Rabindranath Tagore’s timeless classic Kabuliwala, telling the story of the fatherly love a middle-aged Afghan man has for a little Kolkata girl, will be made into a film again in Bengali after over six decades, with Mithun Chakraborty in the lead role.
Tapan Sinha first put the story, written in 1892, into celluloid in 1957 keeping the original name, which also earned a cult status. Now, after 66 years, director Suman Ghosh (Aadhaar) will be making a Bengali movie again based on it.
“I will enact the role of Rehamat, who has been immortalised in Tagore’s writing and have started making notes, beginning my mental preparations [for the character],” Mithun, 72, said.
The 1957 film had legendary Bengali actor Chhabi Biswas as the protagonist. But Mithun said he will interpret the character in his own way.
“This Kabuliwala will have no similarities [with the earlier film],” Mithun told PTI on the sidelines of a recent event.
The national award-winning actor’s latest Bengali film Projapoti is running in packed houses even 100 days after its release.
“Projapoti has collected Rs. 11 crore in 100 days across West Bengal,” Mithun said.
Srikant Mohta of production house SVF, which is helming the new Kabuliwala film will be shot in Kolkata and if possible, Afghanistan, this year.
“We will like to retain the period element of the film. It will not be set up in contemporary times entirely. But everything is in the director’s court. We think Mithun da could be the right person for this role,” Mohta said.
It will be directed by Suman Ghosh, who had earlier worked with Mithun in his 2012 movie Nobel Chor.
In Tagore’s story, Rahamat, a middle-aged man comes from Afghanistan to Kolkata to sell dry fruits door to door and lend money. He bonds with one of his patron’s five-year-old daughter, who reminds him of his own child whom he had left back home.
The story also inspired Hindi projects.
In 1961, a film directed by Hemen Gupta was made, featuring Balraj Sahani in the lead role. Another one was Bioscopewala starring Danny Dengzongpa. The 2018 movie was directed by Deb Medhekar.