Gala poetry reading

Gala Event: The Story of Gitanjali

On Sunday 23 September, as the first part of the Brussels charity gala film premiere of his film version of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s dance-drama Chitrangada, Obhi Chatterjee will be directing a one-hour show called The Story of Gitanjali to mark the 100th anniversary of the English Gitanjali. The show features thirteen poems from the collection of poetry which brought Tagore into the international spotlight and led to him winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913.

Obhi is looking for actors to read these poems on stage (one poem per actor), interspersed with a narrator and live songs by Indian singers and musicians. English and French subtitles, as well as images related to the narrative, will be projected on a screen above the stage.

To highlight Tagore’s cross-cultural appeal and his integrationist philosophy, each poem will be read in a European language other than English. The actors/languages for which he already has actors on board or in mind are French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Hungarian, as well as possibly Polish and Slovak. If you are a native speaker and are interested in participating, please contact Obhi at . He has outlined the idea behind the show on his blog:

More information

The poems in the Gitanjali are numbered from 1 to 103. Obhi has posted links to the online versions of the Gitanjali he has found so far in his blog post (English, French, Spanish and Dutch). The poems in the script are numbers 44, 35, 18, 74, 49, 1, 63, 57, 15, 97, 56, 3 & 96 (in that order). You can choose which poem you would like to read, provided that it has been translated into your language (whether it is freely available online or as a book). Only the last poem has to be in English, to match the quotation which goes before it.

Practical details

Location: Gold Hall, Square Brussels (at the foot of the Mont des Arts, between the Old England and Brussels Central Station).

Dress: It will be a charity gala event and so each actor should wear either national costume or black tie/gala dress. The actors will be given a Tagore-style, batik ceremonial scarf to be draped over their shoulders during the performance.

Time involvement: the one-hour show will be from 8pm-9pm, preceded by a stage rehearsal from 4pm-6pm. Apart from the stage rehearsal with all the actors, singers and musicians, Obhi would like to meet each actor at least once in the coming weeks for an audition and to rehearse their cue individually.

Charity: 50% of any profits from the evening will be donated to Santiniketan Sishutirtha, an orphanage/school in Tagore’s home town which is run according to Tagore’s educational philosophy  ( For more details, see .

Reimbursement: either € 100 and a packed dinner for the actor, or two complimentary tickets including champagne and Indian dinner. Your choice.

Other: the live show will be filmed and relayed to audiences in other venues (possibly including museums, libraries and colleges in North America), as well as being recorded for future use. Performers will need to sign a standard performer consent form (see attached). The formal organiser of the event is Inner Eye Ltd, the UK company of Kaberi Chatterjee who stars in and produced Chitrangada and the other two films in the Tagore dance film trilogy.

Context: The Story of Gitanjali will be followed by a 20-minute interval, after which the world premiere of the film Chitrangada will be shown. Before The Story of Gitanjali and the film, there will be a welcome champagne and, ideally, an Indian ‘walking dinner’ in the foyer.