The True Story Behind ‘Thinking of Him’!

Thinking of Him is an Indo-Argentinian film directed by Pablo Cesar and based on the friendship and mutual respect between Rabindranath Tagore and the Argentinian writer and activist Victoria Ocampo. The screenplay was written by Jeronimo Toubes and produced by Suraj K Kumar.

The movie was released in theatres across India on 6th May 2022, on Tagore’s 161st birthday. It runs for 1 hour and 47 minutes long. It was also released in Argentina, in Spanish, under the name Pensando en él, which also means ‘Thinking of Him’.

Is Thinking of Him Based On A True Story?

Thinking of Him takes place across two timelines, the first set in 1924 and black and white, covering the friendship between Rabindranath Tagore and Victoria Ocampo, and the second in color, portraying a contemporary setting as an Argentinian teacher named Felix visits Shantiniketan to learn more about Tagore’s teaching practices and meets Kamali, who he seeks out for healing at her ashram.

While the latter story has been created for the film, the connection between Rabindranath Tagore and Victoria Ocampo was a very real one, and that particular storyline of the film is based on actual events.

Thinking of Him Story

Is Thinking of Him Based On A True Story?
Thinking of Him

The movie covers two storylines, surrounding two Indo-Argentinian relationships. The first, and based on truth, is the friendship between Victoria Ocampo and Rabindranath Tagore. Victoria Ocampo, Argentinian feminist, writer, and activist, read a French translation of Gitanjali, a collection of Tagore’s poetry, and she felt inspired by his work. Later, in 1924, Tagore visited Buenos Aires, when he fell ill; Ocampo, out of her respect for him and his work, offered to host him while he recovered. At the time, Rabindranath Tagore was 63, and Victoria Ocampo was 34; their relationship with each other, while deep, was an intellectual and spiritual one. Ocampo referred to Tagore as the cause of her spiritual awakening.  Tagore ended up staying at Ocampo’s place for 58 days, and the two maintained their friendship after he left despite being in entirely different countries. They would send each other letters and made sure to keep in touch, right up until Tagore died in 1941. In fact in 1930, 6 years after their first meeting, Victoria Ocampo would help Rabindranath Tagore set up his first-ever art exhibition, in Paris.

The second storyline follows the fictional Argentinian teacher, Felix, who has grown guarded against working at a juvenile reformatory and visits India to learn more about Tagore’s teaching methods and to receive healing at an ashram. Here he meets Kamali, and their relationship mirrors that of Tagore’s and Ocampo’s in a contemporary setting.

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Thinking of Him Cast

Is Thinking of Him Based On A True Story?
Thinking of Him

Victor Bannerjee, famed actor, BAFTA nominee, and Padma Bhushan awardee, plays Rabindranath Tagore, and his performance has been praised by viewers as the star of the show. His role as Dr. Aziz in A Passage to India makes him recognizable even to non-Indians. Equally, well-loved was the portrayal of Victoria Ocampo by Eleonora Wexler, an Argentinian actress with a broad filmography and an ACE (Award for Cable Excellence) Award.

Héctor Bordoni (Obrero Autopista in Moebius, Guasco in The Flower) plays Felix, and Argentinian teacher inspired by the life of Rabindranath Tagore to travel to India. Kamali, the healer he goes to, is played by Raima Sen(Amrita Mukherjee in Baishe Srabon, Neelam in Mai: A Mother’s Rage)

The film was directed by Argentinian director Pablo César, who is famous for encouraging co-productions with other countries. He is the only Latin American filmmaker to co-produce with African countries and the first Argentinian director to co-produce with India. His first co-production with India was for the movie ‘Unicornio, el jardín de las frutas’ (lit. Unicorn, the Garden of Fruits) in 1996. During filming for Thinking of Him), César said:

“It was a unique experience to shoot in India. I have known India since 1994, although it is difficult to know all of India. But over the years I have understood many things about the idiosyncrasies and behavior of people from many places in India, a country that I admire.”

The screenplay was written by Jerónimo Toubes, who has worked with Pablo César before as the lead writer in his movies Hunabku, Orillas, and more recently, El Cielo Escondido.

Where To Watch Thinking of Him?

Thinking of Him received a theatrical release across India on May 6th and can be caught in theatres. As of yet, the creators and producers have yet to confirm whether the movie will be added to OTT streaming platforms eventually.

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