| The book release at the Kalakshetra on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos
Dec. 25: It was an evening to remember. As the cool wintry breeze blew amid the chirping of birds in the pleasant environs of the open air theatre at Srimanta Sankardev Kalakshetra in the city, a book titled Jugalbandi: Dipali-Neelpawan was released today.
A song, composed as a tribute to the couple by singer-composer Pramod Baruah and rendered by singer Mitali Dey, set the right mood for the occasion.
The sound of couch shells resounded in the neighbouring hills as the book, which is a compilation of write-ups on the illustrious couple, singer Padmashree Dipali Barthakur and artist Neelpawan Baruah, was released by artist Shobha Brahma.
The book has been edited by Padmapani in association with Pankaj Thakur, Pradipjyoti Mahanta, Pushpendra Nath Bora and Deepjyoti Goswami.
Padmapani said, “We seem to honour great artistes only after their demise. In the form of this book, we wanted to pray our tribute to this exemplary couple who share a unique symbiotic bond during their lifetime.”
Literary personalities of Assam, like president of Asam Sahitya Sabha Birendranath Datta, Jnanpith award-winning writer Indira Goswami, noted critic Pradip Acharya, writer Moushumi Kandali and Dinesh Baishya have written evocative pieces on the couple’s trials and triumphs with life.
The couple embodies the ultimate union of sight and sound. Neel Paban Baruah is a painter and Lalit Kala Akademi member and Dipali Barthakur is a legendary singer of the 1950s, affectionately known as the “Nightingale of Assam”. Neel Paban married Dipali after she was afflicted with chronic motor neurosis, a nerve-degeneration disease.
Baruah tends to his bedridden wife, helping in all her day-to-day tasks, from brushing her teeth to braiding her hair and bathing her fragile body. She is the first viewer of his paintings, his first critic.
Speaking on the occasion, Dipali said, “People expect such honour only after their death. I feel honoured today and I hope this is the beginning of a tradition which will continue.”
The publisher of the book, Lakhimi Bora, an elderly lady, volunteered to publish the book for free. The function was presided over by litterateur Nalinidhar Bhattacharyya.
Writer and composer Nirmal Prabha Bordoloi was the chief guest at the occasion.
Singers Sangeeta Borthakur, Parinita Goswami, Anindita Pal, Kashmiri Kotoky, Madhusmita Goswami, Arunima Goswami, Snehalata Das and Purabi Kakoty Sharma paid their tribute to Dipali by singing her songs.
Poet Ram Goswami recited a self-composed poem as a tribute to Neel Paban. Sculptor Pulakananda Kaushik recited a poem by him.