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PHANI SARMA (1910-70)

Assamese actor and director. One of the most enigmatic figures in Assamese film. Stage enthusiast, footballer, bohemian, actor, playwright and film-maker. Worked initially as a trader with his comrade-in-arms Bishnu Rabha; then became a stage actor and achieved a major reputation in the 30s. Became a key member ofJyotiprasad Agarwala's Tezpur- based film unit in the 30s, playing the cruel Gaathi in Agarwala's]oymati, and also acted in his second film, Indramalati. Continued working in the touring theatre groups of Assam, including an adaptation of Gogol's The Government Inspector, and in the original plays Kiya, Ko/abazar. etc. Together with Agarwala and Bhupen Hazarika, he was a key figure in the provincial committees of the Assamese IPTA (1946). Adapted Siraj, a plea for Hindu Muslim unity, from a story by Lakhidar Sarma, filming it in 1948 apparently co-directed by Bishnu Rabha and with Hazarika debuting as composer) and staging it in 1962 After 1963, known mainly as film actor following a tremendously successful comic performance in Brojen Barna's Ita Sito Bohuta.

FILMOGRAPHY(also d): 1935:]oymati; 1939: Indramati; 1948: Siraj*; 1955: Pioli Phukan"; Sarapat;EraBatarSur?; 1957: Dhumuha"; 1958: Bhakta Prah/ad; 1959: Amar Ghar Kecha Sone*; Puwati Nishar Sapon*; 196o Lachit Barphukan; 1961 Shakunta/a; Narakasur, 1963: Ito Sito Bahuto; Maniram Dewan; 1964: Pratidhwani/ Ka Swariti.