- Director: Bobby Sarma Baruah
Popularly nicknamed Hastir Kanya (daughter of elephants), Pratima Baruah was born in the royal family of Gauripur in present day Dhubri district of Assam adjoining West Bengal in India and neighboring Bangladesh. Legendary filmmaker Pramathesh Chandra Baruah was her uncle.
It was her father Prakitish Chandra Baruah alias Lalji who gave her the strength to fight all odds that came her way. As a child, as she accompanied her father in many a elephant hunting expedition, she remained close to the mahouts and learnt their unique ways of singing.
However other royal family members disapproved of the young girl humming rustic ballads, many of them warning her that nobody would marry her if she continued to practice the lokageets, the songs of the masses.
Wedded to music as she was, the child, thoroughly captivated by the lilting notes that resonated in the air around her, also mastered other forms of folk songs and was brought to the tinsel world by none other than filmmaker Dr. Bhupen Hazarika, another singing maestro of that generation, in his debut feature Era Bator Sur in which Pratima sang a Goalpariya Lokageet.
That was the beginning. The rest is history. Popular songs, folk songs, all practically hits with the music lovers, came one after another from her mesmerizing voice. It was her pioneering efforts that popularized Goalpariya Folk Songs and brought it to wide acceptance and national recognition.
Although she was born and educated in Kolkata, she never shied away from her close touch with the people of her ancestral place. Her innocent nature, a down-to-earth personality, devoid of ersatz, ensured she always was in the hearts of the common people. Pratima predictably remained untouched by all the fame and acclaim that she rightfully earned.
Laurels came her way – the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Padmashree honour given by the government and many more titles fondly bestowed on her by the cultural bodies from across the state of Assam.
Pratima had not sung for fame and personal gains. She had sung for the pure love of folk music.
Bobby Sarma Baruah is an Indian Film maker, Producer and Screenwriter whose narrative content on socio cultural issues in Assam and the North East has been highly appreciated. Her debut feature film Adomya in which she explored the sensitivity and emotional world of women was awarded best film in spiritual category at the 13th Dhaka International Film festival. Adomya was also screened as an official selection for more than fifteen international film festivals across the world. .