IFFI closing film shows Rabindranath Tagore and his relationship with Argentine Feminist Victoria Ocampo
Film festivals across the country provide a platform for creations which otherwise get no screen share in mainstream media. The International Film Festival of India, however, is already boiling in controversy as its jury members quit over differences. But one film has had a smooth sailing so far by good grace. Pablo Ceasar’s film Thinking of Him, based on Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, has so far managed to dodge any controversy and has been selected to be the closing film of the 48th International Film Festival of India in Goa.
The film based on Tagore’s stay in Argentina in 1924, tells the story of a platonic relationship between Argentinian feminist, writer and activist Victoria Ocampo. The two are said to have developed a deep relationship and even exchanged letters till the poet’s death. Victoria is said to have taken care of Tagore during his Bueno Aires visit when he fell ill. He lovingly nicknamed her Bijoya and also dedicated some poems of 1925 book Purabi to her.
Veteran Bengali actor Victor Banerjee plays Tagore in the film while Eleonora Wexler plays Ocampo. Banerjee looks every bit Tagore in a silken white wig with long beard. The trailer flickers between colour and black and white as it traces the path of a present day Argentine teacher who follows Tagore’s links to Shantiniketan after coming across his work. Every black frame in the film almost feels like images from Tagore’s museum being played on screen.
“This film is not about what you and I think of Tagore. It is about what she [Ocampo] thought of Tagore and what Argentinians think of him,” said Victor Bannerjee in an interview in 2016.
Critically acclaimed actress Raima Sen, true to her Bong Connection fame, also appears in the film in the present day context to guide the Argentine teacher played by Hector Bordoni as he searches and tries to discover Tagore spiritually.