VENITA GOMES| NT BUZZ
Many might not be aware that Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore had a deep and emotional connection with Argentina as he shared a platonic bond with the Argentinean writer and social activist, Victoria Ocampo. The bond between the two was unknown to many and documenting this phase of Tagore’s life Pablo Cesar directed ‘Thinking of him’ that hinges on Tagore’s 1924 Argentine sojourn during which he developed a deep friendship with Ocampo.
The film is an important collaboration for the India-Argentina bilateral connection. Adding to the same head of mission, Charge d’Affaires minister, Embassy of the Argentine Republic, Georgina Fernandez Destefano says: “There are many other aspects that build connections. There are political and economic relations between India and Argentina that are limited to businessmen, diplomats and politicians but the cultural relations are very useful. Cultural diplomacy goes straight to the people.”
Destefano also mentions that there are several ongoing plans for India and Argentina, she says: “We are in talks to have a Bollywood film shot in Argentina. We want to promote the two countries. There was a previous ‘Fear Factor’ programme shot in Argentina and therefore, now we look forward for a Bollywood film to be shot in Argentina; we are still conversing about it. These can be good opportunities to build good relations between the two nations.”
She says that neither Indians nor Argentineans are aware of the fact that Tagore visited Argentina. “Through ‘Thinking of him’ we wish to give people an insight and show them Tagore from the viewpoint of the Argentineans.”
Having researched and read documentations on the topic, Destefano speaks about how Ocampo organised an exhibition for Tagore. She says: “Both these writers did not concretely work together on a project but after Tagore visited Argentina, it is said that she was his muse. When they did work together was when Tagore made a mistake. Instead of cutting the paragraph and moving ahead, he did a drawing – a kind of a doodle art. And Victoria saw that and found it very inspiring and very good. She promoted and organised his exhibition in Paris.”
At the exhibition Tagore was praised for his art of doodling. Being a writer he was also an artist and that made Tagore stand apart from the rest. The doodles are displayed at Tagore Museum in Santiniketan.
Cesar chose to make a film on Tagore’s life when the Indian ambassador to Argentina approached him and suggested that he make a film on Tagore’s visit to Argentina in 1924. “I was convinced with the idea and it was a beautiful topic to explore. The India and Argentina connection through Tagore was lesser known and this film could throw light on the important part of history,” Cesar says.
Apart from referring to published accounts and the letters exchanged between the two writers, Cesar also studied and carried out an extensive research on Tagore’s life wherein he studied Rabindra Sangeet – the songs composed by Tagore.
Ocampo had several achievements, including being the first woman to be admitted to the Argentine Academy of Letters in 1977.
Film actress, Raima Sen who also acted in the film spoke about how she was introduced to Tagore. She says: “Being from Bengal there are several literary works of Tagore I came across and from school till college I have read a lot about him, I have also worked on a documentary on Tagore’s life that is how I got to know about Tagore even more.”