GUWAHATI: It was with ease that he took on any role -- be it that of the protagonist, patriarch or even villain -- and performed it with an elan that few could match.
Veteran actor Nipon Goswami donned varied roles for over 50 years to stride like a colossus in the Assamese film industry and his well-wishers rued that an era ended with his death on Thursday, following a prolonged illness.
Goswami acted in over 50 Assamese and seven Hindi films, and ill-health notwithstanding, he went on to face the camera till last year, taking the final bow with 'Lanka Kanda' by Rajani Barman which will be released on Friday.
He was 80, and survived by his only son and daughter-in-law. His wife had died in 2015.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his condolence message, said that he was deeply saddened by the passing away of Goswami, who made a pioneering contribution to the film industry.
"His diverse works will be remembered by several film lovers. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti: PM @Narendra Modi," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) tweeted.
The veteran actor, associated with the golden era Assamese commercial cinema, will be cremated with full state honours at the Navagraha crematorium here on Friday.
His body will be kept at the Assam government's Jyoti Chitraban film studio for people to pay their last respects and will be also taken to Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra before the cremation.
Born in Tezpur to an actor father and singer mother, Goswami made his debut as a child actor in Assamese film 'Piyoli Phukan'.
An alumnus of the Film and Television Institute of India, Pune, Goswami was a classmate of Subhas Ghai, Shatrughan Sinha and Navin Nischol.
He began his career as the lead actor in Assamese hit 'Sangram', and he followed it up with another superhit 'Dr Bezbarua' where he acted opposite Brajen Barua.
Goswami was considered a "director's actor" and had the privilege of being directed by Assam's noted filmmakers Brajen Barua, Bhabendranath Saikia, Bhupen Hazarika, Jahnu Barua, Nip Barua, Kalpana Lawjmi, Sivaprasad Thakur, Manju Bora, Munin Barua, John Mahaliya and Munna Ahmed.
Some of his prominent hits were Mukuta, Sandhya Raag, Ajoli Nobou, Aparupa, Ghar Sangsar, Kokadeuta Nati aru Hati, Siraj, Deutar Biya, Baibhav, Hiya Diya niya, Jon Jwole Kopolat, Jonaki Mon, Mitha Mitha Logonot, Kadambari and Morisika.
He acted in seven Hindi films, including Kalpana Lajmi's Daman, Bhabendranath Saikia's Kaal Sandhya and Rajkumar Kohli's Virodhi.
Goswami was also actively associated with the state's unique mobile theatre and had over the years been a part of Abahan, Kohinoor, Hengul and Shakuntala theatre companies.
He had also acted in a few television serials, including 'Ritu Aahe Ritu Jaai'.
The actor had joined the Congress in 2010 but later withdrew from the political arena.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had acted as a child artiste alongside Goswami in 'Kokadeuta Nati Aru Haati', expressed his deep condolences.
"I am deeply saddened to hear the news of the passing away of Assam's evergreen actor. I am honoured to have been closely associated with him during the shooting of the film 'Kokadeuta Nati Aru Haathi'," Sarma said.
His sensitive portrayal of different roles in several Assamese films will forever be etched in the minds of the people and his contribution to the film industry will be remembered forever, the chief minister said.
Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the passing away of a bright star of the Assamese film industry has deeply shocked the people of the state.