Plot outline: This film is based on a short story by Rabindranath Tagore. Rahmat Khan is a trader from Afghanistan who has come to Kolkata leaving his family and in particular his little daughter Rabiya. In Kolkata he befriends a little girl called Minnie in whom he finds a reflection of his own little Rabiya. Then suddenly Rahmat gets into a brawl and is sent to prison. He comes out after 8 years and goes to find Minnie. He finds a 14 year old about to get married - Minnie whom he cannot recognise and who does not recognise him. He suddenly realises that his own daughter may not recognise him either. Minnie's father dips into the budget meant for the wedding and gives him some money with which he sets out for his home and to Rabiya.
Comments: This was the second film made by Tapan Sinha (The first was Upahaar with Uttam Kumar). It is also the film that made him a household name.
A simple tale of a father's love for his little daughter and the tranfer of that love to another little girl. It is a love that transcends borders of race, religion and language. The hallmark of the film is the way it sticks to the central theme.
I think it is a brilliant piece of direction. Tapan Sinha does not let the story dissolve into needless theatricals. The emotions are simply expressed with a sensitivity that tugs at your heartstrings. Sinha has always been a master story teller and this film tells you why.
Watch the film too for its music by Ravishankar and the restrained but evocative acting by Chhabi Biswas in the central role. Overall a lovely little film.
The statistics are as follows:
Name of Film: Kabuliwallah
Awards: Two National Awards 1956 (India), Silver Bear (Berlin) for second best film 1957; Special award for best film music at Berlin 1957; Nominated for Golden Bear for best direction.