|Directed by||Lekh Tandon|
|Produced by||F.C. Mehra|
|Written by||Story & screenplay: Omkar Sahib
Dialogue: Arjun Dev Rashk
Balbir Singh (Additional dialogue)
|Editing by||Pran Mehra|
|Studio||Eagle Films |
It was based on the life of Amrapali (Ambapali), the nagarvadhu (royal courtesan) of Vaishali in present day Bihar, the capital of the Licchavi republic in ancient India around 500 BC and Ajatashatru, the Haryanka dynasty king of the Magadha empire, who falls in love with her. Though he destroys Vaishali to get her, she in the meantime has been transformed by her encounter with Gautama Buddha, of whom she becomes a disciple and an Arahant herself. Her story finds mention in old Pali texts and Buddhist traditions.
The film was selected as the Indian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 39th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee. Though the film wasn't a commercial success, in time it started being seen as classic and is remembered not just for its dramatic cinematography of war scenes by Dwarka Divecha, and Bhanu Athaiya's costumes for which she travelled to the Ajanta Caves, to seek references in Buddhist frescoes of the era, to create period costumes that subsequently became a template for costumes of that era, but also for the strong Anti-war sentiment, the film reveals in the end.
- Vyjayanthimala - Amrapali
- Sunil Dutt - Magadh Samrat Ajatashatru
- Prem Nath - Senpati Veer of Magadh
- Bipin Gupta - Vaishali's Samrat
- Gajanan Jagirdar - Kulpati Mahanam
- K.N. Singh - Balbadra SIngh
- Madhavi - Raj Nartaki
- Mridula Rani - Raj Mata (Ajaat Shatru's Mother)
- Ruby Mayer - Vaishali's Empress
- Narendra Nath - Lord Buddha
Another highlight of the film was its music by the duo Shankar Jaikishan, then at the peak of their career, who gave a highly restrained yet fully Indian classical music-based score in the four songs, another rarity in the period film of the era to have so few songs. All the song were sung by Lata Mangeshkar who also has some of her career's finest among them, including, "Tumhen Yaad Karte Karte", "Neel Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein" and "Jao Re Jogi".
|1||"Jao Re"||Lata Mangeshkar|
|2||"Tumhen Yaad Karte Karte"||Lata Mangeshkar|
|3||"Neel Gagan Ki Chhaon Mein"||Lata Mangeshkar|
|4||"Tadap Yeh Din Raat Ki"||Lata Mangeshkar|
|5||"Nacho Gao Nacho Dhoom Machao"||Lata Mangeshkar|
In popular culture
A scene clipping from the film, was used in the Dhoom tana song dance sequence in film Om Shanti Om (2007), wherein Deepika Padukone dances as Vyjayantimala, who was digitally removed from the frames, as Deepika was playing the role of an actor of the 1970s.
- List of historical drama films of Asia
- List of submissions to the 39th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film
- List of Indian submissions for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Chitralekha (1964)
- "Office Office maker passes away". Screen (magazine). Jul 31, 2008.
- History of Vaishali
- Ambapālī (Ambapālikā) in Buddhist Dictionary of Pali names
- Margaret Herrick Library, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- "V.K.MURTHY: Lens and Sensibility". Screen (magazine). February 3, 2006.
- "Are they calling the shots?". Screen (magazine). February 29, 2002.
- "Clothes maketh the film". The Hindu. February 25, 2010.
- What if Amrapali were remade today? Rediff.com Movies, March 04, 2004.
- "MUSIC DIRECTOR: Down Melody Lane". Screen (magazine). March 22, 2010.
- "Magical music video". Screen (magazine). November 23, 2007.