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India, Bangladesh plan films, tourist circuit for Tagore anniversary

Robi Tirtha will encompass sites in Bangladesh, Tagore's ancestral home in Kolkata, Shantiniketan


Playwrights from both nations will contribute dramatisations of Tagore's works

Proposals for feature films on Tagore's life have reached serious level: Indian Cultural Secretary


NEW DELHI: As Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birth anniversary approaches, India and Bangladesh are preparing to celebrate it with the production of two feature films, a tourist circuit and dramatisations of the Nobel Laureate's novels and poems.

During a meeting between the culture secretaries of the two countries on Thursday, it was decided that Dhaka would host the inauguration of their national celebrations from May 6, while India's celebrations would begin on May 7. Tagore was born on May 7, 1861.

“The Shyam Benegal Committee has received a lot of proposals and ideas, including two famous film directors who have expressed interest in making feature films on the life of Tagore, and the proposals have reached a serious level,” said Indian Culture Secretary Jawahar Sircar after the talks. “The government will finance these films fully or partially.” Several documentary films are also being commissioned, and the inaugural function will include an exhibition of Rabindranath Tagore, the 1961 film by Satyajit Ray and five other newly subtitled documentaries.

Ten playwrights from Bangladesh and 14 from India will come together to dramatise Tagore's poems, novels and short stories to increase theatre performances and cinematic opportunities, and make his work accessible to more people.

The Tourism departments of both countries are working out a tourist circuit, to be called Robi Tirtha. Three Bangladeshi sites — located along the banks of the river Padma, where Tagore, in his thirties, produced some of his best work — will be part of the circuit. It will also encompass Tagore's ancestral home in north Kolkata, as well as Shantiniketan. The government is in talks with tour operators to package the circuit specially for the celebrations.

Singers, dancers, paintings, scholars will crisscross the border on the anniversary, as the celebrations of both countries merge with one another.

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