By Natalia Ningthoujam
New Delhi– Angaraag Mahanta, better known as Papon, is among few singers from the northeast Indian state Assam to make it big in the Indian film industry. The “Moh moh ke dhaage” hitmaker says staying in the capital was a contrast to what he experienced in his hometown, but he never faced racism in the city which is dear to him now.
It was in the 1990s when the artiste from Guwahati packed his bags and decided to pursue his graduation from Delhi University.
“I left Guwahati after my 12th grade. I first went to Ramjas College and then Motilal Nehru College in Delhi. I didn’t complete my graduation though,” Papon told IANS in an interview.
And no, racism, which is a reality in Delhi, had nothing to with it.
“I didn’t experience it. I just found that people in Delhi were ignorant about my hometown. But I didn’t take it to the heart. I love the city.
“I am a nature-loving person since I come from the northeast, which is a lush green place. So, initially I found it kind of harsh in terms of weather and how people talk. It was a contrast. But after some time, I understood its people and culture,” he said.
“While studying, I found my calling in terms of music and I rediscovered myself. I realised that music is what I wanted to do.” added the musician, who has sung in languages like Hindi, Assamese, Bengali, Tamil, Punjabi and Marathi.
He was back to the capital for filming “Hometown Heroes”, a seven-part documentary series on him.
Produced by Red Bull Media House, the series chronicles the life and times of the musician, from his early years in Assam to the present day. It was released on Redbull.com earlier this month.
From spending his childhood listening to music in makeshift treehouses or climbing hills and picking up scraped knees in the bargain, to persisting, enduring and building a career and name for himself in the industry, the series is a look at the experiences, the decisions, the moments and the people that have shaped his life.
“It was a spontaneous documentary. It didn’t have any script. It’s made on the basis of the chat sessions I had with people and my journey. In the process, I rediscovered myself… I relived it,” he said.
Born into a well-known music-oriented family — his father, fondly called the ‘King of Bihu’, Khagen Mahanta, and mother Archana Mahanta, a folk singer — Papon was raised in a rich musical atmosphere.
So was music an obvious career choice?
“I knew I would do something interesting. My family is a huge family in terms of music. But I initially went away from music. They never pushed me also (to pursue music),” said the singer, who has given hit songs like “Humnava”, “Jiyein kyun” and “Sun le re”.
Is he looking forward to a biopic on his life?
“No. Please don’t put these things in my head. I never thought about it,” he said.
Any album in the pipeline?
“Yes, I am working on it. Hopefully, it will be out before the year ends,” he signed off. (IANS)