Tagore poems influenced Ritwik Ghatak’s films: Book

Some recurrent metaphors used by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in his poetries ended up inspiring the...

Written by Press Trust Of India | Published: March 16, 2012 5:26 pm

Some recurrent metaphors used by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in his poetries ended up inspiring the works of legendary Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak,says a new book.

“From Tagore,filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak got his sense of the landscape being not just a serene,indifferent,permanent background to human endeavour,but as a multi- vocal,orchestral entity actively involved in the desire for existence,” writes critic Amit Chaudhuri in his book On Tagore – Reading The Poet Today.

Ghatak,who was viewed by a section of the film establishment as an ‘eccentric iconoclast’,got critical acclaim only after he passed away at the age of 50 in 1976. He left a profound influence on modern Indian cinema and is still remembered for meticulous depiction of social reality through his parallel films.

Novelist Chaudhuri,who also teaches contemporary literature at the University of East Anglia,says that at different points of time in Ghatak’s films,the landscape appears to move and listen.

“It is aware of the protagonist,just as the protagonist is partly conscious of it being conscious of him,” he writes. Published by Penguin,the book was released recently in Kolkata at the Oxford Bookstore. It is a classic collection of masterly essays projecting a modern,pathbreaking approach on Tagore’s work and how he is perceived today.

According to Chaudhuri,Tagore’s recurrent metaphors of time travel,return,and arrival,and the fact that the great protagonist of his songs and poems is a figure determinedly committed to journeying towards life and birth,were picked up by Ghatak.

Ghatak’s great modulation upon “The Wild Geese” and its cry – as well as the cry “I won’t let you go” – occurs towards the end of Meghe Dhaka Tara (The cloud-covered star),his most fraught and painful film.

Dealing with the aftermath of the partition of India in 1947,it is globally credited as one of India’s best films ever made. Strongly melodramatic in tone,the film is based on a novel by Shaktipada Rajguru with the same title.

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