Bioscopewala (transl. Man with a bioscope) is an Indian Hindi-language drama film directed by Deb Medhekar, and produced by Sunil Doshi. The film stars Danny Denzongpa and Geetanjali Thapa in lead roles and had its world premiere at the 30th Tokyo International Film Festival on 28 October 2017.[1] The film is an adaptation of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore's 1892 short story Kabuliwala and released on 25 May 2018 in India.[2] The official trailer of the film was released on YouTube by Fox Star Studios on 8 May 2018.[3] Bioscopewala has taken forward the timeline of Kabuliwala, the original story written by Rabindranath Tagore, from the 19th century to somewhere in the 1980s during the Taliban regime and changed the profession of Rehmat, the central character, from a dry fruit seller to a man who goes around showing films to children through his bioscope.[2]

Bioscopewala - Poster.jpg
Directed byDeb Medhekar
Produced bySunil Doshi
Screenplay byDeb Medhekar
Radhika Anand
Story bySunil Doshi
Deb Medhekar
Based onKabuliwala by Rabindranath Tagore
Music bySandesh Shandilya
CinematographyRafey Mehmood
Edited byDipika Kalra
Handmade Films
Star India
Distributed byFox Star Studios
Release date
Running time
91 minutes[1]


Bioscopewala is the story of Rehmat Khan (Danny Denzongpa), a man from Kabul, Afghanistan who used to show films to children through his Bioscope. Rehmat befriends a little girl named Minnie who is of the same age as his own daughter and one day he disappears from her life. Many years later a grown-up Minnie (Geetanjali Thapa), who is now a documentary film-maker living in France, comes to know about her father, who died in a plane crash while traveling to Afghanistan. As Minnie tries to figure out the reason why her father made that trip, she comes across Bioscopewala, the man who used to tell her stories when she was a child.[4]




In the year 2009, it was reported that French-Afghan filmmaker Atiq Rahimi was planning to adapt Rabindranath Tagore's short story Kabuliwala into a film but the project did not materialize.[5] In the year 2012, it was reported that Sunil Doshi was collaborating with Atiq Rahimi to make Kabuliwala, which was an adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore's short story of the same name, and Amitabh Bachchan was going to play the title role.[6] The film, which had its screenplay written by Atiq Rahimi and Jean-Claude Carrière, was set in modern-day Kolkata where a refugee from Afghanistan befriends a 5 year old Bengali girl and was supposed to be filmed in Kolkata and Jaisalmer for a period of 60 days beginning from June 2013. Apart from Amitabh Bachchan, Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani, Sara Arrjun, M.K. Raina and Rajat Kapoor were also supposed to be a part of the film.[7][8][9] But the project got indefinitely delayed. In the year 2016, Sunil Doshi approached Ram Madhvani with the idea of adapting the story of Kabuliwala to the screen who in turn directed him towards his colleague Debashish Medhekar, who was an ad-filmmaker at Equinox. Debashish says that, "When Sunil said to do this film I felt it was everything that I wanted to do in my first feature – it had children, magic realism, nostalgia, travel, and says something about the world we live in and how people are suffering."[10]

In 2016, Deb Medhekar's Bioscopewala was selected to be a part of the Work-in-Progress lab at the 10th NFDC Film Bazaar (an annual event where filmmakers present a rough cut of their projects for review and feedback by a panel of international film experts) held in Goa during 20–24 November 2016.[11][12][13]


Director Deb Medhekar says that for the role of Minnie Basu he was not just looking for a good actress but also someone who resembles Meena Kumari, as a result of which he finalized Geetanjali Thapa for the role. Deb says, "I am a big Meena Kumari fan and I think no other actress can look as authentically beautiful and Bengali as Meena Kumari did in ‘Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam’. So when I was casting Mini in ‘Bioscopewala’ as an adult, I cast Geetanjali Thapa because she has an uncanny resemblance."[14]


Song by K Mohan
from the album Bioscopewala
Released17 May 2018 (2018-05-17)[15]
LabelZee Music Company
Composer(s)Sandesh Shandilya
External audio
  Song on YouTube

There is only one song in the film, titled Bioscopewala. Sung by K Mohan this song was composed by Sandesh Shandilya while the lyrics were written by Gulzar.

Critical receptionEdit

Reza Noorani of The Times of India praised the performances of Danny Denzongpa and Geetanjali Thapa and gave the film a rating of 3.5 out of 5 saying that, "At one hour and 31 minutes, the film doesn’t waiver much and wraps up the loose ends perfectly."[16] Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 saying that, "Danny Denzongpa's Performance Is First-Rate In This Well-Crafted Sparkling Little Gem."[17] Prasanna D Zore of Rediff gave the film a rating of 3 out of 5 and said that Bioscopewala "is a sweet film, soothing to the eyes, and weaves a story of human suffering cutting across national boundaries."[18] Rajeev Masand of News18 called the film "a smart, moving adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Kabuliwala." The critic praised the performances of all actors with special mention for Danny Denzongpa and concluded his review saying, "Make time for Bioscopewala, it’s a deeply affecting film, imbued with a lingering love for cinema."[19] The Indian Express praised the performances of Danny Denzongpa and Brijendra Kala but felt that the film failed to tap its complete potential and gave the film a rating of 2.5 out of 5.[20] Sweta Kausal of Hindustan Times praised the adaptation as well as the performances of all actors and gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5.[21] Shrishti Negi of News18 gave the film a rating of 4 out of 5 and said that, "In a rising atmosphere of cultural intolerance, hate and violence, director Deb Medhekar’s Bioscopewala promises hope and manages to convey the more heart-warming emotion of humankind."[22]


  1. ^ a b "Asian Feature - Bioscopewala - World Premiere". Tokyo International Film Festival.
  2. ^ a b "Danny Denzongpa is today's version of Rabindranath Tagore's Kabuliwala in Bioscopewala trailer". Hindustan Times.
  3. ^ "Bioscopewala Trailer - Danny Denzongpa - Geetanjali Thap". YouTube.
  4. ^ "At Tokyo Film Fest, Tagore's Kabuliwala Transforms into Bioscopewala". News18.
  5. ^ "'I wrote my screenplay from Kabuliwala's point of view'". The Times of India.
  6. ^ "Amitabh Bachchan to star in Kabuliwala". Screen Daily.
  7. ^ "The Kabuliwala is back!". Mumbai Mirror.
  8. ^ "The BIG Switch: BigB to play a small role in Kabuliwala". India Today.
  9. ^ "A New Kabuliwala". The Indian Express.
  10. ^ "Kabuliwala 2.0". Mail Today.
  11. ^ "Rare languages, genre films light up Film Bazaar Recommends". Screen Daily.
  12. ^ "Film Bazaar 2016: Five debutants' works chosen for 'Work-In-progress' lab". Hindustan Times.
  13. ^ "Seven projects selected for Film Bazaar". The Times of India.
  14. ^ "Bioscopewala director cast Geetanjali Thapa as he wanted Meena Kumari look-alike for film". The Indian Express.
  15. ^ "Bioscopewala (Title Song) [From "Bioscopewala"]". iTunes.
  16. ^ "Bioscopewala Movie Review". The Times of India.     
  17. ^ "Bioscopewala Movie Review : The well-crafted film is wonderfully served by a fine cast". NDTV.     
  18. ^ "Review: Bioscopewala is a sweet film". Rediff.     
  19. ^ "Bioscopewala Movie Review: Deeply Affecting Film With Lingering Love For Cinema". News18.
  20. ^ "Bioscopewala movie review: The Danny Denzongpa film realises only some of its great potential". The Indian Express.
  21. ^ "Bioscopewala movie review: A sparkling Danny Denzongpa and the power of cinema". Hindustan Times.     
  22. ^ "Bioscopewala Review: Danny Denzongpa Starrer Should be Widely Seen and Discussed". News18.     

External linksEdit