. Sharma along with her team is currently in Dubai to shoot future episodes of her serial.

Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s magical voice charmed the audience who listened with rapt attention to all the little anecdotes that he so cleverly intersperses his songs with. The intensity and passion with which he sang his song “Ganga” ending in a crescendo of anguish, left the audience totally spell bound.

For the people of Assam it was a nostalgic return to the ‘Bihutolis’ and for the others it was certainly an evening to remember. The intensity of feeling with which Bhupenda rendered his songs brought tears to many eyes – both young and old.
The anchorperson for the function perhaps summarized the feelings of all the Assamese expatriates when she said, “Bhupenda’s voice and his words is what we all turn to when our heart aches for home and we are proud and happy to share him with the rest of the world.”
In another function held on 30th March, the music CD for Ms. Kalpana Lajmi's forthcoming film “Kyun?” had an international release by a senior resident of Dubai, Mr. Anil Nanda. Dr. Hazarika is the music director for the film, which is based on the problems of the young generation of today. Dr. Hazarika has rendered a beautiful number in this film, for which the other singers are Asha Bhonsle, Sonu Nigam, Alka Yagnik and KK.

An ardent fan of Bhupenda, Mr. Rustom Wadia, resident of Dubai, had this to say after the performance and is worth quoting:

“This angelic man with a voice which is so amazing, words so divine, that when God created him He said …”THIS GIFT TO MANKIND I GIVE YOU JUST ONCE.” Privileged are they who have heard him, blessed are they who have appreciated him, and in pure ecstasy are those few who can say proudly to their grandchildren, and they in turn to theirs, yes, he met this Himalaya of a Man.”

D K Borah