The Odisha government on Wednesday renamed Bilung village in Bamra block of Odisha’s Sambalpur district Rangabati Bilung after a popular folk song Rangabati to honour the songwriter Mitrabhanu Gauntia.
The village, where the lyricist was born, was renamed after getting ministry of home affair’s no-objection.
Rangabati, a peppy folk number, is the most popular song in Odisha in the Sambalpuri dialect. Apart from being played at wedding, and cultural events, political parties also use it during their campaigns The song’s lyrics, a playful banter between between a boy and girl, celebrate the girl’s charms as well as their love.
Gauntia, 77, was selected for the Padma Shri early this year. He has been conferred with the Odisha State Sangeet Natak Academy Award and Akashvani National Award for music and also honoured by Sambalpur University for his writings. He has written over 1000 songs.
“I am happy that the village was renamed as Rangabati Bilung. We had been demanding this since 2004,” said Gauntia.
The song was first recorded for AIR, Sambalpur, in 1975-76 but released in 1979 by Indian Record Mfg. Co(INRECO) in 45 rpm vinyl format. The foot-tapping Sambalpuri love duet composed by Prabhudutta Pradhan and sung by Jitendriya Haripal and Krishna Patel, became a rage in Odisha, undivided Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh a few years after its release.
In 2007, the song was played for Odisha’s Republic Day Tableau and in December 2010, the it was played during the third ODI cricket match between India and Sri Lanka in Cuttack.
In June 2012, the state culture department held a three-day Rangabati Utsav, a festival of dance and music of western Odisha.