Rabindranath Tagore has inspired many a filmmaker from the city, the latest being Reshmi Mitra, the director of over a 100 telefilms and Bengali feature films like Shakti and Macho Mastana.
Her latest venture, Hathat Dekha, starring yesteryear’s Tollywood heroine and Trinamool Congress MP Debashree Roy is based on a famous poem by Tagore bearing the same title.
The film goes back to early 20th century Bengal, when women’s education was in a fledgling stage. Mitra narrates the story of Amit and Manasi, who come from different backgrounds, fall in love but cannot be united due to stringent social customs of the day.
Manasi is a typical girl-next-door, who is in love with her teacher Amit. They are then pulled apart in different directions. Years later, they meet on a train, only to part again. This train journey is symbolic as it represents the oft-cruel journey of life.
“Like Devdas and Parvati in Sarat Chandra’s classic Devdas, the hero and the heroine of my film do not meet in the climax.
The now mature heroine gets off the train at an earlier station and they part ways forever. However, their love is divine and lives on in their hearts forever”, says Mitra.
The mature Manasi is played by Debashree Roy who, according to Mitra, has given an “excellent, though poignant performance” in the film. Bangladeshi actress JS Hemi will be portraying the role of the younger Manasi in the film.
“I was looking for a fresh face. Also, I had a long standing desire to make a film on a story or a poem by Tagore. So when I was given the offer, I grabbed it and opted for this story. Since this is an Indian-Bangladeshi collaborative effort, I have shot both in India and Bangladesh”, says Mitra.
Debashree Roy, Kartik Das Baul, Illyus Kanchan and others will be seen in important roles in the film.
Raja Narayan Deb is the music composer of the film. Kartik Das Baul, Anupam Roy, Monomoy and Subhomita will be lending their voices to the songs in the film. The film will be released on December 2 this year.