By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | May 26, 2018
Rating: 4 / 5
The essence: Danny Denzongpa (for the first 60 minutes) dazzles you with his emotions, without even uttering a word. He draws you into his world, as you wonder what the grief is all about: A powerful performance that thunders across without much rhetoric. Gitanjali Thapa devours her role of Minnie with the intensity of Robert de Niro in Cape Fear. She takes you on a soulful journey (after she realizes who Rehmat really is), as her heart cries out for Rehmat and his loss and her need for a father figure. Bioscopewala is a tale well told and a movie worth a watch if quality cinema is your forte!
When you look through the layers of characters (and their stories), mulling over the movie throughout the night, you understand why Rehmat Khan (Danny Dengonzpa) risked his life whilst fleeing Afghanistan (after reaching relative safety), to retrieve his Bioscope machine! Unfortunately, Afreen (Tisca Chopra) who mentions this to Minnie (Gitanjali Thapa), who is restructuring Rehmat’s past, is unaware of the reason! Afreen and Ghazala were the ones who met with Rehmat on the way whilst they were fleeing Taliban-ruled Afghanistan and stayed together in Calcutta.
There are many ways to approach the heart of Bioscopewala, Deb Medhekar’s debut film. Herein lies the creativity of Medhekar, who has adapted Rabindranah Tagore’s Kabuliwala through his maiden film. You could see it through the eyes of Minnie, Robin Das (Adil Hussain), Minnie’s dad, Afreen and Ghazala, or even through the lens of Rehmat Khan! The film, however, is told from Minnie’s perspective.
Bioscopewala is a tale of two fathers and two daughters. It’s also a tale of suppression of creativity, and rising above the diktats. It’s also a tale of contrasting love of the two fathers: love for their daughter and love for their craft. While Rehmat runs a small cinema inside his home which gives his villagers a place to escape through fantasy, Robin is a successful fashion photographer in Calcutta who is upset whenever his five-year-old daughter walks into his room when he is working. Rehmat has his five-year-old daughter ‘Babyjaan’ always with him. The two are inseparable. Minnie and her dad have grown apart. The irony of their relationship is depicted when Minnie, busy at work, refuses to answer her dad’s call, who is on his way to Afghanistan. Like father, like daughter! Busy at work father, was always annoyed with his daughter.
Tragedy strikes: Robin’s flight crashes and Minnie has to suddenly deal with Rehmat, a convict, who her father has been trying to get freed from prison for the last 10 years. The intruder in her home, at the peak of her grief, upsets her. Add to it his Alzheimer’s and she is tearing her hair out. Slowly, however, she is drawn into his life and she realizes Rehmat is none other than her Bioscopewala, who she, as a five-year-old was very fond of, and who disappeared from her life as suddenly as he came.
Danny Denzongpa (for the first 60 minutes), dazzles you with his emotions without even uttering a word! He draws you into his world, as you wonder what his grief is all about: A powerful performance that thunders across without much rhetoric. Adil Hussain, in just one scene at the airport, encompasses his relationship with his daughter. He then appears in flashback to steer the story to its end. Gitanjali Thapa devours her role of Minnie with the intensity of Robert de Niro in Cape Fear. She takes you on a roller-coaster ride (after she realizes who Rehmat really is), as her heart cries out for Rehmat and his loss, and her need for a father figure.
Medhekar has rolled all his characters beautifully to leave an ache in your heart towards the end. At 94 minutes, he has stitched together a beautiful tale of love, longing and hope. There are flaws, but those are easily pardonable as the overriding emotions and the suspense of what Rehmat really knows comes to the fore.
Bioscopewala is a tale well told and a movie worth a watch if quality cinema is your forte!
Producer: Sunil Doshi
Director: Deb Medhekar
Star Cast: Danny Denzongpa, Gitanjali Thana, Adil Hussain