|Directed by||Rajkumar Santoshi|
|Produced by||Rajkumar Santoshi|
|Written by||Ranjit Kapoor
|Editing by||V. N. Mayekar|
|Distributed by||Santoshi Productions|
|Release dates||September 19, 2001|
|Running time||165 minutes|
Lajja is a 2001 Hindi drama film directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. The film is based on the plight of women in India. The movie recounts the story of four women, and stars some of the best known names in Hindi cinema, including Manisha Koirala, Rekha, Madhuri Dixit, Mahima Chaudhry, Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoor, Samir Soni and Ajay Devgan. Urmila Matondkar and Sonali Bendre perform item numbers.
The movie satirizes the honour with which women are placed in society and the restrictions on them. The fact that the four women's names (Maithili, Janki, Ramdulaari, and Vaidehi) are all versions of Sita, the ideal Hindu woman's name, is a message in itself. Manisha Koirala is the protagonist of this film.
Rekha and Madhuri Dixit were nominated for the Filmfare Best Supporting Actress Award, while Madhuri Dixit won the Zee Cine Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role – Female for her performance.
Vaidehi (Manisha Koirala) lives with her husband Raghu (Jackie Shroff). On the outside, she lives a sophisticated life, but behind closed doors, her husband is abusive and has extramarital affairs. When she takes a stand for herself, she is banished from the household. She goes back to her parents' house in but they too reject her. Vaidehi soon finds out that she is pregnant.
Raghu gets into a car accident, which results in him being unable to father a child. When he discovers that Vaidehi is pregnant, he calls her, faking remorse, and asks for her to return. Vaidehi agrees, thinking Raghu has mended his ways. Raghu and his father plot for the child to become their heir and if Vaidehi intervenes, she will be killed. Meanwhile,Vaidehi is informed by a friend about Raghu's true intentions, and so she escapes from his henchmen. She is helped by Raju (Anil Kapoor), a petty, but kindhearted thief. He hears Vaidehi's story and gives her money from his heist to help. To hide from Raghu and his henchmen, Vaidehi gatecrashes a wedding procession.
At the wedding, she meets Maithili (Mahima Chaudhary), a bride-to-be from a middle-class family. Maithili is marrying a man who hails from a rich background. The two women witness Maithili's father being hassled by demands for an opulent wedding, which he cannot afford, and is forced to pay dowry. Vaidehi tries to convince Raju to give his money from the heist. He initially refuses but changing his mind, he returns to give his heist money to Vaidehi. The groom's friend attempts to rape Maithili. Having tolerated enough, she insults the groom's family and they flee from the wedding.
Meanwhile, Vaidehi is found by Raghu, and forced into going with him. On the way, they encounter a protest mob. Raghu gets out of the car, which gives Vaidehi the chance to escape. She arrives in Haripur, a small town, where she meets Janki (Madhuri Dixit), a theatre actress in love with her colleague. Janki is pregnant, but not married. She doesn't care for society's norms. She is lusted after by the theatre director, Puroshottam (Tinu Anand), an older man who keeps his wife, Lata (Jaya Bhattacharya), confined to their house. Puroshottam talks against Janki to her lover, which creates a rift between them. Janki is outraged and messes up a scene during a performance of the Ramayan. This leads to an outcry from the audience and she is assaulted by the audience, leading to her having a miscarriage. Vaidehi confronts Puroshottam, who threatens to call her husband. However, Lata intervenes and takes Vaidehi to the station and puts her on a train.
The train is robbed by bandits but the passengers are saved by Bulwa (Ajay Devgan), a local dacoit. Vaidehi faints at the sight of blood, and Bulwa takes her to the local midwife, Ramdulaari (Rekha). Ramdulaari bravely opposes the village leaders Virendra (Gulshan Grover) and Gajendra (Danny Denzongpa) who exploit innocent women, young and old. When her educated son, who is trying to educate the villagers against the wishes of Virendra and Gajendra, falls in love with Gajendra's daughter, Sushma (Aarti Chhabria), all hell breaks loose. Gajendra slyly locks Ramdulaari in her house and sets out to find her son. When her son runs away with Sushma, Virendra and Gajendra, along with their goons, rape Ramdulaari and burn her alive. In a fit of rage, Bhulva and his goons kill Virendra and his goons. Vaidehi escapes with Sushma and Ramdulaari's son.
Gajendra is making a move into politics, so when he is applauded by the local authorities, Vaidehi intervenes and exposes Gajendra as a rapist and fraud through a heart-wrenching speech, which drives all the women in the audience to assault Gajendra, who is later killed by Bhulva. The speech changes Raghu's attitude towards Vaidehi and he decides to mend his ways. The two return to New York as a proper married couple. Vaidehi gives birth to a daughter who is named Ramdulaari. She meets Raju again, who is now a taxi driver and married to Maithili. She invites him to a charity dance show with Janki in the main role, wherein all the money from her shows goes to fund women's organizations in India.
- Manisha Koirala as Vaidehi (main character of this film)
- Anil Kapoor as Raju
- Jackie Shroff as Raghuveer (Raghu)
- Ajay Devgan as Bulwa
- Samir Soni as Manish
- Madhuri Dixit as Janki
- Mahima Chaudhary as Maithali
- Rekha as Ramdulaari
- Beena Banerjee as Vaidehi's mother
- Suresh Oberoi as (Raghuveer's father)
- Johnny Lever as Fakhruddin (Raghuveer's stooge)
- Razak Khan as Francis (Raghuveer's stooge)
- Anjan Srivastav as Nekchand (Maithili's father)
- Farida Jalal as Saroj (Maithili's mother)super
- Sonali Bendre as Dancer (Special Appearance) - "Mujhe Saajan Ke Ghar Jaana Hai"
- Urmila Matondkar as Dancer (Special Appearance)- "Aahiye Aajaiye"
- Tinu Anand as Purshotam
- Jaya Bhattacharya as Lata
- Danny Denzongpa as Gajendra
- Gulshan Grover as Virender
- Aarti Chhabria as Sushma (Gajendra's daughter)
- Sharman Joshi as Prakash (Ramdulaari's son)
- Asrani as Gulab Chand
- Dina Pathak as Bua
- Govind Namdeo as Hazarilal
- Jagdeep as Bansidhar Chakkiwala
- Ritu Shivpuri as Anita
- Rohini Hattangadi as Mrs. Hazarilal
- Sangmesh Biradar as Don
A. R. Rahman was initially signed in as the composer; but then he opted out; after he got extremely busy with his international assignment, Bombay Dreams. Then, the background score for the movie was done by Illayaraja and the songs were mainly composed by Anu Malik. Lyrics of all songs were also written by Sameer, except those of "Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar", which were written by Prasoon Joshi. This song was also composed by Illayaraja and was sung by Lata Mangeshkar. The songs featured in the movie are as listed below.
- "Aaye Aajaye Aa Hi Jaiye" (Singer: Anuradha Sriram)
- "Badi Mushkil" (Singer: Alka Yagnik)
- "Jiyo Jiyo" (Singer: K. K.)
- "Kaliyug Ki Sita" (Singer: Anuradha Paudwal)
- "Kaliyug Ki Sita - II" (Singer: Shubha Mudgal)
- "Kaun Dagar Kaun Shehar" (Singer: Lata Mangeshkar) Music: Illaiyaraja
- "Saajan Ke Ghar Jana Hai" (Singers: Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Richa Sharma)
Bollywood Hungama gave a rating of two and half out of five stars and said "On the whole, Lajja is a purposeful film within commercial parameters and the best part is that the Indian masses will be able to identify with the goings-on. An enviable star cast, a talented director and an excellent second half are amongst its strong points." The Hindu stated "Unfortunately, this colourful film is a black-and-white disappointment, particularly in the second half when Santoshi loses track of his story and in a blatant bid to get the tax-free certificate brings in bits about computer education, female literacy and infanticide.". The BBC gave a positive review saying "The film is well directed, excellent songs, although they should have had more realistic fights."
Lajja failed commercially at the box office in India. However it tasted success overseas. It ranked 14th on the British box-office chart, according to the International Movie Database.
- Lajja at the Internet Movie Database
- "Box Office 2001". Boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- Arthur J Pais (8 September 2001). "Lajja's a hit overseas". Rediff. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "Lajja: Awards and Nominations". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "Film Review - Lajja". Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- Bariana, Sanjeev Singh (2001-09-02). "Rekha, Madhuri, Manisha all the way". The Tribune. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
- Adarsh, Taran (29 August 2001). "Lajja: Movie Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- "Film Review: Lajja". The Hindu. 7 September 2001. Retrieved 2011-07-01.
- Virdee, Jay (30 August 2001). "Lajja reviewed". BBC. Retrieved 2011-07-01.