Bhubaneswar: ‘Rangabati’, the famous Sambalpuri folk song which has gained popularity across the country, has won three Padma Shri awards in a span of five years, a feat which is the first of its kind in India.
The prestigious award has been bestowed on the writer and singers, both male and female, of the four decades old romantic song.
Veteran vocalist Krishna Patel won the Padma award this year.
Earlier, its male singer Jitendra Haripal and writer Mitrabhanu Gauntia were conferred the prize in 2017 and 2020 respectively.
Taking to Twitter, senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for recognizing the folk music artists, particularly those involved in the making of the ‘Rangabati’ number.
“The Prime Minister has honoured the song by announcing its writer Mitrabhanu Gauntia’s village Bilung as Rangabati Bilung,” Pradhan said in a statement.
The Centre, he said, has honoured the sentiments of the people, their art, culture and music.
‘Rangabati’ is the combination of two words ‘ranga’, which means colour and ‘bati’ a young woman. The folk song narrates the romantic feelings of two lovers in a forested village.
It was first recorded by All India Radio in the mid-1970s. Kolkata-based Indian Record Manufacturing Company Limited (INRECO), re-recorded the song in 1976. However, the disc release was delayed due to a dispute and it was finally done in 1978–79.
The song gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s. Playing or singing it has become a part of community events and often features in marriage processions and immersion of Goddess Durga idols in the state.
“The song continues to dominate the music world for the last four decades and still attracts the young and old,” Pradhan said.
So much so that the song was played in Odisha’s tableau during the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi in 2007.
Overwhelmed by the success of ‘Rangabati’, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik felicitated Haripal thereafter.
The same song was aired during an international cricket match at Barabati Stadium in Cuttack in 2010. In June 2012 the state culture department even named a three-day festival of dance and music of western Odisha.As ‘Rangabati Utsav’.L
‘Rangabati’ has been recreated in different languages and even used in a Telugu movie. Its popularity is also seen in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
The song was also featured in Bollywood movie ‘Kaun Kitne Pani Mein’.
There have, however, been controversies when different singers used different tunes for the song.
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