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Ijaazat poster
Directed by Gulzar
Produced by R.K. Gupta
Written by Subodh Ghosh (story)
Gulzar (screenplay & dialogues)
Starring Rekha
Naseeruddin Shah
Anuradha Patel
Music by R D Burman
Cinematography Ashok Mehta
Edited by Subhash Sehgal
Release dates
Running time
137 minutes
Language Hindi

Ijaazat (meaning "permission") is an 1987 Indian Hindi film directed by Gulzar, based on a Bengali story, Jatugriha by Subodh Ghosh.[1] Starring Rekha, Naseeruddin Shah and Anuradha Patel in leading roles, the film followed the story of couple who are separated and who accidentally meet in a railway station waiting room and discover some truths about their lives without each other. The film belongs to the art-house genre in India known as Parallel Cinema, and won two National Film Awards in the music category.


The movie is a powerful story that deals with feminism and patriarchy in the middle class India. It is about the present and past of Mahender and Sudha together as well as separately. The movie starts with Mahender (Naseeruddin Shah) getting down at the railway station and making his way to the waiting room just as it starts to rain heavily. A woman, Sudha (Rekha), is already sitting in the waiting room. On seeing him, she tries to hide from him but later they confront each other.

It is revealed that Mahender has an accomplished business dealing with photography. He respects his grandfather (Shammi Kapoor) immensely. Incidentally, he had been engaged to Sudha for 5 years but always made an excuse to delay their wedding. However, this time his grandfather has fixed the wedding in the first week of the following month. He reveals to Sudha that he is having an affair with one of the most radical representations of feminism, a woman named Maya (Anuradha Patel). He returns to tell Maya, but Maya has disappeared, leaving him some poetry. Mahender then marries Sudha and is quite happy, but the sudden return of Maya causes tensions in their married life. Mahender frequently tells Sudha about all the beautifully poignant, loving gestures Maya did for him during the years that they lived together. When Maya attempts suicide, Mahender starts spending time with her. Sudha, not knowing about Maya's suicide attempt and therefore believing that Mahender is being unfaithful to her, feels that her marriage was a mistake, and questions Mahender about his intentions. He then tells her strongly that he is going to bring Maya home to talk to her. Sudha is adamantly against this, but Mahender leaves with determination. However, Maya hears Sudha's anger on the phone and by the time Mahender reaches to pick her up, she has gone away. When he returns home without Maya, he finds that Sudha has also left. Mahender, unable to bear the shock, gets a heart attack. In the days and months that follow, he is looked after by Maya. Sudha continues as a teacher in Panchgani. As time passes, Mahender is beginning to feel convinced that it is time for him to bring Sudha back home. He then gets Sudha's letter saying that she is releasing him from their marriage and that he is free to marry Maya. A sudden uncontrolled outburst from Mahender makes Maya realise that she was the cause for Sudha's departure and that Mahender misses Sudha deeply. Maya feels estranged at this abrupt change in their relationship and, in the night, rides off on her motorbike. Mahender rushes to follow her in his car to stop her. Maya's scarf gets entangled in the rear wheel of her bike, which strangles her to death.

Ending the flashback, Sudha is deeply saddened on hearing about Maya's end. Later, as the time for their train approaches, Sudha's husband (Shashi Kapoor) bursts in unexpectedly to pick her up, and Mahender realises with a shock that Sudha has remarried. As Sudha's husband leaves the waiting room with her luggage, Mahender asks her to forgive him. She touches Mahender's feet as a plea for his forgiveness and for his permission (Ijaazat) for her to leave him, something which she had not received the last time they had separated. Mahender grants her wishes, speaks well of her husband, and gives her his blessing for a happy life. Sudha's husband returns to see what is holding her up, and then, seeing Sudha's teary face, realises that this man must be her former husband. The movie ends with Sudha and her husband moving on along the platform, and Sudha lingering a little with regret, as if not wanting to leave, while Mahender stands outside the waiting room looking on forlornly as she recedes from him.



  • Director: Gulzar
  • Producer: R K Gupta, Rajinder Singh Bedi
  • Co-Producer: Sweety Mehta
  • Story: Subodh Ghosh (Jatugriho)
  • Screenplay: Gulzar
  • Dialogues: Gulzar
  • Lyrics: Gulzar
  • Music: R D Burman
  • Editing: Subhash Sehgal
  • Cinematography: Ashok Mehta
  • Art Direction: R K Handa
  • Costume Design: Leela Daru


Filmfare wrote about the film, "One of Gulzar's most sensitive films, it also remains Rekha's most poignant performance as the possessive wife, who gives up her husband (Naseeruddin Shah) rather than share him with another woman (Anuradha Patel). Mera kuch saman … can anyone not be moved by it?"[2] According to Lalit Mohan Joshi, author of the book Bollywood: popular Indian cinema, Ijaazat "recreates the tingling sensation of a mature romance. It looks at an unusual male-female relationship, a subject less often broached in Hindi films." Joshi further notes that the film "exudes a sentimental feeling that seems more touching than the recent teenybopper romance stories."[3] M.L. Dhawan from The Tribune, while documenting the famous Hindi films of 1987, commended Gulzar for giving "a mature treatment to the eternal love triangle of pati patni aur woh (husband, wife and the other woman)." He further noted Asha Bhosle for her "soul-stirring voice [which] left an impact" and the principal cast for their "emotion-loaded performances".[4]



Soundtrack album by R D Burman, Asha Bhosle, Gulzar
Released 1987
Recorded 1986
Genre Film soundtrack
Label Sa Re Ga Ma
Producer RD Burman

The film has four songs, all composed by R D Burman and sung by Asha Bhosle to lyrics penned by Gulzar. Burman was widely appreciated for his music in the film and the song "Mera Kuch Saaman" was a big rage. The other songs were also quite popular. Two of the four songs are Ghazals.

  • Khaali Haath Sham Aayee Hai (Ghazal)
  • Mera Kuchh Saamaan (Ghazal)
  • Katra Katra
  • Chotisi Kahani Se


  1. ^ Gulzar; Govind Nihalani; Saibal Chatterjee (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi cinema. Popular Prakashan. p. 337. ISBN 81-7991-066-0. 
  2. ^ Farook, Farhana (13 July 2010). "Top 5". Filmfare. Retrieved 20 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Lalit Mohan Joshi (1 September 2002). Bollywood: popular Indian cinema. Dakini Books. p. 123. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 
  4. ^ Dhawan, M.L. (21 July 2002). "Year of the invisible hero". The Tribune. Retrieved 3 December 2011. 

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