Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Poetry on the big screen

Looking back at some of the films that embraced the works of Rabindranath Tagore, whose 150th birth anniversary falls on May 9. Satyajit Ray once famously said: “Rabindranath Tagore's works are a challenge for any director to film, as their literary values are eternal.”

Tagorean literature has inspired many filmmakers in Hindi and Bengali to take them to celluloid. Yet, only a handful of them have succeeded. On the 150th birth anniversary of Tagore, we present five trend-setting films based on his works.

Tagore's Four Chapters inspired renowned German documentary filmmaker Paul Zils to make a feature film on the novel. He prepared a script in Hindi, and sought the help of B.R. Chopra, the then editor of Cine Herald for the cast. Dev Anand and Geeta Bali were signed for the leads, along with Kishore Sahu for a profound parallel character.

Dev Anand was, apparently, inspired by the novel and the script, and sought time to fathom the depths of Atanu, the character he was to play. Similarly, Geeta Bali too had asked for time to understand Ela, her character. However, B.R. Chopra convinced them into doing it right then. And, Geeta Bali is said to have rendered her famous dialogue “Chait Mahine Ki Us Din Maine Tumhari Aankhon Mein Mera Barbadi Dekha” (I saw my doomsday in your eyes that very day of the month of Chaitra) with such conviction that Dev Anand had tears rolling down his eyes. Zalzala had a brilliant score by maestro Pankaj Mullick. The entire cast's performance was mature and sensitive. It released on January 1, 1952. Though it flopped, Zalzala was a brilliant effort in filming Four Chapters.

Full report here Hindu

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