"People who love my songs want me to sing more in Hindi," says Bhupen Hazarika - poet, music composer, singer, actor and filmmaker all rolled into one.
The Complete Bhupen Hazarika launched on Thursday is an album with Hindi tracks for his loyal fans. The popularity of his Assamese and Bengali music for films has gained immense popularity. Considering his popularity even among people who do not speak these two languages, Virgin Records asked Hazarika to cut an album with only Hindi songs. The Dadasaheb Phalke award winner for lifetime contribution (1993) completes a full circle with this collection of songs.
The Complete Bhupen Hazarika has 10 songs composed by Hazarika, sung by a mix of young and reputed artists including Hariharan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Hema Sardesai, Shaan, Ishaan, Mahalaxmi, Arpana, Suneeta Rao, Dominique and Rekha. Curiously every song begins with Hazarika singing a line in Assamese and then another artiste breaks into Hindi. Explaining why every song begins in Assamese, he says, "Every song has a genesis therefore I sing it in Assamese. This symbolises the Hindising of the Assamese song. The songs are about universal sentiments. There are 10 moods on the album."
While the words in Hindi have been penned by Amitabh Varma, they are inspired by Hazarika. Except three songs - 'Dil Hoom Hoom Kare' from 'Rudaali' penned by Gulzar, 'Duniya Parayee Log Yahan Begane' from 'Darmiyaan' by Javed Akhtar and 'Ganga' written by Pandit Narendra Sharma.
An impressive video of the track Ganga has been shot by Pradeep Sarkar and is currently on rotation on the music channels. Hazarika has rendered this track and he is accompanied by other singers. This song, he says, was originally composed in Assamese as an ode to river Brahmaputra in 1995 and inspired by Paul Robson song Old Man River.
Speaking on the selection of singers on the album, he says, "I knew what kind of voice was needed for my songs. I decided on the singers keeping this in mind."
Hazarika loves the idea of creating more Hindi albums and he has two projects on hand already. Says the multifaceted, 74-year-old, never say die artiste, "I will go on doing more. I am working on one project with Lataji and another with Ashaji. I am very serious about my Hindi listeners now."
Other than these projects he has given music for painter M F Husain's film 'Gaja Gamini' and Kalpana Lajmi's 'Daman'. Speaking about his experience with Husain, Hazarika recollects, "There are no dialogues in the film and the music had to be a tuneful dialogue. To work with him was like you are giving 24 canvases rather than frames in a minutes."
Very few would know that Hazarika started his career as a child actor in the film 'Indramalati', the second talkie film made in 1939. He started singing at the age of 10 and since then he has been a prolific artist. When asked why he has not cut more Hindi albums in the past, he says laughingly, "I was lazy." We disagree on that Dr Complete Hazarika.