Prominent Odia Music Composer, Lyricist, Singer, and Actor Swarup Naik Passes Away at 76

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Odia cinema and music industry mourn the loss of Swarup Naik, a multifaceted talent who made significant contributions as a music composer, lyricist, singer, and actor. He breathed his last at a private hospital in Cuttack on Friday at the age of 76. His demise has been met with condolences from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and other dignitaries, recognizing the indelible mark he left on the world of arts.

Hailing from Cuttack, Swarup Naik was not only an accomplished artist in his own right but also had deep familial ties to the world of cinema. He was the brother of Parbati Ghose, a pioneering figure as the first woman film director and producer in Odisha. Swarup’s brother, Sarada Naik, was a notable film lyricist, while his father, Basudev Naik, managed the renowned ManMohan Press.

Naik’s journey in the world of films began in his early years. In 1962, while still a Class IX student, he made his debut as a child beggar in the film ‘Laxmi.’ This marked the start of a lifelong association with the world of cinema. He continued to act in films such as ‘Kaa’ in 1965 and ‘Stree’ in 1968. However, he briefly stepped away from the film industry to work as a contractor.

The passion for film, music, and writing eventually drew him back. He rekindled his acting career with the 1977 film ‘Suna Sansar,’ where he portrayed a villain. Over the years, he graced the silver screen in various roles in films like ‘Jaga Balia’ and ‘Dora,’ culminating his acting journey in ‘Kalinga Putra’ in 2008.

Swarup Naik’s musical journey took off in 1984 with the film ‘Hira Nila.’ Before that, he was known for producing music records for religious and cultural occasions. His record releases, including ‘Le Labina…Tike Pachaku Ana…,’ ‘Bata Chhada Asuchi Dasara Pujara Medha,’ and ‘Odisha Mo Odisha’ for television, earned him recognition. In the realm of cinema, his compositions in films like ‘I Love You’ and ‘Pua Mora Bhola Shankar’ were lauded. His final role as a music director was in the 2010 film ‘Swayamsiddha.’ Throughout his career, Naik composed songs for 41 films and wrote lyrics for 26.

What set Swarup Naik apart was his ability to weave the essence of Odia culture into his work. He masterfully employed Odia folklore, proverbs, and the colloquial language of rural communities in his compositions. Notably, he pioneered the use of political satire in his music during the 80s and 90s, following in the footsteps of stalwarts like Kalicharan Patnaik and Banchhanidhi Mohanty.

Surya Deo, a film historian, commented, “He broke the dominance of singers from Mumbai and Bollywood and created a gang of young singers for Odia films.” Some of his most mesmerizing songs, like ‘Sitalo Aji Jaluchi Jahara Chitalo…,’ ‘Ae Agana Ae Ghara…,’ ‘Pana Gua Khaira Guakati…,’ and many others, remain etched in the memory of Odia music enthusiasts.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik paid tribute to Swarup Naik, acknowledging his unique lyrical talents and the lasting impact of his work on the hearts of the people. He emphasized that Naik’s contributions to the Odia film industry would always be remembered. Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Agriculture Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain, and other dignitaries also expressed their condolences, underlining the significant void left by his passing. Swarup Naik’s legacy will continue to resonate through his timeless music and artistic contributions to the world of Odia cinema.

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