Deb Medhekar directed Bioscopewala is an adapted version of Noble Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore's short Bengali story 'Kabuliwala' which the maestro wrote in 1892.
The film revolves around two central characters Rehmat Khan played by Danny Denzongpa a bioscope street entertainer from Kabul, Afghanistan engaging the masses with vintage cinema footage of good old times and Minnie Basu played by Geetanjali Thapa an international film student by profession who visits India post the sudden demise of her father in the Air Asiatic flight crash on its way to Afghanistan. It is Adil Hussain as her father playing a pivotal cameo with some impact and he is a famous photo-journalist by profession. Filed a written petition by Minnie's late father to the court for an old man who is served life-imprisonment with murder charges and Minnie is irritated by his responsibility. Sooner or later she recalls her childhood memory and it is the same man Rehmat Khan because of whom she learned to tell stories and owes her present to this man. ''Why did my father wanted to make his last visit to Afghanistan''? questioned Minnie to herself following an investigation that whether Rehmat Khan really killed someone. It is yet another cameo from the film, Wahida played by Tisca Chopra a pretty Afghani refugee who does boxing fights for her living. The narrative holds the audience attention all the time and we witnessed the most adorable visuals of Danny's interactions with the kids. These flashback scenes are high on emotions and the audiences feel the connect thoroughly. The story unwinds in an intriguing fashion and we are not giving any spoilers away because this is a worthy silver screen watch for sure.
After watching the film, people would ask this serious question, Danny Denzongpa why don't we often see you in films? please do more project dear Danny Sir!!. What a stellar performance Denzongpa has lovingly mesmerized us with. Outplaying this role of a tall handsome Pathan and getting under the skin of its character so well with its appearance that was full of minute details and the Afghani dialect was surely taken care off.
National award winner Geetanjali Thapa was expected to manoeuvre the finest performance and her Bengali accent made the character look surreal and serene. She played an emotional film-maker hunger to meet the truth after all. It was overall a Danny Denzongpa and Geetanjali Thapa show. Tisca Chopra's cameo was mild but spot on. She actually looked like a fair Afghani lady migrated in the vicinity of West Bengal. The film is sensationally meaningful and showcases Rehmat Khan's love and passion for Cinema. The most beautiful father-daughter bond we have ever seen in a film. Bioscopewala is truly a gem of a work, Soul seeking masterpiece that fills our eyes with tears leaving the theatre with the true smile on our face. The cutest footage of innocent Afghani kids is all that is framed in our memory lane.
Talking about the technicalities. Way superior cinematography is the Match winner in this short 131-minute film. Whistleblowing ovation to the director of Photography Rafey Mehmood who went on to capture cinematic sequences of picturesque Afghanistan and the crowded vicinity from West Bengal. Screenplay by Deb Medhekar and Radhika Anand is evoking and admirably irresistible. The level of engagement was surprisingly way better than expected. The head of production design Priya Suhas has ensured the authenticity of location and the bombed and broken homes from Afghanistan was laid rock solid.
Although Geetanjali and Danny shined all way long, the film defines teamwork at its core. Dive into the memory lane of your own Childhood and experience this feeling-full film which deserves all your attention.