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Mithun Chakraborty says he offered to audition for ‘Kabuliwala’

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Mumbai, Dec 13: Veteran actor Mithun Chakraborty says was sceptical about starring in Bengali film “Kabuliwala”, the latest adaptation of Rabindranath Tagore’s famous story, as he was not convinced he would do justice to a role already immortalised by Balraj Sahni and Chhabi Biswas.
He decided to board the project when he got to know about the producer but on one condition — they must audition him.
“It’s a big challenge because the two actors who did this part before in different films are two immortal actors — Balraj Sahni ji and Chhabi Biswas ji. I had initially said no for this (film) saying, ‘It is very tough’. Later, when I got to know about the producer, I said, ‘yes’. I wanted the director and producer to audition me for this role of Kabuliwala,” Chakraborty told PTI. The eponymous 1892 short story by Tagore, is about a Afghani dry fruit seller, Rahmat, and the bond he develops with a five-year-old girl, Mini, in Kolkata. She reminds him of the child he left behind but before he can go back to his country, he is jailed. Years later, he reunites with Mini on her wedding day but the girl has no memory of their time together.
The story has been adapted for the screen multiple times with Biswas (1957) and Sahni’s (1961) versions being the most popular. Danny Denzongpa featured in a film called “Bioscopewala”, which was loosely based on Tagore’s story.
Chakraborty said he wanted his take on the story to be completely different from its previous iterations.
“I didn’t copy anyone, I’ve never done that before, nor will I do it (in future). I have not seen the film entirely. I had seen the glimpse and have some memories about it,” the 73-year-old actor added.
While the actor will essay the role of Rahmat, child artist Anumegha Kahali, famous for her role in Bengali show “Mithai”, will portray the role of Mini in the new film, directed by Suman Ghosh.
Chakraborty said he modelled Rahmat after Jamaluddin Khan, a close friend of his from Afghanistan.
“I had a close friend named Jamaluddin Khan, who was an Afghani pathan, he was a cook and he taught me how to cook. I found him interesting (as a person). So, I told them (makers) Jamaluddin Khan is like Kabuliwala, I got inspired by him. They were like this is what we want, and nothing else. So, I’m paying a tribute to my friend Jalam Khan through this.”
Chakraborty, who has won the National Film Award thrice, said he is at a stage in life where he wants to do roles that excite him. “I’m in that zone where if a story doesn’t inspire me, I don’t want to do it. But if something excites me, I’ll do it, irrespective of whether it has connected or resonated with me or not,” the actor, known for films such as “Mrigayaa”, “Surakshaa”, “Disco Dancer”, “Dance Dance”, “Kasam Paida Karne Wale Ki” and “Commando” among others, said.  (PTI)

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