Free Press Journal

Rabindranath Tagore’s death anniversary: 7 movies based on Gurudev’s works


Rabindranath Tagore was an immensely talented poet, essayist, writer, spiritualist, painter, educationist, and novelist. He has aced every field he has stepped in. He was the first non-European to be felicitated with the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. His works have been translated in many languages and serve as an inspiration to the millions even today. It has been 77 years since his death, but his legacy lives on through his words. Admitting the fact that a lot of essences is lost in translation, the beauty of his work is enjoyed nonetheless. His works are often seen as an inspiration by filmmakers and there are many films and songs in Bengali and Hindi that have been based on his work. On the occasion of Rabindranath Tagore’s 77th death anniversary, we have made a list of 7 movies in Hindi and Bengali that have been inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s work.

Do Bigha Zamin (1953)
Based on:
Do Bigha Zamin (Poem)
Directed by Bimal Roy, the Bengali film owes its name to Tagore’s poem ‘Dui Bigha Jomi’. The film features Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy in lead roles. The film also marks Meena Kumari’s maiden guest appearance. It is the first film to win the Filmfare Best Movie Award and the first Indian one to win the International Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, after Neecha Nagar (1946), which won the Palme d’Or (Grand Prize).

Kabuliwala (1961)
Based on: 
Kabuliwala (Short Stories)
kabuliwala‘Kabuliwala’ is Rabindranath Tagore’s one of the widely admired collections of short stories. The story has a Bengali adaptation with the same name starring Chhabi Biswas. The Hindi version of the film features Balraj Sahni, Usha Kiran, Sajjan, Sonu and Baby Farida. The film portrays the story of an Afghan dry-fruit vendor and a little girl Mini. The vendor shares a beautiful bond with the girl as she reminds him of his own daughter whom he misses.

Charulata (1964)
Based on: 
Nastanirh (Novel)
CharulataDirected and written by Satyajit Ray, the Bengali film is based on Tagore’s novel ‘Nastanirh’ and is set in Calcutta in the 19th century. The film features Soumitra Chatterjee, Madhabi Mukherjee, and Sailen Mukherjee. The story is about a neglected housewife Charulata (Madhabi Mukherjee) whose husband Bhupati (Sailen Mukherjee) works for a newspaper. Charu finds her companion in her husband’s cousin Amal (Soumitra Chatterjee). The film was shown as part of the Cannes Classics section in the Cannes Film Festival in 2013. It was awarded ‘Best Director’ award by the Berlin Film Festival.

Uphaar (1971)
Based on: 
Samapti (Short Story)
uphaarDirected by Subhendu Roy, the film features Jaya Bhaduri Bachchan, Swarup Dutt and Kamini Kaushal in lead roles. Based on Tagore’s short story ‘Samapti’. The film is bound to touch a woman’s heart.

Lekin (1991)
Based on: 
Kshudhit Pashaan (Short Story)
lekinDirected by lyricist Gulzar, the film stars Vinod Khanna, Dimple Kapadia, Amjad Khan, Beena Banerjee and Alok Nath. The film gives a sneak peek in the desert state of Rajasthan and in a tradition called ‘Rudaali’ – a professional mourner. The film was produced by singer Lata Mangeshkar.

Char Adhyay (1997)
Based on: 
Char Adhyay (Novel)
Directed by Kumar Shahani, ‘Char Adhyay’ is based on Tagore’s last novel with the same name. Set in the late Bengali Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s, the film features Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Nandini Ghosal, Kaushik Gopal, Rajat Kapoor, Shruti Yusufi, Kaushik Gopal and Ramchandra Parihar. The film deals with the impact of political issues on personal lives and questions blind nationalism and delves into the ugly face of idealism.

Chokher Bali (2013)
Based on: 
Chokher Bali (Novel)
chokher bali
Directed by Rituparno Ghosh, ‘Chokher Bali’ is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s Bengali debut. Rai portrays the role of ‘Bindodini’, a young girl who is left on her own when her husband soon dies after their marriage. The film also features Prosenjit Chatterjee, Raima Sen, and Tota Roy Chowdhury among others. The film deals with adultery, women’s sexuality and friendship between two women. There is also a Bengali TV series with the same name.

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