Indian Film Festival in Dakota: Kadambari!
'Kadambari' is het hartverscheurende verhaal van Kadambari Devi, de schoonzus van de grootse dichter Rabindranath Tagore. Zij werd halverwege de 19de eeuw uitgehuwelijkt aan zijn oudere broer. De film draait om Kadambari's complexe leven en emotionele behoeftes, waar niet aan voldaan werd door de Calcuttaanse elite. Wanneer Kadambari opgroeit ontdekt ze een kameraad in haar schoonbroer Robi, en Robi ontdekt in haar zijn muze en beste criticus. Maar hun relatie wordt als ongepast gezien, wat leidt tot controverse en tragedie. Een veelzeggend filmgedicht, dat toch veel open laat.
A revealing poem that says a lot yet leaves a lot unsaid. That is what describes this heartbreaking biopic of Kadambari Devi, sister-in-law of the great poet Rabindranath Tagore, who gets married into the well-known Tagore family in mid 1800s. The film is centered on Kadambari's complicated life and her emotional needs that were generally not met by the upper class Calcuttan society. When Kadambari grows up to discover a companion in her brother-in-law Robi and Robi discovers his strongest critique and muse in her, their relationship is considered inappropriate which leads to controversies and tragedy.
Rabindranath Tagore is without doubt one of the greatest poets of India and he is very well known across the world. In today’s Bengal Tagore is adored like a god and he is the pride of every Bengali. Kadambari, his literary muse, had a powerful influence on Tagore’s work and was possibly the backbone of his inspiration for writing poetry. There was a lot of talk and many questions were asked about the exact nature of the bond that Robi shared with his sister-in-law, especially after her suicide shortly after his marriage in 1883.
The suicide of Kadambari Devi was one of the most controversial cultural events in the history of Bengal. It was important since it took place at the Jorasanko Thakurbari, which was the abode of the Tagore family, one of the most prominent households in the intellectual history of Bengal. There are different interpretations of the suicide amongst scholars but the most controversial interpretation relates the event to the relationship between Kadambari Devi and Rabindranath Tagore. The incident was more so under scrutiny since the Tagore family was a bastion of progressiveness and was associated with the Bengal renaissance of the late 19th century. Important aspects of women’s liberation were started at their household. The fact that such a shocking incident took place in such a household gave rise to intrigue and guesswork. Through this incident the film explores the human dynamics and the socio-cultural equations during that period in Bengal.
In this poetic biopic of Kadambari director Suman Ghosh doesn’t answer the question regarding their relationship that was raised by many at that time. Instead he beautifully explores Kadambari Devi’s life and the dynamic between her and her brother-in-law Rabindranath Tagore. Ghosh manages to capture the story in a way that allows us to peak into Robi and Kadambari’s relationship, yet he doesn’t define its nature. Lead actress Konkona Sen Sharma, who was awarded Best Actress for her performance as Kadambari Devi at the South Asian Film Festival Washington DC, gracefully portrays this role as she brings the beauty and strength of the Bengali woman of that era to the screen.
Director: Suman Ghosh / 2015 / 90 minutes / India / Bengali / English subtitled /Engels ondertiteld / Dutch premiere / Price per ticket €10, Ooievaarspas €5
More information / meer informatie: http://c-india.com/kadambari/
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