Paoli Dam to play classic Tagore heroine
Paoli Dam, who is steaming up the screen in her Bollywood debut, Hate Story (2012), will be seen in a completely different avatar in Bappaditya Bandopadhyay’s Bengali film, Elar Char Adhyay, which is based on a Rabindranath Tagore classic, Char Adhyay.india Updated: Apr 25, 2012 12:58 IST
Paoli Dam, who is steaming up the screen in her Bollywood debut, Hate Story (2012), will be seen in a completely different avatar in Bappaditya Bandopadhyay’s Bengali film, Elar Char Adhyay, which is based on a Rabindranath Tagore classic, Char Adhyay. “The film is a period drama and Ela is one of the most significant characters in Bengali literature,” says Paoli, adding, “It was a challenge but I like to experiment, so I jumped at the chance of playing this emancipated freedom fighter. At a time when women were content to live sheltered lives, Ela took an oath not to get married and dedicated her life to the country’s freedom struggle.”
Paoli points out that in her own way, Kamya in Hate Story was a rebel too, but Ela is different not just in her traditional appearance but also as far as her diction and body language goes. “In the film, I have long hair and am draped in a sari. Not only did I have to speak differently, but also walk more sedately than usual because Ela is a more composed woman compared to bubbly me,” reminisces the actor who, having no live role model to emulate, had to depend on workshops, books and films such as Satyajit Ray’s Charulata (1964) and Ghare Baire (1985).
She, however, insists that it was a thrill playing a Tagore heroine. “All his women characters are so strong and powerful, despite their demure appearance,” raves Paoli, who after the success of her first Hindi film, where she played a bold avenger who uses sex as a weapon, is now looking to change with Ela, a revolutionary torn between her love for the country and a man. The film opens on May 11 as a tribute to the Nobel laureate on his 150th birth anniversary.
Elar Char Adhyay captures the ideals of the Bengali Renaissance of the 1930s and ’40s through a group of young intellectuals and revolutionaries led by Indranath. The Four Chapters (Char Adhyay) are actually the four phases in a teacher’s (Ela) life as she questions her mother’s blind religious faith and age-old values and then her leader’s use of violence to achieve nationalistic goals. The film has stayed faithful to the text, even retaining Tagore’s dialogue.