May 13, 2011 (Calcutta Tube): Bidehir Khonje Rabindranath is a 2011 Bengali film directed by Sanghamitra Choudhuri with Abhishek Chatterjee, Arpita Mukherjee, Angshuman Gupta and others in the cast. Read the Bengali movie review at Calcutta Tube.
BIDEHIR KHONJE RABINDRANATH – ENDS WITH A WHIMPER
Story, script and direction: Sanghamitra Choudhuri
Research: Arijit Maitra
Music: Debshish Choudhury
Camera: Siddhartha Dey
Editing: Ujjwal Mukherjee
Cast: Abhishek Chatterjee, Arpita Mukherjee, Angshuman Gupta, Sauradeep Ghosh, Abhinandan Dutta, Sangita Sonali and Indrani Chakravarty
Date of release: May 6 2011
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Bidehir Khonje Rabindranath is a docu-fiction where the docu part is adapted from Tagore scholar Amitabha Choudhuri’s essay entitled Rabindranather Paralok Charcha that explores Tagore’s involvement with the supernatural and with attempts to communicate with the dead. The fictional element comprises of a bunch of young boys and girls who know little or northing about Rabindranath Tagore and how their perspective on the great poet changes after a journey into Santi Niketan. Jeet (Abhishek Chatterjee), a documentary filmmaker, visits Tagore’s university to make a documentary exploring some aspect of Tagore’s works. They persuade him to take them along. He agrees on condition that they will help him during the filming. Two young men are quite unconvinced about the greatness of Tagore they know very little about. They are rude to the supervising staff, get drunk in the Santhal colony and behave in obnoxious ways till Jeet pulls them up and threatens to send them back to Kolkata.
The first half of the film is a narrative unfolded by a University staffer who takes the group around on a tour of the Viswa Bharati grounds detailing them on aspects of Tagore, his creativity and his contribution vis-à-vis this rich educational institute that is unique in the world of education. The filming of the documentary is within this first half, executed and presented in a rather amateurish manner. The second half of the film happens when the team returns to Kolkata to edit the film they have made. Jeet who has directed the documentary and one leading member of the group (Angshuman Gupta) disappear from the scenario leaving the rest to carry on with post-production work. This is strange because no filmmaker will go away leaving post-production to amateurs like the youngsters in the group. The second half does not belong to the rest of the film or to its subject. It seems to have found a place in order to show the change in the two boys who have imbibed the richness and the infinity of Tagore’s works at last. This is very illogical and unconvincing.
Sanghamitra Choudhuri’s attempt to filmise a docu-fiction adapted from a noted essay on Tagore’s involvement with after-life and the supernatural is commendable indeed. But the execution of the concept leaves much room for improvement. The characters of the group are not fleshed out properly. The intended suicide attempt by the boy who thinks he has deleted the entire file that contains the film is full of gaping holes because his friends are busier discussing his attempt than trying to save their friend. Tanya is sketched out as a snobbish, haughty girl who looks down on her friends while Indrani is needlessly given a foreign accent. The music is very good. But the presentation of the ghosts and spiritual images to portray the main subject of the film is rather disappointing from a cinematic point of view. The film would have stood its ground and made its argument stronger had the second part been left out completely and the first part been executed with greater professional finesse. The lack of budget is obvious right through the film. Bidehir Khonje Rabindranath is a classic example of how a very strong concept and idea can collapse with improper execution. The title of the film is very good.
– Shoma A. Chatterji