Rabindranath Tagore turns muse in Bengali comedy

Kolkata: Rabindranath Tagore`s works have provided fodder for many a film over the years, but for the first time the Nobel laureate himself is the subject matter of an upcoming Bengali movie.

Tagore has a significant presence in ace ad filmmaker Amit Sen`s debut film `Natobar Not Out` which is releasing soon to coincide with the 150th birth anniversary of the Bard.

Sen insists that the release is a coincidence rather than an attempt to cash in on the sesquicentennial birth anniversary of the poet and the Bengali sentiment associated with it.

"Tagore is a very important, integral and significant part in the form of a Muse in `Natobar Not Out` which has north Kolkata as the backdrop where the great poet was born and raised," Sen told PTI.

Nearly 70 years after his demise, Tagore still rules the hearts of Bengalis and people elsewhere in the world through his poetry, music, painting and dance as he still inspires both established and budding poets of today.

"He lives in the psyche and the film has the brooding presence of him throughout," Sen explained on the eve of the film`s release here and abroad.

However, Sen said, he had not attempted to create something lofty. "Far from it! I did not aim at anything big, but a clean family entertainer which will appeal to the senses of the audience of all categories."

Sen, a graduate of the Pune Film Institute boasting a repertoire of 500-600 ad films, said north Kolkata is made the backdrop of the film because it is where Tagore still lives through `Prabhat Pheris` (morning processions with colorful tableaux to commemorate Tagore`s birthday on 25th `Baisakh` (first month in the Bengali calendar) and Rabindra Sangeet.

The film`s plot revolves around actress Raima Sen and Natobar`s character, essayed by debutante actor from Bangladesh Mustafa Prakash.

"Like a touchstone, Tagore`s contact with Natobar, a hopeless poet, turns his mediocrity into fecund creativity and thus begins a new phase in his life," the film-maker said.

The film also has a host of queer characters and new age comic elements. While it will have the glorious comic traditions of cult Bengali classics like `Basanta Bilap` and `Bhranti Bilas,` the look, feel and subject of Natobar will be contemporary, Sen says.

Explaining how he was hooked to the role, Prakash, the upcoming actor paired opposite Raima, said, "Tell me which Bengali has not ever read Tagore`s work or had not tried penning a poem? I had grown up reading Tagore."

Prakash said he was drawn to the script because of the fresh comedy element. "Its USP is the very Bengaliness, which brings back the charm of yesteryear films which I have been familiar with."

Sounding upbeat about her role, Raima said she was eagerly waiting for the audience feedback on her character of a rooted, simple, north Kolkata girl.


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