intersection of AJC Bose Road and Cathedral Road
Kolkata, West Bengal

Showcasing Tagore's plays.

The West Bengal state department of information and cultural affairs, in collaboration with a private mobile services provider and a group of senior citizens, is organising the festival to promote the state’s cultural heritage.

Added by santanupal on July 27, 2006



Tagore fest to go global
- Rs 80 lakh-plus budget for 2007 show
RINGSIDE VIEW: Theatre personalities Kumar Ray, Sova Sen and Usha Ganguli at the Rabindra Utsav inauguration at Rabindra Sadan on Thursday. Picture by Aranya Sen

The five-day Rabindra Utsav that opened at Rabindra Sadan on Thursday will return next year in a much-magnified, global form, with a budget of more than Rs 80 lakh.

“We want to resurrect Tagore around his death anniversary. If there is one person in India around whom you can have a festival, it is Tagore,” said A.V. Iyengar of Happenings, the organiser.

If the theatre line-up for August 3-7 this year includes the works of directors like Habib Tanvir, K.N. Pannikkar, H. Kanhailal and Calcutta’s Suman Mukhopadhyay, next year will see the participation of four other directors, among whom two will be from abroad. “We are in talks with various embassies and they are all showing interest. So, we should be able to disclose the names and the dates soon,” stated Iyengar.

Rabindra Utsav 2007 will attempt a better representation of the Bard’s multifaceted genius. “The dance dramas will be staged. I know they have been performed all over India and abroad, but the troupes have mostly stuck to a style. We want to encourage experimentation. Maybe someone can do the dance dramas in the traditional ballet, Kathak or Odissi style,” said Iyengar. “Being no experts, we have asked other people to do the scouting for us. Some of the productions may be atrocious, but at least we will have freed the Bard a little. I think we have kept him in chains for too long.”

Happenings is also keen on an in-depth study of Tagore’s music. “We want to see if it is possible to do the songs differently. A philharmonic presentation, for instance. We could bring orchestras, composers and conductors from Europe,” mused Iyenger.

Tagore’s paintings will also be displayed. “For this, we are getting in touch with foreign and Indian collectors. The strict export laws on Tagore’s paintings are major hurdles. Foreign collectors are afraid that they may not be allowed to take back the paintings after the exhibition,” explained Iyengar.

Films on Tagore from Bengal and other parts of the world will be another focus of Rabindra Utsav 2007. “Do you know there is this lovely French documentary, which is essentially the recording of an interaction between Einstein and Tagore, set to music? We are getting a copy here to see if it can be used,” revealed Iyengar.

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