Dr. Bhupen Hazarika is one of the most well known personalities of Assam. He was born in 1926 in Sadiya, Assam. An extremely academically prolific person, he did his Inter (Arts) in Guwahati in 1942, and went on to Banaras Hindu University to complete his B. A. in 1944 and his M. A. in Political Science in 1946. Later, he went to USA and received his doctorate (Ph D) in Mass Communication from Columbia University.
He cut his first LP record when he was 10 years old and his first role as an actor was for an Assamese movie Indramalati in 1939. This film was the second talkie film in cinema history.
He has produced, directed, composed music and sunf for many Assamese films. He also composed music for the internationally famous award winning Hindi feature film Ek Pal (1986) which starred Naseeruddin Shah and Shabana Azmi and was directed by Kalpaa Lajmi. The music that he composed for Rudaali (1993) and Saaz (1997) is still fresh in people’s memories. He also doubled up as a singer in these films.
Gajagamini (2000), Daman (2001) and Kyon (2003) are the films whose music did not appeal to the audience. He sang a song for the recently released Chingaari (2006) which too went unnoticed.
He won the National Award for the best film maker for "Shakuntala" (1960) "Pratidhwani"(1964), and "Loti Ghoti"(1967). He also won the National Award for best music composition in 1977 for "Chameli Memsaab". His other honors include Padma Bhushan(1977), Sangeet Natak Academy award(1987) and Dada Saheb Phalke award(1993) The Government of Assam bestowed its highest award the Shankar Dev Award. in 1987 for his contribution to Assam's culture. Sangeet Natak Academy - New Delhi awarded him in 1987 for his outstanding contribution towards Indian music.
He was the Executive Council Member of the Children Film Society (N.CYP) headed by Mrs. Jaya Bachchan. He is the member of the Board of the trustees for the Poor Artists Welfare Fund, Government of India. He was the Chairman of the Jury of the National Film Awards in 1985 and was a jury member several times from 1958 to 1990. He is at present also on the Governing Council for policy making decisions for the Film and Television Institute, Government of India, Pune.