GUWAHATI, July 31 – Veteran actor Indra Bania and actor-producer Ratan Lahkar were honoured with the Natasurya Phani Sarma Award and the Sahityacharyya Atul Chandra Hazarika Award respectively at a function at Rabindra Bhawan here this evening.
Acting Chief Minister Dr Bhumidhar Barman formally presented the awards to the artistes.
Dr Barman, in his speech, lauded Bania and Lahkar for their stellar contribution towards Assamese cinema and theatre, saying that the duo had left their indelible marks on the State’s cultural arena. He also gave an account of the various initiatives taken by the State government for the uplift of art, culture and literature.
The two artistes, in their acceptance speech, thanked the people of the State for their unstinted support to the cause of theatre.
Born at Dhalpur village in North Lakhimpur on December 24, 1942, Bania has been a household name in the State in the field of drama since the 1960s. A regular artiste with All India Radio, Guwahati since 1964, Bania’s histrionics is fondly remembered for his unforgettable performance in the two acclaimed plays Govardhan Charit and Moinar Sangbad. Bania has also acted in a number of award-winning films besides directing a few. He is the first Assamese to bag the Silver Leopard for his role in the film Halodhia ChorayeBao Dhan Khay.
Ratan Lahkar, who has been instrumental in building up the mobile theatre movement in the State since the 1970s, was initiated to the world of acting as a student of Class V. His Kohinoor Theatre, which came into being in 1976 at Pathsala in Barpeta, went on to attain iconic status in the State.
Lahkar gave theatre aficionados of the State a string of hugely successful plays through mobile theatre. It was due to Lahkar’s efforts that popular movie stars of Assamese cinema made their presence in mobile theatres.