Kabuliwala touches the heart of the Bengali community

Rabindranath Tagore’s Classic debuts in Auckland

Shopan Dasgupta
Auckland, January 25, 2024

The famous Bengali film, Kabuliwala was shown in New Zealand for the first time last week.

The screening at Capital Cinema in Auckland on January 21, 2024, organised by the Probasee Bengalee Association of New Zealand,  was an event to remember.

The idea to do something that has not been done before was what our Executive Committee did while brainstorming almost a year ago.

It was then that the idea of screening a Bengali Movie began to gain ground.

Then we started examining the possibilities of screening works by award-winning producer, and director Satyajit Ray or a movie starring West Bengal’s movie idol Uttam Kumar.

As we all are aware, this is the digital era. Long gone are the days of very long film reels and many old movies are yet to be converted into the digital format.

The Executive Committee learnt the process of procuring, marketing and screening a movie as it began the project. We are thankful to Bengali Cine Club Australia Pty Ltd, distributors of many Indian films. We are grateful to our members who attended the screening.

Despite various challenges, we were pleased that the project was successful with 72 people attending the screening (against the theatre capacity of 132).  With schools yet to reopen, many parents are either away or tending to their children at home.

We screened the 2023 version of Kabuliwala, starring Mithun Chakraborty.

Kabuliwala is relevant even today as it drives home the important message of embracing humanity before judging people based on their nationality, caste or religion.

There have been two classic Kabuliwala films, one in Bengali starring Chobbi Biswas and another in Hindi with Balraj Sahani.

We will utilise more opportunities in the future to watch such meaningful and classic Bengali cinema in New Zealand.

About Kabuliwala

Kabuliwala is a Bengali short story written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1892.

The story is about a fruit seller from Kabul, Afghanistan. He was a Pashtun named Rahmat but is popularly known as Kabuliwala.

He visits Calcutta (now Kolkata) each year to sell dry fruits. While living in India, he develops a filial affection for a five-year-old girl, Mini, from a middle-class aristocratic family, who reminds him of his own beloved daughter back home in Afghanistan.

The main theme of this story is that humans, no matter what their nationality, are all the same, as symbolised by filial affection, and the deep love that fathers have for their children. In the story, there are three examples of filial affection, the narrator and his daughter Mini.

He had a physical altercation with a person while collecting debts and was imprisoned. After several years, he was pardoned and was released from jail.

He goes to Mini’s house on her wedding day, but she does not recognise him. Her father, however, gives him money so that he can visit his daughter in Kabul.

Reactions to Mithun’s Kabuliwala

Probasee Bengalee Association

We are truly elated at the success of this event, bearing in mind that we had no clue at the start as to how to organise a Bengali film. We thank the Bengali Cine Club Pty Limited, Capitol Cinema and its management and staff, our members and everyone who came to watch the film. This project has given us immense confidence to screen more Bengali movies in the future.

Pavitra Roy (President)

The story of Kabuliwala is a poignant reflection on the connection that transcends borders and cultures. It beautifully captures the bittersweet essence of human relationships, leaving a lasting impression on its readers.

Kabuliwala is a heartwarming and emotional tale that will tug at your heartstrings and leave you with a renewed appreciation for the power of human connection.

Mini’s innocence and curiosity bring light to Kabuliwala’s world, reminding us that even in the smallest of hearts, there is room for immense compassion and connection.

Mithun Chakravarty’s portrayal of the title role was heartwarming and captivating. He breathed life into the character, leaving a lasting impression in our hearts forever.

Director Suman Gosh has well portrayed the roles of Mini’s parents, characterised by Abir Chatterji and Sohini Sarkar.

Sudeshna Giri

Excellent rendition of the old classic Bengali movie Kabuliwala, written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, with a modern outlook by Mithun Chakraborty over Sri Chhabi Biswas in 1957. The experience of the maiden screening of a Bengali movie experience in Auckland was exciting.

Rahul Sen

Many thanks to the Probasee Bengalee Association of New Zealand for bringing us the first-ever screening of a Bengali movie. Director Suman Ghosh, my college batchmate, economist and an acclaimed filmmaker, has delivered a timeless classic story that I had watched many years ago during my school days.

The movie is relevant to the current day and drives home an important message of embracing humanity first. We hope to see more meaningful films like Kabuliwala.

Mala Bahaduri

Congratulations to the Executive Committee of the Probasee Bengalee Association for their first screening of Kabuliwala in Bengali. It is an excellent movie with wonderful performances, especially by Mithun Chakraborty, Abir Chatterjee, Sohini Sarkar and Anumegha Kahali as little Mini. Director Suman Ghosh has our appreciation and we will be happy to support such ventures of the Association.

Shopan Dasgupta is the General Secretary of the Probasee Bengalee Association of New Zealand based in Auckland. The above is the edited version of his report.

Share this story

Related Stories

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement