Friday, 1 July 2011

Rabindranath Tagore [1961]

Rabindranath Tagore was a polymath if there ever was one. The Renaissance Man of India (lovingly referred to by the sobriquet “Kobi Guru”, or The Great Bard) was a poet, composer, song writer, novelist, short story writer, playwright and painter (and prolific in each of these); he was also a philosopher, nationalist, educationist, social reformer, humanist, great admirer of natural sciences, and tireless spokesperson for world peace. India’s greatest genius and one of the most versatile geniuses the world has ever known, he was also the biggest idol of Satyajit Ray, a versatile genius himself. The documentary Rabindranath Tagore, which might as well be qualified as “Genius on Genius” (aptly quoted by one of my professors while introducing it to the audience), was made on the occasion of the bard’s birth centenary as homage to the Bengali Nobel laureate by one of his most devoted pupils. The film chronicles the life and times of Tagore, along with references to his fascinating lineage, his incredibly progressive philosophies, and his vision for a world sans war and violence. It comprises of both original footages as well as some dramatized sequences, with Ray’s baritone providing the stirring narration. Ray reportedly remarked about the documentary, “Ten or twelve minutes of it are among the most moving and powerful things that I have produced.”

Director: Satyajit Ray
Genre: Documentary
Language: English/Bengali
Country: India


Omar said...

Hey, this is a fantastic post - totally second everything you say about Tagore & Ray. 'The Renaissance Man of India' - this is arguably one of the clearest ways of summing up the magnificent achievements of such a towering figure of Bengali/Indian culture. I would love to see Indian cinema make a biopic on Tagore - a good one that is or have we had one already?

Shubhajit said...

Thanks a lot Omar. Tagore was and will always remain a towering personality, as would Ray. Tagore was a family friend of the Ray's (he was a close friend of Ray's grandfather), and Ray himself studied at Shantiniketan, the educational abode founded by Tagore. So his influence on Ray was that much more profound. Yes, it would be great to have a biopic on Tagore, though as far as I know such a biopic hasn't been made on him. It would be a challenging job for any filmmaker. After all, when it comes to making a biopic on personalities like Tagore or Einstein or Da Vinci that hasn't been told already. However, there are episodes of his life that could be brought to the celluloid.