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Sunday, August 18, 2013

'Selected Memories'

It was Baishey Srabon, yet again the occasion Rabindranath Tagore's death anniversary, a day that is considered special for all Bangalis, and for all Tagore-lovers. This year was the 72nd death anniversary of the bard, and it was made all the more special for me, and many who share my passion and are possibly my readers, by Doordarshan which honored the bard's memory by telecasting Rituparno Ghosh's 78-minute-long impressionistic documentary titled 'Jeevan Smriti' ('Selected Memories'; with English sub-titles). The documentary, more of Ghosh's take on the bard, was much awaited for many reasons. First, it was the last of the filmmaker's completed projects. It was shot in phases for over a year, and had waited to see the light of day (only seen by a select few in an invitational screening or more) for long. Rituparno Ghosh, known to be a consummate researcher, had worked on the theme for several years before embarking on the actual filming. documentary. It had taken more time and energy than he was known to devote to his feature films. It was dear to his heart because of his passionate association with the bard and his works. He was known to have quite a vast knowledge on the subject that had even made him quite a treasure-house, especially of the nuggets, of information recently. Watching the film, made me emotional. It made me heavy-hearted. Nostalgia gripped me, I felt enthused, was ecstatic at times...... my eyes welled with tears for many reasons. It would be difficult for me to dissect the film for its merits and demerits, I apologize to my readers for my inability to review the film as many would have wanted me to. Consider it my personal incapacity. However, I would want all of you to watch the film, if ever you get the opportunity to do so. It was Rituda's pet project, he had wanted to steer clear of the baggage that we carry with the respect that we have for the fine documentary on Tagore made by Satyajit Ray. He had wanted to traverse interesting facets from the bard's life, his extensive travels, and his many platonic relationships as well. Samadarshi Datta played a young Rabindranath, in his twenties - quite the romantic and formative period in the poet's life, while Sanjoy Nag played the aged bard, there were Raima Sen and Arunima Ghosh in the cast too. Rituda himself had a memorable presence in the film, almost giving one the feeling of a consummation with the bard, as he is found baring his soul, his spirit to us viewers, as his life unfolds. The background commentary has paralleled the dramatized documentation and that too has been enriched by many an actor, including Deepti Naval and Anasuya Majumdar. Rituparno intentionally chose to attach multiple layers, to showcase Tagore's multiplicity. However, he has also banked on the scenes from some Ray films based on Tagore's works, reinstating the obvious association that we, people of his generation and thereafter, have particularly had with Tagore -the creator and Tagore - the individual.


mehul said...

The best thing about the docu-feature was the effort to make Rabindranath Tagore accessible to the new-age viewers, hopefully Tagore would be read and be talked about all the more.

Avi said...

The film deserves to be seen by more people, and it would surely help if the film releases in theaters, at least for a limited run, because, no matter how much DD stresses on their reach being unparalleled the fact remains that only a few die-hard viewers watch documentaries on such godforsaken slots.