If you have heard this song – it will either give you goosebumps or make you cry – for sure. One of the most tear-jerking songs I have ever heard in my life, it belongs to the film Kabuliwala (basically a dry fruits and cloth merchant). I am sure that for most of you, the name will ring a bell, for we all read the story back in school. A gut-wrenching tale of an honest-to-god man from Kabul who leaves his country to earn more money in an alien place and befriends a little girl who makes his world come alive with her innocent companionship.
Now, there are two films by the same name, one Bengali and the other is Hindi. Of course, both are based on Rabindranath Tagore’s book. But what you probably may not know is that the little girl in the Bengali film is Sharmila Tagore’s younger sister. And it was the Bengali film in 1956 that was the inspiration for the Hindi film of the same name, five years later.
Oh, I also believe Sharmila Tagore is the great grandniece of Tagore. It all runs in the family, I suppose. The protagonist, Balraj Sahni, in my opinion was the finest choice to play the role of the pathan. It so happens that he was a teacher of English and Hindi at Tagore’s learning institution – Shantiniketan – perhaps the reason behind the choice.
Kabuliwala was Bimal Roy and Salil Choudhary’s tenth project together in eight years. In fact, Salil’s foray into Hindi films was first made possible by Bimal Roy with his film Do Bigha Zameen, another masterpiece.
Back to my favourite song, I found out that Bollywood’s most revered villain, Pran, was moved to tears when he heard this song. You may not know that Pran belonged to Sindh and he came to India after the Partition. See? If it can give the scariest man the boo-hoos, then no one else is a match. ———————–>> That’s what he probably looked like when he heard the song.