TV Show Review | DD's Gora is an appreciable effort; Rated 3.5 Stars

Adgully | 1 Nov 2012
The true definition of a classic is its timelessness. A work of literature written a century earlier is a classic if it is as relevant today as it was when it was first conceived. Perhaps that is what differentiates first Asian Nobel Laureate and eminent author Rabindranath Tagore from his contemporaries. Almost everything he wrote in his lifetime is as relevant to the India of today as it was to the India of the colonial era. His second novel ‘Gora’ – arguably one of his best - deals with the debate between modernity and tradition with arguments both for and against traditionally accepted norms.
The novel was written over two years 1907 to 1909 and Tagore set it in the decade of the 1880s after the brutal reprisal by the British of the 1857 Uprising. Opposed to nationalism and fundamentalism of every kind, Tagore provides in ‘Gora’ a fascinating account of that time as well as the search for true liberation and universalism.
Gora premiered on Monday 29th October 2012 at 9.30 pm on Doordarshan. The channel was looking for a suitable manner to pay their tributes to the litterateur on his 150th birth anniversary and Gora seemed the perfect choice.
The story is set in Calcutta during the 1880’s. Gourmohan ‘Gora’ to his friends is a staunch orthodox Hindu – believing ‘his’ Hindu society can change only come after Indians end British rule. In this quest, he gives up friendships, relationships, and love to single mindedly pursue his idea of the ideal society. His father too a staunch Hindu is seen following Hindu rituals and customs with much fervour. His wife played by the versatile Joyshree Arora is not too happy with his ways and voices her opinion saying that he should take on more responsibilities as a householder. They are concerned about Gora’s (Gaurav Dwivedi) future and wish to see him settled in life. His father is reluctant to get him married into a Brahmin family. All the same they suggest that he pay a visit to their acquaintance Paresh Bhattarcharjee who has four daughters, all of marriageable age. Gora reluctantly agrees to his parents request. In the following scene we see men gathered to listen to a speaker glorifying the ideals of Rajaram Mohan Roy. He is Anandbabu. But protesters barge in to disrupt the meeting.
The scene then shifts to the residence of Paresh Bhattarcharjee and his family. Binoy (Gora’s best friend) arrives at their residence for a social visit. Gora honouring the commitment made to his  parents too arrives there The discussion veers around to philosophical topics and the evils prevalent in the society. Anandbabu also makes an appearance and he is criticized by Gora for his beliefs and ideals. Gora is very adamant and refuses the family’s hospitality. Paresh’s wife is not too pleased with Gora’s staunch beliefs. But she takes a liking for Binoy (Prabhat Raghunandan) whom she is sure will make a perfect husband for one of her daughters. She asks her daughters to display their various talents to impress Binoy. The very purpose of Gora’s visit is defeated when he shows absolutely no interest in any of Paresh’s daughters. His only concern centres around the evils prevalent in the society and he voices his opinion with regard to the same.
The serial attempts to accord primacy to socially relevant and meaningful content which informs, educates and entertains its audiences. As seen with most of their programmes, Doordarshan this time too  have come out with a  ‘content with a difference’ through the serial Gora.
Most of the questions raised in this dramatized version of the novel are relevant today. It deals with issues such as the role of lower castes in society , the dispossessed and also the role of women in nation building. The disconnect between urban educated and rural peasants too is brought to the fore. The educated classes discuss issues of societal ills and think of ways to eradicate them, whereas the peasants are still engaged in a fight for their daily survival. Hence the economic divide is apparent despite progress made in  society . The debate between tradition and modernity is relevant today as much as it was during the pre –independence era.
Through this dramatization we learn of Tagore’s notion of freedom and how freedom is impossible without human liberation. It can only be achieved by moving out of all boundaries of caste, class and gender.
The backdrop of the pre-independence era has been portrayed well and one is easily transported into a different time zone. The credit goes to Suchismita Dasgupta, the stylist, who has been able to aptly recreate the period of the 1880s the era in which  the story is set.
Produced by the renowned filmmaker, curator, distributor, exhibitor and producer Gargi Sen, the series has been directed by Somnath Sen who is known for his work in cinema. It has been filmed by B. Chaki and scripted by Sreejaya Radhakrishnan.  The music has been composed by Dabbu and Sanjoy using Tagore's prolific music of that period sourced from Tagore's own inspiration, the Baul music of Bengal.
Gaurav Dwivedi as Gora has made a sincere effort to get into the skin of the character and has definitely succeeded in doing so. The supporting cast and the dialogues rendered by them too are very authentic. The direction is superb. The cast consists of the highly talented and extremely disciplined actors from the Film and Television Institute of India. They include Gaurav Dwivedi,  Prabhat Raghunandan and Swati Sen including other artistes like Chandrahas Tiwari and Anuya Bhagwat. The cast is embellished with the presence of the versatile Joyshree Arora as Gora’s mother.
A point to be noted is the frequent ad breaks which proved to be a setback to the otherwise enjoyable viewing experience. A break in the continuity hampers the viewer’s interest in the serial. But it goes without saying that Gora is an appreciable effort on the part of the makers who have done full justice to the serial.
Gora scheduled for telecast every Monday and Tuesday at 9.30 pm. is a must watch serial for the young and old generation alike. It is educative, entertaining and informative and thus recommended for one and all!

Adgully gives “Gora’ a 3.5 out of 5 stars!
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