Veteran award winning Assamese film and theatre actor Indra Bania died in a private hospital here tonight following prolonged illness, hospital sources said. He was 73.

Bania, who acted in a number of award-winning films besides directing a few films and plays, was admitted in the intensive care unit of the hospital, said his family sources.

He was the first Assamese to win Silver Leopard Best Actor's award at Locarno Film Festival for his stellar performance in Jahnu Barua's 'Halodhiya Choraye Baodhan Khai' (The Catastrophe) that had bagged the Best Feature Film award at National Film Awards in 1988.

Born at Dhalpur village in North Lakhimpur district on December 24, 1942, Bania had won the hearts of the people of Assam from 1960 when he started his acting career as a drama artiste, his family sources said.

Remembered for his unforgettable performance in the two acclaimed plays Govardhan Charit and Moinar Sangbad, Bania is hailed for his comic and serious roles in film, TV and radio plays, besides being a regular artiste with All India Radio, Guwahati since 1964.

He was honoured with Natasurya Phani Sarma Award in the state in 2010 for his contribution to Assamese film and theatre.

The film and theatre fraternity mourning the thespian's death said he has left his indelible mark on the state's cultural arena.