Raya Chatterjee, Sovanlal Ganguli, Smaran Ghosal,
Purnendu Mukherjee, Kallol Bose, Subir Bose, Phani Nan, Norman
The documentary details the life and work of the celebrated
Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941). He was awarded
the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 “because of his profoundly
sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse, by which, with consummate
skill, he has made his poetic thought, expressed in his own English
words, a part of the literature of the West.” Rabindranath
Tagore was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, born in Calcutta.
He was educated at home. At seventeen he was sent to England for
formal schooling, which he did not complete. Tagore was knighted
by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years
he resigned the honor as a protest against British policies in
The documentary was made to celebrate Tagore’s birth centenary
in May 1961. Ray was conscious that he was making an official
portrait of India’s celebrated poet and hence the film
does not include any controversial aspects of Tagore’s
life. However, it is far from being a propaganda film.
The film comprises dramatized episodes from the poet’s
life and archived images and documents.
The dramatized sequences of boy Rabi (Rabindranath Tagore) and
young Tagore in his twenties are moving and lyrical. Ray has been
reported to have said, “Ten or twelve minutes of it are among
the most moving and powerful things that I have produced”.