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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Sharmila Tagore: Life Goes On Screened at Wembley Park by Tongues On Fire

Sharmila Tagore celebrated 60 years in Indian Cinema with a special Tongues On Fire screening of ‘Life Goes On’ as part of the ‘UK Asian Film Season’ at Wembley Park.

The veteran actress was commemorated today ahead of the film’s screening.

Known for accomplished works in Hindi and Bengali cinema, Tagore started work in 1959 with acclaimed director Satyajit Ray in his cinematic masterpiece, Apu Sansar (The World Of Apu).

Through her illustrious career, she has received two National Film Awards and two Filmfare Awards and was one of the highest paid actresses in the 1970s era of Indian cinema as one of the industry’s foremost icons.

A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Tagore has previously led the Indian Film Censor Board and was one of the International Competition’s Jury Members at Cannes Film Festival 2009.

In 2013, she was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India.

Featuring some of the most celebrated luminaries of Indian cinema, Sharmila Tagore, the late Girish Karnad and Om Puri, Life Goes On is a drama inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear.

Sharing a few words on the movie, Writer/director, Sangeeta Datta expresses:

“I’d like to thank Tongues On Fire for screening the film during the ‘UK Asian Film Season’ at Wembley Park.

Life Goes On is a very special film for many reasons and I’ll just spell out a few of them.

When I first wrote the script it was at a time of global unrest and violence… Post 9/11 and London Bombings.

It was the first time I started palpably feeling a sense of Islamophobia around us – things which we never felt so much in our phase at a certain point.

That really sharply brought up this idea of identity/migration.

It was largely around bringing back tolerance and diversity.

I adapted Shakespeare’s King Lear but in that template, I wrote the story of the mother (Manju – played by Sharmila ji herself).

Besides being a nurturing figure, she upholds this idea of love and tolerance. It creates a sense of utopia which all of us are striving for today.

We are also here celebrating Sharmila Ji’s 60th year in Indian cinema. I’ve always found it remarkable in how she has managed this trajectory of art-house cinema.”

Reflecting over her experience of working in this family drama/social film, Sharmila ji conveys:

Sharmila ji says: “I’d like to thank Tongues On Fire for making this effort. In fact, this is the first time somebody is formally addressing my 60 years of working in the industry.

I really enjoyed working on Life Goes On. We worked in a very happy atmosphere – it didn’t actually feel like work.

Plus, working with my daughter Soha and playing her mother in the film was also a lovely experience.

Soha has expressed her happiness in having this movie as part of her filmography.

Sadly, Girish Karnad has left us but he was a great man and really contributed towards the definition of what it means to be an Indian artist. I ask myself that sometimes.

I suppose that Satyajit Ray’s craft is also created and rooted in India but yet it was universal.

Well, I thank you all for coming here today and I hope you enjoy the film.”

Tongues on Fire has presented a specially curated selection of six films that celebrate South Asian cinema across multiple genres and languages as part of Wembley Park’s Summer on Screen season.

Other titles also included Karwaan, Hamid, Dhh, KD and Movies Memories Magic.

The free, outdoor screenings from deck chair seating in Arena Square, set against the dramatic backdrop of The SSE Arena, Wembley, are taking place until 23rd July.

Anuj Radia
Journalist and film enthusiast.

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