¿And which medida los directores de Bengala utilizan a Tagore and sus películas cult?
Yes Satyajit Ray & Tapan Sinha Liberally Adapted Rabindranath Tagore , Ritwik Ghatak & Mrinal Sen Had A Trickier Approach. On The Bard's 158th Anniversary Birth Today, CT Decodes Their Cinematic Preferences
In His Biography Titled Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye, The Iconic Filmmaker Had Confessed That 10-12 Minutes Of It Was" Among The Most Moving And Powerful Things" That He Had Ever Produced. These 10-12 Minutes That Ray Was Referring To Are From His 1961 Black-and-white Documentary Titled Rabindranath Tagore. Not Just This Documentary, Ray Directed Three Films - Teen Kanya (1961), Charulata (1964) And Ghare Baire (Home And The World, 1984) - From Tagore's Work And Even Got Kishore Kumar To Sing Tagore's Ami Chini Go Chini In Charulata. Another Stalwart Of Those Times - Tapan Sinha - Made Four Tagore Adaptations Including Kabuliwala (1957), Khudito Pashan (The Hungry Stones, 1960), Atithi And Kadambini. His Daughters Of This Century Was Based On Short Stories, One Of Which Was Tagore's Jibito O Mrito. Yet, When It Came To Mrinal Sen And Ritwik Ghatak, Neither Of These Stalwarts Directly Adapted To Single Tagore Work For Any Of Their Feature Films. On Tagore's 158th Birth Anniversary, CT Tries To Trace The Reasons Behind This Conscious Exclusion.
Mrinal Sen And His Baishey Shravana
One Of Sen's Memorable Films - Baishey Shravana - Has A Name That Marks The Death Anniversary Of Tagore. That Was In 1960. It Was Sen's First Film That Went To Any Foreign Festival. Apart From The Title Reference, The Film Had No Other Tagore Connection. The Story Of Priyanath And Malati - Essayed By Jnanesh Mukherjee And Madhabi Mukherjee - Was Set Just Before World War II. In The Face Of Abject Poverty, Famine And A Total Erosion Of Human Values, Tagore's Death Anniversary Has No Relevance In The Life And Death Of Malati, Who Commits Suicide On Her Wedding Anniversary.
Ten Years Later, Sen Made A Film Called Icchapuran That Was Produced By The Children's Film Society. Few Believe That The Element Of Fantasy And Humor In The Tagore Story Had Probably Attracted Sen To It. The 1970 Film, Starring Gyanesh Mukherjee, Was About A Young Boy Who Wishes To Switch Roles With His Father. The Wish Is Granted For A Trial Period.
However, When It Came To Feature Films, Sen Distanced Himself Completely From Tagore. His Son, Kunal Sen, In An Interview To TOI Three Years Back, Had Said:" I Do Not Think It Was Drawn Towards Tagore's Novels. I Have Liked Tagore's Essays About Aesthetics. During Those Days, A Minor Deviation Would Go Visk Bharati A Lot. Satyajit Ray, Because Of His Stature And Connections, Was Excused. I Have Made Enough Changes Even In Case Of Charulata. I Do Not Think My Father Or Anyone Else During That Time Could Do That. Besides, None Of His Films Is A Period Film. Whenever I've Made A Film, I've Butchered The Original Story And Retained The Skeleton Of The Idea."
Ritwik Ghatak Took The Tricky Way
Ritwik's Approach To Tagore, However, Was Different From That Of Sen. He Had Adapted Multiple Tagore Plays For The Stage. I Started Off With Achalayoton And Then Went On To Adapt Dakghar, Natir Puja, Poritran, Falguni, Bisarjan, Raja And Streer Patra. For A Director Who Had Such A Strong Interest In Tagore On The Stage, His Reluctance To Make Direct Cinematic Adaptations Is Intriguing." Ritwik Took Chances With Tagore When It Came To The Theater. Indian People's Theater Association (IPTA) Used To Stage These Plays. After Tagore's Death, IPTA Had Gone To Santiniketan To Stage Muktodhara In Order To Raise Funds For Viswa Bharati. Ritwik, Therefore, Was Only Continuing This Tradition When I Adapted Tagore For The Stage," Said Film Scholar Sanjay Mukhopadhyay.
Did Ritwik feel that while the stage would allow him this freedom , it might not be so easy when it came to cinema? Was that why he used Tagore’s annotations in Komal Gandhar? “He quoted Tagore in Komal Gandhar & used his song (Sarthok Janam) in the background & shot in the Khowai space. The choice of Khowai — an intrinsic part of the Santiniketan landscape that was Tagore’s abode — as a location was Ritwik’s way of constructing an imaginary reference to bridge the unfinished tradition of the freedom struggle & the mass uprising of the Left radicals,” Sanjay pointed out.
In Case Of Subarnarekha, The Tagore Connection Is Even More Interesting. In 1927, A Studio From Germany Had Requested Tagore To Pen A Film Script. Tagore's Then Secretary And Poet Amiya Chakraborty Had Mentioned That The Nobel Laureate Had Confined Himself To A Room And Engaged In Writing A Script. I Had Named It The Child. However, The Film Never Took Off. In The 1930s, Tagore Had Gone On To Write To Bengali Version Of The Child, Named Sishutirtha. In 1962, Ritwik Had Adapted To Film Based On The Concept Of The Child. There Are Numerous Quotes From Sishutirtha In Subarnarekha Including 'Raat Koto Holo Uttor Mane', 'Joy Hok Oi Manusher Oi Nobojatoker Oi Chirojibiter' And 'Taai Se Bolechhilo Mata Dwar Holo'.
In 1974, When I Acted-directed Jukti Takko Aar Gappo, Ritwik Roped In Debabrata Biswas To Sing The Cult Tagore Song - Keno Cheye Acho Go Maa. A Year Later In 1975, When He Made A Documentary On Ramkinkar Baij, Ritwik Used The Santiniketan Landscape As A Tribute To Tagore.
But His Films Strictly Stayed Away From Tagore. Here, Sanjay Hazards To Guess To Suggest That Ritwik's Choice Vis-a-vis Tagore Was Strongly Influenced By His Relation With The Prevalent Marxist Cultural Movement Of That Time And Their Evaluation Of The Poet." The Left Radicals In The '40s Did Not See Tagore As A Progressive Figure. For Them, He Was An Extension Of The Bourgeoisie Movement. Ritwik Was Against This Interpretation. I Wanted To Present Tagore As A Negotiator Between The Marxist Cultural Movement And The Nationalist Movement As Was Initiated By The Congress And The Indian Revolutionaries. I Have Thought That Instead Of A Direct Adaptation, An Argument Would Be More Beneficial. That Is Why I Have Started Essay Kind Of Films Rather Than Directly Adapting Stories Or Novels," Sanjay Argued.
What The Silence Reveals About Tagore.
Considering that Tagore was a favourite with directors like Ray , Sinha & even Purnendu Patri (he adapted Streer Patra & Malancha) , did the silence of the other two stalwarts reveal how they looked at Bengal’s icons? Sanjay believes it did. “Tagore was an icon of Bengali culture. Ray , Tapan Sinha & Purnendu Patri considered him as a standard 19th century enlightenment icon. Mrinal & Ritwik were entrusted with the responsibility of the formation of a counter cultural offensive against the established culture. They had to give the stamp of authenticity to it. That’s why they remained silent on Tagore. But Ritwik took a tricky way out. He was trying to convince the Marxist cultural legacy that got a distorted Tagore & had misunderstood him as a bourgeoisie poet. This legacy was in favour of rejecting Tagore. While Ritwik critiqued the enlightenment tradition , he used Tagore as a moot point,” Sanjay said.
Sen Was More Nonchalant. An Anecdote From Sen's Tryst With The Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) Aptly Demonstrates This Trait. Word Goes Around That Board Member Apurbakumar Chanda Had Suggested That He Keep A Different Date - May Be A Day Before Or After Baishey Shravana - As The Name Of His Film. But The Young Sen - Just Two Films Old In 1960 - Had Stuck To His Conviction. That's The Day When The Characters In His Film Had Got Married And He Was In No Mood To Change It. This Created Quite A Bit Of Problem In Kolkata. And The Film Had Finally To Get Clearance From Delhi. Perhaps, It Was This Non-conformist Attitude Towards Tagore And The Strong Urge To Protest By Creating An Alternate Voice That Did Not Follow The Accepted Socio-cultural Patterns That Set Sen Apart From The Rest.