Poetry in motion

Buddhadeb Dasgupta is making 13 short films in Hindi based on poems by Rabindranath Tagore.

Written by Shoma A. Chatterji | Published:January 6, 2012 7:04 pm

Buddhadeb Dasgupta is making 13 short films in Hindi based on poems by Rabindranath Tagore. Each movie is approximately 30 minutes long. This is his way of paying a tribute to the Nobel laureate. Says Dasgupta,“When the Ministry of Culture came up with the proposal,I suggested we make films based on his poems instead of picking a novel or a story. Many of Tagore’s novels and stories have already been made into films.”

One such film is Station,adapted from the original story in Bengali called Isthishone. “Station is a soul-searching story spanning a single night,when Satish,a simple man,misses the last train from a remote village Bareshivpur to Kolkata. He is forced to spend the night on the platform on a freezing winter night. He meets five different characters from various social strata. His interactions with them change his perspective on life,love,relationships and struggles,” says Bobby Chakraborty,a much-sought-after actor on the Bengali small-screen who is playing the main role in the film. The music composition for Station is by Buddhadeb Dasgupta’s younger daughter Alokananda Dasgupta,who is trained in music from a very young age both in India and abroad.

“Dasgupta-sir is a renowned poet himself. He has a deep understanding of lyrical visuals that can bring the film to life. He regards images as the most important aspect of a film other than the camera’s magic,” says Bobby,who has bagged a Buddhadeb Dasgupta film after a patient wait of 10 long years since he had first approached the director for a role. “He probably liked my work in Khela,I am not sure. However,I am thrilled with the experience,” he sums up.

Bobby decided not to read the original poem because he wanted to work along the lines of Dasgupta’s narration. “His first assistant Sohini fleshed out the character according to Sir’s narration,so I did not want to be conditioned by the original poem,” says Bobby.

“He asks us to memorise the lines but he also tests our ability to improvise as and when the situation demands,” the actor goes on. “If he is happy,he comes forth with some tips on a given shot that lifts one’s performance several times over. He spreads warmth and camaraderie on the sets. He is unassuming to a fault. Another wonderful experience was to work with the internationally-acclaimed Spanish cinematographer Dieago,” informs Bobby.

The actor was asked to cut his hair,do away with his sideburns and grow a thick moustache. He also had to strip himself of his suave and sophisticated,city-bred,smart and urban look though it posed a continuity problem with three mega soaps to which Bobby was committed. “However,my producers were very cooperative,” he says.

Ninety-five percent of the film was shot at night,in a desolate station near Purulia. “I was wearing a thin shirt and trousers in extremely cold weather. I would be given one teaspoon of honey every now and then to keep me warm. We had to wait for hours for a shot of a passing train,” recalls Bobby.

Most of the film has been shot entirely on location in sync sound with the actors wearing body mikes and the boom being used only for close-ups.

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