Chandni Bar

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Chandni Bar
Chandni Bar.jpg
Directed by Madhur Bhandarkar
Produced by Lata Mohan
Written by Mohan Azaad (screenplay & dialogues)
Masud Mirza (dialogues)
Starring Tabu,
Atul Kulkarni,
Rajpal Yadav,
Ananya Khare,
Vishal Thakkar,
Minakshi Sahani
Music by Raju Singh (background)
Cinematography Rajeev Ravi
Release dates 28 September 2001
Running time 150 min
Language Hindi

Chandni Bar is a 2001 Hindi film directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. It depicts the gritty life of the Mumbai underworld, including prostitution, dance bars and gun crime. The film stars Tabu and Atul Kulkarni in lead roles. It also stars Ananya Khare, Rajpal Yadav, Minakshi Sahani and Vishal Thakkar. The film was a critically acclaimed hit and it won four National Film Awards. Tabu came into the limelight with this movie, along with Rajpal Yadav.


Mumtaz (Tabu) is a young village woman whose family is killed in communal riots. She moves to Mumbai with her uncle, the only family member she has left. They are desperately poor and her uncle persuades her to become a bar girl at Chandni Bar. This is merely temporary, he promises, until he gets a job. Mumtaz is shy and loathes the work, but she forces herself to dance and flirt. However, the uncle doesn't keep his promise; he lives on her earnings, drinking them away, and never gets a job. He adds one final, unforgivable crime to the list when he gets drunk and rapes her.

By this time she has caught the eye of a gangster called Potiya Sawant (Atul Kulkarni). When she tells Potiya what her uncle did to her, Potiya decides to "defend her honor." Potiya kills the uncle and marries her. She lives with him for several years and gives birth to a son, Abhay, and daughter, Payal. She wants Abhay and Payal to be educated and stay far away from her world of dancing girls and Potiya's gangsters.

Potiya gets in the bad books of other gangsters, loses his connections, becomes a target for the police, and is killed in a planned "encounter," leaving Mumtaz to return to Chandni Bar.

Years pass and Abhay and Payal are in their teens and attending school. Mumtaz still works at Chandni Bar, not as a dancer, but as a waitress. Then the unexpected happens — Abhay is arrested by the police for extortion and held in a juvenile home for the crime he had not committed. At the home, Abhay is raped by a couple of inmates.

Mumtaz attempts to talk to the police, to no avail. She then meets with some influential people, who agree to help her out for a price, which she must bring to them in less than two days. Mumtaz hustles and sells her body to obtain the money but is still short. Seeing her mother's plight, Payal takes up dancing at Chandni Bar and brings the rest of the money to her troubled mother.

With the money turned over to release Abhay, the family heaves a sigh of relief — until Mumtaz notices that it is not the same Abhay she had known two days earlier. This one is cold, ruthless, and has only purpose in life: vengeance. Abhay takes his revenge and shoots the inmates who raped him. It is implied that Payal is following in her mother's footsteps, and Abhay is set to be another Potiya. Brief summary of the whole movie

Chandni Bar is 2001 Indian movie, which was directed by Madhur Bhandarkar. The film was a huge success and won four National Film Awards. This movie revolves on the life of a poor village woman named Mumtaz. It depicts her role as a woman and how she is supposed to defend her self through all the tough times in her life. Mumtaz had to move to Bombay city, which is now known as Mumbai because her parents were killed in a religious riot. Even though she didn’t want to leave her village she was left helpless and was lonely. She had nobody left with her except her uncle, Irfan Mamu. After Mumtaz and her uncle arrived in Mumbai, he convinced her to work at Chandni Bar for a short period of time till he finds her another job. She had to force her self to work as a bar dancer and make money in order to change her life. Mumtaz didn’t like the place neither did she feel like she belonged in such a shady place. Hedge Anna, the owner of Chandni Bar, was not that happy with Mumtaz since she was an amateur. Her colleagues weren’t welcoming either because they felt she would be a competition between their clients. After a while Mumtaz gat used to her job and she began to earn good money but then even her uncle stopped looking for the job he promised he would look for. Even worse, one day her uncle came home drunk and raped Mumtaz. She was devastated by her uncle’s ruthless act. She hated her life and felt betrayed and she no longer wanted to live at her uncle’s place but she had no option anyway. Mumtaz continued to work in the beer bar to support her living. One day a customer in the bar named Pothya Sawant put an eye on Mumtaz. Pothya was a very dangerous gang member who kills people and has no sympathy. Pothya was very hostile when heard what her uncle has done to Mumtaz. He immediately took action and killed him. Then after, Pothya gave Mumtaz two options, which was to either marry him or go back to her village. She didn’t want to go back to a village where all her family died so she didn’t hesitate to marry him. Thinking that she would have a better life she quit her job and decided to be a housewife. Meanwhile, Mumtaz was pregnant with her first baby, Abhay. Their son brought happiness to both Pothya and Mumtaz. After two years of Abhay’s birth Mumtaz was again pregnant with a beautiful girl named Payal. Mumtaz thought everything would be different and better after Abhay and Payal were born but yet the worst was coming. Pothya was taken by the police and was being tortured for killing a police informer. The police released Pothya but then they realize it was a bad idea to send him free so they killed him. Mumtaz’s life kept on getting worse. She was in a deep grief and she had to raise her children on her own. Life became really hard for her since she had no job. She had no option but go around Pothya’s friends and ask for money. Habib Bhai was an underworld boss in Mumbai. Mumtaz went to Habib to ask for money but he refused to give her. She was insulted and called a widowed mistress. When Mumtaz quit her job as a dancer in the beer bar she thought she would never get back and leave that life as her past. At this point of her life she was a widowed woman raising two children with no job, so she went back to her ex boss, Anna, for a job. Mumtaz was old at that time to work as a dancer in Chandni Bar so she was made a waitress. She was very keen to educate her children and show them there is a better life than what her life looks like. Abhay and Payal were all grown up and began to make decisions on their own. Even though Abhay was raised to be a good educated boy, his friends were making him follow a bad path. The police arrested Abhay for a crime he has not committed saying he was involved in an extortion. Mumtaz went to the police officers to claim her son’s innocence, unfortunately, the policemen asked for a bribe to release him within two days. She was broke to bail her son from juvenile. Iqbal Chamdi, a friend of Mumtaz was helping her get the money but yet the amount of money the policemen asked for was too much. Payal, overheard Iqbal and her mother talking on how they were short on money to get Abhay from Juvenile. So she decided to go to Chandni Bar to dance and raise the money they needed, her mother was not happy about it. Life in juvie wasn’t easy for Abhay; he was beaten and raped by other inmates. Mumtaz, Iqbal and Payal summed up all the money they had and bailed Abhay. After Abhay was freed Mumtaz was having hard time communicating with her son. He was not the same kid she thought she raised. He was angry and was going for revenge. He was even hesitant to hear when his mother told him to stop. He killed the two people who raped him in the juvenile in front of his mother. Mumtaz was shocked to see her own son doing such a shameless act. She was so sure he wouldn’t follow his father’s footstep, however, Abhay became the shadow of Pothya. The misery of Mumtaz’s life doesn’t end there, she really hoped a better future for her children nonetheless, even Payal lost track in life and ended up replacing her mother’s previous job as a beer bar dancer.



The film won four National Awards. Tabu also received Best Actress nominations at the Filmfare Awards and Bollywood Awards. Atul Kulkarni also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the Star Screen Awards. Madhur Bhandarkar was nominated for Best Director in several venues, but did not win.

2002 National Film Awards (India)

2002 IIFA Awards (India)

2002 Star Screen Awards (India)

  • Star Screen Award Best Story - Madhur Bhandarkar

2002 Zee Cine Awards (India)


The film does not feature any of original tracks of its own. But many Bollywood Hindi songs feature many times in various scenes in the dancing bar. The theme music is a classical aalap rendered by Shubha Mudgal.


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