22 September 2007 | Chrysanthepop
the story of an unusual relationship between an Afghan vendor and a little girl
Based on the legendary Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore's famous novel of the same title, 'Kabuliwala' tells the story of Khan, an Afghan who travelled all the way to India (leaving his mother and daughter behind) and a little girl Mini. Khan comes to India with the intention to earn some money in order to pay debts and to save his home in Afghanistan. He's initially homesick until, one day, he meets Mini. At first, Mini is afraid of him (because of the rumours against Afghani Pathans) but at the same time curious. Gradually, her fears wear off. Khan sees her daughter in Mini and brings her presents. The two develop a friendship. But, there is so much standing against them.
The main focus of the story is the unusual relationship between Khan and Mini. It's beautifully portrayed thanks to the writing and the performances. Balraj Sahni as Khan is outstanding. He's loud (without being over the top), energetic and at a same time brings a sweetness and sincerity to Khan's persona. Child actress Sonu is splendid. She acts her part well and is loud too but in a more real way (compared to other kiddy performances) and she doesn't try to be too cute. Sajjan, who plays Mini's father, makes his presence felt while the rest of the cast are alright.
The culture of the Pathans is also nicely portrayed in the scenes between Khan and his house-mates. While some of the songs are very good, a few could have been avoided like Mini's dream sequence (but that song was probably intended for kids).
'Kabuliwala' is a down-to-earth movie about an unusual but tender relationship between a homesick vendor and a little girl.