Indra Bania - the actor with a voice

Indra Bania
Indra Baniya (1942-2015)

Indra Bania (1942-2015) - was an Assamese film and theatre actor and film-maker from North Lakhimpur in Assam. He was known for his performances in award winning films like Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai, Agnisnaan and Haladhar. His performance in Jahnu Barua’s Halodhiya Choraiye Baodhan Khai earned him the Silver Leopard Best Actor’s award at the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland in 1988. The film had also won the Swarna-kamal award for the best film in 1988.

Bania was born at Dhalpur village in North Lakhimpur on December 24, 1942. After completing his primary education, in 1958, he came to Guwahati for higher education. It was then that he chose to make Guwahati his home. He started to earn a living through popular comedy shows on the stage, performing across the state especially during the Rongali Bihu festival. After completing his studies, he worked at Assam State Electricity Board till he was retired in 2002. He had resided in several parts of the city like Silpukhuri, Chandmari and Jyotinagar. He was married to Minu Bania.

Indra BaniaBania has been a household name in Assam as well as North East India in the field of drama since the 1960s. A regular artiste with All India Radio, Guwahati since 1964, he grabbed the limelight by playing the lead male role in ‘Gobardhan Charit’ in the 1970s. Bania’s histrionics is fondly remembered for his unforgettable performance in the two acclaimed plays Govardhan Charit and Moinar Sangbad.

Indra Bania had acted in more than 40 Assamese films in a screen career spanning over four decades. he had also directed a few award-winning films besides acting in films and TV serials. He is the first Assamese to bag the Silver Leopard for his role in the film Halodhia Soraie Baodhan Khai. He brilliantly portrayed the protagonist in a short film in 2007, Freedom at the Edge, a film on Machang Lalung, a poor tribal from Silchang in Assam who was confined in a prison for 54 years without any trial. The film bagged an award at the recent Boston International Film Festival.

In 2010, Bania was honoured with the Natasurya Phani Sarma Award by the Assam Government for his stellar contribution towards Assamese cinema and theatre. Filmmaker Jahnu Baruah describes the actor as persevering, self-sacrificing and committed to his work.

Some of the notable films of Indra Bania - "Agnisnaan" in 1985, "Halodhia Choraye Baodhan Khai" in 1987, "Haladhar" (played the role of moneylender) in 1992, "Daman: A Victim of Marital Violence" (played the role of sardar) in 2001 and "Aai Kot Nai (Maa)" in 2008.

Indra Bania died on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 10:25 PM at Hayat Hospital in Guwahati, Assam, following prolonged illness.
“The standard of living has gone up manifold. What disturbs me is the unhealthy growth of materialism, which has robbed the city of its innocence. The growing western influence among the youths is eating into our tradition and culture. There is a mad craze for materialistic things among the youths, which is not a healthy sign for our society.” - Indra Bania
Minu Bania and Indra Bania
Minu Bania and Indra Bania

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