Relocating Tagore’s Binodini: New Spaces of Representation in Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali


Author: Chandrava Chakravarty, West Bengal State University, India
Published: May 2013

Citation: Chakravarty, C. (2013). Relocating Tagore’s Binodini: New Spaces of Representation in Rituparno Ghosh’s Chokher Bali. IAFOR Journal of Literature & Librarianship, 2(1).


The paper explores how the interface between a literary text and its cinematic rendering underscores the possibilities of meaningful exchanges and encounters between different art forms, historical moments, and ideological values. Cinematic adaptation of canonical literary texts of the nineteenth century offers an effective platform for the discussion of the post-Victorian event. Rituparno Ghosh’s film Chokher Bali, based on Rabindranath Tagore’s novel bearing the same title, is a retro-Victorian working of colonial history. Ghosh offers an exploration of the spatiality of woman’s selfhood/identity, and its complex interface with the historical and the social. Here, I have used the word "Victorian" both historically and culturally. Culturally, the resonance of the word “Victorian” extends beyond historical specificities spilling to the postmodern era, and revealing an in-depth engagement with history which enriches the postmodern present considerably. The impact of the "Victorian" is not only true for those in the West, but also for people who had been under British rule for long two hundred years. Rituparno’s adaptation of Tagore is a reminder that our postmodern condition should not blind us to our status as post-Victorian/nineteenth century. The cinematic reworking of Tagore provides a palimpsestuous vision of what is present but not conspicuous enough.


woman, body, spatial subjectivity, colonial history, retro-Victorian, adaptation, intertextuality