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Poland celebrates Tagore anniversary with 'Shyama'

Poland celebrates Tagore anniversary with Shyama
Poland has been paying glowing tributes to poet Rabindranath Tagore on the occasion of his 150th birth anniversary and it was an enthralling dance musical by the Nobel laureate that marked the winding down of celebrations. The dance group Taal from Chorzow, Poland, has given two outstanding performances in Krakow and Warsaw in the last fortnight.

It selected Tagore's dance musical Shyama, a romantic tragedy, though there were two intertwined love stories - that of Shyama, a court dancer, and Bojroshan, a foreign merchant. Sabina Sweta Sen, the director and choreographer of the Taal group, said: 'It was a great challenge for us to enact this musical play. One needed tremendous concentration and commitment to put on the stage.’

Sen whose mother is Polish and father Bengali had to prepare 20 young dancers to learn Bengali and make them understand the nuances of Tagore's genius. They took six months to stage this dance musical as Polish artists had to sing Tagore songs on the stage themselves along with the dances. The director used the music from Obhi Chatterji's film Shyama.

'We are very keen to take this dance musical to many places not only in Europe but also West Bengal and Bangladesh. We are searching for different avenues and patronage,' Sen said.

'The president of the Indo-Polish Cultural Committee (IPCC) in Krakow, Umesh Nautiyal, and Indian Ambassador to Poland Monika Kapila Mohta have really given us both moral and financial support to encourage us to produce more classical programmes,' Sen said.

There are some 2,000 Indians in Poland, mainly in private business. Others work in multinational companies and banks.

'This is one of the best performances I have seen of Tagore's works in Poland. We have been seeing only Tagore's Post Office (Daak Ghar) all these years. Now we have really moved ahead to understand Tagore's genius. Hopefully we will see two other dance musicals, Chitrangada and Chandalika, in future,' said Janusz Krzyzowski, an Indologist and president of the Warsaw branch of the Indo-Polish Cultural Committee.

Since last year, the IPCC with the help of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has organised several functions on Tagore, born 7 May 1861.

Tagore holds the unique distinction of having composed the national anthems of two countries - India and Bangladesh. Elizabeth Walter, head of the Bangla Department of the Faculty of Oriental Studies at Warsaw University, brought out an anthology of Tagore's poems, short stories and dramas with the help of the Indo-Polish Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Polish language in April 2011. This monumental work has become a reference in promoting the Bangla language and literature in Poland.
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