TRIBUTES AND REMEMBRANCES: DR BHABENDRANATH SAIKIA

Saibal Chatterjee, Delhi-based film critic, and editor, along with Govind Nihalani and Gulzar, of the recently published Encyclopaedia Brittanicca of Hindi Cinema: "Dr Saikia played the game on his own terms. Dr Saikia is one of the ten major filmmakers that the country has produced. Like Satyajit Ray, he portrayed the clash between the middle-class and modernity and like Ray was so many things rolled into one. Unfortunately, Dr Saikia worked in Assam, where cinema has not been as visible. Dr Saikia may not have stunning technical wizadry in his films, but he was a great storyteller, especially since he was such a strong writer ... He put Assamese cinema on the map. Before Dr Saikia all that the cinema world knew about Assamese cinema was Jyoti Prasad Agarwala and his film Joymoti ...I used to meet Dr Saikia at film festivals in Delhi, where he came even when he did not have a film to show. He was such a simple man with no airs about himself. You woudn't know he was such a great filmmaker unless someone introduced you to him. He wasn't into any public relations...actually he didn't have to be....he had no time, with so much on his plate as a writer, filmmaker, playwright, physicist ... His films will be known for their sympathetic, humanist approach ... "

Moloya Goswami, Actor, played the lead in Dr Saikia's classic, Xandhyaraag: "What we have lost today we will never be able to get back. I have no words to describe his qualities ..."

Munin Boruah, Film Director, Assam: "I have no words to describe how I feel about Dr Saikia's passing away ..."

Indra Bonia, Actor: "I am shocked. What we have lost with his death we will never be able to regain ..."

By Pranab Bora and Monalisa Gogoi (newsfiledelhi@sify.com)