New Delhi: Flaunting a Made in Assam T-shirt, Assamese singer Angaraag Mahanta, popularly known as Papon, urged the attendees of North East Festival here to visit the "beautiful" region.
During his performance at the fest's fourth edition here on Friday, he said: "We (northeast India) are a part of India. You don't need passports to go there. There are no guns there. We have music. Please come to northeast India."
He praised filmmaker Shoojit Sircar, who produced 'Pink' -- a film that breaks stereotypes about the perception towards people from the region, among other things.
The singer, who hails from Guwahati, also has a close association with the capital, where he studied in the 1990s.
"I am made in Assam and my heart is in Delhi. I miss the blue sky," the singer, who wore shades, said referring to the increase in pollution after Diwali celebrations.
Talking about why he wore sunglasses for his evening performance, he said: "There are three reasons. One is because of (singer) Mika, and I think I look cool with the glasses on. I am also shy."
Irrespective of his shyness, Papon ensured to make the attendees stand on their feet and sway to his hit Bollywood numbers like "Moh moh ke dhaage", "Kyon" and "Jiyein kyun". He even made them dance to Bihu songs. As the crowd consisted of many north Indians, he gave a gist of the Assamese songs.
Prior to his gig, Papon told IANS: "It feels great because this is one festival that I've been trying to play for a couple of years now, but we couldn't organise our dates. This year we made sure that we planned early, blocked our dates and we are so happy about playing at the North East Festival."
There were more northeast bands, including Reverse Tragedy and Traffic Jam.
Talking about the three-day fest, Shyamkanu Mahanta, Chief Organiser of North East Festival, told IANS: "We have food stalls and handloom from the region. We even flew down 35 northeast models for fashion shows. There are 30 musical acts."
How do such fests help the people from the region?
"We spent about Rs 1.5 crore on this edition. But it is worth it. Earlier, there were mostly negative news about northeast Indians. Now, people are getting familiar with our art and culture. So, there is a positive change. Models, designers and other artistes are getting exposure as well," said the organiser.
The fashion shows presented the beautiful creations by designers from the region. If Pallavi Talukdar showcased a range inspired by the silk of Assam, Manipur's Kumarjit Laishram presented the state's popular attire for women - phanek and phee in colours like yellow, pink and green.
Popular Assamese designer Dhiraj Deka, a regular at the fest, is excited to present his collection on Sunday.
"My creations are commercially viable. There are gowns, palazzos with kurtis and also Mekhela chador. I have mixed eri and mugha silk with multi-coloured fabrics. The models will walk to the songs sung live by Ananya Dutta," Deka told IANS.
The North East Festival 2016 will also see performances by Assamese icon Zubeen Garg, Tripura's rapper Borkung Hrangkhawl, DJ Zaeden and more.
There will be a Raas Leela from Manipur and Assam's Ram Vijay Ankia Bhaona too.