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For the upcoming film, see Madhumati (2013 film).
Directed by Bimal Roy
Produced by Bimal Roy
Screenplay by Ritwik Ghatak
Rajinder Singh Bedi (dialogues)
Story by Ritwik Ghatak
Starring Dilip Kumar
Johnny Walker
Music by Salil Choudhury
Shailendra (lyrics)
Cinematography Dilip Gupta
Edited by Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Bimal Roy Productions
Release date(s)
  • 1958 (1958)
Running time 179 minutes
Country India
Language Hindi

Madhumati is a 1958 Hindi film produced and directed by Bimal Roy, and written by Ritwik Ghatak and Rajinder Singh Bedi. The music for the film was composed by Salil Choudhury with lyrics written by Shailendra. The film stars Dilip Kumar and Vyjayantimala in the lead roles along with Pran and Johnny Walker. It was one of the earliest films to deal with reincarnation and had a gothic noir feel to it.[1] The first and only collaboration between Roy and Ghatak, it was one of their most commercially successful and influential films.[2]

Janam Janam, the 1988 Hindi film starring Rishi Kapoor is a remake of Madhumati. In 2007, Farah Khan and Shahrukh Khan made a new film, Om Shanti Om, that uses some plot elements from Madhumati, but did not credit the earlier film.


On a stormy night, Devendra (Dilip Kumar), an engineer, drives down a hill road with his friend to fetch his wife and child from the railway station. A landslide blocks their path and the friends take shelter in an old mansion off the road. Devendra finds the house uncannily familiar. In the large front room, he finds an old portrait which he recognizes. His friend and the old caretaker join him, and Devendra, amidst flashes of memory from another life, sits down to tell his story while the storm rages outside.

Anand (also played by Dilip Kumar) had come to Shyamnagar Timber Estate as its new manager. An artist in his spare time, he roamed the hills and fell in love with Madhumati (Vyjayantimala), a tribal girl whose songs have haunted him from a distance. Anand's employer, Ugranarayan (Pran), is a ruthless and arrogant man, and as Anand refuses to bend down to him like the others,, he incurs his wrath. Anand also has enemies among his staff. Sent away on an errand, he returns to find that Madhumati has disappeared. He learns that Madhumati had been taken to Ugranarayan, and confronts him but is beaten unconscious by Ugranarayan's men.

Anand's life is saved, but his mind wanders. One day, he meets a girl who looks exactly like Madhumati. She says she is Madhavi (also played by Vyjayantimala), but Anand refuses to believe her and is beaten up by her companions when he tries to plead with her. Madhavi finds a sketch of Madhumati and realizes he was speaking the truth. She takes the sketch and learns his story. Meanwhile, Anand is haunted by the spirit of Madhumati, who tells him that Ugranarayan is her killer. He appeals to Madhavi to pose as Madhumati before Ugranarayan and help him get a confession out of him and she agrees.

Returning to Ugranarayan's palace, Anand begs permission to do a portrait of him. Next evening, with a storm brewing outside, Anand paints Ugranarayan. At the stroke of eight, Ugranarayan sees the pretend-Madhumati in front of him. Shaken, he confesses the truth. The police waiting outside the room come and take him away. Anand suddenly realizes that the questions Madhavi asked Ugranarayan were things she could not have known, as even Anand did not know, such as where Madhumati was buried. "Madhavi" just smiles and moves towards the stairs. The real Madhavi, dressed as Madhumati, then rushes into the room. She is late, for the car failed on the way. Anand realizes it was Madhumati's ghost he had seen, not Madhavi. He runs up to the terrace, where the ghost beckons to him. Madhumati had fallen from the same terrace, trying to escape Ugranarayan. Anand follows the ghost, falling to his own death.

Devendra's story is over. "But," he says "I finally did have Madhumati as my wife. In this life — Radha." Just then, news arrives that the train in which his wife was traveling has met with an accident. The road is cleared, and they rush to the station. Devendra's wife, Radha (Vyjayantimala) appears, unhurt with her baby.


Awards and nominations[edit]

Madhumathi was the record holder for the most awards (9) received by a film at the Filmfare Awards for 37 years until the release of Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge which won ten awards. The film had multiple screenings since its release screened; 10th Bite The Mango Film Festival (2004), 4th Pune International Film Destival (2006) and Toronto Film Festival (2011).[3][4][5]

Ceremony Award Category Nominee Outcome Note Ref.
31st Academy Awards Academy Award India's official submission for Best Foreign Language Film Bimal Roy Not Nominated Second film submitted by India [6]
National Film Awards 6th National Film Awards[8] Best Feature Film in Hindi Won Initially known as President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi
Filmfare Awards 6th Filmfare Awards Best Film Received on behalf of Bimal Roy Productions
Best Director
Best Actor Dilip Kumar Nominated
Best Actress Vyjayanthimala Vyjayanthimala won Best Actress Award for Sadhna
Best Supporting Actor Johnny Walker Won
Best Music Director Salil Choudhury
Best Female Playback Singer Lata Mangeshkar For "Aaja Re Pardesi"
First winner of this category
Given as single category for both male and female singers
Best Story Ritwik Ghatak Nominated
Best Dialogue Rajinder Singh Bedi Won First winner of this category
Best Art Direction Sudhendu Roy
Best Cinematographer Dilip Gupta Black-and-white category
Best Editing Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Aaja Re Pardesi"   Lata Mangeshkar 04:26
2. "Chadh Gayo Papi Bichhua"   Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey 05:23
3. "Dil Tadap Tadap Ke"   Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar 03:27
4. "Ghadi Ghadi Mora Dil Dhadke"   Lata Mangeshkar 03:11
5. "Hai Bichhua Hai Re Hai"   Lata Mangeshkar  
6. "Ham Haal-e-Dil Sunaenge"   Mubarak Begum 03:26
7. "Jungle Mein Mor Naacha"   Mohammad Rafi  
8. "Kancha Le Kanchi Lai Lajo"   Asha Bhonsle, Sabita Chowdhury & Ghulam Mohammad  
9. "Suhana Safar Aur Yeh Mausam"   Mukesh 03:44
10. "Tan Jale Man Jalta Rahe"   Dwijen Mukherjee  
11. "Toote Huye Khwabon Ne"   Mohammad Rafi  
12. "Zulmi Sang Aankh Ladi"   Lata Mangeshkar  


Madhumati went on to become the source of inspiration for many later works dealing with the theme of reincarnation in Indian cinema, Indian television, and perhaps world cinema. It may have been the source of inspiration for the American film The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (1975)[2] (though that film was based upon a 1973 novel by Max Ehrlich) and the Hindi film Karz (1980), both of which dealt with reincarnation and have been influential in their respective cultures.[2] Karz in particular was remade several times: as the Kannada film Yuga Purusha (1989), the Tamil film Enakkul Oruvan (1984), and more recently the Bollywood film Karzzzz (2008). The Reincarnation of Peter Proud and Karz may have also inspired the American film Chances Are (1989).[9] The most recent film to be directly inspired by Madhumati is the hit Bollywood film Om Shanti Om (2007), which led to the late Bimal Roy's daughter Rinki Bhattacharya accusing the film of plagiarism and threatening legal action against its producers.[10][11]

Other later Indian films featuring reincarnation as a main theme include:

Reincarnation has also appeared as a main theme in the following Indian soap operas and television serials:


Golden Jubilee[edit]

Bimal Roy's Dilip Kumar, Vyjayantimala starrer Madhumati was screened at the globus theatre on Thursday, April 11, 2008 celebrating its golden jubilee. Madhumati which released in 1958 with music by none other than the legendary Salil Chaudhury and lyrics by Shailendra, was one of Bimal Roy's greatest commercial successes. The film deals with reincarnation and had a gothic noir feel to it.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mishra, Vijay (2002), Bollywood cinema: temples of desire, Routledge, pp. 49–57, ISBN 0-415-93014-6 
  2. ^ a b c Doniger, Wendy (2005), "Chapter 6: Reincarnation", The woman who pretended to be who she was: myths of self-imitation, Oxford University Press, pp. 112–136 [135], ISBN 0-19-516016-9 
  3. ^ "Men of letters". Mid Day. 2004-10-22. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  4. ^ Sakina Babwani (12 July 2011). "Bimal da films are still relevent (sic)". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  5. ^ Times News Network (12 January 2006). "PIFF to honour Victor Kemper". Mid Day. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  6. ^ "The Nominations - 1958". Indiatimes. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  7. ^ "The Winners 1958". Indiatimes. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  8. ^ "6th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Retrieved September 3, 2011. 
  9. ^ Doniger, Wendy (2005), "Chapter 6: Reincarnation", The woman who pretended to be who she was: myths of self-imitation, Oxford University Press, pp. 112–136 [128–31 & 135], ISBN 0-19-516016-9 
  10. ^ Ashanti nags Om Shanti Om Mumbai Mirror, 7 August 2008.
  11. ^ Shah Rukh, Farah Sued: Writer Claims SRK stole his script for Om Shanti Om
  12. ^ a b c Gowri Ramnarayan (2003-09-19). "From pages of the past". The Hindu. Retrieved 2012-01-04. 
  13. ^ "Vyjayantimala touched as Madhumati celebrated 50 years". Zee News. Retrieved 2008-04-13. 

External links[edit]