There is a wise saying that the passage of time may dim moving images but cannot diminish the intensity of human relations.
The eternal poet, writer, musician and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore went to great lengths and excelled in highlighting aspects of human relationships in his writings. I have since my school days cherished and admired the great guru of literature’s short stories and KABULIWALA tops the list of my favourites. I was pleasantly surprised when the other day I happened to watch BIOSCOPEWALA on an Indian TV channel.
The co-writer and director of Bioscopewal, debutant Indian film maker Deb Medhekar rather innovatively and skilfully adapted Tagore’s story and wove it into an emotionally rich spectacle of the bond between fathers and daughters.
Tagore’s Kabuliwala was about a Pushtoon from Kabul who travels to Calcutta (Kolkata of today) selling dry fruits and builds a special fatherly bond with a Bengali child who reminds him of own daughter back home. Director Medhekar has swapped the almonds and walnuts for a cranked up bioscope.
The movie Bioscopewala gives a contemporary treatment not only to parental love but also provides an effective documentation of humanity across cultural and racial boundaries. Rehmat Khan the Bioscopewala uprooted from his homeland by fundamentalist Taliban militants finds solace, livelihood and emotional sustenance in Kolkata entertaining and pleasing young children by playing bioscope shows for them.
He meets Minni who reminds of his daughter back home and a happy relationship develops. Rehmat also becomes a close friend of Minni’s father. The girl grows up and goes to France for further studies as the story unfolds but has to return when her father dies in a fatal plane crash.
Minni’s quest to discover more about her father’s death and the whereabouts of his Bioscopewala friend makes the movie an all-time interesting watch.
The movie has the doyen of character and villainous actors Danny Dengozpa in the title role and he does full justice by literally going under the skin and soul of the character of Rehmat.
Minni played by Geetanjli Thapa gives a gem of a performance as she embarks to uncover the reason of her father’s travel to Afghanistan, the plane crash and Rehmat’s real daughter thus helping to solve the puzzle of human relationships.
Adil Hussein as Minni’s father and Tisca Chopra also give good credible performances. Lyricist Gulzaar’s song Bioscopewala in the voice of singer K Mohan is admirable.
The movie, an effective portrayal of parental love, loss, bereavement and redemption on one hand and glory of human relationships across religious cultural and racial borders on the other is a must watch for movie lovers. If you missed it do yourself a favour by obtaining a copy of the video recording from your favourite library or dealer. You will love it.