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Chitra – Rabindranath Tagore

October 24, 2006

Chitra - Rabindranath Tagore Could not post for a long time – I was honing my skills as a cook.

I got the best birthday gift ever – The complete works of Rabindranath Tagore. This post is about the first play in the second volume – Chitra.

My introduction to the works of Tagore was – Chokerbali. After watching the movie, I wanted to read the book. It gives me a kick to read the book and re-discover that “the book is better than the movie” – each time. Perhaps lord of the rings is an exception – my personal opinion. The description was boringly long – I could never finish reading it.

Coming back to the play – Chitra.

The plot goes like – There is this princess Chitra – who did all things boys her age did. She was a tomboy as a kid. She knew how to use a sword and protect her subjects. Due to this, she grew up to have a body that is not very attractive and lady-like with a lil’ muscle here and there.

One day, She sees Arjuna in the forest and falls in love with him. But then, she cannot get him take interest in her ‘coz of her manly appearance. So, she asks her friend Madana who happens to be a god (boy-o-boy! gods being friends with princes and princesses 🙂 ), to bless her with a lady-like body for sometime. He does and Arjuna does get bowled over.

Then, they happily dance around the trees and romance – perhaps like any other couple in their times did. Just at the time her boon is about to expire, Arjuna hears about this princess called Chitra and her tales. He is awed by her and stops paying attention to this lady. Then, this lady reveals that she herself is Chitra and there is a happy ending with Arjuna saying – “I’m a complete man – Raymonds” – no he does not say “Raymonds”.

Though there are certain things in the story that the feminist in me refuses to digest, it was put across very well. Again, like in Chokerbali, there is life in the characters – You are hypnotized to believe that the issues Chitra is facing are your own. I enjoyed myself reading it.

The fact that Chitra wanted to turn herself into what pleases Arjuna – is disgusting and childish at the least.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 27, 2006 3:04 am

    Don’t know if I will ever get my hands on some of the books you critic! But it is fun reading your posts 🙂

  2. December 6, 2006 12:36 pm

    Heh Simba, Thanks :). Regarding the books, I can always lend’em if you want to read–>

  3. Lindsey M permalink
    March 22, 2007 10:23 pm

    Just look for Tagore on ProjectGutenburg, the full play is there.

  4. Alicia permalink
    April 3, 2007 6:11 am

    Just thought you should know, I did a project on Chitra, and found out that its actually quite a feminist play. The end is actually ambiguous. You dont know if Arjuna is saying “im filled with joy that you are Chitra” or “I’m too busy to take a wife”, depending on how its staged, the play takes a very different meaning. Basically, what Tagore wanted was to let the audience reflect on the role of women in society, especially since Chitra changes herself to become what Arjuna wants. hope this changes your opinion of the play for the better!

  5. কিঞ্জল permalink
    April 18, 2010 7:22 pm

    Hi, I am glad you are enjoying Tagore. Do try his magnum opus Gora sometime, it’s considered the first authoritative novel of modern India, very Tolstoyian in its scope. About Chitra, perhaps it will alter your judgement a little, to know that it’s essentially a story from Hindu mythology – the Mahabharata, which Tagore plays around with and tries to suit to a modern early 20th c somewhat feminist perspective. He gives Chitra a voice and lets her articulate her position, and her willingness to be taken on as an equal partner with Arjun. As for the silly teenagish fantasy for wanting to change oneself to catch a man’s attention, it was part of the original Mahabharata episode, and though silly one sees a lot of it happen in real life. 🙂

  6. vinitha permalink
    November 30, 2012 9:26 pm

    i love dis play

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