Director reinvents Rabindranath Tagore`s `Shesher Kabita`

Kolkata: Rabindranath Tagore`s famed lyrical work `Shesher Kabita` (Farewell Songs), set in the backdrop of mountainous Shillong, has been reinvented in an album to mark his 150th year birth anniversary.

Film and stage director Suman Mukhopadhyay has directed the production, which is interspersed with poems, music and voice-over.

"I have been fascinated by Shesher Kabita for long. I consider it as a departure from other Tagore works, so lyrical and so post-modernist," Suman told reporters.

Letting out that he had been toying with the idea to make a full-length feature film on `Shesher Kabita` for the past four years, Suman said, "The film project was getting delayed and I decided to make a radio play on the brilliant piece of work by Tagore.

"As the radio script was ready, I was approached by a music company for a quality album and things fell in place," said Suman, whose stage play `Rakta Karabi` and film `Chaturango` on cult Tagore works earlier earned critical acclaim, with the later shown at several major film festivals.

Explaining how he saw the two main characters of `Shesher Kabita`, Labanya and Amit, etched beautifully by the poet, Suman said, "There are no similar portrayals by Tagore.

It was interesting how Amit wanted to accept Labanya on his own terms and how she responded, in the backdrop of the picturesque hills in Shillong."

Through the discourse of the two characters Amit and Labanyo, "Tagore spun out his most masterful and modern discourse on love, in the form of Shesher Kabita. With this album I have sought to take a fresh look at arguably his greatest lyrical work," said Suman.

Referring to the satirical elements of the work, he referred to the criticism of an outmoded, old renowned poet going by the name of Rabindranath Tagore in `Shesher Kabita` by one of the characters which show how Tagore was conscious about the criticism to him by the new age poets during his time.

"In short this is one work close to every Bengali`s heart and a form that takes us back to falling in love with one of Tagore`s most enduring, modern and lyrical works, which I feel must be recorded aesthetically for posterity," he said.

The album features voices of leading names from Bengal creative fraternity, including actor Dhritiman Chaterji, theatre personality Chitra Sen, elocutionist Bratati Bandyopadhyay, noted Bengali actors Debshanker Halder, Biswajit Chakraborty, Sujon Mukhopadhyay, Srilekha Mitra.

When asked if the full-length feature film on `Shesher Kabita` could happen this year, Suman said, "I am not sure. When I thought about filming it way back in 2006, I did not mean it to coincide with the sesquicentennial year of the bard. I am working on the script, it may happen next year also."