Tanvir Ka Safarnama, Ranjan Kamath’s warm and empathetic documentary film on Habib Tanvir and his troupe, Naya Theatre, impresses upon the viewer just why Tanvir is a living national treasure. Not many are possessed of extraordinary vision and fewer still have the courage and conviction to make it their life’s project. We find out that as an urbane young man studying drama in England in the 1950’s, Tanvir decided to return to Madhya Pradesh and stage plays with a cast and crew drawn entirely from the local rural populace.
Half a century later, wizened, bent and puffing away at his pipe, he is still at it. A constant presence by his side—and a fellow traveller in what must initially have sounded like an absurd enterprise—was his wife Monica, who passed away in 2005.
As Kamath tracks Tanvir, his wife and daughter, and the members of Naya Theatre over a period of two years—while they tour and bring Shakespeare, Brecht, Tagore, Safdar Hashmi and classical Sanskrit plays to villages and towns of central India, and venues in Europe—he brings alive for the viewer the spirit and camaraderie which animates all of them, and their deep faith in Tanvir and his unique endeavour.
One need not be a theatre lover to watch and enjoy this film. The smooth narrative flow of the 79-minute documentary and the lasting impression it makes on the viewer stand testimony to Kamath’s film-making skills.
For a DVD of Tanvir ka Safarnama, please contact Ranjan Kamath at: +91 9341 944490 (Cell)