He is, perhaps, India's greatest writer, Rabindranath Tagore, whose words, music and philosophies extended well beyond his homeland.
Best and simply known as Tagore, this poet, essayist, novelist, musician commanded international acclaim. In 1913, he was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Transcending the communications and transportation limitations of an evolving world, Tagore's spiritual messages moved the most influential minds of his time,so says producer, Kushal Bose.
"In a series of arguments and discussions and debates with Einstein that was broadcast on German radio in the 1930's, he was able to get on equal par with Einstein," Bose said.
Einstein and Tagore looked at the values and differences "between science and art, between philosophy and reasoning and logic."
It's the Einstein brand that remains a modern staple while Tagore is hardly known, even in India. Kushal Bose looks to reverse that shortcoming with his multi-media production--"A Humble Offering-Reflections of a Poet's Journey Through Life." Bose brings his ambitious effort to the Drama Theatre at UB's Center for the Arts on Sunday at 7pm.
"My vision for producing this play was to free Tagore from the 20th Century, to open the eyes and ears of today's generation to the beauty and power of Tagore's messages. I think he's more relevant today than he was 150 years ago when he was born."
Bose argues that Tagore stood ahead of his time with the three main principles of his words and music. His stories featured strong female characters long before women's rights had an established role in the modern world. He called for Freedom of the Mind with less focus on classrooms and more on the lessons of nature, and as Bose says, Tagore lived a life with a belief in diversity.
"Throughout his life he integrated Scottish tunes and Czechoslovakian tunes and Polish compositions into his music. He was a great musician," Bose said of Tagore's 2,220 songs.
"In these songs that he composed, he integrated many western folk songs to make sure that we understand and appreciate other cultures."
Tagore's words and talents inspired the national anthems for India and Bangladesh. He was at odds with Nehru and Gandhi as they developed their vision for the future of an independent India. Few historical figures can rival Tagore's widespread influence on politics, literature, music and spiritualism.
Produce Kushal Bose looks to capture that enormity in his production. He employs high-resolution video, interpretive dance and music to tell Tagore's ascendant story. A recorded introduction by Sharmila Tagore, the actress Bose calls "the Elizabeth Taylor of India," adds to the experience.
"I didn't want them (the audience) to only read Tagore. I wanted them to live Tagore. That's why I call it an immersive experience. That's why the end of the show, we open the audience to questions and answers. I want them to be involved and to debate and discuss. I want them to want to know more about Tagore"
"A Humble Offering-Reflections of a Poet's Journey Through Life" appears at the Drama Theatre at UB's Center for the Arts on Sunday at 7pm.