Epic Channel

Atithi, Maanbhanjan & Detective – Stories by Rabindranath Tagore (2)

Epic Channel’s Stories by Rabindranath Tagore are now showcasing short stories written by the great legend. Although, these are different stories set in different times and towns, Anurag Basu’s unique presentation has merged the stories at its ends. Without giving a break at the end of each story, the new story emerges as the characters of the new story are introduced while the characters of the previous story are left pondering with their thoughts.

This became evident when the characters of Atithi came in, even before Chokher Bali’s Binodini left the scene. In fact, if we reminisce clearly, Atithi’s Tarapada and his wandering elder friends could be seen singing a song at the start of Chokher Bali, even before Binodini and Bihari babu could enter the scene to recall their story.

At the end of Chokher Bali, as Binodini looks out of the running train window, preparing herself to live a life of solitariness; the focus shifts to the singing group along with Tarapada who are in the same train. And from there, begins the story of Atithi. The rest of the stories too flow in, in a similar manner. A huge applause to Anurag Basu for bridging the gaps between the varied stories.

The second story in the series, Atithi, is about a young boy, who chooses to be a wanderer, in an urge to learn more about the world as he does not want to be tied down at one place. A thirst for knowledge and a penchant for music makes this boy special and unique. A chance meeting with the local zamindar results in him staying back at his huge palatial house where manages to impress everyone with his pleasing and helping nature. The zamindar’s young daughter, Charushashi too is smitten, but initially hides her feeling and acts shrewd. But it does not take long for Tara to remove the veil of stubbornness on Charu and the two bond well. Soon enough, Charu’s parents decide to get them married. But for Tara’s inquisitive nature, this bond, though amusing and much to his liking, seemed to be a hindrance towards his goal to visit many places and gather more knowledge. Soon he comes across a musical play group and joins them, leaving Charu shattered. In the end, proving that Tara was just an Atithi, a guest, who was here to stay for just a few days, not forever.

Brilliant job by the young actors. The song ‘Mera man bulaya re …’ is soulful and apt.

The musical play group that Tara joins as a flutist leads us to the next story Maanbhanjan. 

Maanbhanjan is a popular song in Bengali describing the act of Krishna trying to appease an angry Radha. Maanbhanjan could be also derived to mean quashing of ego, where the abhimaan, ahankar of a person has been broken down. It is the story of a young, married zamindar, Gopinath, who falls in love with a drama artiste, Latika. Latika is a popular artiste who excels in the singing, dancing and acting capabilities and is boastful that she is the most beautiful and best in her field of work. Gopinath’s wife Giribala, upon learning about the other woman in her husband’s life, ventures out to see for herself, why Latika has mesmerised her husband so. And that’s how she gets introduced to the theatre, its music, playacts and the whole aura that a theatre compromises of. She is in awe of the popular Latika who is surrounded by her many fans.  Soon, problems surface in Latika’s professional life and Gopinath leaves town with her, leaving Giribala shattered. After sometime, a gloomy Latika, desperate to get back to her glamorous life filled with applauses and praises, eager to know who had taken her place in the theatre, returns to town with Gopinath. It is nothing short of a shock when Gopinath and Latika find that the artiste who has replaced Latika and is now garnering all the applauses and praises is none other than Giribala. In a sort of a role reversal, it is Latika who is now in awe, watching Giribala surrounded by her fans, taking in all the fame. Latika’s ego has thus been quashed.

Maanbhanjan’s plus point has been its music. The classical songs from ‘Ghar aaja ghir aaye …’ to ‘Mere to Giridhar Gopal …’ are a delight to hear. The episode also gives an insight into the stories such as ‘Shakuntala’, ‘Laila Majnu’, ‘Meerabai’, that were staged in theatre during that era. The background music used in this story is worth hearing again and again.

Gopinath raises an uproar upon seeing his wife on the stage. Soon, he is packed off to the police station where we meet the characters from the next story, Detective. 

A humorous light story, Detective takes us into the life of a police detective, Mahimchandra who is on the lookout of a complicated case where he could use his detective capabilities and get to solve a complex situation. Tired of catching culprits who, according to him, would easily surrender, his inquisitive nature yearns for an adventure. Soon, he decides find out more about a student whom he suspects to be involved in illegal activities. Mahimchandra befriends the student, Manmoth, talks to him about his secret affair with a colleague so that Manmoth would open up more about himself. Mahim’s whole plan backfires when his beloved wife gets to know about his alleged affair through Manmoth, who happens to be her childhood friend. Mahim’s quest for a mysterious case falls hard on his secured, happy family life.

The story of Detective, though projected in a lighter way, reveals few hidden meaning about our lives. Although Mahim was blessed with a secured, safe police job and a lovely, understanding wife; his thirst for adventures brings him on the verge of losing his priceless gem of all. A reminder, that our inordinate greed might make us lose something that we already have. Another meaning that could also be derived is about our suspicions towards an individual. Mahim thought that Manmoth was a criminal, but he turned out to be an innocent childhood friend of his wife. A person might seem suspicious, acting weirdly. But that doesn’t always mean that he means to harm. His reasons for his weird behaviour might be something totally different. Instead of taking decisions based on our suspicions, it is better to confront directly and wait till the person opens up himself.

 

Each of these stories are completely different from one another, but all impart the lessons of life.

***

Other write-ups on the series: 

For promos of all shows, please visit:  https://www.youtube.com/user/EpicChannelIndia

Picture and videos credited to uploaders / copyright holders

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14 Comments

  • daphne_dcosta@yahoo.com'
    Reply
    Daphne
    July 26, 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Lovely write up of the episode…
    Enjoyed reading your article as much as I enjoyed watching the episode.
    You have tenaciously captured the episode.

    • Reply
      DurgaS
      July 29, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      Thank you for reading and commenting Daphne. It means much to get a feedback. The series has introduced us to a beautiful world. Leaves an everlasting memory. And it is a pleasure writing about it. 🙂

  • Reply
    indrani robbins
    July 27, 2015 at 2:14 am

    very nice, durga, felt like i was watching the whole thing. anurag basu’s moving through the stories linking them smartly sounds lovely. maybe someday some epic in my geography too. tagore wrote several lovely short stories. have you seen kabuliwallah? both the bengali and the hindi ones are beautiful. satyajit ray made teen kanya based on three tagore short stories. many flavours of tagore and his touching of emotions there… you might enjoy. i think the third one, samapti, was aparna sen’s debut film.

    • Reply
      DurgaS
      July 29, 2015 at 4:55 pm

      Thanks Indi. We had Kabuliwala as a chapter in school. I knew movies were made on the story, but didn’t see any. Hadn’t heard about teen kanya. Apart from samapti, what were the other stories covered? Will keep an eye open as the stories keep changing. The stories are moving fast. Almost one story per episode. The next one after Detective is Kabuliwala. Will write about it soon. 🙂

  • sakuntalaml@gmail.com'
    Reply
    sakuntala
    September 19, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    Athithi was made as Geet gaata chal by Rajashri productions giving the story a typical bollywood style triangle and ending.

  • Reply
    DurgaS
    September 21, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Hello Sakuntala. Thanks for pointing it out. Yes, Atithi was made as Geet gaata chal. The movie had some melodious memorable music. Most of Tagore stories end at crossroads. The story could have progressed whichever way. Same with Atithi. It ends with Tara leaving without informing anyone. Whether he returns after a period of time or whether he never comes back is not mentioned. It is up to the individual to assume. When movies are adapted from books, the story tends to take the popular route to satisfy the larger audience. So, perhaps that’s why they showed Shyam coming back to Radha. All in all, the beauty of the character that Tarapada’s is, remains. 🙂

  • prabhakam@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Prabha
    January 22, 2016 at 1:50 am

    Watching Rabindranath’s enchanting stories unfold on Epic Channel is such a treat! Anurag Basu has done a brilliant job recreating the ambience of that charming past!

    • Reply
      DurgaS
      January 22, 2016 at 5:30 pm

      Hello Prabha. Welcome to Writers brew. I am watching the series again too. Thought it would be less enchanting since I’ve already seen it before. But I continue to be mesmerised by the visuals, the music, the direction and the very content that the stories are made up of.

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comnent.

  • Sahebdas21162@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Saheb Das
    January 25, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Its amazing to watch the stories by Rabindranath Tagore, whenever i get a chance to watch the stories I never miss it. I really would like to thanks Mr. Anuragh Basu for presenting such amazing stories in between us. As being an India we are not aware of our own Star i.e. Rabindranath Tagore. And among all the stories I liked “Athiti” most which is about a boy Tarapada. The creativity on that story is amaging and even the song on that story is so sweet and melodious..

    • Reply
      DurgaS
      January 28, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Welcome to Writersbrew. Thanks for commenting. Yes, we can’t thank Mr. Anurag Basu enough for this beautiful series. He has not only brought forth the wonderful stories of Tagore but he has done so with such excellent and brilliant story narration and beautiful visuals. The music is an added asset. Atithi, which tells the story of Tarapada, is unique on its own, understanding the mindset of the boy who wants to keep on exploring and revel in the beauty that the world offers in all forms. The song ‘mera man bulaya re…’ is apt.

      As an Indian, we aren’t aware of not just Tagore but many authors who are from different regions of our country. The major reason is the languages in which they are written, which make it difficult to reach to a larger number of people. It would be a treat if the works of these great authors are also brought to light to amaze us, just like ‘Stories by Rabindranath Tagore’ did.

      • sujji1@hotmail.com'
        Reply
        Sujata
        August 1, 2016 at 5:00 pm

        Wonderful is too small a word to describe the series! Since I have not read the stories I was a bit Confused , since no story gas an end. Merging left me pondering. Thanks a ton for your writeup clearing my confusion. Marvellous serial enchanting music and visuals. Epic a wonderful. Channel!

        • Reply
          DurgaS
          August 2, 2016 at 4:36 pm

          Most welcome Sujata. It was confusing for me too as I hadn’t read the stories either. So I looked for story synopsis on different sites and a discussion on the series on a forum helped me view the stories more clearly. But the music and visuals in the series are quite something. Glad to see Epic Channel put out some well-made, unique shows.
          Thanks for reading and commenting.:-)

  • priyanka21bhandari@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Priya
    August 2, 2016 at 3:09 am

    I Thoroughly enjoy all the Stories,& great job done by Radhika Apte in Chokher Bali. 🙂

    • Reply
      DurgaS
      August 2, 2016 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks for commenting Priya. Yes, Radhika Apte has done a commendable job as Binodini in Chokher Bali. Binodini is a complex character and it requires delicate acting to project pain, anger, regret and compassion with such fineness.

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