This Saturday, May 7, marks the 150th birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. And to commemorate the Nobel laureate, the Government of India is coming out with a special collection of six DVDs titled Tagore Stories On Film. Apart from five films based on the writer’s stories, the collection also includes two documentaries, one by Satyajit Ray and the other by Tagore himself.
Nina Gupta, head of National Film Development Corporation, which was entrusted with the commemorative collection, says that it is an initiative by the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, which set up a National Implementation Committee under the chairmanship of filmmaker Shyam Benegal.
The first film selected was Tapan Sinha’s Bengali movie, Khudito Pashan (Hungry Stones), which also won the National Award. Satyajit Ray’s Teen Kanya was included too, because it’s based on three of Tagore’s stories – The Post Master, Monihara and Samapti.
The other three films are Hemen Gupta’s much-acclaimed Kabuliwala featuring Balraj Sahni, Ray’s Ghare Bhaire, which was nominated for the Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival and Kumar Sahni’s Char Adhyay, a poignant comment on the adverse effects of nationalism and an interpretation of Tagore’s novella of the same title.
“Tagore had a huge impact on cinema. Besides, he himself made a film, shot as Natir Puja, a dance drama he directed in 1932,” she says. “The original print was lost in a fire and only the edited footage was available. So we’ve made a documentary of that rare footage.” Ray made the other documentary. “Deft cinematic touches of a master filmmaker set it apart from most biographical documentaries . So it was necessary and important to include this into the collection,” says Gupta.
Tagore Stories On Film is priced at Rs 399 and will be available in the market soon.