Will Rabindranath Tagore's Kabuliwala find his way home?

Danny Denzongpa in Bioscopewala

Even though Bollywood ventures are a big draw in Afghanistan - with many residents having picked up the language by bingeing on Hindi films aired on their TV sets - tense political climates have led to the closure of several theatres in the area. Inevitably, Hindi ventures are only infrequently aired in Afghanistan theatres. Writer-director Deb Medhekar, however, hopes his upcoming film, Bioscopewala, is among those that gets a nod for a cinematic outing.

Medhekar's interest in the country stems from the plot of his film, based on Rabindranath Tagore's classic tale, Kabuliwala. The short's adaptation, featuring Danny Denzongpa and Geetanjali Thapa, revolves around a dry fruit seller from Kabul, who comes to India to sell his wares. He befriends a young girl, who reminds him of his daughter living in Kabul.

Deb Medhekar

In his letter written to Dr Shaida Abdali, Afghanistan ambassador to India, Medhekar has urged for the facilitation of a screening in the country. While he is uncertain of getting permission for a theatrical release, he is hopeful his film will screen in schools, colleges or other public platforms.

The director tells mid-day, "While making the film, I hoped that, someday, it would screen in Afghanistan. The film traces the roots of the Bioscopewala back to his home country. I thought it would be befitting to screen it there. I'm keenly awaiting a positive response. It would give me satisfaction, [a belief] that, in the end, the Bioscopewala does find his way back home." He says his letter states that Afghanistan has been portrayed in a positive light in the film.

In the past, several Hindi films have been shot in Afghanistan, including Feroz Khan's Dharmatma (1975) - which also starred Denzongpa - Amitabh Bachchan and Sridevi-starrer Khuda Gawah (1992) and Kabir Khan's Kabul Express (2006) among others.

Also read: Danny Denzongpa: I howled in the theatre when I first saw the film Kabuliwala

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