The trailer of Bioscopewala, the new update on Rabindranath Tagore’s Kabuliwala from 1892, has been released, fittingly, on the birth anniversary of the Nobel laureate. Unfortunately and unwittingly, it has also coincided with the news of bomb explosions and feared casualties in Kabul.
In the modern-day adaptation of the short story, we hear of warn-ravaged Afghanistan, where five-year-old Mini’s beloved Kabuliwala is from. It’s the story of their unlikely friendship. Tagore’s Mini has grown up to be a mod fashion photographer (Geetanjali Thapa) in present day Kolkata, and the middle-aged Afghan dry-fruit here shows films to children (Danny Denzongpa, who seems perfect for the role).
We see sepia-tinted images of a traditionally attired Kabuliwala leading a merry band of children in the lanes of Calcutta. A folk ballad (composed by Sandesh Shandilya) plays. With his box-like projector, kaleidoscope and glass balls, it was Kabuliwala who taught young Mini how to tell stories.
Tagore’s story is as much about their friendship as the heartbreaking results of growing up; in Bioscopewala, Mini goes in search of the man “who was an important part of her life”.
The iconic short story has been adapted for the big screen before: Tapan Sinha’s Bengali film which starred Chhobi Biswas in 1957, and the Balraj Sahni-starrer Hindi one directed by Hemen Gupta, in 1961. The new film is directed by Deb Medhekar and produced by Sunil Doshi, and also features Tisca Chopra and Adil Hussain. It’ll release on 25 May.
Watch the trailer here: