Music, recitation and songsreputed Rabindra Sangeet singer Lily Islam brought this interesting mix of art forms to Delhi with her production, “Chirokaaler Rabindranath” (Tmeless Rabindranath). The multi-media presentation encompassed the period of 1880-1941 in Tagore's life, when his creativity was at its peak.
So there were interesting bits from his early days in the musical environs of the Jorashanko Thakur Bari in Calcutta where his talent flowered under initial classical music teachers like Bishnu Chakraborty and Jadu Bhatta. There were allusions to his muse and confidante sister-in-law Kadambari who inspired him to create his timeless poetry. Included too were major milestones like “Valmiki Pratibha” and “Bhanusingher Padabali”.
“Timeless Rabindrananath”, was conceived and directed by Lily, director of cultural organisaton Uttarayan who brought along a team of her students--11 vocalists from Dhaka. The four Kolkata-based musicians backed up the singers. The music director was famous Kolkata- based violin maestro Durbadal Chatterjee. The two practiced reciters were Bhaswar Banerjee and Dahlia Ahmed.
“Tagore left behind a vast body of literature, music and art. It is impossible to touch upon everything so we have compressed the production into visuals that are relevant with the music,” said Lily who describes her 11 years at Shantiniketan as the “golden period” in her life. “Shaniniketan cast its spell on me--it made me imaginative, romantic and creative,” she says on a lyrical note.
“Chirokaaler Rabindranath” had all the makings of a fine production--the gentle melody of Rabindra Sangeet that was alternately contemplative, joyous and full of longing, combined with great music and recitation. However, the end result was far from perfect as the pre-recorded music tended to drown and detract from the singing. The violin, tabla and sitar too were barely audible.
Hopefully, a future multi-media production to be staged in May in Dhaka is able to iron such irritants. Based on Tagore's great affinity for flowers this new creative venture by Lily offers the audience a chance to glimpse a less known facet of the great bard.