The film, to be directed by Argentine filmmaker Pablo César, will delve into the enigmatic bonding between Tagore and Ocampo, whom the former addressed as ‘Bijoya’. Shooting for the venture titled Thinking of Him, begins in Santiniketan in West Bengal on September 5.
Banerjee, who won accolades for his role as Nikhilesh in Satyajit Ray’s film Ghare Baire, is on his way to relive the sublime relationship that Tagore shared with the Argentinean writer, who was deeply influenced by the French translation of Gitanjali in 1914. “It was a platonic relationship. Tagore had deep respect for Ocampo, as his poems in Purabi depict. Even if you want to possess somebody, you don’t want to indulge in a carnal relationship just because it will spoil the magic,” Banerjee told Millennium Post from New Delhi.
Tagore dedicated Purabi, a collection of poems and songs, to Ocampo.
Most of Banerjee’s scenes will be set in Argentina where Tagore stayed for about three months at a house arranged by Ocampo, who was taking care of the ailing poet on his way to Peru. “The shooting will take place both at Ocampo’s house as well as the Villa Miralrio, the place where Tagore lived by River Plata. Ocampo arranged for music to be played for the poet and several admirers of Gurudev came to meet him. It was 1924. When Tagore left, she gifted him a sofa which is preserved even today at Santiniketan. Ocampo met Tagore again in Paris in 1930, when the poet held his first international exhibition of paintings. Ocampo and Tagore corresponded after that but they never met again,” director Pablo César told Millennium Post.
The parallel plot in the film is on how an Argentinean professor discovers Tagore by visiting Santiniketan and how that visit changes her whole life. Argentine actor Eleonara Wexler will play Ocampo in the film that will also have Raima Sen. According to César, the title of the film is the telegram sent by Ocampo after Tagore’s death. The telegram was received by the poet’s son Rathindranath Tagore.
César adds that the Argentinean government is taking a keen interest in this prestigious film and has officially invested about 60 per cent of the film’s cost. The film will be made in three languages — English, Spanish, and Bangla — and will be shot in West Bengal, Argentina, and France. The production will be flagged off from Santiniketan on September 5, 2016, and the director expects a 2017 international release.