Suman Ghosh's Kabuliwala is a beautiful film that should never be missed.
Story: Rahmat (Mithun Chakraborty) leaves behind his little daughter Razia and mother and comes to Kolkata to earn money. He meets little Mini (Anumegha) in the City Of Joy. In Mini, Rahman finds his daughter.
Review: Director Suman Ghosh had two primary challenges – adopting a classic by Tagore and recreating something that is considered to be one of the iconic films in Bengal directed by none other than Tapan Sinha. He took on both the challenges with simplicity sans an iota of imposed extrapolation. He built up the film simply and that is the magic of the film.
However, all this would have fallen flat had there been no Mithun Chakraborty. It was none other than Chhabi Biswas who made Rahmat’s character iconic to the Bengali audience. Mithun neither imitated nor negated his predecessors. Instead, he became Rahmat in every frame. Through him, we see how an Afghan from the serene land of Jalalabad grapples with the cacophony and lack of trust in a big city. The contradictions and confrontations of Rahmat and his fellow Afghan residents’ lives are delicately captured by the ace actor through his celebrations and struggles. Mithun makes every tearjerking moment real with Rahmat’s simplicity, principled life, and paternal love.
Along with Mithun Chakraborty, Abir Chatterjee and Sohini Sarkar are also convincing as Mini’s parents. Abir is fabulous in portraying a kind, empathetic, and liberal man. Sohini captures the dilemma of a mother concerning a man from a faraway land delectably. Little Anumegha leaves no stone unturned to melt your heart with her cuteness. However, not just the adorable appearance, she does a first-class job in portraying Mini. Besides, Sumit Samaddar and Gulshanara Khatun are also seamless in their presence. Their performances are in perfect harmony with directorial plans. The actor who plays Rahmat’s friend in Kolkata deserves a special nod.
On the other hand, Kabuliwala showcases a landscape that is not often captured in Bengali cinema. The serene scenic beauty of Rahamat’s village is wonderfully captured by Subhankar Bhar. Even the ’60s Kolkata is very smartly presented. Old neighbourhoods in the city have been transformed into a period set convincingly. The songs are extraneous but never transgress the believable limits. Background music, on the other hand, blends seamlessly with the film.
Verdict: It takes a lot of courage to choose a story that has strong sentimental stature in viewers’ hearts. Suman Ghosh takes up a brave challenge and comes out with flying colours. It is an out-and-out Mithun Chakraborty film and he fascinates the audience in every frame. Kabuliwala is a beautiful film that should never be missed.