Geetanjali Poems of a Young Girl A poignant film by Arun Chadha (1995)
She was called Geetanjali, after the book of poems by Rabindranath Tagore. Geetanjali literally means "song-offering". She prayed to live up to this name and she did. A child of separated parents, Geetanjali, died at the age of 16, suffering from neuroblastoma, a fast-growing cancer of brain. Throughout her illness, Geetanjali's pain & anguish, conflicts & confusions and her profoundly philosophical vision of life and death found expression in her poems. She scribbled on anything and everything that she could lay her hands on, sheets from exercise books, brown paper wrapping, even on medical bills. The poems were tucked away under the mattress, behind the sofa-cum-bed, inside cushion covers, in books and magazines.
Months after her death, the first pages were discovered. Painstakingly compiled by her mother, Geetanjali's poems are an amazingly mature chronicle of a life cut short. They narrate the story of a girl who can feel the isolation of approaching death, yet does not want to "fall by the wayside and wait to be picked up by death". Her poems lend voice to her suffering, to her intense loneliness but there is no sense of despair. For despite her wounds, Geetanjali loved life deeply. She had a strong will to live. She grappled with her illness for months till her weak body racked by pain finally succumbed. There was no self pity, no horror of the ultimate darkness. Only a quiet acceptance of pain & sorrow, and an implicit faith in God. Some of Geetanjali's poems on death reflect the wisdom of a sage and the vision of a saint.
Based on a few of her poems, the film tries to weave her personality through her own thoughts and writings, to portray her character in a docu-fiction format.
A few stills from this film are presented here.