Professor Karl Bardosh, Hungarian-born American academic and filmmaker, has brought alive the film that was destroyed in a 1933 fire in the warehouse of New Theatres, Calcutta. Bardosh’s is titled “Natir Puja The Court Dancer” and is based on a dance drama composed by Tagore.
“I filmed on the very soundstage in New Theatres where Tagore shot ‘Natir Puja’,” says Bardosh, who has taught in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Kanbar Institute of Film and Television for two decades.
He has also been a pioneering filmmaker who, among other things, created a new genre, Poetry Music Videos, with a film on poet Allen Ginsberg.
“As a researcher my interest in Tagore goes back a long, long way. I have always wanted to make a film inspired by his work,” says the professor. Filmed in 3D by Dutch cinematographer Leonard Retel Helmrich, who devised the innovative “single shot cinema” technique, “Natir Puja The Court Dancer” features Sujata Awon Pradhan’s Kolkata-based dance group Nrityalok. On the film’s soundtrack is the voice of noted Rabindrasangeet exponent Jayati Chakraborty. “Natir Puja The Court Dancer” had its world premiere last week at the New York Indian Film Festival before making the trip to the Cannes Film Festival.
“It will travel to Bangladesh next. It will be screened for the country’s Prime Minister. I am now looking for distribution in India and am in talks with a couple of leading exhibitors,” reveals Professor Bardosh.
The project germinated with the intention of marking the centenary of both Indian cinema and the conferment of the Nobel Prize on Tagore, says Bardosh. During his research, he stumbled upon the story of the lost film made by the great Bengali poet and decided to retrieve it from the cobwebs of time.
“I see myself as only a medium. It is Tagore’s hand that has driven me to realise this dream,” says Bardosh.