As you will have realised, last Sunday was the world premiere of Chitrangada in Brussels. The English-subtitled version of the film is now available worldwide via the Internet. Before midnight on Sunday, 28 October, if you watch it or host a screening of it for friends or for people in your area, you can be part of its global premiere. If you can watch the trailer above, you have everything you need to be part of the global premiere: basically a screen and an Internet connection.
At the start of the evening, the audience was greeted with a glass of champagne, courtesy of a well-wisher. Thanks to the Indian Embassy in Brussels, the audience was able to see two Tagore exhibitions from the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. One exhibition was of framed, digital prints of some of Tagore’s paintings. The other exhibition comprised a series of panels describing Tagore’s travels.
The evening was introduced by our guest of honour, His Excellency Shri Dinkar Khullar, the Indian Ambassador.
Our multilingual performance of The Story of Gitanjaliexplained how Tagore came to write the English Gitanjali – the collection of English poems which led to his international fame and the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Each of the thirteen poems were recited in a different language, while the Tagore songs corresponding to most of them were performed by a team of singers and musicians from Santiniketan. For the cast and their biographies, please see here.
The talent on the stage was complemented by a large-screen display above the singers and musicians for the subtitles. You can get an idea of the setting from this photo.
Many in the audience were apparently inspired by the show to read Tagore’s poetry. One of them, Sandeep Kalathimekkad, was even moved to write a poem as he was watching the show – he kindly gave me the poem on a slip of paper during the interval. The Story of Gitanjali was filmed. So you will have a chance to see it in due course, together with the subtitles.
After the interval, the world premiere of Chitrangada was introduced by Her Excellency Ambassador Ismat Jahan of Bangladesh. Tagore is a national icon in both India and Bangladesh, whose national anthems are both Tagore songs. Ambassador Jahan, who is a member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, introduced the film as being part of Tagore’s campaign for women’s emancipation.
Many people came up to congratulate us about the film as well. Even before we had got home after the premiere, a post by Sophie H on Facebook summarised the feedback we have had ever since about the evening: “Thanks to Obhi Chatterjee and Kaberi Chatterjee for an amazing evening! The first part, with the poems in different languages was beautiful, and the second part, the movie, was excellent! Such a pleasure! I also discovered (a small piece ) of the art of Tagore. Thank you!”
6 thoughts on “A Tagore evening to remember”
Sounds like an amazing evening, my friend, and a worthy enterprise. 🙂
Thanks, AJ. Yes, it was a unique experience. Thanks again for encouraging us to stage and film The Story of Gitanjali.
Fantastic… I wish I was there personally…..
That would have been nice, Tapas-da. Still, you can already watch the English version of the film and you should be able to watch The Story of Gitanjali in the coming weeks.
Congratulations. An amazing project. Kaberi Chatterjee is an extraordinary dancer/artiste, true to Santiniketan “gharana” of Tagore. Thank you Obhi Chatterjee, a filmmaker par excellence, for reviving the poetic humanism of Tagore in Europe. Being a Bengali myself and living in the middle of Atlantic Ocean so far away from Bengal, I feel proud of your contribution to Bengali culture. Antorik shubheccha e pranaam.
Thank you very much for your kind comments. Kaberi and I both really appreciated them. It’s difficult to express how rewarding it is to receive such superlative feedback for what started as a one-off initiative but has evolved into something much larger. Anek dhonnobad.