Victor Banerjee: ‘We tend to hero worship and are afraid to criticise icons, understand their frailties’

MD Merajul IslamMay 7, 2022


The one 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 tradition” as he calls himself. And it’s due to the final function, one he takes very severely, that he has returned to appearing. Regardless of struggling consecutive bouts of Covid and dengue, he’s pushed down all the best way from the hills to advertise the Indo-Argentine movie, Pondering 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 really turned a world citizen after he wrote Gitanjali and his works had a profound affect on the mental motion in Latin America. Ocampo was one in all his most ardent followers, who went on to change into his emotional equal and sounding board, each drawing sustenance from one another and sharing their creativeness in essentially the most platonic and soulful means that would ever be. Although they met one another very briefly within the Nineteen Twenties, every was to nurture their cross-continental ties via a sequence of letters and items. Many say that it was Tagore’s fullest, religious relationship as Ocampo related together with his philosophy. “That is as sacred because it will get. If Tagore ever deserved to be referred to as Gurudev, it will be due to Ocampo. She truly worshipped him like a guru and wished to be indoctrinated in his philosophy primarily based on Vedanta and Upanishads, one the place the self and ego merge with the upper consciousness and the rhythms of the universe. She was in search of God throughout an emotional trough in her life and located Tagore via his translated works with out figuring out she would meet him. One other joyful accident on this relationship is that she obtained to learn superior translations of the Gitanjali in French, the closest to decoding Tagore’s thoughts. Her idea of the last word, superior being was a results 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 together with his British good friend, Lord Elmhirst, and had fallen sick, she provided 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 together with his Purabi sequence of poems, the place she is known as Vijaya, bringing out his feelings and passion, but additionally 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 via press experiences of the time, says, “Ocampo in actual life can be as fascinating as Tagore to me. Few ladies might equal her in her time anyplace on this planet. She had aspects that have been unimaginable. Her pals have been the best artistes, writers, intellectuals and litterateurs of the time, she ran a literary journal, and was an important organiser. Each challenged one another as equals and she or he represented a type of assertiveness that Tagore by no means had. She genuinely cared for him and as soon as tore down a ship’s door to shove within the chair that Gurudev appreciated to take a seat in. Her sitting at Tagore’s toes was not by chance, it was by pure design.”

On his half Tagore, not used to being hero-worshipped, was taken abruptly and was bashful. “He didn’t know easy methods to take care of her with out blushing, having been raised to be restrained and stoical. She broke his boundaries of a man-woman relationship. And that’s beautiful. She actually did take care of him. She was his polar reverse and that comes out subtly within the movie,” says the 75-year-old actor.

The movie begins with Tagore’s son Rathindranath receiving a telegram from Ocampo, which learn, ‘Pondering of Him,’ which has now change into the title. Victoria herself described Tagore “because the closest individual to him as her life itself.” Based on Banerjee, “we’d by no means understand how this long-distance relationship would have taken form if she had come to India, however when requested to outline her, Tagore merely stated, ‘Bhalobasha’ (love). And that, for anyone who understands Tagore, is past physicality and a soul communion of types.”

Victoria helped the universalist Tagore join on a human aircraft. In a letter that Tagore wrote to her from a ship throughout one in all his voyages, he says, “I at all times really feel nervous every time a brand new present of friendship is available in my means. However I settle for my future and for those who even have the braveness to totally settle for it, we will ever stay pals… I’m not free to surrender my freedom — for this freedom is claimed by my Grasp for his service.” Tagore transcended mortality to his religious fullness. Victoria understood that, a rarity amongst many women and men who knew him.

That is the very first time a full-length function movie is being made on Tagore, starting from 1924 and his loss of life in 1941. Banerjee initially didn’t learn the script and agreed as a result of he wished to analyze the depth of this relationship and thru Ocampo, perceive the Latin perspective of Tagore. “They noticed and admired him as a social reformer, an educationist, an environmentalist. His views on harmonizing with nature and open college have been fully off the wall and stirred their creativeness,” says he.

Why are there no biographical movies on Tagore but? Banerjee instantly counters, “That’s as a result of we are inclined to hero worship and are afraid to criticize icons or perceive their frailties. The viewers is illiberal to any concepts apart from their very own. For instance, as a son of Bengali tradition, I might have appreciated to see Tagore in a bar, having fun with a drink or two and fascinating in vigorous conversations, very like Shakespeare did at his favorite watering holes. That’s why I like poet Michael Madhusudan Dutt, who was flawed however a genius. I wouldn’t be shocked if Tagore can be a bit of jealous of him, contemplating 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 issue is folks see him via one prism, as a playwright, a poet, a novelist, a short-story author. However he was primarily a lyricist. And if you wish to psycho-analyse him, you have to perceive his songs. That’s why whereas taking pictures for Satyajit Ray’s Ghare Baire, I learnt Rabindra sangeet for 3 months. A lyricist could be subjective and may inform the reality that he’s in denial of whereas composing a poem. One of the best of Tagore is in his songs.”

Why is Tagore not a well-liked join in the present day as he ought to be? “That’s as a result of what he stood for has been changed by sensationalism. We should undergo the digital age and return to the written phrase. He doesn’t belong to the folks now. It’s a loss we are going to slowly uncover and rediscover him in one other 50 years. Poetry by no means dies, so he’ll come again. As TS Eliot as soon as stated, ‘Distracted from distraction by distraction.’”

(Pondering of Him launched on Might 6)



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