Movies

The Junoon for The Actor, Shashi Kapoor

I vaguely remember the lanky Shashi Kapoor in his tacky Kurta Pajama with a glitzy waist-coat and a cap jumping and singing, “Hum ko.. tum pe.. pyaar aya….” It was from the movie Jab Jab Phool Khile (1965. This is when Raja (Shashi Kapoor) realizes he loves Rita (Nanda), a rich tourist visiting Kashmir. It wasn’t until 1997 when I first saw the film. That year, I had just turned 7.

A delightful and a heartwarming love story, this genre summed up the 2/3 of Kapoor’s entire filmography. He stared in over 170 films in his lifetime, few of which he produced himself including one of my favorites, Junoon (1978).


Junooniyat for Shashi Kapoor

Shashi Kapoor in Junoon

Shashi Kapoor in Junoon

I never knew I would write a piece on the actor someday I least bothered to know about when I was growing up watching all the Hindi films. I was barely making out of Grade 10 and the only films I had watched of Shashi Kapoor were; Do Aur Do Paanch, Namak Halaal, Waqt, Pyar Kiye Ja, Jab Jab Phool Khile and Shaan. Till then, I had only seen him second to Amitabh Bachchhan, Shatrughan Sinha or some other lead actors. I least cared to watch a film specifically for Shashi Kapoor. The first time he caught my attention was only in Deewar (1975) in his angsty role of a moral cop fighting the immoralities of the society and against his own brother. His famous dialogue from the film, “Mere pas Maa hain!” stuck with me for a while. What a swagger he carried? What a visual Punch!

I slowly started growing a taste for Kapoor’s kind of acting. His mannerisms (swinging his limbs in tacky dance numbers), his way of romancing the leading ladies, and the way he always elongated the last word of his dialogue with a smirk, stuck with me.

I believe I was in Grade 12 when I first saw Junoon (1978). It was produced by Kapoor himself and was directed by the famed parallel-cinema filmmaker Shyam Benegal. Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Jennifer Kendall, and Sushma Seth respectively were wonderful in the film, however, it was Shashi’s performance as Nawab Javed Khan which marvelously drove the entire story to the climax.

My favorite scene from the film is when Javed and Firdaus (Javed’s mistress) are sharing the bed. They are in a conjugal, yet Javed’s mind is elsewhere. When Firdaus reaches out and grabs his penis to arouse him, he starts gasping for air. The nonconformity starts showing on his face while he languishes and starts making a gesture seems like he’s about to erupt. And, so he does. He gives out a loud shriek of remorse. The scene cuts into the black.

The buildup of the entire scene is as such; the entire nation is in the war against the Britishers. The mutiny of 1857 raised the whole band of nationalists and army comprising of soldiers and commoners, yet Javed couldn’t bring himself to fight against the colonists but his household battle. His willingness to marry Ruth Labrador, a British girl, crumbles under Firdaus’s will to disallow the second betrothal of her husband. He starts living with a guilt which slowly builds up into cowardice as he’s unable to convince either his wife or Ruth or himself. He starts considering himself an impotent. Being felt like an impotent can have a devastating effect on a man with an arrogance like that of Javed Khan.

 

Junoon, till this day, remains my favorite Shashi Kapoor film. I adore him for bringing such a humongous project, actors and director on board to carve out the National Award-winning film.

On his other films

Shashi Kapoor in In Custody

Shashi Kapoor in In Custody

It didn’t take me long to get the hang of Junoon and Shashi Kapoor. I instantly fell in love with that man. Naseeruddin Shah couldn’t stand out in the film for me like he did, although, Naseer Saab is my all-time favorite actor. By that time, I also had gotten my hands on The Householder (1963), Shakespeare Wallah (1965), Satyam Sivam Sundaram (1978), Kaala Patthar (1979), Bombay Talkie (1970) and In Custody (1993). Out of all these, only the performance in In Custody really stood out for me.

Kapoor portrayed the aging Urdu poet Nur in In Custody who’s chasing his former fame and lamenting on the loss of Urdu language. He grows tauntingly self-obsessed and obese while only reciting his esteemed poems to his close peers.

Here’s an Urdu prose from the opening credit of the film composed by Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

Aaj ik harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayal (My mind is groping for a word today,)
Madh bhara harf koi, zeher bhara harf koi (A word as sweet as wine, as bitter as poison)
Dil-nashin harf koi, qeher bhara harf koi (A word that bewitches but is full of rage)
Aaj ik harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayal.. (My mind is groping for a word today)

Harf-e-ulfat koi dildar-e-nazar ho jaise (A word as desirable as the lover herself)
Jis’se milti hai nazar bosa-e-lab ki surat (Whose glance is like a kiss on the lips)
Itna roshan ke sare-mauja-e-zar ho jaise (As radiant as a sea of gold)
Sohbat-e-yaar main aghaaz-e-tarab ki surat (In the company of a lover, where love is blossoming)
Harf-e-nafrat koi shamsheer-e-ghazab ho jaise (A hateful word cuts like a terrible sword)
Aaj ik harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayal..(My mind is groping for a word today)

Ta abad shahre-sitam jis’se tabah ho jayein (A word that could destroy this city of sorrow forever)
Itna tariq ke shamshan ki shab ho jaise (As dark as the grave)
Lab pe laoon to mere honth siyah ho jayein (So dark that my lips turn black)
Aaj ik harf ko phir dhoondta phirta hai khayal…(My mind is groping for a word today)

I disliked watching him as the second lead afterward. I wanted more of Shashi Kapoor and less of others. Although most of the films he did a lead role in were quite successful, his films as second-lead were some of the greatest hits of Hindi cinema. I wonder, would Amitabh Bachchhan be him today if it wasn’t for Shashi Kapoor supporting his act through and through? I can only wonder.

A person true to himself

I was more used to watching the suave and handsome Shashi Kapoor that I almost forgot he had gotten really old. The time had gotten the best of him and he was an ailing man by the time I had watched most of his films. I read somewhere about Prithvi Theater of Mumbai and how his daughter ‘Sanjana Kapoor’ manages the overall. It was great to know that the man who had spent so much time in films had decided to offer his time and knowledge on building a theater to fulfill his father’s dream of continuing the craft and offering a home to theater-actors.

 

A bit on his personal life

Shashi, who belonged to the second generation of the Kapoors of Hindi Cinema, was the youngest son of the theater and film legend Prithvi Raj Kapoor. He worked in his father’s caravan-theater as a mere staff. He slowly worked his way up like his brothers did and made a name for himself. It wasn’t until the theater started crumbling down that he decided to do films.

His theater life was difficult as he pointed out in an interview, “My father called us majdoor, not jagirdars.” He also found his future wife, Jennifer Kendall sitting among the audience watching the Prithvi’s play one day. He called their first meeting, “it was love at first sight.”

Geoffrey Kendal, Jennifer’s father, and the Shakespeareana theater manager was against their marriage. Shashi’s elder brothers helped a great deal to get them married. Later, Shashi and Jennifer starred in many films together, namely; Shakespeare Wallah, Bombay Talkie and Junoon. He made 36 Chowringee Lane (1981) starring Jennifer in the lead.

Unlike many tumultuous marriages of actors, they shared a special bond which lasted until Jennifer’s untimely death in 1984. The man who was known for his suave look and star-like persona started losing his physical appeal. He grew distant from films and put on weight. And, the rest is history!

The Gutsy Shashi

He was the first Hindi actor to go global. He acted in a total of 12 English films. Although he couldn’t make a big impact among the foreign audience, he did manage to make a dent throughout the world. He helped introduce the real India to the global audience.

Pretty Polly, Heat & Dust and Sammy & Rosy get laid are few of his foreign ventures.

 

It was a devastating reality to face when he passed away in 2017. It was harder to accept that the man I had been looking up to 2/3 of my life was no more. The first thing I did after learning about his demise was finding an old copy of Junoon and re-watching it.

I wish to keep him in my memory as the Nawab Javed Khan; with his tall Pathan stature, ragged turban, thin mustache, longsword, and prideful gait.

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A scene from the film

The Courtesans of Bombay (1983)

The title “The Courtesans of Bombay” may sound nostalgic because the fervent tradition of entertainment which takes its root to the palaces of Maharajas and Shahanshahs has fazed out entirely. It had it’s not so glory days in the late 20th century when it was replaced by films and modern forms of entertainment.

The British docudrama directed by Ismail Merchant in 1983, as his second directorial project, offered insight into the life of modern-day courtesans living in their timid apartments and earning daily bread through entertaining the customers. While dancing and singing was the major highlight of their career, most of the performers resorted to prostitution to earn a better living.

Unlike popular courtesan based films, Umrao Jaan (1981) and Pakeeza (11972), the Courtesans of Bombay offered a less-romantic insight on the life of the so-called lowly-born denizens.

About the Film

The film was produced by Merchant-Ivory Productions and distributed by BBC’s Channel 4 and New Yorker Films.

Shot entirely inside Pavan Pul, a small settlement in the middle of Bombay (Mumbai). The entire tenement is occupied by the courtesans, their family, and related personals, accounting for 4,000 – 5,000 tenants in total. Almost 12 tenants living inside a dingy room.

The film begins with the scene of a dawn when everyone is either sleeping or about to start their early chore. What took place earlier that night and the following nights is vividly presented on the latter part of the film. Throughout the day, the courtesans either spend time either ruminating inside their apartments or playing cards and practicing music and dance. Most young girls, who are trained to become the professional courtesans, practice the craft of dancing and singing with much awe.

As mentioned in a scene, “Here (Pavan Pul) is the only place where the birth of a girl child is a cause of celebration but the other way around,” and rightly so, because, the males in the society spent their day idly while girls earn the bread for the family.

A young girl is basically trained in Kathak and Hindustani classical music, along with the modern form of dances to lure in the customers. Once she reaches an age, a benefactor arrives with loads of money to take her away with him.

Saeed Jaffrey, Zohra Sehgal, and Kareem Samar are the only professional actors in the entire film who have played the characters of the real-life people living inside Pavan Pul.

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

Most courtesans complain of the dwindling numbers of connoisseurs, while others remain adamant in their pursuit for the excellence in dance and music. Most courtesans are also trained in Bollywood and modern dance forms to appeal the new-age customers.

Almost everyone living in the quarters shares the similar dream of making it big in the entertainment industry or films, while none except one has ever made it out. Despite the fluctuating income, cheap customers and an uncertain career, they exemplify the passion for becoming better performers. As for almost everyone, the challenge remains in earning daily bread, while the pressure entirely sums upon the shoulders of a single female in the family.

How Courtesans came to be?

Popularly known as ‘Tawaifs’ in India, the courtesans were known to cater the nobility during the Mughal era. They were admired for their niche skills on dancing and singing. The tawaifs were highly praised and supported by the royals and nobles alike. While sex was incidental, tawaifs weren’t known for being indulged in prostitution, unlike the popular misnomer.

Tawaif or Nautch Girl

Tawaif or Nautch Girl

After the decline of the Mughal empire, the tawaifs mostly performed for the British officer and Nawabs. Most experts opine that classical art was rather vulgarized and was rendered useless during this time, however, the popularity of the art spread like wildlife and people started accepting the form. Kathak, Ghazal, Musayra (Shayari), Urdu poems, Thumri and other forms of North Indian music were part of daily life.

When the nobles vanished, so did the glory of the tawaifs. The courtesans lost benefactors, hence, most of them resorted to private shows to not-so-noble customers and rampant prostitution. The tradition took its last breath in the late 20th century when it was overtly shadowed by films and modern music.

There still are some remnants of the tradition, however, it remains only as a showcase of the bygone culture.

 

The second narrative on Ramayana

Sita Sings the Blues (2008)

As the title suggests, it is the tale of melancholy and sadness narrated by Sita in a musical rendition of the same.

The emergence of feminism in 70s revealed many grave issues faced by women to the media and films; and it not only talked about female rights but it challenged the prevalent ideas based on the thousands of years of history, philosophy, arts and literature which were curated by men. A female perspective on these ideas told an entirely different story than we have heard or believed for ages.

Sita Sings the Blues Poster

Sita Sings the Blues Poster

Nina Paley, the director, producer and writer, retold the ancient tale of love(less) story of Rama & Sita sketched by Valmiki some 1000 years ago, which has already been retold by numbers of men through generations. The film dealt with the time-span of Sita’s life; from the moment she got betrothed to Rama to the event of her final catharsis.

It is presented through the use animation, however, it definitely isn’t a cartoon for that matter. The choice of medium Nina chose offers an entirely refreshing view to the story. It uses different style of animation to separate and identify parallel narratives. The first narrative is the literal translation of Ramayana’s events. The other two narratives respectively deal with the discourse on Ramayana and the relation of the ancient events with the popular culture of today.

The film extensively uses Annette Hanshaw’s jazz songs, which were popular in the radio in 20s and 30s. A huge sum of the entire budget was used only to acquire the rights to her songs.


The Originally Distorted Story

Ramayana was originally penned down by a Brahman sage, Valmiki, who is believed to have lived roughly between 4th Century – 2nd Century BCE. (As mentioned in Quora.com which has recently been invaded by amateur historians, hence, the exact date of Valmiki’s birth remains a mystery) The actual events probably happened just before Valmiki’s birth or during his lifetime.

As many websites, historians and texts mention varying dates of the events, where some go as far as 7,000-20,000 years before, the proof of actual date of the event is now improbable. (Most historians distorted the date over the time to establish Hinduism’s early prominence among all the religions). The first Ved was written roughly between 1700 -1100 BCE during the Vedic Sanskrit era, hence Valmiki couldn’t have lived before 1st century BCE. The original Pali leaf on which Vamiki wrote the story was discovered in 11th century.

The original translation goes as such;

Rama and Sita

Rama and Sita

The story of Ramayana follows the life of Rama and Sita. Sita, a princess of Mithila Kindgom, is betrothed to Rama of Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh). Shortly after their marriage, King of Ayodhya banish them to 14 years of exile. During this time, Ravana, the mighty Tamil King from Sri Lanka, takes interest on Sita and abducts her. He takes her forcefully to his kingdom and confines her in the palace garden. He demands to marry her, however, on the moral ground attested by Sita, Ravana drops his decision for a while.

Meanwhile, Rama summons the army of men and apes alike and takes Sri Lanka by force. Eventually, almost all the male members of Ravana’s family die in the battle. Ravana’s brother Dushasana takes Rama’s side and helps the latter to avenge his pride by killing Ravana.

Shortly after the end of the battle, Rama demands Sita to prove her chastity. Sita does so by walking through the flame unburnt. Ram accepts her, however, only to banish her later when his realm starts questioning her chastity. Sita later gives birth to her twin sons. When Rama finds out about them, he arrives to take them away with him however, he demands Sita to prove her chastity again to be eligible to become his queen. In a state of melancholy, Sita demands the mother Earth to digest her up inside her womb, hence, seeking relief from the world. The mother Earth appears and taker Sita away, leaving Rama and her two children all by themselves. 


Nina Paley’s Version

The authenticity of the events is questionable, however, over the time the story of Rama and his valor swept through South Asia. Many hymns and literature were inscribed to support the theory. The story of Sita however has mostly been about her perseverance and sacrifices which is used by men to glorify the portrayal of a generic Hindu women; a great sacrificer, a person with zero choice of rights and a basically gender biased citizen.

Nina’s version portrays the truth Sita had to face whilst Rama was busy examining his valor. She offered three different narratives; the first narrative is the literal adoption of Ramayana, the second narrative discourses on the events and its criticisms, while the third narrative presents her own life experiences similar to Sita.

The first narrative is entirely composed using intelligently selected cliparts depicting the popular images of the characters. The second narrative uses shadow puppet and vector graphic animation to portray a modern rendition of the characters. The third narrative uses squigglevision technique of animation to portray her own life experience.

Insight on Ninas version

Nina protests against the men-driven-world for fabricating the history as their will, and to have degraded women and their choices for ages. Alike Sita, Nina is abandoned by her husband which pulls her closer to the life and trials of Sita and the hard decisions she had to make to seek salvation.

She uses Greek chorus style of narration to discourse on the events of Ramayana and its consequences in the contemporary society. The whole discourse is funny yet insightful.

Although Rama hasn’t been portrayed well in the film, she drives her point through the real portrayal of Sita instead. In an interview with India-West, she did acknowledge that Lord Ram is not depicted well in the film. She added to the source: “No one has to like it.

She even offers an insight on Ravana’s perspective on abducting Sita and the events that followed. Although, it isn’t the major issue of the film, it does try to clarify the stand of Ravana to some extent.


You can find the complete film here,

Nina on ‘Sita Sings the Blues’

Court scene from "To Kill a Mockingbird'

Depiction of Racism in Cinema

I was one of many in my neighborhood and school to have called out name ‘bhaiya’ or ‘madhisey’ for the street vendors from Madhesh. It was the earliest misnomer I picked up from my own family and neighbors. It was easy blemishing someone’s identity by just refereeing them with an offensive name, but it never occurred to me then how those small incidents would impact my conscience years later.

It was easy growing up a racist; even throwing subtle racist remarks towards close friends with a laugh to hide it after. Once I got hold of what it feels like, it was harder growing up afterward. It was tough unlearning the things I learned. The phase of self-analysis and atonement began.

I never had a moral figure in my life, I only had elders and the mainstream Hindi films to look up to. And, I learned what they casually preached. To treat someone different on the basis of their color, language, accent, and occupation is a grave offense which often goes unpunished in our society. if it weren’t true, I should have been incarcerated long ago.


A depiction of Racism in Cinema

Films made on Racism or race-related issues find a deep place among niche audience, however, most treat them as just movies. Most of the time, they are often branded too controversial for their depiction of the bitter reality or are outright obliterated for being too offensive. Mostly because real historical portrayal brings unpleasant attention towards a certain class of people or group.

Segregation 1940s

Segregation during the 1940s

The earliest film ever made on the issue of racism didn’t come out until the mid-1950s, around the same time the American civil rights movement took the noble step. It took a while to bring the subject of African-Americans and other minorities into Hollywood. In contrast, these films aren’t only the reflection of the prevalent racism in America but the entire world where the racial minorities are expulsed by the society and the justice system. Racism is prevalent in Asian countries too and extraordinarily in larger number, however, we only have had few films that ever dealt with the issue.

To quote James Baldwin (American novelist and social critic),

I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.

When we talk about the depiction of racism in cinema, the earliest films that come to our mind are 12 Angry Men and To Kill a Mockingbird. Both of which are the finest example of films ever made depicting the prevalent racism in society.

12 Angry Men came out in 1957 and To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962. These two films are only 5 years apart from each other, however, the issue depicted in both the films resonates the sociopolitical strife made on the racial minorities. `The racial profiling and mistreatment of the minorities in America is largely the context for both the films.

Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is based on a book, by the same title, by Harper Lee which went to win the Pulitzer Prize. The film too went to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Both the setting of the book and the author emerges from Southern America in the 1930s, hence highlighting the prevalent social issues existing in the South. The story is inspired by the life of a young African-American man, Tom Robinson, who is falsely accused of rape of a young white woman. The accused is indicted and later killed while trying to flee the court. The movie came out the same year Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was jailed for his involvement in the civil rights movement.

“12 Angry Men” takes on the issue of a young Puerto Rican man falsely accused of a homicide. It closely follows the debate on indictment by the 12 jurors assigned for the trial. The story goes as such, “A young Puerto Rican man is falsely accused of killing his own father on the basis of few unreliable testimonies provided by the witnesses. The jurors base their judgments on the Reasonable doubt and accuse the man of the first-degree murder, however, one juror believes in the fairer trial for all and persuades others to give a thought before letting their judgment take over. What follows is a long debate on the man’s right for justice, along with reflection on the jurors’ biases and the justice system. The jurors reflect on their own lives and beliefs before deciding the fate of the young man, but it takes a lot of persuasion from one single man to make it happen. In the end, the accused is proven innocent and acquitted by the court.”

Unlike To Kill a Mockingbird, which is set in Alabama during the 1930s, the story of 12 Angry Men is entirely set in New York City, hence the outcome of both the stories differ. There were less likely chances of Tom Robinson, an African-American, ever being acquitted in the white-supremacist state. In an interesting theory, neither would the accused Puerto Rican from 12 Angry Men stand a chance of being acquitted if his trial was ever conducted in the southern state of Alabama. Here both the events are triggered by the supposed crimes committed by the person of a racial minority, and both the trails are conducted by the justice system led by white men.

The surprising similarity in both is that they have white male protagonists. Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird and Davis in 12 Angry Men, a lawyer, and an Architect respectively. Both are the highly regarded personals of society. Both the protagonists are well educated and serve as the downright moral hero of the story. They both advocate the civil rights and justice for the weaker class of citizens,

Although cinema has inclined upwards and many such sensible films have been made in the last 60 years, a colored male or female protagonists with strong moral characters have been seen only lesser. Few films with such an adjustment can only be seen in the modern era works of Ida Wells: The Passion for Justice (1989), Paul Robeson: Here I stand (1999) and Richard Wright –Black Boy (1994).

In the Context of Nepali Films

In Nepal, the racism existed since the creation of the first state. The prevalent Hindu hierarchy has attested the rudimentary practice of racial profiling and differentiation since the inception of the caste-based system. There are hardly any films in Nepal made on the discrimination faced by people on the basis of their race, caste or color, mainly because we mostly lack audience and filmmakers who can tackle such an overwhelming project with an assertive approach.

Most of the mainstream films made in Nepal tend to exploit the cliché and stereotypical constitution of the racial minorities but discourage it entirely. It still tends to be a fun-stock for the general audience, hence, there are less likely chances of sensible racism-countering films ever being made.

A still from Bioscopewala

Bioscopewala (2018)

Bioscope stands for a hand driven film projector, whereas wala is a Hindi word for owner or person. When we mix them both, it gives way to a someone who own or runs a bioscope.

Based on the short story of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Kabuliwala”, Bioscopewala is a contemporary rendition of the same but with essential changes to the backdrop of Kabuliwalah’s life and social milieu of the story.

Directed by Deb Medhekar, who puts his strong foot into cinema from advertisements through this film, Bioscopewala carries the overall essence of thoughtful cinema. It isn’t only the story of a foreigner and a small child, but the entire human relationships and complex emotions. By briefly portraying the Afghanistan’s terror state, it takes the story of Kolkata’s (Calcutta) meager locality and goes to the distant places where people face similar problems in life.


Review

Bioscopewala Poster

Bioscopewala Poster

Unlike Rehmun, a dry fruits seller from Kabuliwala, Rehmat Khan in Bioscopewala travel places with his hand-made bioscope projector showcasing clips of Hindi films to eager children and pedestrians. The original story dates back to 1892 when most of Indian subcontinent was still a part of British colony and Kabuliwalah was an economic migrant in India.

Rehmat Khan belongs to Hazara community of Shia Muslims in modern day Afghanistan. After facing constant oppression from major Sunni tribes and Wahabi militants, Rehmat migrates to Kolkata with two Pashtun women. Here he finds his new life as a Bioscopewala. He rejoices in sharing his cinematic experience with small children. Here he befriends Minnie, a Bengali girl of same age as his daughter killed by the militants back in Afghanistan. He sees his own daughter in her.

The story comprises the timeline from 90s till present. Minnie and Kolkata sees much upheaval in 25 years, however, the time is stuck for Rehmat when he is jailed for 20+ years. When he’s finally released, he finds solace in Minnie’s compassion however he cannot make of anything due to his deteriorating health and Alzheimer.

The film covers varied topics, such as; human relationship, communal violence and exodus, however, the core theme revolves around the expulsion of complex emotions, the understanding and concern for a fellow human being and lack of intrinsic value in relations. Director Deb Medhakar began where Tagore left off. He offers insight into the life of a migrant and what causes a person to change over the time. The story isn’t only of Kolkata or Afghanistan but the entire human settlements around the world.

Rafey Mehmood’s brilliant cinematography and Sandesh Sandhilya’s relevant background score lights up the entire film. It runs for a full 91 minutes, however, you do not get bored even for a bit, unless you’re looking for dance numbers or actions.

Synopsis

The film begins with Robi Basu (Adil Hussain) a famous photographer and middle-aged man, traveling to Afghanistan. Due to uneventful circumstances, the plane crashes killing the entire crew and passengers. Minnie (Geetanjali Thapa), Robi’s daughter, comes to know about it and rushes to the airport to find his whereabouts. After he’s pronounced dead, Minnie walks back home to find his Kaku, a housemaid, in grief.

In a state of hullabaloo, Minnie finds it difficult to cope with all the legal procedures. To her misfortune, a stranger lands up in her house; a 70 year old Rehmat Khan (Danny Denzongpa), a freed convict and an Alzheimer patient. She finds out that Robi had secured his custody upon his release from the prison, however, after his untimely death, Minnie has to deal with it. After some time, she recalls that the man is the same person she used to adore in her childhood, Bioscopewala. She tries to find out more about him, however, due to lack of information she isn’t able to find anything important. With the help of Kaku, she locates people from the life of Rehmat Khan and tries solving the mystery of his past life.

Alike her, Rehmat has a daughter back home, whom he hasn’t met for ages. Minnie tries consolidating his remainder life by traveling to Afghanistan and finding her whereabouts, however, in the process she unravels the past of Rehmat Khan’s life. His daughter was brutally killed by the hands of militants and his small home-run cinema burned down to ashes. Upon this, she knows Rehmat migrated to India to find peace and his bleak future.

When she finally returns back home, she finds Rehmat in a state of delusion from Alzheimer and old age. She tries convincing him that she found his daughter. In reminiscence of his early life in India, he sees his daughter in present day Minnie again and rejoices.


Bioscopewala (2018), Adapted from “Kabuliwala”

Directed by Deb Medhakar, Written by Sunil Doshi and Deb Medhakar, Produced by Sunil Doshi, Starring: Danny Denzongpa, Geetanjali Thapa, Adil Hussain and Tisca Chopra