National Implementation Committee has decided to consider two categories of proposals pertaining to production of Films and Documentaries on Rabindranath Tagore. In the first category, proposal for full length biographical film covering various aspects of his life i.e. travels, works on education, rural development etc. can be covered. In the other category, production based on his multiple works i.e. short stories, novels etc. would be covered. Restoration and repackaging of archival materials like sound theatres, films etc. produced earlier are to be considered for wide dissemination.
Dubbing and subtitling of selected material into different languages and distributing them through proper channel would be one of the prime objective of this project. An amount of Rs.50 million has been initially earmarked for this work. The entire project is to be executed in a distributed manner involving various media units of the Government. NFDC could work on film projects while Doordarshan, Film Division, All India Radio and National Film Archives could produce new materials and retrieve archival records.
A Screening Committee is constituted to examine proposals for production of films/documentaries and audio-visuals related to Tagore as part of Commemoration of 150th Birth Anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
The recommendations made by the Committee will be implemented by National Film Development Corporation.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has prepared a 6-pack DVD Album of the archival material on Tagore. The DVD was released on 7th May, 2011.
Khudito Pashan (Hungry Stones) I Tapan Sinha I 1960 I Bengali I 117min I B&W One of the most uncompromising filmmaker in the nation, Tapan Sinha was an ardent fan of Rabindranath Tagore. That did not stop him from interpreting Tagore’s writing with his own unique visual style as evident in Khudito Pashan, a classic by every standard, starring the legendary Soumitra Chatterjee and Arundhati Sinha. Originally the story of a tax collector who moves into a haunted mansion in a small town and falls in love with a beautiful ghost, Tapan Sinha interprets the story in his own style to make an National Award winning masterpiece that may look totally different from the original Tagore story. He not only maintains its original essence in the film, but pushes the story to new dimensions. Tapan Sinha’s Khudito Pashan becomes a must watch for cineastes globally.
Teen Kanya (Three Daughters) l Satyajit Ray l 1961 l Bengali l 173 min l B&W Satyajit Ray was not only one of the biggest admirers of Tagore but he was also one of the few who understood and interpreted Tagore’s works with his own unique vision. Ray with his neo-realistic style of filmmaking found a perfect ally in Tagore’s stories of ordinary folks. Teen Kanya, based on three stories by Tagore – The Post Master, Monihara and Samapti – was meant to be a tribute to the poet laureate by Ray, made as it was in the author’s birth centenary in 1961. The film, however, becomes a perfect symbiosis of a master writer and filmmaker. The Postmaster is the tender story of a city bred postmaster who, in a provincial town, teaches a young girl to read and write. Monihara is a story woven around the obsession of a woman towards her jewels while Samapti is the story of a tomboyish girl who realises the love for her husband after a forced marriage. Incidentally all the three stories have also been made into individual films.
Kabuliwala l Hemen Gupta l 1961 l Hindi l 158 min l B&W After the tremendous success of Tapan Sinha’s Kabuliwala in Bangla, producer Bimal Roy decided to remake this story by Tagore in Hindi. The result was a film that was as commercially acclaimed as it was critically. The story is of a widower Afghani Pathan who is compelled to leave his daughter in Afghanistan and relocate to India. Once here, he misses his daughter and finds in a young girl, who he pampers with dry fruits, the image of his daughter. However, Afghanis are frowned upon and his innocent love for the little girl is something the society will not permit leading to much trouble. Kabuliwala is an emotional, evocative film that tugs at audience’s hearts with the performance of Balraj Sahni and the little girl and their tender relationship making this film eternal. It features one of the most popular songs in Hindi cinema ‘Ae Mere Pyare Watan’ by Manna Dey while Balraj Sahni gives one of the best and most moving performances of his life as the angst ridden Kabuliwala who misses his land and his daughter.three stories have also been made into individual films.
Ghare Baire (The Home and the World) l Satyajit Ray l 1984 l Bengali l 140 min l Colour One of the later works of Satyajit Ray, Ghare Baire, made in 1984, was nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival. Yet, Ray had written the script in the 1940s, much before even Pather Panchali. The reason is perhaps that the theme of the original Tagore novel, women’s empowerment, resonates with Ray’s passion as well. Set during the nationalist movement in the early 20th century where the British rule is hell-bent on dividing Bengal on religious ground, the film makes a plea for compassion while exposing the hypocrisy of some leaders of the national movement. This is done through a love triangle between a progressive Bengali Noble Nikhil, who seeks the emancipation of his wife Bimala, even while a nationalist leader, Sandip, not only uses him as a parasite but also seduces his gullible wife. The result is an intense drama that has stayed relevant even after a century and still continues to do so in the future.three stories have also been made into individual films.
Char Adhyay (Four Chapters) l Kumar Shahani l 1997 l Hindi l 110 min l Colour One of the most experimental films made in the Indian cinematic horizon, Char Adhyay, by auteur film director Kumar Shahani, is a poignant tale on the adverse affects of nationalism and patriotism. Based on Tagore’s novel of the same name, the film shows the destructive potential and hypocrisy of any belief system that is followed blindly and that places itself above the human needs of its followers. Set in the terrorist phase of the Indian freedom movement, it tracks the story of Ela, who has become a living mascot and metaphor of the nation for a group of armed revolutionaries. Though happy at first, she begins to question this and the movement when one member of the group, Atin, resists and expresses his revulsion towards this indoctrination. The two fall in love, but, would a group, blindly sold to an ideology, allow the simplicity of this beautiful love? With music by Vanraj Bhatia and camera by one of India’s most creative cinematographers K K Mahajan, Char Adhyay the film is a nuanced, restrained interpretation of Tagore’s work that both complements and accentuates the novella.three stories have also been made into individual films.
Natir Puja l Rabindranath Tagore | 1932 |34min | B&W | Silent On the occasion of Tagore’s 70th birth anniversary in 1932, New Theatres arranged for the filming of Natir Puja, an adaptation of his poem Pujarini. This is an important work for Indian cinema as it is the only time when Tagore - a writer, poet, musician and painter - interacted closely and directly with another medium - cinema. The screenplay was written under his guidance by nephew Dinendranath Tagore and students of Santiniketan acted in it. Tagore himself essayed an important role in this dance-drama which he also directed. The film, shot with a static camera in the New Theatres Studio, was shot in four days like a stage play. Though now lost in totality, major portions from the film have been found and restored and is released here.three stories have also been made into individual films.
Rabindranath Tagore l Satyajit Ray l 1961 l English l 54 min l B&W Satyajit Ray was a lifetime admirer of the man Tagore, his works and vision. He not only made films from five of Tagore’s stories, but also took upon the task to make this dramatised documentary on the life of the poet-laureate. Made in 1961, the same year in which Ray made Teen Kanya from three of Tagore’s stories, this was made to celebrate Tagore’s birth centenary. Conscious that he was making an official portrait of India’s celebrated poet, Ray refrains from touching upon the controversies in Tagore’s life. However lovers of cinema will see the deft cinematic touches of a master filmmaker that sets it apart from most biographical documentaries in the world. The dramatised sequences in the film of the young Tagore are moving and lyrical, befitting the biography of one the most progressive man ever.three stories have also been made into individual films.