Aloe Vera for removing tan

Aloe vera juice and gel have several...

Book lovers, keep off the grass

What’s not to love in this -...

Jharkhand Congress working president writes explosive letter

NEW DELHI The working president of Jharkhand, Bandu...

Making a film on Tagore was not an easy task: Pablo Cesar

CultureMaking a film on Tagore was not an easy task: Pablo Cesar

In this interview, Pablo César talks about the film’s origins and the extensive research that went into it, directing Victor Banerjee, and the vivid experience of shooting in India, among other things.

Indo-Argentinean film ‘Thinking of Him,’ directed by the noted Argentine film director Pablo Cesar and co-produced by award-winning Indian filmmaker Suraj Kumar, explores the Indian Nobel Laureate and distinguished polymath Rabindranath Tagore’s relationship with the Argentine writer Victoria Ocampo who idolized Tagore, having read the French translation of ‘Gitanjali’. Ocampo is said to have taken care of Tagore during his Bueno Aires visit in 1924, when he fell ill. The two are said to have formed a deep and emotional but platonic bond. Tagore fondly addressed her as Bijoya and dedicated some poems of 1925 book ‘Purabi’ to her. The two continued to exchange letters till his death in 1941.
The film, which stars the legendary Victor Banerjee in the role of Tagore and the Argentine actor Eleonora Wexler in the part of Victoria, is set to hit the Indian theatres on the occasion of Tagore’s 161st birth anniversary. ‘Thinking of Him’ also stars Raima Sen and Héctor Bordoni. The film’s director Pablo César has been making films right from the age of 13 when his older brother presented him with a Super 8mm camera and taught him the first techniques to film. He is a professor at the University of Cinema in Buenos Aires since 1992.
In this interview, Pablo César talks about the film’s origins and the extensive research that went into it, directing Victor Banerjee, and the vivid experience of shooting in India, among other things.
Q. How did ‘Thinking of Him’ come into being? What kind of research went into making the film?
A. During the interaction I had in 2008 with Mr. R Viswanathan, the then Ambassador of India in Argentina, he suggested that I should work on the meeting that took place in 1924 between Rabindranath Tagore and Victoria Ocampo.
The research took us 5 years. Jerónimo Toubes, who has worked with me since 2006, investigated the link between Victoria Ocampo and Gurudev. We read all possible texts and talked with many people who had some information that we considered relevant.

A still from ‘Thinking of Him’.

Q. What kind of challenges did you face while making the film?
A. We had to deal with many challenges. First of all, making a film about an icon of India, a Nobel Prize-winner for Literature, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, was not an easy task nor could it be summed up in 4 sentences. With Victor Banerjee and Eleonora Wexler we had a fluent handling of the theme of the actors seeking to enrich all the aspects of the characters they played.
Q. What was it like to direct the legendary Indian actor Victor Banerjee? Also tell us about the conversations you had with him leading to the shoot and during it?
A. We generally agreed on all aspects. Victor literally opened the doors of his house for me. I went to visit him at his house near Dehradun and it was an excellent meeting from the first moment.
We also agreed on the way of working and on the respect for the actor and the director. Some technicians crowded the first day that Victor performed in the vicinity of Santiniketan and at the end of the first scene filmed, these young people began to take selfies with their cell phones and I had to explain to them that they were making a serious mistake by taking photos from different angles that were not the original frames, nor with the original 35mm format. We are living difficult times now and the film is set in a completely different era. Victor thanked me for explaining this to the film technicians because he had acted in a film where there was a surprise at the end, but the director of the film made the serious mistake of posting a photo of that revealing scene on his own facebook page. So the film did not come as a surprise because everyone already knew about it by posting it on the director’s facebook page.
Q. How do you look at the chemistry that Eleonora Wexler shares with Victor Banerjee in the film?
A. Fortunately, Victor and Eleonora had a lovely chemistry between the two of them from the first moment; they had a spiritual and intellectual bond from the first time they saw each other.
Q. How do you look at the film as a catalyst in bringing about more such collaborations between India and Argentina?
A. Indeed, as you mentioned, it is a catalyst that allows the India-Argentina bridge to be created for many more future achievements. A South-South co-production model should be considered, between countries of different cultures, to help open up possibilities for the planet’s inhabitants. Many current films are “full of emptiness” and the viewer can calmly look at messages on his cell phone that does not lose anything of the history of these films. Co-productions of this type, such as the one we have done with Mr. Suraj Kumar with “Thinking of Him,” allow a new path and a new way of seeing the world.
Q. What was it like to shoot in India as part of the film? Also, tell us about some shooting incidents that come to your mind. 
A. It was a unique experience. I have known India since 1994, although it is difficult to know all of India. But over the years I have understood many things about the idiosyncrasies and behavior of people from many places in India, a country that I personally admire.
The Indian co-producer, Suraj Kumar, was forced to have many more technicians than he had calculated, when filming in the State of West Bengal, due to demands of the local union. Then the Indian film crew was 100 people, instead in Argentina, the Argentine film crew was 60 people. These are things that happen, but they can also upset the economy of a film.
Q. The film has already been released in Argentina. What are your thoughts on the film’s upcoming India release?  Also, tell us about your upcoming projects.
A. At the time the film premiered in Argentina a few years back, we had many problems because there was a strong devaluation of the currency and the consequent inflation. This affected us in our advertising budget. The distributors demanded that we make an investment of 200,000 US dollars for advertising, because in Argentina the distributors do not take risks and ask the producers to make the investment in advertising. Despite all this, the film spent a few weeks in theaters.
I have several projects. I am working on a true story that is about the Mother of Argentina, a woman who was enslaved, born in 1767 but who at the age of 25 joined the Army of the North for the independence of Argentina and was decorated by General Belgrano (one of the heroes of Argentine independence) as Captain of the Army of the North, with the nickname “Mother of the Nation”. It is a true story; the script is already finished and we have some international investors, although the financing is still missing.

Check out our other content

Check out other tags:

Most Popular Articles