Pritam Roywrote on Dec 29 2008 2:24PM
Galaxy Films is developing a major feature based on the life and music of Hason Raja, a mystic poet and singer who inspired the Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore and remains one of the greatest and most powerful icons of Bengali culture today. Hason Raja is a co-production between UK India and Bangladesh .
The poet's life was full of drama, colour and romance. He was a man of many contradictions and mysteries. His ancestors were Hindu Kshatriyas who migrated from Ayodhya to Bengal in the 16th century. They became rulers of a rural kingdom and owners of much property in Sylhet and Dhaka. His great-grandfather converted to Islam and the family intermarried with aristocratic Muslims creating a new dynasty.
Tall and handsome, Hason was a glamorous figure. He inherited property and wealth at an early age and indulged himself in every way: wearing gorgeous clothes, seducing women, breeding horses and hawks, hiring musicians and dancing girls. In his later life, he turned away from riches, wore the simplest clothes and devoted himself to the pursuit of the Divine. Leaving worldly responsibilities he became a wondering Sufi, singing of his love and longing. His songs and his mysticism were simple and direct, burning with passion and intensity. Drawing on Hindu, Sufi and Buddhist philosophies and images he filled his songs with powerful longing for spiritual union. This open-ness gives his work a very special meaning for today, with harmony so threatened by communal divisions. Often he sings as a woman, longing for her lover - a metaphor for his unquenchable thirst for the divine.
Rabindranath Tagore frequently acknowledged his debt to Hason Raja. This 'village poet' inspired the Nobel laureate's songs of union with the Divine and his lyrical celebration of the Bengali countryside. Like Tagore, Hason has left an enduring legacy. His simple but exquisite songs of love and longing are known and cherished wherever Bangla is spoken.
'Hason Raja' will be shot on location in Bangladesh and West Bengal . The stunning countryside and powerful rivers, colourful villages and lively rural people will be important elements in this evocation of the lost tranquillity of 'Golden Bengal'.