Celebrating Tagore with his muse and music

KOLKATA: Tagore has been celebrated in various ways over the years – through his songs, literature and philosophy. But it’s not often that an episode of his personal life – that has evoked interest and generated controversy – has been taken up and made into a script.

‘Key Tumi’ – a fictional open letter written to him by Kadambari Devi, the bard’s sister-in-law – seeks to explore the relationship and the deep bond shared by the two like-minded individuals. It will be part of Celebrating Tagore presented by The Times of India at the Netaji Indoor Stadium on August 18, interspersed by songs, verses and will be followed by a performance by Shreya Ghoshal. The unique event, that brings thespian Soumitra Chatterjee and Sharmila Tagore on stage after a long interval, has made Kolkatans sit up and take notice.

Queues have been building up at The Times of India offices for tickets to the show. The ‘Apur Sansar’ duo will read the ‘Key Tumi’ script, punctuated with songs by Lopamudra Mitra and Paromita Bandyopadhyay. While Tagore has been explored and celebrated in numerous ways, never before has an attempt been made to delve into his personal relationship and fictionalise it, said Chatterjee.

“It’s a different idea which I find very enthusing. The script explores an association between two likeminded people. Even though Kadambari Devi died very early, she continued to be Tagore’s muse for the rest of his life. The script is a wonderful poetic vision of the relationship they shared and their bond. It’s made up, but based on reality,” added the veteran actor. The emotive script-based musical, written and directed by Amit Ranjan Biswas, incorporates not only a fictional soliloquy, but also Tagore’s poetry. The characters are made universal. Nowhere in the presentation are they mentioned as Tagore or Kadambari and this makes the story and its appeal timeless, believes Biswas.

“It is a suggestive account, which very subtly outlines a relationship. ‘Key Tumi’ is a woman’s timeless journey of love, separation, angst, sadness, desire and fears. It could be Kadambari Devi or even a fictional muse like Banalata Sen. The music and the poetry add to the lyrical quality of the narrative. They have been chosen to fit the script,” said Biswas. It was Biswas who roped in Sharmila Tagore for the project. “Her personality and the Tagore lineage makes her just cut-out for the part.

Fortunately, she liked the script. And her chemistry with Soumitra Chatterjee is as electric as ever,” added Biswas. For Chatterjee, however, scriptreading is not a new experience. “I have done at least a hundred of them on stage. Sharmila and I have collaborated on stage before. Let’s hope it will strike a chord with the audience,” said Chatterjee.

After a tempered, emotional performance, the Kolkata audience will be treated to some electrifying numbers by singer Shreya Ghoshal. Not a stranger to the city, Shreya’s concerts have always been a big draw. The playback diva promises an encore. So get ready to celebrate Tagore in a unique fashion, with music, poetry, script-reading and m u c h m o r e . C o m p l i -mentary passes for the show are available on a first-come first-served basis at The TOI offices at 105/7A, SN Banerjee Road and 14th Floor, Shantiniketan Building, 8 Cam a c Street.

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