Mar 18, 2012 (Calcutta Tube): In Mithun Chakraborty starrer ‘Nobel Chor’ by Suman Ghosh the story seems to search for the true meaning of the prize bestowed on Rabindranath Tagore and his creations that also brought honour to a country writhing under the agony of British rule. Starting from the fateful evening when Tagore’s Nobel prize was stolen from Shantiniketan the theme is contrived on a fictitious turn of events of how the priceless might have come so very near of being recovered but thanks to the socio-political hierarchy and the socio-economic outlook of people, it only remained far from their reach.
The story starts with the robbers, while on the run, accidentally dropping the medallion beside the thatched hut of an illiterate and poor farmer Bhanu who recovers it the very next day and starts on a strange journey to course through the intricacies of modern society to restore the revered piece to the place where it is due. The audience follows the farmer and the real face of the society, stripped of its deceptive refinement seemed to be revealed in the process.
While the poor men of the village hail it as a national prestige to be immediately restored, the shrewd and the privileged urban class doesn’t hesitate to trade it to the foreign market for a fortune. This stark contrast between the plebeian and the cosmopolite seem to vanish when Bhanu confronts the staunch businessman of the city to whom the medallion was just like any other piece of gold chunk ready to be melted to its last grain for its material worth, a belief secretly held by Bhanu himself when he first came across it! While the robber tries all attempt to recover their lost trophy, the central and state authorities eagerly compete among themselves to get a hold on Bhanu as to many, the restoration of national honour is secondary compared to the probable credit that may be imparted to the person who can retrieve it first. In this muddled state of affairs, as its true essence dawns on his rustic senses and Bhanu tries to elude the evil and return the prize, an unfortunate turn of events takes his life and along with him, the secret of the Nobel.
Once held as the national prestige, the Nobel seemed to be diluted of its glory and the mystical value that had once been attached to Tagore’s work seems all but lost. But as the medallion rests in the simple and serene haven designed by Bhanu, far from the clutches of the unworthy, it seems at last to be restored to the proper place, so near nature – the ultimate source of inspiration of the great poet.
Deep down the innovative concept of Ghosh there seems to lurk a feeling of angst for the society’s apparent indifference to the treasure that once represented pride of Bengal. Bowing to the Bengali poet and the citizen of British-India, Nobel prize bequeathed not only international recognition to him but also acknowledged the creative genius of an Indian at a time when the country was held under the mercy of the British Raj. Since 1913, Tagore’s works had not only corroborated, more than once, the age old saying the pen is mightier than the sword but had actually emphasized that the pen’s skills not only blunts the sword’s strength but etches the glory of the land with an unwavering permanence. Alas, the views of the citizens seemed now to have altered. Or else how can one justify the lesser security of a national treasure or the closing of the case without any trace to the loot? The movie seems to explore our eroded views of the medal’s worth, twisted by the elite ignorance of the sophisticated culture. Equated by some to an ordinary block of gold, sought by another for personal goals and hunted by others for the lucrative deals in promises, the theft of the medal seem to bring to fore the profound crisis of intellectual wealth that had been the medal’s real worth. Attesting the same in the final scenes nature seems to protect the medal from the lust of the boorish and the worldly and to wait for the sacred moment when the worthy restores it once again with the laurels that it deserves.
– Anirban De