I read Tagore’s “Home and the world” about five years ago and I remember liking it. I liked (and still like) the thoughts of Nikhil in the novel and remember getting carried away in the amazing dialogue and thought processes of the characters. Thanks again to the Inter-Library Loan scheme, I managed to watch the movie that Ray made, based on this novel. “Ghare-Baire”,
I vaguely remember Ray talking briefly in “Our Films-Their Films”, about his adaptation of some Tagore works onscreen that drew some bit of criticism. I guess this movie did not figure in that essay though, because the essays were written before this period. However, he briefly talks about the difference between the novel and a movie made out of it again in “Should a Film Maker be Original?” (Filmfare 1959, Republished in Deep Focus). Although I loved reading both the essays, it is only now after watching “Ghar-Bhaire” that I could clearly see what he is getting at.
Its a very engaging movie. Amazing dialogue and I loved the background music that played (Ray is also the music director of the film). Its been a while since I read the novel – but I think the movie rightly captured the essence of the novel. What I remembered about the novel while watching this movie were the individual characters and their views, the narrative that goes on in a series of monologues and nationalism debate that goes on in the conversations. After watching the movie, I felt it truly reflected the essence of the novel. The individual actors did not create so much of an impact on me, except for Victor Banerjee who played Nikhil.
However, as I began reading the novel again yesterday (thanks to our library!), I understood the liberties Ray took with his screenplay. Now, I would rather call this Ray’s interpretation of “Home and the world”. There were thoughts that came in the beginning of the novel but in the middle of the movie etc. But then, like I said – the movie rightly captured the essence of the novel (IMHO). All that you remember about the novel after sometime – can be seen in the movie. It is the correct synopsis of the novel. Infact, I rather like the movie more than the novel now 🙂 I am not even half-way through in the re-reading of the novel – but there were already moments like: “Ah, Ray showed it so brilliantly in the movie. This is such a long monologue!” 🙂
Okay, I recommend the movie strongly to anyone who likes Tagore or Ray or both… or even none for that matter :-).
To conclude, here is what Ray said about taking some one’s story and making it a film (Excerpts from “Should a film-maker be Original?”)
“…Apur Sansar thus grew out of situations conceived by the author himself. I, as the interpreter through the film medium, exercised my right to select, modify and arrange. This is a right every film-maker, who aspires to more than doing a commercial chore-to artistic endeavour, infact-possesses.
He may borrow his material, but he must colour it with his own experience of the medium. Then, and only then will the completed film be his own, as unmistakably as Kalidasa’s Shakuntala is Kalidasa’s and not Vyas’s.”
“Compare a good film of a book with the book itself and you will find that the original has undergone a process of thorough reshaping. The reason is simple, but needs to be stressed repeatedly: books are not primarily written to be filmed. If they were, they would read like scenarios; and if they were good scenarios, they would probably read badly as literature, for scenarios are no more than indications in words of what is really meant to be conveyed in images.”
-Although this essay was written in the context of Ray’s filming of the Apu-trilogy and the liberties he took in “reshaping” the novel in to a movie, I guess this holds true for any good adaptation of a novel.
Satyajit Ray’s “Ghare-Baire” is on youtube. Watch it if you did not, already!!