That Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore is a bright sun in the Indian literary horizon no one doubts. But introduce cinema into the discussion, and most draw a blank.
For, unknown to the masses, Tagore is not just one of the most cinematically adapted writers of all times, but despite minimal direct involvement with the medium, has left such an indelible impact on different branches of cinema that its sphere of influence only grows with time.
Most of his novels, novellas and short stories have found their cinematic interpretation in close to 100 films in different languages globally, most notably Bengali. Besides these there would be literally hundreds of films where the branch of music he pioneered called Rabindra Sangeet, has played an integral part.
In many cases, his songs and even poems have inspired complete films.
Thus, though there are a few writers worldwide whose works have been adapted more widely than Tagore's (most notably Shakespeare), there is perhaps no one who has influenced and touched cinema in so many different ways, without really touching or getting involved with cinema.
Tagore in the silent era
Tagore's work found cinematic depiction even before the advent of the 'talkies'. These include: Manbhanjan (1923), Bisarjan (1929), Bicharak (1929), Giribala (1930), Dalia (1930) and Noukadubi (1932), based on different stories by Tagore. This adaptation in the silent era thus speaks volumes about the visual quality that Tagore's 'written' stories evoked.
Sadly all of them are lost to posterity.