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Rabindranath Tagore
1961, India. Documentary, 54 min, B/W


Credits
Producer: Films Division, Govt. of India
Script. commentary & Direction: Satyajit Ray
Cinematography: Soumendu Roy
Editing: Dulal Dutta
Art Direction: Bansi Chandragupta
Music: Jyotirindra Moitra
 
Cast
Raya Chatterjee, Sovanlal Ganguli, Smaran Ghosal, Purnendu Mukherjee, Kallol Bose, Subir Bose, Phani Nan, Norman Ellis
 
Summary
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 India.

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.

Comments
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”.

Awards

  • President's Gold Medal, New Delhi, 1961
  • Golden Seal, Locarno, 1961
  • Special Mention, Montevideo, 1962
Other Online Reviews
  • Tagore, Satyajit Ray Film & Study Collection
Tagore Still
Young Rabindranath at Jorasanko ©Teknica

Tagore Still
Young Rabindranath ©Teknica

Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore

Tagore Sketch
A sketch of Tagore by Ray
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