GUWAHATI, Jan 17 - Eminent singers Anima Barthakur and Kula Baruah were conferred the Silpi Bota award at a function held at Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio campus here this evening.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal formally presented the awards to the duo.
The award instituted by the State government in the memory of Assam�s cultural doyen Rupkonwar Jyotiprasad Agarwala carries a citation, a sarai, a shawl and Rs 1 lakh.
The occasion also coincided with the launching of the golden jubilee celebrations of Jyoti Chitraban Film Studio which was set up in 1968.
The Chief Minister, while paying tributes to the memory of Jyotiprasad Agarwala, described him as an artiste of the people who strove to facilitate peace and harmony among all sections of the people.
�He has left his indelible mark on many spheres � art and culture, literature, filmmaking, and the country�s Freedom Struggle... It�s for us to carry further and build on his hallowed legacy for posterity and bring in positive transformation in society,� Sonowal said.
Referring to Jyoti Chitraban and Assam�s 82-year-old film industry, Sonowal said that Jyoti Chitraban must set its goal and help the Assamese film industry regain vibrancy.
�The visionary that he was, Jyotiprasad made the first Assamese film way back in 1935. By that yardstick we should have been at the forefront of filmmaking in the country. Jyoti Chitraban can do a lot in this regard. It needs to set a goal and strive to achieve that,� he said.
Sonowal added that the State government would offer every assistance to the regional film industry and soon form a progressive film policy in consultation with all the stakeholders in the industry.
�Assam and the Northeast as a whole � with its breathtaking landscape with verdant hills and valleys � can, in fact, become the hub of the country�s film industry. The State government would love to play host to filmmakers from across the country who want to shoot here,� he said.
Asserting that the government was committed to transforming the State in every way, the Chief Minister said that creating a pollution-free Assam was among its main goals.
�Assam�s natural environment is our asset and we want to sustain it. We will plant ten crore saplings every year to that end. Assam has all the ingredients to be developed as a model state, we only need to give a little bit of push. Rupkonwar was a visionary who dreamt of a great Assam and it�s for us to realise it,� he said.
Cultural Affairs Minister Naba Kumar Doley, in his speech, termed Jyotiprasad as a rare multifaceted genius who pioneered many a genre, including filmmaking in Assam.
Anima Barthakur, in her acceptance speech, thanked the State government for the award and said that it was acknowledgement of her artistic endeavours and that it would inspire her to continue in the field.
Kula Baruah recollected his association with Bishnu Rabha, Phani Sarma and Gajen Baruah, and how the association helped shape his sensibilities as a young artiste.
Narayan Das, one of the first employees of Jyoti Chitraban was felicitated on the occasion. Jnanashree Pathak and Satyashree Das, daughters of Jyotiprasad Agarwala were also felicitated.