West Bengal’s Visva-Bharati University on Friday denied permission to the makers of Nalini, an upcoming film about a teenaged Rabindranath Tagore’s relationship with his tutor Annapurna, to shoot on campus, The Telegraph reported.
“This is an educational institution,” Sabuj Koli Sen, the officiating vice-chancellor of the university, told the publication. “We don’t want to disrupt its environment any more by allowing the shooting of commercial films.”
Located in Santiniketan, the Visva-Bharati University was founded in 1921 by Tagore, a Nobel Prize-winning writer and polymath. Ujjwal Chatterjee, the film’s director, said that the earlier Officiating Vice Chancellor, Swapan Kumar Datta, had allowed them to shoot the film on campus last year. But in February, the administration decided not to allow the shoot, The Telegraph earlier reported. A formal meeting was then arranged with the director this week.
Nalini, produced by Priyanka Chopra’s Purple Pebbles Pictures and directed by Ujjwal Chatterjee, tells the “platonic love story” between a 17-year-old Tagore and Annapurna, 20. According to various accounts, Nalini was tutoring him in English in 1878 while he stayed at her father’s Mumbai home for a few weeks before going to England for higher studies. Tagore named Annapurna “Nalini” on her insistence, and immortalised her in a poem. However, their relationship was cut short and Annapurna left for England after marrying a Scotsman in 1880. Chatterjee’s film is reportedly a Bengali-Marathi bilingual and will also be dubbed in Hindi. The film will feature Saheb Bhattacharjee as the young poet and and Marathi actor Vaidehi Parashurami as Annapurna.
Chatterjee told The Telegraph that he said plans to write to the Human Resources Development Ministry telling them that the university has disallowed the shoots and will also write to Visva-Bharati seeking an explanation.
“If he writes to us, we’ll reply,” Sen told The Telegraph.
Last year, the earlier administration had set up a committee to examine the film’s script, PTI reported. They had then objected to a a proposed scene that showed Nalini kissing Tagore on the cheek, which Chatterjee reportedly agreed to alter.