RBN Web Desk: The Visva-Bharati authorities have rejected an application from Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra’s production house to shoot a film on Rabindranath Tagore at the university’s campus in Shantiniketan. The authorities, after a meeting in this regard last night, said that since Visva-Bharati is a central university, only the films approved by the human resource development ministry or the ministry of culture, can be considered to give permission to shoot inside the campus.
The film, tentatively titled Nalini: Tagore’s First Love, is about the bard’s relationship with Annapurna Pandurang.
According to popular knowledge, Tagore had stayed in the house of eminent doctor Atmaram Pandurang in Mumbai (then Bombay), sometime in the late 1870s before leaving for Britain to study law. Atmaram was a close friend of the bard’s elder brother Satyendranath, who believed that the young Rabindranath would pick up some British etiquette by staying with the doctor’s family, which was quite anglicised.
During his stay in Mumbai, Atmaram’s daughter Annapurna returned from Britain, and was appointed by her father to teach English to Rabindranath. Annapurna was 20, and Rabindranath 17, and a deep platonic relationship developed between the two. The bard gave the name Nalini to Annapurna, which none except he was allowed to call. She, however, used the name in many of her writings and was later in touch with Rabindranath through the exchange of letters.
Actor Saheb Bhattacharya is playing the young Rabindranath in the film, while Marathi actress Vaidehi Parshurami has been cast in the title role. The film is a trilingual project in Bengali, English, and Marathi, and is directed by Ujjwal Chattopadhyay.
Film shootings were not entirely uncommon on the Visva-Bharati campus until recently. But there have been several allegations that film crews damaged a number of installations and artwork inside the campus that were declared heritage structures by the government. These include the Patha Bhavana area, Upasana Griha, Chhatimtala, Mrinalini Ananda Pathsala, and others. Many sculptures by legendary sculptor Ramkinkar Baij, and artwork and murals by Nandalal Bose, also reportedly suffered damage.
Industry sources, however, claimed that Visva-Bharati denied permission to the film because of its seemingly controversial content. Tagore is the greatest cultural icon of Bengal, and any controversial project on the Nobel laureate is unlikely to go down well with the audience, sources added.