Kabuliwala, India, 14 December 1961

The most successful adaptation of a Tagore story outside Bengal was Hemen Gupta’s Kabuliwala, produced by Bimal Roy, starring the veteran actor Balraj Sahni. The simple story of Kabuliwala is about the affection between Abdur Rehman Khan, an Afghani immigrant dry-fruit-seller in Calcutta and Mini (Sonu), a young girl who he imagines as his child-figure in memory of his daughter, Amina (Baby Farida), left behind in Kabul.

This story, unlike many other Tagore-inspired-films that are more strongly rooted in context and period, offers a more classical perspective on humanism, identify and difference. Tagore’sKabuliwala was published as a short story in Sadhana, a Bangla literary magazine he edited through the 1890s and the early decades of the twentieth century.

The story was translated from Bangla into English by the Irish woman Margaret Elizabeth Noble, more popularly known to the world as Sister Nivedita, and published in the Modern Review.

  • Genre: Action
  • Runtime: 134 Minutes
  • Director: Hemen Gupta


Kabuliwala (Hindi: काबुलीवाला) is a 1961 Hindi film based on a story, Kabuliwala, written by the Bengali writer Rabindranath Tagore. It was directed by Hemen Gupta, who had remained private secretary to Subhas Chandra Bose, and went on to direct many films including, Taksaal (1956), also starring Balraj Sahni, and his tribute Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose (1966).

The film starred Balraj Sahni, Usha Kiran, Sajjan, Sonu and Baby Farida.