Popular Bollywood and Hollywood star Priyanka Chopra will now be donning the hat of a producer once again for her upcoming Bengali-Marathi film Nalini, which is based on Nobel Laureate Rabindrath Tagore’s first love.
The production house of Priyanka Chopra and Dr Madhu Chopra, Purple Pebble Pictures (PPP) has been previously produced some regional cinema like Bam Bam Bol Raha Hai Kashi (Bhojpuri), Ventilator (Marathi) and Sarvann (Punjabi). Nalini would revolve around the obscure love story of Rabindranath Tagore’s first love- Annapurna Turkhud, a Maharashtrian girl and is set in the 1800s India during the freedom movement.
We all are very well versed with Tagore’s stories and poetry, it still bewitches us when we flip through his magnificent body of work. But not many know about his first love that bloomed in the year 1878.
Before leaving for England to pursue his studies, Rabindranath Tagore (then 17) stayed in Bombay with the family of Dr Atmaram Pandurang Turkhud, an eminent physician and founder of the Prarthana Sabha. Satyendranath Tagore, elder brother of Rabindranath was a friend of Dr Atmaram, who had a daughter named Annapurna (Ana). Being an elder and concerned brother, Satyendranath wanted his younger brother to imbibe some English mannerisms from Atmaram’s England-returned daughter Annapurna, before embarking upon a trip to England himself.
With the progress of every class the intimacy between Rabindranath and Annapurna increased. On the continued insistence of Annapurna, Tagore gave her the name 'Nalini' and made her immortal in a poem he wrote.
Though the love bloomed, fate had something else written for them. It is said that Rabindranath’s shy nature never turned this relationship into marriage and later Anapurna married a Scot named Harold Littledale, Vice Principal of the Baroda High School and College. The couple then left for Britain, and Annapurna died in 1891 at Edinburgh at the age of thirty three.
Another story, according to Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson in their book The Myriad Minded Man, suggests that Annapurna’s father paid a visit to Calcutta with his daughter in early 1879, when Tagore was in England. While Atamaram was still indecisive about the marriage, Debendranath (Rabindranath Tagore’s father) rejected the match.
It was believed that Annapurna still continued to use the name Nalini and also named her nephew Rabindranath.
On the other hand, Tagore also composed a prose drama, Nalini in 1884. This fragment of a song was believed to be dedicated for Nalini.
Shono Nalini kholo gou ankhi
Ghum akhono bhangilo na ki
Dakho tumari duar porey
Shokhi esheche tomari Robi
Shuni probhater gatha mor
Dakho bhengeche ghumer ghor
Dakho jogot utteheche noyon meliya
Nuton jibon lobhi
Tobe tumi go sojoni jagibe na ki
Ami je tommar kobi
Oh! Nalini open your eyes
Is sleep still to abandon its ply
See standing at your door
The rising sun’s first score (Robi synonym for sun)
Hearing my morning song
See all around the shroud of sleep has gone
With eyes wringing the whole world rise
Lusting for a new life
But friend you sleep, what beget
Am I not your poet
We are certain that this story will make for a memorable on-screen adaptation!