Buddhadeb Dasgupta's ‘Woh', based on Tagore's ‘Sey', explores the bond between a grandfather and a granddaughter

“I have never made a film based on Rabindranath Tagore's works, because I couldn't relate to that era. As a filmmaker, it is important to be able to identify with a particular period to do an adaptation. I made an exception when Nandita Das, chairperson of Children's Film Society of India (CFSI), requested me to make a film to coincide with the 150th year of Rabindranath Tagore,” says the veteran filmmaker, speaking to us ahead of the 17th International Children's Film Festival of India, during which the film will be screened.

Buddhada, as he is fondly referred to, has rarely made Hindi films, except for Andhi Gali and Bagh Bahadur. His new children's film in Hindi, Woh, is based on Tagore's short story, Sey. Buddhada gives us the context of Sey and says, “This is one of Tagore's lesser known short stories, which he wrote at the fag end of his life. It is a sensible and sensitive piece of writing. Tagore wrote this when his son Rathindranath was away from the country and had left behind his nine-year-old daughter. The story captures the relationship between the grandfather and the granddaughter.”

For the role of the grandfather, Buddhada chose actor Barun Chanda with whom he has worked earlier in two films. “He fit the role of a grandfather convincingly. And his Hindi was also good,” laughs the veteran filmmaker. As for the nine-year-old character of Nandini, he chose Aratrika Ghosh. “She was a lively girl and a fine performer, though her Hindi diction had to be worked upon,” he adds.

His only apprehension is whether Woh will get a nationwide release post the ICFFI. “We made a small but heart warming film despite the budget constraints faced by the Children's Film Society of India. I told Nandita many times that I want the film to be released commercially and she promised that she would do her best. I am hopeful things will work that way,” he says, signing off.