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Sanjoy Nag, who plays Tagore in Jeevan Smriti, on Rituparno’s docu film

Rituparno Ghosh’s documentary film on Tagore — Jeevan Smriti — will be aired on DD National on August 8. Sanjoy Nag, who played the aged bard, recounts the making of the 77-minute film...

Tell us about your experience of playing Tagore in Jeevan Smriti....

Ritu (Rituparno) kind of forced me into this but I wasn’t reluctant because I was getting to know Tagore in my own way. Ritu was very clear that he wasn’t making a biopic on Tagore. It was basically meant to capture the essence of a man who was actually very restless and creative. Ritu’s only brief was ‘try and get into the soul of Tagore because if you can do that then half the job is done’. That’s why we never did workshops.

Ritu used to read out Tagore to us and play Rabindrasangeet. In Jeevan Smriti Rituparno Ghosh is there as Rituparno Ghosh. Ritu would always say ‘my strength is narrative because people expect a certain kind of cinema from me, so I don’t want to look at it as a hard-core documentary with black and white pictures and footage of the bard. I would rather choose small episodes and dramatise it’. It’s like bringing Tagore alive in flesh and blood, so that the average Indian whose knowledge of Tagore isn’t deep can get an idea and at the same time learn about his philosophy, spirituality and creativity.

It will also be Rituparno’s first work that will be screened after his passing...

It’s his last completed film…. Jeevan Smriti was supposed to release in 2012 on Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary. But for whatever reasons it didn’t happen. We will miss Ritu. He had planned who to invite, where he would do the premiere....

You were also the executive producer for the project...

Yes. There were very few people who had definite roles in Jeevan Smriti. We’re all doing everything. I am playing Tagore from 40-80. Child artiste Saswata Chatterjee, Rishi Mukherjee and Samadarshi play Tagore in his younger days.

Kushali Nag

Jeevan Smriti airs on DD National at 10.30pm on August 8