The prestigious Roopkar Awards, instituted in the memory of distinguished cine-journalist and litterateur Pabitra Kumar Deka, were presented to noted actor of theatre and cinema Pranjal Saikia and National Award-winning filmmaker Mridul Gupta for the years 2021 and 2022, respectively, in a low-key function held at the premises of the Pabitra Kumar Deka Archive, on January 5. The awards, given away biennially, were presented by the state’s eminent litterateur and former editor of Asomiya Pratidin, Nitya Bora.
In his keynote speech, Bora spoke about Pabitra Kumar Deka’s significant and memorable contributions to Assamese culture and literature. “Pabitra Kumar Deka has written extensively on a diverse selection of topics pertaining to cinema, serving as a source of motivation and guidance for a lot of young journalists who are interested in pursuing careers in film journalism. It was Pabitra Kumar Deka who introduced the very concept of film publicity in Assam, which really helped in garnering widespread appeal and visibility for cinema. He was a pioneer in left-wing politics in Assam. Not many are aware of this, but he was once an active and key organiser of a political party. Undoubtedly, his indelible contribution is in the field of socio-political satirical writings, which remains unsurpassed to this day. His unflagging enthusiasm has always been a great source of inspiration to me,” Bora said, while speaking about his close association with Deka. Purnima Pathak Saikia, who received the award on behalf of her husband, Pranjal Saikia, spoke about Deka’s significant contribution to the state’s cultural heritage. Mridul Gupta profusely thanked the organisers for honouring him. Interestingly, Gupta’s new movie, made in the Karbi language – Mirbeen, won the Best Asian Film in the Tokyo Film Awards 2023. The awardees also spoke about their experiences with Deka.
The programme, which Madhusmita Borkotoki ably anchored, was a success, and was graced by noted film and media personalities, including Hemanta Kumar Das, Jitumoni Bora, Bidyut Kumar Bhuyan, Janardan Goswami, Hemanta Debnath, Partha Pratim Borah, Emon Chaudhury, Saroj Medhi, Rana Deka, Barnali Deka Das, and Nandan Deka.