film festivals

Indo-Argentine movie on Tagore’s relationship with Victoria Ocampo to close Goa film festival

Pablo Cesar’s ‘Thinking of Him’ stars Victor Bannerjee and Eleonora Wexler.

Indo-Argentine movie Thinking of Him, which explores Rabindranath Tagore’s relationship with Argentinian feminist, writer and activist Victoria Ocampo, will be the closing film at the 48th International Film Festival of India in Goa (November 20 to 28).

Directed by Pablo Cesar, the movie flits between the present day and 1924, when Tagore visited Argentina, where he met Ocampo.

Victor Banerjee plays the Nobel prize-winning Indian poet in the film, while Eleonora Wexler plays Ocampo. The film also stars Hector Bordoni and Raima Sen.

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Ocampo, the first woman to become a member of the Argentine Academy of Letters, is said to have taken care of Tagore during his Bueno Aires visit in 1924, when he fell ill. The 34-year-old Ocampo was familiar with his writings and began to idolise him after she read the French translation of Gitanjali.

The two are said to have formed a deep and emotional but platonic bond. Tagore fondly addressed her as Bijoya and dedicated some poems of 1925 book Purabi to her. The two continued to exchange letters till his death in 1941.

“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,” Victor Bannerjee had said in an interview in 2016.

According to a report in the BBC, the film opens with disenchanted Argentine geography teacher Silvestre, who stumbles on a book of poems and essays by Tagore. This leads him to another book, Tagore in the Ravines of San Isidro, which is Ocampo’s account of her interaction with the poet. The book makes Silvestre “feel even more like a prisoner in his own life,” the screenplay says.

The teacher then flies to India the very next day, with the two books that affected him so profoundly.

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