Umrao Jaan

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This article is about the 1981 film directed by Muzaffar Ali. For the 2006 film, see Umrao Jaan (2006 film).
Umrao Jaan
Umrao Jaan movie poster.jpg
Umrao Jaan film poster
Directed by Muzaffar Ali
Produced by Muzaffar Ali
Written by Muzaffar Ali
Javed Siddiqui
Shama Zaidi (Dialogues)
Screenplay by Muzaffar Ali
Javed Siddiqui
Shama Zaidi
Based on Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada 
by Mirza Hadi Ruswa
Starring Rekha
Seema Sathyu
Farooq Shaikh
Naseeruddin Shah
Umme Farwa
Shaukat Kaifi
Dina Pathak
Prema Narayan
Gajanan Jagirdar
Raj Babbar
Bharat Bhushan
Satish Shah (uncredited)
Music by Khayyam
Shahryar (lyrics)
Cinematography Pravin Bhatt
Edited by B. Prasad
Release date(s)
  • 1981 (1981)
  • India (India)
Running time 145 min.
Language Urdu

Umrao Jaan (Urdu: امراؤ جان, Hindi: उमराव जान) is a 1981 Bollywood film, directed by Muzaffar Ali. It is based on the Urdu novel Umrao Jaan Ada (1905), written by Mirza Hadi Ruswa based on the famous Lucknow courtesan. The film starred Bollywood actress Rekha and Farooq Shaikh as leads.

Plot[edit]

In the year 1840, a girl named Amiran (Seema Sathyu) is kidnapped from her family in Faizabad, Oudh by their neighbour, Dilawar Khan (Satish Shah), and sold to Madam Khanum Jaan (Shaukat Kaifi) who owns a brothel in Lucknow where she trains courtesans (tawaif). Amiran, renamed Umrao Jaan, learns to read, write, dance, sing, and charm wealthy men. She is a cultured woman trained to captivate men of wealth and taste.

A grown-up Umrao Jaan (Rekha) catches the eye of Nawab Sultan (Farooq Shaikh), and the two fall in love. But Nawab must marry to please his family, and Umrao's heart is broken.

She meets a dashing bandit chieftain, Faiz Ali (Raj Babbar), who woos and wins her. She flees with her dacoit, hoping to marry him and leave the world of the courtesan far behind. But her lover is killed by local police and she is left alone, with no choice but to return to her old life.

Soon, the British attack the city of Lucknow and the residents are forced to flee. Umrao's party of refugees stop in a small village near Lucknow. The residents ask the courtesan to sing and dance. Umrao, looking about her, realizes that this is her town, Faizabad, her family, the place from which she was kidnapped. She had been so young when kidnapped that she had forgotten, but now it all returns to her.

She sings the song, "Yeh kya jagah hai doston?" (What kind of place is this, friends?) a veiled reference to her feelings of dismay at being treated like a pariah entertainer by her very own people. After, she meets her mother and younger brother, who had thought that she was dead. Her mother would be happy to welcome her back into the family, but her brother forbids it — she is tainted by her profession and must not return to embarrass them.

At the end of the film, Umrao returns to the now-deserted and looted brothel in Lucknow and finds she is left alone, with nothing but her profession and her poetry.

Critical reception[edit]

Rekha was praised for her acting, but the box office returns were just average.[1] The supporting characters were played by Naseeruddin Shah, Farooq Shaikh, Raj Babbar and Bharat Bhushan. Critics responded favourably to the carefully done historical setting.

The soundtrack was composed by Khayyam and the lyrics were penned by Shahryar. Several songs from the film, sung by Asha Bhosle, are considered classics of filmi music: "Dil cheez kya hai", "Justuju Jiski Thi", "In ankhon ki masti", and "Yeh kya jagah hai doston″.

Cast[edit]

Crew[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Recipient Award Result
1981 Rekha National Film Award for Best Actress Won
Asha Bhosle National Film Award for Best Female Playback Singer Won
Khayyam National Film Award for Best Music Direction Won
Manzur [3] National Film Award for Best Art Direction Won
1982 Muzaffar Ali Filmfare Award for Best Director Won
Khayyam Filmfare Award for Best Music Director Won
Rekha[4] Filmfare Award for Best Actress Nominated

Songs[edit]

No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Dil Cheez Kya Hai"   Shahryar Asha Bhosle 6:06
2. "In Aankhon Ki Masti"   Shahryar Asha Bhosle 5:42
3. "Jab Bhi Milti Hai"   Shahryar Asha Bhosle 1:28
4. "Jhoola Kinne Dala"   Shahryar   2:31
5. "Justuju Jiski Thi"   Shahryar Asha Bhosle 4:37
6. "Kahe Ko Byahi Bides"   Amir Khusrow[citation needed] Jagjit Kaur 4:52
7. "Raagmala"   Shahryar Mustafa Khan, Runa Prasad, Shahida Khan, Ustad Ghulam Sadiq Khan 5:22
8. "Yeh Kya Jagay Hai Doston"   Shahryar Asha Bhosle 6:07
9. "Zindagi Jab Bhi"   Shahryar Talat Aziz 4:51

2003 drama by Rana Sheikh[edit]

Umrao Jaan Ada was directed by Rana Sheikh and the storyline was written by prominent poet Zohra Nigah. The drama was first released by Pakistani TV channel Geo TV. It featured an all star cast starring: Amna Bano, Shabbir Jan, Bushra Ansari, Faisal Qureshi, Humayun Saeed, Adnan Siddique, Sadia Imam, Badar Khalil, Mahmood Aslam, Jamshed Ansari, Imran Abbas, Atiqa Odho, Sonia Rehman, Salma Azfer, Ismat Zaidi, Anwar Iqbal, Shahood Alvi, Adnan Jillani, Fahad Mustafa, Zeba Shehnaz and Shakeel. Guest appearances: Nighat Chaudhry, Meera, Resham, and Jiya Ali Director: Rana Sheikh Costume Designer: Bunto Kazmi, Asma Akbar Jewelry designer: Rehana Sehgal Choreographer: Nighat Chaudhry

2006 remake by J.P. Dutta[edit]

A remake of Umrao Jaan was released on 3 November 2006. It is directed by J.P. Dutta and stars Aishwarya Rai as Umrao Jaan, Sunil Shetty as Faiz Ali, Puru Raaj Kumar as Gauhar Mirza and Abhishek Bachchan as Nawab Sultan. Shabana Azmi portrays Madam Khanum Jaan (notably, Azmi's own mother, Shaukat Kaifi, portrayed Madam Khanum Jaan in the original version of the film). The music is composed by Anu Malik and the lyrics are penned by Javed Akhtar.

In popular culture[edit]

Vanya Mishra danced to the song at Miss World 2012.

References[edit]

External links[edit]