Everyone knows the tune and the lyrics to 'Chura Liya Hai Tumne Jo Dil Jo'. Or have uttered the famous dialogue 'Iski maut soochni padegi'. But what people don't know is that some of the greatest moments in Bollywood were created by people from the North-east. From composing to singing; villains to models; legends to new faces, here is a list of some heavyweights and aspiring talents who have made their presence felt in Bollywood.
1. Danny Denzongpa
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With his brushed-back hair, chiselled jaw, and bad-ass vibe, he is the ultimate bad guy. Hailing from Sikkim, Danny Denzongpa started his film career with films like 'Mere Apne' (1971), 'Zaroorat' (1972), and 'Dhundh' (1973). Till date, he has acted in more than 100 movies and even starred alongside Hollywood actor Brad Pitt in the movie 'Seven Years in Tibet'. He is also an accomplished singer, having collaborated with renowned Indian playback singers like Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhosle. Denzongpa was awarded the prestigious Padma Shree award in 2003 for his contribution to the film industry.
2. SD Burman
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Descendant of the royal family of Tripura, SD Burman was one of the most renowned Indian music composer and singer. He has composed music for over 100 movies like 'Devdas', 'Prem Nagar', 'Kaagaz Ki Phool' and 'Pyaasa'. He started his career in 1932 singing for the Calcutta Radio Station and in the same year, he released his first record. His first major breakthrough song into the film industry was 'Mera Sundar Sapna Beet Gaya' (1947), which was sung by Geeta Dutt. In 1958, Burman was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for music direction of 'Sujata', making him the only music director till date to have won the prestigious award. In 2007, Indian postal department released a postage stamp in Agartala to commemorate his 101st birthday.
3. RD Burman
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Son of SD Burman - one of the most renowned Indian composers - RD Burman followed his father’s footstep and went on to become a highly regarded singer, composer and music director in the Indian film industry. He composed his first song 'Aye Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa' when he was just nine years old. He started his career in the film industry assisting his father. Some of Burman’s well acclaimed songs are 'Dum Maro Dum' for Dev Anand’s 'Hare Rama Hare Krishna' (1971), 'Raat Kali Ek Khwab Mein' from 'Buddha Mil Gaya' (1971) , 'Piya Tu Ab To Aaja' from Helen’s starrer 'Caravan' (1971). In the year 1981, he received his first award for Best Music Director at the FilmFare Awards for Sanam Teri Kasam.
4. Bhupen Hazarika
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Known for his rich baritone voice, Late Dr. Bhupen Hazarika was also a music director, playwright, actor, journalist, author, lyricist, politician, film-maker and a recipient of Padma Shree Award (1977) from Assam. In 1999, he was appointed as the Chairman of Sangeet Natak Akademi by the President of India and the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, which is also known as 'India’s Oscar' was awarded to him in the year 1993 for his lifetime’s contribution to the development of Indian cinema. He was also honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award in 2001. The awards and honours conferred to him are countless and till today he is considered as the only great Indian ballad singer.
5. Adil Hussain
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Hailing from Assam, Adil Hussain is an Indian stage, television and film actor, who works in mainstream Hindi cinema, as well as art house cinema. After deciding to become an actor, he moved to Delhi in the year 1990 and studied at the National School of Drama. He also studied at the Drama Studio London on a Charles Wallace India Trust Scholarship, where he shot to fame as an actor with ‘Othello: A Play in Black and White’ (1999), which was awarded the Edinburgh Fringe First. He entered into the Hindi film industry with his roles in 'Ishqiya' and then in 'Agent Vinod' but his performance in ‘English Vinglish’ as Sridevi's unsympathetic husband cemented his presence. Adil Hussain is famous for his roles in Hollywood movies like ‘Life of Pi’ and ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’.
6. Zubeen Garg
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Singing over 20,000 songs in 40 languages, Zubeer Garg is one of the most successful musicians from Assam. His Bollywood song “Ya Ali” from the Hindi movie Gangster became a super hit in India, the Middle East and across South Asia, gaining him recognition for his work. This multi-talented singer, actor, lyricist, composer, director and a poet has over 40 song albums and has composed and directed music in several Assamese and Hindi movies. He also received the Best Music Award in 2005 for the Bangla movie, Shudhu Tumi.
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Angarag Mahanta, famously known as Papon, is an Indian singer, composer and record producer from Assam. His song ‘Kyon’ from the super-hit film 'Barfi' in 2012 was one of the most popular tracks. Since then his songs have been featured in Bollywood movies such as 'Baby', 'Happy Ending', 'Dum Maro Dum', 'Madras Cafe' and 'Bombay Velvet'. His music covers genres like electronic fusion, acoustic folk Indian/Assamese classical and ghazals. He has also performed with his band - The East India Project – and collaborated with Indian electronic duo Midival Punditz. In 2012, his debut album “The Story So Far” won an award in the category of Best Pop Album at the GIMA awards. In the same year, he also won the Best Male Voice of the year and Best Song of the year at the JD Annual Rock Awards.
8. Gitanjali Thapa
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Born and brought up in Sikkim, Gitanjali Thapa is still a new face in the industry but she won the Best Actress award at the 61st National Film Award (2013) and also at the 14th Annual New York Indian Film Festival for her performance in ‘Liar’s Dice’, which was India’s entry for the 87th Academy Awards. Her previous film ‘I.D.’ directed by Kamal K.M also won her two international awards for best actress at the Los Angeles Film Festival and Madrid Film Festival. She has also done some TV commercials, including a L'Oreal ad with Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
9. Dipannita Sharma
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Dipannita Sharma rose to fame after she made it to the final five of Miss India 1998 contest. Even though she did not win, she was named “Miss Photogenic” in the same contest. In the year 2002, she made her Bollywood debut with the film '16 December' for which she was nominated for the Best Debut - Female at the Zee Cine Star Screen. She has also appeared in other films like ‘Dil Vil Pyar Vyar’, ‘My Brother Nikhil’, ‘Ladies Vs. Ricky Bahl’ and ‘Jodi Breakers’.
10. Joi Barua
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From the streets of Digboi, Assam to the sets of “Margarita with a Straw”, Joi Barua, with no formal training in singing, is making an impact in the Indian advertising, music and film industry. He has sung for various Bollywood movies like 'Udaan', 'Dev D' and 'Dil Dhadakne Do'. Joi has also sung for some of the biggest advertising campaigns like Vodafone, Hero Honda, Nescafe, Tata Tea and many more. He is currently composing and scoring background music for Sajid Ali’s upcoming movie titled “Banana”.
11. Reema Kagti
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Born in Guwahati, Reema Kagti is a film director who made her directorial debut with 'Honeymoon Travels Pvt. Ltd. in 2006'. Her other film was Talaash, starring Aamir Khan, Rani Mukerji and Kareena Kapoor, where she directed and wrote the screenplay as well. She also assisted in directing 'Lagaan', 'Dil Chahta Hai', 'Laskshay' and 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara.' Her most recent film is 'Dil Dhadakne Do', where she was the screenplay writer.
12. Ashraful Haque
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Ashraful Haque passed away earlier this year after a prolonged illness, but he was well known for his performance in films like ‘Delhi Belly’ and ‘Fukrey’. Hailing from Assam, he graduated from the National School of Drama, New Delhi in 1997 and has performed in more than 30 Bollywood films and Indian plays, apart from acting in commercials. He played many interesting character roles in films like ‘Company’, ‘Jungle’, ‘Raavan’, ‘Deewar’, ‘Black Friday’, ‘Paan Singh Tomar’, ‘Gangs Of Wasseypur’ and many others.