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Pratima Barua

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Swapan Purkayastha on Pratima Barua:
14 Mar,2011 at 08:18 PM
Pratima Barua Pandey (1935-2002) was a popular folk singer from the royal family of Gauripur in lower Assam's Dhubri district. Barua Pandey, a national awardee, best known for her immortal Goalpariya songs Hastir Kanya and Mur Mahut Bandhure, was the niece of filmmaker Pramathesh Barua of Devdas fame.
Early life:
Barua Pandey was born on October 3, 1935, in Kolkata. She pursued her early education in the city’s Gokhale Memorial School, after which she came to Assam to study at the Girls’ High School, Gauripur, home of the royal family. She mostly spent her early years in between the din of Kolkata and the soothing environments of riverside "Gadadhar" at Gauripur. Although she learned Rabindrasangeet at school, but she never took any formal training or teaching in music except the encouraging words from her father Prakitesh Chandra Barua (Lalji). The most crucial point in the her life came when Dr. Bhupen Hazarika visited Gauripur in 1955 and attended a jalsa organised on a social occasion, the shy young Pratima, though tongue-tied with fear, let her voice and the lyrics of the lokageet in Goalpariya dialect flow in tune with the strings and rhythms of the dhol, junuka, dotora, darinda, dhuluki and Bashi which are musical instruments in Goalpariya culture. Dr. Hazarika was highly impressed and predicted that this voice would definitely take Goalpariya lokageet to great heights. Later he continued his tireless moral and material support to establish that Goalpariya lokageet was a part of greater Assamese geet. Indeed, he first presented Goalpariya folk song in his flim Era Bator Sur. Besides the mahout songs, Barua Pandey used to sing Paul Robeson’s evergreen hit We are in the same boat brother in stage shows. She married to Gauri Shankar Pandey, a retired principal of the Gauripur P. B. College.
Awards:
Pratima Barua Pandey was awarded the Padmashree and Sangeet Natak Akademi for her pioneering efforts in popularising Goalpariya lokageet. A documentary flim made on her life and works by noted filmmaker Prabin Hazarika, Hastir Kanya, won national award for best biographical film in 1997, earned great appreciation and created waves at the South Asia film festival in 1998.

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