The solely factor fixed about actor-author Victor Banerjee is his love for Landour, the birds of Uttarakhand, his writings and being a “son of the Bengali culture” as he calls himself. And it’s due to the final function, one he takes very significantly, that he has returned to performing. Despite struggling consecutive bouts of Covid and dengue, he’s pushed down all the way in which from the hills to advertise the Indo-Argentine movie, Thinking of Him, the place he performs poet laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
Directed by famed Argentinian director Pablo Cesar, the movie explores Tagore’s relationship with Argentine litterateur, critic and author Victoria Ocampo. Tagore actually grew to become a world citizen after he wrote Gitanjali and his works had a profound impression on the mental motion in Latin America. Ocampo was certainly one of his most ardent followers, who went on to grow to be his emotional equal and sounding board, each drawing sustenance from one another and sharing their creativeness in probably the most platonic and soulful approach that might ever be. Though they met one another very briefly within the Nineteen Twenties, every was to nurture their cross-continental ties by means of a sequence of letters and presents. Many say that it was Tagore’s fullest, religious relationship as Ocampo related along with his philosophy. “This is as sacred as it gets. If Tagore ever deserved to be called Gurudev, it would be because of Ocampo. She actually worshipped him like a guru and wanted to be indoctrinated in his philosophy based on Vedanta and Upanishads, one where the self and ego merge with the higher consciousness and the rhythms of the universe. She was seeking God during an emotional trough in her life and found Tagore through his translated works without knowing she would meet him. Another happy accident in this relationship is that she got to read superior translations of the Gitanjali in French, the closest to interpreting Tagore’s mind. Her concept of the ultimate, superior being was a result of the evolution of centuries of French refinement and thought,” says Banerjee.
Tagore introduced her a view of everlasting life past materials issues. So, when she got here to know that he was visiting Buenos Aires along with his British buddy, Lord Elmhirst, and had fallen in poor health, she supplied her villa at Miralrio on River Plate to assist him recuperate. There, by the river and beneath the shadow of a tree, that they had a sequence of conversations.
The affiliation has been very well-documented, interpreted and researched upon and there’s no room for hypothesis. Ocampo not solely impressed the ascetic poet to swing again to romanticism along with his Purabi sequence of poems, the place she is known as Vijaya, bringing out his feelings and passion, but in addition inspired him to exhibit his work in Paris. They shared their deepest thought processes, mentioned world literature and Baudelaire. She is the one who satisfied him to transcend doodling, into sketches and work and sponsored his exhibition in Paris in 1930. Banerjee, who examine Ocampo for months by means of press studies of the time, says, “Ocampo in real life would be as interesting as Tagore to me. Few women could equal her in her time anywhere in the world. She had facets that were incredible. Her friends were the finest artistes, writers, intellectuals and litterateurs of the time, she ran a literary magazine, and was a great organiser. Both challenged each other as equals and she represented a kind of assertiveness that Tagore never had. She genuinely cared for him and once tore down a ship’s door to shove in the chair that Gurudev liked to sit in. Her sitting at Tagore’s feet was not by accident, it was by natural design.”
On his half Tagore, not used to being hero-worshipped, was taken without warning and was bashful. “He didn’t know how to deal with her without blushing, having been raised to be restrained and stoical. She broke his boundaries of a man-woman relationship. And that’s lovely. She really did care for him. She was his polar opposite and that comes out subtly in the film,” says the 75-year-old actor.
The movie begins with Tagore’s son Rathindranath receiving a telegram from Ocampo, which learn, ‘Thinking of Him,’ which has now grow to be the title. Victoria herself described Tagore “as the closest person to him as her life itself.” According to Banerjee, “we would never know how this long-distance relationship would have taken shape if she had come to India, but when asked to define her, Tagore simply said, ‘Bhalobasha’ (love). And that, for anybody who understands Tagore, is beyond physicality and a soul communion of sorts.”
Victoria helped the universalist Tagore join on a human aircraft. In a letter that Tagore wrote to her from a ship throughout certainly one of his voyages, he says, “I always feel nervous whenever a new gift of friendship comes in my way. But I accept my destiny and if you also have the courage to fully accept it, we shall ever remain friends… I am not free to give up my freedom — for this freedom is claimed by my Master for his service.” Tagore transcended mortality to his religious fullness. Victoria understood that, a rarity amongst many women and men who knew him.
This is the very first time a full-length function movie is being made on Tagore, starting from 1924 and his demise in 1941. Banerjee initially didn’t learn the script and agreed as a result of he wished to research the depth of this relationship and thru Ocampo, perceive the Latin perspective of Tagore. “They saw and admired him as a social reformer, an educationist, an environmentalist. His views on harmonizing with nature and open school were completely off the wall and stirred their imagination,” says he.
Why are there no biographical movies on Tagore but? Banerjee instantly counters, “That’s because we tend to hero worship and are afraid to criticize icons or understand their frailties. The audience is intolerant to any ideas other than their own. For example, as a son of Bengali culture, I would have liked to see Tagore in a bar, enjoying a drink or two and engaging in lively conversations, much like Shakespeare did at his favourite watering holes. That’s why I like poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt, who was flawed but a genius. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tagore would be a little jealous of him, considering the latter wrote the epical Meghnad Badh Kavya.”
Assessing why Tagore has not been reinterpreted now as a lot as he ought to be, Banerjee says, “The problem is people see him through one prism, as a playwright, a poet, a novelist, a short-story writer. But he was primarily a lyricist. And if you want to psycho-analyse him, you must understand his songs. That’s why while shooting for Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Baire, I learnt Rabindra sangeet for three months. A lyricist can be subjective and can tell the truth that he is in denial of while composing a poem. The best of Tagore is in his songs.”
Why is Tagore not a preferred join at this time as he ought to be? “That’s because what he stood for has been replaced by sensationalism. We will have to go through the digital age and return to the written word. He doesn’t belong to the people now. It’s a loss we will slowly discover and rediscover him in another 50 years. Poetry never dies, so he will come back. As TS Eliot once said, ‘Distracted from distraction by distraction.’”
(Thinking of Him launched on May 6)