Angarag Mahanta, known by his stagename Papon, is an Indian playback singer, Singer-songwriter and record producer from Assam. He is the lead singer and founder of the folk-fusion band called Papon and The East India Company.
|Angaraag "Papon" Mahanta|
Mahanta at the launch of single Chu Liya in Mumbai June, 2016
|Also known as||Papon|
|Born||Nagaon, Assam, India|
|Genres||Electronic fusion, Indian/ Assamese classical, Indian/ Assamese folk, acoustic folk, playback singing, jazz and ghazals.|
|Instruments||Vocals, tabla, acoustic guitar, piano, harmonium and khol.|
|Labels||MDR Records, Times Music, T-Series, Sony Music|
|Associated acts||Karsh Kale, Midival Punditz, Rabbi Shergill, Rihan Sheehan, Rachel Sermanni, Bikram Ghosh, State of Bengal, Djuma Sound System, Susmit Sen, Shantanu Moitra|
Papon's initial training was in Indian Classical, devotional (Borgeet) and folk music. He learnt vocals primarily but also plays the khol, tabla, guitar, and harmonium. His music covers genres such as ambient electronic, acoustic folk and new-age Indian classical music and it has been identified as having traces of pentatonic Mongoloid notes, local river song influences and ghazals. Although his first language is Assamese he has also sung in Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, Marathi, Mishing and Bengali.
Papon's 2018 song "Baba Bolta Hain Bas Ho Gaya", from the movie Sanju, comments on differences between the real Sanju and the "reel" Sanju. A noted 2016 Bollywood song is "Labon ka karobar", from the film Befikre. In 2016, he sang "Bulleya" for the film Sultan. In 2015, he sang "Moh moh ke dhage" for the film Dum Laga Ke Haisha and "Humnava" in Hamari Adhuri Kahani (2015). In 2014, he sang "Lakeerein", which is a poem by Gulzar, for the film Kya Dilli Kya Lahore and "Sun ri Bavli" for Nagesh Kukunoor's film Lakshmi. In 2014 only he also had sung two songs "Sun le re" and "Khudse" from the movie Madras Cafe (2013). He recorded a hit song "Kyon" for the movie Barfi!. He has also sung the title song from Inkaar (2013). His first big song in Bollywood was "Jiyein kyun" from the movie Dum Maro Dum. Papon released his first album, Junaki Raati in Assamese at the end of 2004, marking a new kind of regional sound. The second album he produced was Sinaaki Osinaaki, which was released in November, 2009. Papon has also sung on a few other albums produced by various artists in Assam. His first folk music album was Rangphul a Bihu album, after which he produced Gomseng and subsequently, Phagunor Gaan an album representing the typical holi songs of Barpeta in West Assam. He sang on a devotional Borgeet album called Chandamukhi and is working on a traditional folk album of Tokari songs. On the first edition of Coke Studio @ MTV, he performed on the popular bihu song Pak Pak.
Papon returned to Coke Studio @ MTV in 2013, and this time around, he produced his very own episode for the popular show. This makes Papon the only musician to have grown with Coke Studio @ MTV, having now been involved in all three seasons of the show. For his episode on this season of the show, Papon produced 6 songs – 3 brand new compositions and 3 cross-border folk songs. In the first season of Coke Studio @ MTV, Papon sang the upbeat song "Pak Pak (Bihu Naam)", produced by Lesle Lewis, and in its second season, he produced his own track, the high-spirited Assamese folk song "Tokari" and also featured as a vocalist on celebrated musician composer Nitin Sawhney's episode singing the beautiful, almost melancholic folk song "Sahil Tak".
Papon's work on this season of Coke Studio @ MTV has been critically lauded and videos of his tracks have received thousands of views on YouTube within a week. Of the 3 new compositions, "Tauba", with Benny Dayal, has received more than 1.5 million views, while the Papon solo "Khumaar" has received over 500,000 views. "Benaam Khwahishein" has also received close to 1.5 million views. Papon also reinvented 3 folk songs for his episode of Coke Studio @ MTV. "Baisara Beera", is a Rajasthani folk song Papon learned from his father; "Dinae Dinae", with Harshdeep Kaur, is a beautiful Bhatiali river song from Goalpara in Assam, in the Sufi tradition, and has received over 450,000 views; and "Jhumor ( ঝুমুৰ )", a rousing song of the tea tribes in Assam.
Angaraag once stated in his interview with NDTV Good Times that he wishes to travel worldwide and perform in various music festivals. At the same time, he also wants to meet different musicians, be exposed to different forms of music and collaborate with various talented musicians to create amazing and beautiful music. Some of his initial stuff was widely considered a novelty in the Assamese musical scenario. It was a blend of East-Indian folk music and Western electronic musical arrangement, enhanced by atmospheric sounds effects. In most of these endeavors, he collaborated with the East India Company, of which he is a founding member.
|2017||The Voice India Kids||Judge|
In 2007, Papon formed an electronic folk-fusion band called Papon and The East India Company. The band consists of Papon on vocals, Brin Desai and Hameem Kader on live electronics, Jinti on lead guitars, Kirti on percussion and Dipu on bass and Tanmay on Drums  The six members came from backgrounds varying from Assamese folk to metal and blues to trip hop.
The band has performed twice at the SAARC Music Band Festival in New Delhi, the Eastwind Festival and the Kovalam Literary Festival and has performed overseas with Sutasi in Singapore. The band took a two-year break in the wait for a solo album which released internationally at the end of 2011. The band is back in action in November with 4 big festivals in the same month. They also played at the October Fest in Bangalore, NH7 Weekender fest in Pune and the Rock for Rights concert in New Delhi.
Earlier their track "OMO" was taken on by Saregama HMV for release on the compilation album, The Underground along with a song called "Jiya Baittho Jai" in an album called Sahibol. In 2008, their track called "Khuda Hota" was released by Dada Music an extension of Music Today.
In 2015, Papon and The East India Company performed at Oasis in BITS Pilani Pilani Campus, Dhaka International Folk Fest and in 2016, he performed at Spree in BITS Pilani Goa Campus.
He lives in Mumbai with his wife Shweta Mishra Mahanta and they have two children, a son named Puhor and daughter named Parijaat. His father, noted Assamese folk singer Khagen Mahanta, died on 12 June 2014.
Papon, who was a mentor and judge on The Voice India Kids, on Facebook live-streaming from his own page puts Holi colours on an 11-year-old girl, and  kissed her. On 24 Feb 2018, the Guwahati police lodged a case against him after a complaint from the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.Although the parents of the minor denied allegations against Papon stating that it was fatherly love shown by Papon. 
He left the reality TV show as judge following the complaint of sexual assault.
Papon has performed with the MIDIval Punditz and Karsh Kale at various festivals around the world including the Paléo Music Festival in Switzerland, Jakarta International Java Jazz Festival in Jakarta, Mosaic Music Festival in Singapore and Oslo World Music Festival in Norway. Aside from performing with them, Papon has co-written a couple of songs with the MIDIval Punditz that featured on their third album Hello Hello which ranked among the top three songs on Amazon, worldwide. He collaborated with the Welling Jazz Band, in Wellington, New Zealand, for a project playing some of his music during Crossings festival held in Wellington, New Zealand in 2007. Also in the project was Rhian Sheehan, a popular electronic artist and producer from Wellington. He also wrote a song with Karsh Kale for his new album Cinema. He is working on two international collaborations which were to be released in 2012.
Papon has featured in albums which carry the labels of MDR Records, in a collaboration with Times Music, and has also featured in the soundtrack of Bollywood films Dum Maaro Dum, I Am Kalam, Soundtrack, Patang, and most recently Barfi!. He also featured on the Indian leg of the show Coke Studio @ MTV. He performed on the show Global Indian Film Awards with MIDIval Punditz, Kailash Kher and Shubha Mudgal. He also appeared on Star world India, Episode six of The Dewarists with Rabbi Shergill and recorded a song "Khule Da Rabb". Papon has also worked with Shantanu Moitra in the 4th season of The Dewarists for 'O Megh' which is inspired by Rabindranath Tagore's poem of same name.
Awards and achievementsEdit
Mahanta has received several awards and honors, including three GiMA Awards, two Jack Daniel’s Rock Awards, and a Screen Award. Assamese news channel News Live awarded Mahanta the "Assamese of The Year" award for the year 2015.
|2011||Big Asomiya Music Awards 2010||Best Singer Male||"Ujai Ja Noi" - Raamdhenu||Won|
|GiMA Awards 2011||Best Folk Album||Gomseng||Nominated|||
|2012||Prag Cine Awards 2012||Best Playback Singer Male||Title Track - Raamdhenu||Won|||
|GiMA Awards 2012||Best Pop Album||The Story So Far||Won|||
|2013||Stardust Awards 2013||New Musical Sensation Singer - Male||"Kyun" - Barfi!||Nominated|||
|JD Rock Awards 2013||Song of The Year||"Boitha Maro Re" - The Story So Far||Won|||
|Best Male Vocalist||-||Won|
|Prag Cine Awards 2013||Best Playback Singer Male||Rowd||Nominated|
|2014||Prag Cine Awards 2014||Best Playback Singer Male||Bhal Pabo Najanilu||Nominated|||
|2015||Prag Cine Awards North-East 2015||Best Supporting Actor Male||Rodor Sithi||Nominated|
|Best Playback Singer Male||"Protidine" – Rodor Sithi||Nominated|
|GiMA Awards 2015||Best Pop Album||Coke Studio at MTV Season 3 – Papon||Won|||
|2016||22nd Screen Awards||Best Male Playback||"Moh Moh Ke Dhage" – Dum Laga Ke Haisha||Won|||
|61st Filmfare Awards||Best Male Playback Singer||"Moh Moh Ke Dhage" – Dum Laga Ke Haisha||Nominated|||
|Zee Cine Awards 2016||Best Playback Singer - Male||"Moh Moh Ke Dhage" – Dum Laga Ke Haisha||Nominated|||
|8th Mirchi Music Awards||Male Vocalist of the Year||"Moh Moh Ke Dhage" – Dum Laga Ke Haisha||Won|||
|Times of India Film Awards 2016||Best Playback Singer (Male)||"Moh Moh Ke Dhage" – Dum Laga Ke Haisha||Won|||
|GiMA Awards 2016||Best-Playback Singer - Male||"Moh Moh Ke Dhage" – Dum Laga Ke Haisha||Won|||
|17th IIFA Awards||Best Male Playback Singer||"Moh Moh Ke Dhage" – Dum Laga Ke Haisha||Won|||
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