Rabindranath Tagore's 80 death anniversary: Here are a few silver screen adaptations of the great writer’s works
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Rabindranath Tagore's 80 death anniversary: Here are a few silver screen adaptations of the great writer’s works
Shilpa S
Aug 07, 2021

There might be only a few who are unfamiliar with the works of the great Rabindranath Tagore. Although most of his writing was in his mother tongue, Bengali, which earned him the title ‘the Bard of Bengal’, his elegant use of prose to weave the most unique, yet heartfelt and authentic stories transcends language. His works have not only been adapted into several languages, but also for different media, including cinema.

Although it has been 80 years since the legendary writer and poet left this realm, his evergreen works have been immortalized on the silver screen time and again. Here are a few adaptations of the same to show just how timeless they really are.

7.2OTTplay Rating
(Language: Hindi /Adapted from: Khokababur Pratyabartan) How far would a person go to prove his devotion to his loving master? This is explored in Darbaan through the story of Raicharan, who works as a domestic worker to a rich man. He develops a deep bond with his master’s son Anukul and is devastated when the family has to move away. When Anukul comes back years later as a grown up man with his son accompanying him, Raicharan becomes excited when he is asked to take care of the former’s child. But tragedy strikes in the family; the boy goes missing, and the blame falls on the domestic worker. A heartbroken Raicharan leaves, only to return years later with a present for Anukul, Raicharan’s own child to make up for the grief he had caused to the family long ago. A compelling screenplay and heartfelt performances make this tear-jerker an engaging watch.
8.1OTTplay Rating
(Language: Hindi /Adapted from: Kabuliwala) Bioscopewala takes all essence of what made Tagore’s Kabuliwala such a timeless classic, and gives it a contemporary makeover. Set in the ‘80s, the film follows a man who travels across places showing films through his bioscope, which he had begun in Afghanistan as a form of protest against the Taliban’s oppressive practices. He forms a bond with a young girl who reminds him of his daughter he had to leave behind. A few years later, the young girl, now a filmmaker, who was inspired by the bioscopewala in her childhood, returns to her home looking for answers to her father’s disappearance. That is where she comes across the wizened bioscopewala from her past, who narrates his story to the woman. The film not only features intense performances from the main cast, but also offers political commentary through its powerful storytelling.
7.6OTTplay Rating
(Language: Bengali /Adapted from: Postmaster) A contemporary retelling of Tagore’s short story of the same name, the film Postmaster adds certain intense elements to the original story. It follows the story of a young man, Ratan, who hails from an aristocratic family. He falls in love with the domestic worker in his house and marries her against his family’s wishes. Ratan leaves behind his wife and child owing to huge pressure from his dying father, though he couldn’t overcome the guilt of abandoning his family. This modern day retelling of a classic tale is delightfully engaging and makes viewers anxious about subsequent sequences.
7.7OTTplay Rating
(Language: Hindi /Adapted from: Samapti) Uphaar is the story of how an illiterate, silly woman transforms into a better version of herself, motivated by love for her beloved. A man realizes that the woman he married is more naïve and child-like than he previously thought, much to the irk of his mother. His wife is too set in her ways to even accompany him when he has to leave home. Quite hurt and frustrated, he vows that if ever she wants to join him sometime, she would have to do so by writing him a letter. His absence soon starts to pain her, and she decides to prove herself both as a good wife, and daughter-in-law. If the viewer is in search of a movie depicting love and dedication in its purest form, then look no further, this film is for you.
7.9OTTplay Rating
(Language: Bengali /Adapted from: Noukadubi) To describe the story of Noukadubi in a single line would go something like this: A man falls in love with a woman, marries another and brings home a third, albeit unknowingly. With the use of intricate storytelling and emotional elements, this skeletal line is fleshed out to give a narrative that has made Noukadubi open to positive reviews. The compelling performances by the film’s cast elevate the story intriguingly.
7.7OTTplay Rating
(Language: Hindi / Adapted from: Kshudhit Pashaan) What if a troubled ghost chooses you to be the one to hear her story? This is exactly what happens to the protagonist, Samir, during the beginning of this film. Samir meets a beautiful woman when he goes to an abandoned old castle to take stock of its content. He is transported to the past during his stay here, and the woman, whom Samir soon realizes is no ordinary person, decides to tell him her tragic story. The film, which has won several National awards, not only takes you through a visual journey through time, but also has several melodic tracks, some of which are beautifully sung by the iconic Lata Mangeshkar.
9.6OTTplay Rating
(Language: Bengali /Adapted from: Malyadan) This film and the story it is based on is represented by a garland of flowers, which acts as a metaphor to symbolize love’s beauty and fragility. An innocent young woman is heartbroken when her sweet-natured advances are rebuffed by the object of her affection. The garland she offers as a token of her love is symbolic in the film, and takes on the love story’s hues in its form, which has been beautifully depicted in the movie. Regarded as one of the best adaptations of a Rabindranath Tagore story, the film has also won a National Award.

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