Epic Channel

Chokher Bali – Stories by Rabindranath Tagore (1)

Chokher Bali - Stories by Rabindranath Tagore Epic Channel

Chokher Bali, the first story in the series of Stories by Rabindranath Tagore presented by Anurag Basu, takes one to a world gone by – of human relations and traditions, of hidden and disclosed emotions, of tragic and generated situations. Chokher Bali literally means sand in the eye, in a way suggesting,  a constant irritant.

It is the story of a young, talented and educated girl, Binodini, who is widowed at an early age, having to live within the many strict rules that are confined to a widow of that era, although her educated mind does will to protest. Upon knowing that the man who rejected her proposal just days before their marriage, Mahendra, is now happily enjoying his married life with this new wife, Ashalata, Binodini is anguished. Envious of Asha, Binodini decides to get the life that would have been originally hers if her marriage to Mahendra had taken place. Also in the picture is Bihari who looks up to Mahendra as his elder brother and who secretly likes Binodini. The havoc created in the lives of these four people, when Binodini manages to come between the married couple and whom does she ultimately ends up with, forms the rest of the story. Chokher Bali is the name given to each other, when Binodini befriends Ashalata in order to get close to Mahendra.

When the episode started with a beautiful Bengali song amidst rainy weather and led us to the dark waiting room, where Binodini and Bihari meet after six long years, the scene immediately brought back memories of Gulzar’s movie ‘Ijaazat’, where the estranged couple meet in the waiting room on a dark rainy night and the rest of the story in told in flashbacks. ‘Katra katra milti hai…’, the song started playing in my mind as Bihari and Binodini looked at each other as soon as the lamp is lit. Had to shush myself to concentrate. Of course, the actual story was different.

The narration and the introduction of the characters was lovely. Running to watch the train go by is a memory from my childhood. I’ve always travelled in trains, but yet, as a child watching the train whiz past by is a joy unexplained. Beautiful sets and landscapes, excellent camera work, wonderful acting and undoubtedly great direction makes Chokher Bali worth the wait and a treat to watch. Anurag Basu has succeeded in inspiring the actors by encouraging them to give their best and pour life into their characters. The result is their to see. The actors fit perfectly into their roles – Radhika Apte as Binodini, Bhanu Uday as Mahendra, Sumit Vyas as Bihari, Tara Alisha Berry as Ashalata and Beena Banerjee as Mahendra’s mother.

I have never read Tagore’s actual works, except for some rough translations and synopsis. Many times I wished I had learnt Bengali. Therefore this series is going to be a journey of discovery and realisation, of an era gone by, of the Bengali culture and of some mesmerising Rabindra Sangeet.

Translations can never convey the complete essence of an original work. Only an ardent Tagore fan can say to what extent has this series justified the great author’s works. But through this series, we are able to witness at least a glimpse of the marvels that are part of Tagore’s stories. Thank you, Mr.Anurag Basu for introducing the Stories by Tagore to the non-Bengali home.

Other write-ups on the series: 

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9 Comments

  • vaishali.rajput@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Vaishali Rajput-Vitkar
    July 14, 2015 at 1:55 am

    Chokher Bali ,its wonderful story , I would like to watch on daily basis Anurag Sir is my favorite director from Burfy movie always he is giving us something very different, unique, wonderful topics. These stories are written by Tagore Sir but Anurag Sir has presented very beautifully.each actor and actress is very perfect and made their performance wonderfully.

    • Reply
      DurgaS
      July 14, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Hello Vaishali. Thanks for commenting. Yes, Anurag Basu is truly a genious director. His works are worth watching again and again. If you ask any Bengali or a Tagore fan, it is not easy to translate Tagore’s works into an audio visual medium. But Anurag Basu has managed to give justice to his stories and has won praises from them. Even if one is not familiar with Tagore, these stories are worth a watch for the unique treatment he infuses into his filmmaking.

  • Reply
    rhea sinha
    July 16, 2015 at 10:39 am

    Beautiful review Durga di.

    The teaser looks nice too. I wonder if you could paste a link to the songs that played? From the teaser I thought it is the new bride you is the main character, but from your post looks like Binodini is the window in white. Very interesting.

  • Reply
    DurgaS
    July 22, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks for reading Rhea. The pic above in the bridal attire is Binodini. The story is about all four characters and how the decisions made by Binodini affects all four including Binodini. I have given the second teaser here which highlights Ashalata’s helplessness.

  • sethi.paridhi142@gmail.com'
    Reply
    -paridhi sethi
    September 6, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Hey Durga.. A good review it is I must say.. I am writer like u, but I write poems. Your command over words is appreciable.
    I am a huge fan of Tagore. I so want to watch his work in Mr. Basu’s style. It would be gr8 if u could give me a link to watch it online.?

  • Reply
    DurgaS
    September 6, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Hello Paridhi. Thank you so much for the appreciating words for this article. Glad to know that you write poems. I too write poems.

    Through Basu’s Tagore stories, I am getting acquainted with Tagore’s varied works. Sadly the episodes of any show of Epic Channel aren’t available online. However, I read somewhere that work is on for a mobile app. So hoping they are soon available for all to see. But if you are in India you can still watch the ongoing episodes in the series on Epic Channel.

  • ramyadot8@gmail.com'
    Reply
    aditee
    March 6, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    series has end up & i cant find out episodes online. would you plz tell the end of chokher bali? plz? cz after reading this blog i have a big curiosity of the whole story & ending..

    • Reply
      DurgaS
      March 7, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      Hello Aditee. The series is available on Netflix or you can view on the EpicOn! app. However for both, you need to pay subscription.
      About the story, I am assuming you know the gist. After meeting each other and clarifying their facts, Binodini and Bihari realise that they’ve been wanting to be with each other and have been searching for one another since long. However, Binodini soon leaves without informing Bihari. In a letter that she leaves behind, she says that she doesn’t find herself worth enough to marry Bihari. She wants to serve poor and needy people. She asks him to fulfill the wishes of his senior doctor by marrying his daughter, also a doctor, as she would be more suitable for him.
      It is a sad ending. But I read somewhere that in his later years, Tagore felt bad that he did not give Binodini’s story a happy ending. She had suffered enough during her adult life. It would have been only fair to let her marry Bihari.

  • sushma8526@gmail.com'
    Reply
    Sushma
    October 4, 2018 at 5:09 am

    I really enjoyed this series. I have never read rabindranath tagore’s stories and this series has introduced me to such beautiful world. Anurag Basu really did an outstanding job with each of the stories and specially casting, each character literally lived in their role. Lifestyle of Bengalis, their dressing and culture has been portrayed beautifully. Each story was packed with so many emotions and complexities I am touched to core of my heart. Specially story of two sisters, I though I will hate the leads but the way it progressed and ended brought tears and respect to the characters.

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