Monday, August 29, 2016

I Am Overwhelmed By Rabindranath Tagore & Anurag Basu!

First I must thank the director, Anurag Basu for introducing ordinary people like me to such intense stories by our own Indian Writer/Nobel laureate/Painter/Poet, Rabindranath Tagore.  I know Tagore as a poet (Gitanjali...a bit familiar), a writer of our National Anthem 'Jana Gana Mana', vaguely familiar with his paintings also.  I knew he wrote stories.  Am very familiar with Rabindra Sangeet, have heard them and watched them in TV.  Love the typical/unique tune of those songs.  But never knew that his stories were so intense, psychological, women oriented.

Well...I am talking about the TV serial 'Rabindranath Tagore Stories' which is being screened in EPIC channel at present.  The stories are based on the lifestyle of  people in India, esp. Bengal in the 1920s and 1930s.  I can relate/understand the situation in those days because I have heard from my mother and her sister, some typical stories of suppressed women of those days.  But here, in Tagore's stories, the women are portrayed as very intelligent, sometimes rebellious, who wanted to come out of the so called 'traditional' web. I had two grandmothers (Father's and Mother's mothers), both widows, one's head was shaved and no blouse, the other one wore blouse and even home stitched underwear! The first one always sang bhajans, shlokas, very religious and the other one recited shlokas but loved classical music, film songs, watched movies with daughters, read books and newspapers etc.  Well, let me go back to the Tagore stories now!

Please read about our Tagore first....He was born on 7th May, 1861 in Calcutta.  Lived for 80 years...and gave us so much in literature/poetry and many more things.  He is the youngest of thirteen children, lost his mother very early in his life and was brought up mostly by servants Wiki says that many of his siblings became famous in some or other area.  Tagore largely avoided classroom schooling and preferred to roam the manor or nearby Bolpur and Panihati, idylls which the family visited. His brother Hemendranath tutored and physically conditioned him—by having him swim the Ganges or trek through hills, by gymnastics, and by practising judo and wrestling. He learned drawing, anatomy, geography and history, literature, mathematics, Sanskrit, and English—his least favourite subject. Tagore loathed formal education—his scholarly travails at the local Presidency College spanned a single day. Years later he held that proper teaching does not explain things; proper teaching stokes curiosity.

He comes from a Zamindar family and so, no dearth of money at any time in his life.  His father wanted him to become a lawyer and sent him to law school in the U.K.  He didn't complete that course but was interested in English poets!

Became interested in painting at the age of 60 and had an exhibition in France!

He wrote and acted in drama-opera! Mind boggling personality, he was!

I have watched some movies based on his stories, again, they were based on the period of early 1900s, lifestyle in Bengal.

He started Vishwabharathi University in Shantiniketan (Indira Gandhi studied there, I think!)

Hmmm....I must thank the director of Rabindranath Tagore stories, a Hindi serial, Anurag Basu.

Until now, I didn't have an idea of how great Tagore was. He had written all types of stories from love stories to thrillers! Superb story-teller and great director combination is here! Wherever music is needed, Rabindra Sangeet is used.  Background music is memorable...yes, memorable! A big plus point to the serial. I am addicted to this programme.

He says in this video clip given below that he approached many channels for screening Rabinranath Tagore stories, which were short stories in individual episodes.  At last EPIC channel accepted and now, they are being screened in the channel.  Many familiar faces of TV and movies are there in nearly every episode.  You see them in entirely different angle.  Serious, good acting.  The women are beautiful in traditional Bengali dresses.  Men in dhothies with old, oily hairstyle.  I was feeling, sometimes heavy-hearted ('Tyaag'), sometimes laughing loudly ('Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka') after watching each episode! I started watching a bit late, so missed some episodes.  They are available in Netflix, it seems.  The name of the stories are here. Each and every episode/story is a gem.

My favourite actress Radhika Apte is in an episode.  Mind-blowing acting!

Now, to a glimpse of 'Rabindranath Tagore stories' clip! I used to use Punjabi words like 'Puththar' at home when 'Buniyaad' serial was screened in DD, long back and now, pronounce Chandrakanth as Chondrokonth, Madhavi as Madhabi!

This EPIC channel has got many interesting programmes, mostly based on India, its history, heritage and mythology.



Destination Infinity said...

Not sure if I get Epic channel in my DTH - will check. I'd like to read a few stories written by Rabindranath Tagore - I guess translations should exist.

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: Yes, it should! These stories were written in Banla first ...Thanks for the first comment, Rajesh!

Shail said...

I agree, women in Tagore stories seem much more spirited and rebellious than the ones in the present. Always made me wonder where that rebellion has gone?
I never get to see TV, so don't know if I'll be able to watch this. Let me see. Quite enjoyed your post, Sandhya! :)

Bikram said...

I dont get that channel :(


Renu said...

i have read lot of books of Tagore and sarat chandra and love their characters, seen many episodes on Epic and they make me feel so nostalgic, as I have lived near Calcutta and seen that lifestyle.

Sandhya said...

SHAIL MOHAN: This is not like our usual serials. Very emotional....happiness or tragedy. Intense acting, dialogue delivery. You will be surprised to see some normal actors doing excellent job, thanks to Anurag Basu. It is not available in you tube but in netflix, it seems.

BIKRAM: This post is more about Rabindranath Tagore than the serial, Bikram. I got many information reading about him. He seems to be a great personality...our Indian!

RENU: Happy to see your comment, Renu! And happier to know that you too are an admirer of Tagore and his stories. I have read Sharat Chandra stories in Kannada when I was young and loved them.

Their lifestyle is interesting like the lifestyles of people of our other states. I have watched some Bengali films/Ray films and am very familiar with Bengali lifestyle!

Thank you, Renu!

Rahul Bhatia said...

EPIC channnel is certainly good and towers above other mediocre channels.

BK Chowla, said...

This is where I get irritated.....
Why are the telecasting such informative shows on Epic with practically no viewership?
If private channels can telecast Paki serials,why not this?
Though ,I do,watch Epic

Sandhya said...

RAHUL BHATIA: Yes, I too felt like that! I sometimes watch a couple of other programmes too. Very well made programmes. No advertisements, which I love!

BK CHOWLA: All are worried about TRP ratings. I and son watch 'Ekaanth' too which is about unique places in India! I had written about Janjeera fort and was happy to know more about the fort there.

Wini said...

Maami! So glad you liked this series! Anand was reluctant to watch it since most of the episodes were tragic. Indeed, Radhika Apte is heartbreakingly beautiful and her character is complex. Loved the songs as well- Kali Kali Mandraaye Bhavra!

Sandhya said...

WINI: I love Rabindra Sangeet...touches the heart! Loved most of the stories. Acting was superb in all the episodes. Very few were familiar faces. Anurag seems to be a good director. Bring out the best from everyone! Thanks for the comment,Ashwini! Missed them!

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