Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Amol Palekar|
|Produced by||Gauri Khan|
|Screenplay by||Sandhya Gokhale|
|Story by||Vijayadan Detha
|Narrated by||Naseeruddin Shah|
|Music by||M. M. Kreem
|Cinematography||Ravi K. Chandran|
|Editing by||Amitabh Shukla|
|Distributed by||Red Chillies Entertainment|
|Release date(s)||June 24, 2005|
|Running time||141 mins|
|Budget||14 crores |
|Box office||18.75 crores  (Domestic gross only)|
Paheli (Devanagari: पहेली, English: Riddle) is a Bollywood ghost movie, it is remake of Hindi movie Duvidha(1973) released in India on 24 June 2005, directed by Amol Palekar and produced by Juhi Chawla, Shahrukh Khan and Aziz Mirza. Sanjiv Chawla and Shahrukh Khan, who also plays the male lead. Paheli is based on the short story written by Vijayadan Detha and tells the story of a wife (Rani Mukerji) who is left by her husband (Shahrukh Khan) and visited by a ghost, disguised as her husband, who is in love with her and takes her husband's place. Sunil Shetty, Juhi Chawla, Rajpal Yadav and Amitabh Bachchan have supporting roles in the film. The story has been previously adapted into film, Duvidha (1973) by Mani Kaul.
The movie opened the ninth Zimbabwe International Film Festival at the Libertie Cinema Complex in Harare. It was also screened at both the Sundance Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. The working title of the movie was Ghost Ka Dost (translates to Friend of a Ghost).
The movie is narrated by two puppets, voiced by Naseeruddin Shah and his real-life wife Ratna Pathak Shah. Enthusiastic young Lachchi (Rani Mukerji) is to be married to Kishen (Shahrukh Khan), the son of the rich merchant Bhanwarlal (Anupam Kher). Kishen is a dutiful son who honors his father's wish to start a new, far-away business on a predetermined auspicious date, which happens to be the day after the wedding ceremony. On the wedding night, Kishen turns away from his wife to finish his bookkeeping, and in the early morning hours sets off on a business trip that is to last five years. Lachchi is devastated; Gajrobai (Juhi Chawla), her husband's sister-in-law, consoles her, empathizing on the grounds that Gajrobai's husband Sunderlal (Sunil Shetty) has also disappeared. The next day, a ghost appears, having taken Kishen's shape and voice because of his own attachment to Lachchi.
Lachchi is thus presented a riddle (hence the title "paheli") between the representation of all of her desires in the form of the ghost and her real husband. She takes this new, fond, sexual, magical, social, self-confident version of Kishen as hers. As Kishen, the ghost befriends all of the real Kishen's family and keeps Bhanwarlal happy by providing him with magical, possibly illusory, gold coins. His only blunder is in his treatment of the messenger Bhoja, who is perplexed by the idea that Kishen has sent a letter from his business trip only to receive it himself in his own house and offended when the ghost (who appears as Kishen) does not offer him a drink of water. Lachchi's bliss goes on until four years later, when she is pregnant and the real Kishen returns to see if the rumors about his wife's pregnancy are true. He returns to find the ghost in his (Kishen's) own form. Kishen's family is unable to determine which of the doppelgangers is the real Kishen (the ghost refusing to confess). They decide to visit the king so that he can arbitrate. On the way to the king they meet an old shepherd Gadariya (Amitabh Bachchan) who helps them out. He asks the real son of Bhanwarlal to pick up hot coals, asks the real husband to gather the sheep, and asks Lachchi's real paramour to enter a water-bottle. The real Kishen is found out and everyone returns home. Lachchi is devastated over the loss of the ghost. In the very end it is revealed that the ghost has escaped the bottle and taken control of Kishen's body in order to live with her. By now Lachchi has given birth to a daughter, Looni Ma, by whose identification the ghost exposes his identity to Lachchi. The puppets close the film, remarking that the film's plot is "an old story".
- Shahrukh Khan .... Kishanlal/The Ghost as Prem
- Rani Mukerji .... Lachchi
- Anupam Kher .... Bhanwarlal, Kishanlal's father
- Sunil Shetty .... Sunderlal, Kishanlal's brother
- Juhi Chawla .... Gajrobai, Sunderlal's wife
- Amitabh Bachchan .... Gadariya
- Rajpal Yadav .... Bhoja
- Dilip Prabhavalkar .... Kanwarlal, Bhanwarlal's brother
- Palak Jain ... as a cousin of Kishanlal (Child artist)
- A.K. Hangal .... Jeevraj
- Naseeruddin Shah .... Male Puppet (voice)
- Ratna Pathak ... Female puppet (voice)
Paheli was shot entirely in Rajasthan in a period of 45 days. In 2004, Amol Palekar went to Shahrukh Khan with a request for a hearing. After listening to the script, Khan asked Palekar if he could produce it as well as star in it. According to Khan, Paheli is a woman's liberation film that deals with the issues of marriage and asks whether a woman must stay with a man only due to marriage and not because of love .
Critical reception 
Paheli was critically acclaimed. Taran Adarsh from Bollywood Hungama gave it 4/5 stars and said: "On the whole, Paheli is one of the finest films produced in the recent times. A film like this proves yet again that we don't need to seek inspiration from outsiders [read Hollywood], when the Indian literature is rich enough to provide us with captivating stories." He also praised the acting of the two leads stating: "Paheli would be incomplete without SRK and Rani. The two actors are in terrific form yet again. If you ever had an iota of doubt about SRK's versatility, it would evaporate the moment you watch Paheli. This is amongst SRK's most accomplished performances ever. He is fabulous as the ghost and equally convincing as the bewildered husband. Rani proves yet again why she's the rani today! The actor, who has already proved her mettle in two diametrically opposite films this year (Black, Bunty Aur Babli), delivers yet another performance that is sure to dominate the next year award ceremonies as well." Raja Sen from Rediff.com called it "A breathtaking dream", and said: "First things first, this is the best-looking Indian film in a very long time, and ranks up there with the finest ever. Amol Palekar has crafted a delectable fairytale that is incredibly well-shot. Ravi K Chandran's cinematography is spellbinding as he casts us into the fabulous sandscapes of Rajasthan with fluid harmony. Each frame of the film is picture-perfect, marinated in intoxicating colour. Watching Paheli is quite an experience, and it's from the very opening shot of the film that its sheer, magical palette overwhelms us." It was eventually featured in The ten best Indian films of 2005 list by Rediff.com, ranked third.
Box office 
Paheli had good opening and saw 90% occupancy, however the collections of the film quickly dropped. The film had a total net gross of Rs 18.75 in India and an additional $3.63 million in the overseas market. It was declared a "Hit" in India and a hit abroad. Still, it proved to be a safe and profitable venture for its distributors specially after the good multiplex start.
|1.||"Dheere Jalna"||Sonu Nigam, Shreya Ghosal||06:08|
|2.||"Kangna Re"||Shreya Ghosal, Madhushree, Bela Shende, Kalapini Komakali, Sonu Nigam||05:55|
|3.||"Khali Hai Tere Bina"||Hariharan, Bela Shende||05:58|
|4.||"Laaga Re Jal Laaga"||M. M. Kareem, Sonu Nigam, Shruti Sadolikar||05:51|
|5.||"Minnat Kare"||Shreya Ghosal, Madhushree, Bela Shende||07:25|
|6.||"Phir Raat Kati"||Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh||03:45|
|7.||"Phir Raat Kati" (Remix)||Sunidhi Chauhan, Sukhwinder Singh||03:45|
|8.||"Dheere Jalna" (Instrumental)||06:06|
- Music Label - T-Series
Paheli received many awards and nominations. The awards it won are highlighted in bold:
National Film Awards 
Filmfare Awards 
- Filmfare Award for Best Playback Singer - Male - Sonu Nigam
- Filmfare Award for Best Lyrics - Gulzar
Zee Cine Awards 
- Zee Cine Award for Best Art Direction - Muneesh Sappal
- Zee Cine Award for Best Film Processing - R Mittal
- Best Actor - Shahrukh Khan
- Zee Cine Award for Best Playback Singer - Male - Sonu Nigam
- Zee Cine Award for Best Choreographer - Farah Khan
- Zee Cine Award for Best Cinematography - Ravi K. Chandran
- Zee Cine Award for Best Costumes - Shalini Sarna
- Zee Cine Award for Best Publicity Design - R D Parinja
- Zee Cine Award for Best Audiography - Anuj Mathur
Star Screen Awards 
- Star Screen Award for Best Art Direction - Muneesh Sappal
- Star Screen Award for Best Playback Singer - Male - Sonu Nigam
- Star screen Awards |Best Actor - Shahrukh Khan
- Star screen Award for Best Cinematography - Ravi K. Chandran
- Star screen Award for Best music - M. M. Kreem
- Star screen Award for Best Lyrics - Gulzar
- Star screen Award for Best Choreographer - Farah Khan
Academy Awards (United States) 
- "Box office 2005". Boxofficeindia.com. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- "'Paheli is a simple, loveable film'". Rediff.com. June 21, 2005.
- Mehta, Sunanda (2005-10-20). "Now showing: Bollywood to Hollywood, Paheli makes the moves". The Indian Express. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- Paheli (Slide show) Rediff.com, May 2005.
- "Paheli is India's Oscar entry". rediff.com. 2005-09-26.
- Adarsh, Taran (12 June 2005). "Paheli: Movie Review". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- Sen, Raja (12 June 2005). "Paheli is a breathtaking dream". Rediff. Retrieved 27 August 2011.
- "Top Lifetime Grossers OVERSEAS (US $)". Box Office India. Retrieved 10 August 2011.
- "´Paheli´". Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 8 August 2011.