Kabuliwallah (Ballet) :: A synopsis
Direction : Th. Chourjeet Singh


A scene from Kabuliwallah ( Jan 17 2017)
A scene from Kabuliwallah ( Jan 17 2017) :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam

Kabuliwallah (Ballet)
Choreography & Direction : Th. Chourjeet Singh
Manipuri Jagoi Marup, Imphal

Manipuri Jagoi Marup is leading Manipuri Dance performing troupe of India founded by late Guru Padmashree Amubi Singh in the year 1963 and is an institution devoted to all round development of Manipuri dances and its rejuvenation. This troupe of dedicated and proficient artistes has won great recognition both at home and abroad for its fine performances of traditional, folk and classical dances of Manipur.

Since its establishment, the troupe has given more than 7000 shows all over the country and visited Iran, Japan (nine times), Bhutan, Taiwan, Hongkong, Rangoon, Vietnam, Laos, Malayasia, Macau, Thailand, Isreal, USA, Dubai, Australia, Russia, Kuwait, Cambodia, Bangladesh and New Zealand on special invitations. Besides being specially invited to perform at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi in honour of the visiting dignitaries, the group has also performed for various national and international conferences as well as in many educational institutions.

Since 1976 the Government of India, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Department of Culture has kindly sanctioned a grant-in-aid under the Scheme of financial assistance to eminent performing Art Projects for its maintenance and production cost, etc.

The Manipuri Jagoi Marup has produced seven Dance Dramas, 23 Ballets and Manipuri Folkand Classical Dances.


The ballet is an adaptation from Vishwa Kavi Rabindranath Tagore's popular story Kabuliwallah (1892). An attempt is being made to show the friendship and affection between Mini, a five-year old daughter of a Bengali writer an Rahamat, a middle-aged dry fruit seller from Kabul, Afghanistan who comes to Calcutta to earn his livelihood. In this story, Visha Kavi shows a father's unconditional love and affection for his daughter is same everywhere whether the father is rich or poor, a Hindu or a Muslim.

A dry fruit seller from Kabul, Rahamat leaves his country and comes to Calcutta (now Kolkata) to earn his livelihood by selling dry fruits in the streets of the city. One day while selling fruits, he meets Mini, a five - year Bengali girl who reminds him of his daughter he left behind in Kabul. His affection for her often brings him to her house.

However, Mini's father does not approve of his visit and tells him not to give dry fruits to her. Gradually friendship develops between the little girls and Kabuliwallah and they share happy moments together. One day Rahamat picks up a quarrel with a neighbour of Mini who owes him money but refused to pay and stabs him. He was sent to prison.

After his release from jail, Rahamat comes to Mini's house. The day happens to be Mini's wedding day. Her father is not willing to allow a murders to meet his daughter on such an auspicious day and asks him to leave. Kabuliwallah slowly turns to go but returns and offers him a few almonds and raisins saying he has brought them for the little one.

He refuses money when Mini's father pays him saying he too has a little daughter back home in Afghanistan. Rahamat takes out the small dirty piece of paper and unfolds it to show the impression of a small hand. Mini's father is touched when he sees the small impression of Rahamat's little daughter.

He allows Mini to meet Kabuliwallah. He is surprised when he sees Mini dressed as a bride and asks her if she is going to her father-in-law's house. A shy Mini does not say anything and slowly turns away from him. Kabuliwallah remembers his daughter he left befind in Kabul.

A scene from Kabuliwallah ( Jan 17 2017)
A scene from Kabuliwallah ( Jan 17 2017) :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam


1. Rehamat sets out his journey to another country with a tall turban along with a bag on his back and carries dry fruits in his hand. Before leaving home he takes the impression of ink smeared hand of his little daughter on a piece of paper puts it inside pocket of his robe.

2. Rahamat starts selling dry fruits in the streets of Calcutta. One day, while selling almonds and raisins, he suddenly hears Mini, a little girl call out "Kabuliwallah, Kabuliwallah". As he approaches her, frightened Mini tries to hide behind her father. Remembering his young daughter, Rahamat offers her some almonds and raisins, but out of fear, she refuses them.

3. Gradually, the fear of Kabuliwallah disappears from her young mind and a great friendship develops between Mini and Rahamat. Often, he offers her dry fruits and she happily eats them. They crack jokes and share stories, Rahamat patiently listening to her constant chatter. However, Mini's father does not trust Kabuliwallah. He pay him money and asks him not to give dry fruits to Mini anymore.

4. One day, Kabuliwallah stabs a neighbour of Mini who owes him money but refuses to pay. He is caught by the police and handcuffed and being taken to jail. Innocent Mini who does not understand what is happening and asks Rahamat if he is goingto hide in his father-in-law's house.

5. As time passes, Mini has reached marriageable age and her parents prepare for her wedding. On her wedding day, after release from Jail, Kabuliwallah comes to meet Mini at her house. However, her father is not willing to allow a murderer to meet his daughter on such an auspicious day and asks him to leave.

6. Kabuliwallah slowly turns to go but returns and offers him a few almonds and raisins saying her has brought these few things not to earn profit but for the little one. He refuses money when Mini's father pays him saying he too has a little daughter, back home. Then, Rahamat with great care takes out the small dirty piece of paper and unfolds it to show the small impression his little daughter's palm. He allows Kabuliwallah to meet Mini.

Rahamat is surprised when he sees Mini as a bride and asks her if she is going to her father-in-law's house. A shy Mini says nothing and slowly turns away from him. As Kabuliwallah remembers his little daughter tears roll down from his eyes.

See a photo gallery here

* This article was posted on January 19 , 2017.

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