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Binodini – Rabindranath Tagore

February 10, 2006

choker-bali.jpgThe Bengali Original – Chokerbali was written by Tagore. Its Translation is titled Binodini in English. Apparently, Binodini was what Tagore intially thought of naming his Bengali book – not sure how it ended up being called Chokerbali. I watched the movie Chokerbali – starring Aishwarya Rai. The movie is very different from the book.

I like books with real characters, like this one. They are not painfully preachy and impractically righteous; they have shades of grey. Characters’ actions are so much closer to what we see around us in real life; they make mistakes, they plot, connive, change mind without reason, avenge, justify their mistakes to themselves, constantly try to out-do others and such. There are interesting conversations scattered thru out the book.

Bihari is Mahendra’s loyal childhood friend. One day, Mahendra’s mother proposes that he marries a girl called, Ashalata. Mahendra refuses to marry her even without meeting her. Then, Mahendra’s mother coaxes Bihari to marry her. Bihari agrees to meet her to take the match forward. Then, the friends to go meet her. Mahendra finds Ashalata beautiful, innocent and child-like and takes an instant liking to her. He decides to Marry her.

Binodini, the protagonist, after whom the book is named, is a young widow. Several years ago, both Mahendra and Bihari refuse Binodini’s hand in wedding even without seeing her. Now, when Mahendra and Ashalata are living a happy life, Binodini enters the house as the guest of a relative who lives with the couple. With the introduction of beautiful, vivacious, Binodini, there is an upheaval in the Mahendra household. Binodini befriends Ashalata and thru her, plays with Mahendra’s mind. Mahendra gets attracted to Binodini. But slowly, Binodini takes a liking to Bihari.

It ends up like Binodini loves Bihari, Bihari loves Asha – but does not acknowledge it – even to himself, Asha loves and is devoted to Mahendra and Mahendra loves Binodini.

How the story unfolds is beautiful. Definitely worth a read. Tagore’s Words impart so much life to each character. It is like, they come out of the book and start living around you. He expresses very complex human emotions effortlessly.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 20, 2006 5:53 pm

    Hi, I don’t know your name and so addressal’s gotta be limited to ‘Hi’ 🙂
    I am looking for the translated version of Chokher Bali to read. I found the movie quite touching and so think that REAL STUFF will probably Blow me Apart!
    I stay in HYD, are you aware of any shop here which stores this book and could you let me know the price of it ?

  2. March 25, 2006 2:55 am

    Hi Chirantan, I got the book for 90 bucks in a Sahitya Akademy stall at Book fair. At hyd, you might want to try for it in Walden – Begumpet.

  3. Monali Chatterjee permalink
    December 19, 2006 2:38 pm

    The novel is one of teh most brilliant depiction of illicit relatioships that can be elicited for the imgination of a genius.

  4. November 24, 2007 10:48 am

    can u plz post a pic of the english version of binodini!!!!!!!!!!

  5. amina bosma permalink
    May 16, 2008 5:30 pm


    Can someone give me the ISBN number of the book ´Binodini´=
    Thank you in advance.

    I am living in Holland.

  6. August 28, 2008 6:40 pm

    ISBN: 19019835

  7. bhadran permalink
    December 26, 2011 3:51 pm

    we can’t live inthis world without love . this is the subtext of this novel. its not just a novel of illicit relations but one showing how great our family relations and their place in our culture.

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