Veteran film personality Bhima Singh passed away at Cuttack on Saturday.
Till he breathed his last at 76, he breathed cinema, literally, in the multifarious role of an actor, a director, script and dialogue writer, a documentary filmmaker, a dubbing artist and above all he documented the history of Oriya cinema.
Born on November 13, 1934 in Narasinghapur village of Puri district, Singh worked as a school teacher, then a laboratory assistant with the fisheries department and finally retired as a manager with an insurance company but he held his passion dearer and higher than his profession.
The day India achieved Independence, Singh had his debut on stage as an actor. A school student then, he was cast as the protagonist in the school drama ‘Raghu Arakhita’ that changed the course of his life for ever. Convinced of his inherent talent, his teachers encouraged him to take up acting seriously and he also obliged them while listening to his heart to be an actor as well.
And there was no looking back.
During his career spanning over six decades, he acted in more than 100 stage plays and 250 radio plays, scores of television serials and documentaries besides some of the best known Oriya films like Malajanha, Matira Manisha, Krushna Sudama, Mana Akash, Bandhu Mohanty, Raghu Arakhita and Nirbachana.
He was conferred the coveted President’s Award for his acting in the Oriya classic ‘Malajanha’ way back in 1965 in acknowledgement of his talent.
As a long time associate of three stalwarts of Oriya cinema – Nitai Palit, Dhira Biswal and Gobind Tej – Singh, a self-made film personality, mastered several aspects of filmmaking. Though he never directed a film independently, his significant contribution as an associate or assistant director in the making of a number of classics has been acknowledged by the industry.
He did not confine himself to acting and filmmaking and dabbled in writing on cultural affairs and building of cultural institutions with a missionary zeal. However, he would be remembered best for the book ‘Odia Chalachitrara Agyanta Adhayay’ that contains lots of valuable information on Oriya cinema written with rare insight.
The book – the only of its kind so far – is being considered as the Bible of Oriya cinema today.