GUWAHATI, Nov 22 - Celebrated Assamese cinema actor Biju Phukan passed away at a city hospital around 6:15 pm today following a cardiac arrest. The 70-year-old actor was admitted to the emergency department of the hospital around 4:30 pm today after he complained of uneasiness.
A legendary figure of Assamese cinema, Biju Phukan had played various roles in more than 80 films. His film journey started with Assamese thriller Dr Bezbarua in 1969, after which there was no looking back for him. The film Aranya (1971), in which he appeared as the protagonist for the first time, was adjudged the Best Regional Film at the National Film Festival. The song Mon Hira Doi, which he lip-synced in the film Bowari, became a huge hit.
Biju Phukan was a also known name in stage acting. He acted in some Bengali films as well.
Born on February 18, 1947 in Dibrugarh, Biju Phukan left an indelible mark on the regional film industry here with films like Baruar Sansar, Anutap, Ajoli Nabou, Ganesh, Rajanigandha, Bowari, Lalita, Aparoopa, Agnisnan, Papori, Pita Putra, Ghar Sansar, among others.
Recently, he had appeared in the film Dur. He was also on the jury of Indian Panorama.
A pall of gloom descended in the State following the demise of Biju Phukan with the entire film industry and his admirers expressing deep sorrow, and describing his passing away as an irreparable loss to the State’s film industry.
He leaves behind his wife Rajashri Phukan, daughter Sanghamitra Phukan and son Angshuman Phukan.
His last rites will be performed with full State honours at the Nabagraha crematorium here at 11 am tomorrow, said Hrishikesh Goswami, press adviser to the Chief Minister.
According to hospital sources, the veteran actor was not keeping well for the past three days. He had a history of coronary artery disease, diabetes and hypertension, and was hospitalised a few weeks back.
Renowned filmmaker Jahnu Barua said, “I am shocked by the news of Biju Phukan’s death. He had worked in my first movie Aparoopa and since then we continued to share a deep bonding.
“He was a household name in Assam during the 1970s and ’80s. I am speechless today and the void created by his demise would be difficult to fill. He ruled the silver screen like a king,” said Barua while talking to this newspaper from Goa where the International Film Festival of India is under way.
Popular director Munin Baruah, who had worked in a number of movies with Biju Phukan both as a director and a scriptwriter, said, “The news came as a shock to me. I was a witness to love and appreciation the actor enjoyed from his fans in Assam, which is still unparalleled. We were contemporaries and shared a great rapport. Despite his ill-health, he used to keep in touch with me over phone.”
In a message on social networking site Twitter, noted singer Angaraag Papon Mahanta said: “The Assamese cinema will miss the quintessential Axomiya hero who defined and held that role for decades.”