Kabuliwala: Tagore’s poignant tale of filial love staged

A scene from the Hindi play ‘Kabuliwala’ staged at Abhinav Theatre on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh
A scene from the Hindi play ‘Kabuliwala’ staged at Abhinav Theatre on Thursday. —Excelsior/Rakesh

Lalit Gupta

JAMMU, Mar 18: Viraj Kala Kendra presented the Hindi play adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous story Kabuliwala on the fourth day of the ongoing Festival of Plays 2020-2021, at the Abhinav Theatre, here today.
Based on the theme of filial love, the deep love that fathers have for their children, the play revolves around Rehman, the Kabuliwala, from Afghanistan, who comes to Calcutta to sell his merchandise. He develops a bond with a small Bengali girl Mini, as she reminds him of his daughter back home. After receiving a letter from home about his daughter’s illness; he decides to leave for his country and goes to collect his debt from a customer. Infuriated by the refusal of the dishonest debtor, Rehman ends up stabbing the guy to death. When in his characteristic and simple fashion, Rehman states the truth in a matter-of-fact way, the judge, pleased with Rehman’s honesty gives him 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment instead of the death sentence.
Upon his release from prison, Rehman goes to meet Mini and discovers that the grown-up Mini is about to get married. When Mini does not recognize him, he realizes that his daughter must have forgotten him, too. Mini’s father gives Rehman the money for travel out of the wedding budget to which Mini agrees; she also sends a gift for Rehman’s daughter.
Adapted and directed by Rajneesh Kumar Gupta, today presentation was successful in communicating Tagore’s message of finding common humanity like filial love despite all of the differences the people may have.
Mannat Bhau as the child Mini won the heart of the audience with innocent frolics and bubbling energy. Dimple Sharma enacted the role of honest Kabuliwala with ease. He successfully maintained the ‘Pushto’ laden accent and also the body movements suitable to a burly Pathan. Vipin Gupta as Mini’s father and narrator with his deep sombre natural voice was able to draw the attention of the audience to the spoken lines.
Since adaptations have their own lives, today’s performance was mainly structured around the imposing set comprising a central wall in relief suggesting Mini’s house and its roof approached by two stairs from the sides and one from the front. The use of light to highlight the psychological analysis of human situations by Mini’s father enhanced the emotional effect. Other actors of the cast were Rekha Sharma, Tarun Charak, Rishab Manhas, Suhani Rathore, Harshita Gupta, Chahat Gupta, Indira Sharma, Jiteshwar Kumar, Vikas Bhagat, Devim, Rabhika, Sana and Miksha. Music was designed by Surinder Manhas, make-up by Dr. Kamal Sharma, sets by Virji Sumbli, costumes by Rekha Sharma, lights by Rajneesh Kumar Gupta.
Tomorrow, the Kashmiri play ‘Sare Jahan Se Accha’ will be staged by the J&K Bhoomi Human Welfare society.