GOALPARA, July 31 - Legendary theatre artiste Bhola Kataki was honoured with the Natasurya Phani Sarma Award for 2016 at a ceremony held at the newly constructed auditorium here today. The award carrying Rs 1 lakh and a citation was presented to the 82-year-old artiste by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Addressing the function as the chief guest, Sonowal said that his government has been working in right earnest to strengthen the socioeconomic status of all the artistes so that they may be able to overcome the struggles and hardships they endure during their life time and can contribute to the rich cultural heritage of the great Assamese society.
While paying rich tributes to legends like Jyotiprasad Agarwala, Bishnu Rabha, Phani Sarma and Dr Bhupen Hazarika, the Chief Minister lauded Bhola Kataki�s immense contribution to the State�s cultural world, particularly in the field of mobile theatre, and said that the younger generation can draw inspiration from the veteran artiste.
Minister for cultural affairs Naba Doley, who was the guest of honour, announced a new policy for production of Assamese cinema and a slew of new initiatives under which the number of artiste pension will be increased and subsequently, the amount will also be increased to Rs 8,000 per month from the existing Rs 4,000 per month. Likewise, the ex gratia amount will also be increased making it eligible for professional and amateur artistes.
Internationally acclaimed actor Adil Hussain was also present in the function and he thanked the government for looking up to a neglected district like Goalpara from where he belongs to and for presenting to its people a sophisticated airconditioned auditorium that has been aptly named Phani Sarma Bhawan.
Award winner Bhola Kataki was highly emotional by the gesture of the State Government and said the award has become an elixir of life for him.