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Sur Badshah ceases to sing
- Noted singer Sikandar Alam passes away after cardiac arrest

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 9: The Sur Badshah of Oriya music, Sikandar Alam, who won hearts right from his first song Arata sure bare kare minatire passed away on Sunday night after a cardiac arrest, leaving a vacuum in the world of Oriya bhajans and ghazals.

The versatile singer was 71 and is survived by wife Naima and daughters Nazia and Sophia.

His last rites were performed on Monday in Cuttack’s Qadam-e-rasool.

Before that his body was taken to the All India Radio (AIR) centre, where hundreds from the music fraternity paid their respects.

Minister of culture Debi Prasad Mishra, composer Manmath Mishra, veteran music directors and singers Shantanu Mohapatra, Pranab Pattnaik and Laxmikant Palit attended the funeral.

“On Thursday he was bleeding due to a liver problem. So we decided to admit him to the intensive care unit of a city hospital. By Sunday his condition improved slightly,” said Sophia.

“However, he complained of chest pain at about 11 on Sunday night,” she added.

Alam began his career as a professional singer at the age of 18 when he worked with the AIR, Cuttack, in 1957.

For his first film Laxmi, he worked with legendary music composer Balakrushna Dash.

Alam had sung in more than 50 Oriya films including Amada Bata, Adina Megha, Manika Jodi, Mamata, Suryamukhi and Puja.

Moreover, he had also recorded over 2000 songs including a number of Oriya and Hindi ghazals.

Bhajans like Ahe Nilagiri, Patitapabana bana aau kete belaku and Brundabane ke bansi bajaila earned him the title of Salabega of modern times. His songs were aired on BBC London. He had performed all over the country and even abroad. His sudden death has left the music fraternity mourning.

“He was a very close friend of mine. We have been friends for more than 50 years now. He was a gifted man and will continue to live in the hearts of thousand listeners through his wonderful bhajans,” said noted singer and composer Prafulla Kar.

Music director and singer Laxmikant Palit said: “He was one of the pioneers of the Oriya music industry and belonged to the golden period of music in the state.”

According to veteran composer Shantanu Mohapatra, Sikandar Alam was a pride of the state.

Hailing from Cuttack, Alam used to live in his Bhubaneswar residence. He was the president of Orissa Sangeet Natak Academy.

“I’ll spend the rest of my life listening to the memorable songs of my dear friend,” said Pranab Pattnaik.

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