Pabitra Kumar Deka was the visionary behind the pioneering cultural magazine ‘Roopkar’ and instituting the first film awards in Assam, the Roopkar Awards.
By Prantik Deka
There are few who haven’t heard of Pabitra Kumar Deka. His passion and influence for art-culture were extraordinary. He is the man behind making writings on cinema or theatre an integral part of journalism in this part of the world, particularly in the vernacular media. He was the visionary behind the pioneering cultural magazine ‘Roopkar’ and instituting the first film awards in Assam, the Roopkar Awards, back in 1975.
He was also a famous satirical litterateur, editor, drama critic, prolific writer of essays and compositions, director of TV serials and documentaries, etc. He generously shared his vast knowledge with everyone during his lifetime, and encouraged many a young and talented artiste.
One of his most outstanding subsequent accomplishments was his realisation of the historic value of every published article, book or photograph related to cinema. A priceless repository of information of Assamese cinema, the archive he has left behind comprises of books, magazines and periodicals on films, still photographs, cassettes, CDs, VCDs, which have been systematically preserved. Last year, the much anticipated Pabitra Kumar Deka Archive – a first of its kind, was declared open by Kanak Sen Deka, eminent litterateur and former president of the Asam Sahitya Sabha.
The Roopkar Awards, instituted in the memory of this distinguished cine-journalist and litterateur, was presented to Samarendra Narayan Dev, noted writer-director of popular films like ‘Aranya’, ‘Putala Ghar’ and ‘Sonar Harin’ for the year 2017, and Tapan Das, a prominent photographer of Assam, who started PVTI, a leading photography institution, for the year 2018, in a function held at the premises of the Pabitra Kumar Deka Archive, on January 5. The awards were given away by distinguished educationist and ex-Vice Chancellor of Gauhati University, Dr. Amarjyoti Choudhury, who spoke about the significant contributions of Pabitra Kumar Deka in the field of culture.
The programme, anchored by National Film Award-winning film critic Utpal Datta, was graced by a number of noted film and media personalities, film enthusiasts, admirers, among others, including Udayaditya Bharali, Kopil Bora, Sanjeev Hazorika, Prabin Hazarika, Namrata Datta, Bidyut Kumar Bhuyan, Jitumoni Bora, Hemanta Kumar Das, Mrinal Das, etc.