The life story of MF founder Amichand Rajbansi to be chronicled in ‘The Bengal Tiger’

Late MF founder Amichand Rajbansi. Picture: Screengrab/YouTube

Late MF founder Amichand Rajbansi. Picture: Screengrab/YouTube

Published Feb 22, 2024


The legacy of the Minority Front (MF) founder, Amichand Rajbansi, will live on in a documentary chronicling his life.

Fondly known as “The Bengal Tiger”, the documentary will carry the same title and is expected to be released later this year.

Spearheaded by his surviving spouse and current MF leader, Shameen Thakur-Rajbansi, it will encapsulate the life of the larger-than-life South African politician.

“This year marks Mr Rajbansi’s 13th death anniversary, and people still talk about the good he did, but, of course, you also get those who talk about things that are totally untrue, and he isn’t here to defend himself,” said Thakur-Rajbansi.

She said since 2020, she and her late son, Pradhil Thakur Kooblall, had been considering making this documentary because of things that would crop up about the late leader during research.

“My late son and his partner where helping me with election work and would come across things and alert me as to what’s been said and would ask me how to respond to it.

“So while that was going on, I thought that I must rectify it and get this documentary done and a book written so that his side is told and the facts are out there,” she said.

“The Bengal Tiger”, which is currently in production and is being directed by Arish Sirkissoon (LX Seth), will include interviews with prominent SA political figures like the former KwaZulu-Natal MEC, Narend Singh.

“This documentary will preserve Mr Rajbansi’s legacy because he worked so hard and is a name that’s being passed down in households from generation to generation,” she said.

The MF leader said that one of the reasons she decided to work with Sirkissoon on the project was because she wanted to support local and upcoming talent.

“It’s also because he didn’t know Mr Rajbansi but was excited to get to know him. That’s what makes this exciting, he has a fresh perspective.

“We sorted all the paperwork, and I was happy with the structure he came up with from all the talks we’ve had. I also told him how I’ve been struggling to write Mr Rajbansi’s book,” she added.

She said for years before his death she had been asking her husband to write his autobiography, but he would always change the subject.

“For some odd reason, I don’t think he wanted to write his own story. I think he wanted people to decide who he was. Now it’s my responsibility and duty to him to do this for him. I also owe it to my late son, who inspired and encouraged me to take this step.

“I hope the documentary helps to motivate and inspire young people, especially to understand what goes into being a politician and what type of life it is,” she said.

The doccie will be filled with the country’s rich history and political landscape, including Rajbansi’s role in its transformation over the years.

A trailer has already been released and Thakur-Rajbansi said the full release will take place during the year.

It will consist of four one hour-long episodes.

“He had a rich legacy and it’s important that we preserve it. We’ve got commentary from senior people in politics, people from the business world, from the media, from his school days, soccer days, House of Delegates days, parliament, community leaders and family members.

“It will be spilt up into different phases of his life. And we are still deciding where it will be placed.

“We’ve always supported home-grown, so we will prefer to take that route, but Arish is working on that currently, as well as where to premiere it,” said Thakur-Rajbansi.

Watch the trailer below: