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Anurag Basu to helm ‘Stories by Rabindranath Tagore’ for Epic

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MUMBAI: In order to connect better with the audiences, segmented Hindi entertainment channel Epic is gearing up to launch a series that masterfully recreates the magic of old Bengal through some of Rabindranath Tagore’s short stories and novels.

‘Stories by Rabindranath Tagore’ showcasing ‘epic’ tales like Choker Bali, Charulata, Atithi and Kabuliwala amongst others will bring intricately etched characters created by Tagore to the small screen. The series will be directed by filmmaker Anurag Basu, who has to his credit movies like Barfi and Life in a Metro

Through this series, the characters of Tagore’s stories will spring into life through Basu’s imagination and vision.

Set in a politically volatile period, the stories are constantly shifting in the social world of the early 20th century in undivided Bengal. The hub of new India, Calcutta is the melting pot where the protagonists are pouring in from their rural, social and cultural spaces to encourage this upcoming new world.

Talking about the show, Epic founder and managing director Mahesh Samat says that he has always been a big admirer of Tagore and his work. “Many of Tagore’s stories are perfect for television and after discussing the thought with Basu, I felt that it would be a great fit for Epic. With Basu, we found the perfect synergy in vision and passion for recreating Tagore’s stories for television. In fact, he wanted to do this for the past 10 years. The show looks great. Let’s hope the viewers enjoy watching it as much as we enjoyed making it for them,” said Samat.

Basu retains Tagore’s style of narrative even in the visual medium and enhances words of his pages by bringing in talent that truly captures the essence of each his beloved characters. Unlike ordinary characters, these personalities pack a rebellious punch.

The filmmaker delves deeper into this society in transition, with songs, music, cultural references and its newfound political and social manifestations, a little more than the actual described world within Tagore’s narratives.

Keeping in line with the channel strategy, Stories by Rabindranath Tagore is a finite series with 26 episodes and is slated to hit the television screens in July this year.

The channel has been in active conversation with its viewers since its launch in November last year. “A feedback we received was to recreate stories of iconic authors and this lead us to develop Stories by Rabindranath Tagore. As we go forward, we are going to explore many other authors.”

Epic is leaving no stones unturned to market the big-budget property. The channel released the show’s first look recently on Rabindranath Tagore’s birthday (9 May). The first look has already grabbed eyeballs of close to 78,000 views on YouTube at the time of writing the article.

“Since 9 May was the Bengali birthday of Tagore and Basu, it was the ideal day to release the first look of the show. We’ve got people talking about the show and it’s going strong. We will maintain the momentum till the show launches. There’s a lot more coming up but I wouldn’t want to kill the surprise so early. Needless to say, this show is an important part of our overall plans,” informs Samat.

Stories by Rabindranath Tagore has talented actors like Amrita Puri and Radhika Apte on board, who have played key roles in the self-titled stories, Charulata and Chokher Bali respectively. Epic will be working closely with the actors to keep the buzz going.

Media planners are gung-ho about the show. Maxus managing partner Navin Khemka believes that it is a great concept and Tagore’s stories are popular. “If produced well, the show could drive eyeballs to the channel. It will click with the mature audiences. The buzz on the channel is positive. A lot of sampling is happening. If this program drives stickiness for them it will be good,” Khemka opines.

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